(L16, Ch. 300, sec. 3. Eff. until 7/1/18)
A. The department shall train all investigators in forensic interviewing and processes and the protocols established pursuant to section 8-817. The training must include:
1. Uniform safety and risk assessment tools to determine whether the conduct constitutes abuse or neglect and the severity of the abuse or neglect.
2. The duty to protect the legal and due process rights of children and families from the time of the initial contact through case closure.
3. Instruction on a child’s rights as a crime victim and instruction on the legal rights of parents.
4. A checklist or other mechanism to assist the investigator in giving consideration to the relevant factors in each investigation.
B. The office of child welfare investigations shall investigate DCS reports that contain a criminal conduct allegation as provided in sections 8-471 and 8-817.
C. After receiving a DCS report from the centralized intake hotline pursuant to section 8-455, an investigator shall do all of the following:
1. Make a prompt and thorough investigation. An investigation must evaluate and determine the nature, extent and cause of any condition created by the parents, guardian or custodian or an adult member of the victim’s household that would tend to support or refute the allegation that the child is a victim of abuse or neglect and determine the name, age and condition of other children in the home. If an investigator has sufficient information to determine that the child is not a victim of abuse or neglect, the investigator may close the investigation.
2. If required by section 8-821 and subject to section 8-471, take a child into temporary custody. Law enforcement officers shall cooperate with the department to remove a child from the custody of the child’s parents, guardian or custodian when necessary.
D. After an investigation, an investigator shall:
1. Determine whether any child is in need of child safety services consistent with the evaluation and determination made pursuant to subsection C of this section.
2. If appropriate pursuant to section 8-846, offer to the family of any child who is found to be a child in need of child safety services those services that are designed to correct unresolved problems that would indicate a reason to adjudicate the child dependent.
3. Submit a written report of the investigator’s investigation to:
(a) The department’s case management information system within a reasonable amount of time that does not exceed forty-five days after receipt of the DCS report except as provided in section 8-811. If the investigation involves allegations regarding a child who at the time of the alleged incident was in the custody of a child welfare agency licensed by the department under this title, a copy of the report and any additional investigative or other related reports must be provided to the board of directors of the agency or to the administrative head of the agency unless the incident is alleged to have been committed by the person. The department shall excise all information with regard to the identity of the source of the reports.
(b) The appropriate court forty-eight hours before a dependency hearing pursuant to a petition of dependency or within twenty-one days after a petition of dependency is filed, whichever is earlier. On receipt of the report the court shall make the report available to all parties and counsel.
4. Accept a child into voluntary placement pursuant to section 8-806.
5. Identify, promptly obtain and abide by court orders that restrict or deny custody, visitation or contact by a parent or other person in the home with the child and notify appropriate personnel in the department to preclude violations of a court order in the provision of any services.
E. In conducting an investigation pursuant to this section, if the investigator is made aware that an allegation of abuse or neglect may also have been made in another state, the investigator shall contact the appropriate agency in that state to attempt to determine the outcome of any investigation of that allegation.
F. If an investigation indicates a reason to believe that a criminal offense has been committed, the investigator shall immediately provide the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency and the office of child welfare investigations, unless the information was previously provided pursuant to section 8-455.
G. For the purposes of this section, “investigator” means an employee of the department who investigates allegations of abuse or neglect pursuant to a DCS report.