Appendix I: Individual Analyses of State Policies
Family Foster Care
Montgomery County, Maryland
Policy Section 9
Does the policy address the investigation of allegations of maltreatment in foster care as a distinct investigatory process?
Is kinship/relative care addressed in the policy?
- Yes. A separate policy dealing with foster care and kinship care. These types of care are separated from group homes, day care settings, and school systems.
What agency/unit is mandated to conduct the investigation?
- This care is only identified as one type of out-of-home care and is included in the foster care policy. No specific direction is given on special issues for kinship care or care by relatives' families.
Is there a team approach? Who is on the team?
- Child Protective Service (CPS) workers from the local Department of Social Services (DSS) conduct the investigation.
What are the key activities of agency staff?
- Yes, the CPS worker works with the foster care or kinship care worker (that is, workers responsible for the child in the agency foster or kinship home).
- Initially, a joint visit is made.
Child Protection worker:
Foster care/kinship care worker:
- Contacts foster care/kinship care worker responsible for the child to coordinate investigation (or the supervisor if the worker is not available);
- Follows special procedures if a child has died;
- Notifies the foster or kinship home placement unit to freeze placements until an administrative decision is made regarding the continued use of the foster home;
- Notifies the appropriate licensing authority and placement agency when the reported child is placed in a home maintained by an agency other than Social Service Administration;
- Sends written notice of the report to the appropriate licensing office within five days of a report;
- Contacts the foster parent (placement) worker to gather information about the foster home;
- Makes recommendations regarding the home to the appropriate licensing agency when the home is licensed by another agency; and
- Sends a copy of the Disposition of Report of Suspected Child Abuse to the Central Office program manager.
Director of local Department:
- Assists in securing a medical examination and/or treatment for the child(ren);
- Plans for immediate protective needs of child(ren);
- Explains to foster/kinship caregivers(s) the action to be taken in behalf of the child(ren); and
- Informs the birthparent(s) about the report and any injuries, abuse, or other significant physical and/or emotional harm to the children. This information sharing is done with supervisory approval and in such a way "so as not to impede investigation."
What time frames are identified?
- Makes decisions regarding continued placement of children in foster care and any licensing actions regarding the foster home.
What decisionmaking processes are described?
- For reports of abuse, investigation must begin within 24 hours of the filing of the report.
- For reports of neglect, investigation must begin within five days of the report of neglect.
Is the CPS/licensing interface clear?
- Within five working days from completion of a CPS/law enforcement investigation, an administrative staffing is held regarding the continued use of the foster home and the need to remove any children who may reside in the home.
- This staffing leads to the identification of a specific plan that identifies any necessary follow-up activities. The plan is monitored by foster care staff.
- A written report of administrative staffing is sent to the appropriate licensing agency, including the disposition of the investigation and of the foster home, as well as the date of the most current foster home review and its findings.
What actions are taken regarding the reported child(ren) during the investigation?
- Yes, joint involvement and communication are clear throughout.
What actions are taken regarding other children in the home?
What actions are taken to protect the rights of foster parents throughout the process?
What supports are provided to foster parents throughout the process?
- Standard investigation procedures are cited.
- Children living in the home are removed if they are found to be in danger.
- The foster care worker offers support while "maintaining confidentiality" during the investigation. No clear direction is provided as to how this support should be given.
The teamwork between the investigator and the foster/kinship care worker includes a joint visit.
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