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					 COBB COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF
FAMILY AND CHILDREN SERVICES
  CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES




MANDATED REPORTER HANDBOOK

          2007-2008
                                      Acknowledgement




Cobb County Department of Family of Children Services places tremendous value in the
roles that mandated reporters play in helping us to protect children from abuse and
neglect. In our efforts to serve children and families in Cobb County we recognize that
mandated reporters are one of our strongest allies in our mission to protect children.
We realize that at times this is a difficult role to fulfill; especially when situations involve
the safety of a child. With this in mind, The Mandated Reporter Handbook is intended
to be an aid in assisting mandated reporters in Cobb County in reporting suspected
abuse. It is our sincere hope that this handbook proves to be a helping tool that assists
you in reporting child maltreatment.
                                                                                                                     Page 3




                                   Table of Contents
                                                                                                             Page

Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services Overview . . ..                                       4-5

Who Are Mandated Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..                5

Making a Child Abuse/ Neglect Referral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   6

Information Needed When Making a Referral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Child Protective Services Flow Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Types of Child Maltreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-10

Types of Disclosure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-12

Local Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

School Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Significant Amendments Affecting Social Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Resources to Utilize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-18

        Frequently Used Resources

             SafePath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
             Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

        Appendices
            Child Abuse/ Neglect Referral Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    21-22
            Sample Mandated Reporter Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    23
            Cobb County Child Protective Services DO’S and DON’TS. . .                                      24
            Contact Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           25
                                                                                                         Page 4



                  Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services

Cobb County Child Protective Services (CPS) safeguards the rights and protects the welfare of
neglected, abused or exploited children through specialized services that are defined and
provided using standards of good practice. We believe that children are entitled to protection,
safety and permanency, a family of their own with parents or guardians who can meet their basic
needs for physical care, control, education, protection and moral guidance. Furthermore,
children should not be separated from their parents unless their protection and safety leaves no
other choice. Separation should be only for the time it takes to resolve the issues that caused the
maltreatment.

Our approach to working with families is based on family-centered practices. Specifically,
family members belong in their own family, until and unless the family is not capable of
nurturing, caring and protecting those who are dependent. We attempt to help families become
self-sufficient by working with them to identify strengths, capabilities, and the ability to utilize
resources. During our engagement with families we take their circumstances (i.e. financial,
shelter) and cultural values into consideration.

Cobb County CPS is made up of seven units that specialize in four program areas. We have
been able to maintain an efficient level of service because as time presents new challenges, we
adapt and implement innovative change, practices, methods and policy to the units that make up
Cobb County CPS. These units are:
CPS Intake
CPS Intake is the process for identifying cases of potential child maltreatment. The
responsibilities of Intake are to assist the reporter in providing information, interpret to reporters
what child maltreatment is, and based on the information provided; make the determination of
whether the report meets CPS requirements of child maltreatment. Assessing a child’s(ren)
safety begins at this point.
There are times when extra information is needed to help CPS Supervisors determine whether
our services are needed by a family.
Diversion
Diversion Referrals are Child Protective Services Referrals that may not immediately meet
criteria for a CPS investigation or continued Family Preservation Services, but further
involvement and or assessment is needed. Diversion referrals are assigned to Child Protective
Services staff who may work in the Diversion/Telephone Intake Unit, CPS Investigations, After
Hours Unit or Family Preservation Units. The staff who are assigned Diversions make contact
with the family and assess any needs they may have.

Diversion workers assess risk, provide information and referrals to families in need; request drug
screens if necessary, get results of screens, provide information on guardianship or custody
issues, the importance of school attendance, routine schedules for families and assist with
resources or help families meet their needs. Diversion workers meet with the necessary family
members and collateral contacts to get information that will assist CPS Supervisors in making
case decisions.
                                                                                                      Page 5


CPS Investigations
Cobb CPS has three investigative units that rotate case assignments on a weekly basis. As
mandated by law, members of these units investigate reports of suspected child maltreatment.
We conduct investigations within our jurisdiction to determine whether incidents of
maltreatment have occurred. If maltreatment is substantiated a determination of the level of risk
for future maltreatment to the child(ren) is made and plans for the child’s safety and protection.
CPS investigators interview all parties involved in the allegations, along with collaterals for the
parent. Case determinations regarding abuse/neglect allegations are made by using information
gathered from interviews family members, contacts with professionals (i.e. doctors, counselors),
and by using Risk and Safety Assessment Tools. There are instances when we work jointly with
local law enforcement to conduct interviews.
Investigators meet with their immediate supervisors to discuss cases. During these meetings it is
determined whether the client needs to have supporting services, if the child(ren) needs to be
removed from a dangerous environment, or if the reported allegations are non-existing. The
investigator usually interviews the child(ren) involved in the report prior to meeting with the
alleged maltreater.
Family Preservation
There are two Family Preservation Units. These units provide services to families that are
substantiated for child abuse/neglect using family centered practices. The goal of this unit is to
preserve the family unit and prevent the removal of children from their home.
Family Preservation workers engage with families to assist them in meeting case plan goals by
utilizing family team meetings. Throughout the worker’s involvement, families are empowered
as the worker helps them identify their strengths and utilize resources that address their needs.

