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Who's Looking Out for the Children in Our Community? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Who's Looking Out for the Children in Our Community?

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Both Minnesota and North Dakota state laws say it's not illegal to leave a child in a car, but parents can violate child neglect laws by leaving children unsupervised and that's when child protective services often step in.

Valley News Team's Hope Hanselman looked into the process and whose looking out for the kids in our community.

Cass County Child Protective Services says it doesn't always take a tragedy to remove children from a home deemed "unfit." They say, on average, 10-15 percent of child neglect cases they deal with will end in court action or child removal. That's out of about 1,200 cases last year.

Sometimes conditions aren't considered "bad enough" for the county to remove the kids; but that doesn't mean something can't be done.

"In North Dakota, child protection workers cannot and do not have the ability to remove children from their parents' home," Linda Dorff, Cass County Child Protection Supervisor, said.

Some things even children can't always be protected from. Like determining if a child is living in unfit conditions. That's up to a court warrant, which is what it would take Dorff to keep some kids out of the wrong situations.

"If anybody has any concerns about how children are being treated and taken care of, they can contact us."

That's why she takes calls every day from concerned citizens.

"People that witness an incident, if they see something happen in a parking lot or in a store, we get all sorts of information from people that are concerned about the welfare of children in our community."

And that's where Linda can make a difference. It doesn't always mean finding children a new home, but building a better one,

"Our goal is really tow work with families to help them be the best they can be"

Because while they can't change a child's past, they can make the future brighter. But it just might take your help.

Leave a child in the car while you're gassing up or running to the ATM and you likely will not be reported to CPS, although it's not recommended.

But, leave a child in the car while you run into the grocery store and you can expect a visit from a worker like Dorff.

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