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9620-R1 - Procedures for Working with the Division of Children and Family Services

Adopted
7/19/88

Revised
9/8/93
9/23/08

I. Children's Protective Services

A. Reporting Incidents of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

1. Certificated and professional staff are legally required to report within 48 hours all suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect that are included in the following definitions used by Children's Protective Services:

a. Physical injury by nonaccidental means, causing death, disfigurement, skin bruising, impairment of physical or emotional health, or impairment of any bodily function.

b. Substantial risk of physical injury of child's bodily functioning.

c. Sexual abuse exploitation including overt sexual acts or attempts to commit sexual acts on a child or failure of caretakers to protect child from incest, statutory rape, carnal knowledge of a minor, indecent exposure, or allowing participation in prostitution or pornographic activities.

d. Acts which are cruel or inhumane regardless of observable injury including instances of extreme discipline which demonstrate a disregard of a child's pain and/or mental suffering.

e. Failure to provide food, shelter, clothing, supervision or health care necessary to a child's health or safety.

2. Suspected abuse or neglect shall be reported by telephone to Children's Protective Services and shall identify the suspected victim, describe the nature and extent of the abuse or neglect, indicate evidence of previous abuse or neglect, report comments of the suspected victim, and other pertinent data. Immediately following the oral report, a written documentation and summary of the report shall be prepared using the appropriate district form. A copy of the report shall be sent to the superintendent or designee responsible for child abuse and neglect prevention and reporting. The report shall be recorded and a copy prepared for district records, and the original forwarded immediately to Children's Protective Services.

3. No other record of the action will be retained at the school.

4. A Children's Protective Services caseworker can be expected to screen the referral and determine follow-up action in accordance with criteria governing their services. School truancy, unless relevant as evidence of abuse or neglect, is not considered a Children's Protective Services issue.

5. The Superintendent or designee shall periodically review district policy and procedures for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect and shall disseminate guidelines and directions as necessary.

B. Interviewing Students on School Premises

1. Children's Protective Services caseworkers may interview at school, without parental notification or approval, students who are suspected victims of child abuse or neglect.

2. Upon arrival at the building, the caseworker will be asked to present proper identification and the name of the student to be interviewed.

3. It is the responding agency's responsibility to notify parents of the interview. The building administrator or designee may notify the student's parents or guardian of the proposed interview only after consultation with the assigned Child Protective Services caseworker. (This requirement is due to the potential student risk in some circumstances of reported abuse or neglect.)

4. The building administrator or designee will provide a student interview setting that is nonthreatening. In some situations, with the agreement of the Child Protective Services caseworker, a building staff member who is familiar to the student may be present during the interview only to contribute to the student's comfort unless the student objects. Child Protective Services interviews may be conducted without a staff member present.

5. Children's Protective Services and/or law enforcement have legal authority to photograph the alleged victim to secure documenting evidence.

6. The Children's Protective Services caseworker shall be requested to notify the parent or guardian of the interview immediately following the interview.

7. The building administrator will refer questions and inquiries from the parent or guardian to the Children's Protective Services caseworker.

C. Taking A Child From School to Protective Custody

1. A Children's Protective Services caseworker may take a student from school into protective custody if the caseworker has a valid court order, a consent to place authorization from the student's parent or guardian, or a transfer of custody authorization from the appropriate law enforcement agency. A law enforcement officer may take any person/student into custody.

2. The Children's Protective Services caseworker can be expected, except in emergency situations, to alert the building administrator in advance of the plan to take the student into protective custody.

3. The building administrator or designee will request the Children's Protective Services caseworker to provide identification, legal authority, and adequate information to identify the student to be removed from school.

4. The building administrator or designee will ask the Children's Protective Services caseworker to complete the appropriate district form before leaving the school with the student.

5. The building administrator or designee will ask the Children's Protective Services to notify the student's parent or guardian that the student is in protective custody.

D. Interviewing School Staff to secure Student Information

It is expected that school staff members will cooperate with Children's Protective Services caseworkers in a manner consistent with a citizen's duty not to obstruct investigations.

E. Release of Student Information to Children's Protective Services Caseworkers

A Children's Protective Services caseworker shall be allowed access to student records that are specified in a court order. Directory information of enrolled students or individuals no longer enrolled in a district school will also be made available to the caseworker. Additional student information may be made available to the caseworker if the information is necessary to protect the student or other individuals from a serious and/or emergency threat to their health or safety. If a serious and/or emergency threat does not exist, the request will be directed to the appropriate superintendent's staff member for a determination regarding release of the information.

F. Follow-up of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

1. Children's Protective Services can be expected to provide or make available services for children who are at risk of being abused or neglected including prevention of further abuse or neglect.

2. School personnel and Children's Protective Services caseworkers may cooperatively plan for those students who are currently on Child Protective Services case rolls.

II. Child Welfare Services

Child Welfare caseworkers can be expected to notify the school administrator in the jurisdiction when a court order places children in the temporary custody of the Division of Children and Family Services.

When a child has been removed from the parent home by the Division of Children and Family Services, the caseworker can be expected to notify the building administrator or designee at the earliest opportunity to update emergency information. The caseworker can also be expected to notify the building administrator when a child's foster placement has been changed or when a child has returned home.

For a student in out-of-home placement, school personnel and Child Welfare caseworkers will work together in developing educational programs and other plans that are in the best interest of the student.

If a parent is ordered by the court not to have contact with a child or if there are limits on visitation with the child who is in the custody of the Division of Children and Family Services, the Child Welfare Services caseworker can be expected to furnish the school administrator with legal documentation of the court order that governs such contact.

RCW 26.44.030-26.44.050


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