After Hours
The After Hours Unit (AHU) responds to emergency situations that take place after traditional
business hours (7:00 AM – 5:00 PM). Collaborating with police jurisdictions to conduct joint
interviews, making family contacts, and providing placement for children are a few of the
multitude of tasks that AHU perform.



                                  MANDATED REPORTERS

Thanks to the efforts of mandated reporters in Georgia, 37,232 investigations were conducted
during State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2006. Of these reports, 16,617 were substantiated statewide. Last
year, 4,223 referrals were made in Cobb County. 24% of those referrals were substantiated and
25% were unsubstantiated for child maltreatment. Cobb County diverted 1, 604 referrals last
year by providing assessments and services to families in need of service (38% of all referrals).
Only 13% of all referrals were screened out in Cobb County in SFY 06. Statistics like these
remind us how invaluable mandated reporters are to our mission to prevent children from
becoming victims of abuse/neglect.

Based on Georgia Code Section 49-5-8 individuals who are considered to be mandated reporters
are:
      Physicians
                                                                                                  Page 6


   Hospital or Medical Personnel
   Dentists
   Licensed Psychologists and persons participating in internships to obtain licensing
    pursuant to Chapter 39 of Title 43.
   Podiatrists
   Registered Professionals Nurses or Licensed Practical Nurses licensed pursuant to
    Chapter 24 of Title 43.
   Professional Counselors, Social Workers, or Marriage and Family Therapists licensed
    pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43.
   School Teachers
   School Administrators
   School Guidance Counselors, Visiting Teachers, School Social Workers, or School
    Psychologists certified pursuant to Code Section 49-5-12.
   Child Counseling Personnel
   Child Service Organization Personnel
   Law Enforcement Personnel

By making a report regarding suspected “Child Abuse or Neglect” as a mandated reporter,
you are immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might be imposed,
provided that the report is made in
good faith. Good faith is an honest belief that a child’s health/welfare may be in jeopardy.
As a “Mandated Reporter”, if you knowingly and willfully fail to report a case of suspected
child abuse, you are guilty of having committed a misdemeanor.

                                 MAKING A REFERRAL

Child Protective Services Intake has full time telephone Intake workers staff. In the event
that the workers are on calls, there will be a line available to leave a message. Please leave
your name and number if you reach voice mail. Do not leave your referral on the voice mail.
An intake worker will return your call as soon as possible. A unique fax machine is available
to receive referrals from Mandated Reporters (770-528-4104). For more details regarding
contacting CPS in an emergency, please refer to page (refer to Frequently Asked Questions).

All referrals are accepted. However, not all referrals are assigned to investigation. Those
that are not assigned to investigations may be diverted for the purpose of assessing the stated
concerns. Based on the information provided to the intake worker, the referral will be
reviewed by a CPS Supervisor. If the referral meets the criteria for investigation (or
Diversion) the referral will be assigned. Referrals that are not assigned may be addressed by
a phone call or letter explaining the potential consequences and/or referring them to an
outside agency for services. All referrals not assigned for investigation are reviewed by the
CPS Administrator. Some referrals may be Screened Out and referred to another agency or
community department as necessary.
                                                                                                 Page 7



There are five referral response actions:
Immediate - 24 Hour Response
5 Day Response
CPS Diversion
Screened Out to another agency
Screened Out, no action taken

                            Telephone Numbers for CPS Intake:
                                      770-528-5015
                                      770-528-5133
                                      770-528-5105
                                      770-528-5038
                                      770-528-5134
                                      770-528-7847
                                      770-528-3788
                                770-528-5258 (Supervisor)
                        Mandated Reporter FAX: 770-528-4104
                  Information Needed When Making A CPS Referral

   1. The custodial parent (s) first and last name (with as close to correct spelling as
      possible).
   2. The current address (including the apartment, subdivision or mobile home park
      name). Supplying an accurate address is a key component to making sure that
      contact is made with the family.
   3. A current telephone number. It is also helpful when any secondary numbers such as
      work or cell phone numbers are listed.
   4. The names of all known children in the household as well as what school or daycare
      center they attend.
   5. The names of all the adults in the household.
   6. Please give the time the child (ren) arrive home from school, or if they are in an after
      school program.
   7. Please provide the names and phone numbers of any relatives or emergency contacts.




