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The Role of First Responders in Child Maltreatment Cases: Disaster and Nondisaster Situations
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau. Cage, Richard., Salus, Marsha K.|
|Year Published: 2010|
Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Outline1
I. Executive Summary
- Briefly outlines the organization and content of the COOP
- Describes what it is, whom it affects, and the circumstances under which it should be executed
- Discusses the key elements of COOP planning
- Explains the organization's implementation strategies.
- Explains the importance of COOP planning to the organization
- Discusses the background for planning
- References recent events that have led to the increased emphasis on the importance of a COOP capability for the organization.
- Explains why the organization is developing a COOP
- Briefly discusses applicable Federal/State/local guidance
- Explains that the COOP is intended to ensure the continuity of functions essential to the mission and duties of the organization.
IV. Applicability and Scope
- Describes the applicability of the plan to the organization as a whole (i.e., management, staff, clients, other stakeholders)
- Outlines the scope of the plan (i.e., the spectrum of potential disasters it covers).
V. Essential Functions
Essential functions are those organizational functions and activities that must be continued under any and all circumstances (e.g., provide safe foster homes for children, investigate cases of potential child maltreatment). This section should:
- Identify and prioritize all essential functions
- Establish staffing and resource requirements for each
- Integrate supporting activities from other agencies or departments.
VI. Authorities and References
- Provides a brief overview of the supporting authorities and references that have assisted in the development of this COOP. This may include relevant Federal, State, or local regulations or policies, as well as outside sources (e.g., articles, books) that affect or shape the development and implementation of the COOP.
- References the COOP appendix that provides a full listing of authorities and references.
VII. Concept of Operations
- Explains how the organization will implement its COOP and how it plans to address each critical COOP element
- Should be separated into three phases: activation and relocation, alternate facility operations, and reconstitution.
A. Phase I: Activation and Relocation
- Explains COOP activation procedures and relocation procedures from the primary facility to the alternate facility, if necessary
- Addresses procedures and guidance for personnel who will not be relocating to the alternate facility.
1. Decision Process
- Explains the logical steps associated with implementing a COOP and the circumstances under which a plan may be activated (both with and without warning)
- Identifies who has the authority to activate the COOP.
2. Alert, Notification, and Implementation Process
- Explains the events that should occur after a decision to activate the COOP, including employee alert and notification procedures and the COOP implementation process.
a. Orders of Succession
- Identifies the orders of succession to key positions within the organization to ensure the organization's ability to manage and direct its essential functions and operations
- Outlines the conditions under which succession will take place, the method of notification, and any temporal, geographical, or organizational limitations of authority.
b. Delegations of Authority
- Identifies, by position, the authorities for making policy determinations and decisions at the agency level, on the front line, and at other organizational locations and levels, as appropriate. Generally, predetermined delegations of authority will take effect when normal channels of direction are disrupted and terminate when these channels have resumed. Such delegations may also be used to address specific competency requirements related to one or more essential functions that are not otherwise satisfied by the order of succession.
- Documents the legal authority for making key decisions
- Identifies the programs and administrative authorities needed for effective operations
- Establishes capabilities to restore authorities upon termination of the event.
c. Devolution/Worst-case Scenario
- Addresses how an organization will identify and conduct its essential functions in the aftermath of a worst-case scenario—one in which the leadership is incapacitated. The organization should be prepared to transfer all of its essential functions and responsibilities to personnel at a different office or location.
B. Phase II: Alternate Facility Operations
- Identifies initial arrival procedures
- Establishes operational procedures for the continuation of essential functions.
1. Mission Critical Systems
- Addresses the organization's mission critical systems necessary to perform essential functions and activities
- Defines these systems and addresses the method of transferring/replicating them at an alternate site.
The following table shows examples of mission critical systems for a child welfare agency:
|System Name||Current Location||Other Locations|
|Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline||Agency HQ||Building X, which is equipped for call forwarding from Agency HQ|
|Investigations||Agency HQ||Individual caseworkers' homes, if possible, or Building X|
2. Vital Files, Records, and Databases
- Addresses the organization's vital files, records, and databases that are necessary to perform essential functions and activities and to reconstitute normal operations after the emergency ceases.
