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Response Time Calculation - ODIS Home Page

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					                                                                  Chapter 2: Intake
                    Division of Family and Children               Effective Date:
                                Services                          06-01-09
                         Child Welfare Manual
                                                                  Previous Policy #:
                                                                  2103.15, 2103.16



                  POLICY TITLE: Response Time Calculation

POLICY NUMBER: 2.5

CODES
O.C.G.A. 15-11-14

REQUIREMENT
The Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) will begin response
time calculation at the conclusion of the intake call.
       NOTE: For intake reports taken by a county that will not be conducting the
       investigation (cross-county reports), the response time is calculated based
       on the time the report was initially made and not the time of receipt of the
       report by the county of jurisdiction.
`
DFCS response time categories include:
   1. Immediate
       The child is in imminent (circumstance would require a call to 911) danger.
       The SSCM must leave to initiate the assessment (make face to face
       contact with each victim child) immediately, at this moment, following the
       assignment of the response time.

   2. Up to 24 Hours
      The child is not in present danger but it is likely that the child’s safety will
      be compromised in the immediate foreseeable future. The SSCM must
      initiate the investigation (make face to face contact with each victim child)
      within 24 clock hours or by the specified period of time assigned to the
      case by the Supervisor (e.g. Child must be seen at school prior to school
      releasing for the day).

   3. 5 Work Days
      There is no present safety concern. The assessment (investigation) must
      be initiated (make face to face contact with each victim child) within 5 work
      days (5 work days excludes weekends but includes all holidays). There is


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        no present danger to the child.

DFCS response times represent minimal standards. A response to a report may
begin sooner than minimally required and should, when possible.

DFCS county offices must have protocols in place to handle immediate or up to
24 hour reports that are initiated by law enforcement in lieu of DFCS staff.
NOTE: This situation only applies in cases where law enforcement request that
DFCS not make contact with the family/child due to a dangerous situation.

PROCEDURE
In recommending the appropriate response time, the DFCS SSCM reviews all of
the following:

    1. Immediate safety of the child.
       Is the child in present danger? Present danger is an immediate, significant
       and clearly observable threat to a child occurring in the present. What is
       happening NOW? Present danger is consistent with an occurrence within
       a family or home in which a child is in the midst of a dangerous situation. It
       is happening now! The danger is certain.1
       Note: The CM will continue to obtain the information for the report and
       notify the supervisor to contact 911.
    2. Age of the child.
       Young children are always considered to be vulnerable. Regardless of age
       or capacity, the child is unable to fend off the safety threat. The child may
       be unable to anticipate and judge danger. The child may be unable to
       remove himself/herself from the circumstances. The child may consciously
       or unknowingly stimulate threats and reactions but cannot defend
       themselves.
    3. Prior history (CPS, criminal) with the family.
    4. Current location and condition of the child.
        When children are reported as being in a safe place the judgment
        regarding the timing of the response must take into account the location of
        the safe place, length of time the child will be in the safe place, and the
        child’s accessibility to others while in the safe place. If the child has
        sustained injuries DFCS should also determine the extent of the injuries, if
        the injuries are life threatening or if the child is in need of immediate
        medical treatment.
    5. Alleged perpetrators access to the child.
    6. Extent of the parent/caretaker’s physical/emotional/intellectual stability
    7. The caretaker’s inability or unwillingness to meet the basic needs of the
        child. Also examine the extent of the unmet need(s).
    8. Injury to the child.

Based on the above review, the SSCM will
   1. Submit the intake report and the SHINES generated response time

1
 Action for Child Protection; Prioritization of Response from Intake; The First Safety Decision.
April 2004.


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        recommendation to the Social Services Supervisor (SSS) for approval

The SSS will:
        1. Evaluate/discern all gathered information
        2. Approve/disapprove the response time
               a.If the SSS decides the SHINES generated response time is
                   incorrect. They may override the response time in the
                   SHINES system and assign a correct response time based
                   upon the following criteria.
                         i. Assign an immediate response time to reports that are
                            severe in nature and/or present imminent danger to a
                            child.
                        ii. Assign a response time of up to 24 hours to reports
                            that present no imminent danger but there is a
                            possibility of danger in the foreseeable future.
                       iii. Assign a 5 work day response time to reports less
                            severe in nature that present no current or foreseeable
                            safety threat in the near future.


PRACTICE GUIDANCE
The determination regarding the immediacy of the CPS response to a report of
child abuse and neglect is a child safety decision. The decision is referred to as
determining the response time. In simple terms it refers to the question: how
soon should contact be made with the child and family that are subjects of the
report? Methods and criteria related to appropriate timing of the CPS response
have prevailed in the field for nearly thirty years. Standards have been
predominantly designed around the age of a child and the severity of the
maltreatment reported.

The correct standard for judging the urgency of a response is present danger.
The use of present danger to analyze the reported information provides a more
precise way of selecting an appropriate response time.

Present danger requires the highest priority response. Present danger is an
immediate, significant and clearly observable threat to a child occurring in the
present. Present danger as indicated within CPS reports establishes clearer
direction regarding what the response time must be. For example, if you were to
receive a report that a caregiver was in the process of beating a vulnerable child
you could conclude that the child is in present danger and that an immediate
response is warranted.2

REFERENCES
Tools
2
 Action for Child Protection, Monthly Article November 2003
http://www.actionchildprotection.org/archive/article1103.htm



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      1. 24- Hour decision tree.
      2. Determining the response time (decision trees).
      3. Intakes Requiring an Immediate to 24-Hour response.




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