   Helpful Hints:

          Please be prepared to thoroughly explain the allegations you are reporting with as
           much detail as possible. The more pertinent information you are able to provide
           to the intake worker, the better.

          Observe to see if the child has marks. If there are marks present describe them in
           detail (size, shape, color, etc.)
                                                                                           Page 8


   When you are making a CPS referral, it is expected that you have spoken to the
    child you are making the referral on behalf of. In many situations, it is helpful to
    speak with the child’s sibling as well.

   Historical incidents of child maltreatment that are six months old or older, truancy
    that does not contain a separate allegation of maltreatment an unborn child are
    examples of reports that fall in the category of Screen Out (S/O).
                                                                                                                                  Page 9

                                        The Process of a Child Protective Services Referral




                                             Child Protective Services Receives Referral Information



                                                             CPS Supervisor
                                                           Reviews the Referral




                 Screen Out                                      Diversion                                           Investigation
                   (S/O)



                                                            Contact is made with the
                                                            family to gather further              Investigations are given either a 24
  Community                        No Referral              information and details.              hour or a 5 day response time, and
Resource Referral                  Necessary               Based on the information               are completed within 45 days from
                                                           gathered, the case is either                  the date of the report
                                                              closed or referred to
                                                                 investigations




                                                                 Substantiated                                       Unsubstantiated




                                                                                                                        Case is assessed for the
                                                                                                                      level of risk. The case may
                                    Safety Assessment and Plan                                                          remain open for further
                                            Completed                                Risk Assessment                      services or is closed
                                                                                        Completed                      Referral to a community
                                                                                                                     resource may be appropriate




   Cases that are assessed and                          Cases that are considered to be
  determined to be low (very                           moderate (somewhat) risk are                       Cases that are considered to be high
  little) risk situations maybe                      opened for services and supervised.               (extreme) risk are opened for services and
  closed or either referred to a                     A Family Team Meeting is held to                    supervised. A Family Team Meeting is
 relevant community resource.                         identify strengths and needs and a                held to identify strengths and needs and a
                                                            case plan is developed.                               case plan is developed
                                                                                                       Page 10


                                        Types of Child Maltreatment

The most common forms of maltreatment are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.
National statistics from The United States Department of Health and Human Services reveal that during the
year 2002 2.6 million reports concerning the welfare of approximately 4.5 million children were made. From
these reports 896,000 children were found to have been victims of abuse or neglect. 60% of these reports
became substantiated neglect cases. The other cases were considered to be physical abuse (20%), sexual
abuse (10%) and emotional abuse (7%).

Cobb County CPS received 4,223 CPS referrals during 2006, 1021 of these referrals were determined to be
substantiated for child maltreatment. There were 37,407 victims of substantiated maltreatment in Georgia in
2006. Consistent to national findings that have been reported by organizations such as USDHHS, 50% of
these children who were involved in investigations during 2006 were under the age of seven. While there is
no exact way to recognize when a child is experiencing some form of maltreatment, there are some behavioral
and physical indicators that can serve as signs that a child is the victim of abuse/neglect.


Types of Abuse                          Physical Indicators                       Behavior Indicators
                                        Unexplained bruises and welts:                Feels deserving of
Physical Abuse                              On the face, mouth area,                   punishment
This is physical injury or death               back, torso, buttocks, thighs,         Wary of adult contact
inflicted upon a child by a parent or          etc.                                   Frightened of parents
caretaker by other than accidental          In various stages of healing             Afraid to go home
means (O.C.G.A. 19-7-5).                    Clustered, forming regular               Reports injury by parents
                                               patterns                               Self-destructive behavior
                                            Imprint of articles used to              Withdrawn or aggressive
                                               inflict injury (belt, electrical         behavioral extremes
                                               cord)                                  Uncomfortable with physical
                                            Often appear after absence,                contact
                                               weekend, or vacation                   Complains of soreness or
                                        Unexplained burns:                              moves uncomfortably
                                            Cigar, cigarette burns,                  Wears clothing inappropriate
                                               especially on soles of feet,             for weather to cover body
                                               palms, back or buttocks.
                                            Immersion burns (sock-live,
                                               glove-like)
                                        Unexplained fractures/dislocations
                                        Bald patches on the scalp
                                            Consistent hunger                          Self-destructive behaviors
Neglect                                     Poor hygiene                               Begging, stealing or
A condition in which a parent or            Dressed inappropriate for                   hoarding food
caretaker, responsible for a child             weather conditions                       Extended stays at school
under the age of eighteen years,            Consistent lack of                          (early arrival and late
either deliberately or by disregard,           supervision                               departure)
permits the child to experience             Unattended physical                        Constant fatigue, listlessness,
avoidable present suffering and/or             problems or medical needs                 or falling asleep in class
                                                                                                  Page 11


