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CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES POLICY

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					CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

POLICY




West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Bureau for Children and Families
Office of Children and Adult Services




Jane McCallister, Director, Children and Adult Services
Kathie King, Program Manager II, Children and Adult Policy
Toby Lester, CPS Program Specialist

Revised July 10, 2008
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES .................................................................................................... 1
POLICY ............................................................................................................................................. 1
CHAPTER 70,000 .............................................................................................................................. 7
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 1 ............................................................................... 7
  1.1 Introduction and Overview ......................................................................................................... 7
  1.2 Philosophical Principles .............................................................................................................. 8
  1.3 Mission...................................................................................................................................... 9
  1.4 Purpose ..................................................................................................................................... 9
  1.5 Roles ......................................................................................................................................... 9
  1.6 Legal Basis ............................................................................................................................. 10
  1.7 Definitions ............................................................................................................................... 13
     1.7.1 Terms defined by law: ....................................................................................................... 13
     1.7.2 Terms defined for casework purposes (Operational Definitions) ........................................ 15
  1.8 Target Population.................................................................................................................... 18
  1.9 Risk of Child Abuse or Neglect ............................................................................................... 19
  1.10 Reporting.............................................................................................................................. 20
  1.11 CPS Casework Process........................................................................................................ 23
  1.12       Notification of Parent=s and Children=s Rights During Child Abuse and Neglect
  Proceedings ................................................................................................................................... 24
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 2 ............................................................................. 26
  2.1 Intake ..................................................................................................................................... 26
  2.2 Intake Process ........................................................................................................................ 26
  2.3 Screening Process ................................................................................................................... 28
  2.4 Response Times ...................................................................................................................... 29
  2.5 Reporting to Law Enforcement, Prosecuting Attorney and Medical Examiner............................ 32
  2.6 Hot Line ................................................................................................................................. 32
  2.7 Recurrent Reports ................................................................................................................... 33
  2.8 Reports Involving Another Jurisdiction ..................................................................................... 33
  2.9 Reports Involving Certain Abandoned Children (Safe Haven)................................................... 35
  2.10 Reports Involving Child Custody ........................................................................................... 35
  2.11 Reports Made by the Court During Infant Guardianship Proceedings ....................................... 35
  2.12 Reports Involving Critical Incidents ......................................................................................... 36
  2.13 Reports Involving DHHR Employees or Other Potential Conflicts of Interest .......................... 37
  2.14 Reports Involving Disabled Infants or Children with Life-threatening Conditions (Baby Doe) ... 37
  2.15 Reports Involving Domestic Violence..................................................................................... 38
  2.15.1 Reports Made by the Court During Domestic Violence Protective Order Proceedings .......... 40
  2.16 Reports Involving Parents Knowingly Allowing Abuse and/or Neglect ..................................... 40
  2.17 Reports Involving Allegations Made During Divorce/Custody Proceedings .............................. 42
  2.18 Reports Involving Family Child Care Settings .......................................................................... 42


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 2.19 Reports Involving Non-custodial Parents ............................................................................... 43
 2.20 Reports Involving Parental Substance Abuse.......................................................................... 44
 2.21 Reports Involving Drug-affected Infants ................................................................................ 44
 2.22 Reports Involving Requests from Law Enforcement................................................................ 46
 2.23 Reports Involving School Personnel....................................................................................... 46
 2.24 Reports Involving Sexual or Abusive Interactions between Children......................................... 46
 2.25 Reports Involving Registered Child Sex Offenders .................................................................. 48
 2.26 Reports involving individuals on the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.................................... 49
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 3 ............................................................................. 50
 3.1 Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation ................................................................................... 50
 3.2 Purposes................................................................................................................................. 51
 3.3 Decisions ................................................................................................................................ 51
 3.4 Initial Assessment Protocol...................................................................................................... 51
 3.5 Interviews ............................................................................................................................... 55
 3.6 Risk Assessment ..................................................................................................................... 56
 3.7 Determining Risk Level........................................................................................................... 58
 3.8 Foreseeable Dangers SECTIONS 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, AND PARTS OF 3.14 AND 3.17 HAVE
 BEEN REPLACED BY WEST VIRGINIA SAFETY FIRST. PLEASE CONSULT THE SAFETY
 FIRST CONSTRUCTS, SAFETY FIRST FORMS AND OTHER SAFETY FIRST MATERIALS
 PROVIDED DURING TRAINING FOR THE PROCEDURES FOR COMPLETING THE
 SAFETY ASSESSMENT, SAFETY PLANS AND CASE OPENING. ....................................... 58
 3.9 Safety Evaluation..................................................................................................................... 61
 3.10 Safety Analysis and Plan....................................................................................................... 61
 3.11 Safety Plan - In Home ........................................................................................................... 63
 3.12 Safety Services ..................................................................................................................... 65
 3.13 Reasonable Efforts to Prevent Removal ................................................................................. 69
 3.14 Safety Plan - Out-of-Home ................................................................................................... 70
 3.15 Court Involvement.................................................................................................................. 72
 3.16 Imminent Danger ................................................................................................................... 73
 3.17 Completion of Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation .......................................................... 74
    Birth to Three Program Referrals ................................................................................................ 75
 3.18 Incomplete Initial Assessments and Safety Evaluations............................................................ 79
 3.19 Initial Assessments Involving Another Jurisdiction................................................................... 80
 3.20 Initial Assessments Involving Certain Abandoned Children ..................................................... 82
 3.21 Initial Assessments Involving Child Custody ........................................................................... 82
 3.22 Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Infant Guardianship Proceedings.......... 83
 3.23 Initial Assessments Involving Critical Incidents........................................................................ 85
 3.25 Initial Assessments Involving Disabled Infants or Children with Life-threatening Conditions (Baby
 Doe) .............................................................................................................................................. 87
 3.26 Initial Assessments Involving Domestic Violence .................................................................... 88
    Potential questions for the child(ren)1.......................................................................................... 92

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    Potential Questions for Adult Victim:........................................................................................... 94
    Questions for the alleged maltreater/batterer:............................................................................... 98
 3.26.1 Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Domestic Violence Protective Order
 Proceedings ................................................................................................................................. 102
 3.27 Initial Assessments Involving Parents Knowingly Allowing Abuse and/or Neglect ................... 103
 3.28 Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Divorce/Custody Proceedings ........... 105
 3.29 Investigations Involving Family Child Care Settings............................................................... 107
 3.30 Initial Assessments Involving Non-Custodial Parents ............................................................ 110
 3.31 Initial Assessments Involving Drug-affected Infants ................................................................ 111
 3.32 Initial Assessments Involving Parental Substance Abuse ....................................................... 112
 3.33 Initial Assessments Involving Requests from Law Enforcement ............................................. 113
 3.34 Initial Assessments Involving School Personnel..................................................................... 113
 3.35 Initial Assessments Involving Sexual or Abusive Interactions Between Children..................... 113
 3.36 Initial Assessments Involving Registered Child Sex Offenders ................................................ 114
 3.36 Initial Assessments Involving Registered Child Abusers ......................................................... 116
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 4 ........................................................................... 117
 4.1 Family Assessment and Treatment Planning........................................................................... 117
 4.2 Purposes............................................................................................................................... 117
 4.4 Principles .............................................................................................................................. 119
 4.5 Family Assessment Protocol.................................................................................................. 119
 4.6 Completing the Family Assessment ........................................................................................ 119
 4.7 Risk Reduction...................................................................................................................... 120
 4.8 Analysis ................................................................................................................................ 122
 4.9 Treatment Planning................................................................................................................ 122
 4.10 Purposes............................................................................................................................. 123
 4.11 Decisions ............................................................................................................................ 123
 4.12 Structure ............................................................................................................................. 124
 4.13 Outcomes Selection ............................................................................................................ 124
 4.14 Dimensions ......................................................................................................................... 125
 4.15 Family Assessment-Finalization............................................................................................ 126
 4.16 Measures ............................................................................................................................ 126
 4.17 Services .............................................................................................................................. 127
 4.18 Treatment Plan.................................................................................................................... 130
 4.19 Considering Potential for Change ........................................................................................ 132
 4.20 Use of Other Service Providers ........................................................................................... 133
 4.21 Revising/Eliminating Safety Plan ........................................................................................... 133
 4.22 Completion of Family Assessment and Treatment Plan ......................................................... 134
 4.23 Contacts .............................................................................................................................. 135
 4.24 Case Management .............................................................................................................. 135
 4.25 Family Assessment and Treatment Plan and Foster Care/Legal Requirements ....................... 136
 4.26 Open CPS Cases with Non-CPS Initiated Family Court Involvement ................................... 137

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CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 5 Case Evaluation .................................................. 138
   5.2 Purposes............................................................................................................................... 139
   5.3 Decisions .............................................................................................................................. 139
   5.4 Case Evaluation Protocol ...................................................................................................... 140
   5.5 Contacts ............................................................................................................................... 143
   5.6 Risk Assessment and Reunification ........................................................................................ 143
   5.7 Final Risk Assessment and Case Closure ............................................................................... 144
   5.8 Contacts ............................................................................................................................... 149
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION VI ( General Information) ....................................... 150
   6.1 Appeals and Grievances ......................................................................................................... 150
   6.2 Confidentiality ....................................................................................................................... 152
   6.3 Payment Guidelines ............................................................................................................... 154
   6.3.1 AGibson@ Payments ......................................................................................................... 154
   6.3.2 Medical and Mental Examinations....................................................................................... 156
   6.3.3 Photographs and X rays ..................................................................................................... 157
   6.3.4 Expert and Fact Testimony................................................................................................ 158
   6.3.5 Special Medical Card (formerly known as zero recipient medical card)............................... 158
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION VII (Legal Requirements and Processes) ................ 159
7.1 Voluntary Placement of a Child in the Custody of the Department............................................... 159
7.2 Reasonable Efforts .................................................................................................................... 162
7.3 Aggravated Circumstances and other situations where reasonable efforts are not required ........... 163
7.4 Imminent Danger ....................................................................................................................... 165
7.5 Emergency Custody .................................................................................................................. 166
   7.5.1 Taking Custody of a Child in Imminent Danger Without Prior Judicial Authorization ............. 166
   7.5.2 Custody of a Child Taken by a Law Enforcement Officer .................................................... 167
7.6 Multidisciplinary Investigative Team ........................................................................................... 171
7.7 Medical Examination of a Child for Evidentiary Purposes ........................................................... 171
7.8 Filing a Petition.......................................................................................................................... 172
7.9 Role of the Prosecuting Attorney ............................................................................................... 176
7.10 Temporary Custody Pending a Preliminary Hearing .................................................................. 177
7.11 Placement Requirements.......................................................................................................... 177
7.12 Court Appointed Legal Counsel .............................................................................................. 177
7.13 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) ........................................................................... 178
7.14 Discovery ............................................................................................................................... 179
7.15 Preliminary Hearing ................................................................................................................. 180
7.16 Child Support ......................................................................................................................... 185
7.17 Multidisciplinary Treatment Team ............................................................................................ 185
7.18 Medical and Mental Examinations............................................................................................ 185
7.19 Adjudicatory Hearing .............................................................................................................. 185
7.20 Dispositional Hearing............................................................................................................... 191
7.21 Family Case Plan .................................................................................................................... 199

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7.22 Time Limited Reunification Services ......................................................................................... 199
7.23 Child’s Case Plan.................................................................................................................... 200
7.24 Administrative Review ............................................................................................................. 200
7.25 Judicial Review ....................................................................................................................... 200
7.26 Change in a Child’s Placement - Report to the Court ............................................................... 200
7.27 Permanency Placement Reviews and Post-Termination Placement Plan .................................... 200
7.28 Circumstances Requiring Termination of Parental Rights ........................................................... 200
APPENDIX A WEST VIRGINIA STATE POLICE CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES REFERRAL AND INVESTIGATION
PROTOCOL................................................................................................................................... 200




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CHAPTER 70,000

CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 1

1.1 Introduction and Overview

This policy sets forth the philosophical, legal, practice and procedural issues which currently
apply to Child Protective Services (CPS) in West Virginia. This material is based upon a
combination of requirements from various sources, including but not limited to: social work
standards for practice; the statutes contained in Chapter 49 of the Code of West Virginia; the
amended consent decree entered in the case of Gibson v. Ginsberg; the Rules of Procedure for
Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings issued by the Supreme Court; the CPS decision-making
model known as the West Virginia Child Protective Services System (WVCPSS); case
decisions made by the West Virginia Supreme Court; and, the Child Abuse Prevention and
Treatment Act and the Adoption and Safe Families Acts, both enacted by the U. S. Congress.
The West Virginia Child Protective Services System is a Risk and Safety Based Decision-
Making Model adopted and implemented in West Virginia in 1992. The model is adapted from
the Child at Risk Field System, developed by ACTION for Child Protection, a non-profit child
welfare agency with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina and Placitas, New Mexico. A
considerable portion of this material is adapted from AChild Protective Services Risk
Management: A Decision Making Handbook@ authored by Wayne Holder and Michael Corey,
1986, revised edition 1995, which was adopted and implemented as part of the policy and
procedures for Child Protective Services in West Virginia in 1992. This handbook and the
accompanying AForms and Instructions Book@ continue to serve as a supplement to this Child
Protective Services Policy as guidelines for best practice standards. All DHHR employees who
have any responsibility for any part of Child Protective Services must be familiar with and have
immediate access to the CPS Policy, the Handbook, the Forms and Instructions Book, Chapters
48 and 49 of the Code of West Virginia and the (Court) Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and
Neglect Proceedings.

Child Protective Services is a specialized component of a broader public system of services to
children and families. The abuse and neglect of children moved from being largely a private
matter to one of public concern in the late 19 th century. During the first half of the 20th century, the
protection of children was initiated through the efforts of local, private, non-profit societies for the
prevention of cruelty to children. There were more than 250 such societies in the 1920's acting
as a catalyst to bring resources to families and protection through the courts to the children
involved in abuse and neglect. In West Virginia, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children were organized in Wheeling and Charleston in the late 1800's and eventually a chapter
was established in each county. Gradually, public social services agencies began to take on
more of this responsibility. During the 1960's and 1970's, major developments in child

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protection began to take place. Reporting laws were passed in every state, including West
Virginia, which requires certain professionals to report child abuse or neglect to local child
protection departments. The overall trend in public child protection has been in the direction of
providing social services so that families can ultimately become able to protect and effectively
parent their children. Yet, there are situations when family preservation is not possible and the
safety needs of the child require another alternative.

On November 19, 1997, the President signed into law the Adoption and Safe Families Act of
1997 (ASFA). This legislation, passed by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support
represented an important landmark in child welfare law. It established unequivocally that the
national goals for children in the child welfare system are safety, permanency and well-being.
The law reaffirmed the need to forge linkages between the child welfare system and other
systems of support for families, as well as between the child welfare system and the courts, to
ensure the safety and well-being of children and their families. The Child Protection system of
      st
the 21 century is emerging as one in which there will be a greater emphasis on collaboration
between CPS, Courts, Law Enforcement, Health and Mental Health and community services
agencies as well as a greater emphasis on timely outcomes for children and their families.



1.2 Philosophical Principles

Philosophical beliefs about child maltreatment and their effects on families are the single
most important variable in the provision of quality CPS. Thoughts about families, interactions
with them, the decisions made independently and with families, and how the community is
involved to assist them are determined in advance by what is believed.

The most basic and powerful influence of helping in CPS is expressed by consistently applying
professional beliefs and values. The following philosophical principles represent the socialwork
orientation to CPS. These principles are fundamental to the social work discipline and may not
apply to other disciplines or agencies.
      Inadequate parenting and child maltreatment are ecological phenomenon influenced by
       personal, social, and societal factors. Most often they represent examples of failure and
       despair, rather than willful premeditated behaviors.

      Punishing parents will do little to resolve the causes of the problem and such action is not
       the responsibility of CPS staff.

      CPS is child-centered and family-focused. The aim is to strengthen the functioning of the
       family unit, while assuring adequate protection and safety for the child.

      Effective intervention requires that CPS respond in a non-punitive, non-critical manner
       and offer help in the least intrusive manner possible.

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      All of CPS intervention should be directed by helpfulness.

      CPS should collaborate and coordinate with the family and other disciplines, while it
       maintains its unique roles and functions.

      Child abuse and neglect are multi-faceted problems which affect the entire community. A
       coordinated, multi disciplinary effort which involves a broad range of communityagencies
       and resources is essential for an effective child abuse and neglect response system.

      Most CPS families and family members can change their behavior if provided sufficient
       help to empower them.

      It is best to keep children with their parents when safety can be controlled.

      Families should be involved in the casework process.



1.3 Mission

West Virginia=s Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Childrenand
Families (BCF) is dedicated to providing and assuring accessible quality services for
individuals and families to achieve their maximum potential and improve their quality of life. The
Office of Children and Adult Services (CAS) is committed to collaborate in providing a social
service delivery system that assures safety and promotes the health, stability and well-being of
vulnerable adults, children and families.


1.4 Purpose

There are two primary purposes for CPS intervention;

      to protect and control the safety of children who are at risk of maltreatment, and;

      to provide services to alter the conditions which created the risk of maltreatment.



1.5 Roles

The CPS worker has the following roles;
      Problem Identifier - The social worker gathers, studies and analyzes information about
       the child and the family. The worker also offers help to families in which risk is identified,
       secures the safety of the child, justifies the need for CPS intervention and evaluates the

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       causes of risk.

      Case Manager- In this capacity the social worker assesses family problems and
       dynamics which contribute to risk of maltreatment and plans and devises strategies to
       eliminate risk and to effect change in the family. The worker orchestrates all planning,
       report, and follow-up activities related to the case and facilitates the use of agency and
       community systems to assist the child and family. The worker also reviews client
       progress, maintains accurate documentation and records, and advocates for the client by
       supporting, creating, and promoting the helping process.

      Treatment Provider- The social worker works directly with families in helping them to
       stop the maltreatment and to learn new ways of relating to and being responsible for their
       children. The worker also serves as a role model, encourages client motivation and
       facilitates problem solving and decision making on the part of families.

The CPS supervisor has the following roles:
      Administrator - The supervisor makes decisions on specific case activities, case
       assignments and on relevant personnel matters. The supervisor also regulates the
       practice of social workers with child protection cases and ensures the quality of practice.
       The supervisor serves as a link between workers and community resources and with
       administrative staff.

      Educator - The supervisor plans and carries out activities related to the professional
       development of employees.

      Coach - The supervisor motivates and reinforces employees in the performance of their
       duties.



1.6 Legal Basis

CPS stems from both a social concern for the care of children and from a legal concern for the
rights of children. Child abuse and neglect are legally recognized and legally defined terms. The
DHHR is legally required to provide CPS. The legal basis of CPS is contained in Chapter 49 of
the Code of West Virginia. The Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings
issued by the Supreme Court of West Virginia and opinions entered by the Court in various
cases also provide further interpretation and clarification of the statutes. Excerpts from Chapter
49 regarding the specific role and duties of CPS are included here; however, reference should
be made to the entire Chapter and to the Rules and opinions of the Court. Other parts of the
West Virginia State Code relevant to Child Protective Services are Chapters 27, 48 and 61,
which contain the statutes for Mentally Ill Persons, Domestic Relations and Crimes and
Punishment. The statutes may be found within FACTS (go to FACTS, Help, Court/Legal, WV

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Code) or on the internet at www.legis.state.wv.us. The Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and
Neglect Proceedings and Court Opinions may be found on the internet at
www.state.wv.us/wvsca.

49-1-1 Purpose (Provides the framework for the Child Protection system in WV.)

(a) The purpose of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive system of child welfare throughout
the state which will assure to each child such care and guidance, preferably in his or her home,
and will service the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical welfare of the child; preserve and
strengthen the child=s family ties whenever possible with recognition of the fundamental rights of
parenthood and with recognition of the state=s responsibility to assist the family in providing
necessary education and training and to reduce the rate of juvenile delinquency and to provide a
system for the rehabilitation or detention of juvenile delinquents and the protection of the welfare
of the general public. In pursuit of these goals it is the intention of the Legislature to provide for
removing the child from the custody of parents only when the child=s welfare or the safety and
protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without removal; and, when the child
has to be removed from his or her family, to secure for the child custody, care and discipline
consistent with the child=s best interests and other goals herein set out.

49-2-16 State responsibility for child care (Empowers the DHHR to accept custody of children.)

The state department is hereby authorized and empowered to provide care, support and
protective services for children who are handicapped by dependency, neglect, single parent
status, mental or physical disability, or who for other reasons are in need of public service. Such
department is also hereby authorized and empowered in its discretion to accept children for
care from their parent or parents, guardian, custodian or relatives and to accept the custody of
children committed to its care by courts exercising juvenile jurisdiction. The department.....or any
county office of such department is also hereby authorized and empowered in its discretion to
accept temporary custody of children for care from any law-enforcement officer in an emergency
situation.

49-6A-9 Establishment of child protective services; general duties and powers; cooperation of
other state agencies. (Mandates the DHHR to establish CPS.)

(a) The state department shall establish or designate in every county a local child protective
services office to perform the duties and functions set forth in this article.
(b) The local child protective service shall investigate all reports of child abuse or neglect:
Provided, that under no circumstances shall investigating personnel be relatives of the accused,
the child or the families involved. In accordance with the local plan for child protective services, it
shall provide protective services to prevent further abuse or neglect of children and provide for or
arrange for and coordinate and monitor the provision of those services necessary to ensure the
safety of children. The local child protective service shall be organized to maximize the
continuity of responsibility, care and service of individual workers for individual children and

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families: Provided, however, that under no circumstance may the secretary or his or her
designee promulgate rules or establish any policy which restricts the scope or types of
suspected abuse or neglect of minor children which are to be investigated or the provision of
appropriate and available services.

Each local child protective service office shall:

1. Receive or arrange for the receipt of all reports of children known or suspected to be abused
   or neglected on a twenty-four hour, seven-day-a-week basis and cross-file all such reports
   under the names of the children, the family, any person substantiated as being an abuser or
   neglecter by investigation of the department...,with use of such cross-filing of such person=s
   name limited to the internal use of the department;

2. Provide or arrange for emergency children=s services to be available at all times;

3. Upon notification of suspected child abuse or neglect, commence or cause to be
   commenced a thorough investigation of the report and the child=s environment. As a part of
   this response, within fourteen days, there shall be : A face-to-face interview with the child or
   children, and the development of a protection plan, if necessary for the safety or health of the
   child, which may involve law-enforcement officers or the court;

4. Respond immediately to all allegations of imminent danger to the physical well-being of the
   child or of serious physical abuse. As a part of this response, within seventy-two hours, there
   shall be: A face-to-face interview with the child or children and the development of a
   protection plan which may involve law-enforcement officers or the court; and

5. In addition to any other requirements imposed by this section, when any matter regarding
   child custody is pending, the circuit court or family court judge may refer allegations of child
   abuse and neglect to the local child protective service for investigation of the allegations as
   defined by this chapter and require the local child protective service to submit a writtenreport
   of the investigation to the referring circuit court or family court judge within the time frames
   set forth by the circuit court or family court judge.

(c) In those cases in which the local child protective service determines that the best interest of
the child require court action, the local child protective service shall initiate the appropriate legal
proceeding.

 (d) The local child protective service shall be responsible for providing , directing or
coordinating the appropriate and timely delivery of services to any child suspected or known to
be abused or neglected, including services to the child=s family and those responsible for the
child=s care.

(e) To carry out the purposes of this article, all departments, boards, bureaus and other agencies

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of the state or any of its political subdivision and all agencies providing services under the local
child protective service plan shall, upon request, provide to the local child protective service such
assistance and information as will enable it to fulfill its responsibilities.


1.7 Definitions


1.7.1 Terms defined by law:

Child: means any person less than eighteen years of age. (49-1-2)

Abandoned: means to be without supervision or shelter for any unreasonable period of time in
light of the child=s age and the ability to care for him/ herself in circumstances presenting an
immediate threat of serious harm to such child. (49-6-9(g)(1))

Abused child: means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened by a parent,
guardian or custodian who knowingly or intentionally inflicts, attempts to inflict or knowingly
allows another person to inflict, physical injury or mental or emotional injury, upon the child or
another child in the home; or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; or the sale or attempted sale of
a child by a parent, guardian or custodian and domestic violence... In addition to its broader
meaning, physical injury may include an injury to the child as a result of excessive corporal
punishment. (49-1-3)

Neglected child: means a child whose physical or mental health is harmed or threatened by a
present refusal, failure or inability of the child=s parent, guardian or custodian to supply the child
with necessary food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medical care or education, when suchrefusal,
failure or inability is not due primarily to a lack of financial means on the part of the parent,
guardian or custodian; or who is presently without necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical
care, education or supervision because of the disappearance or absence of the child=s parent
or guardian. (49-1-3)

Child abuse and neglect services: means social services which are directed toward: protecting
and promoting the welfare of children who are abused or neglected; identifying, preventing and
remedying conditions which cause child abuse and neglect; preventing the unnecessaryremoval
of children from their families by identifying family problems and assisting families in resolving
problems which could lead to a removal of children and a breakup of the family; in cases where
children have been removed from their families, providing services to the children and the
families so as to restore such children to their families; placing children in suitable adoptive
homes when restoring the children to their families is not possible or appropriate; and assuring
the adequate care of children away from their families when the children have been placed inthe
custody of the department or third parties. (49-1-3)

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Custodian: a person who has or shares actual physical possession or care and custody of a
child regardless of whether such person has been granted custody of the child by a contract,
agreement or legal proceedings. (49-1-5)

Domestic Violence-legal definition (also see Operational Definitions): means the occurrence
of one or more of the following acts between family or household members: (1) attempting to
cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical harm to another with or without
dangerous or deadly weapons; (2) placing another in reasonable apprehensi on of physical
harm; (3) creating fear of physical harm by harassment, psychological abuse or threatening acts;
(4) committing either sexual assault or sexual abuse as those terms are defined in articles eight-
b and eight-d, chapter sixty-one of this code; and (5) holding, confining, detaining or abducting
another person against that person=s will. AFamily or household member@ means current or
former spouses, persons living as spouses, persons who formerly resided as spouses, parents,
children and stepchildren, current or former sexual or intimate partners, other persons related by
blood or marriage, persons who are presently or in the past have resided or cohabited together
or a person with whom the victim has a child in common. (48-2A-2)

Imminent danger: An emergency situation in which the welfare or the life of the child is
threatened. Such emergency exists when there is reasonable cause to believe that any child in
the home is or has been sexually abused or sexually exploited, or reasonable cause to believe
that the following conditions threaten the health or life of any child in the home:
1. Non accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, sibling or a babysitter or other
   caretaker; or

2. A combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse which may be
   medically diagnosed as battered child syndrome; or

3. Nutritional deprivation; or

4. Abandonment by the parent, guardian or custodian; or

5. Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease; or

6. Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or

7. Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian.

Serious physical abuse: bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, which causes
serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or
impairment of the function of any bodily organ. (49-1-3)

Sexual abuse: means (A) as to a child who is less than sixteen years of age, any of the following

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acts which a parent, guardian or custodian shall engage in, attempt to engage in, or knowingly
procure another person to engage in, with such child, notwithstanding the fact that the child may
have willingly participated in such conduct or the fact that the child may have suffered no
apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of such conduct: sexual
intercourse or sexual intrusion or sexual contact (B) as to a child who is sixteen years of age or
older any of the following acts which a parent, guardian or custodian shall engage in, attempt to
engage in, or knowingly procure another person to engage in, with such child, notwithstanding
the fact that the child may have consented to such conduct or the fact that the child may have
suffered no apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of such conduct:
sexual intercourse, or sexual intrusion or sexual contact, or 8) Any conduct whereby a parent,
guardian or custodian displays his or her sex organs to a child, or procures another person to
display his or her sex organs to a child, for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of the
parent, guardian or custodian, of the person making such display, or of the child, or for the
purpose of affronting or alarming the child. (49-1-3)

Sexual Exploitation: means (1) an act whereby a parent, custodian or guardian, whether for
financial gain or not, persuades, induces, entices or coerces a child to display his or her sex
organs for the sexual gratification of the parent, guardian, custodian or a third person, or to
display his or her sex organs under circumstances in which the parent, guardian or custodian
knows such display is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed. (49-1-
3)

“Knowingly Allows…”: means a parent, guardian or custodian who…knowingly allows another
person to inflict physical injury, emotional or mental injury, upon the child or another child in the
home. “The term “knowingly” …does not require that a parent actually be present at the time the
abuse occurs, but rather that the parent was presented with sufficient facts from which he or she
could have and should have recognized that abuse has occurred (Department of Health and
Human Resources ex rel. Wright vs. Doris S. 1996).


1.7.2 Terms defined for casework purposes (Operational Definitions)

Abandonment: Child left for extended periods of time without adequate supervision or provision
of basic needs. Parent has disappeared and it is not known when he/she may return. No long-
term provisions have been made for care of child. May also include situations in which the
parent may be physically present, but in a condition that prevents him/her from caring for the
child.

Battered Child Syndrome: A medical condition, primarily of infants and young children, in which
there is evidence of repeated inflicted injury to the nervous, skin, or skeletal system. Frequently
the history as given by the caretaker does not adequately explain the nature of occurrence of the
injuries. A medical diagnosis is required to determine if a child suffers from battered child


                                         15203
syndrome.

Child Maltreatment: When a child is physically, emotionally, or sexually treated by caretakers in
such a manner that the child=s emotional, cognitive, and/or physical development is or will be
impaired, and the caretakers are unwilling or unable to behave differently.

Child Protective Services: A specialized Department service extended to families o n behalf of
children who are abused or neglected, or at risk of being abused or neglected by their parents,
guardians or custodians having responsibility for their care.

Corporal punishment: Physical punishment inflicted directly upon the body.

Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behaviors used by one personin
order to maintain power and control in a relationship. The pattern of coercive behaviors include
tactics of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economical abuse, threats, intimidation,
isolation, minimizing, and using children.

Emotional or mental maltreatment: Verbal assault, intimidation, constant berating, continual
scapegoating or rejection of a child. Parent does not allow child physical contacts and
minimizes or avoids functional contacts. Declines to help and support child when he/she is in
trouble. Child is confined to room for several days or more, or is confined in any cramped or
dark enclosure for any period of time. Child is not allowed outside for a week or more. Any
sensory deprivation or placement in frightening situation. Child is harnessed, tied or bound.
Child left alone for extended periods of time on short notice with persons who are unfamiliar to
the child and do not normally care for him/her, without preparation. Child has been shifted from
one home to another, or child has been deserted or abandoned and there is no indication that
parent intends to return. Child has witnessed domestic violence within the home.

Excessive corporal punishment: Physical punishment inflicted directly upon the body which
results in an injury to the child. This includes lacerations, broken bones, bruises, welts, burns,
bites, or internal injuries.

Failure or inability to supply necessary clothing: Basic and essential items of clothing are not
provided. There are so few clothes, or so few of the right kinds of clothes to protect the child
from the elements, that he/she is sometimes unable to perform normal and necessary activities,
such as going outdoors or going to school. Clothes are soiled or stained and are not washed
regularly. Peers may not play with child because of odor.

Failure or inability to supply necessary education: A school-aged child is not enrolled inschool,
or attends school irregularly or not at all for weeks at a time. Parent makes no effort to correct
issue of truancy. Parent does not participate in planning for education of special needs child.

Failure or inability to supply necessary food: Meals have not been provided at all for several

                                        16203
days and there is almost no food in the home and/or child is unable to feed self. Child is hungry
and may eat non-food items or spoiled food. In more extreme forms, the child may suffer from
some clinical symptoms of malnutrition, dehydration, food poisoning, such as weight loss or
failure to thrive, and medical attention and/or hospitalization may be required.

Failure or inability to supply necessary medical care, including hygiene: Child does not
regularly bathe or wash even when dirty. Hair is visibly dirty. Untreated lice may be a problem.
May emit body or mouth odor. Teeth encrusted with green or brown matter. Complaints have
been made about hygiene. Peers will not play with child due to poor hygiene. Medical care for
an injury or illness that usually should receive treatment has not been provided and the medical
treatment would reduce risk of complications, relieve pain, speed healing or reduce risk of
contagion. Child could benefit from mental health treatment and is not receiving such services.
Recommendation that child have a mental health evaluation and no action has been takenbythe
parent. In more extreme forms, neither medical care, mental health treatment nor a diagnostic
assessment has been obtained for an illness or disability that interferes with normal functioning
or may be life-threatening or may result in permanent impairment or may be a serious threat to
public health. Child may present a danger to the safety of self or others and is not being
provided mental health care.

Failure or inability to supply necessary shelter: Essential utilities such as water, heat or fuel for
cooking have not been available at all for several days and are not expected to be restored.
Alternate sources are not available or not used. Hazardous conditions exist in the home, such
as leaking gas from a stove or heating unit, peeling lead-based paint, hot water steam leaks
from radiators, dangerous substances or objects stored in unlocked lower shelves or cabinet, no
guards on open windows or broken or missing windows. Trash and junk are piled up and
layered on the floor so that it is difficult to get around. Dishes are rarely washed and child eats
off dirty dishes. Perishable foods are found spoiled and are not discarded. Heavy infestationof
rodents or insects; including lice. Creeping vermin have Ataken over@. Child sleeps on dirty
mattresses, or on linens black with dirt and soil. Carpet, tile, doors, bathroom fixtures are
layered with encrusted dirt, debris, food wastes, human or animal excrement. Home smells
overwhelmingly of urine, feces or spoilage.

Failure or inability to supply necessary supervision: Parent exercises little supervision over
younger child, under age 12, either inside or outside the home. Child has been found playing at
home with objects that could hurt him/her, or in unsafe circumstances. Parent often does not
know where the child is. Child wanders to unfamiliar areas and sometimes needs stranger=s
help to return home. In general, child is given far too much responsibility for own safety. Parent
has few, if any, rules for older child, over age 11, and rarely enforces any. Child often stays out
all night without parent knowing where he/she is or when he/she may return. Parent usually has
no idea what child is doing and makes no attempt to find out. Parent may say they are helpless
to control child, or may defend child=s independence. Child left in care of an incapable person,
(another young child, incapacitated adult) when the parent goes out. Child left alone at home
and is unable to handle basic needs, such as getting something to eat or calling for help in an

                                         17203
emergency. Child is denied access to or expelled from his or her own home and has no place
to go.

Physical abuse: Non-accidental trauma to the body, such as bruises, welts, scratches, cuts,
scars, burns or fractures.

Risk: The likelihood that a child will be maltreated.

Safety: the current well-being of a child who has been assessed to be at risk of maltreatment in
consideration of the controllability of risk influences, the immediacy of the risk of maltreatment,
and the likely severity of the potential maltreatment.

Sexual abuse: Contact or interaction between a child and a parent, guardian or custodian,
which is of a sexual nature and may include sexually suggestive verbal remarks and/or requests,
intimate kissing or touching, fondling of genitals or breasts, intercourse, digital penetration,
sodomy, oral sex, exhibitionism, and exploitation or sexual coercion through prostitution or the
production of pornographic materials, whether for money or not.

Threat of harm: Verbal threats of abuse or harm are made against a child, but there has been
no attempt to carry them out. Attempts have been made to inflict physical, mental or emotional
injury, but child has not yet been injured. Child has been placed in a dangerous or hazardous
situation, but no actual harm has yet occurred. Due to a physical, mental-emotional, or
behavioral problem, including substance use or abuse, parent has no current capacity to care for
the child, and no change is expected in the near future.


1.8 Target Population

The target population for CPS agency intervention is a family in which a child (age 0-17) has
been suspected to be abused or neglected or at risk of abuse or neglect (as defined in
Chapter 49-1-3 legal definitions and DHHR operational definitions) by their parent, guardian or
custodian. The term parent, guardian or custodian is extended to include parent substitutes,
non-custodial parents, extended family members, step-parents, unrelated persons living in the
same household, paramours or any other intra-familial or quasi-familial situation, foster parents,
adoptive parents, day care providers, day care centers, residential facilities and school
personnel. CPS shall be extended to children who have been or are suspected to be abused or
neglected, or at risk of being abused or neglected by a;

      parent or guardian

      non-custodial parent



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      parent substitute

      step-parent

      extended family member who provides care to the child

      unrelated person living in the same household

      paramour of parent

      employees of child-placing agencies and residential facilities

      employees of day care centers

      family day care facilities or homes

      in-home day care provider

      any unlicensed group care situation, for 1-6 children, in a non-home setting

      in-home child care

      foster family care parents, specialized foster family care parents, or emergency shelter
       care parents

      school personnel

Please note: In the interest of brevity, the term Aparent@ is used throughout this policy to refer to
the child=s caretaker(s), but may also be construed to refer to a guardian or custodian.


1.9 Risk of Child Abuse or Neglect

CPS is extended to children who are suspected of being at risk of abuse or neglect, in addition
to children who have already been abused or neglected. The term Arisk@ is defined as Athe
likelihood that a child will be maltreated.@ Chapter 49-1-3 defines an abused child as one A
whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened by a parent, guardian or custodian who
knowingly or intentionally inflicts attempts to inflict.....@ and a neglected child as one Awhose
physical or mental health is harmed or threatened by a present refusal, failure or inability of the
child=s parent....@. The statutes contemplate that protection will be provided to childrenwho are
being subjected to conditions that will likely result in abuse or neglect, regardless of whether an
incident of abuse or neglect has yet occurred. ARisk@ is a condition which suggests that various
negative forces and elements within the environment are present and are interacting and will
likely result in abuse or neglect to a child. Risk, in itself, implies an uncertainty about what might

                                         19203
happen. Even in the most obvious situation, one cannot Aknow@ that maltreatment will continue,
occur, or reoccur. It is necessary, therefore, to assume (when information suggests) that there is
the possibility of detriment to a child=s welfare and that there will be maltreatment to the child
without intervention.


1.10 Reporting

The protection of abused and neglected children depends on the prompt identification of
children at risk of maltreatment. Chapter 49 contains a detailed series of reporting requirements
which can be found in Article 6A, AReports of children suspected to be abused or neglected.@

Certain persons whose occupation brings them into contact with children on a regular basis are
mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Those who are required to report include;
      medical, dental or mental health professionals

      Christian Science practitioners

      religious healers

      school teachers or other school personnel

      social service workers

      child care or foster care workers

      emergency medical services personnel

      peace officers or law-enforcement officials

      members of the clergy

      circuit court judges, family court judges or magistrates

      humane officers

Any other person, including a person who wishes to remain anonymous, may make a report if
such person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected in a
home or institution or observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that
would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

The duties of mandated reporters include;



                                         20203
      When a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or
       neglected or observes the child being subjected to conditions likely to result in abuse or
       neglect, the person must immediately, and not more than forty-eight hours after
       suspecting the abuse or neglect, report the circumstances or cause a report to be made
       to the DHHR. Reports of child abuse or neglect shall be made immediately by telephone
       to the local DHHR. A report made to the statewide toll-free Hot Line for child abuse and
       neglect is considered to be acceptable. At their discretion, CPS staff may request that a
       mandated reporter also submit a written report within forty-eight hours.

      In any case where the reporter believes that the child suffered serious physical abuse or
       sexual abuse or sexual assault, the reporter must also immediately report, or cause a
       report to be made to law- enforcement. The report must be made to the State Police
       and to any law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the report, which
       would either be municipal police or the county sheriff=s department. This report is in
       addition to the report made to CPS.

      A mandated reporter who is a member of the staff of a public or private institution,
       school, facility or agency must immediately notify the person in charge of such institution,
       school, facility or agency or a designated agent thereof, who shall report or cause a
       report to be made. Nothing in the law precludes individuals from reporting on their own
       behalf.

      Any person or official who is included in the list of mandated reporters, including
       employees of the department, and who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has
       died as a result of child abuse or neglect, shall report that fact to the coroner or medical
       examiner.

      Cross reporting between Child Protective Services and Humane Officers- Legislation in
       2006 revised section 49-6-2, Persons mandated to report abuse and neglect, to include
       humane officers. These individuals will now be required to report suspected child abuse
       and neglect issues to CPS. Conversely, a new section was added, 49-6A-2b, Mandatory
       reporting of suspected animal cruelty by child protective services workers, which
       requires workers to “report reasonable suspicions that an animal is the victim of cruel or
       inhumane treatment” to humane societies within their counties.

The duties of CPS, when receiving referrals from mandated referents include:
      Notification at the onset that the referral has been accepted or screened for investigation.

      Notification at the conclusion of the investigation that it has been completed.
There are further requirements of CPS when the mandated referents happen to be Family Court
or Circuit Court Judges.
      When referrals have been received from Family Court and/or Circuit Court, the worker

                                        21203
       must send a copy of the notification letter at the onset, as specified above. The worker
       must also, at the end of the investigation, send the Disposition of CPS Investigation
       Report for Family and Circuit Court form and a copy of the investigation to the referring
       Family Court Judge as well as the Chief Circuit Court Judge. The worker would send the
       report directly to the Family Court Judge making the referral, but would file the Circuit
       Court report via the Chief Circuit Court Judge, with a copy to the Prosecuting Attorney.

      When a worker does an investigation on a child involved with Family Court proceedings,
       the worker must send a copy of the investigation to the Family Court Judge who is
       presiding over the case, regardless of referral source. The worker will also send a copy
       of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit Court form to the
       Chief Circuit Court Judge with a copy to the Prosecuting Attorney.
As a result of Supreme Court-initiated rules changes in 2006, there are revisions to the way
CPS handles their reporting requirements when child abuse and/or neglect allegations arise
during Infant Guardianship Proceedings, Custody/Divorce Proceedings, and Domestic Violence
Protective Order proceedings. Those changes and policy sections are outlined as follows and
should be consulted whenever processing referrals and investigations from Family and Circuit
Courts.
1. Reports Involving Infant Guardianship Proceedings- Section 2.11

2. Initial Assessments Involving Infant Guardianship Proceedings- Section 3.22

3. Reports Involving Domestic Violence- Section 2.15

4. Reports Involving Allegations Made During Domestic Violence Protective Order
   Proceedings- Section 2.15.1 (This section is a complementary section to be used with
   Section 2.15.)

