Child Protective Services Investigations

Investigations Process

dfcs-0315The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and Child Placing Agency (CPA) staff must immediately report any suspected or known instances of child abuse or neglect (see policy 4.5 Intake: Mandated Reporters).

DFCS will report known or suspected instances of physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child receiving aid under titles IV-B or IV-E under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is threatened.

DFCS shall not move forward with permanency (i.e., adoption, guardianship) until concurrence is received from the State Office regarding the outcome of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation.

Upon receipt of an allegation of maltreatment the following procedural steps may occur:

  • If an allegation is received by a DFCS county or Resource Development staff, an initial determination will be made upon receipt whether the report involves a direct allegation of abuse and/or neglect – or if a policy violation has occurred.

  • If the report is received directly through the Child Protection Services Intake Communications Center (CICC) the determination whether abuse/neglect is alleged will be made prior to assignment to the county/region.

  • County Leadership (Director/Supervisor) will be notified of the receipt of the allegations, as well as the Resource Development Utilization Team Lead.

  • Information related to the foster home (demographics, approval, children placed, etc) will be shared with all persons pertinent to the investigation to include but not be limited to: DFCS County CPS staff and law enforcement (if necessary).

  • A staffing will be held with between the CPS Investigation Unit, Resource Development Unit, and County leadership to determine if a policy violation exists.

  • DFCS will provide support to the caregiver and child (after the CPS Investigator has made initial contact) without compromising the integrity of the CPS Investigation and safety of the child.

Upon receipt of an allegation of maltreatment the following procedural steps may occur:

dfcs-0314CPS Investigations of an Adoptive Home prior to finalization

If a CPS Investigation is initiated on an adoptive home prior to finalization, the adoption finalization cannot proceed. The child’s case manager should contact the family’s attorney to withdraw the adoption finalization petition until such time as DFCS consents to the adoption again. DFCS must receive a concurrence letter from the State Office prior to releasing the child and consenting to the adoption.

Foster Parent Appeal of Decisions

The decision to close a home as a result of CPS investigations may not be grieved under the Foster Parent Grievance Procedure. However, there is a CPS Administrative Review process. Foster parents may request the appropriate forms from their RD case manager if not provided by the CPS investigator (see policy 5.10 Investigations: CPS Administrative Reviews).

Support During Investigations

Foster parents or adoptive parents may have an Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia (AFPAG) advocate present at all portions of investigations of abuse and neglect at which an accused foster parent is present. Foster and adoptive parents are provided with a “Notification of Rights” brochure at the initial CPS investigation meeting, which informs them of their right to an advocate and instructions on requesting an advocate. CPS investigations including applicable response timeframes are not impacted by the presence or absence (if requested by the foster parent) of advocates.