fails to provide one or more of the         Underweight                           Assuming adult
components deemed essential for             Poor growth patterns                   responsibilities and concerns
developing a person’s physical,             Failure to thrive                     States there is no caretaker in
intellectual, social and emotional          Lice, distended stomach,               the home
capacities. (Ex. Lack of:                    emaciated look                        Frequently absent or tardy
     adequate food, clothing, or
         medical care                                                        IMPORTANT NOTE: Educational
     supervision for optimal                                                or cognitive neglect should be
         growth and development                                              addressed by the school system first,
     Additionally, birth addicted)                                          based on attendance policy.
                                                                             Cobb CPS addresses issues of
                                                                             neglect that relate to adult
                                                                             supervision.
                                            Difficulty walking or sitting        Inappropriate sex play or
Sexual Abuse                                Torn, stained or bloody                advanced sexual knowledge
The exploitation of a child for the          underclothing                          and promiscuity.
sexual gratification of an adult or         Pain, swelling or itching in         Hysteria, lack of emotional
older child. Sexual abuse is most            the genital area                       control
commonly perpetrated by an                  Pain during urination                Sudden school difficulties
individual known to the victim,             Bruises, bleeding or                 Withdrawal or depression
rarely is the offender a stranger.           laceration in external               Excessive worrying about
One-third of all sexual abuse is             genitalia area                         siblings
perpetrated by another child. Sexual        Presence of sexually                 Difficult peer relationships,
abuse includes touching offenses:            transmitted disease                    resists involvement with
fondling, sodomy, rape: and non-
                                            Frequent urinary or yeast              peers
touching offenses: child prostitution,       infections                           Self-imposed social isolation
incident exposure and exhibitionism,
                                                                                  Avoidance of physical
utilizing the internet as a vehicle of
                                                                                    contract or closeness
exploitation.
                                                                                  Sudden massive weight
                                                                                    change (loss or gain)
Emotional Abuse                             Speech or other                      Habit disorders (sucking,
This is a form of deprivation to a           communicative disorder                 rocking)
child under the age of eighteen years       Delayed physical                     Antisocial or destructive
that may result in impaired                  development                            behaviors, including
psychological growth and                    Exacerbation of existing               delinquency
development. It frequently occurs            conditions such as asthma or         Neurotic traits (sleep
as verbal abuse or excessive                 allergies                              disorders, inhibition to play)
demands on a child’s performance            Substance abuse                      Behavioral extremes
and results in the child having a                                                   (passivity or aggression)
negative self image and disturbed                                                 Development delays
behavior. It is usually a persistent
and chronic pattern of behavior
toward a child; not a one-time,
isolated incident.
                                                                                                      Page 12



                                              Types of Disclosure

As illustrated in the chart that describes the types of abuse, not all effects of maltreatment will be visible.
Fortunately, if individuals are attentive and actively listen to the young people they work with, the presence of
abuse/neglect can be communicated through verbal disclosures.


Indirect Disclosure

Children usually use Indirect Hints because they have not learned more specific vocabulary, feels ashamed or
embarrassed, has promised not to tell, or for a combination of these reasons.

Some examples of Indirect Hints are:

Disclosure: “My brother would not let me sleep last night.”
Ideal Response: “Oh yeah, I’m sorry to hear that. What was he doing to keep you up? “

Disclosure: “Mr. Jones wears funny underwear.”
Ideal Response: “Wow, he does? How did you find out?”

Disclosure: “My babysitter keeps bothering me.”
Ideal Response: “That’s not nice. How does the babysitter bother you?”

Disclosure: “I don’t like it when my mother leaves me alone with my uncle”
Ideal Response: “It takes a real smart person to express his/her likes and dislikes. I am proud of you. Why
don’t you like it when you are left alone with your uncle?”

