Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - Virgin Islands

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Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2533

When a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect, he or she shall immediately make a report.

Content of Reports

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2534(b)

To the extent possible, the reports shall include the following information:

  • The names and addresses of the child and the child's parents or other persons responsible for the child's care
  • The child's age and sex
  • The nature and extent of the injuries, sexual abuse, or neglect to the child or to other children in the same home
  • The name and address of the person responsible for the injuries, sexual abuse, or neglect
  • Family composition
  • The source of the report, including the name, occupation, and contact information of the person making the report
  • Any action taken by the reporter, including the taking of x-rays or color photographs
  • Any other information that the reporter believes might be helpful

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Ann, Code Tit. 5, §§ 2534; 2536

Reports shall be made by telephone or otherwise to the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) or the Department of Social Welfare (department).

At the request of the department, an oral report shall be followed by a written report within 48 hours.

The department shall receive or arrange for the receipt of all reports of alleged child abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.

Initial Screening Decisions

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

The division will maintain a system for receiving referrals or reports about child abuse, neglect, or dependency. The system shall supply workers with a complete previous division history for each child, including siblings; foster care episodes; all reports of abuse, neglect, or dependency; treatment plans; and casework deadlines.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2536

The department shall receive and investigate all reports of alleged child abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.

The VIPD shall, on its own initiative, where appropriate, or at the request of the department, investigate reports of alleged child abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect and shall convey the results of such investigation to the department and, where a petition or complaint has been filed, to the superior court. If the report of child abuse or neglect involves the acts or omissions of the department, the VIPD shall investigate such report and shall convey the results of such report to the Department of Law, which shall take appropriate action.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2536

The investigation by the department shall include the following:

  • An evaluation of the child named in the report and any other children that may be in the same home
  • A determination of the risk to those children if they continue to remain in the home
  • A determination of the nature, extent, and cause of any condition enumerated in the initial report
  • The name, age, and condition of any other children living in the same home

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2536

The department shall commence an investigation within 24 hours of notification of an alleged case of child abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.

The department shall, within 90 days of receipt of the initial report, prepare a progress report, including a case determination, a plan for rehabilitative or ameliorative treatment, services offered and accepted or refused, and the present status of the case. Within 7 days of termination of a case, a report indicating the final disposition shall be prepared.

Classification of Reports

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2536

The department shall include in the progress report a determination of whether the report of abuse or neglect is founded or unfounded.