5. Initial Assessments Involving Domestic Violence- Section 3.26

6. Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Domestic Violence Protective Order
   Proceedings- Section 3.26.1 (This section is a complementary section to be used with
   Section 3.26.)

7. Reports Involving Parents Knowingly Allowing Abuse and/or Neglect- Section 2.16

8. Initial Assessments Involving Parents Knowingly Allowing Abuse and/or Neglect- Section
   3.27

9. Reports Involving Allegations Made During Divorce/Custody Proceedings- Section 2.17

10. Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Divorce/Custody Proceedings-
   Section 3.28.


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Any person, whether mandated or permitted to report, has certain legal protections. These
protections are extended so that persons will not hesitate to report for fear of future legal
difficulties. Chapter 49-6A-6 states that any person who reports in good faith shall be immune
from any civil or criminal liability.

As an aid in the detection of child abuse or neglect, as well as to gather physical evidence which
can be used to protect an abused or neglected child, the law permits mandated reporters to
take photographs or order x-rays. Radiological examinations (x-rays) are used to determine the
scope of present and past injuries. A series of old fractures may indicate a repeated pattern of
battering. The DHHR is responsible for payment of expenses incurred in taking the photographs
or x-rays, when requested to do so. Photographs and reports of the findings from x-rays should
be made available to the local DHHR/CPS office.

A mandated reporter of suspected child abuse or neglect, who fails to report, or knowingly
prevents another person acting reasonably from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and if
convicted, may be confined in the county jail, fined, or both.


1.11 CPS Casework Process

The CPS casework process is based on an analytical model for problem-solving. This includes
assessment of risk throughout the life of a case, choosing among alternative treatment
strategies, and continuously evaluating the effectiveness of selected strategies. The process is
based on several principles:
      it is sequential, activities are ordered and continuous.

      the process is logical, based on reason and inference.

      it uses a unified approach, reflecting coherence.

      the process is progressive, based on step-by-step procedures.

      there is interconnectedness between the steps of the process based on progression.

      flexibility is critical due to the dynamic nature of worker-client interaction; flexibility allows
       the worker to respond spontaneously to the client=s needs.

The casework process in CPS consists of eight basic steps:

      intake



                                          23203
      safety first assessments

      protection plan, if necessary

      initial assessment

      safety planning, if necessary

      family assessment

      treatment planning

      service provision

      case evaluation

      case closure



1.12 Notification of Parent=s and Children=s Rights During Child Abuse
and Neglect Proceedings

Child protective services (CPS) has always had legal and moral duties to notify clients of the
allegations against them and their legal rights during CPS proceedings. However, there is now
greater consensus among law makers and social workers as well as their community stake
holders that clients have an inalienable right to be as educated and involved as possible in the
decisions being made about their families. A recent amendment to the Child Abuse Prevention
and Treatment Act (CAPTA) entitled Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 has
placed into effect higher standards of notification.

Studies show that the more knowledgeable and invested families are, the better they do during
CPS intervention. The worker is entrusted with the responsibility to share information with the
family during key points throughout the intervention process, not just those concerning the
investigation. It is also important to keep in mind that the way in which information is disclosed is
important. A worker must balance the right of notification with concern for not compromising any
criminal proceedings that may be initiated as a result of the maltreatment. Some of the rights
shared by our clients about whom we must inform them include:
      The right to be free from warrantless search and seizure.

      The right to be free from intrusion into one=s home except upon lawful consent.

      The right to have information collected and maintained in the course of an investigation
       and delivery of services held in confidence in accordance with WV Code 49-7-1.


                                         24203
      The right to be allowed access to one=s personal file in accordance with WV Code 49-7-
       1.

      The right to appeal the exclusion or inclusion of a parent or child from any service
       program and the right to request a grievance hearing with regard to either the manner in
       which the parents and the child are treated by agency personnel or any other concern
       related to the service programs of the agency.

      The right to refuse child protective services as well as the right to be advised of the
       consequences when individuals refuse said services.

      The right to be free from discrimination for reasons of age, race, color, sex, mental or
       physical disability, religious creed, national origin or political belief.

      The right to auxiliary aids to individuals with disabilities, at no additional cost, where
       necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision or
       speech impairments.

      The right to be informed of complaints or allegations made against an individual in a
       manner that is consistent with law protecting the rights of the reporter.

      The right to be informed of the findings of child abuse and neglect investigations and how
       the findings will affect the family, as well as the individual.

      The right to be made aware of all actions taken in regard to the family throughout the life
       of the case and the reasons for such action.

The duties of the CPS worker include:

      Sharing the allegations within the referral with the family at the point of initial contact,
       which is usually the first face to face visit with the adults. Information must be disclosed to
       all adult participants (parents, adult caretakers) in the home and/or all adults who are
       listed as participants in the allegations, not just the biological parents. This would also
       include any out-of-home perpetrators who are listed in the allegations.

      Educating families and notifying families of their rights about the CPS process by using
       the booklet, AA Parent=s Guide to Working with Child Protective Services.@

      Involving families throughout the CPS Process.

      Thoroughly explaining the reasons behind each action taken by the worker before the
       action is taken.



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CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 2

2.1 Intake

Intake involves the identification of cases of child abuse and neglect. Intake refers to all of the
activities and functions which lead to a decision about whether or not to conduct an initial
assessment. Risk assessment begins at intake. The primary purposes of intake are;
      to assist the reporter in providing information;

      to identify possible maltreatment;

      to interpret to the community what child maltreatment is;

      to gather sufficient information to make necessary decisions; and,

      to refer families and children to appropriate agencies/services when indicated.

In relation to the process of intake the supervisor will:

      be available to provide the worker with support, guidance and case consultation and to
       regulate the quality of casework practice.




2.2 Intake Process

The primary purpose of intake is to identify cases of child abuse or neglect. During this process
the worker will attempt to explore with the reporter, insofar as possible, the allegations being
made in order to determine whether or not there is reasonable cause to suspect that child abuse
or neglect exists. The worker will document this activity in FACTS, within the intake function.

When gathering information from the reporter, in general, the worker will:
      Never enter a sibling or other child as the Amaltreater@ unless the individual under the
       age of 18 is the parent of the alleged abused/neglected child and is responsible for the
       alleged maltreatment.

      complete the intake screens completely, and where information is unknown to the
       reporter, indicate that.


                                         26203
      interview the reporter, probing for information in all areas and clarifying information and
       attitude conveyed by the reporter, and whenever possible, recording exactly what the
       reporter says.

      interview the reporter in non-leading ways.

      listen for tone of voice, voice level, rushed speech, contradictions in information and
       attitude conveyed by the reporter (helpful vs. harmful).

      use feeling, support, educational and reality-orienting techniques to elicit informationfrom
       the reporter.

When interviewing the reporter, the worker will attempt to specifically gather information in the
following areas:
      demographic information about the family (adult=s and children=s names, family
       address, phone, relationships, dates of birth, sex, race, schools, day care, other persons
       living in the home, absent parents). Family refers to the family setting in which the
       children in question are being maltreated or are at risk of maltreatment. This should not
       include people who do not reside in the family home most of the time.

      other sources of information about the family such as teachers, doctors, ministers, etc.

      the types of maltreatment apparent and the surrounding circumstances accompanying
       the suspected maltreatment.

      how the child(ren) function including pervasive behaviors, feelings, intellect, physical
       capacity and temperament.

      each adult caretaker=s parenting practices, disciplinary approaches, generalfunctioning,
       mental health functioning, use of substances and childhood history.

      who is the suspected maltreater.

      where the child(ren) is at the time of the intake.

      where the parent=s are at the time of the intake.

      who is the reporter (name, address, phone).

      relationship of the reporter to the family and how the reporter came to know about the
       concerns.

      why the reporter is reporting the situation at this time.



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      whether the family knows the report is being made.

      whether the reporter has notified the family of the concerns.

      the reporter=s opinion about needed actions and child=s safety.

Following the information gathering process with the reporter, the worker will:

      check to determine if there is prior or current agency involvement with the family and
       document this at intake.

      indicate whether the allegations of maltreatment are abuse, neglect, sexual abuse,
       emotional maltreatment or other.

      review the intake for thoroughness and then transmit the report to the supervisor for
       review and decision making regarding acceptance and response time.

2.3 Screening Process

This is a process used to determine the acceptance of the report for initial assessment. Part of
the screening process may be performed by the intake worker alone or in conjunction with a
supervisor.      All cases screened out must include supervisory consultation and a
justification/explanation for the decision which must be documented.

The supervisor will:
      review the intake for thoroughness and completeness.

      determine whether the report will be accepted for a CPS initial assessment or if the
       report is screened out and not accepted for a CPS initial assessment. If screened out,
       the supervisor must document an explanation for the decision in FACTS.

      if the report is accepted for CPS, identify danger loaded influences which are judged to
       be present at the time of the intake.

      identify the response time for accepted reports.

      if accepted, transmit the report to the Initial Assessment Supervisor for assignment to a
       worker.

      ensure that all mandated referents receive notification of whether an investigation into the
       reported suspected abuse or neglect has been initiated or been screened out.



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In determining whether to accept a CPS report or screen it out, the supervisor must consider:

      whether the information collected meets required definitions of child abuse and neglect
       and/or risk of abuse and neglect (threat of harm). Both the legal and operational
       definitions for child abuse and neglect will be used to make this judgment. (See section
       on definitions.) The operational definitions are not an exhaustive list of potential
       allegations of child abuse or neglect. Other conditions which harm or threaten a child=s
       welfare may arise that are not included in the operational definitions. If this occurs, any
       doubt about whether or not to accept the report for an initial assessment and safety
       evaluation will be resolved in favor of the child and the report will be accepted.

      the presence of negative influences and information related to the maltreatment, the
       child(ren), and the parent(s).

      the sufficiency of information in order to locate the family.

      the motives and veracity of the reporter.

Reasons for screening out a report include:

      duplicate referral during initial assessment. (See Section 2.7 Recurrent Reports.)

      information does not meet the legal definition of abused or neglected child found in
       Chapter 49-1-3, nor does it meet the operational definition for child abuse or neglect or
       threat (risk) of harm.

      there is insufficient information to locate the family.

      there are no children under the age of 18.

      family does not reside in West Virginia..

Any other reason for screening out a report, must be thoroughly documented in FACTS.


2.4 Response Times

The selected response times are as follows:

Immediate Response               0-2 Hours                        Face-to-face contact with the
                                                                  child(ren) within that time


                                        29203
                                                                  frame

Response                         Within 72 hours                  Face-to-face contact with the
                                                                  child(ren) within that time
                                                                  frame

Response                         Within 14 days                   Face-to-face contact with the
                                                                  child(ren) within that time
                                                                  frame



In determining response time for accepted CPS intakes, the supervisor must consider:

      the presence of allegations of imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child(ren)
       or of serious physical abuse. Such allegations require either an immediate response or
       a response within 72 hours. This is required by Chapter 49-6A-9(4).

      the correct response time must be identified, regardless of the availability of staff. If the
       response time can not be met, the justification will be explained in the initial assessment
       and safety evaluation.

Imminent danger is defined by Chapter 49-1-3 (e) as Aan emergency situation in which the
welfare or the life of the child is threatened. Such emergency situation exists when there is
reasonable cause to believe that any child in the home is or has been sexually abused or
sexually exploited, or reasonable cause to believe that the following conditions threaten the
health or life of any child in the home:
1. Non accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling or a babysitter or
   other caretaker; or

2. A combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse which may be
   medically diagnosed as battered child syndrome; or

3. Nutritional deprivation; or

4. Abandonment by the parent, guardian or custodian; or

5. Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease; or

6. Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or

7. Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian.@



                                        30203
Serious physical abuse is defined by Chapter 49-1-3(p) as Abodily injury which creates a
substantial risk of death, which causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged
impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.@
      the presence or absence and the interacting nature of the danger loaded influences
       reflected in the intake.

      the location of the child at the time the intake is received.

      the effects CPS intervention might have in escalating circumstances in the family and the
       capacity CPS has to remain involved with the situation.

      whether the nature of the maltreatment indicates premeditation, bizarre behavior or
       circumstances and/or serious injury.

      whether the maltreatment is suspected to be occurring at this moment.

      whether the suspected conditions which presently exist could change rapidly.

      whether the parent=s behavior is bizarre, out of control or dangerous.

      whether the parent=s viewpoint of the child is described as bizarre.

      whether the family will flee.

      whether the family is hiding the child.

      whether the living arrangements are life threatening.

      whether the child needs medical attention.

      whether the child is fearful or anxious.

      whether the parent is gone and the child is unsupervised.

      whether the child is of an age and capacity to protect him or herself.

      whether the suspected maltreater has access to the child.

      whether the parent is currently under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

      whether the family is isolated socially or geographically.

      whether there are indications of family violence or bizarre family interaction.

      whether the family is transient or new to the community.


                                        31203
      whether the family is presently connected in any way to formal help.

      whether there are any extended family or friends available for support.

      whether the caretakers are physically and emotionally able to perform parental
       responsibilities.

      whether services are available to the family in terms of proximity.

      whether there is a history of past reports.

      whether there are multiple injuries.

      whether the location of the injuries suggest more serious harm.

The response times are measured beginning with the date and time the report is taken and then
counting by hours until the first face-to-face contact is made with the identified child(ren).

The phrase Aidentified child@ means the child or children in the household who have been
suspected to be abused or neglected or are subjected to conditions which could result inabuse
or neglect.


2.5 Reporting to Law Enforcement, Prosecuting Attorney and Medical
Examiner

In cases of serious physical injury, sexual abuse or sexual assault, the DHHR Supervisor or
designee must:
      forward a copy of the report to the appropriate law-enforcement agency, the prosecuting
       attorney or the coroner or medical examiner=s office, as required by Chapter 49-6A-5.
       The appropriate report to send is contained within FACTS and is a DDE report titled
       ACPS Report for Law Enforcement@ (CPS-0188). The report should be printed from
       FACTS and mailed promptly to the appropriate agencies. A copy of the report should be
       filed within the FACTS file cabinet in order to document whether DHHR fulfilled its duty.

      make a report to the Multi disciplinary Investigative Team, as established by Chapter 49-
       5D-2, per the local protocol for MDT=s.

2.6 Hot Line

The DHHR currently provides a toll-free Hot Line for child abuse and neglect reports by contract
with CRISS CROSS, a private non-profit agency, of Clarksburg. The Hot Line operates twenty-

                                       32203
four hours- per- day, seven-days- a- week, including all weekends and holidays. Reports of child
abuse or neglect may be made to either the Hot Line or to the local DHHR office. Reports made
to the Hot Line shall be transmitted promptly to the local DHHR office by the Hot Line. The local
DHHR shall respond to reports from the Hot Line in the same manner as reports made directlyto
the office.


2.7 Recurrent Reports
In general, all reports suspecting child abuse or neglect must be accepted and assessed. The
term recurrent reports or multiple reports, means a series of similar reports involving a familythat
is already being assessed, or is the subject of a recent assessment or is already an opened
case for CPS.

When a report is received concerning a family that contains the exact same allegations that have
already been assessed or are being assessed, the subsequent report may be screened out.
Usually, it is appropriate to screen this subsequent report if it is received within 30-45 days.
Anything past this time frame may indicate repeated maltreatment, especially if the allegations
are of physical abuse.

If, however, the subsequent report contains information concerning another incident of suspected
abuse or neglect, or new circumstances or conditions, the report must be accepted and another
initial assessment and safety evaluation completed. When completing subsequent initial
assessments and safety evaluations on a family, it is possible to utilize already available
information regarding the parent and family functioning in the subsequent assessment if there
have been no changes in those areas. However, the new information regarding the
maltreatment, nature of the maltreatment and the child functioning must be documented.

For repeated allegations on open CPS cases, the above criteria may be utilized. Additionally, if
the allegations that are being reported are those for which the case was opened, the referent‟s
information may be taken as “case information” and not handled as a new referral. This “case
information”, however, must prompt a home visit to the family. Again, if the subsequent report on
an open case involves allegations of physical abuse/injury, the worker should conduct an
investigation.


2.8 Reports Involving Another Jurisdiction

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving another state, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.
The supervisor will:


                                        33203
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.

      contact the child protective services agency in the other state and make a report to them.

      contact the appropriate law enforcement agency in the other state and make a report to
       them, if required.

      depending upon the case situation, it may be necessary for both states to work together
       to conduct an initial assessment and safety evaluation.

      if providing a courtesy interview is the only activity required, the report should be
       screened out and an intake for Arequest to receive services@, should be entered into
       FACTS.
For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving another county, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.
The supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.

      contact the CPS Intake Supervisor in the other county to share the information and
       discuss how best to respond to the report.

      depending upon the case situation, it may be necessary for both counties to work
       together to conduct an initial assessment and safety evaluation. Courtesy interviews may
       be necessary. Workers may travel to another county to conduct an interview at the
       discretion of the Supervisors involved. The decision should be made in consideration of
       what will be the most effective manner in which to conduct the assessment. Generally,
       the child=s county of residence would be considered the Ahome@ county and the county
       in which the alleged incident occurred would conduct any necessary courtesy interviews.
       The most important aspect will be the communication between the two supervisors in
       planning how to complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation. If both parents live
       in the same county, but the abuse occurred in another county, the county where the child
       resides would be the primary investigator.

      If the parents live in separate counties, the county where the abusive caretaker
       resides/county where abuse occurred would be the primary investigator.

      A petition may be filed in any county where either (1) the child resides, (2) one or more of
       the custodial respondents or alleged maltreaters reside, or, (3) the county where the
       abuse of the alleged child victim occurred. However, a petition may be filed in only one
       county.

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2.9 Reports Involving Certain Abandoned Children (Safe Haven)

The West Virginia Legislature enacted new legislation in 2000 regarding the acceptance of
certain abandoned children by hospitals or health care facilities, without court order. This new
legislation may be found in Chapter 49-6E-1. The statute permits hospitals or health care
facilities to take possession of a child if the child is voluntarily delivered to the hospital or health
care facility by the child=s parent within thirty days of the child=s birth and the parent did not
express an intent to return for the child. The hospital or health care facility may not require the
parent to identify themselves, and shall respect the parent=s desire to remain anonymous. The
hospital or health care facility must notify CPS by the close of the first business day after the date
the parent left the child, that it has taken possession of the child. Any information provided bythe
parent shall be given to CPS by the hospital or health care facility.

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving certain abandoned children, the worker
and the supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, indicating that the allegations of maltreatment are neglect
       (abandonment) , accepting the report for an initial assessment and transmitting the
       report to the Initial Assessment Supervisor for assignment to a worker.

2.10 Reports Involving Child Custody
The Circuit Court or Family Court Judge must report suspected child abuse or neglect to CPS.
Ch. 49-6A-9(b)(5) also permits the Circuit Court or the Family Court Judge to require that CPS
submit a written report of the investigation within time frames set forth by the Circuit Court or
Family Court Judge.

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving child custody from the Circuit Court or
the Family Court Judge, pursuant to 49-6A-9(b)(5), the worker and the supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, indicating the response time to be within the time frames set forth by
       the reporter.

2.11 Reports Made by the Court During Infant Guardianship Proceedings

WV Code 44-10-3 allows suitable individuals to petition for guardianship of minor children. If the
basis for the Infant Guardianship petition is abuse and/or neglect, the Circuit Court will hear the
case.

If the Infant Guardianship petition is based upon abuse and/or neglect, the Department will
receive notice of the Infant Guardianship proceedings. This will serve as a mandatory referralfor


                                          35203
investigation. CPS will then have not more than 45 days to submit a report regarding the findings
of the investigation or appear before the circuit court to show cause why the report has not been
submitted. If the circuit court believe the child to be in imminent danger, the court may shortenthe
time for the Department to act upon the referral and appear before the court. This will occur
using the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit Court form.

For reports from Circuit Court regarding Infant Guardianship proceedings, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse and/or neglect, indicating the response time to be within the time frames
       established by state code.

2.12 Reports Involving Critical Incidents

Whenever it is suspected that a child may have died or been severely injured as a result of
abuse or neglect, the worker and the supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.
If the deceased or severely injured child, the child=s parents or the child=s siblings were:
1. previously (within 12 months) investigated by CPS;

2. current or prior (within 12 months) subjects of an open CPS case;

3. was a child in state's custody but physically residing with the parent, the supervisor or
   designee will:
               make an immediate report through the Field Operations Chain of Command
           using the revised Initial Critical Incident Reporting Form (SS-CPS-5). The report
           will be directed to the Community Services Manager as well as to the Regional
           Director. The Regional Director will share the report with the Regional Program
           Manager before forwarding it to the Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations
           and the Commissioner.
               The ACPS Report for Law Enforcement@ (CPS-0188) report will be forwarded
           to the county Prosecuting Attorney, the appropriate law-enforcement agency and the
           Medical Examiner or Coroner. The form for the report is contained within FACTS.
           The report should be printed from FACTS and mailed promptly to the appropriate
           agencies. A copy of the report should be filed within the FACTS file cabinet in order
           to document whether DHHR fulfilled its duty.
               make a report to the Multi disciplinary Investigative Team, as established by
           Chapter 49-5D-2, per the local protocol for MDT=s. The Initial Critical Incident
           Reporting Form (SS-CPS-5) can be used for this purpose.
               indicate within the appropriate field on the Intake Screen within FACTS that the

                                        36203
           report is a ACritical Incident@.
              refer any inquiries from the news media to the Regional Director who will consult
           with the Director of Communications within the DHHR Office of the Secretary about
           how to respond.

2.13 Reports Involving DHHR Employees or Other Potential Conflicts of
Interest

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving DHHR employees or others who may
present a conflict of interest, such as relatives of DHHR employees, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, unless the report involves a relative, DHHR employee, intimate friend
       or close associate of the intake worker. If so, the intake worker should immediately refer
       the reporter to the supervisor or designee to take the report.
The supervisor will:
      contact the Community Services Manager or designee to discuss the report and to
       determine how it may best be handled. Under no circumstances should a CPS worker
       be assigned to the report if the worker is a relative of the alleged maltreater, the child or
       the families involved. ( 49-6A-9) Reports involving DHHR employees should not be
       handled by the Community Services District in which the person is employed. Other
       situations may also present a conflict of interest with CPS staff, such as situations
       involving an intimate friend or close associate of the staff. Those situations should be
       referred to the Community Services Manager and a determination made about how to
       best handle the initial assessment. If there is any doubt as to whether the initial
       assessment may be compromised by a conflict of interest, the report should be
       transferred to another Community Services District for initial assessment.

      take appropriate action within FACTS to have access to the case restricted.
The Community Services Manager or designee will:
      review the report and determine whether it is necessary to transfer the report to another
       Community Services District.

      contact the Regional Director or designee to make arrangements for the report to be
       transferred to another Community Services District for initial assessment when
       necessary.

      contact the Community Services Manager and CPS Supervisor in the other District to
       notify them of the transferred initial assessment.

2.14 Reports Involving Disabled Infants or Children with Life -threatening


                                        37203
Conditions (Baby Doe)

For reports of disabled infants or children with life-threatening conditions, the worker will attempt
to gather the following information:

      the name and address of the child and parents.

      the name and address of the hospital where the child is being treated.

      the condition of the child, and in particular, information regarding whether the child may
       die or suffer harm within the immediate future if medical treatment or appropriate
       nutrition, hydration or medication is being or will be withheld.

      the name and address of the person making the report, the source of their information,
       and his or her position to have reliable information.

      the names, addresses and telephone numbers of others who might be able to provide
       further information about the situation.

Following the information gathering process, the worker will:
      transmit this information to the supervisor for decision making about acceptance.
The supervisor will:

      review the intake for thoroughness and completeness.

      indicate whether the report will be accepted or screened out (if screened out, the
       supervisor must provide an explanation for the decision).

      identify the response time as immediate for all accepted reports.

      if accepted, transmit the report to the Initial Assessment Supervisor for assignment to a
       worker.

2.15 Reports Involving Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behaviors used by one person in order to maintain
power and control in a relationship. The pattern of coercive behaviors include tactics of physical,
sexual, verbal, emotional and economical abuse, threats, intimidation, isolation, minimizing, and
using children. When there is reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or is
at risk of being abused or neglected as a result of domestic violence occurring between the
adults in the home a report should be made to CPS. There is growing awareness of the

                                         38203
correlation between the existence of child abuse and neglect and domestic violence. Domestic
violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities in this country.
Children may be physically injured unintentionally during a dispute, they may become the objects
of the violence, they may feel helpless and full of guilt for the violence occurring in their homes,
and they may perpetuate the cycle of violence by becoming a batterer or being in a relationship
with one. Children may be neglected when the adult victim becomes so immobilized by the
battering that he/she is unable to provide the necessary care for the child. Children may be
emotionally harmed when exposed to domestic violence. Exposure to battering may cause
damage to emotional and physical development and may result in immediate problems as well
as life-long effects. The quarreling and aggression associated with witnessing the assault of a
parent or other loved one, can cause emotional harm to children as evidenced by damage to
brain development, depression or moodiness, deterioration in school performance, damage to
relationships with friends, isolation and withdrawal and violent or delinquent behavior. Children
who have witnessed violence may act out their fears in the form of aggression towards others,
especially their siblings. On the other hand, some children evidence the emotional harm by
becoming rigidly compliant, passive, hyper-alert and extremely vigilant in following rules. Such
children may do well in school in their efforts to never make a mistake, but such hyper vigilant
behavior is simply internalized emotional damage as opposed to the externalized emotional
harm evidenced by aggression. As adults they are more likely to become victims of domestic
violence, or to become violent themselves. Studies indicate that 80-90 percent of children living
in homes with domestic violence are aware of the violence, yet parents tend to under report the
extent to which children are aware of the violence.

It is important that workers, when completing referrals, guide the interview with the referent to
gather as much information as possible about the battering dynamics. Direct questions should
probe the referent about the presence of power and control displayed in the behavior of one
individual in the adult relationship. When completing the referral, the intake worker should ask
questions that would reveal the predominant aggressor if the allegations include that both
parents are using violence (i.e., Who is injured? Does either have a history of injuries? Who is
fearful?) Workers must be careful to not confuse violence caused by substance abuse, drug
manufacturing/sales or mental illness as battering. The intake worker should consult the “Power
and Control Wheel” for clarification. It is imperative that an adult victim be documented as such
in order to better prepare the investigative worker‟s approach to the first steps of intervention.

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving domestic violence, including reports of
child exposure to domestic violence, the worker and the supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.

      complete demographic screen “Role in Intake” picklists using the proper identifying
       values. Please note that more than one value can be used per family member. Special
       consideration should be given to the following:


                                         39203
   1. “Alleged Batterer” and “Alleged Maltreater”should be used to identify the predominant
      aggressor. This means that if the referent states that “parents fight all the time”, the intake
      worker will need to ask probing questions to determine the presence of power and
      control in the relationship.

   2. “Adult Victim of Domestic Violence” should be used to identify the individual who is a
      victim of domestic violence.

2.15.1 Reports Made by the Court During Domestic Violence Protective
Order Proceedings

Rule 47 of the West Virginia Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court requires
reporting to CPS whenever allegations of child abuse and neglect arise during (1) a petition for
a Domestic Violence Protective Order; or (2) during a Family Court hearing on a petition for a
Domestic Violence Protective order.
When these allegations arise, the Family Court will send a written report to CPS, the Circuit
Court and to the Prosecuting Attorney. The Circuit Court will then enter an administrative order to
the Department, ordering an investigation and a report back within 45 days (or less if the
allegations involve imminent danger). The Circuit Court will also set a date for a hearing
regarding the investigation report. DHHR can avoid this hearing if (a) the CPS
worker/supervisor files the report within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent
danger, or (b) files a petition.

For reports from Circuit Court regarding allegations made during Domestic Violence Protective
Order proceedings, the worker will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, indicating the response time to be within the time frames established
       by state code.

2.16 Reports Involving Parents Knowingly Allowing Abuse and/or
Neglect

There have been multiple Supreme Court of Appeals decisions over the past 20 years that have
helped define the standard for parental responsibility when their children are abused and/or
neglected at the hands of others. The statutory abuse and neglect definition for this is “A parent,
guardian or custodian who knowingly or intentionally inflicts, attempts to inflict or knowingly
allows another person to inflict, physical injury or mental or emotional injury, upon a child in the
home.” This language replaces the old concept of “failure to protect” which is nebulous and does
not capture the full intent, nor does it adequately identify the actions, or inactions, of a parent.



                                         40203
Generally, “Knowingly Allows” does not necessarily require actual knowledge of the abuse. If the
circumstances are such that the parent knew or should have known, the standard is met.

One of these Supreme Court decisions, In Regarding Betty J.W., (1988), added a clarification
of the “Knowingly Allows…” standard for parents who are victims of domestic violence.
Specifically, the court found that when an adult victim takes “steps to protect” his or her children
that are reasonable in light of the threat posed by the batterer and “does not defend the abuser
or condone the abusive conduct”, then the individual “does not „knowingly allow‟ the abuse”.

It is important that workers, when completing referrals, guide the interview with the referent to
gather as much information as possible about the abuse dynamics. Direct questions should
probe the referent about the non-abusive parent‟s knowledge of the abuse and any action or
inaction about which the referent is aware, as well as thoroughly screen for any indications of
domestic violence. It is imperative that an adult victim be documented as such in order to better
prepare the investigative worker‟s approach to the first steps of intervention. Knowing whether or
not the non-abusive parent is also an adult victim will script the very nature of the initial contacts
with the family, and help preliminarily determine if a parent is “knowingly allowing” his or her child
to be abused.

For reports alleging that a parent or guardian knowingly allowed abuse to occur, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, indicating the response time to be within the time frames established
       by state code;

      complete demographic screen “Role in Intake” picklists using the proper identifying
       values. Please note that more than one value can be used per family member. Special
       consideration should be given to the following:

   3. “Alleged Maltreater” should be used to identify the parent who is actually perpetrating the
      abuse and/or neglect against the children.

   4. “Non-maltreating Parent” should be used to identify the individual who is not perpetrating
      the abuse and/or neglect against the children. This value is replacing the “Protective
      Parent” picklist value.

   5. “Parent Knowingly Allows Abuse/Neglect” should be used to identify the parent who is not
      the perpetrator of the acts of abuse but appears to be “knowingly allowing abuse and/or
      neglect”.

   6. “Adult Victim of Domestic Violence” should be used to identify the individual who is a
      victim of domestic violence (see CPS policy Section 2.15 Reports Regarding Domestic
      Violence.



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2.17 Reports Involving Allegations Made During Divorce/Custody
Proceedings

Rule 47 of the West Virginia Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court requires the
Family Court to report to CPS whenever allegations of child abuse and/or neglect arise during
divorce and/or custody proceedings in Family Court.

When these allegations arise, the Family Court will send a written report to CPS, the Circuit
Court and to the Prosecuting Attorney. The Circuit Court will then enter an administrative order to
the Department, ordering an investigation and a report back within 45 days (or less if the
allegations involve imminent danger). The Circuit Court will also set a date for a hearing
regarding the investigation report. DHHR can avoid this hearing if (a) the CPS
worker/supervisor files the report within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent
danger, or (b) files a petition.

For reports arising out of divorce/custody proceedings, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, indicating the response time to be within the time frames established
       within state code.

2.18 Reports Involving Family Child Care Settings

Family child care settings are investigated by Child Protective Services staff using the IIUformat.
For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving a child care home, the worker will
attempt to gather the following information and will use the IIU format in FACTS:

      the name, age and current location of the child.

      the name, address and position of the suspected maltreater.

      information about the suspected maltreatment, including time(s) and date(s).

      how the child functions, including pervasive behaviors, feelings, intellect, physical
       capacity and temperament.

      the names of individuals, staff or residents who have direct knowledge of the incident and
       their whereabouts.

      where the suspected maltreater is at the time of the intake.

      who the reporter is (name, address, and phone)


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      how the reporter came to know about the concerns

      why the reporter is reporting the situation at this time.

      whether the maltreater knows the report is being made.

      what actions, if any, have been taken by the agency?

      the reporter‟s opinions about needed actions and child‟s safety.

Following the information gathering process with the reporter, the worker will:
      indicate whether the allegations of maltreatment are abuse, neglect, sexual abuse or
       other.

      enter the name of the facility/provider in the facility field within FACTS.

      review the intake for thoroughness and then transmit the report for review and decision
       making regarding acceptance and response time.

      transmit report to the CPS intake supervisor.

The supervisor will:

      review the intake for thoroughness and completeness.

In determining whether to accept the report or screen it out, the supervisor must consider :
      whether the information collected meets the statutory or operational definitions of child
       abuse or neglect. CPS will not investigate non-compliance or referrals that do not meet
       the definitions of abuse and neglect.

      Non-compliance issues will be referred to Child Care R&R staff.

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving group residential and foster family
settings and child care center settings, please refer to the IIU policies INVESTIGATIONS
INVOLVING INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT (IIU) AND CHILD MALTREATMENT IN
GROUP RESIDENTIAL AND FOSTER FAMILY SETTINGS and INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT (IIU) AND CHILD CARE CENTER SETTINGS.


2.19 Reports Involving Non-custodial Parents


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For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving a non-custodial parent, the worker and
the supervisor will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect by a custodial parent.

      the case name will be that of the alleged maltreater.

Reports may not be screened out because the child does not live with the suspected
maltreating parent full-time or the parent does not have custody of the child. In addition, reports
may not be screened out due to the parents having a dispute over the custody of the child.


2.20 Reports Involving Parental Substance Abuse

When there is reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or is at risk of being
abused or neglected as a result of a parent=s alcohol or drug abuse a report should be made to
CPS. Severe parental substance abuse may affect the parent=s ability to provide adequate
care for their child. The focus of CPS in these situations is to assess the parent=s willingness
and ability to provide adequate care for their child, even if there is no other reported
maltreatment. In some situations, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment or
neglect may be suspected in association with substance abuse. If so, the already occurring
maltreatment must be reported and assessed, along with the risk for future maltreatment of the
child.

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving parental substance abuse, the worker
and the supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.

      identify the maltreatment type as Arisk@ within the appropriate FACTS screen. if no
       maltreatment is reported, but risk of maltreatment is reported due to parental substance
       abuse.



2.21 Reports Involving Drug-affected Infants

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), one of the key pieces of federal
legislation that guides child protective services, was reauthorized on June 25, 2003. With that
reauthorization came an amendment entitled Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.


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This new legislation requires that child protective services and other community service
providers address the needs of new-born infants who have been identified as being affected by
illegal drug abuse or experiencing withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure.
Health care providers who are involved in the delivery or care of such infants are required to
make a report to child protective services.

For reports of drug-affected infants, the receiving worker will attempt to gather from the referent
the following information:

      the name and address of the infant and parent(s).

      the name and address of the medical facility where the child was delivered.

      the infant=s drug results, including type of drug for which the infant tested positive, if
       applicable.

      the birth mother=s drug test results, including type of drug for which she tested positive.

      information from the delivering obstetrician, nurse practitioner, mid-wife or other qualified
       medical personnel as to the condition of the infant upon birth. The statement should
       include specific data as to how the in-utero drug exposure has affected the
       infant (e.g., withdrawal, physical and/or neurological birth defects).

      the infant=s birth weight and gestational age.

      the extent of prenatal care received by the birth mother.

      the names and ages of any siblings the infant may have, including any effects the birth
       mother=s drug usage has on those children.

Following the information gathering process with the reporter, the worker will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for entering intakes as other reports of suspected
       child abuse and neglect into FACTS, indicating that the allegations of maltreatment are
       Arisk only@ and the type is Adrug use- parent.@

      complete the AMed/Drug@ screens in FACTS (Intake, CPS, Med/Drug). Both the
       AMedical Information@ and the AInfant and Parent Drug Test Information@ screens should
       contain the drug-related information gathered from the referent.

      transmit the information to the supervisor for decision making about acceptance.



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The supervisor will:

      review the intake for thoroughness and completeness.

      indicate whether the report will be accepted or screened out (if screened out, the
       supervisor must provide an explanation for the reason the report did not meet the
       mandate regarding drug-affected infants).

      if accepted, transmit the report to the Initial Assessment Supervisor for assignment to a
       worker.

2.22 Reports Involving Requests from Law Enforcement

For reports of suspected child abuse and neglect perpetrated by someone other than a parent,
guardian or custodian, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect by a custodial parent.
The supervisor will:
      determine whether the request is reasonable in consideration of the CPS role on the
       local Multi Disciplinary Investigative team. CPS workers may assist the MDT with
       criminal investigations of serious child abuse or sexual assault and provide expertise in
       child interviewing, evaluating the need for services and making referrals to community
       resources and support services. This assistance may be provided at the discretion of
       the Community Services Manager.

      screen out the report and enter an intake for Arequest to receive services@in FACTS if
       assisting with an interview or a referral to services is the only activity required.



2.23 Reports Involving School Personnel

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving school personnel, please refer to the
IIU policy INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT (IIU) AND
CHILD MALTREATMENT IN SCHOOL SETTINGS.


2.24 Reports Involving Sexual or Abusive Interactions between Children
Children may engage in roughhousing, fighting, sexual play or exploration with other children.
Such activities may be within the boundaries of normal, natural child or adolescent behavior.
When inappropriate, abusive or excessive sexual interactions occur between siblings, unrelated

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children, young children and adolescents, the parent has the responsibility to find and
understand the cause of the behavior, protect the child from recurrence and obtain treatment for
the harmed child if indicated. In these situations, the aggressor should not be listed as the
maltreater. The investigation would be conducted based upon whether or not the
parents of the harmed child were knowingly allowing the abuse to occur and not taking
responsibility for their child.

For reports of suspected child abuse or neglect involving sexual or abusive interactions between
children, the worker will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.

The supervisor will:

      consider whether the incident may be a result of neglect by the parent, such as
       inadequate supervision.

      consider the appropriateness of the parent=s response to the incident and his/her
       willingness and ability to address the child=s needs, both medical and emotional.

      consider whether the reported incident is within the realm of normal, natural child play or
       exploration between same age children.

      forward a copy of the report to the Prosecuting Attorney and appropriate Law
       Enforcement agency, if indicated.

      refer the parent to community services which may be of assistance to the family, if
       indicated.

      Refer the parent to the Juvenile Probation Office or appropriate Law Enforcement
       Agency, if indicated.

      accept the referral and transmit it to the Initial Assessment Supervisor if the supervisor is
       not reasonably confident that the incident is within the realm of normal, natural child play
       or exploration, is not the result of neglect (inadequate supervision) or that the parent is
       going to seek appropriate treatment for the child.

      follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect.




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2.25 Reports Involving Registered Child Sex Offenders

More and more frequently, we are hearing reports of children who fall victim to crimes committed
by convicted child sex offenders who have served their prison terms and are back in the
community. We are also aware of the statistics that put the recidivism rates for child sex
offenders at 90%.

West Virginia State Code section §15-12, Sex Offender Registration Act, requires that certain
sex offenders register demographic information about themselves in order that citizens maytake
appropriate precautions to protect its vulnerable populations. This statute also requires lifetime
registration for any individual who commits a sexual crime against a child under the age of 18.

In order to help further protect children from the risk of harm by registered child sex offenders,
CPS will accept for investigation referrals alleging that a registered child sex offender has
unlimited and/or unrestricted access to a child under the age of 18. An example of unlimited
and/or unrestricted access would be if the biological parent co-habitates with the registered
child sex offender and the children also reside in the home, even if only part-time. Other
examples of unlimited and/or unrestricted access include child sex offenders who: act as a
caretaker, even part-time; spend the night with the non-child sex offender parent and is able to
come and go from room-to-room at will; is a relative and the non-child sex offender parent leaves
the child in the child sex offender‟s care, even if only one day per week. Please note that this is
not to mean the children must be unsupervised for it to qualify as “unlimited and/or
unrestricted”. “Part-time” means someone who may be a paramour or relative, who has
frequent access but is not a resident. It could also be used to describe an offender who may be
present only on weekends, but not during the week.

The investigations will be conducted as a “risk only” referral, based upon whether or
not the parent(s) of the at-risk child were knowingly allowing the registered child sex
offender to have unlimited and/or unrestricted access to the child, even though the risk
type is “Previous Sexual Offenses Toward Another Child”.

For reports of unlimited and/or unrestricted access of a child to a registered sex offender, the
worker will:

      Follow the same rules and procedures for intake as other reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect, indicating that the allegations of maltreatment are “risk only” and the
       type is “Previous Sexual Offenses toward a Child”.

      Complete a search of the West Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry located on
       the internet at http://www.wvstatepolice.com/sexoff/, making sure that (1) the individualis,
       indeed, listed on the registry, and (2) that the individual was convicted and registered for
       a sex offense against a child under the age of 18.

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      Document the results of the search in the intake “CPS Forces-Parent Force” screen in
       FACTS.

The supervisor will:

      Review the intake for thoroughness and completeness.

      Indicate whether the referral will be accepted or screened out. If screened out, the
       supervisor must provide an explanation for the reason the referral did not indicate risk to
       the child(ren).

      Identify the response time as “14 days” due to the “risk only” nature of the referral, unless
       there are compelling circumstances to warrant a more expedient response time.