Disguised Disclosure

In Disguised Disclosure a child may explain that he/she is aware of a child who is experiencing maltreatment.
The child may indeed be talking about someone he/she knows, nevertheless, it possible that the child is
talking about himself or herself. The MRTC recommends encouraging the child to tell you what he or she
knows about “the other child”. Then ask whether something like what is being said has ever happened to him
or her.

Some examples of Disguised Disclosure are:

Disclosure: “I know someone who is being touched in a bad way.”
Ideal Response: “That person is lucky that he/she knows a smart and strong person like you. Will you please
use your “good touch-bad touch” skills to tell me how this person is being touched in a bad way?...That was
very good. Has any thing like that ever happened to you?”

Disclosure: “What would happen if a girl told her mother she was being molested, but her mother did not
believe her?”
                                                                                                     Page 13


Ideal Response: “That girl is very brave to share that type of information with her mother. I’m sure her
feelings might be hurt if her mother did not believe her, but if she tells another adult who she trusts,
something can be done to help her. Has any thing like that ever happened to you?

Disclosure with Strings Attached
Often offenders threaten the child (ren) who has been abused to ensure the child want report the maltreatment
that has taken place. As a result the child (ren) feels something bad is going to happen if he/she breaks the
secret of silence. MRTC suggests that you ensure the child that your job is to protect the child and keep
him/her safe. Let the child know you will keep it as confidential as possible but that you are required by law
to make a report.

Disclosure: “I have a problem, but if I tell you about it, you have to promise not to tell.”
Ideal Response: “I appreciate you letting me know that you have a problem. That means a lot to me. But I
cannot promise that I will be able to keep your secret. However, what I can promise is that I will only share
your secret with people who will treat it with respect and do there best to help you. So, what is the secret?”




Local Protocol

Cobb County played a significant role in establishing a Protocol Committee to govern how the various
agencies in the state of Georgia address “Child Abuse and Neglect”. It is a law that each County in the State
establishes Local Protocol.

Some examples of agencies that make up Cobb County’s Protocol Committee are The District Attorney’s
office, Law Enforcement, Juvenile Court, Cobb County Schools and the Department of Family and Children
Services. The committee typically meets several times a year to revise the protocol related to any changes in
law or concerns and trends from the community.

The Protocol Manual is an integral part in ensuring the agencies of Cobb County work cooperatively and
efficiently in protecting our children. A copy of this protocol is filed with the State Legislature. The Cobb
County Protocol was revised April, 2006. For a copy of the entire county protocol, contact Safe Path
Advocacy Center at 770-801-3465.




School Protocol
School districts within Cobb County have DFCS:CPS Protocol that offer detailed information about things
such as checking students for marks, photographing students’ marks and talking to a student about suspected
abuse/neglect. This protocol can be obtained by contacting Cobb County Board of Education’s
Superintendent’s Office.
                                                                                                      Page 14


                             Significant Amendments Affecting Social Services

Senate Bill I (July 1993)

Senate Bill I Requires the Department of Family and Children Services to immediately notify Law
Enforcement authorities or the District Attorney if there is reasonable cause to believe the report of Child
Abuse is true.

Cobb County DFCS forwards all referrals to the appropriately local Law Enforcement jurisdiction. Many
referrals are jointly investigated by DFCS and local Law Enforcement.



House Bill 337 (July 1995)

A person convicted of the offenses of cruelty to children shall be punished by imprisonment for no less than
five years. The age of consent in cases of statutory rape, child molestation and enticing a child is sixteen-
years-old.

      Statutory Rape: A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual
       intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no
       conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.
      Child Molestation: To perform any immoral or indecent act to or in front of any child under the age of
       16 with intent to arouse or satisfy sexual desires of either the child or one’s self.



House Bill 333 (July 1993)

States that School Principals, School Guidance Counselors, Social Workers or Psychologists who are
counseling a student as part of their job responsibilities are allowed access to Child Protective Services (CPS)
information regarding a student involved in a CPS referral. This information is shared on a “need to know
basis”.



Mandated Reporters Law (O.C.G.A. 19-7-5)

Mandated Reporters (ex. Teachers, Physicians, Counselors, etc.) are responsible for reporting suspected cases
of child abuse and neglect within 24 hours of their suspicion. By making a report regarding child abuse or
neglect, mandated reporters are immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might be imposed,
provided that the report is in good faith (an honest belief that a child’s health/welfare may be in jeopardy).
                                                                                                   Page 15



                                              Resources to Utilize



Cobb County Police Department, Crimes Against Children’s Unit: 770-801-3471 or 770-801-3472


This unit is responsible for the investigation of the following incidents:

      Investigation of child abuse and neglect of persons under the age of 18.
      Sexual offenses where either the perpetrator or victim is a juvenile.
      Domestic Snatchings (parental kidnapping)
      Juvenile Missing Persons.
      All aggravated assaults and/or aggravated battery involving persons under 17.
      Robbery involving intimidation between juveniles.
      Offenses on school property which involve illegal drugs.


