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Child Protective Services launches Alternative Response program in Bexar County

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SAN ANTONIO -- For nearly ten years Child Protective Services investigator Nancy Velez has been investigating cases a particular way. She recently became a part of the Alternative Response team.

"I was one of those that was very doubtful about it, " said Velez. Velez says she soon realized those doubts turned into real results.

"The families are more open, they're actually asking us to go back out again, " added Velez.

In a traditional case investigators like Velez will interview a child at school away from their parents.

In Alternative Response cases the parents are called first, and a visit is scheduled where everyone can take part in the conversation.

"I'm there and they're making dinner and eating, everyone is participating. So it's really good, you kinda are in the family." said Velez.

Velez says she spends at least three to four hours on a visit, and focuses on the family’s needs.

The Alternative Response program is not geared towards all families. The child victim must be at least 5 years old, and the situation must be low to moderate risk.

"We definitely don't deal with sexual abuse because that's considered a higher risk situation, we don't deal with any serious injuries, " said Maddison Moore, an Alternative Response Supervisor.

Alternative Response cases are generated just like any other case. When people report child abuse and neglect to the statewide hot-line, or on-line the cases are screened to make sure they meet the qualifications.

This new approach is hoping to bring new life to struggling families.

"We are still looking at the safety of the children so at any time if there is something that is going on, automatically we resort back to a traditional investigation."

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