2.26 Reports involving individuals on the Child Abuse and Neglect
Registry

WV Code §15-13-1 et seq. requires individuals convicted of child abuse and neglect register
with the State Police for a period of ten years. The State Police must forward the initial
registration and future updates to the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
DHHR is then responsible for distributing the information to various entities, maintaining a
record of requests for information, and conducting initial assessments when appropriate. This
protocol will outline the steps necessary to satisfy the legislative requirements.

The Division of Children and Adult Services will receive the notifications from the State Police
and will forward the notifications to the appropriate DHHR District Offices within two (2) business
days. The District Office will receive the notifications when a registrant resides, is employed, or
attends school or training facility in the home county of the District Office.

When the DHHR District Office receives a Child Abuse Notification due to a registrant working
or attending school in a county within that districts jurisdiction, the following must occur:
      Within three (3) business days of receiving the notification statement mail a copy of the
       notification to the supervisor of the sheriff‟s department, as well as the supervisors of all
       municipal and campus law enforcement agencies, in the county where the registrant is
       employed or attends school

      Within three (3) business days of receiving the notification statement mail a copy of the
       notification to the county superintendent of schools where the registrant is employed or
       attends school

When the DHHR District Office receives a Child Abuse Notification and the registrant resides

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within that districts jurisdiction, the following must occur:
      Within three (3) business days of receiving the notification statement mail a copy of the
       notification to the supervisor of the sheriff‟s department, as well as the supervisors of all
       municipal and campus law enforcement agencies, in the county where the registrant
       resides

      Within three (3) business days of receiving the notification statement mail a copy of the
       notification to the county superintendent of schools where the registrant resides

      review the notification to determine if the registrant is residing with children.


If the notification indicates that the registrant is residing with children, a CPS referral must be
entered in FACTS due to the children being at risk of child abuse and/or neglect. An Initial
Assessment must be completed on the family unless:
      an initial assessment has previously been completed on the family due to the registrant‟s
       status on the child abuse registration; and

      the notification is an update with no additional children listed.

If an updated notification is received listing children not in the residence at the time of the
previous initial assessment, a new initial assessment must be completed based upon the risk of
harm due to the registrant‟s prior offenses. (See CPS Policy Section 3.26 for information
concerning completing the initial assessment and safety evaluation)



CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 3

3.1 Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation

Initial assessment of a report of child maltreatment sets the stage for the problem validation,
service provision, and the establishment of a helping relationship in CPS. The initial
assessment process includes information gathering and analysis to determine safety needs.

While the process of initial assessment and safety evaluation is occurring, the supervisor will:
      conduct regular supervisory meetings with the worker to provide support, guidance and
       case consultation and to regulate the quality of casework practice.




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3.2 Purposes

The primary purposes of initial assessment and safety evaluation are;

      to gather information for decision making;

      to explain a community concern to the family;

      to explain the agency=s purpose;

      to assess the presence and level of risk and evaluate the level of safety;

      to reduce trauma to the child and to secure safety as indicated;

      to promote family preservation and expend reasonable efforts; and

      to offer help.



3.3 Decisions

The decisions that must be made during the initial assessment and safety evaluation are;
      is this a case of child maltreatment?

      what is the level of risk to the child? What dangers threaten safety?

      what family conditions exist which can be addressed by safety responses?

      what is the extent and level of severity?

      how immediate is the threat to safety?

      what safety responses are indicated? What safety plan will control for safety?

      what is the family=s potential for participation with CPS?



3.4 Initial Assessment Protocol

Upon assignment of a report for initial assessment, the worker will:

      review the report and all previous reports, records, and documentation on the family

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       which are relevant to CPS.

      develop a plan for completion of the initial assessment, taking into account the response
       time indicated at intake. The preferable site to interview the child is one which is child-
       friendly, neutral, confidential, imparting a feeling of psychological safety. It is the position
       of the DHHR that the choice of the site of the interviews and who is present during an
       interview is left to the discretion of the CPS staff. This choice is affirmed in 49-6A-9
       which requires certain groups to provide Asuch assistance.....as will enable it to fulfill its
       responsibilities.@ Such assistance can and should, when necessary, be interpreted to
       mean private interviews.

      There are some exceptions. If a child indicates that he or she would be more
       comfortable with a teacher, counselor or other person present during an interview, then
       the worker can include that person, as long as the person is not the alleged maltreater.
       The alleged maltreater or non-maltreating parent may also indicate that he or she would
       like to have an advocate, counselor, attorney or other person present during an interview,
       and the worker must make arrangements to accommodate that request. However, under
       no circumstances should a child be left in an unsafe situation while waiting to make
       arrangements for the interview.

      contact law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney or the medical examiner if the report
       involves serious physical injury, sexual abuse, sexual assault or death of a child, to
       coordinate any arrangements for a joint investigation/initial assessment. If the
       prosecuting attorney and/or the law enforcement official declines to proceed with a joint
       investigation/assessment, CPS must proceed as the sole entity conducting the initial
       assessment and safety evaluation. The failure of law enforcement or the multi
       disciplinary investigative team to conduct an investigation of reports of suspected child
       abuse or neglect does not relieve DHHR of its responsibilities to protect children.

      contact the local multi disciplinary investigative team according to the protocol
       established in collaboration with the prosecuting attorney and local law enforcement. A
       multi disciplinary investigative team should be established in each county and should be
       headed and directed by the prosecuting attorney, pursuant to Chapter 49-5-D. The team
       should be responsible for A....coordinating or cooperating in the initial and on-going
       investigation of all civil and criminal allegations pertinent to cases involving child sexual
       assault, child sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect...@ (49-5D-2)

Under no circumstances shall the CPS worker be relatives of the alleged maltreater, the child or
the families involved. (49-6A-9) Any other situation which creates a potential conflict of interest
should be handled by another worker or Community Services District. (See Intake Policy--
Section 2: Reports Involving DHHR Employees or Other Potential Conflicts of Interest.)

In completing the initial assessment, the worker will:

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   make face-to-face contact with the family.

   identify him/herself as a Child Protective Service Worker from the WV Department of
    Health and Human Resources. Display state employee identification to all family
    members and any other individuals to be interviewed.

   inform the parents, with a brief description, of the child abuse or neglect allegations, the
    reason for the contact and the process for completing the Initial Assessment and Safety
    Evaluation. If permission to conduct the interview(s) is denied, then the worker willexplain
    to the family that s/he must discuss this situation with the CPS supervisor. Once the
    supervisor has reviewed the situation, the supervisor or worker must contact the
    prosecuting attorney or regional attorney for consultation on how to gain access so that
    the child/family may be interviewed.

   provide the parents with the booklet, AA Parent=s Guide to Working with Child Protective
    Services@. The worker will place his/her name and contact information in the appropriate
    place in the booklet. Briefly explain the content. This booklet briefly explains the parents‟
    rights during the CPS process. The worker will assure the parents that s/he can help
    answer any questions they have during the assessment process.

   make face-to-face contact with the identified child (ren) in the time indicated as the
    response time on the intake. If unable to do this, the worker must document the reasons
    in FACTS.

   ask the child=s parents if they are represented by legal counsel. If the parents are
    represented by legal counsel, then the worker should not continue the interview without
    first obtaining the permission of counsel to do so. If permission to conduct the interview
    is denied, then the worker will discuss this situation with their supervisor. Once the
    supervisor has reviewed this situation, the supervisor or the worker must contact the
    prosecuting attorney or regional attorney for consultation on how to gain access so that
    the child/family may be interviewed.

   privately interview all family members in the following order: (this means separate, private
    interviews for all parties.) If at all possible, the interviews should occur sequentially onthe
    same day.

          identified child
          siblings
          non-maltreating parent
          maltreating parent
          collaterals, as appropriate

   Collateral‟s should be contacted who can provide additional information necessary to

                                      53203
    make a determination about the safety of the child. Witnesses to the alleged
    maltreatment should also be interviewed in the Initial Assessment process. The CPS
    Social Worker may contact collaterals provided by the caretakers, however the
    caretakers should be advised that additional collaterals may be contacted other than
    those they provided. It may also be appropriate to contact collaterals prior to making
    contact with the family, i.e. contacting the court system to determine if there are current or
    past domestic violence protection orders on referrals concerning domestic violence.

   there is no requirement that interviews with children or with maltreaters be audio or video
    taped. However, some local multi disciplinary investigative teams have found audio or
    video taping interviews to be effective in reducing the number of times that a child is
    interviewed, especially when there are criminal allegations as well as civil allegations of
    child abuse or neglect. Local MDT=s are encouraged to become informed about the
    advantages and disadvantages of audio and video taping interviews. If the team
    decides to use either audio or video taping of interviews as part of their MDT protocol,
    then the DHHR may participate. It is recommended that the tapes become part of the
    criminal investigative file to be located with the law enforcement agency records, and not
    with CPS records maintained by the DHHR.

   if unable to complete the interviews at all and/or in this order, document the reasons why
    in the record.

   make arrangements to interview family members during non-business working hours, if
    necessary, to accommodate work schedules.

   upon completion of the individual interviews, the worker will reconvene the parents/family.
     Share with them a verbal summary of the findings; the worker will explain what theymean
    in terms of opening a case, child custody, or community referrals, including a mandatory
    referral to Birth to Three is there are children under age three and maltreatment was
    substantiated. The worker must explain what the next steps will be, if any. Before
    sharing the conclusions or beliefs about the maltreatment, the worker will make
    sure s/he has received approval from his/her supervisor to do so.

   document the dates and duration of these interviews.

   record the results of these interviews in the initial assessment format by describing in as
    much detail as possible the answers to the first seven questions which make up the initial
    assessment (the last three elements are completed if the case will be opened for
    ongoing services).

   document the sources of information.

   assess the level of risk by analyzing the results of these interviews/observation by
    categorizing and weighing the information collected using the initial assessment format.

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      assess both parents or caretakers in the home.

      assess all children judged to be at risk of maltreatment or for whom it is unknown whether
       they are at risk of maltreatment.

      assess the presence of safety influences in the family.

      determine whether maltreatment has occurred.

      determine if there is risk of maltreatment.

      develop a safety plan with the family if needed.



3.5 Interviews

When completing the interviews, the worker will attempt to specifically gather information (both
positive and negative) in the following areas:

      the types of maltreatment apparent; this includes all types of maltreatment, physical
       abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

      the surrounding circumstances which accompany the maltreatment; this should always
       include the parents= explanation of the circumstances related to the alleged
       maltreatment.

      how the children function on a daily basis, including pervasive behaviors, feelings,
       intellect, physical capacity and temperament; this must include consideration of capacity
       for attachment, general temperament, expressions of emotions/feeling, typicalbehaviors,
       presence and level of peer relationships, school performance and behaviors, known
       mental disorders (organic/inorganic), issues of independence/dependence, motor skills
       and physical capacity.

      the disciplinary approaches used by the parent(s), including the typical context; this must
       include consideration of when, how, where and for what reasons/purpose discipline might
       occur.

      the overall, typical, pervasive parenting practices used by the parent(s); this must include
       consideration of perception of children, reasons for being a parent, feelings about being
       a parent, knowledge and general skill, basic care, decision making about parenting,
       parenting style, history of parental behavior and success, sensitivity and understanding
       toward children, empathy and expectations.



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      daily mental health functioning and substance use by the parent(s); this must include
       consideration of reality perception, self-concept, coherence, rationality, self/emotional
       control, any impairment that is associated with mental health or substance use, self-
       concept and self-esteem, self-care and self-preservation.

      general adult functioning in respect to daily life management and adaptation; this must
       include consideration of communication, coping, stress management, impulse control,
       problem solving, judgment, decision making, independence, money and home
       management, employment, social relationships, citizenship and community involvement.

      adult=s history from infancy to 18 years; this must include consideration of the historical
       experience from the standpoint of satisfaction, needs being met, stability, security, role
       models and significant others, permanency, growth, nurturance and health.

      family functioning, communication and interaction; this must include considerationof how
       the family is structured, the clarity of roles and boundaries, who is in charge, how family
       decisions are reached, the level and type of communication used, the presence and use
       of affection, marital issues, presence/absence of family violence and the general
       feelings/climate within the family and relationship to the community, demographics such
       as family composition, education, employment, housing, income and health matters.

      the quality of supportive relationships (formal and informal) outside the home; this must
       include consideration of friends, neighbors, relatives (including separated/divorced
       parents), organizations, institutions, agencies, professionals, clubs, groups and howany
       of these serve as a supportive network in terms of how used, current capacity, previous
       use, dependability, access/availability and responsiveness.

3.6 Risk Assessment

Risk of maltreatment refers to family conditions present and interacting in a manner which leads
a reasonable person to conclude that, without intervention, child maltreatment is likely to occur
or continue. Risk assessment is concerned not only with confirming whether maltreatment
occurred, but with determining how likely maltreatment is to occur in the future.
Risk assessment involves information gathering and assessment about multiple elements within
the family. These elements are known to influence the likelihood of further maltreatment. The ten
elements which make up the WV CPSS are;

             Maltreatment
             Nature
             Child Functioning
             Adult General Functioning
             Adult Mental Health Functioning
             Parenting Discipline

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             Parenting General
             Adult Childhood History
             Family Functioning
             Family Support Network

The Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation is the risk assessment tool for SVCPSS. It will be
completed at the time when sufficient information has been collected and/or at any point in time
during the life of the case where a new referral is received and the new information is significant
enough to suggest a new initial assessment is required, or when it is necessary for decision
making to completely understand risk influences throughout the field. The purposes of the initial
assessment are to organize information for decision making, to assess the significance of
information and to analyze case data.

When weighing information to complete the risk assessment, the worker will:

               enter sufficient information in the space provided in the first seven elements:
           maltreatment, nature, child functioning, adult general functioning, mental health
           functioning, parenting--discipline and parenting--general.
               document sources of information in the elements.
               enter Aunknown@ and the reason(s) the information is unknown. If information is
           unknown because the worker has not attempted to gather it, the worker must make
           additional contacts with clients and others to gather the information.
               specify both negative and positive information concerning the family.
               use the anchor criteria as a reference to match the specific information about the
           family.
               choose the anchor number which most closely reflects the information about the
           family.
               provide the positive information concerning the family when an element is rated 0
           or 1.
               provide the extremely negative information concerning the family when anelement
           is rated 4.
               choose a .5 rating if the family information gathered matches the anchor criteria
           for two numbers (e.g. 1 and 2, worker chooses 1.5); the only exception to this is the
           maltreatment element in which the highest maltreatment apparent should determine
           the anchor rating.
               choose an anchor by reading from the higher end of the scale and working down
           to the lower end.
               rate unknown information at the highest level (information may be unknown
           because the client avoids, hides or will not share the information).

There does not have to be physical evidence, admission by the parent or a conclusive statement
made by the child to make a positive finding for maltreatment. It is not unusual for the parent or
child to avoid disclosing information. It is not unusual for there to be no physical evidence of

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maltreatment, especially if there has been much of a time lapse since an alleged incident of
physical abuse and the initial face-to-face contact. All of the information available to the worker
must be assessed and analyzed in order to make a determination of whether maltreatment
occurred or not. This includes collateral information from school personnel, medical personnel,
mental health personnel and/or the worker=s observation of symptoms or indicators of
maltreatment.

When the worker, through the initial assessment process, determines that no maltreatment has
occurred, the worker will:

      document how s/he determined that there was no maltreatment, in the maltreatment
       element, and rate this 0.

      describe the parents= explanation of the circumstances which support the worker=s
       finding of no maltreatment, in the nature element, and rate this 0. (A 0 rating in
       maltreatment always requires a 0 rating in the nature element.)



3.7 Determining Risk Level

In determining the level of risk for a family, the worker will:
      calculate the final risk score by adding the ratings for each of the seven rated elements.

      use the highest rating for any one element which has more than one rating.



3.8 Foreseeable Dangers SECTIONS 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, AND PARTS OF 3.14
AND 3.17 HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY WEST VIRGINIA SAFETY FIRST.
PLEASE CONSULT THE SAFETY FIRST CONSTRUCTS, SAFETY FIRST
FORMS AND OTHER SAFETY FIRST MATERIALS PROVIDED DURING
TRAINING FOR THE PROCEDURES FOR COMPLETING THE SAFETY
ASSESSMENT, SAFETY PLANS AND CASE OPENING.

The worker will also judge the presence or absence of the following foreseeable danger
conditions:

      one or both parents intend(ed) to hurt child and do not show remorse; Aintended@
       suggests that before or during the time the child was maltreated, the parents= conscious
       purpose was to hurt the child. This should be distinguished from an instance in which the
       parent meant to discipline or punish the child and the child was hurt. (A foreseeable

                                          58203
    danger)

   parents= whereabouts are unknown; the whereabouts of parents or adult caretakers of
    the child are unknown at the time when the Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation are
    being completed and this affects the safety of the child. (A foreseeable danger)

   living arrangements seriously endanger the physical health of the child; refers to
    conditions in the home which may be life threatening or seriously endanger the physical
    health of the child, as in the situation where people discharge firearms without regard to
    who might be harmed or where the lack of hygiene is so dramatic as to cause or
    potentially cause serious illness or problems with the physical structure or other
    conditions of the home are so great that the child=s health and safety is threatened. To
    meet the safety definition, home conditions must be immediately threatening.

   both parents cannot/do not explain injuries and/or conditions; parents are unable or
    unwilling to provide an explanation regarding the maltreating conditions or injuries which
    is consistent with the facts. (B foreseeable danger)

   maltreating parent exhibits no remorse or guilt; the maltreating parent demonstrates no
    evidence of remorse or guilt for his/her actions. (B foreseeable danger)

   child shows effects of maltreatment, such as serious emotional symptoms and lack of
    behavioral control; serious suggests that the child=s condition has immediate
    implications for intervention, such as extreme emotional vulnerability and suicide
    prevention. Lack of behavior control describes the provocative child who stimulates
    reactions in others. (B foreseeable danger)

   child is fearful of home situation; Afearful@ includes specific family members and/or other
    conditions in the family such as the frequent presence of known drug users in the
    household. (B foreseeable danger)

   child is 0 through 6 years old and/or cannot protect self; this applies to all children 0
    through 6 years old; if the child is 7 years of age or older and information confirms that
    the child cannot protect him or herself (level of vulnerability), then this influence applies.
    (B foreseeable danger)

   child shows effects of maltreatment such as serious physical symptoms; Aserious@
    suggests that the child=s condition has immediate implications for intervention, such as
    the need for medical attention or extreme physical vulnerability. (B foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents cannot control behavior and/or are violent; this includes aggressive
    behavior and emotion as well as serious depression and chemical dependency which
    result in the inability to control behavior and emotion. (A foreseeable danger)



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   one or both parents have failed to benefit from previous professional help; this suggests
    that a record of the experience exists and is known and that the help was related to
    problems which are pertinent to risk and safety.

   there is some indication parents will flee; the family will likely hide the child by changing
    residences, leaving the jurisdiction, or refusing access to the child and the consequences
    for the child may be severe and immediate. (A foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents overtly reject intervention; this refers to a situation where the parent
    or parents refuse to see the worker and/or to let the worker see their child. (B
    foreseeable danger)

   child has exceptional needs which parents cannot/will not meet; Aexceptional@ refers
    specifically to child conditions which are either organic or naturally induced (as opposed
    to parental) such as retardation, blindness, physical handicap, etc. (A foreseeable
    danger)

   no adult in the home will perform parental duties and responsibilities; this refers only to
    adults (not children) in a caretaking role. Duties and responsibilities should be
    considered at a basic level consistent with the safety criteria of immediacy, controllability,
    and severity/vulnerability as in food, clothing, shelter, and level of supervision. (A
    foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents fear they will maltreat child and/or request placement, which
    suggests that a child may not be safe. (A foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents lack knowledge, skill, motivation in parenting which affects the
    child=s safety; parenting qualities of a basic nature apply. The judgment is based on
    parents= lacking basic knowledge or skill which prevents them from meeting the child=s
    basic needs. The lack of motivation results in parents abdicating their role to meet basic
    needs or failing to adequately perform the parent role which would meet the child=s basic
    needs. The inability/unwillingness to meet basic need creates a safety concern for the
    child. (A foreseeable danger)

   child is perceived in extremely negative terms by one or both of the parents; Aextremely@
    is meant to suggest a perception which is so negative, it would if present, create a safety
    concern for the child(ren) such as the parent who sees their child as possessed by the
    devil or the parent who sees their child acting in ways solely to cause the parent pain and
    suffering or the parent who perceives their child as being out to get them. (A foreseeable
    danger)

   child is seen by either parent as responsible for the parents= problems; child is blamed
    by the parents as causing their problems and this attitude will likely result in a safety
    concern for the child. (B foreseeable danger)

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       parents do not have resources to meet basic needs; Abasic needs@ refers to the
        family=s lack of even minimal resources to provide shelter, food, and clothing or the lack
        of capacity to use resources if they were available. (A foreseeable danger)



3.9 Safety Evaluation

If one or more of the A foreseeable dangers exist and/or two or more of the B foreseeable
dangers exist, the worker will:

       consider whether an adult (non-maltreating adult) in the home can protect the child by
        controlling these foreseeable dangers; the worker must specifically discuss with the
        individual how they will do this and develop a safety plan which involves the family and
        document this as a family-managed safety plan.

       if an adult family member is unable to protect, develop a safety plan which involves
        agency services directed at controlling for the identified foreseeable dangers and
        document this as an agency-managed safety plan.



3.10 Safety Analysis and Plan

Evaluating the safety of a child is a discrete function within CPS which is separate from
determining whether child abuse or neglect occurred and assessing and identifying risk or
maltreatment. ASafety@ refers to the present security and well-being of a child who has been
assessed to be at risk of maltreatment. Security and well-being are evaluated by how
controllable the child/family situation is; whether the child=s safety is an immediate concern; and
based on the kind of maltreatment which may be indicated, how severe the maltreatment, or its
results might be. Severity must be evaluated by considering the vulnerability of the child.

AControl@ refers to the implementation of a plan of action (safety plan) based on professional
judgment which is intended to manage known family conditions, which if left unattended, may
endanger the child. There are two time frames in which staff evaluate safety and respond:

       case circumstances are explosive, requiring immediate decisions and actions based on
        alarming and clear information (occurs within 1 day).

       case circumstances allow for deliberate information-gathering and assessment (occurs
        within a few days).

The safety analysis and plan or the continuing safety analysis should be used:

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      whenever the child is believed to be unsafe (there are 1 or more A foreseeable dangers
       or 2 or more B foreseeable dangers present within the family).

      at any time during the life of a case (following initial assessment and safety evaluation)
       when the safety of a child is in question.

      to document and support the dismissal of a safety plan has been in place, which includes
       both in-home and out-of-home safety plans.

      whenever a decision to reunify is being considered.

      prior to closure of the case, if the safety plan is still in effect.

In developing a safety plan (in-home or out-of-home), the worker will :

      involve the family in the discussion of safety issues, options for controlling for safety and
       the actual formalization of the safety plan.

      develop a comprehensive safety plan which will cover all the children in the family who are
       judged to be unsafe.

      describe how the identified foreseeable dangers manifest themselves in the family; in
       describing the foreseeable dangers, the worker should consider the following questions:

              do the child=s/parents= physical/ emotional health conditions affect the
              safety of the child?
              does occasional stress, stimulation, or interruption create a parent reaction
              which influences child safety?
              are the parents inconsistent about adequately caring for the child(ren) and does
           this affect the child=s safety?
              do the parent(s) have detrimental expectations of the child which affect the child=s
           safety?
              are the actual child care responsibilities or the parents= perceptions of their child
           care responsibilities affecting the safety of the child?
              will temporary respite from parental responsibility likely reduce stress and/or
           parental reaction which affects child=s safety?
              do the parents see the child as a burden and does that perception affect the
           child=s safety?
              is the child=s behavior/emotion provocative and does such affect the child=s
           safety?
              does the parent=s lack of basic life skills affect the child=s safety?

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              does the parent=s lack of basic parenting skills affect the child=s safety?
              does the parent=s lack of emotional support affect the child=s safety?
              does the parent=s level of social isolation affect the child=s safety?
              is the family experiencing a current personal circumstance (crisis) which
           emotionally immobilizes and/or disorganizes them and therefore affects the safety of
           the child?

      identify any evaluations which are needed to understand conditions which influence safety.
        If evaluations are needed, the worker will also make the arrangements for these
       evaluations and identify the specifics of these arrangements. (See note below.)

      indicate which safety services and the frequency of these services which are needed to
       control for safety.

      evaluate whether the safety services will work in the family; if they will not work, the worker
       must develop an out-of-home plan to protect the child(ren). (See policy on Legal
       Processes: CPS and Foster Care for more information on involving the court in an in-
       home or out-of-home safety plan.)

Note: clinical assessment of a person through psychological or psychiatric examination is a
process to gain understanding necessary for making informed decisions. Assessment may be
used to provide an understanding of a person=s functioning, to classify behaviors, to describe
and analyze the person and to establish a diagnosis. Whether a referral is made to a
psychiatrist, a psychologist or clinical social worker, it is essential to state what is needed from
the evaluation. A request that asks for an Aassessment@ or a Adiagnosis@ is insufficient. The
specific reasons for the referral must be provided. The referral letter should include all the
essential information from the record---information obtained through interviews plus historical
data and material solicited from other sources.

Initial assessment safety evaluations which result in a safety plan must control for safety from the
present time to the conclusion of family assessment. Generally, this covers a period of 30-45
days/ Sometimes safety plans must remain in place beyond the family assessment because of
case circumstances.


3.11 Safety Plan - In Home

In developing an in-home safety plan, the worker will:

      Identify family members who may be able to keep the child at his or her home in order to
       provide substitute caretaker services, or respite to avoid filing a petition. If both parents


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       agree, the substitute caretaker can sign the protection and/or safety plan(s) along with the
       parents.

      determine if the worker and the non-maltreating parent/adult victim of domestic violence or
       substitute caretaker can file a co-petition with the Circuit Court. Co-petitioning would allow
       the non-maltreating parent or substitute caretaker to join with the worker to protect the
       child and to hold the maltreating parent(s) accountable for the abusive behavior. Co-
       petitioning reduces the impact on the child of day-to-day chaos, threats and continued
       abusive contact that might normally be present if a maltreating parent(s) is not given court
       sanctions for failure to comply with the protection and/or safety plans. It should be noted
       that the majority of maltreating individuals comply with mandates given by a Circuit Court
       Judge as opposed to suggestions given by CPS.

      identify providers who could potentially provide the type(s) of safety services identified as
       necessary.

      explore with ASO providers their availability and accessibility and arrive at a
       determination of whether providers are available at the level needed to control for the
       safety needs identified. If the regional provider can not provide the needed safety
       services, explore the availability of other service providers and make arrangements as
       needed. If services are not available at the level needed, the worker must proceed to
       develop an out-of-home plan to protect the child(ren). (See note below.)

      identify specifically how the services match the dangers which are present, how long the
       services are anticipated to be provided and the specific role of the arranged service
       providers.

      identify and describe family/parent strengths which facilitate and support the protection
       and/or safety plan.

      seek the parents signatures on the protection and/or safety plan as evidence of their
       involvement in the development of the plan, their understanding of the plan, and their
       agreement with the plan.

      document how the case will be transferred to an ongoing worker (if this will occur) in terms
       of any staffings or joint visits, when these are scheduled, who will participate, etc. and
       identify next steps to proceed with the family assessment.

      document the contacts and process followed to develop the safety plan.

      provide a copy of the protection and/or safety plan to the parents, providers and multi
       disciplinary team.

Note: whether or not a petition is filed by CPS in Circuit Court to protect a child is generally at the

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discretion of the DHHR, except for those circumstances described in 49-6-5b, in which a petition
for termination of parental rights must be filed, or as described in sections 3.22, 3.26.1, and 3.28.
  49-6A-9) states that AIn those cases in which the local child protective service determines that
the best interest of the child require court action, the local child protective service shall initiate the
appropriate legal proceeding.@ In some situations, even though the DHHR is not seeking the
removal of the child and an in-home safety plan is being implemented, the DHHR may want to file
a petition alleging that the child is abused or neglected and that the relief sought is the ordering of
an in-home safety plan and services. Situations in which the removal of the maltreating parent is
being attempted, with the child and the non-maltreating parent staying in the home, could also
benefit from this approach, as well as co-petitioning with the non-maltreating parent. This
approach should be used whenever the oversight of the court would be valuable in ensuring that
the parents will carry out the in-home safety plan and that the child will be protected.

If an in-home safety plan can not be implemented and the Prosecuting Attorney will not assist the
DHHR in filing a petition to implement an out-of-home safety plan, the DHHR must initiate the
provision for ADispute Resolution@, pursuant to 49-6-10a. (See Dispute Resolution Protocol.)

3.12 Safety Services

Safety services differ from long-term treatment responses in that they are short-term. They are
strictly for the purpose of controlling for safety and are put in place prior to family assessment and
treatment planning. In developing an in-home safety plan, the worker will choose from the
following safety services if the services can control the danger threats to the child:
(Note: the highlighted services are the safety services provided by the ASO.)

      Supervision: “Eyes on” oversight required to provide structure and ensure performance
       of developmentally appropriate activities necessary to carry out activities of daily living
       and to ensure safety for the identified client, family and/or community. The identified child
       or family requiring supervision must be within the defined boundary in which the provider
       can intervene immediately if needed to ensure safety, permanency and well being.
       Structure and environmental control are needed to monitor child or parent‟s reaction to
       stress, inconsistent parenting techniques, impulsive reactions or detrimental expectations
       and maintain safety. Supervision is needed to ensure safety of a child and the family due
       to the volatile, aggressive and/or self-harmful behaviors of a child or family member. In
       some cases, previous attempts at appropriate structure and environmental control are
       documented and have been unsuccessful.

      Individualized Parenting: Direct face-to-face services to improve parental competence
       and knowledge of:
              Discipline
              Appropriate supervision
              Encouragement of child/adolescent care, age appropriate development

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           Realistic expectations and standards of child/adolescent behavior of identified
        child
           This service should be used to correct specific deficits in parenting. This service is
        provided in a one-on-one setting and is highly individualized to meet the parent‟s
        needs. Specific examples include individualized behavior management techniques or
        understanding a child‟s specific mental or physical health condition. As the
        Department moves toward quality outcome measures, providers are encouraged to
        use evidence/research-based and best or proven practice curriculae or parts of such
        a curriculum that would be applicable for each client. Examples include Parent
        Effectiveness Training and Active Parenting. For Safety Services, this individualized
        parenting targets the identified child‟s parents. This is not done in a group of multiple
        families. The areas directly relating to safety are to be addressed.
   Family Crisis Response: Family crisis response is a face-to-face intervention in the
    consumer‟s natural environment to assess and de-escalate a family emergency. This
    service may target dysfunctional family interactions or environmental situations that have
    escalated to a point that safety (protection from abuse and/or neglect) of a child or the
    community may be at risk of imminent danger. This service is available twenty-four hours
    a day, seven days a week. This service responds to the current family crisis that involves
    family disorganization and/or emotional upheaval that has resulted in an inability to
    adequately function and problem solve.

   Home Maker Service: Service to provide assistance with general
    housekeeping/homemaking responsibility on a short-term and/or emergency basis when
    the conditions of the home directly affect safety.

   Emergency Respite: Unplanned break for primary caretakers who are in challenging
    situations in which a trained provider, friend or family member assumes care giving and
    supervision of a child(ren) for a brief period of time. Service may be provided in or out of
    the natural home or on an hourly/daily basis. Temporary relief from parenting
    responsibilities is provided to avoid an abuse, neglect or abandonment situation or a
    placement disruption.

   Respite: Planned break for primary caretakers who are in challenging situations in which
    a trained provider, friend or family member assumes care giving and supervision of a
    child(ren) for a brief period of time. Service may be provided in or out of the natural home
    or on an hourly/daily basis. Service may also be utilized if the caretaker has a scheduled
    inpatient medical procedure.

   Adult Life Skills: Direct service in which the identified parent is assisted to develop
    basic home management skills and social/emotional support networks through hands on
    implementation and role modeling. This service provides for the acquisition of skills
    needed to meet adult role expectations and carry out activities of daily living. Adult Life
    Skills are intended to improve the capacity for solving problems and resolving conflicts.

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    Possible activities include housekeeping, cleaning, food shopping, meal preparation,
    laundry, budgeting, utilizing community resources, accessing medical and school records
    and personal care/hygiene. This service is implemented when there is a lack of skill
    knowledge not due to a mental health condition and implies that there is not a lack of
    motivation. Provider will work with client on the needs identified on the service plan.

   General Parenting: Direct face-to-face educational services to improve parental
    performance and knowledge of:
           Basic child/adolescent care skills
           Nurturing
           Discipline strategies
           Appropriate supervision
           Encouragement of child/adolescent care, age appropriate development
           Realistic expectations and standards of child/adolescent behavior
           This service is provided in an individual or group setting consisting of multiple
        families and is based on a standard curriculum, which can be individualized to meet
        the parent‟s needs. As the Department moves toward quality outcome measures,
        providers are encouraged to use evidence/research-based and best or proven
        practice curricula. Examples include Parent Effectiveness Training and Active
        Parenting.
   Child Oriented Activity: Structured activities conducted under adult supervision that are
    designed to improve the identified client‟s functioning in the following areas: social skills,
    positive risk-taking behaviors, self-image, resiliency and self-management. Interventions
    should contribute to positive behavioral changes through role modeling, reinforcement and
    encouragement. The provider must link the youth with safe places, activities and/or
    programs to transition the youth to when service provision is complete. The service plan
    mandates the specific skills and activities that are needed. Staff to child ratio should be
    no greater than one to three for group activities. If multiple children are involved, they must
    all originate from the same family/case. The staff person must not be related to the family
    and is at least a paraprofessional.

   Group Child Oriented Activity: Structured activities conducted under adult supervision
    that are designed to improve the identified client‟s functioning in the following areas:
    social skills, positive risk-taking behaviors, self-image, resiliency and self-management.
    Interventions should contribute to positive behavioral changes through role modeling,
    reinforcement and encouragement. The provider must link the youth with safe places,
    activities and/or programs to transition the youth to when service provision is complete.
    The service plan mandates the specific skills and activities that are needed. Staff to child
    ratio should be no greater than one to three for group activities. If multiple children are
    involved, the agency must obtain consents from all families involved due to confidentiality
    and place them in the record. The staff person must not be related to the family and is at
    least a paraprofessional.


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   Private Transportation: Reimbursement for the provision of transportation services ina
    personal vehicle. The activity(ies) that the child/youth and/or family need transportationfor
    must be explicitly documented on the DHHR‟s child/family‟s service plan. Examples
    include medical appointments for which non-emergency medical transportation could not
    be accessed or respite, recreation activities, etc. The least costly means available must
    be utilized. This service covers actual miles traveled using the shortest practical route to
    the traveler‟s destination. This rate is intended to cover all operating costs of the vehicle
    (including fuel, maintenance, depreciation, insurance, etc.). Please note: non-emergency
    medical transportation (NEMT) is utilized for medically necessary services. NEMT is
    accessed through the Office of Family Assistance Please note: the rate will be based
    upon the current State of West Virginia reimbursement rate.

   Public Transportation: Reimbursement for the provision of transportation on buses,
    planes, and/or trains. This code may be used for local bus passes or long distance bus
    tickets. Rental Cars, tolls if a rental car is used, taxi fares and parking are also included in
    this service. The activity(ies) that the child/youth and/or family need transportation for must
    be explicitly documented on the DHHR‟s child/family‟s service plan. Examples include
    medical appointments for which non-emergency medical transportation could not be
    accessed or respite, recreation activities, etc. The least costly means available must be
    utilized. This service covers the fare for the shortest practical route to/from the traveler‟s
    destination.

   hospitalization: this service refers to admission of a child and/or parent into a physical or
    mental health hospital. The condition requiring admission must relate to the danger which
    affects the child=s safety.

   routine/emergency medical care: this service refers to the provision of medical care for a
    parent and/or a child. This medical service will assist in controlling one or more of the
    identified and described dangers which place the child=s safety in the home in question.

   routine/emergency mental health care: this service refers to the provision of mental health
    care (outpatient) for a parent and/or a child. This mental health service will help to control
    one or more of the identified and described dangers which place the child=s safety in the
    home in question.

   routine/emergency alcohol or drug abuse services: this service refers to provision of
    inpatient or outpatient services for the treatment of alcohol or drug abuse. This service
    should be indicated for situations in which the alcohol or drug abuse affect the safety of
    the child. This should not be indicated if an alcohol or drug evaluation is needed.

   in-home health care: this service refers to a health related service which is provided in the
    home of the family. The service provided in the home must assist in controlling one or
    more of the identified and described dangers which place the child=s safety in the home
    in question.

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      day care: this service is provided in an approved day care program. The service
       responds to conditions where the child care responsibilities of the parents affect the
       child=s safety. In addition to meeting the needs of the child, the service provides relief for
       the parent.

      financial services: this service provides financial assistance to the family in meeting the
       child=s safety needs which results from the lack of finances. This includes the lack of
       utilities which present an immediate threat to the child=s well being.

      housing: this service provides for the securing of housing or the securing of more
       affordable housing for a family where the lack of housing is affecting the child=s safety.

      food/clothing service: the child does not have adequate food and/or clothing and the lack
       of these life necessities affects the child=s safety. The family cannot afford to provide
       these necessities to the child.

      other service (must specify): any other service which may directly relate to controlling the
       immediate safety of the child, and has not otherwise been listed.



(For more information see Child Protective Services Policy, Section VI, General Information,
Payment Guidelines.)


3.13 Reasonable Efforts to Prevent Removal

Reasonable efforts is the term used to describe those actions taken by the DHHR to prevent or
eliminate the need for removing the child from the child=s home and to stabilize and maintain the
family situation. Before initiating any procedure to take custody of a child, the DHHR must first
determine that there are no appropriate or available services that would alleviate or eliminate the
risk to the child. The DHHR makes reasonable efforts to prevent removal of the child by
completing and documenting the process for initial assessment, safety evaluation and safety
planning. Since each case is unique, it is impossible to describe all of the particular safety
services which may be appropriate in each case, but an attempt has been made to describe
some of the most commonly encountered situations and safety services in the above part on
Safety Services.

In certain situations, reasonable efforts to prevent placement are not required. Those situations
include:

      imminent danger of serious bodily or emotional injury or death in any home. (49-2D-3)



                                         69203
      the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances which include, but are not
       limited to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse and sexual abuse. (49-6-5(a)(7)

      the parent has:

             committed murder of another child of the parent.
             committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
             attempted or conspired to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter or
          been an accessory before or after the fact to either such crime; or
             committed a felonious assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or to
          another child of the parent; or
   the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily (49-6-5(a)(7).
             committed murder of the child‟s other parent; or
             committed voluntary manslaughter of the child‟s other parent; or
             committed unlawful or malicious wounding that results in serious bodily injury to the
          child or the child‟s other parent.

(For more information on reasonable efforts and aggravated circumstances see the Legal
Requirements and Processes: Child Protective Services and Foster Care Policy; the federal
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (1996) and the federal Adoption and Safe Families
Act (1997).)

For situations in which reasonable efforts to prevent the child from removal of the home is not
required, the worker will:

      proceed to develop and implement an out-of-home safety plan, unless the worker is
       convinced with a reasonable amount of certainty, that the child=s safety can maintained in
       the home. If so, develop and implement an in-home safety plan. Some circumstances
       may require the DHHR to file a petition for termination of parental rights and the worker
       must proceed to do so, even if the child is remaining in the home on an in-home safety
       plan.   (49-6-5b) (See Section 7 of Child Protective Services Policy-Legal
       Requirements.)

The supervisor will:

      follow all rules and procedures for reviewing and approving the initial assessment, safety
       evaluation and safety plan.



3.14 Safety Plan - Out-of-Home


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In developing an out-of-home safety plan, the worker will:
      identify the family/client conditions that confirm the need for out-of-home residence.

      determine whether the maltreating parent voluntarily agrees to live away from the home. It
       should be noted that having a parent voluntarily leave his or her home should only be used
       for the very short term, on a protection plan, and must be used only if the parent suggests
       it and is agreeable. Some states‟ supreme courts have ruled that when CPS asks parents
       to leave their homes, it is an implied threat and infringes upon their civil rights. If the parent
       does not offer/agree and there is a non-maltreating parent, the worker may seek a co-
       petition with the non-maltreating parent (See CPS Policy Section 3.15), or an in-home
       safety plan with respite (See CPS Policy Section 3.11).

      identify the placement conditions.

      select and identify the services and providers that best match with existing conditions.

      determine and identify the length of placement.

      select and identify the home or facility in which the child will be placed.

      indicate why placement with this provider is appropriate and how proper care will occur.

      describe how parents= rights regarding removal were safeguarded.

      identify and describe family/parent strengths which facilitate and support the safety plan.

      seek the parents signatures on the safety plan as evidence of their involvement in the
       development of the plan, their understanding of the plan, and their agreement with the
       plan.

      document how the case will be transferred to an ongoing worker (if this will occur) in terms
       of any staffings which will occur, when these are scheduled, who will participate, etc. and
       identify next steps to proceed with the family assessment.

      document the contacts and process followed to develop the safety plan.

      provide a copy of the safety plan to the parents, providers and multi disciplinary team.