Adult Protective Services (APS): (770) 916-2173, 1-888-774-0152, or Fax:(770) 916-2182


APS is responsible protects older adults and people with disabilities from maltreatment. APS offers services
that help to alleviate any forms of abuse/neglect that an elderly or disabled person may be experiencing.

School Social Worker

School Social Workers provide assistance to students, families, and appropriate school staff to understand and
participate in the process of problem resolution.

      The social worker may act as a liaison between school, family, and other community agencies in
       nurturing a child's normal growth and development.
                                                                                                   Page 16



                                 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q.   What is the likelihood that I will have to testify in court if I make a Child Abuse/ Neglect Referral?

A.   In rare instances your testimony might be considered critical in assisting us in prosecuting a
     perpetrator. If a child does not disclose information to the Case Manager that he/she shared with you
     and there are serious concerns about the child’s safety in the home, your testimony might be critical
     for the judge in making the best decision concerning the child or the District Attorney in presenting
     the best case.

Q.   When is a child or children removed from the home?

A.   Maintaining a family’s unit is our first goal in working with families. However, when the potential of
     a child experiencing further maltreatment is present, removing the child is taken into consideration.
     Whether or not the child is removed is determine by the level of risk.

Q.   How soon after a report has been made will a Case Manager make contact with the child?

A.   If the information reported to CPS Intake meets the criteria of a CPS referral, and warrants the need
     for CPS to get involved with the family, the child(ren) will be seen within 24 hours to 5 days from the
     time that the report was received.

Q.   When are parents contacted?

A.   If children are interviewed at school, parent interviews are generally held as soon after the child
     interview as possible. However, the nature of the report and availability of the parent are factors on
     how soon the parent is interviewed.

Q.   What information is a mandated reporter entitled to?

A.   We encourage mandated reporters to share information that will enable case managers to adequately
     assess risk and provide for the safety of children. However, we use the guideline of information
     sharing on a need to know basis. (Refer to Page 15, House Bill 33 for more information regarding
     the subject.)

Q.   Are parents told who made the report?

A.   All reports are confidential. Often parents assume they know who made the report or confront people
     they suspect of having made the report attempting to intimidate them into acknowledging they made
     the report. Use your best judgment if confronted by a parent/caretaker. However, it has been Child
     Protective Services’ experience that the best approach when confronted by a parent inquiring if you
     are the referral source is to simply make them aware of your mandate to report any suspicion of child
     abuse/neglect.
                                                                                                  Page 17



Q.   At what age can children be left at home alone?

A.   While there is no law that constitutes Lack of Supervision, Georgia policy states children 8 and under
     should not be left alone. Children 9 to 12 can be left alone for up to two hours or less. Children 13
     and above can be left alone and act as a caretaker (babysitter) for younger children. This depends on
     the child’s level of maturity (limit of twelve hours).

Q.   What should be done when a report involves child-on-child sexual abuse?

A.   The incident should be reported to Crimes Against Children (CAC), 770-801-3472 or local law
     enforcement per jurisdiction location.

Q.   What do I do if I can’t reach Telephone Intake?

A.   In a non-emergency, please leave a message stating the best time for CPS to return the call. Phone
     Intake is continuously answering calls, taking reports from walk-in reporters in the office and
     returning messages. If the report is an emergency, but there is time for CPS to return the call, advise
     them on the message that it is an emergency. If it is an emergency which needs immediate response,
     call:

     Joann Bone, Intake and Diversion Supervisor 770-528-5258
     Brenda Baker , Investigation Supervisor      770-528-5050
     Christina Brook, Investigation Supervisor   770-528-5048
     George Washington, Investigation Supervisor 770-528-5297
     D’Anna Liber, Social Services Administrator 770-528-5108
     Hal Reeves , Program Director             770-528-5260

     Ask for the CPS Supervisor on call for the week. Please be aware that are 104 schools in Cobb
     County and the city of Marietta. Please use discretion on what you assess as an emergency requiring
     an immediate response.

Q.   When should I report suspicion of abuse/neglect?

A.   As soon as you become aware of possible abuse/neglect and have enough identifiable information for
     us to record the report, call CPS Intake. Please refer to Senate Bill I (July 1993).

