Information is gathered in a timely and efficient manner to make a disposition and determine if additional services are needed to keep children safe.
NA The agency does not conduct investigations.
Every child determined during screening to be in imminent danger is seen immediately, and in all other cases children are seen within a timeframe that ensures their safety.
Interpretation: Generally, in all other cases an initial visit occurs within 72 hours. Timely visits following screening should take into account such key variables as: the agency's definition of imminent danger (how broad or narrow); the risk assessment used to determine type of services needed; how risk assessment information is used as a basis for setting timeframes; supervisory review and support for decision making and follow-up; percentage of children who receive an initial visit after 72 hours and after a period of time that exceeds any state requirement, and type of allegations for these children; and how the program conducts formal administrative or PQI reviews of repeat maltreatment cases, including overall safety and fatality data.
Interpretation: In some cases, authority to make an initial in-person visit may be delegated to other professionals, such as law enforcement officials. When contact is delegated child protection personnel provide appropriate follow-up.
At the first meeting, parents are informed of:
Interpretation: Information about rights and responsibilities is provided in writing, and includes information regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act and its potential applicability.
The investigation process minimizes duplication of effort and, thereby, reduces trauma to the child and family.
Interpretation: The presence of the alleged perpetrator can be traumatizing and can compromise the interview. Some communities provide joint investigations with law enforcement and child protection workers or delegate responsibilities and share information. In such cases, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
The investigator visits the home at least once during the investigation, and conducts interviews with the reporter, other service providers, and all family members, including extended family as appropriate.
Interpretation: When the alleged abuse or neglect occurs outside the home, the investigator visits that location during the investigation.
The investigator conducts a comprehensive, culturally-relevant evaluation of risk and protective factors that include:
When there are concerns about a child’s safety, the agency immediately initiates a safety plan, and when there are unmet basic needs, the agency immediately obtains resources or services.
Interpretation: Basic needs can include food, clothing, and shelter. When the case involves an Indian child, resources available through the tribe or local Indian organization should be considered.
The investigation is completed within 30 days, and a determination is made to:
Interpretation: Although many circumstances and events can delay the completion of an investigation, efforts are made to complete investigations in a timely manner. Some agencies combine investigation and assessment and allow longer timeframes for completion. In such cases, the agency should specify which components of the investigation are to be completed within 30 days.
Interpretation: Collaborative efforts with families are initiated before cases are closed to determine needs and identify community resources.
Interpretation: When the case involves an Indian child, services offered by the tribe or local Indian organization should be considered when closing and referring the case to community providers.
When a case is opened, the agency provides or recommends the most beneficial and least intrusive service that maintains a child’s safety.
Interpretation: Reasonable efforts are made to preserve families whenever possible and appropriate. Services can include, and are not limited to: Child Protective Case Management, Family Preservation and Stabilization, and out-of-home care services.