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Appendix I: Individual Analyses of State Policies

Key Factors
Family Foster Care
Agency Policy/Regulations

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)

Policy Guide 2001.11
Concurrent Child Abuse/Neglect and Licensing Investigations

P.T. 99.21 Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect
Child Abuse and Neglect Reports on Children in Department Custody
(Online Policy Manual)

Policy Guide 2001.06
Clinical Placement Reviews for Disputed Changes of Placement
From One Foster Home to Another Resource:
Foster Parents' Role and Rights in Investigations

Does the policy address the investigation of allegations of maltreatment in foster care as a distinct investigatory process?
  • Policy Guide 2001.11 addresses the concurrent investigation of child abuse and neglect and licensing reports in licensed homes or facilities. Included in that definition are Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and private agency foster homes, day care homes, and "all other licensed facilities."

  • The policy gives specific guidance for conducting these concurrent investigations in foster homes.

  • This policy addresses only the communications and activities necessary for collaboration between CPS and licensing staff and does not provide guidance for conducting the actual CPS investigation.
Is kinship/relative care addressed in the policy?
  • Relatives' homes are included in the category of foster homes. No special guidance is given for conducting investigations in relatives' homes.
What agency/unit is mandated to conduct the investigation?
  • The local Child Protective Service (CPS) Unit is responsible for conducting the CPS investigation of child abuse and neglect.

  • Investigators from the Central Office of Licensing are to conduct the concurrent licensing investigation.

  • In serious cases, law enforcement may conduct a separate investigation.
Is there a team approach? Who is on the team?
  • The purpose of this policy is to provide child protection and licensing investigators with direction for conducting concurrent CPS and licensing investigations.

  • Teamwork is encouraged, but joint activities are not mandated.

  • CPS and licensing staff are directed to plan activities jointly and to exchange information weekly.

  • DCFS family development specialists and private agency licensing specialists are also considered to be members of the team.
What are the key activities of agency staff?

Child protection supervisor:
  • Notifies licensing supervisor of the name, e-mail address, and phone number of the CPS investigator;

  • Provides the Central Office of Licensing Background Check Unit with identifying information regarding the alleged perpetrator when a report is indicated; and

  • Ensures that the parents or guardians of the reported child, as well as all DCFS caseworkers or case managers responsible for the reported child or other children in the home, are notified of the report and of the investigation decision.
Child protection investigator:
  • Contacts the licensing investigator to plan a concurrent investigation;

  • Provides the licensing investigator with a copy of the agency's protective plan for the child in the foster home;

  • Provides the licensing investigator with weekly investigation "updates;"

  • Completes the agency's Child Endangerment Risk Assessment tool;

  • Provides alleged perpetrators with copies of the Notification of a Report of Suspected Abuse and/or Neglect form;

  • Notifies alleged perpetrators of any restrictions in their contacts with children in care; also documents those restrictions in the Protective Plan;

  • Notifies the guardian ad litem of the pending report when a child in DCFS custody is the subject of an investigation; and

  • Notifies the licensing investigator and the guardian ad litem when a report has been indicated.
Licensing investigation supervisor or private agency licensing supervisor:
  • Assigns the licensing investigation to a licensing investigator;

  • Notifies the CPS supervisor of the name, e-mail address, and phone number of licensing investigator;

  • Notifies the private agency supervisor of that same information when the child was placed in a private agency;

  • Approves requests for 30-day licensing investigation extensions when appropriate;

  • Monitors and reviews a completed licensing investigation, and ensures communication with DCFS and private agencies when a licensing investigation has been substantiated; and

  • Requests that the associate deputy director for licensing place the foster home "on hold" for placements when serious licensing violations have been substantiated.
Licensing investigator or private agency licensing representative:
  • Contacts the CPS investigator to plan a concurrent investigation;

  • Obtains a copy of the Protective Plan completed by the CPS investigation;

  • Reviews and revises the Protective Plan (with supervisory input), if necessary, and then implements and monitors that plan in conjunction with involved agencies;

  • Conducts a thorough licensing investigation according to designated agency policy;

  • Provides the CPS investigator with weekly updates of the licensing investigation activities;

