Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - Oregon

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Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.015

A person making a report shall make an oral report, by telephone or otherwise, to either of the following:

  • The local office of the Department of Human Services or a designee of the department
  • A law enforcement agency in the county where the person is located

Content of Reports

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.015; Admin. Code § 413-015-0211

The report shall contain the following, if known:

  • The names and addresses of the child and the child's parents or other persons responsible for the child
  • The child's age
  • The nature and extent of the abuse, including any evidence of previous abuse
  • The explanation given for the abuse
  • Any other information that the reporter believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the abuse and the identity of the perpetrator

In regulation: The screener must gather the following relevant information to the extent it is known by the reporter:

  • The extent of the alleged abuse
  • The circumstances surrounding the alleged abuse
  • Child functioning
  • Adult functioning
  • Parenting practices
  • Disciplinary practices
  • The location of the family's residence and where the alleged abuse may have occurred
  • Whether the child has or may have Indian or Alaskan Native heritage

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-015-0212

When a screener receives a report of a fatality, the screener must consult with a screening supervisor.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

Citation: Admin. Rules §§ 413-015-0115; 413-015-0212

A 'plan of care' is a written plan for a substance-affected infant and the infant's family, focused on meeting health needs and substance disorder treatment needs and developed in collaboration with the family, the health-care provider, community agencies, and the department, when appropriate.

A 'substance-affected infant' is an infant, regardless of whether abuse is suspected, for whom prenatal substance exposure is indicated at birth and subsequent assessment by a health-care provider identifies signs of substance withdrawal; a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder diagnosis; or detectable physical, developmental, cognitive, or emotional delay or harm that is associated with prenatal substance exposure. Prenatal substance exposure is determined by a positive toxicology screen from the infant or the mother at delivery or credible information the mother had an active untreated substance use disorder during the pregnancy or at the time of birth.

When a screener receives a report that a child is identified as a substance-affected infant, the screener must do both of the following:

  • Ask the reporter whether a plan of care has been developed
  • Ask the reporter whether the substance-affected infant and family were referred to services

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.015; Admin. Code § 413-015-0415

Reports shall be made to the local office of the Department of Human Services, to the designee of the department, or to a law enforcement agency within the county where the person making the report is located at the time of the contact.

When a report of alleged child abuse is received by the department, the department shall notify a law enforcement agency within the county where the alleged abuse occurred or, if that county is unknown, the county where the child resides or, if that county is unknown, the county where the reporter came into contact with the child or the alleged perpetrator of the abuse.

When a report of alleged child abuse is received by a law enforcement agency, the agency shall notify the department by making a report of the alleged child abuse to the child abuse reporting hotline.

When a report of alleged child abuse is received by the department or by a law enforcement agency, the department or law enforcement agency, or both, may collect information concerning the military status of the parent or guardian of the child who is the subject of the report and may share the information with the appropriate military authorities.

In regulation: If the CPS worker knows or has reason to know that the child is an Indian child, the CPS worker must give notice within 24 hours to the Indian child's Tribe that a CPS assessment is being conducted unless the screener documented completion of this notification in the referral.

Initial Screening Decisions

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-015-0211

The screener must assign the report for CPS assessment if any of the following apply:

  • The information received constitutes a report of child abuse or neglect, as defined by law, and the information indicates any of the following:
    • The alleged perpetrator is a legal parent of the alleged child victim.
    • The alleged perpetrator resides in the alleged child victim's home.
    • It is the responsibility of the department to assess.
  • The information received constitutes a report of child abuse or neglect or a report of abuse of a child or young adult and involves a home certified by the department.
  • The current report would be the fourth or greater consecutive report closed at screening regarding the same child or household, and there is at least one child in the home who is younger than age 5, unless an exception has been approved by the CPS program manager.
  • A Tribe or law enforcement agency requests assistance from the department with an investigation of abuse, and a screening supervisor agrees that assistance from the department is appropriate.

The screener must close the report at screening if one of the following applies:

  • The screener determines that information received does not constitute a report of abuse, and the screener determines that the information describes behaviors, conditions, or circumstances that pose a risk to a child.
  • A report is received, but the screener, after extensive efforts, is unable to obtain sufficient information to locate the alleged victim.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.020; Admin. Rules §§ 413-015-0115; 0211; 0400

If the department or a law enforcement agency receives a report of child abuse, the department or the agency shall immediately cause an investigation to be made to determine the nature and cause of the abuse of the child.

In regulation: A CPS worker is an employee of the department who has completed the mandatory child welfare training for child protective service workers. A CPS supervisor is an employee of the department trained in CPS and designated as a supervisor.

The screener must refer all reports that meet the criteria to assign for CPS assessment to a local office as follows:

  • To the local office assigned to the address where the alleged victim resides, and that county is responsible for completing the CPS assessment
  • When the alleged abuse occurred in a foster home, to the local office assigned to the address where the alleged abuse occurred, and that local office is responsible for completing the CPS assessment

A CPS assessment may only be assigned to a department employee whose current position is a CPS worker, a CPS supervisor, or an employee who meets the definition of CPS worker.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-015-0115; Child Welf. Proc. Man. Ch. 3, § 1

A CPS assessment is an investigation into a report of child abuse or neglect that includes activities and interventions to identify and analyze threats to child safety; determine if there is reasonable cause to believe child abuse or neglect occurred; and assure child safety through protective action plans, initial safety plans, or ongoing safety planning.

In policy: Completing a CPS assessment involves the following:

  • Making face-to-face contact with the alleged victim, his or her siblings, his or her parent or caregiver, other children and adults living in the home, and the alleged perpetrator
  • Accessing the home environment, including the sleep environment of any infant in the home
  • Gathering safety-related information through interviews and observation
  • Determining if there is a present-danger safety threat or an impending-danger safety threat by applying the safety threshold criteria
  • Developing a protective action plan when a child is determined to be unsafe due to a present-danger safety threat
  • Developing an initial safety plan when a child is determined to be unsafe due to an impending-danger safety threat
  • Developing an ongoing safety plan when a child is determined to be unsafe from an impending-danger safety threat at the conclusion of the assessment
  • Determining whether the initial safety plan or ongoing safety plan is the least intrusive plan sufficient to manage child safety
  • Developing conditions for return when an out-of-home ongoing safety plan is established
  • Determining whether a family has moderate to high needs when a child is determined to be safe
  • Offering and referring a family with moderate to high needs to available community services if the family accepts and services are available
  • Determining if there is reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-015-0211

When a determination is made to assign a report for CPS assessment, the screener must determine the response timeline as follows:

  • Within 24 hours: When the report indicates present danger
  • Within 72 hours: When the report indicates impending danger
  • Within 10 business days: When the report indicates no present or impending danger

Classification of Reports

Citation: Child Welf. Proc. Man. Ch. 3, § 9

The standard for determining CPS assessment dispositions is reasonable cause to believe, and the possible determinations include the following:

  • 'Founded' means 'substantiated,' which means there is reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect occurred.
  • 'Unfounded' means 'unsubstantiated,' which means there is no evidence the abuse occurred.
  • 'Unable to determine' means 'inconclusive,' which means there is some indication the abuse occurred, but there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether there was reasonable cause to believe that child abuse occurred.

The 'unable to determine' disposition may be used only in the following circumstances:

  • After extensive efforts have been made, the CPS worker is unable to locate the family.
  • After completing an assessment, one of the following applies:
    • The child is unable or unwilling to provide consistent information.
    • There is conflicting or inconsistent information from collateral contacts or family.
    • There is insufficient information to support a founded or unfounded determination.