Appendix I: Individual Analyses of State Policies
Family Foster Care
Children, Youth, and Family Department (CYFD)
Protective Services Division
Title 8 Social Services
Chapter 10: Child Protective Services
Part 3: Child Protective Services Investigation
PR 28 Monitor and Support of Department Foster Parents
Chapter 27: Foster Care
Part 2: Foster Parenting
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?
- Foster care is included in the broad list of settings in which investigations may take place. Although no single extensive policy on investigations of reports in foster homes is given, significant references are made and particular guidance is given for foster home investigations at different points in these policies.
What agency/unit is mandated to conduct the investigation?
- Kinship care is included as a type of foster care. Relatives' homes are treated essentially as any foster home throughout this process. No special guidance is given.
Is there a team approach? Who is on the team?
- The investigation is conducted by an investigator within the Child Protective Services (CPS) Unit. It does not appear that specialized workers conduct foster home or other out-of-home investigations.
- Law enforcement agencies are notified of all reports. When requested, CPS and law enforcement conduct a joint investigation. It is not clear under what circumstances law enforcement becomes involved in the investigation.
What are the key activities of agency staff?
- Other than the reference to law enforcement's requests for CPS involvement, no language relates to joint investigations.
- Some language addresses the need for communication and cooperation between the investigator and child's workers, placement workers, as well as licensing staff and administrators (when families provide foster care for private agencies.) It is clearly stated that investigators are not obligated to conduct joint investigations with private agencies.
Statewide Central Intake:
- The policy directs the central intake worker to forward copies of all referrals alleging abuse or neglect to the licensing and certification units when the allegations are against foster parents licensed by a private agency:
- Licensing and certification units investigate regulation violations, when allegations of abuse or neglect are made against a foster parent, if the referral indicates a violation by the private licensing agency may exist.
- Statewide central intake forwards the referral to the investigative social worker for an investigation of abuse or neglect by a caretaker.
- All referrals meeting the criteria for investigation are coded as an emergency, requiring a 1 to 3 hour response time by the investigator.
- The policy directs investigators to complete all activities required in standard investigations.
- Specific activities relevant to investigations in foster homes primarily address notification and ongoing communication among key parties. The investigator notifies:
- Placement workers and children's service workers when children are placed in CYFD foster homes;
- Foster parents;
- Law enforcement, and conducts a joint investigation if requested;
- The court when the case involves court action(s); and
- The responsible private agency when foster parents are providing care through a private agency.
- Offers support to the foster parent(s) during the investigation, without jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation;
- Provides information to the investigator about the home; and
- Becomes involved in licensing compliance issues related to the investigation and recommends appropriate licensing actions. Possible actions range from revoking the foster care license, to corrective action, to no further action.
What time frames are identified?
- Provides information to the investigator about the child and cooperates with the investigator throughout the investigation; and
- Always responds, as an emergency, to any allegation of abuse or neglect in any foster home by conducting a safety assessment to determine if the child is safe to remain in the home.
What decisionmaking processes are described?
- Standard investigation time frames for response and completion of the investigation.
Is the CPS/licensing interface clear?
What actions are taken regarding the reported child(ren) during the investigation?
- The investigator makes the decision to substantiate or not to substantiate the report.
- When a child is placed in a private agency, licensing and certification staff make licensing decisions based on information provided in the investigation.
What actions are taken regarding other children in the home?
What actions are taken to protect the rights of foster parents throughout the process?
- Clear guidelines for response time are based on the apparent risk to the child.
- The investigator implements standard investigation procedures, including safety and risk assessment and removal if necessary.
What supports are provided to foster parents throughout the process?
- Foster parents receive notification of the report and the outcome. They have access to an administrative review process for licensing actions.
- Foster parents appear to have the same rights for a fair hearing as any alleged perpetrator involved in the investigation process.
- Placement workers are responsible for supporting foster parents during the process as well as working with them around corrective action when appropriate.
- No clear guidance is given on providing support to foster parents.
New Mexico has a fairly clear and simple policy. Investigators primarily rely on standard investigation procedures. Interactions between the placement and licensing units as well as placement agencies are above and beyond what is called for in standard investigation procedure.
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