Private Organization Accreditation

Stillwater-based FamilyMeans provides services in budget and credit counseling, mental health, collaborative divorce, caregiver support, youth programming, and an employee assistance program. 


Orange County Government, Youth & Family Services Division

Rodney J. Hrobar Sr., LMHC, CPP, Quality Assurance Manager

As the lead agency in Orange County, providing the safety net for children and families, it is reassuring that our clients can be confident that their needs will be addressed in accordance with the most stringent standards of public, as well as private, accountability as monitored and reviewed by the Council on Accreditation. 
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Child Protective Services protect children from abuse and neglect and increase child well-being and family stability.

CPS 5: Investigation

Information is gathered in a timely and efficient manner to make a disposition and determine if additional services are needed to keep children safe.

Interpretation: The organization should refer to tribal-state agreements, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to determine investigative roles and responsibilities, and to ensure the investigation complies with all necessary legal requirements and includes tribal participation if provided for by protocol or agreement.

NA The organization does not conduct investigations.

Rating Indicators
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Investigation procedures
    • Sample of information about rights and responsibilities given to parents
    • Procedures for risk assessment
    • Copy of the risk assessment tool
    • Collaborative agreements or contracts, when applicable
    • Interview:
      1. Supervisors
      2. Investigators
    • Review case records

  • FP
    CPS 5.01

    Every child determined during screening to be in imminent danger is seen immediately, and in all other cases children are seen within a timeframe that ensures their safety.

    Interpretation: Generally, in all other cases an initial visit occurs within 72 hours. Timely visits following screening should take into account such key variables as: the organization’s definition of imminent danger (how broad or narrow); the risk assessment used to determine type of services needed; how risk assessment information is used as a basis for setting timeframes; supervisory review and support for decision making and follow-up; percentage of children who receive an initial visit after 72 hours and after a period of time that exceeds any state requirement, and type of allegations for these children; and how the program conducts formal administrative or PQI reviews of repeat maltreatment cases, including overall safety and fatality data.

    Interpretation: In some cases authority to make an initial in-person visit may be delegated to other professionals, such as law enforcement officials. When contact is delegated child protection personnel provide appropriate follow-up.

  • FP
    CPS 5.02

    At the first meeting, parents are informed of:

    1. their rights and responsibilities;
    2. the allegations under investigation; and
    3. the process that will be followed to investigate the report.

    Interpretation: Information about rights and responsibilities is provided in writing, and includes information regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act and its potential applicability.

  • CPS 5.03

    The investigation process minimizes duplication of effort and, thereby, reduces trauma to the child and family.

    Interpretation: The presence of the alleged perpetrator can be traumatizing and can compromise the interview. Some communities provide joint investigations with law enforcement and child protection workers or delegate responsibilities and share information. In such cases, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

  • FP
    CPS 5.04

    The investigator visits the home at least once during the investigation, and conducts interviews with the reporter, other service providers, and all family members, including extended family as appropriate.

    Interpretation: When the alleged abuse or neglect occurs outside the home, the investigator visits that location during the investigation.

  • FP
    CPS 5.05

    The investigator conducts a comprehensive, culturally-relevant evaluation of risk and protective factors that include:

    1. child safety;
    2. family strengths and needs;
    3. history and impact of prior child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or substance use; and
    4. family connections.

    Research Note: Research has identified child and family characteristics associated with repeat maltreatment, including: age; type of maltreatment; experiencing multiple types of maltreatment; severity of maltreatment; prior history of maltreatment; and substance use, domestic violence, lack of social support, or stress; low motivation or cooperation; and income. Additionally, research suggests that repeat maltreatment often occurs soon after the first reported incident of maltreatment.

    While evidence on the effectiveness of risk and safety assessment tools is still emerging, some literature and research suggests that consensus-based, actuarial, and combined models and instruments can improve the consistency and accuracy of decision making.

  • FP
    CPS 5.06

    When there are concerns about a child’s safety, the organization immediately initiates a safety plan, and when there are unmet basic needs, the organization immediately obtains resources or services.

    Interpretation: Basic needs can include food, clothing, and shelter. When the case involves an Indian child, resources available through the tribe or local Indian organization should be considered.

  • CPS 5.07

    The investigation is completed within 30 days, and a determination is made to:

    1. close the case;
    2. close and refer the case to community providers; or
    3. open the case for ongoing protective services.

    Interpretation: Collaborative efforts with families are initiated before cases are closed to determine needs and identify community resources.

    Interpretation: Although many circumstances and events can delay the completion of an investigation, efforts are made to complete investigations in a timely manner. Some organizations combine investigation and assessment and allow longer timeframes for completion. In such cases, the organization should specify which components of the investigation are to be completed within 30 days.

    Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, services offered by the tribe or local Indian organization should be considered and prioritized when closing and referring the case to community providers.

  • CPS 5.08

    When a case is opened, the organization provides or recommends the most beneficial and least intrusive service that maintains a child’s safety.

    Interpretation: Reasonable efforts are made to preserve families whenever possible and appropriate. Services can include, and are not limited to: Child Protective Case Management, Family Preservation and Stabilization, and out-of-home care services.

    Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, the organization should consult the child’s tribe early in the investigation to ensure that a full range of culturally-appropriate resources have been made available to the family. The Indian Child Welfare Act requires that prior to removing an American Indian or Alaska Native child from the home, the state must be able to demonstrate to the court that active efforts have been made to prevent removal. 

    Research Note: One study suggests that severity of maltreatment and risk of repeat maltreatment are critical factors to be considered when making decisions about service delivery.

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