Q.   How should I participate in the interview process?

A.   It is often true that a mandated reporter has a solid rapport with the child that he/she has made a CPS
     Referral on behalf of; however, we ask that the during interviews the Case Manager and/or Detective
     be give the opportunity to establish rapport with the child and lead the interview. Please hold your
     questions to the child until the Case Manager and/or Detective have concluded their interview. If a
     pertinent question needs to be asked during the interview, write it down and allow the Case Manager
     to ask during the interview.
                                                                                                Page 18



Q.   How much should I discuss with the child prior to the investigation?

A.   As briefly as possible, explain your responsibility to report possible abuse/neglect to another source
     and the potential someone else will need to speak with them. Please avoid in-depth interviews
     regarding possible abuse/neglect. There is always the possibility you could be accused of having lead
     the child based on the questions asked.

Q.   Can I take pictures of a child’s injuries?

A.   The Cobb County Board of Education and Cobb County Hospitals have DFCS:CPS Protocols that
     informed personnel on matters relating to photographing a child’s injuries. If the agency or
     organization does not provide a DFCS:CPS Protocol it is important that you use your best judgment.
     Adhering to the rule, “only observe the areas of the body that a swimsuit does not cover”, to make
     sure your actions are within general limits is the best action to take.
Q.   What should I do when a child is ill and I am unable to contact the parents?

A.   Call emergency contacts listed by parents/caretakers on the child’s information card. If unable to
     contact these persons, attempt assistance from the School Social Worker and/or consider calling
     Emergency Medical Services. Investigators do not have the authority to transfer or to obtain medical
     treatment for a child not in the Agency’s custody.
                                                                                                     Page 19



                                SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc.
                                         2221 Austell Rd, Suite B
                                           Marietta, GA 30008
                               Telephone: (770)-801-3465 Fax (770) 801-3468
                                   Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Purpose

Safepath’s purpose is to stress the coordination of intervention, investigation, and treatment services by
bringing together professional agencies as a multi-disciplinary team to create a child-friendly approach to
alleged child sexual and severe physical abuse cases. The goal is to ensure that children are not further
victimized by the very system designed to protect them.

Services at SafePath are provided free of charge, to any child or family in need. Non-emergency services are
available from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The Center is available to professionals 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. Emergency services are available on a 24 hour basis.

Services Provided

The following services are provided by SafePath at not cost:

      Intervention and early initial assessment of the alleged child victims and their non-offending
       caregivers
      Joint child and family interviews in child friendly, non-threatening environment
      Mental health evaluations, examinations and therapy services
      Intervention support and education services
      Medical examinations and evaluation referrals of child sexual and severe physical abuse victims
      Group therapy for child victims and their non-offending caregivers
      Therapy for child victims during intervention follow-up
      Notification of and assistance in filling out Crime Victim Compensation Claims
      Court assistance services for child victims and non-offending caregivers
      Expert testimony in the courts
      Screening and coordination of incoming cases including collection and maintenance of appropriate
       data in a central location
      Training for those persons who provide direct services to child victims

Referral Sources for SafePath

SafePath receives referrals from the Department of Family and Children Services, Law Enforcement and the
District Attorney’s Office. Other referrals are at the discretion of the Director.
                                                                                                       Page 20



                                                 Next Steps
                                           Telephone: 770-422-0202




Next Steps is a program that the Cobb/Douglas County Community Service Board (CSB) offers to children
and adolescents. The Next Steps program provides a comprehensive array of mental health and substance
abuse services. These services are child centered and family focused with an emphasis on individualized and
accessible treatment for young people and their families. Next Steps accepts Medicaid, PeachCare, and other
forms of insurance. Service payments can also be paid by making a financial arrangement using a self-pay
sliding fee scale.


Next Steps services include:

Outpatient Services
   Individual, family and group counseling
   Medication management / evaluation
   Psychiatric Assessment
   Nursing services
   Resource coordination and Community Support Services
   Mobile Crisis (Available through the Access Center 24 hrs a day at 770-422-0202)
   Respite
   Residential Support


Adolescent Substance Abuse
This program provides teenagers struggling with substance abuse or chemical dependence the education and
support needed to develop coping skills to deal effectively with emotions, problems and stress without the use
of alcohol or drugs. There is an emphasis on developing a healthy recovery support system. The program
also focuses on developing healthy relationships anger management, communication and social skills. The
hours are flexible to meet the needs of the adolescent.

