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

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Cross-Reporting Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-21-353(1), (8)

Upon receiving a report that a child has been sexually abused; is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation or human trafficking; or has been burned, tortured, mutilated, or otherwise physically abused in such a manner as to cause serious bodily harm, or upon receiving any report of abuse that would be a felony under State or Federal law, the Department of Child Protection Services (DFCS) shall immediately notify the law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the abuse occurred. Within 48 hours, the department must notify the appropriate prosecutor and the Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinator. DFCS shall have the duty to provide the law enforcement agency all the names and facts known at the time of the report; this duty shall be of a continuing nature. The law enforcement agency and DFCS shall investigate the reported abuse immediately and shall file a preliminary report with the appropriate prosecutor's office within 24 hours and shall make additional reports as new or additional information or evidence becomes available. DFCS shall advise the clerk of the youth court and the youth court prosecutor of all cases of abuse reported to the department within 72 hours and shall update such report as information becomes available.

If a report is made directly to DFCS that a child has been abused or neglected or experienced commercial sexual exploitation or human trafficking in an out-of-home setting, a referral shall be made immediately to the law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the abuse occurred and the department shall notify the district attorney's office and the Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinator within 48 hours of such report. DFCS shall investigate the out-of-home setting report of abuse or neglect to determine whether the child who is the subject of the report, or other children in the same environment, comes within the jurisdiction of the youth court and shall report to the youth court DFCS's findings and recommendation as to whether the child who is the subject of the report or other children in the same environment require the protection of the youth court.

The law enforcement agency shall investigate the reported abuse immediately and shall file a preliminary report with the district attorney's office within 48 hours and shall make additional reports as new information or evidence becomes available. If the out-of-home setting is a licensed facility, an additional referral shall be made by DFCS to the licensing agency. The licensing agency shall investigate the report and shall provide DFCS, the law enforcement agency, and the district attorney's office with their written findings from such investigation as well as that licensing agency's recommendations and actions taken.

Other Reporting Requirements

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-21-353(1); Code of Rules § 18-006-102

If DFCS determines that a parent or other person responsible for the care or welfare of an abused or neglected child maintains active duty status within the military, DFCS shall notify the applicable military installation family advocacy program that there is an allegation of abuse or neglect that relates to that child.

In regulation: The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians or any other Indian Tribe to which the child belongs has the right to accept or deny jurisdiction of the child and to help with placement resources.

The Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) grants Indian Tribes exclusive jurisdiction in child welfare cases involving Native American children. Because of ICWA, DFCS has no jurisdiction to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect occurring on Native American Tribal lands. However, DFCS has and will continue to receive reports of abuse/neglect regarding Native American children whether they live on or off Tribal lands. Should centralized intake unit receive such a report, a determination shall be made as to whether the following are true:

  • The child is a member of a Native American Tribe and is subject to ICWA.
  • The child resides on designated Tribal lands where an Indian Tribe has jurisdiction.

If a child is identified at intake as a member of the Choctaw Tribe or another Indian Tribe and lives on Tribal land, the caseworker will screen the report to the county where the child resides. The intake supervisor will notify the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians or any other Tribal court and provide them with the allegations and all identifying information. If they do not wish to retain jurisdiction and request the county to investigate the allegations, the county will follow normal investigative procedures.

Caseworkers shall resolve the issue of Indian heritage as soon as possible after contact is made with the family, either through a report of abuse/neglect or a referral for services. The caseworker shall ask the family the following questions to gain knowledge in deciding what is in the best interests of the child:

  • Is parent or child of Native American heritage?
  • Is parent eligible for Tribal membership?
  • Is parent registered with Native American Tribe?
  • Is child eligible for Tribal membership?
  • Has child been registered with a Native American Tribe?
  • Does the family live on Tribal land?