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Appendix I: Individual Analyses of State Policies

Key Factors
Family Foster Care
Agency Policy/Regulations

Department of Economic Security
Administration for Children, Youth, and Families
Policy Manual Sections
Responding to Reports Concerning Out-of-Home Care

Does the policy address the investigation of allegations of maltreatment in foster care as a distinct investigatory process?
  • The policy outlines procedures for investigating reports of maltreatment in different forms of out-of-home care including the homes of unlicensed nonrelatives, unlicensed relatives, licensed family foster homes, certified adoptive homes, and state-certified child care homes. Procedures for investigations in facility-based settings are addressed in a separate section.
Is kinship/relative care addressed in the policy?
  • Kinship care is only addressed by the inclusion of unlicensed relatives in the definition of out-of-home settings to be addressed by the policy.
What agency/unit is mandated to conduct the investigation?
  • All investigations in these settings are to be conducted by a Child Protective Services (CPS) Specialist from the Administration for Children,Youth, and Families (ACYF).
Is there a team approach? Who is on the team?
  • The policy emphasizes the need for notification, information sharing, and consultation throughout the investigation process.

  • An opening conference is expected at the beginning of the investigation. The conference includes the investigator, out-of-home care provider, licensing specialist, and child's case manager to clarify the allegations and the investigation process.

  • When possible, consultation with the child's case manager and/or supervisor, foster care licensing specialist and/or supervisor, the program manager or designee, and the Assistant Attorney General is to occur before a child is removed from the home.

  • When the department intends to substantiate a report, a case conference is convened within five working days of the completion of the investigation. The conference includes the out-of-home care provider, the CPS investigator and supervisor, each child's case manager and supervisor, the Assistant Attorney General responsible for licensing, the provider's licensing specialist and supervisor, and the program manager or designee. The child's parents or guardians are also invited to attend, along with any other relevant staff members, law enforcement personnel, or legal counsel. Out-of-home care providers may also have a representative in this meeting.
What are the key activities of agency staff?

CPS Investigator: This policy directs investigators to follow all standard investigation procedures as well as the following procedures to be conducted in investigations in these out-of-home care settings:
  • Notifies parents or legal guardians of all children placed in the foster home within eight working hours of the receipt of the report.

  • Notifies out-of-home care providers, within six hours of the receipt of the report, when a child has been interviewed or removed.

  • Notifies the case managers, attorneys, guardians ad litem, or Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for each child in the home within eight working hours of the receipt of the report.

  • Notifies the provider's licensing specialist or certification specialist and/or supervisor from ACYF or private agencies within eight working hours of the receipt of the report.

  • Completes an Unusual Incident Report.

  • Conducts the Opening Case Conference (described above).

  • Provides copy of PAC-189 (CPS Information for Parents, Guardians, Custodians, and Children) to the out-of-home care provider.

  • Videotapes or audiotapes all interviews of children, out-of-home care providers, and the alleged abusive person in regard to allegations of sexual abuse of children in the foster home. Notes in the case record when permission to videotape or audiotape an interview is refused.

  • Consults with the parties identified above before removal of a child, except in case of an emergency when the investigator removes the child without consultation.

  • Notifies parents, legal guardians, out-of-home care providers, and staff when a report is unsubstantiated.

  • Sends a copy of the investigation report to each child's case manager, licensing specialist, and program manager when a report is unsubstantiated.
Foster Home Licensing Supervisor and/or Worker:
  • Attends Opening Case Conference.

  • Consults with CPS investigator throughout the investigation.

  • Attends case conference that follows the decision to substantiate a report and participates in discussions regarding licensing ramifications.

  • Notifies the out-of-home care provider, in writing, of the decision to revoke the license of the provider and offers the provider the option of voluntary withdrawal.

  • Sends a letter to the out-of-home provider within three days of the case conference, discussing licensing issues when the decision is other than revocation.
What time frames are identified?
  • The investigation is to be completed within five working days.

  • If the investigation needs to be extended, the child's parents, guardians, out-of-home provider, and all involved staff must be notified of the reason for the delay and informed of the anticipated date for completion.
What decisionmaking processes are described?
  • Consultation is required before removal except in emergency situations (as described above).

  • The major group-decisionmaking forum is the case conference (described above). The case conference is to be held within five working days of the investigator's decision to substantiate the report. At the meeting, the following occurs: (1) proposed substantiated investigation findings are discussed; (2) agency recommendations regarding licensing are discussed and determined; (3) the out-of-home caregiver is provided with an opportunity to discuss the findings of the CPS investigation and licensing issues.
Is the CPS/licensing interface clear?
  • The policy more clearly details the roles of the investigator than the roles of the licensing staff.

  • Licensing decisions are made at the case conference following the completed investigation.
What actions are taken regarding the reported child(ren) during the investigation?
  • Children are removed when it is determined they are unsafe.
  • Standard investigation procedures are followed.
What actions are taken regarding other children in the home?
  • Children are removed when it is determined they are unsafe.
  • Standard investigation procedures are followed.
What actions are taken to protect the rights of foster parents throughout the process?
  • Out-of-home care providers are provided with prompt notice of the investigation, or the removal of children, and the outcome of the investigation.

  • Out-of-home care providers are included in case conferences at the beginning of the investigation and at the end of a substantiated investigation. They are allowed to have representation at those meetings.

  • Out-of-home providers receive written notice of licensing recommendations and consequences.
What supports are provided to foster parents throughout the process?
  • None are discussed.

This policy outlines additional steps to be taken (beyond standard investigation procedures) when investigating reports of maltreatment in out-of-home family settings. It primarily involves directions for notifications, consultation, and decisionmaking forums during the process.

Supplemental Materials
  • None

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