Reporting Child Death, Serious Injury or Illness

0300-503.75 | Revision Date: 07/29/15

Overview

This policy guide provides information on the CSW's responsibility to investigate referrals concerning the death, serious injury or serious illness of children in order to assess whether the incident was a result of child abuse by the child's parent or caregiver.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Procedure

Discovery of a Child's Death, Serious Illness or Injury on Open Referral/Case

Child Protection Hotline (CPH) CSW Responsibilities

Emergency Response (ER)/Emergency Response Command Post (ERCP) CSW Responsibilities

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA or Designee Responsibilities

RA Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 07/01/14 version in order to include instructions for documenting a deceased child's funeral and burial/cremation information in CWS/CMS.

POLICY

 

The reporting responsibilities delineated in this policy are applicable when a child under DCFS supervision dies, suffers a serious injury or has a serious illness.  The policy applies whether the child is in court ordered or voluntary out-of-home placement or in the home of a parent voluntarily or by court order.

 

In addition to the notification requirements, DCFS has its own internal serious incident reporting process.  The ARA and RA may be required to prepare additional reports for the Department's senior managers as a result of serious incidents and/or child fatalities.  A copy of all reports prepared by the regional staff is forwarded to the Critical Incident and Child Fatality (CI/CF) Review Section and to the Office of the Medical Director.  For further instruction regarding the notification requirements, serious incident reporting process, and recording a child's death, refer to Recording Child Deaths at the Child Protection Hotline (CPH) and Submission of the SOC 826, Child Fatality/Near Fatality County Statement of Finding and Information.

PROCEDURE

Discovery of a Child's Death, Serious Illness or Injury on Open Referral/Case

Child Protection Hotline (CPH) CSW Responsibilities

  1. If the child has died, proceed according to Recording Child Deaths at the Child Protection Hotline (CPH) and Submission of the SOC 826, Child Fatality/Near Fatality County Statement of Findings and Information.

 

  1. If upon receiving a call, there is suspicion of child abuse or neglect by the parent or caregiver, create a referral with an immediate response time.  In the referral, include any surviving child/ren who reside/s in the home.

 

  1. If the child is reported to be seriously injured or seriously ill, and there are no suspicions of abuse or neglect, create a CSW Information/Consultation Call Form and send it to the child's CSW.  If there are other children in the home with open DCFS cases, create and send CSW Information/Consultation Call Form to the CSW of each child.

 

  1. After inquiring about the availability of the information, address any outstanding issues regarding medical consent with the caller.

Emergency Response (ER)/Emergency Response Command Post (ERCP) CSW Responsibilities

  1. If the child is in out-of-home care, it is the responsibility of ER CSW to investigate the referral.  Follow the procedures set forth in Emergency Response Referrals Alleging Abuse in Out-of-Home Care Regarding Children who are Under DCFS Supervision.

 

  1. If the child is in the home of a parent and DCFS is providing voluntary family maintenance (VFM) or the court ordered family maintenance (FM) services, it is the responsibility of the CSW assigned to the referral to investigate the referral.

 

  1. Upon receipt of the referral, immediately notify the SCSW.  Provide the SCSW with all requested information received from CPH.

 

  1. ERCP CSW will notify the parents and other relatives on referrals received after hours (after 5 PM), on holidays and on weekends.

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Notify your SCSW or duty SCSW immediately, and provide the SCSW with all known information received from the reporting party.

 

  1. Call the Child Protection Hotline (CPH) at (800) 540-4000 immediately, or as soon as possible, and generate a new referral when a child has died or has been seriously injured or became seriously ill as a result of known or suspected abuse/neglect.  If there are other children in the home, identify those children to the CPH CSW.

 

 

  1. Within one (1) working day of the child's death or serious injury or illness:
  1. Notify the parents/legal guardian or concerned relative in person, whenever possible, of a child's death or serious injury or illness for children in out of home care.  The ERCP CSW will be responsible for the notification on referrals received after hours (after 5 PM), on holidays and on weekends.
  1. When a parent's whereabouts are unknown, send a certified letter (return receipt) to his/her last known address requesting him or her to contact the CSW/SCSW to discuss a matter of urgency that involves his or her child.  If the parent is incarcerated or institutionalized within Los Angeles County, notify him or her in person, whenever possible.
  1. If the parent is incarcerated or institutionalized outside the County, telephone the jail (prison chaplain or mental health provider) requesting that the parent be notified of the child's death or injury.  Document the notification and the letter in the Contact Notebook per Obtaining Services for Incarcerated/Institutionalized Parents.
  1. Collect reports and statements from all collateral parties (e.g. medical reports, police reports, and statements from physicians, nurses, teachers, neighbors and coroners).
  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.
  1. If a referral was received that contained allegations of abuse and or neglect regarding the child's death, serious injury or serious illness, create a DCFS 5402 for the child's attorney.  Follow the instructions in Communication with Attorneys, County Counsel, and Non-DCFS Staff.
  1. The case-carrying CSW must complete the DCFS 1688-1 and submit it to the SCSW for review and approval.

