340:75-3-460. Child death or near-death review
(a) Child death or near-death definitions. The following words and terms shall have the following meanings, when Oklahoma Human Services OKDHS investigates a child death or near-death or is required to disclose certain information after a child death or near-death that does not meet OKDHS criteria for investigation, per Section 1-6-105 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-6-105).
(1) "Abuse" means harm or threatened harm or failure to protect from harm or threatened harm to the child's health, safety, or welfare by a person responsible for the child (PRFC) including, but not limited to, non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation. However nothing contained in this Section prohibits any parent from using ordinary force as a means of discipline including, but not limited to, spanking, switching, or paddling.
(2) "Near-death" means a child is in serious or critical condition as verified by a physician, registered nurse, or other licensed health care provider. Verification of the child's medical condition may be provided in person, by phone, email, facsimile, or mail.
(3) "PRFC" means, for the purposes of this Statute only:
(A) a PRFC, per 10A O.S. § 1-1-105;
(B) any person who voluntarily accepted the duty of supervising a child; or
(C) any person who was directed or authorized by the PRFC to supervise a child's health, safety, or welfare.
(b) Child death or near-death investigation protocol. The child death or near-death investigation requires a multidisciplinary approach. The protocol used during the child death or near-death investigation is the same protocol used in other in-home and out-of-home investigations but includes additional interviews, coordination with law enforcement and medical professionals, and evaluation of case records, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-3-200.
(c) Child death and near-death investigations subject to program, administrative, or committee review. The child death or near-death resulting from suspected abuse or neglect investigated by OKDHS is subject to evaluation by program, administrative, or committee review.
(d) Public disclosure of OKDHS child death and near-death information. Requests for the release of information concerning the OKDHS-investigated child death and near-death are processed, per OAC 340:75-1-44.
(e) Death and near-death notice provided to Governor and Legislature. When OKDHS has reasonable cause to suspect the child death or near-death is the result of abuse or neglect, OKDHS notifies the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the initial investigative findings of the child protective services review, per 10A O.S. § 1-6-105. Notice is communicated securely no later than 24 hours after the determination of reasonable suspicion.
(f) Child maltreatment review. When a child maltreatment medical review is conducted by a child abuse examiner or a child abuse pediatrician regarding a child death, the child maltreatment medical review is considered prior to closing a child death investigation, per 10 O.S. § 1150.6.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-3-460
1. Child death or near-death investigations are assigned as a Priority I.
(1) When information indicates the safety of the surviving siblings can be ensured without an immediate investigation, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (Hotline) supervisor may assign the report as a Priority II with a response time of no more than two-calendar days for investigation initiation.
(2) The Hotline supervisor documents the reason the report was not assigned as a Priority I on Form 04KI001E, Referral Information Report.
2. Child death or near-death investigation consultation. The Child Protective Services (CPS) Programs Unit provides:
(1) consultation regarding whether the death or near-death falls within the scope of Child Welfare Services (CWS); and
(2) direction regarding the unique investigative procedures required in a death or near-death investigation.
3. Reporting a child death or near-death to CPS Programs Unit.
(1) When the abuse or neglect is suspected in connection with the child death or near-death report, the Hotline contacts the CPS Programs Unit by email the:
(A) same business day; or
(B) next business day when the death or near-death report is received during OKDHS non-business hours.
(2) The initial information provided by the Hotline includes the:
(A) child's name;
(B) child's date of birth;
(C) date of death or near-death incident;
(D) child's race;
(E) child's gender;
(F) circumstances of the child's death or near-death;
(G) KIDS report number;
(H) assigned district; and
(I) child's OKDHS custody status, when applicable.
4. Initial child death or near-death report prepared by the CPS Programs Unit.
(1) After Hotline receipt of the death or near-death notice, the CPS Programs Unit prepares an account of known circumstances of the child death or near-death including current and previous OKDHS and child welfare (CW) history.
(2) The initial report is sent to the:
(A) the applicable district director and deputy directors;
(B) OKDHS Legal Services;
(C) the applicable programs staff;
(D) OKDHS Office of Communications;
(E) the State Child Death Review Board;
(F) the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth; and
(G) Office of Client Advocacy.
5. Critical incident. A critical incident may include:
(1) serious injury, abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse to a child who is in OKDHS custody, participating in a family-centered services case (FCS) or in an open investigation or assessment pertaining to that child's family at the time of the injury, abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse;
(2) highly publicized allegations of abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse to a child;
(3) a child death or near-death incident while there was an open CWS FCS case, assessment, investigation, permanency planning case (PP), or Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) case;
(4) child sex or labor trafficking involving multiple victims; or
(5) serious injury abuse neglect, or sexual abuse to a child reunified with the parent(s) for less than one year or the family has substantial CW history.