Note: For most cases involving an out-of-home safety plan (the child has been determined to be
unsafe and an in-home safety plan will not assure the child=s safety), a petition will be filed with
the Circuit Court alleging that the child is abused or neglected, that continuation in the home is
contrary to the best interests of the child and why this is so (child is unsafe), whether or not the
DHHR made a reasonable effort to prevent removal(considered in-home safety plan, but ruled
out) or that the situation is an emergency (child is unsafe) and such efforts would be

                                          71203
unreasonable or impossible (can not be protected by an in-home safety plan) and whether or not
there are aggravated circumstances or other circumstances present and reasonable efforts are
not required. Child abuse and neglect cases should not be referred to Family Court, which does
not have jurisdiction. The relief attempted should be the transfer of the child into the custody of the
DHHR or any other person determined to be fit and proper for temporary custody. 49-6-3(a)(b)

If a child is determined to be unsafe, e.g., there is one or more A foreseeable dangers or two or
more B foreseeable dangers present within the family, the DHHR must develop and implement
either an in-home or out-of-home safety plan. If an in-home safety plan can not be implemented
and the Prosecuting Attorney will not assist the DHHR in filing a petition to implement an out-of-
home safety plan, the DHHR must initiate the provision for ADispute Resolution@, pursuant to 49-
6-10a. (See Dispute Resolution Protocol.)


3.15 Court Involvement

Child abuse and neglect is governed by WV Code Chapter 49. All proceedings mentioned in
Chapter 49 are held within Circuit Court. There are many reasons for this. A few of those reasons
are: Circuit Court does not share jurisdiction with Family Court in child abuse and neglect.
Federal and state laws have outlined that all civil proceedings for child abuse and neglect must
be conducted with the “clear and convincing” evidence standard; Family Court uses
“preponderance of the evidence”. Legal counsel is appointed to all parties during Circuit Court
proceedings; in Family Court, no legal counsel is appointed, not even to the Department workers.
Circuit Court has the authority to order improvement periods; Family court does not.

There are times, however, when CPS staff does have a responsibility to Family Court. Those
include investigating child abuse and neglect referrals received from Family Court Judges,
reporting back to a Family Court Judge when he or she makes a CPS referral (See CPS Policy
Sections 1.10, 3.26.1, 3.28 and 4.26) as well as providing the results of an investigation
regarding a child who is involved with Family Court proceedings, regardless of referral source
(See CPS Policy Sections 1.10 and 4.26).

If court involvement becomes necessary, it must be through Circuit Court. In this event, worker will:
      specify on the safety plan what the circuit court involvement is and the legal process.

      describe how the safety plan will carry out the judicial determination regarding
       permanency planning, if applicable.

      It may be necessary for the worker and the non-maltreating parent to file a co-petition with
       the Circuit Court. Co-petitioning would allow the non-maltreating parent to join with the
       worker to protect the child and to hold the maltreating parent accountable for the abusive
       behavior. Co-petitioning reduces the impact on the child of day-to-day chaos that might


                                          72203
       normally be present if a maltreating parent is not given court sanctions for failure to
       comply. It should be noted that the majority of maltreating individuals comply with
       mandates given by a Circuit Court Judge as opposed to suggestions given by CPS.



3.16 Imminent Danger

Imminent danger to a child is defined in state statute.

Imminent danger to the physical well-being of a child means an emergency situation in which the
welfare or life of the child is threatened. Such an emergency situation exists when there is
reasonable cause to believe that any child in the home is or has been sexually abused or sexually
exploited, or reasonable cause to believe that the following conditions threaten the health or life of
any child in the home.

      Non accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling, babysitter or
       other caretaker which can include intentionally inflicted major bodily damage such as
       broken bones, major burns or lacerations or bodily beatings. This condition also includes
       the medical diagnosis of battered child syndrome which is a combination of physical and
       other signs indicating a pattern of abuse; or

      Nutritional deprivation; or

      Abandonment by the parents, guardian or custodian; or

      Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease; or

      Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or

      Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian.

For situations in which it is believed that the child=s welfare or life is immediately threatened and
that immediate action must be taken to prevent serious harm or additional serious harm and that
the situation meets the definition of imminent danger, the worker will;

      consult with supervisor, insofar as possible, to determine the best course of action.

      proceed to implement any temporary measures to protect the child in-home, if indicated.

      !proceed to initiate legal action, with supervisory approval, if available, to protect the
       child. (See Legal Requirements and Processes: Child Protective Services and Foster
       Care Policy)

                                         73203
      proceed with the sequence of steps for completing the initial assessment and safety
       evaluation, once the child is in temporary protection.

      implement the in-home or out-of-home safety plan, as indicated. Once the immediate
       crisis is resolved, it may be possible, based upon the information now available to the
       worker and supervisor, to return the child and implement an in-home safety plan.

      document all information, supervisory consultation and approval and action taken on the
       appropriate initial assessment, safety evaluation and contact screens within FACTS.
The supervisor will:

      be available or arrange for availability of supervisory consultation for emergency
       situations.

      review all information available relevant to the imminent danger of the child.

      approve legal action to protect the child, if indicated and no other alternatives are
       appropriate or available.

      document supervisory consultation and approvals on the appropriate screens within
       FACTS.



3.17 Completion of Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation

To conclude the initial assessment and safety evaluation, the worker will:

      complete the documentation of the initial assessment and safety evaluation within30 days
       from receipt of the report. If extenuating circumstances have prevented the completion of
       the initial assessment and safety evaluation within the time frame, the worker will request
       the approval of an extension from the supervisor.

      indicate whether the case will be opened for ongoing services; if the case will not be
       opened for ongoing services, the worker must indicate the reasons why and identify any
       referrals made on behalf of the family. (See the following section which discusses the
       opening of cases for ongoing CPS.)

      transmit the case to the supervisor for review and approval.

      CPS notification letters will be sent to the parents which inform them of the official findings
       from the Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation. The letters will mention that the findings
       can be used in the future when the individual is seeking employment as a foster parent,


                                         74203
       day care provider or other profession that works with children and families. The letter will
       also notify the family of their right to appeal and the process to request a grievance.
       (Please see CPS policy 6.1 and Common Chapters, Chapter 700, Appendix C.)




Birth to Three Program Referrals

West Virginia Birth to Three must be considered for all children under the age of three who have
been identified as experiencing or at risk of developing substantial delays or atypical
developmental patterns; or, have been determined to fall under at-risk categories. Children
under three who have been involved in an investigation where maltreatment was
substantiated must be referred to the Birth to Three Program in order to be screened for
the presence of the above-stated delays and risks. If there are children younger than three
years of age in the home, and the worker has substantiated maltreatment, the worker will:

      complete the referral form for Early Intervention Part C-Birth to Three services. Send a
       copy to the local county Birth to Three office, file in the FACTS file cabinet and provide
       the family with a copy.

      provide a copy of the Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation with the form that is being
       sent to Birth to Three. (If custody of the child(ren) is being sought, please refer to Foster
       Care Policy Section 13.1, Health Care.)

If the case is going to be opened for ongoing services, the worker will:

      complete the last three elements of the initial assessment by describing the information
       they have gathered from their interviews.

      document within the newly created case the Early Intervention-Birth to Three referral by
       completing the AService Log@ screen in FACTS. The worker will connect any children
       under the age of three for whom referral is made to AEarly Intervention@ services.

The supervisor will:
      if requested, review the request for an extension of the time frames for the completion of
       the initial assessment and safety evaluation and make a decision, as indicated.

      Reasons for granting an extension may include;
             assigned workload prevented completion;
             delay in receipt of necessary information;

                                        75203
          investigation complete, A paper work@ pending;
          other cases/referrals of higher risk have taken priority;
          unable to yet contact client or client has not cooperated;
          other (must specify)
   review the initial assessment and safety plan for thoroughness and completeness.

   review the protocol followed by the worker in completing the initial assessment and safety
    plan.

   review whether the information is sufficient to determine what was done.

   review whether all of the required screens were completed.

   review whether the information is documented in the correct elements. Is the
    documentation coherent? Does it contain both positive and negative information? Are
    the sources of information cited?

   review whether the information in the elements is rated correctly.

   review whether necessary information was obtained from collaterals.

   review whether the contacts are documented.

   review whether the multi disciplinary investigative team was involved as appropriate.

   review whether the analysis of the presence of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment is
    documented and correct.

   review whether indicated safety influences have been identified.

   review the adequacy and the specific details of the safety plan in terms of services
    initiated, frequency, etc.

   based on the conclusions from the initial assessment, assure that CPS is responsible to
    provide, direct or coordinate services to children and families or whether no service need
    is present.

   initiate arrangements to transfer the case for On-Going CPS services.

   assure that either an in-home or out-of-home safety plan has been developed and
    implemented in all situations in which a child has been determined to be unsafe, which
    means there is the presence of one A foreseeable danger or two B foreseeable dangers.
     It is unacceptable to omit the development and implementation of a safety plan when a
    child has been determined to be unsafe.


                                    76203
      review whether the Early Intervention-Birth to Three referral was made as appropriate.

      document supervisory consultation and approval within the appropriate screens within
       FACTS.

If the initial assessment and safety evaluation or safety plan is unsatisfactory for any reason, the
supervisor will:

      meet with the worker to discuss the areas that need improvement.

      provide or arrange for any assistance that the worker needs to make the requested
       improvements.

      assure that the improvements are made, prior to approving the initial assessment and
       safety evaluation and safety plan.

In the event a community services plan will be coordinated by CPS, but On-Going CPS services
are not opened, the supervisor will:

      discuss with the worker the family=s most significant needs based on the elements of the
       Initial Assessment that are rated the highest.

      identify potential community resources to provide the services necessary to treat the
       family=s most significant needs.

      document that the Early Intervention-Birth to Three referral was made on the ACommunity
       Service Plan@ screen in FACTS, if applicable.

The worker will:

      contact the family to discuss the findings from the initial assessment.

      offer help to the family.

      If there are children younger than three, and the worker has substantiated maltreatment,
       the worker will discuss with the family the referral requirement for the Early Intervention
       Part C-Birth to Three program. The worker should explain to the family that non-
       compliance with any services recommended by Birth to Three could result in another
       referral being made to Child Protective Services.

      identify with the family the resources/services available in the community.


                                         77203
      identify the family=s willingness and interest to participate with the community services.

      offer assistance in arranging for the services.

      obtain from the family their decision related to their involvement in services.

      inform the family of any circumstances that would necessitate future involvement of CPS.

      document within FACTS the reason the case is not opened for On-Going CPS services
       and the results of the contact with the family.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the contact regarding the community services was completed, and that the
       documentation of the contact with the family and family=s decision was made within
       FACTS.

      ensure that all mandated referents receive notification of when the investigation has been
       completed.



The following designations serve as the basis to determine ongoing CPS
responsibilities:

All initial assessments and safety evaluations which result in a risk rating of significant or highrisk
of maltreatment and/or have identified one A safety influence or two B safety influences must be
opened for on-going services.


Risk based family problems are High               Service Provision by CPS
Risk Rating 20-28                                 Case Opened for On-Going CPS
Foreseeable dangers are present                   Safety Plan implemented
(Two B or one A )

Risk based family problems are High               Service Provision by CPS
Risk Rating 20-28                                 Case opened for On-Going CPS
No foreseeable danger present or only one
B present




Risk based family problems are Significant        Service Provision by CPS


                                          78203
Risk Rating 14-19.9                           Case Opened for On-Going CPS
Foreseeable dangers are present               Safety Plan implemented
(Two B or one A)

Risk based family problems are Significant    Service Provision by CPS
Risk Rating 14-19.9                           Case opened for On-Going CPS
No foreseeable danger present or only one
B present

Risk Based family problems are Moderate       Service Provision by CPS
Risk Rating 7-13.9                            Case opened for On-Going CPS
Foreseeable dangers are present               Safety Plan implemented.
(Two B or one A )

Risk based family problems are Moderate       Coordinate the delivery of services through
Risk Rating 7-13.9                            community agencies. Services will be
No foreseeable dangers present or only        offered and providers determined based
one B present                                 on the identification of the family=s most
                                              significant needs

Risk Based family problems are Minimal to     Service Provision by CPS
Low                                           Case Opened for On-Going CPS
Risk Rating .5-6.9                            Safety plan implemented
Foreseeable dangers are Present
(Two B or one A )

Risk Based family problems are Minimal to     Coordinate the delivery of services through
Low                                           community agencies
Risk Rating .5-6.9                            Services will be offered and providers
No foreseeable dangers Present or only        determined based on the identification of
one B                                         the family=s most significant needs

Risk Based family problems are Minimal to     No CPS service need present
Low                                           No community coordination necessary
Risk Rating   0.0                             unless the family has identified a need and
No foreseeable dangers present or only        requested a referral to a community service
one B present




3.18 Incomplete Initial Assessments and Safety Evaluations

All initial assessments and safety evaluations are to be thoroughly completed. However, there
may be some unanticipated circumstances in which it is impossible to complete the entire


                                      79203
process. Those include;

      Blatantly False Report: This would apply only to situations in which the worker finds that
       the reported family does not exist, the location does not exist or a reported emergency
       does not exist. For example, a report alleges that a child is left unattended on the side of
       the road. Upon arrival to the location, the worker does not find any child on the road and
       can find no such situation or family. This does not apply to situations in which the worker
       has a face-to face contact with the identified child and does not observe any visible signs
       of maltreatment. In this latter situation, the worker must continue to follow the Initial
       Assessment and Safety Evaluation protocol through to completion.

      Child Turned 18 During Initial Assessment: This would apply to situations in whichthe
       identified child turned 18 during the course of the Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation
       and there are no other siblings/children under 18 years of age in the home.

      Death of a Child: This would apply to situations in which the identified child dies during
       the course of the Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation and there are no other
       siblings/children under 18 years of age in the home. The maltreatment and nature
       elements must still be completed.

      Client Moved/Unable to Locate: This would apply to situations in which the child and
       family have moved and/or the child or family cannot be located. It does not apply to
       situations in which the family moves to another county and the worker knows the new
       location. Those intakes should be transferred to the new county. Prior to concluding an
       Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation as incomplete due to inability to locate, the
       worker must first exhaust all available remedies according to 49-6A-9 and the
       Administrative Subpoena Protocol.

      Duplicate Entry of Data: This would apply to situations in which an Initial Assessment
       and Safety Evaluation was already completed or in process on the same allegation, but
       the report was mistakenly accepted and assigned rather than screened out. For example,
       a report is made by a day care center that a child is malnourished. The report is accepted
       for an initial assessment and is assigned to a social worker. The next day a report is
       made by a pediatrician that a child is malnourished. For whatever reason, the report is
       accepted. The report is assigned to another social worker. Both social workers beginan
       initial assessment only to discover they are working the same case. The second initial
       assessment may be discontinued and documented as incomplete due to duplicate entry
       of data.



3.19 Initial Assessments Involving Another Jurisdiction


                                        80203
For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving another state, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect, insofar as possible, documenting any
       reasons for not following the established protocol.

      follow the plan that was established by the two jurisdictions for handling the case, which
       may include a courtesy interview only. If so, the interview should be handled withinFACTS
       as a Arequest to receive services.@ If the other state is conducting a courtesy interview
       for this state, the information received should be used in the appropriate elements for
       initial assessment and safety evaluation.

The supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedure for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect, insofar as possible, documenting any
       reason for not following the established protocol.

      assure that the plan that was established by the two jurisdictions for handling the case was
       followed.

      initiate any necessary arrangements to transfer the case to another jurisdiction, which
       includes a telephone call or letter to the supervisor of the other jurisdiction, or to assure
       that a referral to community services was completed.

For initial assessment and safety evaluation involving another county, the worker will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect, insofar as possible, documenting any
       reason for not following the established protocol.

      follow the plan that was established by the two jurisdictions for handling the case, which
       may include a courtesy interview only. Depending upon the case situation, it may be
       necessary for both counties to work together to conduct an initial assessment and safety
       evaluation. Workers may travel to another county to conduct an interview at the discretion
       of the Supervisors involved. The decision should be made in consideration of what willbe
       the most effective manner for the child in which to conduct the assessment. Generally, the
       child=s county of residence would be considered the Ahome@ county and the county in
       which the alleged incident occurred would conduct any necessary courtesy interviews,
       which means if both parents live in the same county, but the abuse occurred in another
       county, the county where the child resides would be the primary investigator.

      If the parents live in separate counties, the county where the abusive caretaker
       resides/county where abuse occurred would be the primary investigator.

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      A petition may be filed in any county where either (1) the child resides, (2) one or more of
       the custodial respondents or alleged maltreaters reside, or, (3) the county where the
       abuse of the alleged child victim occurred. However, a petition may be filed in only one
       county.



3.20 Initial Assessments Involving Certain Abandoned Children

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving certain abandoned children pursuant to
49-6E, the worker and the supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      initiate the filing of a petition alleging child abandonment pursuant to 49-6-2 and 49-6-3.

      initiate placement of the child in emergency family care or foster/adopt care.



3.21 Initial Assessments Involving Child Custody

In matters involving both child custody and suspected child abuse or neglect, a Family Court
Judge or a Circuit Judge must report suspected child abuse or neglect to the DHHR as
mandatory reporters. They may also request that a written report be submitted of the initial
assessment and safety evaluation. 49-6A-9(b)(5) states that A...when any matter regarding child
custody is pending, the circuit court or family court judge may refer allegations of child abuse and
neglect to the local child protective service for investigation of the allegations as defined by this
chapter and require the local child protective service to submit a written report of the investigation
to the referring circuit court or family court judge within the time frames set forth by the circuit court
or family court judge.@ (See Section 1.10)

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving child custody, the worker will:

      establish a plan to complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation within the time
       frames set forth by the reporter.

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      prepare a written report as requested by the reporter outlining the identifying information
       concerning the family, the allegations of maltreatment, the findings of maltreatment, the
       surrounding circumstances which accompany the maltreatment, how the child functions on


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       a daily basis, the disciplinary approaches used by the parent, the overall parenting
       practices used by the parent, daily mental health functioning and substance use by the
       parent and general adult functioning of the parent. The report should indicate whether or
       not maltreatment occurred, whether there is risk of future maltreatment to the child, any
       issues that influence the child=s safety and the action taken regarding any necessary
       development and implementation of a safety plan.

      submit the report to the circuit court or family law master within the specified time frames.

      import the report/document from Word Perfect into FACTS and file within the file cabinet
       to document compliance with the request from the circuit court or family court judge.
The supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      assure that the initial assessment and safety evaluation is completed within the specified
       time frames.

      assure that a written report is prepared and submitted to the circuit court or family court
       judge within the specified time frame.

      assure that the report is filed within FACTS.




3.22 Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Infant
Guardianship Proceedings

WV Code 44-10-3 allows suitable individuals to petition for guardianship of minor children. If the
basis for the Infant Guardianship petition is abuse and/or neglect, the Circuit Court will hear the
case.

If the Infant Guardianship petition is based upon abuse and/or neglect, the Department will
receive notice of the Infant Guardianship proceedings. This will serve as a mandatory referral for
investigation. The Circuit Court may (discretionary with the court) enter an administrative order for
the Department to conduct a CPS investigation whereby CPS will then have not more than 45
days to submit a report regarding the findings of the investigation or appear before the circuit
court to show cause why the report has not been submitted. If the circuit court believes the child to
be in imminent danger, the court may shorten the time for the Department to act upon the referral
and appear before the court. This will occur using the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report
for Family and Circuit Court form. If an investigation was completed within 30-45 days of when
this referral is received, which contains the exact same allegations, a report on the prior

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referral/investigation can be made to the court and the new referral screened as duplicate.
For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving Infant Guardianship proceedings, the
worker will:

      establish a plan to complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation;

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect;

      provide a copy of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit
       Court form and a copy of the initial assessment to the Family Court Judge and the Circuit
       Court Judge within 45 days of receipt of referral, with a copy to the Prosecuting Attorney.



The supervisor will:

      assure that the worker provides a copy of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for
       Family and Circuit Court form and a copy of the initial assessment to the Family and
       Circuit Courts within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent danger), with a
       copy to the Prosecuting Attorney.

After submission of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit Court,
the Circuit Court Judge will review the investigation to determine whether CPS intends to file a
petition and, if not, whether CPS should be ordered to file such a petition. Specifically, the Judge
will want to make sure that the Department addressed any alleged circumstances that require
that a petition to terminate parental rights is filed, or if certain aggravated circumstances exist that
require a petition to be filed. In other words, if CPS substantiates any allegations that might
require the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights under West Virginia Code 49-6-5(b),
such as abandonment or the murder of another of the parent‟s children, the court will consider
whether the circumstances are such that the duty to file a petition is essentially non-discretionary.
If so, then CPS will be ordered to file a petition. Or, if CPS substantiates any allegations whichdo
not require CPS to make reasonable efforts to preserve the family under West Virginia Code 49-
6-3(d)(1) (aggravated circumstances), then the court will consider whether CPS has acted
arbitrarily and capriciously in deciding not to file a petition.

If, when the Circuit Court compares the referral to the investigation and finds that the worker may
be under a duty to file a petition but does not intend to do so, the Circuit Court will enter a show
cause order setting a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether a Writ of
Mandamus should be issued, requiring the worker to file a petition.

The show cause order will be circulated to the Community Services Manager. It will require the


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worker to appear to show cause why he or she has decided not to file a petition in view of
substantiated allegations that come within West Virginia Code 49-6-5(b) or 49-6-3(d)(1).

3.23 Initial Assessments Involving Critical Incidents

Whenever a deceased or severely injured child has siblings, and the cause for the death or injury
of said child is suspected abuse and/or neglect, an initial assessment must occur. For these
initial assessments and safety evaluations, the worker will:

      contact the prosecuting attorney and the appropriate law enforcement official to establish
       a plan for a joint investigation/assessment. The purpose of the contact is to clarify roles,
       establish a means for communication and to share information. If the prosecuting attorney
       and/or the law enforcement official declines to proceed with a joint
       investigation/assessment, CPS must proceed as the sole entity conducting the
       investigation/assessment. The failure of law enforcement or the multi disciplinary
       investigative team to investigate a report of suspected child abuse or neglect does not
       relieve the DHHR from its responsibilities to protect children.

      begin an immediate initial assessment and safety evaluation regarding any surviving
       siblings or other children in the home or custody of the alleged maltreater.

      defer to the law enforcement investigation if there are no surviving siblings or other
       children in the home or custody of the alleged maltreater. CPS may participate in the
       investigation as part of the multi disciplinary investigative team.

      If so, the worker will complete the contacts section and the maltreatment and nature
       elements only of the initial assessment. The reason for the incomplete assessment willbe
       indicated within FACTS as Achild is deceased, unable to complete initial assessment@.

      refer any inquiries from the news media to the Regional Director who will consult withthe
       Director of Communications within the DHHR Office of the Secretary about how to
       respond.

      follow all other rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect, insofar as possible.

The supervisor will:

      Complete the Critical Incident Final Report when the investigation has been completed.
       The report should be directed through the Field Operations Chain of Command using the
       revised Critical Incident Final Report Form (SS-CPS-5A). The report will be directed to
       the Community Services Manager to the Regional Director. The Regional Director will


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       share the report with the Regional Program Manager before forwarding it to the Deputy
       Commissioner of Field Operations and the Commissioner.

In all incidents of a child fatality where the Department has been involved, either through an
investigation or an open case, the fatality shall be reported through the Field Operations
Chain of Command, as cited above and in Section 2.11. It shall be the decision of the Deputy
Commissioner and the Commissioner to institute an internal Critical Incident Review. If a
Critical Incident Review is initiated, the Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Planning and
Quality Improvement shall initiate the following procedure:

      The Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Quality Improvement will name a team of
       experts to assist in the review. The team shall consist of: Assistant Commissioner of
       Planning and Quality Improvement; one Regional Program Manager who is NOT from the
       region involved in the review; one Program Manager or designee from the Office of
       Children and Adult Services Policy Unit; the Director of RAPIDS; at least two Social
       Services Program Review staff from the Office of Planning and Quality Improvement;

      The Deputy Commissioner will notify the affected District of the intent to review.

      A record review of the case will be conducted in FACTS;

      A conference call will be scheduled among the team members to discuss the
       Department's documented involvement, as well as to solicit expertise from the team
       regarding review content;

      Interview with pertinent parties will be scheduled;

      The Office of Planning and Quality Improvement will conduct the interviews and gather
       other significant documentation;

      Staff from the Office of Planning and Quality Improvement will meet to debrief the findings
       of the review;

      A written report will be submitted to the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner.

At all points during the review, conflicts of interest will be avoided. It shall be the intent of the
review procedure to involve personnel who have no vested interest in the case being reviewed.
All participants in the review are required to keep the information confidential and to divulge
information only in the interest of completing the review.

A database of all child fatalities will be maintained by the Office of Planning and Quality
Improvement beginning January 1, 2005.


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3.24 Initial Assessments Involving DHHR Employees or Other Potential Conflicts of
Interest

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving DHHR employees and other potential
conflicts of interest, the worker and supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      take appropriate action within FACTS to have access to the case restricted.



3.25 Initial Assessments Involving Disabled Infants or Children with Life-
threatening Conditions (Baby Doe)

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving disabled infants or children with life-
threatening conditions the worker will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected medical neglect, insofar as possible.

      contact the hospital or appropriate medical personnel to coordinate interviews and
       information-gathering, including the obtaining of medical records.

      contact the medical personnel and any other relevant persons who can provide the
       information necessary to evaluate the alleged medical neglect. If the child is in a hospital
       and there is a designated hospital liaison for these cases, then that person should be
       contacted. If the hospital has a review committee and a meeting regarding this child has
       taken place or one is scheduled, then contact should be made with the review committee
       chairperson or designee. If there is not a designated hospital representative, or review
       committee, contact the child=s physician and other persons involved in the child=s
       treatment and/or the hospital social services unit. In many instances, the hospital pediatric
       social worker will serve as a liaison to the DHHR.

      contact the prosecuting attorney for assistance in gaining access to medical records, if
       access is denied.

      attempt to gather the following information;

              the child=s physical condition;
              seriousness of the current health problem;
              probable medical outcome if the current health problem is not treated and the
           seriousness of that outcome;

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            generally accepted medical benefits of the prescribed treatment;
            generally recognized side effects/harms associated with the prescribed treatment;
            the opinions of the Infant Care Review Committee (ICRC) or the Hospital Review
           Committee (HRC), if the hospital has one;
            the parent=s knowledge and understanding of the treatment and the probable
           medical outcome.
      arrange for a consultation with another physician not associated with the case, if
       indicated, to gain an independent opinion and recommendation.

      determine whether or not medically indicated treatment, including appropriate nutrition,
       hydration or indicated medication was withheld from the child.

      determine whether immediate action is necessary to assure that the child receives
       medically indicated treatment. If the parent is unable or unwilling to consent for medically
       indicated treatment, including appropriate nutrition, hydration or indicated medication,
       initiate the filing of a petition alleging child neglect.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the protocol for handling initial assessments and safety evaluations involving
       disabled infants or children with life-threatening conditions was followed.

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected medical neglect, insofar as possible.



3.26 Initial Assessments Involving Domestic Violence

Due to the overwhelming co-occurrence rate between domestic violence and child victimization
and the potential devastating consequences to children exposed to domestic violence, the
Bureau for Children and Families must be attuned to the existence of domestic violence when
performing initial assessments with all families.
Domestic Violence may be identified at many different points during the CPS case process.
Several possibilities are:
      domestic violence may be reported as part of the initial report of child abuse or neglect.

      family members may self-report during the first contact by the worker when assessing a
       report of child abuse or neglect.

      during an initial assessment, a worker may observe signs indicating that domestic
       violence may be a problem even if not acknowledged by the family members themselves.


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Workers must observe all families for the following domestic violence indicators:
      an adult who consistently describes and addresses their partner in derogatory terms.

      an adult who is overly solicitous/condescending toward his/her partner.

      an adult who admits to acts of domestic violence but minimizes the frequency or severity,
       blames the partner for provoking it, or refuses to accept responsibility for his/her actions.

      one adult who Aspeaks for@ the other partner when the parties are together.

      children who talk about their parents or parental influences fighting, hitting or being afraid
       of one another.

      adults or children who are fearful about another adult becoming angry if their rules,
       decisions or plans are not followed.

      an adult who is controlling of other family members.

      a child is alleged to perpetrate violence against any family member.

      the ability of a partner to meet alone with the worker may also be suggestive of domestic
       violence.

Battering can have a tremendous impact on a adult victim=s ability to protect their children.
Consequently, any attempts to protect children from maltreatment must address the problem of
domestic violence. The two primary purposes for CPS intervention are to: (1) protect and control
the safety of children who are at risk of maltreatment, and (2) to provide services to alter the
conditions which created the risk of maltreatment. In all cases, it is essential to identify the
problems, ensure that children are safe, and move toward risk reduction by providing and using a
variety of intervention strategies. (See Introduction and Overview, Section 1.)

When one of the child=s parents is being battered, the purposes for intervention are not altered.
What differs is the view of each victim. The child is viewed as a dependent person who requires
protection and who cannot ever act independently and autonomously. However, the adult victim
must be approached as an individual who needs to have his/her own experience validated, to be
supported and empowered to act, and to make his/her own choices from a range of available
options. Many victims of domestic violence appear hostile or distrustful when asked to talk about
their situation. This may be due to many factors such as fear of retaliation, previous negative
experiences with authorities, and /or not viewing their partners as abusive. When conducting an
interview, it is important to remember that adult victims are often afraid that CPS may:

      tell their partner.

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      blame them or not believe them.

      force them to do something that will increase their risk or for which they are not ready.

      take their children away.

Victims of domestic violence are often threatened by the alleged maltreater/batter with
loss of their children through a report of abuse to CPS. DO NOT ask a suspected adult
or child victim about domestic violence in the presence of a suspected alleged
maltreater/batterer.

When making a finding that domestic violence rises to the level of child abuse (49-1-
3(a)(4)), the worker must be sure to document the harm to the child. Domestic violence,
in and of itself, does not constitute child maltreatment. In order to substantiate, the
worker must find that a maltreating/battering parent has harmed a child though the
process of:
             Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing
              physical harm to another with or without dangerous or deadly weapons;

             Placing another in reasonable apprehension of physical harm;

             Creating fear of physical harm by harassment, psychological abuse or
              threatening acts;

             Committing either sexual assault or sexual abuse as those terms are
              defined in 61-8B-1 and 61-8D-1 of the West Virginia Code.

             Holding, confining, detaining or abducting another against that person’s
              will.

The above-listed criteria are the legal definitions of domestic violence. But law
enforcement doesn’t distinguish between family feuds, family fights as a result of being
intoxicated/high, battering that comes from one partner’s power and control over
another or other types of family violence; it is all the same to them. But workers must
consider the operational definition of domestic violence before making a finding of
domestic violence. There can be violent behavior in the home, between immediate
family members and extended family members, which should be rated according to the
danger, but should be captured as dangerous living situations or hazards.

For initial assessments and safety evaluations when domestic violence was reported in the initial
report, family members self-disclosed domestic violence or the above domestic violence


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indicators were observed, the worker will:

      plan for his/her own safety (i.e., when interviewing the alleged maltreater/ batterer, have
       another child welfare worker or police present).

      consider the safety of all family members when structuring interviews. Make reasonable
       efforts to interview household members separately. If domestic violence is indicated, the
       adult victim must be interviewed the same day as the children and a protection plan must
       be initiated to address present dangers immediately. (The alleged maltreater/batterer
       may retaliate against the adult victim or children for talking with the CPS worker.) Note:
       The optimal sequence for interviewing family members is:
                     a. identified child
                     b. siblings
                     c. non-maltreating parent/adult victim
                     d. maltreating parent
                     e. other collaterals, as appropriate

      gather information about the domestic violence and its association to risk to the child in
       separate interviews with the adult victim of domestic violence.

      when possible, check with magistrate and family court to see if a protection order has
       been issued to this family.

      Specific and supportive questioning may be necessary in order to help the parent assess
       the level of danger in which they live (see ASafety Assessment@ section that follows).
       Individuals who batter and abuse both deny and minimize the extent of their violence and
       impose this view on their victims.

      assure the adult victim that you are concerned about his/her safety as well as the
       children=s safety. Assure the adult victim that you will not confront the alleged
       maltreater/batterer with information that s/he has shared, but explain the limits of
       confidentiality.

      ask the adult victim the following questions:
                     a. Tell me about your relationship.
                     b. How do decisions get decided in your relationship?
                     c. Do you feel free to do, think, believe what you want?
                     d. Does your partner ever act jealous or possessive? If yes, tell me more
                     about it.
                     e. Have you ever felt afraid of your partner? In what ways?
                     f. Has your partner ever physically used force on you (e.g., pushed, pulled,
                     slapped, punched, or kicked)?

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                          g. Have you ever been afraid for the safety of your children?

      through this line of questioning and careful listening, the worker should be able to get a
       feel for the tone of the relationship. If the worker ascertains that violence and/or severe
       control is or may be present in the family, the worker should then begin an assessment of
       severity. The following questions will help the worker determine if the pattern of incidents
       is changing, if the abuse is escalating in frequency, the amount of freedom the adult victim
       has to act independently and if the victim(s) is in danger:



Potential questions for the child(ren)1
Questions in this section are used with children once domestic violence indicators have
been found.

When interviewing children, do not ask leading questions. A leading question is one that implies
the answer in the question. When interviewing children, be aware of their developmental age and
their vulnerabilities to risks batterers pose. Children will use different words to describe their
feelings, thoughts and violent behavior. Adapt the questions using the words and circumstances
described by the child(ren). Note: If there are indicators or allegations that the child(ren) may be
abusive to other family members, interview the adult and child victims before the alleged child
perpetrator and document why the interview protocol was not followed.

The questions will focus on three areas:
             a. the child=s account of what they experienced and how they understand the
             violence.
             b. the impact of exposure to violence.
             c. the child=s worries about safety.

1. A Child=s Account of What S/he Experienced:

The following questions can be asked of children when there are domestic violence indicators.
Only continue the progression of questions if the child discusses incidents of violence.

Note: Older children are more likely to minimize reports of parental fighting out of loyalty to
parents- they will protect parents. Younger children may be more spontaneous and less guarded
with their reports.




       1Adapted from materials written by Child Witness to Violence Program, Boston Medical Center




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Questions:

      Do you ever get mad? What do you do?

      Does anyone else in your family get mad? What do they do?

      What happens when you parents get mad at each other? Tell me about that.

      Do they yell at each other?

      Does either parent hit the other?

      When was the last time you remember the hitting?

      When was the first time you remember the hitting?

      Do you ever get hit or hurt when there is an argument?

2. Assessment of the child(ren)=s Impact of Exposure to Violence:


      Do you find that you think about what you=ve told me about your parents?

      What do you think about it?

      When do you think about it?

      How do you feel about it?

      Do these thoughts or feelings ever come in school or while you are playing?

      Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night? Why? Do you have nightmares?

      What do you want to happen to make it better?

3. Child=s Worries about Safety:


      Does anyone know about what you=ve told me about your parents? Who? How did they
       find out?

      Have you talked with anyone about what you=ve told me about your parents? Who? What
       happened when you told them?


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      In an emergency, who would you call?

      Their phone number is______________?

      What would you say?_____________________________

      ________________________________________________

If children don=t have some idea of whom to call, the social worker should give them basic
information or help the adult victim think where the child could go if their parents are fighting or
engaged in assaultive behavior. Could they go to another room? A neighbor=s house?
Information gathered from this interview should always be shared with the adult victim to help
him/her understand the effects of domestic violence on the children, as long as the children=s
safety will not be compromised.


Potential Questions for Adult Victim:

Has your partner:
      prevented you from going to work/school/church?

      prevented you from seeing friends or family?

      listened in on your phone calls or violated your privacy in other ways?

      followed you?

      accused you of being unfaithful?

      acted jealous?

      controlled your money?

      stolen your money?

The following questions will help the worker identify patterns of verbal, emotional, physical and
sexual abuse.
      called you degrading names?

      emotionally insulted you?

      humiliated you at home? In public?


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      destroyed your possessions (e.g., clothes, photographs)?

      broken furniture?

      pulled the telephone out?

      threatened to injure you, him, your children, or other family members?

      hit, slapped, pushed, kicked, choked or burned you?

      threatened to use a weapon or has used a weapon?

      threatened to kill you?

      hurt your pets?

      engaged in reckless behavior (e.g., drove too fast with you and the children in the car?)

      behaved violently in public?

      been arrested for violent crimes?

      forced you to perform sexual acts that made you feel uncomfortable?

      prevented you from using birth control?

      withheld sex?

      hurt you during pregnancy?

      forced you to engage in prostitution or pornography?

      forced you to use drugs?

This line of questioning may be emotionally difficult for the adult victim. Be supportive and give the
adult victim opportunity to let you know how s/he is doing. In a supportive manner, ask questions
about feelings of depression, anxiety or suicidal ideations in the past or present. The next group
of questions will help you assess the level of risk to the children.

Has your partner:
      called your child degrading names?

      threatened to take the child(ren) from your care?

      called or threatened to call CPS?

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      accused you of being an unfit parent?

      threatened to hurt or kill your child?

      hurt you in front of the children?

      hit your child with belts, straps or other objects?

      touched your child in a way that made you feel uncomfortable?

      assaulted you while you were holding your child?

      asked your child to tell him what you do during the day?

      treated your child significantly differently from another?

      forced your children to participate in or watch his abuse of you?

Has your child:
      overheard the yelling and/or violence?

      behaved in ways that remind you of your partner?

      physically hurt you or other family members?

      tried to protect you?

      tried to stop the violence?

      hurt him/herself?

      hurt pets?

      been fearful of leaving you alone?

      exhibited physical/behavioral problems at home/school/day care?

The last selection of questions will help you understand the adult victim=s history seeking help.

Have you:
      told anyone about the abuse? What happened?

      seen a counselor? What happened?



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      left home as a result of the abuse? Where did you go? Did you take the children? If not,
       why?

      called the police? What happened?

      pressed criminal charges? What happened?

      filed a protective order? What happened (e.g., did your partner respect the order)?

      used a domestic violence program or shelter? Was it helpful?

      fought back? What happened?

General Questions:
      How dangerous do you think your partner is?

      What do you think s/he is capable of?

      Do you have any current injuries or health problems?

      How has this relationship affected how you feel about yourself, your children, the future?

      How do you explain the violence to yourself?

      How do you believe your children understand the violence?

      What do you believe would keep you and your children safe?

Once the adult victim=s interview is complete, you should have an understanding of the power
structure within the family.

Safety planning must begin with the adult victim immediately. Develop a protection plan
with the adult victim before leaving the interview. The protection plan must include
referral information about services provided by a licensed domestic violence program.

If there is extreme danger for the adult victim and the children have learned to survive by
identifying with the maltreater/batterer (i.e., cannot keep confidentiality from the alleged
maltreater/batterer), then direct questioning of the children may be postponed until safety can be
achieved. This same thinking applies to interviewing the alleged maltreater/batterer. If an adult
victim is fearful of the consequences of questioning the alleged maltreater/batterer, then it should
not be done until safety can be achieved. Safety always comes first.




                                         97203
Questions for the alleged maltreater/batterer:
Assessing the dangerousness of an alleged malreater/batterer is important in order to protect
you and to lessen the risk for children and adult victims. Lessening the risk for you and the adult
victim will mean safety planning. If you obtain information that indicates an interview wi th the
alleged maltreater/batterer is too dangerous ( for you or the adult victim and child), consult with
your supervisor before you proceed. If you decide not to initially interview the alleged
malreater/batterer, as it is not in the best interest of the child, document the reasons why the
interview protocol was not followed in the case record. Third party reports are critical in these
instances. While safety concerns may prevent an interview with the alleged maltreater/ batterer
initially, once safety measures have been taken, the alleged maltreater/batterer must be
interviewed (within 30 days). If you determine from your interview of the adult victim and/or
children, that the alleged malreater/batterer can be safely interviewed, proceed with the following
preliminary line of questioning to determine the alleged maltreater/batterer=s perception of the
problem.

      Tell me about your relationship?

      Tell me three things you like about your partner and family?

      How does your family handle conflict?

      What kinds of things do you expect from your partner/family?

      What happens when things don=t go your way? What do you do? What is that like?

      Have you ever been so angry that you wanted to physically hurt someone?

      Have you ever forcefully touched anyone in your family? In what way?

      Have you ever been told that violence is a problem for you? By whom?

The worker should explore in a supportive manner history or current feelings of depression or
suicidal thoughts.

If allegations are supported, begin protection planning immediately. Provide the adult
victim with written information about his/her rights and about local domestic violence programs
such as hotline, shelter, counseling and advocacy services. Services should be offered evenif the
client chooses to remain in the relationship. Explore with the adult victim what safety measures
work best for her/his situation. Do not force a victim of domestic violence to select any one option
for safety. Coordinate with resources for battered adults, (e.g., the local domestic violence shelter
and outreach programs). Involve an advocate from the domestic violence program as soon as
possible.


                                         98203
Other considerations:

      Workers must be careful to not confuse violence caused by substance abuse, drug
       manufacturing/sales or mental illness as domestic violence. The          intake    worker
       should consult the “Power and Control Wheel” for clarification, as well as the operational
       definition of domestic violence.

      Remember that the adult victim is often more afraid of the batterer than of anything else.
       Being aware of this dynamic and confronting it in a supportive manner will ensure correct
       identification of the problems.

      Avoid blaming the adult victim for the violence committed by others.

      Provide information to the adult victim about legal and emergency service alternatives for
       protection.

      Present options that are available to the adult victim, including the initiation of criminal
       proceedings against the batterer.
             Support the adult victim in making the best possible choices.
      Respond to the safety needs of all victims in the family.

