2310. Child Protective Services (CPS) Initial Face-To-Face (IFF) Response

Approval:  Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 

Revised Date:  October 19, 2017

Policy Review:  October 19, 2021


Purpose

To provide direction to Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) staff in making initial face-to-face (IFF) contact with a victim or identified child in a Child Protective Services (CPS) response.

Scope

This policy applies to CA staff.

Laws

RCW 26.44.020

RCW 74.13.031

Policy

When conducting an IFF contact with the child, the DCFS caseworker, after-hours worker and the DLR/CPS investigator must:

  1. Meet in-person with the victim or identified child in the following timeframes from the date and time CA receives the intake
    1. 24-hours for an emergent response.
    2. 72-hours for a non-emergent response.
  2. Follow Chapter 1 Initial Intake Indian Child Welfare (ICW) of the ICW Manual policies when there is reason to know that the child is or may be a member, or the biological child of a member and eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.
  3. During the IFF contact with the child:
    1. The DCFS caseworker, after-hours or the DLR/CPS investigator must:
      1. Assess for present danger and take protective action if present danger is identified.
      2. Observe the physical condition and behaviors of the child.
      3. Follow 6500. Photograph Documentation policy when photographing a child’s physical condition or environment to document child abuse or neglect.
      4. Follow 2333. Interviewing a Victim or Identified Child policy when conducting a comprehensive interview.
    2. The DCFS caseworker and after-hours worker must:
      1. Observe the child’s living environment, if possible.
      2. Gather relevant and sufficient information to complete the safety assessment within 30 calendar days, and the Structured Decision Making Risk Assessment (SDMRA) within 60 days of receiving the intake.
    3. The DLR investigator must complete a safety assessment of the victim or identified child who is a biological, adoptive, or guardianship child of a DLR/CPS investigation. See Investigating Abuse and Neglect in State-Regulated Care Handbook on the CA intranet.
  4. If a child is believed to be at imminent risk of serious harm or there is a new allegation of CA/N, immediately call Intake to report the new information.
  5. If there is information about a crime against a child, and the worker believes the child is in present danger, immediately call 911 to make a law enforcement (LE) report per the Mandated Reports to Law Enforcement policy.
  6. Complete the Commercially Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC) Screen DSHS 15-476 if the child is suspected or confirmed to be a victim of CSEC.
  7. IFF Requirements During Business Hours if Unable to Locate a Victim or Identified Child
    1. If a victim or identified child cannot be located within the 24 or 72-hour timeframes, the DCFS caseworker or the DLR investigator:
      1. Must use the search activities identified in the Guidelines for Reasonable Efforts to Locate Children and/or Parents.
      2. Must consult with the supervisor.
      3. May contact after-hours worker to continue efforts to complete the IFF.
    2. If a parent or provider indicates they don’t know where the victim or identified child is located, and hasn’t contacted LE to report the child as a runaway or missing, the caseworker or the DLR investigator must complete search activities identified in the Guidelines for Reasonable Efforts to Locate Children and/or Parents and make a report to law enforcement.
    3. If there is a reason to believe a child has moved out-of-state before the IFF is conducted, the DCFS caseworker must contact that state’s child welfare agency to report the allegations of CA/N.
  8. IFF Requirements During After Hours
    1. The regional administrator or designee must develop protocols for how an after-hours worker responds to and reports the outcome of their case activity to the CPS or DLR/CPS assigned worker, or supervisor.
    2. Present Danger
      1. The after-hours worker must immediately report to their supervisor if present danger is identified and protective actions taken.
      2. The on-call supervisor or area administrator (AA) shall review and verbally approve the protective action taken by the after-hours worker, and document the protective action and approval in a FamLink case note.
    3. The after-hours supervisor will review intakes assigned to the straw to determine if the IFF initial timeframe will expire before the next business day and assess the need to initiate after-hours contact.
    4. Emergent intake response includes, but is not limited to:
      1. The Centralized Intake (CI) supervisor contacting the on-call DCFS after-hours field supervisor or AA when an after-hours worker is needed to respond.
      2. The CI supervisor contacting the DLR/CPS on-call supervisor when an after-hours worker is needed for a DLR/CPS case.
        If the DLR/CPS on-call supervisor agrees with the emergent screening, and if an extension is not recommended, CI will contact the DCFS after-hours field supervisor or AA to request the after-hours worker response.
      3. The after-hours field supervisor or AA must contact the after-hours worker to coordinate field response and address worker safety.
    5. If an emergent intake does not require immediate response by after hours, CI will email the emergent intake to the after-hours field supervisor or AA.
    6. If there is conflict regarding a screening decision for an after-hours 24-hour emergent intake, the CI supervisor's decision prevails.
  9. Extensions to the IFF are only used if:
    1. Child safety may be compromised if an extension is not granted, and the extension is approved by the AA.
    2. A LE officer requests to delay the IFF contact with the child per the County Child Abuse, Fatality and Criminal Neglect Investigation protocols and the extension is approved by the CA supervisor.
    3. Reasonable efforts were made to locate the child and the child cannot be located within the 24-hour or 72-hour timeframe. If this occurs, the assigned CA supervisor must review the caseworker’s efforts to locate the child and approve a new extension every:
      1. Three business days on an emergent intake until the IFF contact occurs.
      2. Five business days on a non-emergent intake until the IFF occurs.
    4. A child was allegedly abused in a licensed facility that does not provide care during the weekend or holiday, and the extension is approved by a DLR/CPS supervisor.
    5. A CPS intake is screened out by an intake supervisor and the assigned field supervisor screens the intake in. The field supervisor must approve the extension no later than 24-hours from the date and time the intake screening decision was changed.
    6. An intake that is screened as non-CPS by the intake supervisor and the DLR/CPS supervisor screens it in as DLR/CPS. The DLR/CPS supervisor must approve the extension no later than 24-hours from the date and time the intake screening decision was changed and document the extension in FamLink using the reason “Referral changed from licensing to DLR/CPS.”
    7. The intake was received by an intake worker on the last business day of a work week, and not reviewed by a supervisor until the next business day. The field supervisor receiving the screened-in intake may approve a 24-hour extension from the date and time the intake supervisor made the final screening decision.
  10. Exceptions to the IFF are only permitted when approved by the CPS or DLR/CPS supervisor under any one of the following circumstances:
    1. Reasonable efforts to locate the child are exhausted.
    2. The child is deceased.
    3. The child has moved out of state.
    4. The allegation involves a facility. The parent of the victim is the legal guardian, and not the subject, and the parent will not give permission for the investigator to interview the child.
  11. Documentation
    1. Within three calendar days of the IFF, the caseworker or after-hours worker will document in an IFF case note the following information:
      1. The IFF contact or attempted IFF, including date and time of the contact or attempted contact.
      2. If anyone else was present during the contact.
      3. If present danger was identified, any protective action taken.
    2. The caseworker will upload all:
      1. Photographs taken into FamLink per the 6500. Photograph Documentation policy.
      2. Audio recordings of child interviews per the 2350. Audio Recording policy.
    3. Extension
      1. The assigning caseworker or supervisor must document all extensions within three calendar days of determining the extension applies, and include the following:
        1. The rationale for the extension.
        2. The timeframe for the extension.
        3. The name of the LE officer and agency, if applicable.
        4. The AA approval, if applicable.
        5. The supervisor approval.
      2. Exceptions
        1. The caseworker or supervisor must document in the FamLink extension/exception module, the rationale for the decision, and what reasonable efforts were made to locate the child, if applicable.
        2. The supervisor approval of the extension must be entered into FamLink within three calendar days of determining an exception to the IFF applies.

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