 

DCFS Juvenile Court Services, Court Liaison
Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court
201 Centre Plaza Dr.
Monterey Park, CA 91754-2159

 

  1. Within three (3) working days of a child's death, serious injury or illness:

 

If a child dies, suffers a serious illness or injury in out-of-home care:

  • Obtain the DCFS 1689, Foster Parent's/FFA/Group Home Report of Fatality, Injury or Illness of a Child in Care from the foster care provider.
  • Submit the DCFS 1689 to the SCSW/Duty SCSW.
  • Place a copy of the report in the DCFS case record (left side of the Case Activity Recording folder).
  • If a child dies, submit a DCFS 280, Technical Assistance Action Request, to the TA to enter a stop placement date, stop placement payments and terminate services.

If there were no allegations of abuse and/or neglect regarding the child's death, serious illness or injury:

If the deceased child was a DCFS court supervised dependent:

  • Complete an Ex Parte Application and Order to request that the court terminate its jurisdiction of the child.
  • Submit the report to the SCSW for approval.
  • When SCSW signs it, forwards it to the clerical support staff for processing to the court.

 

  1. Inform the family about the funeral, burial and cremation assistance available through the Department.

 

  1. Obtain and document the following information in the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook and Closure Summary (when submitting the case for closure):
  1. The family member who was contacted about the child's death (per number 4.a. above).
  1. The family member or other agent who will be taking responsibility for the deceased child's remains.
  1. The funeral information for the child.
  1. The burial location and whether or not a headstone was ordered for the child. If the child is being cremated, obtain the cremation information (to include the full name and contact information of the person who will be taking possession of the cremated remains).

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Upon receipt of the referral, immediately notify the ARA of the child's death, serious illness or serious injury.
  1. Provide the ARA with all requested information to assist with the ARA and RA's preparation of the Initial Fact Sheet.

 

  1. Consult with the CSW regarding the CSW's assessment of allegations of abuse and/or neglect of the child victim.
  1. Ensure that all necessary case actions are taken to prevent the further endangerment of the child victim and/or the surviving children/siblings.

 

  1. Assist the CSW as needed to
  1. Notify the parents.
  1. Provide emotional support to the CSW.  Consider referring the CSW to the DCFS Employee Assistance program for additional support.
  1. Evaluate the need to relieve the CSW of other casework duties, assist the CSW in discovering further information regarding the child's death, serious illness or serious injury and preparing additional reports regarding the incident.
  1. Inform the other unit members of the child's death, serious illness or serious injury and encourage them to support and assist the CSW.

 

  1. Review the DCS 1688-1 and supporting documents for thoroughness and accuracy.
  1. If it is satisfactory, sign it and submit it to the ARA for signature.
  1. If it is not, return to the CSW for corrective action.

 

  1. Review the Ex Parte Application and Order for thoroughness and accuracy.  If appropriate, sign and approve the report on CWS/CMS and return to the CSW.  If it is not approved, return to the CSW for corrective action.

ARA or Designee Responsibilities

  1. Immediately notify the RA of the child's death, serious illness or serious injury and ensure timely completion of reports.

 

  1. Provide consultation to the SCSW regarding the incident as needed.

 

  1. Review the DCS 1688-1 and supporting documents for thoroughness and accuracy.
  1. If it is satisfactory, sign it and submit it to the RA for signature.
  1. If it is not, return to the SCSW for corrective action.

RA Responsibilities

  1. Review the DCS 1688-1 for thoroughness and accuracy.
  1. If it is satisfactory, sign it.
  1. If it is not, return to the ARA for corrective action.

 

  1. Convene a meeting with the CSW, SCSW and ARA to determine if the CSW should continue to be assigned to the case.  Discuss and identify any support services that the CSW may need (e.g., grief counseling).

Back to Procedure

APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

ARA Approval

RA Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

CWS/CMS

Closure Summary

Contact Notebook

Ex Parte Application and Order

Investigation Narrative

LA Kids

CSW Information/Consultation Call Form

DCFS 280, Technical Assistance Action Request

DCFS 1688-1, DCFS Worker's Report to the Juvenile Court of Death, Injury or Illness

DCFS 1689, Foster Parent/Institution/Day Care, Parent's Report of Death, Injury or Illness of Children in Care

DCFS 5402, Notice to Child's/NMD's Attorney Re: Case Status

Referenced Policy Guides

0050-504.05, Referral Assignment Criteria

0050-504.25, Recording Child Deaths at the Child Protection Hotline (CPH) and Submission of the SOC 826 by the Critical Incident/Child Fatality Review Section

0070-548.06, Emergency Response Referrals Alleging Abuse of Children Who are Under DCFS Supervision and Residing in the Home of a Parent

0080-506.16, Selecting and/or Arranging for Appropriate Services for Incarcerated, Institutionalized, Detained or Deported Parents

0300-506.05, Communication with Attorneys, County Counsel, and Non-DCFS Staff

Statutes

Health and Safety Code (HSC) 1536.1 (f) states that a placement agency shall notify the appropriate licensing agency of any known or suspected incidents of physical or sexual abuse violation of personal rights, unclean, unsafe, poor and unsanitary conditions, insufficient or incompetent personnel, or mental abuse to the residents that would jeopardize the health or safety of residents in a community care facility.

 

Penal Code (PEN) 11166, states that a mandated reporter shall make a report to a law enforcement agency by telephone immediately or as soon as possible, whenever he or she has any knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect.  The mandated reporter shall prepare and send a written followup report within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident.  The report may include any non-privileged documentary evidence relating to the incident.

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