      If the non-maltreating parent is agreeable, a domestic violence petition can be filed in
       magistrate court requesting a protective order. (48-2A-3). The worker will assist the non-
       maltreating parent with the process. In no way, however, should the worker force the adult
       victim to file a domestic violence petition and/or threaten to remove the child if one is
       not obtained. A domestic violence protective order is not the only option, and does not
       guarantee safety. A non-maltreating parent/ adult victim‟s willingness to seek a protective
       order in no way relieves the worker of his/her responsibility for protecting children under
       the language of Chapter 49. If obtaining a domestic violence protective order is included
       on the in-home safety plan and/or protection plan, the worker must:
          Notify in writing the Family Court Judge advising them that CPS is involved with the
           family and obtaining a domestic violence protective order is part of the in-home safety
           plan and/or protection plan.
          Mail a copy of the in-home safety plan and/or protection plan to the Family Court
           Judge and advise the court that you can be available to testify in person or by phone.
          Attend the domestic violence protection order hearing or testify by phone if requested
           by the Family Court Judge.
      Consider in-home safety plans that preserve the unity of the child and the non- maltreating
       parent/adult victim, as long as the child=s safety can be assured. Court intervention is
       likely to be necessary to protect the child and the non-maltreating parent. This can be
       achieved by the filing of a co-petition in Circuit Court by the DHHR and the non-
       maltreating parent, requesting custody be retained by the non-maltreating parent. In

                                        99203
    appropriate cases, a co-petition under Chapter 49, brought by both CPS and the non-
    maltreating parent/adult victim may offer greater protection for both the adult victim and
    the children. In order for the worker to file a co-petition, the worker must consult with the
    Prosecuting Attorney to ensure this is the best approach. In order for co-petitions to work
    effectively, it is best that both the Department and the co-petitioner are in agreement
    regarding the approach to be taken. The language of the co-petition should employee
    specific language to preclude the maltreating parent from living in the home or having
    contact with the child. (See WV Code 49-6-3(a)). A co-petitioning parent will be appointed
    separate counsel. Rule 17 (a) of The West Virginia Rules of Practice and Procedure for
    Child Abuse and Neglect states that "If one of the petitioners is a parent, then that parent
    shall be appointed counsel pursuant to WV Code 49-6-3, separate from the prosecuting
    attorney."

   If a co-petition is not feasible, but an abuse/neglect petition is filed in circuit court by the
    worker, a no fault finding of “battered parent” may be applied to the non-maltreating parent
    during court proceedings. The language of the co-petition should employ specific
    language to preclude the maltreating parent from living in the home or having contact with
    the child, outside a court-sanctioned visitation plan. (See WV Code 49-6-3(a)).

   If the adult victim is not ready or able to accept services and/or dangerousness of the
    alleged maltreater/batterer renders services insufficient to protect children from imminent
    risk, explore other options in consultation with the supervisor. The worker should consult
    with a domestic violence advocate for guidance in helping develop a safety plan with the
    non-maltreating parent/adult victim of domestic violence. Domestic Violence Advocates
    are experts in assisting with Safety Planning for adult victims, and can be a valuable
    resource for CPS staff.

   In removal situations, when the safety of the child cannot be assured, consult with police
    and/or request their assistance. Advise an adult victim of her/his rights to have his/her
    attorney, even if s/he is living with the alleged maltreater/ batterer.

   If the adult victim presents as severely depressed, assess carefully for suicidal ideation.
    Does s/he present as passive and cooperative, yet nothing changes in the home?
    Depression is symptomatic of trauma and may not subside until safety is achieved.
    Interventions and services should be decided in partnership with the adult victim to
    promote a personal sense of competence and power.

   Substance abuse may exacerbate, but does not cause domestic violence. Does
    substance abuse impede the adult victim=s ability to assess the level of danger in the
    home? Impede her ability to safety plan for herself and her children? How does the
    alleged maltreater/batterer use his/her partner=s substance abuse to exercise control?
    Does the alleged maltreater/batterer offer his/her substance abuse problem or his/her
    partner=s as an excuse for violent behavior? Does the adult victim blame herself/himself
    for the violence? Does s/he feel a deep sense of shame and hopelessness? Always

                                      100203
       assess the potential of self harm. Safety planning is critical. Never confront the alleged
       maltreater/batterer or victim when they are under the influence of substances.

In completing the initial assessment in FACTS, the worker must:
      document the presence of domestic violence in the maltreatment, nature and adult general
       functioning elements of the initial assessment. If the worker has documented injuryor harm
       to the child (not all domestic violence causes injury or harm to the child), the rating for
       maltreatment should not be lower than 2; nature should be rated 3 in most circumstances
       and the maltreater/batterer should be rated 4. The non-maltreating parent should not be
       rated in a fashion that places blame for the abuse upon him/her. If it is necessary to
       substantiate maltreatment against the parent who is not doing the battering because s/he
       is supporting the batterer and/or condoning the abusive behaviors, the ratings should be
       based upon the parent “Knowingly Allowing” the abuse to occur. (See CPS policy
       Sections 2.16 and 3.27)

      Identify the batterer as the maltreater.

      avoid identifying the adult victim as the maltreater (see above).
             follow all other rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluationas
           other assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

If the relationship appears to involve violence by both partners, this can be confusing whenthe
worker is trying to ascertain the predominant aggressor/initiator of the violence within the
relationship. To assess self-defense and other responses to violence accurately, examine:
      Who holds the control in the relationship?

      Who has been injured?

      Who is afraid?

      Who has access to resources? Court records, police records and documents from
       probation. If the batterer has any treatment history, those records may provide critical
       information.



The supervisor will:

      assure that the initial assessment and safety evaluation is completed with due
       consideration of all the dynamics related to domestic violence.

      assure that the safety needs of all the victims in the family are met.


                                        101203
      follow all other rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

For more information concerning CPS and Domestic Violence, please see Child Protective
Services Risk Management: A Decision Making Handbook, Appendix O, A Child Maltreatment
and Woman Abuse: A guide for Child Protective Services Intervention@.


3.26.1 Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During Domestic
Violence Protective Order Proceedings

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving allegations made during domestic
violence protective order proceedings, the worker will:
      establish a plan to complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation;

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as
       outlined in CPS policy section 3.26 Initial Assessments Involving Domestic Violence;

      provide a copy of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit
       Court form and a copy of the initial assessment to the Circuit Court within 45 days (or
       less if the allegations involve imminent danger). If the worker and supervisor do not
       file the report to the Circuit Court within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve
       imminent danger), the hearing that was set when the administrative order was
       written will occur. CPS will be required to attend this hearing to discuss the
       investigation findings and why a report was not made to the court within the 45
       day (or less) time period.

The supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as
       outlined in CPS policy section 3.26 Initial Assessments Involving Domestic Violence.

      assure that the initial assessment and safety evaluation is completed within the specified
       time frames.

      assure that the worker provides a copy of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for
       Family and Circuit Court form and a copy of the initial assessment to the Family and
       Circuit Court within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent danger), with a
       copy to the Prosecuting Attorney. If the worker and supervisor do not file the report
       to the Circuit Court within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent
       danger), the hearing that was set when the administrative order was written will
       occur. CPS will be required to attend this hearing to discuss the investigation

                                       102203
       findings and why a report was not made to the court within the 45 day (or less)
       time period.

      If an investigation was completed within 30-45 days of when this referral is received,
       which contains the exact same allegations, a report on the prior referral/investigation can
       be made to the court and the new referral screened as duplicate.



After submission of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit Court,
the Circuit Court Judge will review the investigation to determine whether CPS intends to file a
petition and, if not, whether CPS should be ordered to file such a petition. Specifically, the Judge
will want to make sure that the Department addressed any alleged circumstances that require
that a petition to terminate parental rights is filed, or if certain aggravated circumstances exist that
require a petition to be filed. In other words, if CPS substantiates any allegations that might
require the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights under West Virginia Code 49-6-5(b),
such as abandonment or the murder of another of the parent‟s children, the court will consider
whether the circumstances are such that the duty to file a petition is essentially non-discretionary.
If so, then CPS will be ordered to file a petition. Or, if CPS substantiates any allegations whichdo
not require CPS to make reasonable efforts to preserve the family under West Virginia Code 49-
6-3(d)(1) (aggravated circumstances), then the court will consider whether CPS has acted
arbitrarily and capriciously in deciding not to file a petition.

If, when the Circuit Court compares the referral to the investigation and finds that the worker may
be under a duty to file a petition but does not intend to do so, the Circuit Court will enter a show
cause order setting a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether a Writ of
Mandamus should be issued, requiring the worker to file a petition.

 The show cause order will be circulated to the Community Services Manager. It will require the
worker to appear to provide show cause why he or she decided not to file a petition in view of
substantiated allegations that come within West Virginia Code 49-6-5(b) or 49-6-3(d)(1).


3.27 Initial Assessments Involving Parents Knowingly Allowing Abuse
and/or Neglect

In years past, many child welfare professionals have used the term “failure to protect” as a catch-
all phrase to describe parents whose children were abused by other individuals, regardless of
actions that may or may not have been taken; regardless of whether the parent knew or di dn‟t
know the abuse was occurring; regardless of whether that parent was a victim of domestic
violence or not. The legal standard for this concept, however, is “Knowingly Allows” and was
written into statute in order to better define an omission of parental protective action.



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When staff encounters parents who are not the actual maltreater, but are perhaps the spouse,
paramour or neighbor of the abusive individual, there may be an immediate inclination to place
blame on the “non-abusive” parent. Sometimes this assignment of culpability is accurate, but
other times it is not. There are specific criteria that must be used when determining whether or
not a parent is responsible for abuse that is perpetrated against his or her child by another
person. The CPS worker must use direct interviewing questions during the Initial Assessment in
order to determine the family dynamics at play.

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving parents who knowingly allow abuse
and/or neglect, the worker will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of abuse and/or neglect.

      determine whether or not there is domestic violence within the family dynamics.     f
                                                                                           Ithe
       worker finds the presence of domestic violence, s/he cannot find that the non-abusive
       parent “knowingly allowed” the abusive behavior unless the non-abusing parent did not
       take any steps to protect the child that were reasonable given the threat posed by the
       batterer to the non-abusing parent. The worker must approach completing the interviews,
       protocols and maltreatment ratings as outlined in CPS policy section 3.26 Initial
              Assessments Involving Domestic Violence. ( See Supreme Court of Appeals
       Decision In Regarding Betty J.W., 1988)

      In non-domestic violence cases, consider the following when assigning a maltreatment
       rating of “knowingly allows abuse and/or neglect”. At least one must be present in order to
       use this rating:
               A parent should have known his or child was being abused and/or neglected-It may
           be difficult, at first, for staff to determine whether a parent could have known that his or
           her child was being abused or neglected. In order to use this finding, the worker must
           find sufficient evidence that the parent was presented with information that would have
           led him or her to know. For example: A parent tells the worker that s/he didn‟t know
           his/her son was being sexually abused by an older sibling, yet the children
           disappeared for several hours at a time; the abused child told his mother that he hated
           his older sibling and wished he would die; and the abused child was acting out
           sexually toward other children. When determining if a parent should have known, the
           worker will need to employ very specific questioning of the child‟s behaviors or
           symptoms of the abuse; who the child may have told about the abuse or how they told
           of the abuse. Often, children may not tell anyone in an actual disclosure but may hint or
           tell stories. Other children may never say a word, but their behavior changes
           drastically.
               The parent knew but took no action to prevent or stop the abuse- The worker must
           find that this parent supported and/or condoned the abusive behavior. For example: A
           child is routinely spanked with a belt, leaving marks. When the non-maltreating parent


                                         104203
           is questioned, s/he states that the child does not respond to verbal correction and is
           out-of-control; that this form of discipline is the only thing that works.
              The parent supports the maltreating parent‟s explanation of the abuse but the
           evidence suggests that the abuse did not occur in the fashion that is described- The
           worker must determine, sometimes with the assistance of a medical professional, that
           the abuse could not have occurred according to the parents‟ explanation. For
           example: A child is presented at the ER with a broken arm. The father states that the
           child fell out of bed while he was reading a bedtime story. However, the attending
           physician states that the injury is a spiral fracture and could not have occurred in any
           other way than a twisting motion. The mother is and remains adamant that her
           husband could not have injured their son.
              Both parents refuse to identify the abuser and/or both deny that the abuse has
           occurred- The worker must determine if the parents really do not know what has
           occurred (see section a- Parent should have known) or are simply covering for one
           another or someone else. The worker will need to use the child‟s statement, if
           possible, as well as other collateral information. For example: A child is admitted to
           the hospital for high fever and vomiting. Blood work reveals that the child is infected
           with an STD. Blood work conducted during previous medical exams reveal that the
           child was not infected in the past. Both           parents deny that the child has been
           sexually abused, but refuse to disclose the names of individuals with whom the child
           has spent time.
      choose the “Maltreatment Type” pick list value of “Knowingly Allows Abuse and/or
       Neglect” if one of the above-listed criterion has been met. The substantiation of
       maltreatment will be assigned to this parent, as another maltreatment type would be
       assigned for the parent perpetrating other form(s) of abuse and/or neglect.

      include “knowingly allowing abuse and/or neglect” in the petition, as well as the other
       forms of abuse and/or neglect that were substantiated, if the worker must    file a petition
       to either compel compliance with CPS recommendations, or to remove the children from
       the parent(s)‟ custody.



3.28 Initial Assessments Involving Allegations Made During
Divorce/Custody Proceedings

Rule 47 of the West Virginia Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court requires the
Family Court to report to CPS whenever allegations of child abuse and/or neglect arise during
divorce and/or custody proceedings in Family Court.

When these allegations arise, the Family Court will send a written report to CPS, the Circuit Court
and to the Prosecuting Attorney. The Circuit Court will then enter an administrative order to the
Department, ordering an investigation and a report back within 45 days (or less if the allegations

                                        105203
involve imminent danger). The Circuit Court will also set a date for a hearing regarding the
investigation report. DHHR can avoid this hearing if (a) the CPS worker/supervisor files the
report within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent danger, or (b) files a petition.

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving divorce/custody proceedings, the worker
will:

      establish a plan to complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation.

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      provide a copy of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit
       Court form and a copy of the initial assessment to the Family and Circuit Court within 45
       days (or less if the allegations involve imminent danger), with a copy to the Prosecuting
       Attorney. If the worker and supervisor do not file the report to the Circuit Court
       within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent danger), the hearing
       that was set when the administrative order was written will occur. CPS will be
              required to attend this hearing to discuss the investigation findings and
       why a report was not made to the court within the 45 day (or less) time period.

      If an investigation was completed within 30-45 days of when this referral is received,
       which contains the exact same allegations, a report on the prior referral/investigation can
       be made to the court and the new referral screened as duplicate.
The supervisor will:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      assure that the initial assessment and safety evaluation is completed within the specified
       time frames.

      assure that the worker is prepared for the court appearance and that proper ASO referrals
       have been made, if necessary.

      assure that the worker provides a copy of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for
       Family and Circuit Court form and a copy of the initial assessment to the Circuit Court
       within 45 days (or less if the allegations involve imminent danger). If the worker and
       supervisor do not file the report to the Circuit Court within 45 days (or less if the
       allegations involve imminent danger), the hearing that was set when the
       administrative order was written will occur. CPS will be required to attend this
       hearing to discuss the investigation findings and why a report was not made to
       the court within the 45 day (or less) time period.

                                        106203
After submission of the Disposition of CPS Investigation Report for Family and Circuit Court,
the Circuit Court Judge will review the investigation to determine whether CPS intends to file a
petition and, if not, whether CPS should be ordered to file such a petition. Specifically, the Judge
will want to make sure that the Department addressed any alleged circumstances that require
that a petition to terminate parental rights is filed, or if certain aggravated circumstances exist that
require a petition to be filed. In other words, if CPS substantiates any allegations that might
require the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights under West Virginia Code 49-6-5(b),
such as abandonment or the murder of another of the parent‟s children, the court will consider
whether the circumstances are such that the duty to file a petition is essentially non-discretionary.
If so, then CPS will be ordered to file a petition. Or, if CPS substantiates any allegations whichdo
not require CPS to make reasonable efforts to preserve the family under West Virginia Code 49-
6-3(d)(1) (aggravated circumstances), then the court will consider whether CPS has acted
arbitrarily and capriciously in deciding not to file a petition.

If, when the Circuit Court compares the referral to the investigation and finds that the worker may
be under a duty to file a petition but does not intend to do so, the Circuit Court will enter a show
cause order setting a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether a Writ of
Mandamus should be issued, requiring the worker to file a petition.

 The show cause order will be circulated to the Community Services Manager. It will require the
worker to appear to provide show cause why he or she decided not to file a petition in view of
substantiated allegations that come within West Virginia Code 49-6-5(b) or 49-6-3(d)(1).


3.29 Investigations Involving Family Child Care Settings

Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect in family child care homes are assessed in a
different manner than reports of suspected child abuse or neglect in intra-familial settings. The
initial assessment and safety evaluation of suspected child abuse or neglect in intra-familial
settings focuses on assessing the presence and level of risk to a child within the family setting,
the evaluation of safety of the child, promotion of family preservation when the safety of the child
can be maintained and the provision of safety services to prevent family disruption.
Investigations involving private family child care settings are not focused on family functioning and
family preservation and for that reason, the initial assessment and safety evaluation process is
not used for assessing suspected child abuse and neglect in these “out-of-home” settings. The
worker will not complete the West Virginia Safety First safety assessment on these
investigations. The process used for these investigations is one that focuses on the
determination of whether maltreatment occurred.

For investigations involving private child care settings, the worker will:



                                          107203
      review the report and all previous reports, records, and documentation on the
       facility/provider which are relevant to CPS. Develop a plan for completion of the
       investigation, taking into account the response time indicated at intake. It is the positionof
       the DHHR that the choice of the site of the interviews and who is present during an
       interview is left to the discretion of the CPS staff.

      contact law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney or the medical examiner if the report
       involves serious physical injury, sexual abuse, sexual assault or death of a child, to
       coordinate any arrangements for a joint investigation. If the prosecuting attorney and/or
       law enforcement official declines to proceed with a joint investigation/assessment, CPS
       must proceed as the sole entity conducting the investigation. The failure of law
       enforcement or the multi disciplinary investigative team to conduct an investigation of
       reports of suspected child abuse or neglect does not relieve the DHHR of its
       responsibilities to protect children.

In completing the investigation, the worker will:

      make face-to-face contact with the identified child(ren) in the time indicated as the
       response time on the intake. If unable to do this, the worker must document the reasons in
       FACTS.

      review all provider or facility records relevant to the investigation of the alleged incident.

      privately interview all parties in the following order: (this means separate, private
       interviews for all parties.)
             identified child(ren)
             other witnesses, including other children in the facility/home
             employees
             administrative personnel (if applicable)
             maltreater
             any other collaterals, as appropriate

      ask the parties if they are represented by legal counsel. If the parties are represented by
       legal counsel, then the worker should not continue the interview without first obtaining the
       permission of counsel to do so. If permission to conduct the interview is denied, then the
       worker will discuss this situation with their supervisor. Once the supervisor has reviewed
       this situation, the supervisor or the worker must contact the prosecuting attorney or
       regional attorney for consultation on how to gain access so that the parties may be
       interviewed.

      there is no requirement that interviews with children or with maltreaters be audio or video
       taped. However, some local multi disciplinary investigative teams have found audio or

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       video taping interviews to be effective in reducing the number of times that a child is
       interviewed, especially when there are criminal allegations as well as civil allegations of
       child abuse or neglect. Local MDT‟s are encouraged to become informed about the
       advantages and disadvantages of audio and video taping of interviews. If the team
       decides to use either audio or video taping as part of their MDT protocol, then the DHHR
       may participate. It is recommended that the tapes become part of the criminal
       investigative file to be located with the law enforcement agency records, and not withCPS
       records maintained by the DHHR.

      If CPS finds serious problems prior to completion of the investigation in a family child care
       home, the DHHR Child care staff and Child care R&R staff, where applicable, shall notify
       parents that an investigation is underway which could result in negative action. The
       children must be removed from care until the investigation is complete. In cases of an
       enrolled provider, the Child Care R&R worker shall provide assistance to parents with
               alternate child care arrangements. The DHHR child care staff shall make the
       provider unavailable in FACTS so that no new children may be linked until the conclusion
       of the investigation (See Child Care policy       Section 50863(A)).

      if unable to complete the interviews at all and/or in this order, document the reasons whyin
       the record.

      document the sources of information.

      determine whether maltreatment occurred, utilizing the legal and operational definitions for
       child abuse or neglect.

When completing the interviews, the worker will attempt to specifically gather information in the
following areas:

      the types of maltreatment apparent; this includes all types of maltreatment, physical
       abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Include any physical description of
       maltreatment. The worker should be careful to distinguish between maltreatment and what
       would be considered non-compliance if the child care setting were licensed. The CPS
       worker will not be addressing non-compliance issues and should not consider non-
       compliance abuse or neglect. Non-compliance should be referred to Child Care R&R
       staff.

      the surrounding circumstances which accompany the maltreatment; this should always
       include the explanation of the circumstances related to the alleged maltreatment.
(Note: although the setting of the investigation is different from an intra-familial initial
assessment and safety evaluation, the basic format and techniques for interviewing which are
taught in WVCPSS training still apply.)


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      indicate whether maltreatment occurred.

      complete the investigation within forty-five days of the receipt of the report, unless
       extenuating circumstances prevent the completion. If so, request the approval of an
       extension from the supervisor.

      transmit the investigation to the supervisor for review and approval.
The supervisor will:

      notify the child care provider, if different that the maltreater, in writing, of the findings and
       recommendations resulting from the investigation (the alleged maltreater will receive an
       automatically-generated letter regarding the disposition of the investigation).

      assure that the child care provider‟s notification letter is imported into the FACTS file
       cabinet to document that notification has been made.

      contact the child victim‟s parent or appointed counsel (guardian ad litem) to explain the
       allegations made, the findings of the investigation and the outcomes. If there are other
       children within the child care center or provider‟s home that may also be at risk of
       maltreatment, notify the parents of those children and inform them of the allegations, the
       findings of the investigation and the outcomes, without revealing any confidential
       identifying information. It is expected that parents will make alternative child care
       arrangements.

      notify Child Care R&R staff of the outcome of the investigation.

Investigations of private child care providers will not be opened for on-going CPS; no further
action beyond the investigation and notification of R&R staff is required of the CPS supervisor or
worker.

For investigations of suspected child abuse or neglect involving group residential and foster
family settings and child care center settings, please refer to the IIU policies INVESTIGATIONS
INVOLVING INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT (IIU) AND CHILD MALTREATMENT IN
GROUP RESIDENTIAL AND FOSTER FAMILY SETTINGS and INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT (IIU) AND CHILD CARE CENTER SETTINGS.



3.30 Initial Assessments Involving Non-Custodial Parents

For initial assessments and safety evaluation involving a non-custodial parent, the worker and the

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supervisor will:

      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected abuse or neglect by a custodial parent. Risk of maltreatment
       and safety will be evaluated with the child in the Afield@ with the maltreating non-custodial
       parent.

3.31 Initial Assessments Involving Drug-affected Infants


The staggering rise of illegal substance abuse in our society can be seen in no more poignant a
setting than in the numbers of infants being born with effects of exposure in-utero. Studies
indicate that about one in 10 infants are born each year in the United States who may have been
exposed to illegal drugs. Drug abuse has also become one of the most often cited reasons for
out-of-home placement in child protective services cases.

When a woman uses drugs when she is pregnant, the chemical passes through the placenta and
is absorbed into the fetus=s blood stream. Repeated use can create dependency in the fetus,
just as in the mother. The physical destruction of neurological and organ tissue that occurs to the
human adult due to drug exposure is compounded in the infant, creating the possibility of birth
defects and severe withdrawal. The long-term effects of in-utero drug exposure often cannot be
seen until developmental and learning disabilities surface after the child begins school.

Substance abuse may be identified at various stages throughout the CPS case process and can
affect safety in myriad ways. However, for the purposes of this section, the focus will be on infants
born with effects of illegal substance use.

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving infants exposed in-utero to illegal
substances, the worker will:

      gather information about the medical condition of the infant at birth. Specific medical data
       will need to be collected from the facility where the child was delivered. It is important to
       remember that in order to find maltreatment; the infant must display observable negative
       effects of the birth mother=s drug usage. Observable negative effects include but are not
       limited to physical and /or neurological damage/deformities and/or physical withdrawalat
       the time of birth.

      determine what, if any, continued mal-effects the child will experience after discharge from
       the birthing facility.

      gather information about the birth mother=s drug use habits, as well as that of her
       significant interpersonal relationships which may directly affect her usage.

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      obtain copies of all drug testing and evaluations done by the birthing facility and use this
       information in the assessment.

       judge the presence or absence of all foreseeable dangers, but with particular emphasis
       on the adult mental health functioning element and foreseeable dangers Aone or both
       parents cannot control behavior and/or are violent@ and Aone or both parents have failed
       to benefit from previous help.@ Thorough interviewing and information-gathering must
       accompany this assessment and evaluation.

      respond to any safety needs to other children in the care of the birth mother.

      coordinate resources for substance abuse for the birth mother, as well as for the
       biological father, if applicable.

      make a referral to the Birth to Three program, regardless of maltreatment rating or
       whether or not the case will be opened.

      follow all other rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse and neglect.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the initial assessment and safety evaluation is completed.



3.32 Initial Assessments Involving Parental Substance Abuse

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving parental substance abuse (including
alcohol or drug abuse) the worker and supervisor will:

      complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation with particular emphasis on the
       adult mental health functioning element and the foreseeable dangers Aone or bothparents
       cannot control behavior and/or are violent@ and Aone or both parents have failed to
       benefit from previous professional help@. Thorough interviewing and information-
       gathering must accompany this assessment and evaluation. A parent=s denial of
       substance abuse may not be adequate to make an informed assessment as it is typical
       for substance abusers to deny or minimize their use.

      request assistance from a substance abuse specialist at the community behavioral health
       center, as indicated. Some community behavioral health centers have outreach
       specialists for women, which may be a beneficial resource for CPS situations involving
       mothers who are substance abusers.

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      make arrangements for a substance abuse evaluation, if indicated, to better understand
       the severity of the substance abuse problem and how it relates to the parent being willing
       or able to provide adequate care for their child.



3.33 Initial Assessments Involving Requests from Law Enforcement

For investigations of suspected child abuse and neglect perpetrated by someone other than a
parent, guardian or custodian, in which DHHR is assisting law enforcement or the multi
disciplinary investigative team in conducting the investigation, the worker and supervisor will:
      assist with the investigation per local joint investigation or multi disciplinary protocols, with
       the approval of the Community Services Manager.

      document all casework activity within the Arequest to receive services@ function of
       FACTS.



3.34 Initial Assessments Involving School Personnel

For investigations of suspected child abuse and neglect perpetrated by school personnel, please
refer to the IIU policy INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT
(IIU) AND CHILD MALTREATMENT IN SCHOOL SETTINGS.


3.35 Initial Assessments Involving Sexual or Abusive Interactions
Between Children

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving sexual or abusive interactions between
children the worker and supervisor will:



      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect.

      determine whether the alleged incident occurred as a result of neglect by the parent. If so,
       rate the neglect and surrounding circumstances in the maltreatment and nature elements.

      determine whether the alleged incident occurred within the realm of normal, natural child
       play or exploration between same age children. If so, there will be no finding of
       maltreatment in the maltreatment element.


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      determine whether the parent responded appropriately to the child=s needs for medicalor
       mental health treatment, including the need for emotional support. If so, there will not be a
       finding in maltreatment for medical neglect or emotional maltreatment.

3.36 Initial Assessments Involving Registered Child Sex Offenders


For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving registered child sex offenders who are
on probation or parole, the worker and supervisor will:
      Follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as
       other assessments of child abuse and neglect.

      Determine the status of the registered child sex offender‟s parole or probation. Each
       convicted sex offender is required to fulfill a period of parole or probation. The length of
       time is individualized, and dependent upon specifics of time served and good behavior.
       The state code stipulates that if the sex offense was committed against a child under the
       age of 18, that individual will not be allowed around children under the age of 18 during his
       or her parole/probation period.

      The worker or supervisor will notify the probation or parole officer that the Department has
       received a referral that the registered sex offender has violated the terms written in WV
       State Code Chapter 62. WV State Code Chapter 49, section 49-7-1(1), provides that
       information can be disclosed to “Federal, state or local government entities, or any agent
       of such entities, including law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys, having a
       need for such information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect
       children from abuse and neglect”. This allows for CPS to share specifics of the referral
       with the parole or probation officer.

      If the worker determines that the registered child sex offender is (1) on parole or
       probation, and (2) being allowed unlimited and/or unrestricted access to a child under the
       age of 18, that worker must address this issue with the custodial parent(s) and/or the non-
       child sex offender parent.

      Worker must inform the non-sex offender parent of the registered child sex offender‟s
       status on the West Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry as well as actively serving
       a parole or probation period which prohibits him or her from being around children under
       the age of 18. The worker must emphasize that the offense was child sex abuse.

      If the non-sex offender parent makes no effort to change the circumstances once they
       have been made aware of the child sex offender‟s status on the registry, this parent is
       knowingly allowing his or her child to continue in a situation that poses potential harm to
       the children. The worker must then notify the non-sex offender parent that the Prosecuting
       Attorney will be contacted.

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      The worker must contact the Prosecuting Attorney to file a petition for either removal of the
       children or to compel compliance from the non-sex offender parent.

      If a petition is denied, the worker and supervisor must consult with the Community
       Services Manager or designee, Regional Program Manager or designee and the
       Regional Assistant Attorney General to determine an approach to assure the child(ren‟s)
       safety.

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving registered child sex offenders who are
not on probation or parole, the worker and supervisor will:

      Follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as
       other assessments of child abuse and neglect.

      The worker must inform the non-sex offender parent of the registered sex offender‟s status
       on the West Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry. The worker must emphasize that
       the offense was child sex abuse.

      When investigating the risk of harm to the child(ren), the worker must take into account
       behaviors in which the offender may be engaging that are not sexual but indicate that the
       offender is grooming the child for future sexual offense. Examples of grooming behavior
       may include spending more time with one child who belongs to a sibling group or buying
       gifts for this child and not the others; the offender may find ways to be alone with the child,
       such as making up excuses to pick the child up from school, or take the child to
       appointments; overly solicitous in his or her parenting role and seems “too good to be
       true” ; the children describe the offender as very affectionate, or involved in their play-time
       activities; wants to spend inordinate amounts of time with the children.

      If the worker determines that the registered child sex offender is being allowed unlimited
       and/or unrestricted access to a child under the age of 18, and this contact poses risk of
       harm, that worker must address this issue with the custodial parent(s) and/or the non-child
       sex offender parent.

      If the worker and supervisor determine that the registered child sex offender does not
       have unlimited and/or unrestricted access to the children, or does not pose a risk of harm
       even with the unlimited and/or unrestricted access, the worker and supervisor will
       complete required FACTS documentation and proceed accordingly. This can only be
       determined through proper investigation and the procurement of any needed evaluations
       that may have been done during incarceration or thereafter. This is not to mean that the
       worker must request assessments to be completed during the investigative
       process, but refers to the worker gathering any existing assessments. An
       example of a low-risk offender would be an individual convicted of the statutory rape of a
       female, aged 15, and the children with whom the offender is residing are his biological

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       male infants.

      If the worker and supervisor determine that the registered child sex offender does pose a
       risk of harm to the children, and the non-sex offender parent makes no effort to change the
       circumstances once they have been made aware of the child sex offender‟s status on the
       registry, this parent is knowingly allowing his or her child(ren) to continue in a situation that
       poses potential harm to the child(ren). The worker must then notify the non-sex offender
       parent that the Prosecuting Attorney will be contacted and a CPS case will be opened.

      The worker must contact the Prosecuting Attorney to file a petition for either removal of the
       child(ren) or to compel compliance from the non-sex offender parent.

      If a petition is denied and the family refuses to cooperate with services, the worker and
       supervisor must consult with the Community Services Manager or designee, the Regional
       Program Manager or designee and the Regional Assistant Attorney General to determine
       an approach to assure the child(ren‟s) safety.




3.36 Initial Assessments Involving Registered Child Abusers

For initial assessments and safety evaluations involving individuals on the Child Abuse and
Neglect Registry who reside with children, the worker shall:
      follow the same rules and procedures for initial assessment and safety evaluation as other
       assessments of suspected child abuse or neglect

      contact the registrant‟s probation or parole officer, if applicable, to determine if the
       registrant is in violation of their probation/parole due to residing with a minor

      notify the non-offending custodial parent(s) of the registrant‟s status on the Child Abuse
       and Neglect Registry

      contact the appropriate officials to gather more detailed information regarding the
       registrants actions that led to the conviction in order to assess risk of future harm and to
       determine if aggravated circumstances exist (for information regarding aggravated
       circumstances, see CPS Policy Section 3.13, as well as WV Code 49-6-3(d))

      if the children are determined to be unsafe, proceed with the appropriate in-home
       protection plan or out-of-home protection plan as indicated by the WV Safety First Safety
       Assessment and open the case for CPS On-Going services




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CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 4

4.1 Family Assessment and Treatment Planning

The family assessment in risk management casework includes all the activities and the
documentation which focus on studying the risk influences identified during initial assessment.
Assessment continues beyond identification to arrive at conclusions regarding the extent of those
core risk conditions that must change and the origin and cause of core risk conditions. Finally,
the family assessment includes establishment of some estimate regarding the likelihood of
changes which will reduce risk and risk influences.

The study process during the family assessment phase is directed at areas within the family
which were identified as being problematic and contributing to risk. The study also considers the
presence of previously unidentified or newly emerging influences. The family assessment
translates problems with the field into client outcomes. These provide overall guidance to
treatment plans and specific treatment goals.

Documentation of the family assessment must be thorough, relevant, qualitative, specific,
concise, factual (opinions must be supported by facts) and professional. The most important
objective during family assessment is to develop a working collaboration with the family.
Involvement of the family is enhanced if you involve them from the beginning and consistently
throughout.

While the process of family assessment and treatment planning is occurring, the supervisor will;

       !      conduct regular supervisory meetings with the worker to provide support, guidance
               and case consultation and to regulate the quality of casework practice.


4.2 Purposes

The primary purposes of family assessment are:

      to engage the family in a problem solving/helping partnership.

      to identify the cause or origin, extent and meaning of risk influences.

      to promote caseworker understanding and to enhance caseworker ability to help the
       family understand problems.

      to plan and respond appropriately.

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      to provide, along with the treatment plan, a benchmark for measuring client progress.

      to make decisions about outcomes, goals, and appropriate resources.

      to initiate problem solving.

      to reach agreement with the family about what must change.

      to encourage family motivation toward change.
4.3 Decisions

The decisions that must be made during family assessment are:

      what is the origin of the condition?

      what is the nature of the condition?

      what are or have been the consequences of the origins or conditions?

      how do the origins and conditions relate to placing a child at risk?

      how do the family members perceive the conditions?

      what does the information mean?

      what are the pervasive qualities of the family members?

      does individual or family history help in understanding current functioning?

      what information seems contradictory or inconsistent?

      what family qualities are particularly noteworthy or impressive?

      are there some things about the family which are vague or subtle?

      what must change in order for the risk to be reduced?

      what can change---taking into account client capacity?

      what level of motivation to change exists?

      what does the family agree to?

      what is the nature and quality of the worker-family relationship?



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4.4 Principles

The principles of family assessment are:

      family assessment is essentially a life space study which considers all forces present in
       the family which impact on the child.

      the concentration is on present risk issues, functioning, and problems, with recognition
       that understanding of cause or origin is essential. This is accomplished through
       examination of history, development, evolution, and past experience.

      the assessment also considers the Afield@ as a dynamic, living, changing, interacting
       environment.

      family assessment is subject to change and review.

      it is interactional; it deals with roles, relationships, environment, and resources.

      family assessment takes into account all aspects of family life as well as the context in
       which the family exists.



4.5 Family Assessment Protocol

Upon assignment of a case for ongoing services, the worker will:

      review the case file and all work completed by the initial assessment worker (if
       applicable).

      develop a plan for completion of the family assessment and treatment plan, by completing
       the AFamily Assessment Study Guide/Preparation@. The family assessment and
       treatment plan is due to be completed within 45 days of the date the initial assessment
       and safety evaluation was completed.

      if feasible, meet with the initial assessment worker to discuss the case and strategies for
       proceeding to family assessment.



4.6 Completing the Family Assessment

In completing the family assessment, the worker will:


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      if possible and where applicable, meet with the family and the initial assessment worker to
       be introduced to the family and make the transition to the family assessment process. (If
       case does not transfer from one worker to another, this meeting is not necessary).

      meet with all family members in a planned approach; this will likely include a combination
       of meetings with individual family members as well as couples meetings, and family
       meetings, as indicated by the particular family and situation. The order of the interview is
       flexible. You must determine how you will proceed in scheduling the interviews once you
       meet the family and develop your plan. The purpose of the exploratory interviews is to
       build relationships with family members as well as gathering information for treatment
       planning.

      ask the family what is wanted. A family will likely tell you, either directly or through
       implication.

      involve the family from the beginning and consistently throughout. Questions such as
       Awhat do you think?@ or Ahow do you feel?@ convey your interest in their involvement.

      contact other collateral parties, such as teachers, counselors, physicians, other service
       providers, etc. who have information to share that is relevant to family assessment and
       treatment planning, as indicated. This may be done within the context of a multi
       disciplinary treatment team.

      document the dates and pertinent content of these contacts, as related to the family
       assessment focus, using the family assessment contact screens within FACTS.

      analyze and document those behaviors, feelings, attitudes, perceptions or conditions
       which must change in order for risk to be reduced.



4.7 Risk Reduction

In considering what must change in order to reduce risk, the worker must consider the following
areas:
      how the children function on a daily basis, including pervasive behaviors, feelings,
       intellect, physical capacity and temperament; this must include consideration of capacity
       and temperament; consideration of capacity for attachment, general temperament,
       expressions of emotions/feelings, typical behaviors, presence and level of peer
       relationships, school performance and behaviors, known mental disorders
       (organic/inorganic), issues of independence/dependence, motor skills and physical
       capacity.

      the disciplinary approaches used by the parent, including the typical context; this must

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       include consideration of when, how, where and for what reasons/purpose discipline might
       occur.

      the overall, typical, pervasive parenting practices used by the parent; this must include
       consideration of perception of children, reasons for being a parent, feelings about being a
       parent, knowledge and general skill, basic care, decision making about parenting,
       parenting style, history of parental behavior and success, sensitivity and understanding
       toward children, empathy and expectations.

      daily mental health functioning and substance use by the parent; this must include
       consideration of reality perception, self-concept, coherence, rationality, self/emotional
       control, any impairment that is associated with mental health or substance use, self-
       concept and esteem, self-care and self-preservation.

      general adult functioning in respect to daily life management and adaptation; his must
       include consideration of communication, coping, stress management, impulse control,
       problem solving, judgment, decision making, independence, money and home
       management, employment, social relationships, citizenship, and community involvement.

      adult=s history from infancy to 18 years; this must include consideration of the historical
       experience from the standpoint of satisfaction, needs being met, stability, security, role
       models and significant others, permanency, growth, nurturance and health.

      family functioning, communication and interaction; this must include consideration of how
       the family is structured, the clarity of roles and boundaries, who is in charge, how family
       decisions are reached, the level and type of communication used, the presence and use
       of affection, marital issues, presence/absence of family violence and the general
       feelings/climate within the family and relationship to the community, demographics such
       as family composition, education, employment, housing, income and health matters.

      the quality of supportive relationships (formal and informal) outside the home; this must
       include consideration of friends, neighbors, relatives (including separated/divorced
       parents), organizations, institutions, agencies, professionals, clubs, groups and how any
       of these serve as a supportive network in terms of how used, current capacity, previous
       use, dependability, access/availability and responsiveness.

When considering major conditions which must change, the worker should use the following
evaluative questions to frame their thinking:

      how important is the condition in the life of the child and/or as part of the field?

      how intensely does the condition operate within the field and in the life of the child?



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      is the condition present or affecting every aspect of the field and/or the child=s life?

      is the condition operating constantly?

      how long has this condition been in operation?

      what are the consequences of the condition, generally in the family and to the child?

      what is the perception of the parents concerning the condition and its effects on the child?



4.8 Analysis

In completing the analysis section of the family assessment, the worker will:

      interpret why the major conditions are present in the family. Where do the identified
       behaviors, feelings, attitudes, perceptions seem to originate? What causes them? This
       will include consideration of issues of development and history and present cause and
       effect relationships.

      judge what seems to be the purpose of the identified behaviors, emotions, attitudes and
       perceptions. What is the parent or child trying to accomplish by their behavior, emotion,
       attitude, perception?

      interpret the subjective meaning of the identified behaviors, emotions, attitudes and
       perceptions. This is concerned with how the family views and understands their life
       situation. How do they experience the areas which are problematic?

      interpret the consequences of the identified behaviors, emotions, attitudes and
       perceptions. This is concerned with the potential results of the current situation to the
       family and its members.

      narrow the analysis to the core conditions or the essence of what must change. These are
       the conditions which are most critical in creating risk and these conditions must change in
       order to close the case.

      match these core conditions to outcomes which are positive results or change in a
       client/family which, when achieved, reduce risk of maltreatment.



4.9 Treatment Planning

The treatment process in CPS should be purposeful and planned. Treatment planning assures

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purposeful, logical treatment and intervention. Treatment planning is a deliberate, reasonable,
mutually agreed upon strategy to reduce the risk and the contributing influences which required
CPS intervention. It involves planned action to support a family and its members toward a
desired and prescribed outcome. The outcome, if achieved, will reduce the risk which required
CPS intervention. The likelihood of achieving outcomes is directly related to the appropriateness
of treatment planning. The most difficult and most critical aspect of treatment planning is
agreement, and second is goal setting. Treatment plans must be client plans, rather than worker
plans. Plans will not work if clients are not invested in them. Clients must be involved if change is
to occur.


4.10 Purposes

The primary purposes of treatment planning are:

      to provide accountability for the worker, to the family and the agency.

      to provide structure for the worker and the family to follow.

      to serve as the framework for decision making.

      to provide, along with the family assessment, a benchmark for measuring client progress.

      to provide a format for communication with the family.

      to assure a professional approach to helping.



