0070-547.13 | Revision Date: 12/23/14
This policy reviews the distribution of authority and coordination of efforts required when law enforcement and DCFS investigate the same child abuse referrals, as well as the situations in which a concurrent investigation may be required.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Concurrent Investigations with Law Enforcement
Concurrent Investigation Referrals
Responding Without a Referral
Communication and Confidentiality
Crime Scene Preservation
Conducting a Concurrent Investigation with Law Enforcement
Emergency Response (ER) CSW Responsibilities
Referenced Policy Guides
This policy guide was updated from the 07/01/14 version to clarify that when law enforcement has taken a child into custody, DCFS must conduct a safety assessment to determine if child protective services are required.
Both DCFS and law enforcement have the authority to investigate cases of suspected child abuse or neglect and to take children into temporary custody when required.
Completing concurrent investigations with law enforcement requires that DCFS and law enforcement make efforts to communicate from the earliest opportunity, coordinate investigations, limit repeat interviews by different agencies, and continue to share information throughout the investigation of the case.
When law enforcement and DCFS are completing concurrent investigations, each agency must adhere to its’ separate mandates. Law enforcement has authority to determine whether a crime has occurred. DCFS has authority to determine whether the child requires protective services.
When law enforcement detains or delivers (not detained) a child to DCFS, per WIC 306 and/or 309, a safety assessment must be conducted by the CSW to determine if the child should be taken into temporary custody. To take a child into temporary custody, a CSW must have one of the following:
When law enforcement has taken a child into temporary custody and it is determined by DCFS that the child(ren) can return home permanently or pending a removal order, ARA approval and notification to law enforcement is required.
If the situation warrants it, a CSW should call law enforcement for assistance when investigating a child abuse referral and/or taking a child into temporary custody.
A concurrent investigation with law enforcement must be conducted, whenever possible, on any of the following types of referrals:
Cases requiring a concurrent investigation with law enforcement may be designated as either immediate or expedited referrals. A concurrent investigation with law enforcement can be conducted by any of the following staff:
In some situations, DCFS has a legal obligation to receive temporary custody of a child who has been delivered by a peace officer, with or without a referral. If a child (dependent or non-dependent) is transported by law enforcement to a DCFS office and a child abuse referral has not been made, law enforcement must call the Child Protection Hotline to make a child abuse referral.
CSWs are authorized to protect children without a referral and take them into temporary custody as long as there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is:
CSWs are allowed to conduct a concurrent investigation with law enforcement without a referral, per WIC 306(a). MART CSWs and co-located ER CSWs are the primary CSWs that respond without a referral; however law enforcement may directly contact a regional office for ER CSW assistance. As soon as the CSW responds to the location to meet law enforcement, the CSW must inquire if law enforcement called in the referral to the hotline. If it was done, the CSW must obtain the 19 digit referral number from law enforcement. If it was not done, the CSW must request that law enforcement call in the referral immediately and the CSW must obtain the 19 digit referral number prior to leaving the location.
CSWs may only assist with the placement of child(ren) whose parents have been arrested if law enforcement has detained a child(ren) under WIC 300, 305(a-d), and/or 309 and a referral has been generated to investigate child abuse or neglect. A referral needs to be generated for CSWs to complete a criminal history check on relatives or nonrelative extended family members identified as a temporary caretaker by the arrested parent(s).
CSWs, however, can assist law enforcement obtain child welfare history on the potential caregiver identified by the arrested parent(s) via a search on CWS/CMS without a referral.
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In concurrent investigations, CSWs are required to share information with law enforcement to the extent permitted by law.
When DCFS and law enforcement are both investigating the same child abuse referral, the documents that generated the child abuse referral may be shared without law enforcement having to complete the Declaration in Support of Access to Juvenile Records.
Documents that generate a child abuse referral may include the following:
All subsequent incidents of suspected child abuse or neglect must be cross-reported to law enforcement. Additional disclosure of cross-reported information must be discussed among the professionals affiliated with the case.
Many of the documents and proceedings relating to minors are confidential by statute, case law, and/or court order. Dependency court proceedings and records are confidential; however, criminal court proceedings are not confidential. When the crime involves a sexual offense, the victim’s identity can remain confidential upon request and not be disclosed on any public records. In addition, the victim may, at the judge’s discretion, be addressed as Jane or John Doe in court records and in court.
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During concurrent investigations, CSWs are to avoid disturbing potential forensic evidence and communicate the existence and location of potential forensic evidence to law enforcement. Potential forensic evidence may include but is not limited to:
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During the course of a concurrent investigation with law enforcement where there is evidence/suspicion of sexual or physical abuse, a medical examination of the child should be performed by health care providers with expertise in the area of detecting and diagnosing abuse and neglect. Medical examinations are an important component of investigations in that they can yield forensic evidence and/or expert testimony that is admissible in both dependency and criminal court.
Medical exams (either forensic or to detect and treat child abuse injuries and neglect) are prohibited unless one or more of the following conditions exist:
Children over 12 must consent to the exam themselves. The exam should not be performed by force on children of any age.
Requests for investigative/evidentiary medical examinations where exigent circumstances do not exist should be made at a court hearing, in a warrant application, or through parental consent.
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Emergency Response (ER) CSW Responsibilities
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BCIA 8583, Child Abuse or Severe Indexing Form
Expedited Response Alert Fax
Declaration in Support of Access to Juvenile Records
0070-529.10, Assessing Allegations of Physical Abuse
0070-532.10, Assessing Allegations of Sexual Abuse
0050-503.15, Response Times for Referrals
0070-548.00, Community Response Services, Alternative Response Services and Up-Front Assessments
0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams
0070-548.09, Multi-Agency Response Team (MART) Referrals
0070-548.10, Disposition of Allegations and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals
0070-548.17, Completion and Submission of the SS BCIA8583, Child Abuse or Severe
Neglect Indexing Form
0070-548.18, Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) Review Hearings
0070-548.20, Taking Children into Temporary Custody
0070-548.25, Completing the Structured Decision Making (SDM) Safety Plan
0070-570.10, Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders
0100-510.60, Placement Considerations for Children
0500-501.20, Release of Confidential DCFS Case Record Information
0500-509.10, Permission to Interview Children/Youth
0600-500.00, Medical Hubs
0600-501.10, Medical Consent
CDSS MPP Division 31-115 – States the circumstances under which the social worker shall conduct an in-person immediate investigation.
Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 300 – Provides descriptions in which any child is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge that person to be a dependent child of the court.
WIC Section 305(a) – States circumstances and conditions, under which any peace officer may, without a warrant, take a minor into temporary custody and when they must notify a social worker in the county welfare department to assume custody of the child
WIC Section 306 – States circumstances and conditions under which a social worker in a county welfare department may take a minor into temporary custody and required safety considerations to determine whether the child can remain safely at home
WIC Section 324.5 – Permits either law enforcement or the social worker to authorize a forensic exam to detect and/or treat child abuse injuries and neglect, if deemed necessary/appropriate by the forensic specialist, whenever a child is detained due to allegations of physical or sexual abuse.
WIC Section 16504(a) – States that any child reported to the county welfare department to be endangered by abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall be eligible for initial intake and evaluation of risk services. Each county welfare department shall maintain and operate a 24-hour response system. An immediate in-person response shall be made by a county welfare department social worker in emergency situations in accordance with regulations of the department. The person making any initial response to a request for child welfare services shall consider providing appropriate social services to maintain the child safely in his or her own home. However, an in-person response is not required when the county welfare department, based upon an evaluation of risk, determines that an in-person response is not appropriate.
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