Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - North Dakota

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Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-25.1-04

All mandated reporters shall immediately report cases of known or suspected abuse or neglect to the Department of Human Services. Oral reports must be followed by written reports within 48 hours if requested by the department.

Content of Reports

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-25.1-04

A requested written report must include information specifically sought by the department if the reporter possesses or has reasonable access to the information.

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 50-25.1-16; 50-25.1-18

A mandatory reporters who has knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect that a woman is pregnant and has used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose during the pregnancy shall report the circumstances to the department if the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received by that individual in that individual's professional capacity.

If a report alleges a pregnant woman's use of a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose, the department immediately shall initiate an appropriate assessment and offer services indicated under the circumstances. A report and assessment are not required if the pregnant woman voluntarily enters and completes treatment in a licensed treatment program.

The report must be sufficient to identify the woman, the nature and extent of use, if known, and the name and address of the individual making the report.

A mandatory reporter who has knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect that a woman is pregnant and has abused alcohol after the woman knows of the pregnancy may do either of the following:

  • Arrange for an addiction assessment and confirm that the recommendations indicated by the assessment are followed
  • Immediately report the circumstances to the department if the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received by that individual in that individual's professional capacity

If a report alleges a pregnant woman has abused alcohol, the department shall immediately initiate an appropriate assessment and offer services indicated under the circumstances. A report and assessment are not required if the pregnant woman voluntarily enters and completes treatment in a licensed treatment program.

A report must be sufficient to identify the woman, the nature and extent of the abuse of alcohol, any health risk associated with the abuse of alcohol, and the name and address of the individual making the report.

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-25.1-04

Reports must be made to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Initial Screening Decisions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-25.1-05

The department, in accordance with rules adopted by the department, immediately shall initiate an assessment of any report of child abuse or neglect.

If the report alleges a violation of a criminal statute involving sexual or physical abuse, the department shall initiate a child protection assessment by contacting the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the alleged criminal violation. The department and an appropriate law enforcement agency shall coordinate the planning and execution of the child protection assessment and law enforcement investigation efforts to avoid a duplication of fact-finding efforts and multiple interviews. If the law enforcement agency declines to investigate, the department or authorized agent shall continue the child protection assessment to a determination.

The department or the law enforcement agency may refer the case to a children's advocacy center for a forensic interview, forensic medical examination, and other services.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-25.1-05; Admin. Code § 75-03-19-06

The department immediately shall initiate an assessment of any report of child abuse or neglect including, when appropriate, a child protection assessment, alternative response assessment, or family services assessment of the home or the residence of the child, any school or child care facility attended by the child, and the circumstances surrounding the report of abuse or neglect. As part of the assessment, the department shall do the following:

  • Interview, without the consent of a person responsible for the child's welfare, the alleged abused or neglected child and any other child who currently resides or who has resided with the person responsible for the child's welfare or the alleged perpetrator
  • Conduct the interview at a school, child care facility, or any other place where the alleged abused or neglected child or other child is found

The department shall adopt guidelines for case referrals to a children's advocacy center. When cases are referred to a children's advocacy center, all interviews of the alleged abused or neglected child conducted at the children's advocacy center shall be audio-recorded or video-recorded.

In regulation: Assessments of reports of suspected child abuse or neglect must reflect the following:

  • An assessment process designed to collect sufficient information to decide whether services are required to provide for the protection and treatment of an abused or neglected child
  • Assessment techniques that include interviewing and observing the subject, the child victim, and other interested or affected persons and documenting those interviews and observations
  • Conclusions and a summary based on information gathered by the assessment
  • If services are required, development of treatment plans based on goals and objectives established by the department for the subject and the family of the child victim

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 75-03-19-03; 75-03-19-04

All nonemergency child abuse or neglect assessments must be initiated no later than 72 hours after receipt of a report by the assessing agency unless the department prescribes a different time in a particular case. In cases involving a serious threat or danger to the life or health of a child, the assessment and any appropriate protective measures must commence immediately upon receipt of a report by the assessing agency.

Assessments of reports of suspected child abuse or neglect must be completed, a decision made, and a written report completed and submitted to individual designated by the department within 62 days from the date of receipt of the report unless an extension of the time is requested of and granted by the department.

Classification of Reports

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 50-25.1-05.1; 50-25.1-02

Upon completion of the assessment of the initial report of child abuse or neglect, a decision must be made whether the report is confirmed, confirmed with unknown subject, unconfirmed, or unable to determine abuse or neglect of a child.

Possible determinations include the following:

  • 'Confirmed' means that upon completion of a child protection assessment, the department determines, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that a child meets the definition of an abused or neglected child, and the department confirms the identity of a specific person responsible for the child's welfare who is responsible for the abuse or neglect.
  • 'Confirmed with unknown subject' means that upon completion of a child protection assessment, the department determines, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that a child meets the definition of an abused or neglected child, but the evidence does not confirm the identity of a specific person responsible for the child's welfare who is responsible for the abuse or neglect.
  • 'Indicated' means that upon completion of an assessment of a report of institutional child abuse or neglect, the department determines based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that a child meets the definition of an abused or neglected child.
  • 'Unable to determine' means insufficient evidence is available to determine whether a child meets the definition of an abused or neglected child.
  • 'Unconfirmed' means that upon completion of a child protection assessment, the department has determined, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that a child does not meet the definition of an abused or neglected child.