Therapeutic After School and Summer Day Treatment Programs
These intensive and highly structured therapeutic programs are for young people with severer and persistent
emotional and behavioral problems. The programs focus on helping each child learn healthy ways to cope
with problems, stress and emotions. There are separate programs for children and adolescents designed to
meet the developmental needs of each age group. A daily schedule includes educational groups, leisure
activities, and skill building activities that focus on helping the child/ adolescent acquire skills to function
effectively in the home, school, and community. The program operates during after school hours and
continues with daytime hours on school holidays and in the summer. There are two locations, one in Cobb
and one in Douglas. Transportation is provided.
                                                                                                  Page 21



Appendix A




                      Attention: Cobb County DFCS Telephone Intake
                                 Fax: 770-528-4104
           Written Confirmation of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Report
                  Cobb Department of Family & Children Services

Date                                              School

Name of child referred                                           DOB                  RACE

Parent/Guardian/Custodian


Address

Home phone #                                     Work phone #

Emergency # from clinic card                                    Cell phone #

Alleged maltreater or abuser’s name

Relation to the child

Primary language spoken in the home

Do you believe the child is in immediate physical danger?       YES        NO

Is the child afraid to go home?     YES        NO

Explain

If you need additional space to answer the following questions, please attach a separate sheet.

1. What injuries or signs of abuse/neglect are present or have been observed? Please be specific
   regarding shape of the mark (shape, color, size and location)



2. When and how did the abuse/neglect occur? When and how did you become aware?
                                                                                                 Page 22




3. Has there been reason to suspect neglect or abuse in the past?       YES         NO

Explain




4. List names, birth dates, and schools for other siblings residing in the home (if available)
       Name                                        Age            School

   1.

   2.

   3.



5. Have you spoken to any siblings? (When applicable)


6. Are there other adults in the home? YES   NO
Names of other adults:
________________________________________________________________________________


Actions taken by school (please check)
           Talked with student                        Other (explain) __________________________

        ________________________________________________________________________________

Your name (printed):                                      (signed)_______________________________

Your title:                                  Work Telephone number
                                             Cell phone number




Revised 01/25/06
                                                                                                    Page 23


Appendix B




                                               August 5, 2005

Sherry Poellintz
Douglas County Department of Family and Children Services
551 Thornton Rd
Lithia Springs, Georgia 30122                 RE:


Dear Ms. Poellintz,
This letter acknowledges your report of possible child abuse and neglect, received by this office on August 5,
2005. Thank you for your concern and for your compliance with Section 19-7-5 of the Official Code of
Georgia, Annotated. We will not reveal your name to the subject of this report, however if court action is
necessary to protect the child, you may be subpoenaed to appear at the hearing. A reporter is protected from
civil or criminal liability for any report made in good faith. As a mandated reporter, you may receive the
following information concerning this case at your request: whether the case investigation is ongoing or
completed, and if completed, whether the abuse/neglect was substantiated or unsubstantiated.

Your report was processed with the following response decision assigned. If you have questions concerning
your report or the response decision, please contact me.

                                                    Sincerely,


                                                    Brenda Baker           (770-528-5050)
                                                    Christina Brooks       (770-528-5048)
                                                    Joann Bone             (770-528-5258)
                                                    George Washington       (770-528-5297)
                                             Social Services Supervisors
( ) Assigned for investigation
       ( ) 24 Hour
       ( ) 5 Day
( ) Assigned to CPS Diversion Unit
( ) Not assigned for investigation
( ) Screened Out and Referred to another agency
( ) Screened Out
                                                                                   Page 24



Appendix C




Cobb County Child Protective Services DO’S and DON’TS


Cobb County DFCS Does:
   Address issues relating to a child experiencing abuse or neglect
   Make contact with the child(ren) in the home where abuse or neglect is believed to have
     taken place.
   Make contact with the parent (s) who are alleged to abuse or neglected a child or
     children.
   Assess the risk level of the home where abuse or neglect towards a child or children has
     been alleged.
   Utilize family centered practices
   Treat every report as a priority.




Cobb County DFCS Does Not:
   Address child-on-child crimes.
   Handle child-on-adult abuse.
   Intervene on situations involving a person who is over the age of 18. Contact Adult
     Protective Services.
   Handle issues relating to custody.
   Have the authority to remove children.
   Arrest Parents.
                                                Page 25



COBB COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND CHILDREN
                  SERVICES

          CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES




            325 SOUTH FAIRGROUND ST.
                MARIETTA, GA 30060
                     770-528-5015
                     770-528-5133
                     770-528-5105
                     770-528-5038
                     770-528-5134
                     770-528-7847
                     770-528-3788
               770-528-5258 (Supervisor)
          Mandated Reporter FAX: 770-528-4104

				
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