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

Date: February 2021

Cross-Reporting Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 2151.421; 2151.427

Effective April 12, 2021: A mandatory reporter who is acting in an official or professional capacity and knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child younger than age 18 or a person younger than age 21 with a developmental disability or physical impairment has suffered or faces a threat of suffering abuse or neglect of the child must immediately make a report. The report shall be made to the public children services agency or a peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. If the person making the report is a peace officer, the officer shall make it to the public children services agency.

When a peace officer receives a report, the peace officer shall refer the report to the appropriate public children services agency, unless an arrest is made at the time of the report that results in the appropriate public children services agency being contacted concerning the possible abuse or neglect of a child or the possible threat of abuse or neglect of a child.

The entities that participate in a memorandum of understanding executed under § 2151.426 establishing a children's advocacy center shall assemble the center's multidisciplinary team. The multidisciplinary team shall consist of the following members:

  • Any county or municipal law enforcement officer
  • The executive director of the public children services agency or the director's designee
  • The prosecuting attorney of the county or the prosecuting attorney's designee
  • A mental health professional
  • A medical health professional
  • A victim advocate
  • A center staff member
  • Any other person considered appropriate by all the entities that executed the memorandum

The multidisciplinary team shall perform the functions and activities and provide the services specified in the interagency agreement entered into under § 2151.428 regarding reports of alleged sexual abuse of a child and reports of allegations of another type of abuse of a child that is specified in the memorandum of understanding that created the center as being within the center's jurisdiction and regarding the children who are the subjects of the reports.

Other Reporting Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 5101:2-53-02; 5101:2-53-03; 5101:2-53-04; 5101:2-53-09

A children services agency shall follow all the Indian child welfare rules and guidelines as outlined by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The requirements of ICWA apply when a child is determined to be an Indian child and is the subject of a child custody proceeding. If the requirements of ICWA apply at the commencement of a proceeding, they do not cease to apply simply because the child reaches age 18 during the pendency of the proceeding.

An agency has reason to know that a child is an Indian child if any of the following apply:

  • Any individual or agency relevant to the case informs the agency that the child is an Indian child or has discovered information indicating that the child is an Indian child.
  • The child gives the agency reason to know he or she is an Indian child.
  • The agency is informed that the domicile or residence of the child, the child's parent, or the child's Indian custodian is on a reservation or in an Alaska Native village.
  • The agency is informed that the child is or has been a ward of a Tribal court.
  • The agency is informed that either parent or the child possesses an identification card indicating membership in an Indian Tribe.

For each referral the agency screens in, the agency shall ask case participants whether they know or have reason to know that the child is an Indian child. The agency shall make this inquiry upon the initial face-to-face contact with the child or the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.

If the agency is initiating court action for removal or custody of the child and information is obtained that suggests a child is an Indian child and a Tribe or possible Tribes have been identified, the agency shall do all of the following:

  • Contact the Tribe or possible Tribes within 14 days of the date the information was obtained
  • Submit a request to each possible Tribe for written verification from the Tribe regarding the child's Tribal membership or eligibility for Tribal membership
  • Bring to the juvenile court's attention, if applicable, any documentation submitted by the Tribe and the agency's efforts to verify whether the child is or is not an Indian child

When an agency knows or has reason to know that an Indian child is the subject of an involuntary foster care placement or termination of parental rights proceeding, the agency shall send notice of each proceeding to the following:

  • Each Tribe where the child is or may be a member or eligible for membership, if a parent is a member
  • The child's parents
  • The child's Indian custodian, if applicable

Either parent, the Indian custodian, or the Indian child's Tribe may request at any time that the court transfer a foster care or termination of parental rights proceeding to the jurisdiction of the child's Tribe. The right to request a transfer is available at any stage in each foster care or termination of parental rights proceeding.

Upon receipt of a transfer petition, the court must promptly notify the Tribal court in writing of the transfer petition and may request a timely response regarding whether the Tribal court wishes to decline the transfer. The court must transfer the child custody proceeding unless it determines that transfer is not appropriate because one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • Either parent objects to the transfer.
  • The Tribal court declines the transfer.
  • Good cause exists for denying the transfer.

If the Tribal court accepts the transfer, the State court will expeditiously provide the Tribal court with all records related to the proceeding. The agency shall work with the State court and the Tribal court to ensure that the transfer of the custody of the Indian child and of the proceeding is accomplished smoothly and in a way that minimizes the disruption of services to the family.