Examples: Methods for informing reporters about the result of the screening or investigation may vary. For example, while some jurisdictions may require active follow-up with reporters, others may expect reporters to call back to the hotline if they wish to find out about the results of the process.
Within 24 hours of receiving a report, standardized decision-making criteria and supervisory/clinical consultation are used to determine if a report meets the state’s statutory definition of child maltreatment and if it will be:
accepted for agency response;
screened out; and/or
reported to other authorities.
Procedures should include provisions for expedited decision-making when the information reported indicates that an immediate response, or an immediate referral to law enforcement, may be necessary.
Examples: Some agencies may establish differential response systems whereby they employ two different pathways for responding to reports of child abuse and neglect based on the severity of the allegation – a traditional “investigation” track for more serious maltreatment allegations, or an alternative “assessment” track for lower-risk cases.
When reports are accepted for CPS response, standardized decision-making criteria and supervisory/clinical consultation are used to establish how quickly the agency should respond to the referral, based on the family’s situation and the nature of the alleged maltreatment.
Note: See PA-CFS 4.01 for more information regarding timeframes for the initial visit with the child.
The agency identifies American Indian and Alaska Native children and has a process to ensure outreach and collaboration with the tribe or Indian organization to:
ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act;
provide families with information regarding their rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act;
facilitate their participation in the investigation, safety planning, assessment, and service planning to determine the most appropriate plans for children and families; and
maintain connections between children, their extended family, and their tribes.
The agency should have established procedures for identifying American Indian and Alaska Native children to determine if the child or his/her biological parent(s) are members of a federally recognized tribe, or if the child is eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe. Physical appearance, blood quantum, and perceived presence or absence of cultural cues within the family are not appropriate determinants of ICWA applicability. The agency should document efforts to identify and contact children’s tribes, and if tribes are unknown, the agency should contact the regional office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to identify, locate, and notify the child's tribe.