  • Notifies private agencies that placements are on hold when serious licensing violations are substantiated; and

  • Verifies that a background check has been conducted for all alleged perpetrators living in the foster home.
Regional Resource Development manager:
  • Notifies the local Resource Development supervisor of the concurrent CPS/Licensing investigation;

  • Provides names and contact information of CPS and licensing investigators;

  • Provides the licensing investigator with the name and contact information of the family development specialist who will monitor the Protective Plan; and

  • Reads completed the licensing investigation and ensures that appropriate enforcement activities and actions are conducted when licensing violations are substantiated.
Family Development supervisor:
  • Ensures that the Family Development specialist assigned to the foster family conducts all required activities, including unannounced onsite monitoring visits, in accordance with the Protective Plan.
Family Development specialist:
  • Conducts all required activities, including unannounced onsite monitoring visits, in accordance with the Protective Plan;

  • Notifies the licensing investigator immediately if the foster family is found to be out of compliance with the Protective Plan;

  • Keeps caseworkers informed of the foster parent's compliance with the Protective Plan;

  • Develops, implements, and monitors a corrective plan when a licensing violation report is substantiated; and

  • Completes a reevaluation of the foster home after an "indicated" child abuse and neglect report.
What time frames are identified?
  • No special time frames are given for investigations of children in foster or relative care.

  • The investigator must see the reported child within 24 hours.

  • If the child is possibly in "immediate danger," the investigation begins immediately.

  • The Initial Investigation period is 14 days. During that period, the report may be determined to be unfounded or it may be determined that further investigation is needed.

  • The Formal Investigation period is 60 days, with one opportunity for a 30-day extension.
What decisionmaking processes are described?
  • CPS investigators make the decision to substantiate or not to substantiate the allegation of abuse and/or neglect.

  • When a CPS investigation is substantiated, at least one licensing violation must have occurred.
Is the CPS/licensing interface clear?
  • Yes. The policy described in this document is specifically designed to provide clarity for the CPS and licensing staff.
What actions are taken regarding the reported child(ren) during the investigation?
  • The CPS investigator interviews the reported child and conducts a risk assessment.

  • The DCFS caseworker responsible for the child makes the decision to return the child to a foster home after the child's removal.
What actions are taken regarding other children in the home?
  • CPS investigator may interview other children in the home and conduct a risk assessment.
What actions are taken to protect the rights of foster parents throughout the process?
  • The CPS investigator informs foster parents of the allegations and the circumstances surrounding the allegations.

  • The foster parent has the right to offer names of collaterals who may provide evidence in the investigation.

  • If the presence of an attorney or representative can be arranged within 24 hours, the foster parent has the right to have such a person present during the interview with the investigator. After a substantiated CPS or licensing investigation, the foster parent has access to administrative review and fair hearing processes.

  • Foster parents do not have the right to appeal the decision to remove a child from a foster home. They are instead allowed to request a Clinical Placement Review by the Department's Division of Clinical Services.

  • Foster parents have the right to receive written notice within 10 days when a report has been substantiated.

  • At the beginning of the investigation, foster parents are provided with written information about requesting their investigation file and their rights to appeal.
What supports are provided to foster parents throughout the process?
  • None are mentioned in the policy or foster parent resource guide.

The policy guide provides guidance to CPS and licensing staff regarding the process of collaboration during a concurrent CPS/Licensing investigation. It does not specifically address the CPS investigation activities. Foster Parents' Role and Rights in Investigations, a very informative and helpful document for foster parents, provides clear and complete information on the investigation process and their rights during and after that process.

Supplemental Materials
  • Foster Parent Law (Public Act 89-19) outlines the responsibilities and rights of foster parents and defines the relationships between DCFS and foster parents.

  • Foster Parent Rights and Responsibilities is a thorough resource guide for foster parents that outlines their rights and responsibilities.

  • Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol is a risk-assessment tool completed at the beginning of the investigation.

  • Child/Caregiver Matching, a tool used by the placing worker to assess the match between the child's needs and the foster parents' capacities to meet those needs, is completed before placement of the child.

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