4.11 Decisions

The decisions that must be made during treatment planning are:

      is the plan realistic, specific, creative and measurable?

      does the plan take into account client capacity and willingness?

      is the plan founded on information from family assessment?

      is the plan centered on risk issues?

      does the plan consider family change and progress?

      does the plan deliver the biggest, best and quickest payoff for the family?

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4.12 Structure

Risk management treatment planning is structured by five specific components:

      Outcomes: positive results which, when achieved, reduce risk of maltreatment.
       Outcomes are related to core risk conditions identified in the family.

      Goals: behaviorally stated actions that clients will accomplish which will move them
       toward their individual outcomes.

      Measures: measurement of goal achievement (how you will know that goals are
       achieved).

      Services: those actions which are implemented by the CPS agency or other agencies
       which will assist clients in accomplishing specific goals.

      Time Frame: indicates how often and for how long services will be provided, when goals
       are to be reached, and when review of progress is to occur.



4.13 Outcomes Selection

When selecting outcomes, the worker must choose from the following:

      self-sufficiency- self sufficiency outcomes are behavioral and emotional indicators which
       demonstrate evidence of improved self-esteem, confidence, autonomy, independence,
       coping, self-control and motivation.

      communication skills- communication skills outcomes are skills which demonstrate
       improved capacity to effectively express and receive feelings, perceptions, ideas and
       opinions.

      parenting knowledge and skill- parenting outcomes are evident through behavioraland
       cognitive indicators which demonstrate understanding of child development and parenting
       responsibilities. These include observable parent-child interactions which meet minimal
       standards.

      problem solving skills- problem solving outcomes are evident through behavioral and
       cognitive indicators which give evidence of perception, acknowledgment, examination
       and understanding of problems, and observable, acceptable solutions to problems.

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      developmental/role achievement- developmental outcomes are demonstrated through
       behavioral, cognitive, and emotional indicators of successful role performance, and
       achievement of developmental tasks.

4.14 Dimensions

Within each outcome, the worker must select dimensions or single aspects which apply to the
individual or family. The dimensions for each outcome which the worker must use are listed
below:

      Self sufficiency
             self-care
             independence
             defends self
             sociability
             coping
             self-esteem
             self-control

      communication skills
             verbal expression
             listening
             verbal responses
             intent of communication
             empathy
             ability to verbalize affection
             recognition/acceptance of affection
             giving affection

      parenting knowledge/skill
             knowledge
             expectations of children
             sensitivity to children
             emotional control
             discipline
             provides basic necessities
             perception/attitude toward children
      problem solving
             problem acceptance

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             capacity for solving problems
             approach to solving problems
             other basic services

      developmental/role achievement
             knowledge
             activities
             tasks
             maturity


4.15 Family Assessment-Finalization

In finalizing the family assessment, the worker must:

      judge convergence or the level of agreement that exists between the worker and the family
       related to what must change.

In judging convergence, the worker must consider the following:

      the parent=s perception of major conditions that must change.

      the worker/parent level of agreement that must change.

      the quality of worker/parent rapport.

      the potential for worker/family collaboration.
When completing the goal statement, the worker will:

      identify for whom the goal is designed.

      identify Aby when@ the goal will be achieved, which is when the behavior is expected to be
       habitual.

If little or no acceptance by the client of the plan exists, the worker will implement the plan by
beginning with the outcome A problem solving@ and the dimension Aproblem acceptance@.


4.16 Measures


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When identifying Ameasures@ the worker will:

      identify measures that relate to the person or family for whom the goal is developed,
       individualizing the measures which will be applied to judge goal achievement.

      select measures based upon minimal standards of achievement.



4.17 Services
When identifying services, the worker will:

      describe what service is to be used to facilitate goal achievement.

      provide a description of what that service is to do in relation to the goal.

      identify Aby whom@ the service will be delivered, the name of the provider, individual
       and/or agency name.

      identify the frequency of services to be provided.

      identify the Abeginning date@ which is when a particular service will begin.

      identify the Aending date@ which is when the worker expects a particular service to be
       concluded.

If, at the time of the development of the comprehensive treatment plan the worker does not know
which provider will address goals which will be worked on beyond the immediate 3 month period
ahead, the worker will leave these blank and return to complete them when they are known.

The worker must also:

      assess the barriers to effective treatment intervention. Emphasis should be placed upon
       those areas where the problems present in the family may cause difficulty with treatment
       (e.g. chronicity, complexity, severity). This should also include assessment and
       documentation of the availability of resources and the capacity of providers to respond to
       the family. Some individuals may not be able to benefit from some services due to certain
       conditions that may be present. An example is that a person with cognitive disabilities
       and/or other developmental disabilities may not be able to benefit from a traditional
       parenting education course, but may be able to benefit from a different style of parenting
       education which is more individualized to their needs.



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Helping CPS families must be based on the specific risk influences studied during the family
assessment. Since the underlying causes of risk are different for every family, services selected
must be based upon the individual needs of the family. All risk reduction treatment is directed
toward one or more of the following outcomes: self-sufficiency, communication skills, parenting
knowledge and skill, problem solving skills, and developmental/role achievement.

Specific service alternatives for families and parents are identified as follows:

      Individual counseling should be considered for those who have internalized feelings
       about self, who have poor feelings of self as related to others and withdrawn individuals
       who have no close relationships.

      Group counseling should be considered for individuals with chronic difficulties in social
       relationships, people who have had poor parenting or inadequate socialization, persons
       who may benefit from confrontation, and people with problems in common.

      Marital/family counseling should be considered for families who want to improve their
       roles, communication, and relationships and when an individual family member=s
       behavior disrupts the equilibrium of the family system.

      Psychiatric intervention should be considered when the client is severely depressed
       and/or has mental disorders.

      Environmental restructuring or life situation services should be considered when
       specific problems are apparent. Examples of services are:

              Public health and other health services- provide families with medicalservices,
           assistance with child care, and assistance in effective child rearing.
              Substance abuse treatment- provide individuals with medical care, addiction
           treatment, and support services.
              Employment counseling and training- provide opportunities for building
           employment skills and for finding employment consistent with a person=s interest and
           capacity.
              Financial counseling and assistance- provide people with resources to meet
           basic needs and develop skills in household budgeting and financial management.
              Temporary shelter and housing assistance- provide families with temporary
           shelter and with assistance to locate and maintain adequate housing.
              Transportation- provide people with transportation and concrete assistance to
           aid use of other community resources.
              Legal services- provide concrete legal assistance to address a variety of legal
           problems. e.g., divorce, housing evictions, financial matters, etc.



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      Educational activities should be considered when a person lacks basic education and
       life skills or has a desire to develop career opportunities and is cognitively capable of
       benefiting from services.

      Lay therapy (self-help groups, mentoring, etc.) should be considered when a person
       is socially isolated, in need of a non-threatening social experience, and/or is in need of
       instruction regarding role performance.

      Day care or day treatment should be considered when people need relief from child
       care as a form of treatment or because of employment responsibilities, or can benefit
       from observing and participating in the child care experience.

      Home management services should be considered when people have deficient home
       management or parenting skills and may be able to learn by example or are socially
       isolated.

      Parenting education programs should be considered when parents have inappropriate
       parental expectations of the child, an inability to be empathically aware of the child=s
       needs, a strong belief in the value of physical punishment, have had difficulty assuming the
       Arole@ of parent, and/or have other deficits in parental attitudes and skills. Parent
       education programs can be either group-based or home-based, and are designed to
       provide assistance and information regarding, bonding and attachment, empathy, self-
       awareness, child development, discipline, recognizing and communicating feelings, and
       unconditional love, honesty, and respect.
Specific service alternatives for children are identified as follows:

      West Virginia Birth to Three should be considered for all children under the age of three
       who have been identified as experiencing or at risk of developing substantial
       developmental delays or atypical development patterns; or have been determined to fall
       under an at-risk category as defined by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities
       Education Act. (For specific criteria, see the West Virginia Birth to Three website at
       http://www.wvdhhr.org/birth23/).

      Early childhood programs should be considered when children at risk could benefit from
       time away from a stressful home situation, needed structure, limit setting, and stimulation,
       and opportunity to interact with adults and children who serve as models for appropriate
       action, and an alternative to foster care when continual presence in the home places the
       child at risk and jeopardizes the child=s safety.

      Therapeutic day care programs should be considered for children who suffer
       developmental delays and/or psychological problems and can provide educational and
       developmental stimulation and safe environments where they can test their feelings,
       experience nurturing, and develop trust in others.

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      Special education programs should be considered for children who are physically or
       emotionally disabled and can provide educational programs designed to meet
       individualized needs.

      Play therapy should be considered for young children who need a safe environment
       where they can learn to express and resolve feelings, conflicts, and fears through play.

      Individual counseling should be considered for children who can express themselves
       verbally and can provide attention and support to meet their needs, deal with their fears,
       resolve conflicts, and promote self-esteem.

      Group counseling should be considered for children and adolescents who need support
       and experiences which assist with socialization and development of self-awareness, and
       sensitivity to others.

      Art therapy should be considered for children who need supportive environments to
       release feelings and conflicts. Art therapy is useful and helpful as a diagnostic and
       therapeutic tool.

      Supportive services should be considered for children who may benefit from
       recreational and socialization activities which can be healing for maltreated children.
       Such services include outings with social workers, mentors, Girl/Boy Scouts, 4-H Clubs,
       after school programs, church activities, etc.

The above listed alternative services are not intended to be an exhaustive list---other alternatives
may be available in local communities. Services listed are not available in all local communities.
 Community Services Districts are expected to work through the Multi Disciplinary Oversight
Team, the Family Resource Networks, the Community Collaboratives and the Regional Summits
to enhance the availability and accessibility of necessary services in the community.


4.18 Treatment Plan
In developing a treatment plan, the worker will:

      develop the plan based upon outcomes and dimensions identified in the family
       assessment.

      develop a comprehensive treatment plan which represents what the worker and the family
       agree is required for the life of the case.

      identify specific measures which can be applied to measure accomplishment of the
       dimensions and therefore, the outcomes.



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      prioritize, with the family and providers, what will be worked on, when and for how long.

      establish the length of service expected in the case and identify the estimated date for
       closure. This is an estimation of the date that the worker and the family expect that all
       goals will be achieved, that minimal standards associated with change will have been
       attained and that the plan will be fully completed.

      identify when the plan is to be initiated, which is the date that the family members and
       providers will actually commence activity (e.g., counseling, training, skill development,
       etc.)

      consider and document family members= acceptance of the plan. This should include
       consideration and description of how family members participated.

      consider and document agreement or disagreement with the plan, levels of motivationand
       potential or actual resistance.

      complete specific goals for every dimension identified in the family assessment. This will
       include identification of the person for whom the goal is established, the measures which
       are used to evaluate goal achievement and identification of services.

In completing the treatment plan, the worker will also:

      identify ACase Management Tasks@ which are the tasks the caseworker must carry out in
       the next 90 days to facilitate the implementation of the treatment plan.

      establish and document a Acase evaluation date@ which must not be more than 90 days
       from the date the treatment plan is initiated.

      evaluate and document the sufficiency and need for any existing safety plan.

      develop and document tasks or activities which are designed to help the family member
       progress toward achieving a particular goal. These tasks or activities should be very
       specific, behavioral assignments which a client and provider agree will be helpful in
       facilitating change. These Amini service objectives@ are an informal part of the treatment
       process and plan. They are typically short-term and operate within the service context on
       a week-to-week basis. Client tasks are established and monitored during service
       provision sessions.

      seek parent signatures on the treatment plan to signify agreement or disagreement with
       the plan.

(Upon completion of the Family Assessment and Treatment Plan screens within FACTS, a

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comprehensive treatment plan may be printed in hard copy form by going to the Reports icon
within FACTS and then clicking on Treatment Plan.)



4.19 Considering Potential for Change

Some people are more severely troubled than others, with more complex problems and more
traumatic histories. It is clear that some are less likely to benefit from services than others.
Because of the concern for permanency and well-being of the child in the long term, it is
imperative that when doing assessments and treatment planning, the potential for change is
considered.

A poor chance for change does not mean that you refuse to provide services or provide no
opportunity for change. However, the worker will consider the potential for change when
determining;

      the service and the frequency of the service;

      what is expected from the person;

      the length of time allowed before revision of the treatment plan; and

      the character of the treatment plan, e.g., the worker would not plan unsupervised weekend
       visits for a child whose father is a fixated pedophile.

Some circumstances which present more challenging conditions for change include (this list is
not meant to be all inclusive);

      severe mental or emotional disorders;

      criminally insane;

      sociopathic maltreaters;

      serious and chronic substance abusers;

      sexual offenders;

      sadistic maltreaters;

      non-motivated, resistant maltreaters;


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      no sign of guilt or remorse.



4.20 Use of Other Service Providers

Applying a community based approach, through the use of other providers, strengthens the
capability of CPS. When using other service providers as part of the treatment plan, it is
important to establish clear expectations for the role of the provider. In order to specify
expectations with the provider, the worker will:

      share the results of the family assessment, including an identification of core risk
       conditions that are to be addressed by the provider.

      identify the outcomes that the provider is to assist the client to achieve.

      provide a copy of the treatment plan with the provider=s role identified.

      explain the purpose of the referral, and expectations regarding the type, scope, and extent
       of services needed;

      indicate the number, regularity, and method of reports required, as well as reasons for
       reports; and

      make provisions for coordinating among providers and monitoring service provision and
       risk reduction. The multi disciplinary treatment team may be used for this purpose.

      introduce the client to the provider and explain roles, if at all possible. Never assume that
       everyone understands.




4.21 Revising/Eliminating Safety Plan

If a worker is revising or eliminating an existing safety plan at the initiation of the treatment plan,
the worker will:

      complete a AContinuing Safety Analysis@( the document is located within FACTS /Safety
       Plan) and, as needed, a new Safety Plan to reflect the revised Safety Plan in place at that
       point.




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4.22 Completion of Family Assessment and Treatment Plan

To conclude the family assessment and treatment plan, the worker will:

      complete the family assessment and treatment plan within 45 days of the date the initial
       assessment and safety evaluation was completed.

      transmit the case to the supervisor for review and approval.

The supervisor will:

      review the family assessment and treatment plan for general thoroughness and
       completeness.

      review the protocol followed by the worker in completing the family assessment. If the
       protocol was not followed, determine the reason.

      review any revisions to an established safety plan at the initiation of the treatment planand
       assure that a safety plan is in place, if indicated.

      review whether the family assessment reflects the worker=s understanding of underlying
       need.

      review the adequacy and the specific details of the treatment plan in terms of identified
       outcomes, goals, measures- and services initiated.

      review whether all indicated family members were involved in the family assessment and
       development of the treatment plan.

      review whether the multi disciplinary treatment team, if indicated, or other parties relevant
       to the case were involved in the family assessment and development of the treatment
       plan.

      review whether there is evidence of relationship building by the worker with the family.

      review whether information from other service providers was used in developing the
       treatment plan.

      review whether clear expectations were established with service providers.

      document supervisory consultation and approval within the appropriate screens within
       FACTS.



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If the family assessment and treatment plan is unsatisfactory for any reason, the supervisor will:

      meet with the worker to discuss the areas that need improvement.

      provide or arrange for any assistance that the worker needs to make the requested
       improvements.

      assure that the improvements are made, prior to approving the family assessment and
       treatment plan.



4.23 Contacts

In addition to documentation on the family assessment and treatment plan, the worker will use the
 contact screens within FACTS for the following:

      to document family assessment and treatment plan process, client participation and
       agreement and worker level of effort.

      to document new information which affects risk not identified in initial assessment.

      to record changes in family situation and make-up.

      To record information associated with provider agreements.

      to document changes in safety situation or plan.



4.24 Case Management

Case management involves the regulation of help to CPS families. This includes monitoring
services to assure that they are relevant to the client, delivered in a useful way, and appropriately
used by the client. Case management monitors and continuously assesses risk and safety.
When providing case management services, the worker will;

      assure that the casework process is followed.

      assure that acceptable CPS practices are observed.

      assure that clients are involved in the casework process.

      make regular contact with the client as indicated by the treatment plan, no less frequently

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       than once per month.

      respond honestly and reasonably to client=s concerns and questions.

      assure that the case management process controls compliance with time frames.

      convene the multi disciplinary treatment team, as indicated. (See policy on multi
       disciplinary teams)

      communicate with all appropriate persons.

      monitor and review the casework process.

      document records and prepare necessary reports.

      apply effective decision making strategies.

      advocate on behalf of the client.

      continuously assess risk and safety.



4.25 Family Assessment and Treatment Plan and Foster Care/Legal
Requirements

When a child is placed in foster care as a result of child abuse and neglect proceedings, various
federal and state legal requirements become mandatory to assure that the child is safe, will have
a permanent placement and that emotional, physical and educational needs are being met.
Whenever a child is placed in the legal custody of the DHHR, the worker will;

      complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation, if not already completed, using the
       initial assessment and safety evaluation protocol. Use the initial assessment and safety
       evaluation screens within FACTS to document the information.

      complete the family assessment and treatment plan, using the family assessment and
       treatment planning protocol. Use the case plan screens within FACTS to document the
       information.

      complete the foster care placement activities using the Foster Care Policy for placement
       of children. Use the placement and case plan screens within FACTS to document the
       information.

      assemble the Child, Youth and Family Case Plan within 60 days of the child entering
       foster care. The case plan is a DDE report (CPS-0601) and is assembled within FACTS

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       by going to the Reports icon, and clicking on the Child, Youth and Family Case Plan. The
       case plan format includes all of the information necessary to fulfill state requirements for
       the child=s case plan (49-6D-3), the family case plan (49-6-5) and federal requirements
       for the IVB and I=VE foster care programs. FACTS will assemble the Child, Youth and
       Family Case Plan by gathering information that has been documented in the various
       screens within FACTS. The case plan will be in Word Perfect text and may be modified
       as indicated throughout the life of the case. The case plan can be printed in hard copy
       form whenever it is needed.

      file the Child, Youth and Family Case Plan within FACTS in the file cabinet within 60 days
       of the child entering foster care. Whenever the case plan is modified and revised, the new
       copy must be saved within FACTS in the file cabinet.

      share the case plan with the multi disciplinary treatment team to guide their work in
       planning for the child. The Case Plan will be formulated with the assistance of all parties,
       counsel and the multi disciplinary treatment team.

      submit the Child, Youth and Family Case Plan to the parties, their counsel, the CASA
       representative and the Court at least 5 judicial days prior to the disposition hearing,
       pursuant to 49-6D-5 and Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and Neglect
       proceedings. The Case Plan is submitted to the Court by filing it with the Circuit Court
       Clerk. The Child=s Case Plan Cover Letter, a DDE report (CPS 0051) will be utilized to
       submit the Case Plan to the appropriate entities.

      submit the Child, Youth and Family Case Plan to the Court within 30 days of the entry of an
       order granting a pre-adjudicatory improvement period, pursuant to 49-6D-3 and Rule 23
       of the Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and Neglect proceedings. The Case Plan will
       be submitted to the Court by filing it with the Circuit Court Clerk. The Child=s Case Plan
       Cover Letter, a DDE report (CPS 0051) will be utilized to submit the Case Plan to the
       appropriate entities.

(Please refer to the Section VII Foster Care Policy and the Legal Requirements and Processes
 for CPS/Foster Care Policy for additional information on placement of children in foster care,
assessment and case planning.)

4.26 Open CPS Cases with Non-CPS Initiated Family Court Involvement

CPS workers often become involved with families that have a Family Court case pending for
custody, divorce or domestic violence reasons. Rule 47(e) of the West Virginia Rules of Practice
and Procedure for Family Court allows information sharing to occur between CPS and Family
Court due to the importance of each entity knowing what the other is doing in respect to the
family. This rule allows a CPS worker to share information in a way that might not normally be
covered under confidentiality statutes and policies. Before CPS sends the changes to Family

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Court, the worker should ascertain from the Family Court as to whether the case is still open.

When CPS workers begin a relationship with a family, it is important that he or she learn the
specifics of any court cases. It is also very important that a Family Court Judge, who may be
making decisions of custody, know of any issues of child abuse and/or neglect that are occurring.
Although CPS has no duty to provide oversight for Family Court cases, the worker has a duty to
notify Family Court when a “Material Change of Circumstance” occurs. It is important for staff to
never assume that Family Court Judges have all of the information when they make decisions
involving a family. Unlike CPS, Family Court Judges must rely on the testimony that is presented
to them during court hearings. They do not have the opportunity to question collaterals such as
school personnel or neighbors.

A Material Change of Circumstance is a change in the case that, without the Family Court Judge
knowing, could threaten the safety and/or welfare of the child. This could include letting the court
know if a battering parent drops put of treatment or one of the parents begins a relationship witha
child sex offender. It should also include letting the court know if a petition is filed by the CPS
worker; if a case is closed or if a family moves out of the area. DHHR staff decides when the
court is notified about these changes.

The Family Court, conversely, has a duty to apprize CPS of when such cases are closed or are
pending. The court has special orders for use in notifying CPS when their cases are pending or
are closed.



CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION 5 Case Evaluation

Case evaluation is a continuing part of the casework process. The dynamic nature of CPS cases
necessitates ongoing evaluation. Case evaluation is the point at which you measure observable
results against stated goals, in relation to services. It is a specific activity designed to assess
risk reduction and the point at which the worker, along with the family and multi disciplinary
treatment, if applicable, steps away from the casework to see if things are working. Case
evaluation is a decision making point in the casework process. It is not simply a time set for
updating FACTS or summarizing contacts. The decision to close a case and disengage CPS is
reached during case evaluation.

Throughout the life of the case, the supervisor will:

      conduct regular supervisor meetings with the worker to provide support, guidance and
       case consultation and to regulate the quality of casework practice.




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5.2 Purposes

The primary purposes of case evaluation are:

      to identify progress and risk reduction.

      to provide feedback to the family and others involved in the case.

      to determine the need for revision of the treatment plan.

      to examine provider performance on the case.

      to measure change in relation to original risk which warranted CPS intervention.

      to determine that the child is no longer at risk.

      to disengage CPS from family involvement.



5.3 Decisions

The decisions that must be made during case evaluation are:

      is the treatment plan appropriate?

      does anything need adjusting in the treatment plan?

      are services being provided as planned?

      is the client/family participating?

      is progress being made toward goals or milestones within the treatment plan?

      what is the current level of risk?

      is client/family functioning changing?

      is reunification possible?

      does the safety plan need revision?

      is communication among various persons participating in the treatment plan up-to-date?

      is it time for a court report?

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      have client outcomes been achieved?

      has risk been reduced sufficiently?

      has the family situation stabilized?

      do clients refuse CPS services and no legal grounds exist for intervention?

      are changes that have occurred accompanied by client awareness and understanding?

      does the family need to be referred elsewhere?

      can the family seek help?



5.4 Case Evaluation Protocol

Every 90 days from the initiation of the treatment plan until closure of the case, the worker will:

      obtain written or verbal input from treatment providers regarding progress on goals and
       client involvement in services. (This may be done within the context of the multi disciplinary
       treatment team.)

      meet with the family (and multi disciplinary treatment team, if applicable) to formally
       review the treatment plan and evaluate progress toward goal achievement.

      review each goal which was scheduled to be worked on in the previous 90 day period, in
       order to determine progress made.

      discuss with the family and providers and document specific achievement of outcomes.

      evaluate and document the sufficiency and need for any existing safety plan.

      document/provide a summary of case activity for the previous 90 day period.

      consider and document any adjustments to goals and/or services. This must include the
       rationale for the revisions. If new goals are to be added to the plan, the worker must add
       appropriate goals to the comprehensive treatment plan.

      consider and document any treatment plan implementation issues.

      prepare and transmit evaluation of progress

If a worker is revising or eliminating an existing safety plan at the initiation of the point of case

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evaluation, the worker will:

      complete the Continuing Safety Analysis and, as needed, a new Safety Plan to reflect the
       revised Safety Plan in place at that point.

If the child is in foster care pursuant to child abuse and neglect proceedings, the worker will also:

      complete the Family Case Plan Evaluation of Progress (CPS-0014) if the family has been
       granted an improvement period or the Permanent Placement Review Report(CPS-0049)
       if a disposition has been made. Both reports are DDE reports within FACTS and can be
       assembled by going to the Reports icon and clicking on the relevant report. The
       document will be printed into Word Perfect Text and then can be modified and edited as
       indicated. A hard copy can be printed. The Evaluation and/or Review must be completed
       with the assistance of the multi disciplinary treatment team.

      submit the Family Case Plan Evaluation of Progress or the Permanent Placement Review
       to all parties, their counsel, the multi disciplinary team, those persons requiring notice and
       the Circuit Court. A copy will also be filed with the Circuit Clerk.

      file a copy of the Family Case Plan Evaluation of Progress or the Permanent Placement
       Review Report within FACTS in the file cabinet for the purpose of documenting the
       compliance with the Court Rules.
(Please see Foster Care Policy and Legal Requirements and Processes: CPS and Foster
Care Policy and Rules 23, 37, 39 and 40 of the Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and
Neglect Proceedings for more information.)

At the point of case evaluation, the worker must decide whether the case will continue to be open
or whether it will be closed. In making this decision the worker will:

      consider the amount of progress made toward accomplishment of outcomes.

      consider the current safety situation in the family.

      consider the original risk influences which warranted intervention in the family.

In completing the case evaluation, the worker will also:

      identify ACase Management Tasks@ which are the tasks the worker must carry out in the
       next 90 days to facilitate the implementation of the treatment plan.

      establish and document a case evaluation date which must not be more than 90 days

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       from the date the treatment plan is initiated.

      seek supervisory review, input and approval of case evaluation and decision to close
       case or continue to serve.

The supervisor will:

      review the case evaluation for thoroughness and completeness.

      review the protocol followed by the worker in completing the case evaluation.

      review whether all family members were involved in the case evaluation.

      review whether effort has been made to build a relationship with the family.

      review whether effort has been made to seek and use information from the multi
       disciplinary team or other collaterals.

      review whether the analysis of progress is adequate.

      review whether there have been additional incidents of maltreatment.

      assure that a continuing safety analysis is completed, if there are concerns about the
       child=s safety.

      review the decision to keep the case open or close the case in relation to achievement of
       outcomes and progress toward goals.

      review any revisions to an established safety plan at the point of the case evaluation

      if progress has been minimal to none, assure that sufficient evaluation is given to the
       surrounding issues and that adjustments to the treatment plan are made.

      document supervisory consultation and approval within the appropriate screens within
       FACTS.
If the case evaluation is unsatisfactory for any reason, the supervisor will:

      meet with the worker to discuss areas that need improvement.

      provide or arrange for any assistance that the worker needs to make the requested
       improvements.

      assure that the improvements are made, prior to approving the case evaluation.


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5.5 Contacts

In addition to documentation on the Case Evaluation, the worker will use the contact screens for
the following:

      to record meetings with family and/or providers.

      to document changes in safety plan or circumstances.

5.6 Risk Assessment and Reunification

CPS staff often reach the point in casework at which a decision must be made concerning
returning a child home. Reunification is one of many decisions that must be made as a part of
the CPS helping process. Reunification decisions must be made in the context of risk
assessment, safety evaluation, treatment planning, and service provision. The issue of
reunification is relevant at the point at which the treatment plan is being set. At that point,
probability estimating allows for some projection, based on the comprehensive treatment plan,
regarding when the child may be ready to return home. These predictions are based upon an
expectation that the risk which required removal will be under control. Therefore, at the time the
plan is set in place, specific progress and milestones related to risk reduction are determined as
necessary to accommodate reunification.

As part of the reunification decision, the worker, with the assistance of the multi disciplinary
treatment team, will consider and evaluate the following, in addition to the case evaluation, prior
to recommending that the child be returned home:

      what were the original risk influences that were identified?

      what were the original safety influences that were identified?

      what were the conclusions that led to the removal of the child?

      what were the original specific client conditions which needed to be addressed to control
       safety?

      what effect did removing the child have on the family?

      have other influences emerged which would affect the risk of maltreatment and safety of
       the child?



                                        143203
      what has been the effect of intervention?

      does the case evaluation indicate sufficient change and progress?

      how much progress has been made on specific goals which relate to safety?

      will a safety plan be required if the child is returned home?

      what family life-lines should be established if the child is returned home e.g. home visits,
       extended family, neighbors?

      what family supports will be necessary if the child is returned home?

      where is regression to old patterns most likely?

      how might the child=s return precipitate the appearance of old patterns?

      can the parent and child be prepared for potential flare-up of old patterns?

      how has the child adapted/changed during placement?

(The above list is not intended to be an exhaustive list of issues which must be considered
prior to reunification.)

If the worker believes that the child would continue to be unsafe in the home and that the
foreseeable dangers can not be controlled, the worker must recommend to the Court and to the
multi disciplinary treatment team, that the child not be returned home. If the worker=s
recommendation is contrary to the multi disciplinary treatment team, whether it is to return home
or not, the worker should prepare a letter to the Circuit Court stating the recommendation from
DHHR and the reasons for the recommendation and submit it to the Court along with the Family
Case Plan Evaluation of Progress or the Permanent Placement Review Report.


5.7 Final Risk Assessment and Case Closure

The decision to close a case emerges from a case evaluation which indicates sufficient change
and client outcome achievement verifying necessary risk reduction. During the completion of
case evaluation, the worker will observe indicators for closure and levels of client/family
achievement which will help decide whether to terminate the casework process. This evaluation
should include a consideration of the original family assessment statement which explained what
outcome behavior must be attained. In fact, case closure is not a decision point in the CPS
process. Since that decision is reached during case evaluation, case closure becomes a
casework activity of documentation, communication, and disengagement. Justification for
closure, resulting from case evaluation, is related to examination of client outcomes, indicators

                                       144203
and levels of achievement. Outcomes for parents and children will be used as a baseline against
which to determine if progress has occurred and the case can be closed.

In completing the Final Risk Assessment and Closure, the worker will consider and evaluate the
following seven elements based upon current information:
      the extent of any current maltreatment (within the last 90 days).

      the surrounding circumstances that accompany the maltreatment.

      how the children function on a daily basis, including pervasive behaviors, feelings,
       intellect, physical capacity and temperament; this must include consideration of capacity
       for attachment, general temperament, expressions of emotions/feelings, typicalbehaviors,
       presence and level of peer relationships, school performance and behaviors, known
       mental disorders, issues of independence/dependence, motor skill and physicalcapacity.

      the disciplinary approaches used by the parent, including the typical context; this must
       include consideration of when, how, where and for what reasons/purpose discipline might
       occur.

      the overall, typical, pervasive parenting practices used by the parent; this must include
       consideration of perception of children, reasons for being a parent, feelings about being a
       parent, knowledge and general skill, basic care, decision making about parenting,
       parenting style, history of parental behavior and success, sensitivity and understanding
       toward children, empathy and expectations.

      daily mental health functioning and substance use by the parent; this must include
       consideration of reality perception, self-concept, coherence, rationality, self-emotional
       control, any impairment that is associated with mental health or substance use, self-
       concept and esteem, self-care and self-preservation.

      general adult functioning in respect to daily life management and adaptation; this must
       include consideration of communication, coping, stress management, impulse control,
       problem solving, judgment, decision making, independence, money and home
       management, employment, social relationships, citizenship, and community involvement.

The worker will also identify the presence or absence of the following foreseeable dangers:

      one or both parents intend(ed) to hurt child and do not show remorse; Aintended@
       suggests that before or during the time the child was mistreated, the parents= conscious
       purpose was to hurt the child. This should be distinguished from an instance in which the
       parent meant to discipline or punish the child and the child was hurt. (A foreseeable
       danger)


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   parents= whereabouts are unknown: the whereabouts of parents or adult caretakers of the
    child are unknown. (A foreseeable danger)

   living arrangements seriously endanger the physical health of the child; refers to
    conditions in the home which may be life threatening or seriously endanger the physical
    health of the child, as in the situation where people discharge firearms without regard to
    who might be harmed or where the lack of hygiene is so serious as to cause or potentially
    cause serious illness. To meet the safety influence, home conditions must be immediately
    threatening. (A foreseeable danger)

   both parents cannot/do not explain injuries and/or conditions; parents are unable or
    unwilling to provide an explanation regarding the maltreating conditions or injuries whichis
    consistent with the facts.

   maltreating parent exhibits no remorse or guilt; the maltreating parent demonstrates no
    evidence of remorse or guilt for his/her actions. (B foreseeable danger)

   child shows effects of maltreatment, such as serious emotional symptoms and lack of
    behavioral control; serious suggests that the child=s condition has immediate implications
    for intervention, such as extreme emotional vulnerability and suicide prevention. Lack of
    behavioral control describes the provocative child who stimulates reactions in others. (B
    foreseeable danger)

   child is fearful of home situation; Afearful@ includes specific family members and/or other
    conditions in the family such as the frequent presence of known drug users in the
    household. (B foreseeable danger)

   child is 0 through 6 years old and/or cannot protect self; this applies to all children 0
    through 6 years old; if the child is 7 years of age or older and information confirms that the
    child cannot protect him or herself (level of vulnerability ), then this influence applies. (B
    foreseeable danger)

   child shows effects of maltreatment such as serious physical symptoms; ASerious@
    suggests that the child=s condition has immediate implications for intervention, such as
    the need for medical attention or extreme physical vulnerability. (B foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents cannot control behavior and/or are violent; this includes aggressive
    behavior and emotion as well as serious depression and chemical dependency which
    result in the inability to control behavior and emotion. (A foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents have failed to benefit from previous professional help; this suggests
    that a record of the experience exists and is known and that the help was related to
    problems which are pertinent to risk and safety. (B foreseeable danger)



                                     146203
   there is some indication parents will flee; the family will likely hide the child by changing
    residences, leaving the jurisdiction, or refusing access to the child and the consequences
    for the child may be severe and immediate. (A foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents overtly reject intervention; this refers to a situation where the parent or
    parents refuse to see the worker and/or to let the worker see their child. (B foreseeable
    danger)

   child has exceptional needs which parents cannot/will not meet; Aexceptional@ refers
    specifically to child conditions which are either organic or naturally induced ( as opposed
    to parental) such as developmental delays, blindness, physical handicap, etc. (A
    foreseeable danger)

   no adult in the home will perform parental duties and responsibilities; this refers only to
    adults (not children) in a caretaking role. Duties and responsibilities should be
    considered at a basic level consistent with the safety criteria of immediacy, controllability,
    and severity/vulnerability as in food, clothing, shelter, and level of supervision. (A
    foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents fear they will maltreat child and/or request placement; this is for those
    situations in which the parents express fear they will maltreat their child or they request
    placement, which suggests that a child may not be safe. (A foreseeable danger)

   one or both parents lack knowledge, skill, motivation in parenting which affects the child=s
    safety; parenting qualities of a basic nature apply. The judgment is based on parents=
    lacking basic knowledge or skill which prevents them from meeting the child=s basic
    needs. The lack of motivation results in parents abdicating their role to meet basic needs
    or failing to adequately perform the parent role which would meet the child=s basic needs.
     The inability/unwillingness to meet basic needs creates a safety concern for the child. (A
    foreseeable danger)

   child is perceived in extremely negative terms by one or both of the parents; Aextremely@
    is meant to suggest a perception which is so negative, it would if present, create a safety
    concern for the child(ren) such as the parent who sees their child as possessed by the
    devil or the parent who sees their child acting in ways solely to cause the parent pain and
    suffering or the parent who perceives their child as being out to get them. (A foreseeable
    danger)

   child is seen by either parent as responsible for the parents= problems; child is blamed by
    the parents (adult caretakers) as causing their problems and this attitude will likely result in
    a safety concern for the child. (B foreseeable danger)

   parents do not have resources to meet basic needs; Abasic needs@ refers to the family=s
    lack of even minimal resources to provide shelter, food, and clothing or the lack of

                                      147203
       capacity to use resources if they were available. (A foreseeable danger)

When the elements are completed and the foreseeable dangers have been considered and
identified, the worker will transmit the case to the supervisor.

The supervisor will:

      weigh the information recorded by the worker in the seven elements.

      review any identified foreseeable dangers.

When weighing information to complete the final risk assessment, the supervisor will:

      use the anchor criteria as a reference to match the specific information about the family.

      choose the anchor number which most closely reflects the information about the family.

      choose a .5 rating if the family information gathered matches the anchor criteria for two
       numbers (e.g. 1 and 2, worker chooses 1.5)

      choose an anchor by reading from the higher end of the scale and working down to the
       lower end.

In determining the level of risk for a family, the supervisor will:

      calculate the final risk score by adding the ratings for each of the seven elements.

      use the highest rating for any one element which has more than one rating.

If foreseeable dangers are present and closure is recommended, the supervisor must clearly
document specific circumstances which justify closure in spite of presence of foreseeable
dangers.
The supervisor will also:

      identify supervisory/worker actions which are required to accomplish closure.

Upon completion of the final risk assessment, the supervisor will:

      transmit the case to the worker for final documentation and closure processing.


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To conclude the closure process, the worker will:

      indicate reasons for closure.

      complete the closure summary. This must include a description of the process of closure
       with the client, documentation of the achievement of outcomes and each familymember=s
       level of understanding of each identified outcome.

In choosing a reason for closure, the worker must choose from the following reasons:

      outcomes achieved through successful plans--this is evidenced by outcome achievement
       as indicated through the case evaluations and documented risk reduction.

      acceptable risk reduction--this criteria is evidenced by a significant reduction in the
       contribution of critical influences to the risk of the children. The measure of acceptable
       risk reduction is the Final Risk Assessment.

      refuse services and no legal grounds exist--this criteria refers to situations when the family
       does not want agency intervention yet no legal grounds exist to require intervention.

      current problems not of CPS nature--this criteria refers to situations where
       children/families may be in need of help, but the need does not indicate the child is at risk
       of maltreatment. In these situations, appropriate referrals should be made on the family=s
       behalf and the CPS case should be closed.

      clients gone/deceased--this criteria refers primarily to situations where families have left
       the jurisdiction and moved to another. In this situation, the CPS case is closed and
       referral is made to the jurisdiction where the family has moved, if known.

      family situation changed without CPS intervention--this criteria refers to situations where
       the presence of risk has been reduced through a change within the family that occurred
       without CPS intervention.



5.8 Contacts

In addition to documentation on the final risk assessment, the worker will use the contact screens
within FACTS for the following:

      to record meetings with family and/or providers.


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      to identify casework activity including information/referral.

      to document client participation and response.

      to document conferences with supervisor relating to closure.



CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION VI (General
Information)

6.1 Appeals and Grievances

At any time that the DHHR is involved with a client, the client (adult or child), or the counsel for the
client has a right to express a concern about the manner in which they are treated, including the
services they are or are not permitted to receive.

Whenever a parent, child, or counsel for the parent or child has a complaint about CPS or
expresses dissatisfaction with CPS, the worker will:

      explain to the client the reason for the action taken or the position of the DHHR which may
       have resulted in the dissatisfaction of the client.

      if the situation cannot be resolved, explain to the client his/her right to a meeting with the
       supervisor.

      assist in arranging for a meeting with the supervisor.

The supervisor will:

      review all reports, records and documentation relevant to the situation.

      determine whether all actions taken were within the boundaries of the law, policy and
       guidelines for practice.

      meet with the client.

      consult with the Community Services Manager and Regional Program Manager or
       designee. If an agreement is made for revision to the case record, the supervisor will
       complete the “Override Request Form”. The form must be signed by both the Community
       Services Manager and the Regional Program Manager or designee, then submitted to the


                                          150203
       FACTS Help Desk.

      if the problem can not be resolved, or the client does not wish to attempt resolution,
       provide the client with the form, AClient and Provider Grievance Hearing Request@, SS-
       28.

      assist the client with completing the SS-28, if requested.

      the supervisor completes the “Hearing/Grievance Record Information” form IG-BR-29.

      Submit both forms immediately to the Chairman, State Board of Review, DHHR, Building
       3, Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305.

Preparing for the Grievance Hearing

It is the responsibility of the supervisor and worker to represent their findings during the grievance
hearing. The Hearings Officer, who is a DHHR employee, is not there to represent the agency‟s
position. The hearing should be treated much the same way as a court hearing; the worker willbe
defending him/herself and the actions taken during the casework process. The difference is that
the worker and supervisor will not have the benefit of a prosecuting attorney to make the agency‟s
statements. Therefore, the worker and supervisor, who should both be in attendance unless other
arrangements are made, must be prepared with the following:

      copies for all parties (including grievant, grievant‟s counsel and hearings officer) and
       attending the hearing of all of the investigation materials, including the         safety
       assessments, initial assessment and contacts with the family subject to the investigation.

      copies for all parties (including grievant, grievant‟s counsel and hearings officer)attending
       the hearing of any family assessments and/or treatment plans that may be in question.

      copies for all parties attending the hearing (including grievant, grievant‟s counsel and
       hearings officer) of applicable state laws and CPS policies that were used to make the
       decisions during the investigation or casework process.

      copies for all parties attending the hearing (including grievant, grievant‟s counsel and
       hearings officer)of the anchors that were used when determining the rating for the
       maltreatment element.
(For more information on Grievance Procedures for Social Services, please see DHHR
Common Chapter Manual, Chapter 700, Appendix C.)




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6.2 Confidentiality

The confidential nature of child abuse and neglect records is governed by Chapter 49-7-1 of the
Code of West Virginia. In general, the child welfare records of DHHR must be maintained in a
confidential manner. The information you have generated belongs to the client. Therefore, they
have the right to read their case record at any time in accordance with law and policy.
Information, judgments, and beliefs about clients should be shared with them in an open and
honest manner. All information should be handled in a respectful and confidential manner. The
information generated within DHHR pertaining to a child belongs to the child, and therefore, the
child, and specified others have the right to access to the record, except for:

      adoption records;

      juvenile court records;

      records disclosing the identity of a person making a complaint of child abuse or neglect.

