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

Date: February 2021

Cross-Reporting Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4011-A(1), (2)

A mandatory reporter shall immediately report or cause a report to be made to the Department of Health and Human Services when the person knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.

When, while acting in a professional capacity, any person required to report who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected by a person not responsible for the child, the person immediately shall report or cause a report to be made to the appropriate district attorney's office.

Other Reporting Requirements

Citation: OFCS Pol. Man, § III

An Indian child custody proceeding expressly includes any action removing an Indian child from his or her parent or Indian custodian for temporary placement in a foster home or institution or home of a guardian or conservator when the parent or Indian custodian cannot have the child returned upon demand.

When the intake unit of the Office of Child and Family Services receives the initial referral regarding allegations of child abuse and/or neglect, they must determine as soon as possible if the referral is an Indian Child Welfare Act case by asking the referent if it is known if the child who is the subject of the report is of Indian heritage. If it is determined that the child is of Indian heritage, the caseworker will ask if Tribal affiliation is known and if the family lives on a reservation or within other Tribal lands.

The intake caseworker must make an initial investigation into whether the child may have connections to any Indian Tribe. Ultimately, the Indian Tribe determines whether the child is either a member or eligible for membership. A child may be eligible for membership in more than one Tribe. In that case, all applicable Tribes must be notified and the Tribe with the most significant contacts with the child, as determined by the designated representatives of the Tribes, must be designated as the child's Tribe.

For children who do not live on Indian lands, an emergency removal requires imminent physical damage or harm to the child. If this is present, the petition must initially be filed in State court and the intake worker will contact the appropriate Tribe with the referral information.

For children who live on Indian land, an emergency removal also requires imminent physical damage or harm to the child. Two of the four federally recognized tribes in Maine, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation, exercise exclusive jurisdiction over child welfare cases. Therefore, if the child is on Penobscot Nation or Passamaquoddy Tribe land at the time of referral, then the intake worker must contact the child protective services of that Tribe immediately. It is then the responsibility of the Tribe to make the decision regarding the allegations and whether the report is appropriate for assignment, referral to the alternative response program, or should be screened out.

In all cases involving an Indian child associated with any of the four federally recognized Tribes in Maine, the intake worker will contact the appropriate Tribe at the soonest opportunity, including prior to any removal if possible.

When the referral involves a child with possible connections to any Indian Tribe in Maine, regardless of whether the child lives on Tribal land or not, the child welfare representative of the Tribe and the Tribal child welfare representative(s) will act as a team and as co-case managers in deciding how to respond to the allegations whenever possible.