The following table shows examples of vital files, records, and databases for a child welfare agency, their format, and how they may be able to be accessed during and after an emergency:
|Vital File, Record, or Database||Form of Record (e.g., hardcopy, electronic)||Pre-positioned at Alternate Facility||Hand Carried to Alternate Facility||Backed up at Third Location|
|Locations of families served||Electronic||X||X|
|Child maltreatment report records||Hardcopy||X||X|
|Subsequent investigations||Hardcopy and electronic||X||X||X|
|COOP||Hardcopy and electronic||X||X||X|
C. Phase III: Reconstitution
- Explains the procedures for returning to normal operations, including procedures for returning to the primary facility, if available, or procedures for acquiring a new facility
- Addresses notification procedures for all employees returning to work
- Outlines when and how normal lines of communication and leadership will be resumed
- Describes when and how an after action report can be developed to determine the effectiveness of the COOP and what changes may need to be made to it.
VIII. Coop Planning Responsibilities
- Includes COOP maintenance responsibilities.
The following table shows examples of COOP maintenance responsibilities:
|Update COOP annually or after emergency||Agency Director, Emergency Response Committee|
|Update telephone rosters monthly||Director, Human Resources|
|Review status of vital files, records, and databases||Director, Data Systems|
|Develop and lead COOP training||Deputy Director|
|Plan COOP exercises||Interagency Liaison|
A. Alternate Location
- Explains the significance of identifying an alternate facility (including staff homes), the requirements for determining an alternate facility, and the advantages and disadvantages of each location.
Alternate facilities should provide:
- Sufficient space and equipment
- Capability to perform essential functions within 12 hours, up to 30 days
- Reliable logistical support, services, and infrastructure systems
- Consideration for health, safety, and emotional well-being of personnel
- Interoperable communications
- Computer equipment and software
B. Interoperable Communications
- Identifies communication systems that are located at the alternate facility. These systems should provide the ability to communicate within the organization and outside the organization.
Interoperable communications should provide:
- Capability commensurate with an agency's essential functions
- Ability to communicate with essential personnel
- Ability to communicate with other agencies, organizations, and customers
- Access to data and systems
- Communications systems for use in situations with and without warning
- Ability to support COOP operational requirements
- Ability to operate at the alternate facility within 12 hours and for up to 30 days
- Interoperability with existing field infrastructures
X. Test, Training, and Exercises
- Addresses the organization's test, training, and exercise (TT&E) plan:
- TT&E familiarizes staff members with their roles and responsibilities during an emergency, ensures that systems and equipment are in a constant state of readiness, and validates certain aspects of the COOP
- Managers may be creative when it comes to COOP readiness and include snow days, power outages, server crashes, and other ad hoc opportunities to assess preparedness.
COOP TT&E plans should provide:
- Individual and team training of agency personnel
- Internal agency testing and exercising of COOP policies and procedures
- Testing of alert and notification procedures
- Annual refresher orientation for COOP personnel
- Joint interagency exercising of COOPs, if appropriate
XI. Multi-Year Strategy and Program Management Plan
- Discusses how the organization will develop its multi-year strategy and program management plan:
- The plan should address short- and long-term COOP goals, objectives, and timelines; budgetary requirements; preparedness considerations; and milestones or tracking systems to monitor accomplishments
- It should be developed as a separate document.
XII. Coop Maintenance
- Addresses how the organization plans to update the COOP regularly
- Includes current key evacuation routes, roster and telephone information, and maps and room/building designations of alternate locations.
Appendix A: Authorities and References
- Cites a list of authorities and references that mandate the development of the COOP and helped to develop the COOP.
Appendix B: Operational Checklists
- Contains operational checklists for use during a COOP event. Checklists may be designed to list the responsibilities of a specific position or the steps or equipment required to complete a specific task.
Appendix C: Alternate Location/Facility Information
- Includes general information about the alternate location/facility, such as the address, points of contact, and available resources.
Appendix D: Maps and Evacuation Routes
- Provides maps, driving directions, and available modes of transportation from the primary facility to the alternate location
- Includes evacuation routes from the primary facility.
Appendix E: Definitions and Acronyms
- Provides definitions of key words, phrases, and acronyms used throughout the COOP and within the COOP community.
Appendix F: Agency Contact Information
- Includes the names and contact information, as well as emergency contact information, for all staff.
Appendix G: Partner Contact Information
- Includes the name, contact information, and liaison for all partner agencies or other organizations or individuals that the agency may need to contact during or after an emergency.
1Adapted from Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2004). Continuity of operations plan (COOP) template [On-line]. Available: http://www.fema.gov/doc/government/coop/coop_plan_template_instructions.doc.
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