Records concerning a child or juvenile, except for those noted above, shall be made available
under the following circumstances;

      to the child or the child=s parent or the attorney for the child or the child=s parent when
       ever they choose to review the record;

      with the written consent of the child or of someone authorized to act on behalf of the child;

      pursuant to an order of a court of record;

      to the child fatality review team;

      to the Citizen Review Panel;

      to multi disciplinary investigative and treatment teams;

      to a grand jury, circuit court or family law master upon a finding that information in the
       record is necessary for the determination of an issue before the grand jury, circuit court or
       family court judge;

      federal, state or local government entities, or any agent of such entities, including law
       enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys, having a need for such information in
       order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect;
       and

      in the event of a child fatality or near fatality due to child abuse and neglect, information

                                        152203
       relating to such fatality or near fatality shall be made public by the Department. Near
       fatality means any medical condition of the child which is certified by the attending
       physician to be life-threatening. Any request for a public release of information under this
       provision must be referred to the Commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families
       to determine what information may be released.

Note: non-custodial parents and maltreating parents have the right to information and records
concerning their child which includes information and records related to CPS, as long as parental
rights have not been terminated.

Note: the identity of a referent, or information which could lead to the identity of a referent, is not to
be released to anyone including law enforcement officials or the prosecuting attorney.

Whenever a request for the release of child welfare records is received, the worker will:

      inform the supervisor of the request.

The supervisor will:

      determine whether the release of information should be made available under the
       provisions of 49-7-1. Consult with the regional attorney and/or prosecuting attorney, if
       necessary.

      determine exactly what information is being requested. Is it the entire record or a specific
       piece of information?

      make arrangements for the person requesting the information to come to the office at an
       appointed time, if possible.

      review all information within FACTS and all written/paper records.

      prepare the requested information that is contained in FACTS by printing the relevant
       DDE reports from FACTS, such as the Initial Assessment and Safety Evaluation, the
       Comprehensive Treatment Plan, etc.

      prepare the requested information that is contained in paper records, if any exists.

      assure that there is no information concerning the identity of the referent on any of the
       documents.

      allow the person to review the documents/information within the office at the appointed
       time. If the person wants copies of the information, provide the copies as requested.


                                          153203
      request assistance from the regional attorney and/or the prosecuting attorney at any time
       there is uncertainty about whether or not to proceed with a request for release of
       information.

6.3 Payment Guidelines


6.3.1 AGibson@ Payments

In the late 1970's a class action lawsuit was filed in federal court. One of the plaintiffs in that
lawsuit was named Gibson. The lawsuit was settled by a consent decree, an agreement between
the Department and the plaintiffs, in 1984. For simplicity=s sake the decree has always been
referred to as the Gibson Decree.

The essence of the lawsuit was the allegation that the Department did not explore alternatives to
the removal of children when there were allegations of child abuse and/or neglect. The
Department agreed in the consent decree to explore the provision of certain services as an
alternative to removal. The Department decided at a later date to also consider certain services
to facilitate the reunification of children with their family. Collectively, these services have
become known as Gibson services and the payments associated with them as Gibson
payments. With the adoption of the WV Child Protective Services System in 1992, the process
for safety evaluation and planning and the provision of Ain-home safety services@ replaced the
AGibson Policy.@

As a result of the Gibson decree, the Department may purchase services for families in which;

      their child is unsafe, and will be removed from the home if a particular service is not
       obtained, and

      their child has been removed, but will be returned home if a particular service is obtained.

The service that is to be purchased must be part of either a documented safety plan or a
documented permanent plan for reunification. AGibson@ payments are restricted only to those
Child Protective Services cases that will be opened for on-going services, or are alreadyopened
for on-going services. No other services shall be approved as a AGibson@ type payment.

Prior to requesting that the Department pay for the purchase of a particular service, the Social
Worker shall assist the family to explore other alternatives for payments. Examples of other
resources that are expected to be contacted are, TANF, Medicaid, CHIP, food stamps, food
pantries, clothing closets, homeless shelters and services, emergency assistance, LIEAP, the
Salvation Army, community action agencies, local behavioral health centers, local health

                                        154203
departments, WIC, churches, and other community organizations and agencies. In addition, the
Department may have state level or regional contracts with certain agencies to provide the
services that are needed. For example, homeless services are available in multiple counties
funded by grants from the Department. If the service that is necessary is available in the family=s
county of residence through a grant-funded agency, that agency service must be utilized in place
of using a demand payment.

Medical services, including mental health services and prescription medications, that meet the
other AGibson@ requirement (prevention of placement or reunification) shall be paid for by using
the Special Medical Card. (See below) All other resources shall be contacted by the social
worker prior to requesting the use of a Special Medical Card. If the family has Medicaid or
another third party insurance, that form of payment must be utilized first. If the family does not
have a Medicaid card, but may be eligible for one, arrangements must be made for application
for Medicaid and/or CHIP. Local behavioral health centers must be contacted for indigent
mental health and substance abuse services. Only in the event that the local behavioral health
center can not or will not provide services, shall Special Medical Cards be authorized for
payment of mental health and substance abuse services. Similarly, the local health department,
low-income clinics, and hospitals must be contacted for indigent health-related services, prior to
using the Special Medical Card.

For CPS cases involving a child who is unsafe and will be removed from the home if a particular
service is not obtained or a child has been removed, but will be returned home if a particular
service is obtained, the worker will:

      complete the safety plan or the child, youth and family case plan, including the
       permanency plan.

      refer family to appropriate providers to implement the safety plan, as indicated.

      seek and arrange for other needed safety services or reunification services, as indicated,
       within the community.

      determine whether there are other resources available to pay for safety services (those
       outside of Home-Based Family Preservation) or reunification services or resources to
       receive those services without charge or at limited costs and make arrangements to do
       so.

      complete the necessary information within FACTS to execute a demand payment.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the case meets the eligibility criteria for AGibson@ services, e.g. must be part


                                        155203
       of an in-home safety plan or reunification plan.

      assure that all other resources for payment have been explored and utilized, as indicated.

      approve payment within FACTS.




6.3.2 Medical and Mental Examinations

Medical and/or mental examinations may be ordered by the Court in two situations concerning
child abuse and neglect proceedings;

      Pursuant to Ch. 49-6-4(a), at any time during child abuse and neglect proceedings, the
       court may order the child or other parties to be examined by a physician, psychologist or
       psychiatrist, and may require testimony from such expert.

      Pursuant to Ch. 49-6-4(b), any person who has authority to file a petition may also request
       an order for a medical examination from a judge or juvenile referee to secure evidence of
       child abuse or neglect.

The availability of Medicaid, CHIP, private insurance or other third party payment shall first be
explored, and utilized for payment for the examination. The services of the local behavioralhealth
center and local health department shall also be explored and utilized. If the child, parent or
custodian is indigent, and there are no other resources for payment for the examination or
evaluation, the cost of the examinations shall be paid by the Department. The cost of the service
shall be paid by using the Special Medical Card. The Department will reimburse providers at
Medicaid rates only.

For cases involving an examination by a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist ordered by a
court, the worker will:

      determine whether there are other resources available to pay for the examination, and
       make arrangements, as necessary.

      if no other resources are available, complete the necessary information within FACTS to
       issue a Special Medical Card.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the case meets the eligibility criteria for use of a Special Medical Card e.g. a

                                       156203
       court has ordered an examination by a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist

      assure that all other resources for payment have been explored and utilized, as indicated.

      approve the creation of a Special Medical Card within FACTS.



6.3.3 Photographs and X rays

Pursuant to Ch. 49-6A-4, any person required to report cases of children suspected of being
abused and neglected may take or cause to be taken, at public expense, photographs of the
areas of trauma visible on a child and, if medically indicated, cause to be performed radiological
examinations of the child.

If a child who is the subject of a child protective services investigation has been photographed by
a mandated reported, reimbursement for the cost of the film and film development may be made
by the Department, upon request. The reporter should provide the worker with the receipts for
the film and film development. The worker can then enter a demand payment to reimburse for the
cost. The payment type which shall be used is the court costs, advertisement and related fees.

If a child who is the subject of a child protective services investigation has been x rayed or was
caused to be x rayed by a mandated reporter, reimbursement for the cost of the x rays may be
made if there are no other resources available for payment. The worker will approve a Special
Medical Card for the child for that service.

For cases involving photographs of a child who is the subject of a child protective services
investigation, the worker will:

      complete the necessary information in FACTS to execute a demand payment for the cost
       of the film and film development.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the case meets the eligibility criteria for payment, e.g. a child who is the
       subject of a child protective services investigation was photographed by a mandated
       reported.

      approve the demand payment in FACTS.

For cases involving x rays of a child who is the subject of a child protective services
investigations, caused to be done by a mandated reporter, the worker will:

                                       157203
      determine whether there are other resources available to pay for the x ray, and make
       arrangements, as necessary.

      if no other resources are available, complete the necessary information within FACTS to
       create a Special Medical Card.

The supervisor will:

      assure that the case meets the eligibility criteria for payment, e.g. a child who is the
       subject of a child protective services investigation.

6.3.4 Expert and Fact Testimony

Some professionals may be subpoenaed to testify in a child abuse or neglect proceeding. If the
professional is being asked to testify as an Aexpert witness@, concerning a particular illness,
child abuse injury, mental health issue, etc., the witness may receive compensation for expenses
associated with their testimony through the Supreme Court of Appeals Administrative Office. The
person providing the testimony should inquire with the Circuit Court for the necessary information
about submitting claims for compensation.

Other professionals may be subpoenaed to testify concerning their own involvement in evaluating
or providing treatment or services to a child and/or family in a child abuse or neglect proceeding.
 AFact witnesses@ may receive compensation for expenses associated with their testimony
through DHHR. The person providing the testimony should submit a copy of their subpoena and
their invoice to the Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Children and
Families, Accounts Payable, 350 Capitol Street, Charleston, WV 25305. The rates of payments
made will be according to those rates established by the legislature.


6.3.5 Special Medical Card (formerly known as zero recipient medical
card)

The Special Medical Card may be provided to eligible clients to obtain services from a medical
provider within a specified date range. CPS clients who may be eligible to obtain medical
services through authorization of the Special Medical Card include;

      Children of families receiving child protective services

      Used to cover medical needs for children with whom the Department is involved through
       CPS and there is no other way to pay for this need, i.e., Medicaid, CHIP, or other third

                                        158203
       party coverage. This only applies

      to non-custody cases that are currently active and open for ongoing services.

      Gibson (medical only)

      Used for medical services for either a child or parent, that, if not provided, will

      result in a child=s removal or prevent the return of a child in custody. All other

      resources must first be explored before authorizing a Special Medical Card.

Please refer to the version notes in FACTS for information about issuing a Special MedicalCard.


CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES SECTION VII (Legal
Requirements and Processes)

Introduction and Overview

The legal requirements and processes applicable to Child Protective Services and Foster Care
for children who come into custody as a result of child abuse and/or neglect court proceedings
are based on a combination of requirements from a number of different sources. These sources
include but are not limited to: state statutes; the Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and Neglect
Proceedings issued by the Supreme Court; the Consent Decree entered into on the case of
Gibson v. Ginsberg; the Multidisciplinary Team Protocol; the CPS decision making modelknown
as The West Virginia Child Protective Services System (WVCPSS); and, case decisions made
by the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The sources cited above were developed at different times and may address the same subject
from slightly different perspectives. In some cases the different statutes, Court Rules and
Procedures may appear to be confusing, overlapping or difficult to follow. In order to provide
guidance, the requirements and accompanying procedures have been set out in the following
parts of this section. Some of these parts contain requirements which can be applied at different
points in the life of a case while others are applicable at a single point. It is the responsibility of
the worker and supervisor to insure that all applicable procedures are followed.



7.1 Voluntary Placement of a Child in the Custody of the
Department

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Statute
State statute, 49-2-16, permits the Department to accept the custody of a child from the child‟s
parent or parents, guardian, custodian or relatives. The decision to accept custody is
discretionary on the part of the Department.

This statute also requires a review of all voluntary placements which will last for ninety (90) days
or longer.

Purpose
The purposes of this statute are to: empower the Department to accept the custody of a child so
that the Department can provide care for the child when the child‟s caretakers are unable to do
so; and, provide for the oversight of these placements by the Circuit Court.

When to Accept Custody of a Child
The voluntary acceptance of custody of a child should be used when: the temporary incapacity of
a parent(s) or the problems of the parent(s) prevent them from caring for their child for a specific
period of time: or, the child requires specialized care which the child‟s parents are unable to
provide. The voluntary acceptance of custody of a child can also be used when a parent is
considering relinquishment of their child.

Under no circumstances is it permissible to accept the voluntary custody of a child when
child abuse or child neglect is present.

Worker Conduct - Acceptance of Custody

When a parent requests that the Department voluntarily accept the custody of a child, the worker
will:
      Determine the reasons for the request and discuss them with their supervisor. Voluntary
       custody can only be accepted with supervisor approval.

      Review the voluntary placement agreement (SS-FC-4) with the parents, pointing out the
       rights which the parents are transferring to the Department and the rights the parents
       retain.

      Review with the parents the responsibilities which they must exercise in regard to the child
       while the child is in placement.

      Obtain the parent(s) signature on three copies of the voluntary placement agreement.

      Have all three copies notarized and give one copy to the parents and file two copies in the
       case record, and

      Make all appropriate entries and recordings in FACTS.

                                        160203
Worker Conduct--Petition for Review

When the worker determines that a voluntary placement will be in effect for 90 days or longer then
the worker will:
      prepare a summary of the facts and items for inclusion in a petition;

      prepare a child‟s case plan for inclusion with the petition;

      submit the summary and case plan to their supervisor for review and approval;

      submit the approved summary and case plan to the Prosecuting Attorney and request that
       a petition for review of the placement be filed with the Circuit Court; and,

      attend the hearing to present a report on the placement and to answer any questions
       about the case.


Worker Conduct--Preparation of the Summary and Child, Youth and Family Case Plan
The bulk of the information which will be presented to the court will be contained in the Child,
Youth and Family Case Plan. Reference should be made to that section for specific instructions
on the completion of that Plan.

The Summary should include a description of the reasons why the child came into care and a
description of the efforts made to resolve the barriers to the return of the child to his home.

In addition the summary should include a request that the Court address the issue of child support
(refer to the Section on Child Support) and that the Court make a finding on reasonable efforts.

Worker Conduct--Review and Signing of the Petition
Once the Prosecuting Attorney has prepared the petition, the worker will review it for accuracy
and completeness. If the information in the petition is accurate and addresses all applicable
items such as child support and reasonable efforts, then the worker will sign it and request that it
be filed with the court and served on all appropriate parties.

Worker Conduct - Return of Custody
When the voluntary placement agreement has expired, or at any time the parent requests a return
of custody, the worker will make the necessary arrangements to return the child to the child‟s
parents.

If the agreement has expired and the parents are not prepared to care for the child, then they
must sign a new agreement in order for the Department to continue to care for the child. If the new
agreement will result in the child being in placement for 90 days or longer then the worker must
initiate the court review process. The worker should also inform the parent(s) of the review

                                        161203
process and describe how it will be implemented.


7.2 Reasonable Efforts
Statute

State statute requires that court orders issued after certain judicial proceedings have been held
must contain a finding on reasonable efforts. Those proceedings include: 49-6-3, Temporary
custody pending a hearing; 49-6-5, Dispositional hearing; and, 49-6-8, Foster care review.

Definition
Reasonable effort is the term used to describe: those actions which are taken prior to the
placement of a child in substitute care in order to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the
child from the child‟s home; and, those actions necessary to insure that the safety of the child will
be maintained if the child is returned home.

Purpose
The purposes of the actions which constitute reasonable efforts are: to insure that a child is
removed from the child‟s home only when there is no other method for insuring the safety of the
child; and, to insure that a child is not returned home unless the safety of the child can be assured.

Findings
As the result of its determination about reasonable efforts the Court should include one of these
findings as a part of the court order:
      The court may determine that reasonable efforts were required and that the Department
       made such efforts; or,

      The court may determine that reasonable efforts were required and that the Department
       did not make such efforts; or,

      The court may determine that the child was in imminent danger and that reasonable efforts
       were not possible; or,

      The court may determine that reasonable efforts were not required because of
       aggravated circumstances or other situations as defined in WV Code 49-6-3(d);
Court Actions After a Finding on Reasonable Efforts

If the court determines that reasonable efforts were not required then the court should proceed
with the next steps in the judicial process.

If the court determines that reasonable efforts were required but not made, or not made because
of aggravated circumstances then one of the following should occur.

                                         162203
      If the court determines as a part of the hearing requesting temporary custody that
       reasonable efforts were required but not made then the court could refuse to grant the
       request for custody or, the court could grant the request for temporary custody.

      Even though the court may determine that reasonable efforts were required and the
       Department did not make such efforts, the Court is not prohibited from transferring
       custody to the Department. The Court is required to determine what actions are
       necessary to insure the safety of the child and can proceed to transfer custody.


      If the court finds at the Dispositional Hearing that reasonable efforts were not made then
       the court could take that finding into consideration in determining what the appropriate
       disposition for the continuing care of the child.

      If the court finds as a part of the Dispositional hearing that reasonable efforts were not
       required because of aggravated circumstances, then the Court must schedule a
       Permanency Hearing within thirty days following the entry of the order so finding

      If the court finds that reasonable efforts were not made as a part of a Foster Care Review
       then the court should take that finding into consideration in deciding upon the future care
       of the child.

7.3 Aggravated Circumstances and other situations where
reasonable efforts are not required

Statute

Aggravated circumstances is the term used in state statute to define certain conditions which
nullify the need to make reasonable efforts to prevent removal of a child and to provide
reunification services once a child has been removed. This term is found in 49-6-3(d), 49-6-5(a)
and is referred to in 49-6-8(a) of the Code.

Purpose
The purpose of this statute is to define those conditions which are so harmful to children and are
such an indicator of parental inability to provide proper care that preservation of the family is not
required.
Definition
The Department is not required to make reasonable efforts to prevent the removal of a child or to
reunite the child with the child‟s parent if the court determines the parent has subjected the child
to aggravated circumstances which include but are not limited to abandonment, torture, chronic
abuse and sexual abuse.

                                        163203
Other instances when reasonable efforts are not required are when the parent has:
      Committed murder of the child‟s other parent, another child of the parent, or any other
       child residing in the same household or under the temporary or permanent custody of the
       parent;

      Committed voluntary manslaughter of the child‟s other parent, another child of the parent,
       or any other child residing in the same household or under the temporary or permanent
       custody of the parent;

      Attempted or conspired to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter or been an
       accessory before or after the fact to either such crime; or,

      Committed unlawful or malicious wounding that results in serious bodily injury to the child,
       the child‟s other parent, to another child of the parent, or any other child residing in the
       same household or under the temporary or permanent custody of the parent; or,

      the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.

Note: the definition of aggravated circumstances is not exhaustive. That is, a worker can present
to the court information about the acts of a parent other than those described above and ask that
the court consider these acts as aggravated circumstances.
Worker Actions

If at any time during the Child Protective Services process it is determined that a parent has
committed an act which meets the definition of an aggravated circumstance, the worker must
immediately assess the parent‟s actions. Depending upon the conditions surrounding the
aggravated circumstance the worker must initiate one of the following actions.
      If the family is a single parent family and the parent is the perpetrator of the aggravated
       circumstance, the worker must petition for removal of all of the children and termination of
       parental rights.

      If the family is a single parent family and the perpetrator is another person in the home, the
       worker must assess the other parent‟s role‟s role in the aggravated circumstance. If the
       parent failed to fulfill their parental responsibility to protect the child (could not/ would not
       protect the child), the worker must petition for removal of all the children and terminationof
       parental rights.

      In a two parent household, if both parents were perpetrators of an act defined as an
       aggravated circumstance, the worker must petition for removal of all the children and
       termination of both parents‟ parental rights.

      In a two parent household, if only one of the parents was the perpetrator in an act defined
       as an aggravated circumstance, the worker must petition for the termination of that

                                         164203
       parent‟s parental rights. In addition, the worker must assess the other parent‟s
       involvement. If the other parent failed to fulfill their parental responsibility to protect the
       child (could not/would not protect the child), the worker must petition for removal of all
       children and termination of both parents‟ parental rights.




7.4 Imminent Danger

Statute
Imminent danger to a child is defined in state statute. The definition is contained in 49-1-3(g) of
the Code of West Virginia.

Purpose
The purpose of this statute is to provide a clear definition of those situations which place children
at the greatest risk of serious harm.

In situations of imminent danger the safety of the child is in question and it may be necessary to
remove the child(ren) in order to protect them. Because of the need for immediate protection,
removal in situations of imminent danger is usually accomplished by the filing of a petition
requesting temporary custody pending a hearing.

Definition

Imminent danger to the physical well-being of a child means an emergency situation in which the
welfare or life of the child is threatened. Such an emergency situation exists when there is
reasonable cause to believe that any child in the home is or has been sexually abused or sexually
exploited or reasonable cause to believe that the following conditions threaten the health or life of
any child in the home.

      Non accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling, babysitter or
       other caretaker which can include intentionally inflicted major bodily damage such as
       broken bones, major burns or lacerations or bodily beatings; or

      A combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse which may be
       medically diagnosed as battered child syndrome; or

      Nutritional deprivation ; or

      Abandonment by the parents, guardian or custodian; or

      Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease; or

                                        165203
      Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or

      Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian.




7.5 Emergency Custody

7.5.1 Taking Custody of a Child in Imminent Danger Without Prior Judicial
Authorization

Statute

State statute, 49-6-3 (c), authorizes Child Protective Services Workers to take a child into
custody absent a court order and to remove that child from his home in certain limited
circumstances. According to the statute:
      the child must be in an emergency situation which constitutes imminent danger;

      a worker must have personally witnessed that the child is in imminent danger; and,

      the worker must have probable cause to believe that the child will suffer additional child
       abuse or neglect or be removed from the county before a petition can be filed and
       temporary custody can be ordered.

The department, under provisions of the Gibson Decree, agreed that whenever possible the
worker should receive prior approval from their supervisor before taking custody of the child.

Purpose

The purpose of this statute is to provide a method for insuring the immediate protection of those
children who are at the greatest risk of serious harm.

Worker Conduct When Taking Custody Absent Prior Judicial Authorization
When a worker determines that a child is in imminent danger and requires immediate protection,
then the worker must take the following actions:

      the worker should contact the prosecuting attorney to file a petition requesting temporary
       custody if time permits;

      if the worker has probable cause to believe that the child will suffer additional harm or the
       parents will flee while a petition is being prepared then the worker may take the child into

                                        166203
       custody;

      in cases in which there is more than one child in the home the worker must determine
       which of the children are in imminent danger and take custody of only those children who
       are in this condition;

      if the parents are present when the worker takes custody then the worker must inform the
       parents that they can be present when the request for an order of ratification is requested
       and the name of the person to whom the request will be made;

      if the parents are not present then the worker must leave a note in the residence
       describing the actions taken and the name of the person and place where the ratification
       request will be made;

      after taking custody of the child(ren) the worker must take the child(ren) immediately to a
       circuit judge or juvenile referee in the county in which custody was taken, or if no such
       judge or referee be available, before a circuit judge or juvenile referee of an adjoining
       county, and request an order ratifying the emergency custody; Note: although the statute
       permits ratification by either a juvenile referee or circuit judge, whenever possible the
       worker should approach the circuit judge with the request for an order of ratification.


      if the request for an order ratifying emergency custody is not granted then the worker must
       return the child to his caretakers; or,

      if the emergency custody is granted then the worker will place the child in care.

Note: at the time an order of ratification is sought the worker can also request an order for a
medical examination for evidentiary purposes.

Time Limits on Worker Custody
When a request for emergency custody is ratified, the worker can retain custody of the child until
the end of the next two judicial days unless a petition requesting temporary custody pending a
hearing has been filed and custody of the child has been transferred to the department by court
order.


7.5.2 Custody of a Child Taken by a Law Enforcement Officer

Statutes
State statute, 49-6-9, authorizes a law enforcement officer to take a child believed to be abused
or neglected into custody without a court order if: the child is abandoned; or the child requires
emergency medical treatment by a physician and the child‟s parents, parent, guardian or

                                       167203
custodian refuses to permit such treatment or is unavailable to consent.

State statute, 49-2-16, allows the department, in its discretion, to accept custody of a child from a
law enforcement officer who has taken custody of a child in either of the circumstances described
above.

State statute, 49-6-9, contains explicit requirements for both law enforcement officers and
department staff when this section of the Code is used to provide protection for children.

Purpose
The purpose of these statutes is to authorize law enforcement officers to take certain actions to
protect children and to authorize the department to assist the officers in providing for the care of
these children.

Initial contact by a Child Protective Services Worker
A worker at any point in the Initial Assessment process may determine that a child is abandoned
or is in a condition requiring emergency medical treatment and the child‟s parents refuse to
secure such treatment or are unable or unavailable to consent. In all such situations the worker
must take the actions necessary to protect the child. If the worker decides to contact a law
enforcement officer then the worker should do the following:
      provide the law enforcement officer with a thorough description of the situation as the
       worker understands it to be; and,

      discuss the emergency provisions with the law enforcement officer as necessary without
       requesting or directing the officer to take custody as that decision must be made solelyby
       the officer.

If the law enforcement officer takes custody of the child then the worker may, at his discretion,
accept custody of the child. If the worker accepts custody of the child then the worker must:
      request a typed or legibly handwritten statement from the officer containing the officer‟s
       name, address and office telephone number as well as a the facts upon which the
       decision to take the child into protective custody was based, including the date, time and
       place of the taking; and,

      provide for the care of the child in accordance with the provisions in the Section titled
       Worker Conduct--Abandonment.

Note: In order to assist law enforcement officers with the preparation of the necessary information
the worker can provide the officer with a copy of the SS-CPS-4, WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT
OF HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS EMERGENCY
PLACEMENT CONTRACT for his use. If it is not possible to obtain this form or other similar
written information at the time the worker accepts custody, the worker MUST obtain this

                                        168203
information as soon as possible and no later than the next day.

Worker Conduct--Abandonment
State statute, 49-6-9, prohibits the removal of an abandoned child from the child‟s home until all
reasonable efforts to make inquiries and arrangements with neighbors, relatives and friends have
been exhausted, and the department has explored the possibility of placing a worker in the home
to care for the child until the parents return.

A.      Reasonable Efforts to Make Inquiries
In order to demonstrate that a reasonable effort to make inquiries and arrangements the worker
will determine if the child and his family are known to the department. If the family is known to the
department then the worker will:

        review the case record to determine whether there are names and addresses of any
         persons known to have cared for the child;

        if there are such persons then contact them to discuss their willingness to care for the
         child;

        if willing and able to meet the needs of the child, place the child with one of these persons;

        develop a plan to provide supervision until the child is returned home or a petition is filed;
         and,

        inform the person with whom the child is placed those conditions under which the child
         may be released to his parents.

        If the family is not known to the department then the worker will:

        ask the child, if appropriate, if he can provide the name and address of someone who has
         cared for him; and,

        if a name is provided contact that person and discuss possible placement with them; or,

        if a name is not provide proceed with the steps in Item B.

B.       Placement of a Home Services Worker

Whenever it appears that the parents will be gone for 12 hours or less, or whenever the worker is
unable to initially determine how long the parents will be gone, then department staff may be
placed in the home for the initial 12 hour period.
Whenever the need for this type of care arises the worker will:



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      arrange for two persons, one of whom is a Child Protective Services Worker, to stay with
       the child;

      if the child‟s caretakers return before 12 hours have elapsed then staff may leave at that
       time;

      before leaving staff must review the situation with the caretakers including whether or not
       there will be any follow-up activity on the part of the department; or, if at the end of 12
       hours the child‟s caretakers have not returned then the child may be placed in emergency
       shelter care or another suitable facility.

Exceptions

Whenever a child has been abandoned it will not be necessary to maintain the child in his own
home under the following circumstances:
      The parent or parents are known to be violent or it is anticipated that the parent or parents
       may be incapacitated by the use of alcohol or other drugs and would pose a threat to the
       safety of department staff; or,

      The child cannot be maintained safely in his own home because of conditions in the home
       which pose a substantial risk of harm to the child.

Worker Conduct--Need for Emergency Medical Care
When a worker accepts custody of a child in need of emergency medical care from a law
enforcement officer then the worker will:

      take the child to a hospital or a physician for treatment;

      attempt to locate the child‟s caretakers if medical care was necessitated by their
       unavailability;

      discuss the child‟s illness or injury with the physician to determine if a petition should be
       filed; and,

      as necessary inform the physician that the child can be held in a hospital under the
       physician‟s care and against the will of the parents for a period of 96 hours if the physician
       considers it necessary to do so.

WV Code 49-6-9 defines a condition requiring emergency medical treatment as a condition
which, if left untreated for a period of a few hours, may result in permanent physical damage; such
a condition includes, but is not limited to, profuse or arterial bleeding, dislocation or fracture,
unconsciousness and evidence of ingestion of significant amounts of a poisonous substance.

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7.6 Multidisciplinary Investigative Team
For information concerning Multidisciplinary Investigative Teams, see Foster Care PolicySection
13.


7.7 Medical Examination of a Child for Evidentiary Purposes

Statute
State statute, 49-6-4(b), allows any person with authority to file a petition to request an order for a
medical examination from a judge or juvenile referee to secure evidence of child abuse or
neglect.

Purpose
The purpose of the statute is to allow for a legally sanctioned examination of a child who may
have been abused or neglected.

Worker Conduct in Requesting an Order for a Medical Examination
Whenever a worker determines that an examination under this statute is necessary then the
following must occur:

      the worker will discuss the case with their supervisor and request supervisory approval to
       proceed;

      If supervisory approval is given the worker will prepare and submit the necessary request
       to a judge or juvenile referee;

      if the request is granted the judge or juvenile referee will issue an order directing a law
       enforcement officer to take the child into custody and deliver the child to a physician or
       hospital for examination;

      the worker shall and the parents may accompany the officer to the examination;

      after the examination the officer may return the child to the custody of his parents, or the
       officer may retain custody himself, or the officer may give custody to the department.


Time Limits for Department Custody After a Medical Examination

If a law enforcement officer gives custody of a child to the department after a medical
examination, such custody may be maintained only until the end of the next judicial day unless a
petition requesting temporary custody pending a hearing has been filed and custody transferred

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to the Department by court order.




7.8 Filing a Petition

Statute
The initiation of judicial proceedings in cases of abuse and neglect always begins with the filing
of a petition with the circuit court. Both state statute, 49-6-1 and 49-6-3 for example, as well as
the Court Rules and the Gibson Decree address the contents of a petition and specify the
procedures that must be followed in initiating judicial procedures.

Purpose
The purposes of a petition and the procedures accompanying its use are to: inform the child‟s
caretakers of the specific allegations concerning their conduct towards their child(ren); insure that
all required legal procedures are followed; and, insure that all legal rights and protections are
extended to the child and the child‟s caretakers.

Initiation of a Petition
Petitions are initiated in cases where:
      The child is unsafe and there are no available or appropriate in-home safety responses;

      The child is in imminent danger and there are no appropriate or available safety
       responses:

      The parent(s) has committed an act which meets the definition of aggravated
       circumstances or other situations as defined in WV Code 49-6-3(d); and,

      The child is safe (an in-home safety plan controls for safety) but the parents have
       demonstrated that they are incapable of or unwilling to take the actions necessary to
       reduce the risk to their child so that safety does not have to be controlled by external
       means.

Whenever the worker determines that it is necessary to file a petition, then the following must
occur prior to filing:

      The worker will discuss the case with his/her supervisor since no petition may be initiated
       without supervisory approval.

      If the worker is unable to contact his/her immediate supervisor then the worker will discuss
       the case with a supervisor in a related unit, the Community Services Manager or the


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       Regional Director.

      The supervisor shall review the record to determine that all alternative and supportive
       services were pursued.

      if the supervisor does not agree with the worker then the supervisor must assist the worker
       in developing an appropriate safety plan.


      If the supervisor agrees with the worker then the supervisor will direct the worker to contact
       the prosecuting attorney to request that a petition be filed and this decision will be
       documented in FACTS.


Contact with the Prosecuting Attorney
When approval for the filing of a petition has been given by the supervisor, the worker will contact
the prosecuting attorney to:
      discuss the case including any questions the prosecutor may have; and,

      request that the prosecutor prepare the petition.

   


Summary of the Facts and Items for Inclusion in the Petition
In order to enable the prosecutor to prepare the petition, the worker will prepare a Summary of
the Facts and Other Items for use by the prosecutor. The Summary must include specific
information, the information must be arranged in a specific format and the Summary must be
reviewed and approved by the supervisor prior to submission to the prosecutor.

Format
The information in a petition may vary from case to case depending on the circumstances in a
particular case and the judicial hearing that the worker has asked the prosecutor to initiate. The
worker must include the required information in each of the following sections as appropriate.

Identifying Information - List the names, address and relationship (parent, stepparent, custodian,
etc.) of the child(ren)‟s current caretaker(s). In addition, list the name and address, if known, of
any absent parent. Finally, list the names, current address, sex, and age of all the children who
are to be included in the petition.

Note: In situations of imminent danger all children in the home must be included in the petition
and the petition must clearly indicate whether or not all or some of the children are at risk.

Conduct - The conduct of the child‟s caretakers which the worker considers to be maltreatment

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and/or risk must be described in specific detail and must be related to the appropriate conditions
in 49-1-3. In addition, this description must include the time(s) and place(s) where the conduct
occurred.

The worker must include a specific description of the safety threats (If appropriate) the risk
influences identified during the Initial Assessment and, if maltreatment has also occurred, a
specific description of the maltreatment.

If this is a case requiring termination, or a case in which there are aggravated circumstances,
then the conduct of the child‟s caretakers which meet either of these two conditions must be
described in specific detail.

Supportive Services - List the threats which place the child(ren) in danger and all supportive
services directed at remedying them. This description should include services provided by the
Department, services arranged for through referrals to other agencies and services which were
offered but not accepted.

In addition, the worker should state the reason(s) why the supportive services were not successful
in controlling the risk to the child.

Alternatives to Removal - If the worker has determined that the child cannot be safe in his home
then the worker must state why there is no alternative to removal. That is, the worker must explain
why there are no services which can control safety to the point that the child can remain in his
home.

Alternative Placement - If the worker believes that the child cannot be protected in his own home,
then the worker must describe why it was not possible to protect the child by arranging an
alternative placement with relatives or neighbors instead of filing a petition.

Witnesses - List the names, addresses, telephone numbers and relationship to the child‟s
caretakers, if any, of those persons who could testify to the facts.

Number of Contacts - List the number and the dates of the contacts the worker had with the child
and the child‟s caretakers.

Relief - List the relief and the actions, which the worker will ask the prosecuting attorney to
request the court to order. The relief requested must be one that is available under the
provisions of the statutes and is designed to meet the specific circumstances of each individual
case.

If a safety plan is necessary then the worker must also request that the court order the services
and actions necessary to insure the continued safety of the child.



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As a part of the relief the worker must ask the court to address the issue of the child(ren)‟s
placement. The worker must have a specific placement in mind or a plan to develop one and this
information must be included in the petition so that the court can rule on it.

Note: state statute prohibits the court, in cases of temporary custody pending a hearing, from
permitting the placement of the child(ren) in their own home unless the abusing parent has
been precluded by court order from visiting or residing in that home.

Child Support - In every case in which a petition asking for the removal of a child is requested
the worker must ask the prosecutor to include the issue of child support. Specifically, the worker
must include as part of the relief a request that the court:
      order each of the parent(s) to complete a financial disclosure statement; and,

      order the parent(s) to pay child support.

The worker should also ask the court to address, as part of its order, other forms of support such
as medical insurance which the parents may have in place for their child.

Findings Regarding Continuation in the Home and Reasonable Efforts - Whenever there is a
request for the removal of a child from his home as a part of the relief being requested, the
worker must include in the summary a request that the court, as a part of the order in the case,
state that:
      Continuation in the home is contrary to the best interests of the child(ren) and why this is
       so;

      Whether or not the Department made a reasonable effort to prevent removal or that the
       situation is an emergency and such efforts would be unreasonable or impossible; and,

      Whether or not this is a case in which there are aggravated circumstances or other
       situations as defined in WV Code 49-6-3(d); and as a result reasonable efforts are not
       required.


Note: the Supreme Court has developed and distributed a set of model orders for use in these
types of cases. In order to insure the inclusion of all necessary findings, the worker should
encourage the prosecutor to have these orders used by the court.

Review and Verification
After the prosecutor has prepared the petition, the worker will review it for accuracy and content. If
the petition is accurate and complete and contains all required information, then the worker will
sign it.



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If the petition contains any inaccurate information or if it is incomplete, then the worker MUST not
sign it. Instead, the worker must describe the inaccuracies or omissions to the prosecutor and
request that they be corrected. Once the necessary corrections have been made then the worker
will sign the petition.

If the prosecutor refuses to correct the petition, then the worker must refuse to sign it and must
discuss the matter with his/her supervisor.

Prior Notice
Once the decision to file a petition has been made the worker must make a reasonable effort to
notify the child‟s caretakers of the day of presentation of the petition to the court.

Prior notice is not required when the caretakers are: likely to flee; hide; or attempt to force the
child to deny that he has been harmed or threatened with harm; or, when the whereabouts of the
caretakers are unknown. Whenever prior notice is not provided for one of these reasons, the
worker must document this decision in FACTS.

Note: A reasonable effort to notify means that the worker can inform the caretakers of his
intention to file a petition even though supervisory approval has not yet been granted. Or, the
worker can wait until supervisory approval has been granted and then telephone the caretakers
or go to their home to notify them.


7.9 Role of the Prosecuting Attorney

The Supreme Court addressed the role of the prosecuting attorney in child abuse and neglect
cases in its ruling in the cases styled, “In Re: Jonathan G” and “In Re: Diva P.” The ruling is as
follows: “Based on our conclusion that the prosecuting attorney’s role as related to DHHR
in an abuse and neglect proceeding is that of a traditional attorney-client, we further
determine that a prosecuting attorney has no independent right to formulate and
advocate positions separate from its client in these cases.”

This ruling means that the prosecuting attorney is supposed to represent the position of the
Department throughout the stages of all judicial proceedings.

Staff involved in judicial proceeding should always be willing to discuss any and all aspects of a
case with the prosecutor but must remember that the final recommendations about the case are
the responsibility of the Department. If the Prosecuting Attorney will not assist the DHHR in filing
a petition to implement an out-of-home safety plan, the DHHR must initiate the provision for
ADispute Resolution@, pursuant to 49-6-10a.




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7.10 Temporary Custody Pending a Preliminary Hearing

Statute
Under certain circumstances a worker may determine that the implementation of an out-of-home
safety plan requires the immediate and involuntary removal of a child from the home. State
statute, 49-6-3, provides the worker the opportunity to file a petition requesting an immediate
transfer of custody until a hearing can be held when:
      There exists imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child; and,

      There are no reasonably available alternatives to the removal of the child.


Purpose
The purpose of this part of the statute is to provide the court with the opportunity to authorize an
immediate transfer of custody in order to protect children at imminent risk of harm.

Worker Preparation for a Temporary Custody Hearing

Prior to the hearing on imminent danger the worker will:
      arrange for the preparation and presentation of a petition; and,

      provide notice of the hearing to the appropriate parties.


Worker Conduct During the Hearing
During the hearing the worker will be present in court in order to respond to any questions or
requests for information from the circuit judge or other parties.

Worker Conduct After the Hearing
Once the court has ruled on the petition, the worker will proceed to implement the order of the
court including removing the child from the home of the child‟s caretakers and placing the child in
out-of-home care.


7.11 Placement Requirements
For information concerning placement requirements, see Foster Care Policy Section 1.16.


7.12 Court Appointed Legal Counsel

In any legal proceeding in which the Department is petitioning the court in a case of child neglect
or abuse, the child and his caretakers have a right to be represented at every stage of the

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proceedings.

A child and his caretakers may not be represented by the same legal counsel. A legal counsel
may represent all of the children or both parents if both parents agree to be represented by the
same person.

The court must appoint legal counsel to represent the child(ren) and, if the parents can not afford
legal counsel, then the court must appoint counsel for them.

Appointed counsel have a right to certain information and other materials from the Department.
This information should be provided to the legal counsel by the worker who had the petition filed.

Note: the duties and responsibilities of the legal counsel appointed to represent the child(ren)
continue until the child is in a permanent placement.

Access to Records

Both the legal counsel for the child and the legal counsel for the child‟s caretakers have a right to
review the records and other information maintained by the Department about the child or the
child‟s caretakers with one exception. The Department shall not allow access to records
disclosing the identity of a referent.

Whenever legal counsel makes a request to review a record, the worker will make the necessary
arrangements for the review. The request does not have to be honored on the same day it was
made. The worker must inspect the information required to be produced and delete any
identifying information about the referent. Once that information has been removed, then the
worker should notify counsel of the availability of the record for review.


7.13 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer who may be appointed by
the court to serve as an independent representative of the child(ren) who is the subject of a child
welfare proceeding. The appointment of a CASA volunteer does not in any way change the duties
and responsibilities of the attorney for the child.

A CASA volunteer shall remain involved in a case until further order of the court or permanent
placement of the child(ren) is achieved.

Access to Records

Unlike legal counsel, a CASA volunteer does not have a statutory right to inspect the records of


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the child whom they are appointed to represent or the records of the child‟s family. According to
the Supreme Court a CASA volunteer can gain access to these records either through a court
order or through a waiver for the release of information from the parties.

