Cross-Reporting Among Agencies That Respond to Child Abuse and Neglect - Florida

Date: February 2021

Cross-Reporting Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 39.201; 39.301

Each report of known or suspected child abuse or neglect by a parent, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare immediately shall be made to the central abuse hotline of the Department of Children and Families. Each report of known or suspected child abuse by an adult other than a parent, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare shall be made immediately to the central abuse hotline. Such reports or calls shall be immediately electronically transferred to the appropriate county sheriff's office by the central abuse hotline.

Reports involving juvenile sexual abuse or a child who has exhibited inappropriate sexual behavior shall be made and received by the department. An alleged incident of juvenile sexual abuse involving a child who is in the custody of or protective supervision of the department shall be reported to the department's central abuse hotline. The central abuse hotline shall immediately electronically transfer the report or call to the county sheriff's office. The department shall conduct an assessment and assist the family in receiving appropriate services and send a written report of the allegation to the appropriate county sheriff's office within 48 hours after the initial report is made to the central abuse hotline.

The department shall forward immediately allegations of criminal conduct to the municipal or county law enforcement agency of the municipality or county in which the alleged conduct has occurred.

Upon receiving a written report of an allegation of criminal conduct from the department, the law enforcement agency shall review the information in the written report to determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted. If the law enforcement agency accepts the case for criminal investigation, it shall coordinate its investigative activities with the department, whenever feasible. If the law enforcement agency does not accept the case for criminal investigation, the agency shall notify the department in writing.

The department shall promptly notify the court of any report to the central abuse hotline that is accepted for a protective investigation and involves a child over whom the court has jurisdiction.

Other Reporting Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 65C-30.001; 65C-28.013

'No jurisdiction' is a designation given to abuse reports that have been accepted by the Florida Abuse Hotline, but upon further investigation or after the initial contact, the child protective investigator determines that the department or sheriff's office does not have the authority to investigate because the allegations and/or facts surrounding the report do not meet statutory criteria. This includes cases in which the allegations are of harm or threatened harm to a child who resides on Federal property such as an Indian reservation or military base (unless there is an agreement with the appropriate authorities to surrender jurisdiction to the department).

The child welfare professional shall determine at the onset of each child protective investigation if the child is a member of an Indian tribe or Alaskan Native child, as defined by the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). If a child involved in a child protective investigation is suspected of being eligible for the protections of ICWA, the department shall notify the Tribe immediately, but in no case later than 1 business day, and all legal proceedings and case planning activities shall be in compliance with the provisions of ICWA and with any existing written Tribal agreements between the department and the child's Tribe, unless or until it is determined that the child is not eligible for the protections of the act.

The Indian child's parent or Indian custodian and his or her Tribe shall be notified of all legal and case planning activities. If the Tribe does not respond to written notification by the department that an Indian child is the subject of an investigation, the department shall continue with ongoing efforts to communicate with the Tribe. If the Indian Tribe does not respond after continued efforts to communicate with the Tribe have been made, the department shall write or call the Bureau of Indian Affairs area office located in the geographic region of the United States in which the child's Tribe is located. Cases in which Indian ancestry has been reported to the department shall be handled as ICWA cases until proven to be otherwise.

If the Tribe does not assume legal jurisdiction, the Tribe shall continue to receive notice of all judicial hearings and case planning reviews and be kept informed of changes in the status of the case. The Tribe has a right to examine all reports or other documents filed with the court. If the Tribe assumes legal jurisdiction, all case file documents (except the name of the reporter of the abuse, abandonment, or neglect) and the child shall be released to the Tribe.