Whenever a CASA volunteer requests access to Department records, the worker must verify the
existence of a court order or waiver by all of the parties before granting access. If there is no
order or waiver, then access must be denied.

In those cases in which access is permitted, the CASA volunteer can not be allowed any
information which discloses the identity of a referent.


7.14 Discovery

Under the Rules of Procedure issued by the Supreme Court, the prosecuting attorney is required
to provide certain information to the legal counsel for the caretakers. Most of the information
which is to be provided will consist of materials developed by or in the possession of the
Department. The responsibility for providing this information to the prosecutor for transmittal to
the caretakers‟ legal counsel rests with the worker who initiated the petition.

Within three (3) days of the filing of the petition the worker will provide the following to the
prosecutor:

      a copy of any relevant written or recorded statements made by the caretakers and the
       substance of any oral statements which they made and which will be offered in evidence
       during the hearing;

      a copy of any books, papers, documents, photographs, tangible objects, buildings, or
       places which are material to the preparation of the case or are intended to be used as
       evidence in the case or were obtained from or belong to the caretakers;

      a copy of the results and reports of physical and/or mental examinations, if any, and a
       copy of scientific tests and/or experiments , if any, which are used in the preparation of the
       case or are intended to be used in evidence during the hearing; and,

      a written list of names and addresses of all witnesses who will be called to testify together
       with any record of prior convictions of any such witnesses.

Not less than five (5) days prior to the preliminary hearing, or any other hearing in which evidence
will be introduced, the worker will provide the following to the prosecutor:
      a copy of any book, papers, documents, photographs, tangible objects, buildings, or
       places which will be introduced into evidence;

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      a copy of the results and reports of physical and/or mental examinations and a copy of
       scientific tests and/or experiments made in conjunction with this particular case which will
       be used in evidence during the hearing or a copy of the same items prepared by any
       witness and which will be used in relation to the testimony of the witness; and,

      a written list of the names and addresses of the witnesses to be called during the hearing.

7.15 Preliminary Hearing

Statute
The state statute regulating the preliminary hearing is contained in 49-6-3(a) of the Code of West
Virginia and requires that: if at the time the petition was filed, the court placed or continued the
child in the emergency custody of the Department or a responsible person, then a preliminary
hearing on emergency custody shall be initiated within ten (10) days after the continuation or
transfer of custody.

Purpose
The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to provide the court with an opportunity to hear from the
parties, the Department and the child‟s caretakers, and to determine what future action, if any,
should occur.

Worker Preparation for the Preliminary Hearing
Prior to the preliminary hearing the worker will:
      Prepare and develop general terms or requirements to offer in the event that a pre-
       adjudicatory improvement period is requested. Provide the terms in writing to the
       prosecuting attorney prior to the hearing for presentation at the hearing.

      Based upon the time that a pre-adjudicatory improvement may be granted and the stage
       of the Initial Assessment process, the terms that are offered may only be able to address
       the safety needs of the child and/or placement needs of the child. The protection plan or
       the safety plan must be used to determine the terms if the progress of the case does not
       extend beyond the initial assessment and safety evaluation.

      Convene a preliminary meeting with the parent, when possible, and the child(ren), when
       appropriate, to determine known prospective multidisciplinary treatment team
       membership. (This meeting need not be a separate event and should be conducted
       during other necessary face-to-face contact with the family prior to the hearing.)

      Prepare and send the written notification for the date of the treatment team meeting to all
       the parties within seven days of the filing of the petition. In the event the membership of
       the MDT is not known within seven days of the filing of the petition, i.e. the guardian ad
       litem or the parent‟s attorney may not have been appointed, the notification letters will be


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       taken to the hearing and provided to members at that time.

      Notify the prosecuting attorney in writing of any information that would negatively affect the
       granting of an improvement period.

      If the child is out of the home, consider possible reunification if the child can be protected
       and safety can be maintained with an in-home safety plan.

      Obtain a copy of the parent(s) financial disclosure statement for child support to use
       during the hearing as needed.


Worker Conduct During the Preliminary Hearing
During the hearing the social worker will:
      If the worker believes that a mental or medical examination is necessary, then the worker
       must be prepared to request that the court order the appropriate examination(s).

      If an improvement period is requested, provide the suggested terms to the court and
       request that they be made part of the court record.

      In the event that reunification can be effected through an in-home safety plan, the safety
       services will be included in the terms recommended for the improvement period. This
       requires completion of the safety assessment and plan of the Initial Assessment.

      Request that the order reflect that the parent(s) will participate with the MDT, will
       participate in the development of the family assessment/treatment plan identified through
       the WVCPSS and will participate and cooperate with the terms of the improvement
       period if one is granted.

      Obtain signed releases of information from the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) or
       request that the order reflect the appropriate language to obtain any necessary medical
       information.

      Request that the signed releases of information be made part of the court record.

      Request that the court order reflect financial support by the parents including the
       requirement that the parents complete a financial disclosure form as necessary.

      Request that the date for the next hearing be scheduled, placed on the docket and
       reflected in the court order.

      In the order granting the improvement period, the court must order that a hearing be held
       to review the matter within 60 days or within 90 days of the granting of the improvement
       period.


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      Request that the written order reflect the department‟s financial responsibility for the
       expenses associated with the services identified in the improvement period terms if the
       court so orders at the hearing.

      If the family demonstrates to the court that they are unable to bear the cost of such
       expenses, the court may order the department to financially support the provision of
       services.


Worker Conduct Following the Preliminary Hearing

The actions which the worker must take after the conclusion of the preliminary hearing depend
upon whether an improvement period was granted or whether an improvement period was not
requested or granted.

Worker Conduct When an Improvement Period is Granted
Following the hearing, if a pre-adjudicatory improvement period is granted, the worker will:
      Complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation of the WVCPSS process and
       make arrangements for transferring the case to on-going CPS if this has not occurred.

      Convene the multidisciplinary treatment team meeting.

      Prepare and educate the members of the multidisciplinary treatment team with the
       WVCPSS process and the next steps related to the process. The multidisciplinary team
       meeting would be an appropriate vehicle to introduce the family to the worker that will be
       conducting the family assessment and participating in the development of the treatment
       plan if the case was not active in on-going services.

      Direct the collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary team meeting in the development of
       the family case plan. (The family case plan also serves as the child assessment that is to
       be completed within 30 days of the receipt of custody.)

      File the family case plan with the court within 30 days of the hearing granting the pre-
       adjudicatory improvement period and provide all members of the multidisciplinary team
       with a copy of the plan.

      The statutes do not define the term “file with the court,” nor do they specify a method for
       transmitting the plan to the court. Therefore, it has been decided to provide the case plan
       to the circuit clerk and to the prosecuting attorney to meet this requirement.

      If the child is in an out-of-home placement, evaluate reunification efforts and determine if
       the child can be returned to the family as long as safety and protection can be maintained
       with an in-home safety plan by completing the initial assessment and safety evaluation
       and safety analysis and plan of the WVCPSS. If the case is further into the CPS process,

                                       182203
    the continuing safety analysis and plan will be used for this purpose.

   Provide the record keeping for the multidisciplinary team meeting.

   Provide a report to the Case Oversight Team containing the log with the participant list,
    the results of the MDT and any barriers to service provision to the family.

   Provide services and closely monitor the participation of the family with the terms of the
    improvement period and family case plan.

   Insure that the service providers of the family case plan provide written reports every 30
    days and provide copies of the reports to each treatment team member.

   Complete the family case plan evaluation of progress.

   Convene the multidisciplinary treatment team to review and provide input for the family
    case plan evaluation of progress.

   Submit the family case plan evaluation of progress report to the court and provide copies
    to the multidisciplinary treatment team members within 60 days of the hearing granting the
    improvement period.

   Request that the case plan evaluation of progress report is entered as part of the court
    record.

   Contact the prosecuting attorney to insure that the 60 day or 90 day hearing is scheduled
    and on the court‟s docket.

   Submit to the court in writing any modification in the family case plan. (The statutes do not
    define the term “file with the court,” nor do they specify a method for transmitting the plan
    to the court. Therefore, it has been decided to provide the case plan to the circuit clerk
    and the prosecuting attorney to meet this requirement.}

   Contact the prosecuting attorney 15 days prior to the expiration of the improvement period
    to insure that the hearing is scheduled and on the court‟s docket.

   The adjudicatory hearing must take place no later than 60 days after the expiration of
    improvement period. The worker will more than likely be the person accountable for
    keeping track of the dates of the improvement periods, hearings, mandated reports and
    multidisciplinary team responsibilities.

   Remind the prosecutor of the court‟s duty to specify a future date in the order if a motion
    for continuance of the hearing is received and there are no objections. (If there is
    difficulty with receiving sufficient notice of a continuance motion or if there are
    objections to the continuance, the prosecuting attorney is to be immediately advised. If

                                     183203
       the Department is requesting a continuance, the prosecuting attorney must be
       consulted to request the written motion that must specify “good cause” for the
       continuance.

      Collect progress reports from providers to furnish to the court at the adjudicatory hearing.


Worker Conduct When an Improvement Period not Requested Or Improvement Period is
Denied

Following the hearing, if a pre-adjudicatory improvement period is not granted, the social worker
will:
      Complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation of the WVCPSS process and
       make arrangements for transferring the case to on-going CPS if this has not occurred.

      Convene the multidisciplinary treatment team.


      Prepare and educate the family and the members of the multidisciplinary treatment team
       with the WVCPSS process and the next steps related to the process. (The MDT meeting
       would be an appropriate vehicle to introduce the family to the worker that will be
       conducting the family assessment and participating in the development of the treatment
       plan if the case was not active in on-going services.

      Direct the collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary team meeting in the development of
       the family case plan. (If a pre-adjudicatory improvement period was not granted, there is
       no requirement to file the family case plan with the court. In this instance, the family case
       plan also serves as the child assessment that must be completed within 30 days of the
       receipt of custody.)

      If the child is in an out-of-home placement, evaluate reunification efforts and determine if
       the child can be returned to the family if safety and protection can be maintained with an
       in-home safety plan by completing the initial assessment and safety evaluation and the
       safety analysis and plan of the WVCPSS. If the case is further into the CPS process, the
       continuing safety analysis and plan will be used for this purpose.

      Provide the record keeping for the treatment team meeting.

      Provide a report to the Case Oversight Team containing the log with the participant list,
       the results of the MDT, and any barriers to service provision to the family.

      Provide services and closely monitor the participation of the family case plan.

      Insure that the service providers of the family case plan provide written reports every 30


                                        184203
       days and provide copies of the reports to each treatment team member.

      Complete the family case plan evaluation of progress.

      Convene the treatment multidisciplinary team to review and provide input for the family
       case plan evaluation of progress.

      Collect all progress reports from providers and include the reports with the case
       evaluation of progress to provide the court at the adjudicatory hearing.

      Contact prosecuting attorney to insure that the adjudicatory hearing is on the court‟s
       docket. (The adjudicatory hearing shall occur within 30 days of the entering of the
       temporary custody order unless a pre-adjudicatory improvement period is granted.)




7.16 Child Support
For information concerning Child Support, see Foster Care Policy Section 13.12.

7.17 Multidisciplinary Treatment Team
For information concerning Multidisciplinary Treatment Teams, See Foster care Policy Section
13.

7.18 Medical and Mental Examinations

State statute, 49-6-4(a), permits the circuit judge or any party to the proceedings to order that the
child or the child‟s caretakers be examined by a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist and may
require the person conducting the examination to testify.

If the child‟s caretakers refuse to undergo an examination, the court can not hold them in
contempt nor can the court terminate parental rights because of such a refusal.

7.19 Adjudicatory Hearing

Statute

The state statute regulating the adjudicatory hearing is contained in 49-6-2 of the Code of West
Virginia.

Purpose
The purpose of the adjudicatory hearing is to provide the parties, the Department and the child‟s
caretakers, with the opportunity to testify and to present evidence in regard to the allegations

                                        185203
contained in the petition.

At the conclusion of the hearing the court shall make a determination based on the evidence and
shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law as to whether or not the child is abused and/or
neglected.

Worker Preparation for the Adjudicatory Hearing
Prior to the adjudicatory hearing the worker will:
      Prepare and develop general terms or requirements to offer in the event a post-
       adjudicatory improvement period is granted. Provide the terms in writing to the
       prosecuting attorney prior to the hearing for presentation at the hearing.

      Notify the prosecuting attorney in writing of any information that would negatively affect the
       granting of an improvement period.

      Insure that the multidisciplinary treatment team has received notice of the hearing.

      Prepare any releases of information for signature.

      Prepare the multidisciplinary treatment team notices for the next meeting.

      If the child is in an out-of-home placement, evaluate reunification efforts and determine if
       the child can be returned to the family as long as protection and safety can be maintained
       with an in-home safety plan. (This requires completion of the continuing safety and
       analysis and plan of the WVCPSS process.)


Worker Conduct During the Adjudicatory Hearing

During the adjudicatory hearing the worker will:
      If an improvement period is requested, provide the suggested terms to the court and
       request that they be made part of the court record. (In the event that reunification can be
       effected through an in-home safety plan, the safety services will be included in the
       terms of the court record.)

       Testify regarding the worker‟s knowledge of the abuse and/or neglect.

      Request that the family case plan evaluation of progress that was previously provided to
       the court and all progress reports by providers be made part of the court record. (If a pre-
       adjudicatory improvement period was not granted, request that the family case plan and
       the family case plan evaluation of progress developed through the collaboration of the
       MDT be entered in the court record.)



                                        186203
      Requests the order reflect that the parent(s) must participate and cooperate with the terms
       of the improvement period, must participate with the MDT and must participate in the
       development of the treatment plan identified through family assessment.

      Obtain signed releases of information from the parent(s) or request that the order reflect
       the appropriate language to obtain any necessary medical information.

      Request that the releases of information be made part of the court record.

      Request that the next hearing be scheduled, placed on the court‟s docket, and reflects in
       the court order.

      Schedule and provide written notification to all multidisciplinary treatment team members
       of the next treatment team meeting.

      Request that the multidisciplinary treatment team notices be made part of the court
       record.

      Request that the written order reflect the department‟s financial responsibility, if any, for
       the expenses associated with the services identified in the improvement period terms if
       the court so orders at the hearing. (If the family demonstrates to the court that they are
       unable to bear the cost of such expenses, the court may order the department to
       financially support the provision of services.)

      The worker must request that any medical expenses which are to be paid by the
       Department are to be paid at the current Medicaid rates for such services.

      Payment for medical services can be made through the use special medical card.

      Payment for other types of services can be made through the demand payment system

      Payment for medical services which exceed Medicaid coverage will be made by
       submitting a court order with the seal of the court on the order and the invoice for services
       to the bureau for Children and Families, ATTN: Administrative Services. If the seal of the
       court does not appear on the order, then payment cannot be made.


Worker Conduct Following the Adjudicatory Hearing
The actions which the worker must take after the conclusion of the adjudicatory hearing depend
on whether an improvement period was granted or whether an improvement period was not
requested or granted

Worker Conduct When an Improvement Period is Granted
Following the hearing, if a post-adjudicatory improvement period is granted, the worker will:


                                        187203
   Complete the family assessment and treatment plan WVCPSS process if this has not
    occurred.

   Convene the MDT

   Update and educate the family and members of the multidisciplinary treatment team with
    the CPS process and the next steps related to the process.

   Direct the collaborative effort of the MDT meeting in the development of the family case
    plan.

   Provide the record keeping for the treatment team meeting.

   Provide a report to the Case Oversight Team containing the log with the participant list,
    the results of the MDT and any barriers to service provision to the family.

   File the case plan with the court within 30 days of the hearing granting the improvement
    period and provide all members of the multidisciplinary team with a copy of the plan. (The
    statutes do not define the term “file with the court,” nor do they specify a method for
    transmitting the plan to the court. Therefore, it has been decided to provide the case
    plan to the circuit clerk and to the prosecuting attorney to meet this requirement.)

   Continue the CPS process, provide services and closely monitor the participation of the
    family with the terms of the improvement period and family case plan.

   Insure that the service providers of the family case plan provide written reports every 30
    days and provide copies of the report to each treatment team member.

   Prepare the family case plan evaluation of progress.

   Convene the MDT to review and provide input for the family case plan evaluation of
    progress.

   Provide the family case plan evaluation of progress to the court with copies to the MDT
    members within 60 days of the hearing granting the post-adjudicatory improvement
    period. (In the WVCPSS process, case evaluation is to occur every 90 days. The case
    evaluation date can be adjusted to occur prior to the hearing. The family case plan
    evaluation of progress will serve as the WVCPSS case evaluation and will comply with
    the administrative review requirements for children in placement.)

   Contact the prosecuting attorney 15 days prior to the 60 day or 90 day hearing for review
    of the parent(s) progress to insure it is scheduled and placed on the court‟s docket.

   Attend the hearing and request that the family case plan evaluation of progress be made
    part of the court record and request the court‟s signature on the signature attachment

                                    188203
    page.

   At the 60 or 90 day hearing, request that a hearing be scheduled for a review of progress
    which must occur every three months following the granting of an improvement period and
    request that it is placed on the court‟s docket. (The court may select to schedule a status
    conference devoted to reviewing the parent’s progress instead of a hearing.)

   Prepare in collaboration with the MDT the family case plan evaluation of progress prior to
    each hearing or status conference.

   If modifications are made to the family case plan as the casework process continues, file
    with the court in writing any modifications to the family case plan. (The statutes do not
    define the term “file with the court,” nor do they specify a method for transmitting the plan
    to the court. Therefore, it has been decided to provide the case plan to the circuit clerk
    and to the prosecuting attorney to meet this requirement.)

   Contact the prosecuting attorney 15 days prior to all hearings or status conferences to
    insure they are scheduled and placed on the court‟s docket.

   Prior to each hearing or status conference, notify the members of the MDT of the dates
    and time of the scheduled hearing or status conference.

   Attend each hearing or status conference and provide a written report to the court of the
    family‟s progress with the family case plan and the development in the case. (In the
    WVCPSS process, case evaluation is to occur every 90 days. The case evaluation can
    be adjusted to occur prior to the hearings or status conferences. The family case plan
    evaluation of progress will serve as the WVCPSS case evaluation and will comply with
    the administrative review requirements for children in placement.)

   Request that the family case plan evaluation of progress be made part of the court record
    and request the court‟s signature on the signature attachment page.

   At the conclusion of each hearing or status conference request that the court schedule and
    place on the docket the next hearing that must occur every 90 days. (The court may elect
    to schedule a status conference devoted to reviewing the parent’s progress instead of a
    hearing.)

   In the event that a foster care permanency review hearing has not been conducted within
    the first 12 months or every 12 months thereafter, the worker will request that a hearing be
    scheduled to review the planning for the child and family instead of a status conference.
    This serves to meet the statutory requirements of the WV Code 49-6-8(a) and WV Code
    49-6-8(b) for judicial review and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.

   Insure that the MDT is notified of each hearing or status conference.

                                     189203
      Prepare and distribute all required reports to the MDT.

      Contact the prosecuting attorney at least 15 days prior to the expiration of the
       improvement period to insure that the hearing is scheduled and on the court‟s docket.
       (The disposition hearing must take place no later than 60 days after the expiration of
       the improvement period.)

      Remind the prosecutor of the court‟s duty to specify a future date in the order if a motion
       for continuance of the hearing is received and there are no objections. (If there is
       difficulty with receiving sufficient notice of a continuance motion, or if there are
       objections to the continuance, the prosecuting attorney is to be immediately advised. If
       the Department is requesting a continuance, the prosecuting attorney must be
       consulted to request the written motion that must specify “good cause” for the
       continuance.)

      Notify the prosecuting attorney if the client is not participating in the terms of the
       improvement period and request that a motion be filed and a hearing be held to terminate
       the improvement period. (The worker is responsible for providing the information that
       supports the request for the termination of the improvement period.)

      Be prepared to answer the assertions if a motion is filed to extend the improvement
       period for a period up to three months. (The motion filed for an extension of the
       improvement period must set forth specific assertions: 1) the family has substantially
       complied with the terms of the improvement period, 2) the continuation of the
       improvement period will not substantially impair the ability of the department to
       permanently place the child, and 3) an extension is consistent with the best interest of the
       child. The burden of proof related to these conditions rests with the family.
       However, the worker and MDT will closely monitor and evaluate the family case planwhich
       provides the documentation and supportive information to provide to the court.)

      Prepare, file with the court and provide copies to the child‟s attorney and/or guardian ad
       litem, parent(s), and the parent‟s attorney, the child‟s case plan at least five judicial days
       prior to the dispositional hearing. The statutes do not define the term “file with the court,”
       nor do they specify a method for transmitting the plan to the court. Therefore, it has
       been decided to provide the case plan to the circuit clerk and to the prosecuting
       attorney to meet this requirement.)


Worker Conduct When an Improvement Period not Requested or Improvement Period Is
Denied

Following the hearing, if a post-adjudicatory improvement period is not granted, the worker will:
      Complete the initial assessment and safety evaluation of the WVCPSS process and

                                        190203
      make arrangements for transferring the case to on-going CPS is this has not occurred.

     Update and educate the family and the members of the multidisciplinary treatment team
      with the WVCPSS process and the next steps related to the process. (The MDT meeting
      would be an appropriate vehicle to introduce the family to the worker that will be
      conducting the family assessment and participating in the development of the treatment
      plan if the case was not active in on-going services.)

     Direct the collaborative effort of the MDT meeting in the development of the family case
      plan. (If a post-adjudicatory improvement period is not granted, there is no requirement to
      file the family case plan with the court.)

     If the child is in an out-of-home placement, evaluate reunification efforts and determine if
      the child can be returned to the family if safety and protection can be maintained with an
      in-home safety plan.

     Provide the record keeping for the treatment team meeting.

     Provide a report to the Case Oversight Team containing the log with the participant list,
      the results of the MDT and any barriers to service provision to the family.

     Continue the CPS process, provide services and closely monitor the participation of the
      family with the family case plan.

     Insure that the service providers of the family case plan provide written reports every 30
      days and provide copies of the reports to each treatment team member.

     Collect all progress reports from providers to provide to the court at the dispositional
      hearing.

     Contact prosecuting attorney to insure that the disposition hearing is on the court‟s
      docket. (The disposition hearing shall occur within 45 days of the entering of the final
      adjudicatory order.)

     Prepare, file with the court and provide copies to the child‟s attorney and/or guardian ad
      litem, parent(s), and the parent‟s attorney, the child‟s case plan at least five judicial days
      prior to the dispositional hearing. The statutes do not define the term “file with the court,”
      nor do they specify a method for transmitting the plan to the court. Therefore, it has
      been decided to provide the case plan to the circuit clerk and to the prosecuting
      attorney to meet this requirement.)

7.20 Dispositional Hearing


                                       191203
Statute
The statute regulating the dispositional hearing is contained in 49-6-5 of the Code of West
Virginia. This statute has been further defined and regulated by the Court Rules. Depending on
the decision of the court, there may be more than one dispositional hearing.

Purpose
The purpose of the dispositional hearing is to provide all the parties to the case with the
opportunity to address the court about the future care and custody of the child(ren).
At the conclusion of the hearing the court will choose from a number of specified options and
enter an order regarding future care and custody.

Worker Preparation for the Dispositional Hearing

Prior to the dispositional hearing the worker will:
      prepare himself/herself to testify about the disposition which they would like the court to
       make;

      prepare and develop general terms or requirements to offer in the event an improvement
       period is granted as a disposition. Provide the terms in writing to the prosecuting attorney
       prior to the hearing for presentation at the hearing.

      prepare and distribute copies of the child's case plan to the parties, their counsel, and
       persons entitled to notice and the opportunity to be heard, at least five judicial days prior
       to the disposition hearing.

      notify the prosecuting attorney in writing of any information that would negatively affect the
       granting of an improvement period;

      insure that the multidisciplinary team and all other parties with a right to be present have
       received notice of the hearing;

      prepare any releases of information for signature;

      prepare the multidisciplinary treatment team notices for the next meeting;

      if the child is in an out-of-home placement, evaluate reunification efforts and determine if
       the child can be returned to the family as long as protection and safety can be maintained
       with an in-home safety plan.


Worker Conduct During the Dispositional Hearing

During the hearing the worker will:


                                        192203
      If an improvement period is requested, provide the suggested terms to the court and
       request that they be made part of the court record. (In the event that reunification can be
       effected through an in-home safety plan, the safety services will be included in the
       terms recommended for the improvement period.)

      Request that the family case plan evaluation that was previously provided to the court and
       all progress reports by providers be made part of the court record. (If a post-adjudicatory
       improvement period was not granted, provide the family case plan to the court and
       request that it be entered on the court record.)

      Request the order reflect that the parent(s) will participate and cooperate with the terms of
       the improvement period, will participate with the MDT and will participate in the
       development of the treatment plan identified through family assessment.

      Obtain signed releases of information from the parent(s) or request that the order reflect
       the appropriate language to obtain any necessary medical information.

      Request that the releases of information be made part of the court record.

      Request that the date for the next hearing be schedule, placed on the docket and reflected
       in the court order.

      Schedule and provide written notification to all MDT members of the next treatment
       meeting.

      Request that the multidisciplinary treatment team notices be made part of the court
       record.

      Request that the written order reflect the department‟s financial responsibility for the
       expenses associated with the services identified in the improvement period terms if the
       court so orders at the hearing. (If the family demonstrates to the court that they are
       unable to bear the cost of such expenses, the court may order the department to
       financially support the provision of services.)


Worker Conduct Following the Disposition Hearing

The actions which the worker must take after the conclusion of the disposition hearing depend on
the decision of the court regarding the future care and custody of the child. The court may grant an
improvement period or the court may choose another option.

Worker Conduct When an Improvement Period is Granted

Following the hearing the worker will:


                                         193203
   Convene the MDT.

   Update and educate the family the members of the MDT with the CPS process and the
    next steps related to the process.

   Direct the collaborative effort of the MDT meeting in the development of the family case
    plan.

   Provide the record keeping for the MDT meeting.

   Provide a report to the Case Oversight Team containing the log with the participant list,
    the results of the MDT and any barriers to service provision to the family.

   File the family case plan with the court within 30 days of the hearing granting the
    improvement period and provide all members of the MDT with a copy of the plan. (The
    statutes do not define the term “file with the court,” nor do they specify a method for
    transmitting the plan to the court. Therefore, it has been decided to provide the case
    plan to the circuit clerk and to the prosecuting attorney to meet this requirement.)

   Continue the CPS process, provide services and closely monitor the participation of the
    family with the terms of the improvement period and family case plan.

   Insure that the service providers of the family case plan provide written reports every 30
    days and provide copies of the reports to each treatment team member.

   Prepare the family case plan evaluation of progress.

   Convene the multidisciplinary treatment team to review and provide input for the family
    case plan evaluation of progress.

   Provide the family case plan evaluation of progress to the court with copies to the
    treatment team members of the family‟s progress within 60 days of the hearing granting
    the improvement period. (The family case plan evaluation of progress will serve as the
    WVCPSS case evaluation and will comply with the administrative reviewrequirements
    for children in placement.)

   Contact the prosecuting attorney 15 days prior to the 60 or 90 day hearing for review of
    the parent(s) progress to insure that it is scheduled and placed on the court‟s docket.

   Attend the hearing and request that the family case plan evaluation of progress be made
    part of the court record and request the court‟s signature on the signature attachment
    page.



                                    194203
   At the 60 or 90 day hearing, request that a hearing be scheduled for a review of progress
    which must occur every three months following the granting of an improvement period and
    request that it is placed on the court‟s docket. (The court may select to schedule a status
    conference devoted to reviewing the parent’s progress instead of a hearing.)

   Prepare, in collaboration with the multidisciplinary treatment team, the family case plan
    evaluation of progress prior to each status conference or hearing.

   If modifications to the family case plan occur as the casework process continues, submit
    to the court in writing any modifications to the family case plan. (The statutes do not
    define the term “file with the court,” nor do they specify a method for transmitting the plan
    to the court. Therefore, it has been decided to provide the case plan to the circuit clerk
    and to the prosecuting attorney to meet this requirement.)

   Contact the prosecuting attorney 15 days prior to all hearings or status conferences to
    insure they are scheduled and placed on the court‟s docket.

   Prior to each hearing or status conference, notify the members of the MDT of the date and
    time scheduled for the hearing.

   Attend each hearing or status conference and provide a written report to the court of the
    family‟s progress with the family case plan and the developments in the case. (In the
    WVCPSS process, case evaluation is to occur every 90 days. The case evaluation can
    be adjusted to occur simultaneously to the hearings or status conferences. The family
    case plan evaluation of progress will serve as the WVCPSS case evaluation and will
    comply with the administrative review requirements for children in placement.)

   Request that the family case plan evaluation of progress be made part of the court record
    and request the court‟s signature on the signature attachment page.

   At the conclusion of each hearing or status conference request that the courts schedule
    and place on the docket, the next hearing that must occur every 90 days. (The court may
    elect to schedule a status conference devoted to reviewing the parent’s progress instead
    of a hearing. In the event that a hearing has not been conducted within the first 12
    months or every 12 months thereafter, the worker will request that a hearing be
    scheduled to reviewthe planning for the child and family instead of a status conference.
     This serves to meet the statutory requirements of the WV Code 49-6-8(a) and 49-6-8(b)
    for judicial reviews and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.

   Insure that the MDT is notified of each status conference or hearing.

   Prepare and distribute all required reports for the multidisciplinary team.

   Contact the prosecuting attorney 15 days prior to the expiration of the improvement period

                                     195203
       to insure that the Final Dispositional Hearing is scheduled and on the court docket. (The
       final disposition hearing must take place no later than 60 days after the expiration of the
       improvement period at disposition.)

      Remind the prosecutor of the court‟s duty to specify a future date in the order if a motion
       for continuance of the hearing is received and there are no objections. (If there is
       difficulty with receiving sufficient notice of a continuance motion or if there are
       objections to the continuance, the prosecuting attorney is to be immediately advised.
       the Department is requesting a continuance, the prosecuting attorney must be
       consulted to request the written motion that must specify “good cause” for the
       continuance.)

      Notify the prosecuting attorney if the client is not participating in the terms of the
       improvement period and request that a motion be filed and a hearing be held to terminate
       the improvement period.

      The worker is responsible for providing the information that supports the request for the
       termination of the improvement period.

      Be prepared to answer the assertions if a motion is filed to extend the improvement
       period for a period up to three months.


Worker Conduct When the Petition is Dismissed

If the petition is dismissed or the child, the abusing parent or other family members are referred
to a community agency and the petition is also dismissed the worker will:

      return the child to the child‟s caretakers;

      discuss with the caretakers any remaining service needs they may have and provide
       assistance to secure them; and,

      proceed to close the child protective services case.


Worker Conduct When Continuing Supervision is Ordered

Whenever the court orders the return of the child to his or her own home under the supervision of
the department, or, orders terms of supervision which prescribe the manner of supervision and
care of the child, then the worker will:
      convene the multidisciplinary treatment team;

      update and educate the family and the members of the multidisciplinary treatment team

                                        196203
       with the CPS process and the next steps related to the process;

      direct the collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary treatment team in the development of
       a plan to implement the order of the court;

      provide a report to the Case Oversight Team containing the log with the participant list,
       the results of the multidisciplinary team and any barriers to service provision to the family;

      continue the CPS process, provide services and closely monitor the participation of the
       family with the terms of the court order;

      obtain written reports from service providers every 30 days and provide copies of the
       reports to each treatment team member;

      convene the multidisciplinary treatment team to review and provide input for the case
       evaluation of progress; and,

      contact the prosecuting attorney to insure that the case is scheduled for the Permanency
       Placement Review hearing no later than 90 days from the date of the initial disposition
       hearing.


Worker Conduct When the Court Terminates Parental Rights

When the court terminates parental rights the actions the worker must take depend on the order
of the court regarding the custody of the child.

If the court commits the child to the sole custody of the non-abusing parent, if there is one, or the
permanent guardianship of a licensed child welfare agency, then the worker will:

      make the arrangements necessary to transfer physical custody of the child to the non-
       abusing parent or agency; and,

      take the steps necessary to close the CPS case.

If the court terminates parental rights and commits the child to the guardianship of the
department, then the worker will:

      initiate the permanency placement review process.


Worker Conduct When Custody of Child is Continued With the Department

The court may find that the parents are presently unwilling or unable to provide adequately for the

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needs of their child(ren) and may commit the child(ren) to the custody of the Department. When
the court makes this ruling then the court must also make a finding about reasonable efforts.

If the court finds that reasonable efforts were not required because of aggravated circumstances
then the court must proceed to hold a permanency hearing within 30 days following the date of the
entry of the order containing the finding. Whenever the court makes this finding the worker will:

      convene the multidisciplinary treatment team to review the results of the dispositional
       hearing and to prepare for the permanency hearing; and,

      continue to provide the appropriate services in the interim between the dispositional
       hearing and the permanency hearing.

If the court does not find that aggravated circumstances exist, the court should issue an order
specifying under what circumstances the child‟s commitment to the Department will continue. The
worker will:

      convene the multidisciplinary team;

      update and educate the family and the members of the multidisciplinary treatment team
       with the CPS process and the next steps related to the process;

      direct the collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary treatment team in the development of
       a plan to implement the order of the court;

      continue the CPS process, provide services and closely monitor the participation of the
       family with the terms of the court order;

      obtain written reports from service providers every 30 days and provide copies of the
       reports to each treatment team member;

      convene the multidisciplinary treatment team to review and provide input for the case
       evaluation of progress; and,

      contact the prosecuting attorney to insure that the Permanency Placement review is
       scheduled no later than 90 days from the date of the initial disposition.


Final Dispositional Hearing

Prior to the hearing the worker will:

      Prepare to address the progress of the parent(s) related to the family case plan.

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      Collect all progress reports submitted by providers.

      Prepare to address the status of the recommended permanency plan for the child.

      Notify the MDT of the date of the hearing.

      Contact the prosecuting attorney to discuss any other preparations necessary for the
       hearing.

      prepare and distribute copies of the child's case plan to the parties, their counsel, and
       persons entitled to notice and the opportunity to be heard, at least five judicial days prior
       to the disposition hearing.

      If the child(ren) continue to be placed out of home, determine if an in-home safety plancan
       be implemented as long as safety can be assured through the use of the continuing safety
       analysis and plan of the WVCPSS.

During the hearing the worker will:
      Provide provider progress reports and request that they be made part of the court record.

      Recommend the permanency plan for the child(ren) and the steps necessary to achieve
       the permanent plan.

      Request that the court rule on a dispositional determination consistent with the best
       interests of the child.

      If the permanent placement plan is for reunification with the parent(s), request that the
       court order the parent(s) to continue to participate in the provision of the family case plan,
       the treatment MDT, and the steps to achieve the permanent plan for the child(ren).

After the hearing the actions the worker must take depend on the finding of the court at the Final
Dispositional Hearing. (The various actions which a worker may be required to take are
described in the previous sections under this heading.)

7.21 Family Case Plan

For information concerning the Family Case Plan, see Foster Care Policy Sections 2.9, 3.9, 4.8,
5.8, 6.8, 7.10, 8.9, 9.8, 10.9, 11.8, or 12.10.

7.22 Time Limited Reunification Services
For information concerning Reunification Services, see Foster Care Policy Sections 2.11,
3.11, 4.10, 5.10, 6.10, 7.12, 8.11, 9.10, 10.11,


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7.23 Child’s Case Plan
For information concerning the Child Case Plan, see one of the following Foster Care Policy
Sections: 2.9, 3.9, 4.8, 5.8, 6.8, 7.10, 8.9, 9.8, 10.9, 11.8, or 12.10.

7.24 Administrative Review
For information concerning Administrative Reviews, see one of the following Foster Care Policy
Sections: 2.21, 3.21, 4.20, 5.20, 6.20, 7.22, 8.21, 9.20, 10.21, 11.19, or 12.17.

7.25 Judicial Review
For information concerning Judicial Reviews, see one of the following Foster Care Policy
Sections: 2.22, 3.22, 4.22, 5.21, 6.21, 7.23, 8.22, 9.21, 10.22, 11.20, or 12.18.

7.26 Change in a Child’s Placement - Report to the Court
For information concerning reporting to the Court due to three changes in a child‟s placement
within twelve months, see one of the following Foster Care Policy Sections: 2.27, 3.27, 4.26,
5.26, 6.26, 7.28, 8.27, 9.26, 10.27, 11.25, or 12.23.

7.27 Permanency Placement Reviews and Post-Termination
Placement Plan
For information concerning Permanency Placement Reviews and Post-Termination Placement
Plans, see one of the following Foster Care Policy Sections: 2.20, 3.20, 4.19, 5.19, 6.19, 7.21,
8.20, 9.19, 10.20, 11.18, or 12.16

7.28 Circumstances Requiring Termination of Parental Rights
For information concerning circumstances requiring Termination of Parental Rights, see one of
the following Foster Care Policy Sections: 2.18, 3.18, 4.17, 5.17, 6.17, 7.19, 8.18, 9.17, 10.18,
11.16, or 12.14.




APPENDIX A WEST VIRGINIA STATE POLICE CHILD ABUSE AND
NEGLECT INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES
REFERRAL AND INVESTIGATION PROTOCOL



1. Purpose of the Protocol

During the 2006 legislative session, the Child Protection Act of 2006 changed sections of state

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code, thus forming a special unit of officers within the state police that are to work directly with
child abuse and neglect investigations involving the most serious allegations. The purpose for the
joining of the West Virginia State Police and Child Protective Services is to provide more
effective collaboration between agencies (CPS, state police and local law enforcement) in order
to reduce child fatalities and aid prosecution of perpetrators of child abuse and neglect. The
special CPS investigate unit will also track valuable data to provide outcomes to the legislature
regarding the progress of the unit.

2. Definitions

a.) State police- The special unit of six troopers assigned to assist CPS workers and local law
enforcement agencies across the state.
b.) Local law enforcement- The police detachment located in the area where the incident of child
abuse/neglect occurred.
c.) Serious physical injury- An injury or injuries which threaten the life or the developmental
progress of a child. Examples of serious physical injury include spiral fractures; multiple broken
bones; head trauma; severe bruising to the head, face and neck.
d.) Sexual abuse allegation involving physical contact- Allegations that involve genital contact
between the perpetrator and victim.

3. The Protocol

A. Allegations that should be referred to local law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney‟s
office in the county where the alleged abuse occurred immediately upon receipt on the CPS
Referral For Law Enforcement (CPS-1) form.

Serious physical injury suspected to be inflicted by caretaker adult;
All sexual abuse allegations;
Critical Incident.

Of the above-listed referrals, the worker will send all sexual abuse allegations that involve physical
contact which are made by a mandated referent; serious physical injury suspected to be inflicted
by a caretaker and critical incidents to the state police within 7 days.

When a worker initiates an immediate response for a serious physical injury resulting in
hospitalization or for a critical incident, the worker should immediately contact the
Communications Center of the state police in South Charleston at 304-746-2158. The state
police will determine their response depending upon the circumstances of the incident. It should
be noted that the state police may not be able to respond to all serious injury and sexual abuse
referrals due to staffing issues. Local law enforcement should also be notified as stated above,
and the state police, if unable to immediately respond, could lend any necessary assistance to
the local law enforcement agency during the course of the investigation.


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When sending the CPS Referral for Law Enforcement to state police on non-emergency
allegations within 7 days, the worker will include the following information:

      any demographic information that was missing from the original referral;

       the law enforcement agency investigating the referral;

      county of the law enforcement agency investigating the referral;

      date of referral to the investigating law enforcement agency;

      the CPS worker and supervisor assigned to the referral;

      the contact numbers for the worker and supervisor;

      whether or not there were previous referrals on the maltreater;

      whether or not the referral is being tracked by an MDIT in the county.

      names and contact numbers for all medical providers, if available.

The additional information listed above can be documented by accessing the referral from the
DDE reports, adding the documentation, then saving (with new name) in Word. The document
should then be sent to the state police unit via GroupWise email at statepolice@wvdhhr.org or
by writing STATE POLICE, CPS. The subject title for the email must list the date, CPS
REFERRAL and the county name where the incident occurred. For example: 05 28 2007 CPS
Intake Jefferson County. It is very important that the county name be included and spelled
correctly as the emails are filtered according to county name and directed to the appropriate
officer. If the officer needs additional information or consultation, s/he will contact the county
supervisor to coordinate information exchange or to set up interviews.

CPS and law enforcement who already participate in locally established MDIT meetings can
continue to exchange information in a fashion already established.

When dealing with referrals that require law enforcement involvement, every effort should be
made by CPS staff to engage local law enforcement at the beginning, before the very first
interview, and conduct the mutual investigations jointly. The CPS worker should allow the police
officer to take the lead in questioning family members and collaterals. The CPS worker should
take the lead in interviewing all children, especially the child victim(s). This, however, in no way
negates CPS‟ responsibility for the timely completion of interviews and assessments. These
interviews should occur in a neutral, child-friendly environment, such as a Child Advocacy Center,
where video and sound recording are available.



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If law enforcement is not immediately available to assist in the interview protocol, CPS is to
proceed with interviewing the children, including child victim(s) and non-maltreating parent,
ensuring that the needed safety responses are in place before concluding the interviews.
Immediately contact law enforcement to establish the date and time for the interview with the
alleged maltreater. If a timely joint interview with the maltreater (within 45 days) cannot occur,
CPS is to proceed with the interview of the alleged maltreater.

CPS will still follow policy section 2.22 Reports Involving Requests from Law Enforcement,
when conducting courtesy interviews.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the worker will send a copy of the completed investigation
to the investigating law enforcement agency, the state police and the prosecuting attorney. There
is no need to send the safety assessments or safety plans.




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