6. Preliminary staffing required following the investigation of death, near-death, or critical incident.
(1) A preliminary staffing may be held within two-business days of the child death, near-death, or other critical incident investigation, when:
(A) the child was in OKDHS custody when the event occurred;
(B) there was an open CWS FCS, assessment, investigation, PP case, including trial reunification, or ICPC case when the event occurred; or
(C) there is recent CW history or history that warrants immediate and extensive review by CWS administrators.
(2) The district director sets the date and time for the preliminary staffing.
(3) Mandatory participation in the preliminary staffing includes the:
(A) applicable deputy directors;
(B) applicable district managers; and
(C) CPS/Hotline programs administrator.
(4) The issues addressed during the preliminary staffing include:
(A) the steps taken to address the surviving siblings' safety;
(B) a review of CWS involvement including screened-out referrals, assessments, investigations, FCS, PP cases, trial reunification, or ICPC, and related actions;
(C) media involvement and what CWS may do to assist the OKDHS Office of Communications; and
(D) the steps taken to reduce the impact of secondary trauma to CWS personnel and what supports, when any, are needed.
7. Public inquiries from persons without an official need to know. Media, public, or other inquiry about a specific case by persons without an official need to know is directed to the OKDHS Office of Communications.
(1) CWS information and investigations are confidential unless otherwise provided by law.
(2) All public communications regarding reports under investigation and the investigation itself are issued only by the OKDHS Office of Communications authorized personnel or by a designated CWS programs spokesperson.
8. Final determination in child death or near-death investigation. Upon completion of a child death or near-death investigation, a review is conducted by the CPS Programs Unit, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-3-500.
9. Administrative review of child death or near-death notice of a child known to CWS. Upon receipt of the death or near-death notice of a child known to CWS, the CPS Programs Unit reviews the case and notifies the CWS director who determines if an administrative review occurs, per OKDHS:2-3-2. A child known to CWS is a child, who at any time:
(1) within six months prior to the child's death or near-death incident:
(A) was the subject of a CPS assessment or investigation alleging child abuse or neglect;
(B) was the subject of a CPS report the CPS Programs Unit determines was improperly screened out;
(C) resided in a household that included a member who was the subject of a CPS assessment or investigation alleging child abuse or neglect;
(D) was in OKDHS custody or under OKDHS supervision as a child alleged or adjudicated deprived;
(E) had an active CW case with OKDHS; or
(F) had an active FCS case; or
(2) during the two years preceding the child's death or near-death incident:
(A) was the subject of more than five CPS referrals of abuse or neglect or three assessments or investigations alleging child abuse or neglect; or
(B) resided in a household that included a household member who was the subject of more than five CPS referrals or three assessments or investigations alleging child abuse or neglect.
10. Program review of child death and near-death investigation. A program review is completed for each child death or near-death investigation conducted by OKDHS by the CPS Programs Unit. The review includes:
(1) a review of the case record. The district provides the CPS Programs Unit a copy of the complete case that includes:
(A) Form 04KI003E, Report to District Attorney, and attachments;
(B) law enforcement reports;
(C) the medical examiner's Report of Autopsy;
(D) medical records pertaining to the death or near-death incident and previous records, when applicable;
(E) child maltreatment review, when completed; and
(F) all pertinent case information;
(2) an assessment of findings compliance with CPS standards, per OAC 340:75-3-120 and OAC 340:75-3-130; and
(3) requests for additional information from the CW specialist, when determined necessary by the CPS Programs Unit.
11. Completion of the child death or near-death investigation.
(1) When a child death occurs, OKDHS must request and obtain, if available, the child maltreatment review from the maltreatment physician. When a review is pending completion, OKDHS does not close the child death investigation until the child maltreatment review is received in order to consider the review as part of the investigation. When a child maltreatment review was not completed, OKDHS documents the request and that a review was not completed.
(2) When a child near-death occurs, the CW specialist notifies the CPS Programs Unit by email of investigation closure within 90-calendar days after the child's near-death. The CPS Programs Unit contacts the CW specialist for additional information, as needed.
(3) When a child death occurs, the CW specialist notifies the CPS Programs Unit by email of investigation closure within 30-calendar days after receiving notice from the CPS Programs Unit of receipt of the medical examiner's Report of Autopsy.
(4) When it appears the investigative process will not be completed within the time requirements, an extension for completion of the investigation or an extension to receive related paperwork may be granted, per OAC 340:75-3-510 Instructions to Staff.
12. Child maltreatment medical review.
(1) The assigned CW district staff completes Form 04CP013E, Preliminary Report of Critical Incident Involving a Child Death, in its entirety with all available information and returns to the CPS Programs Unit by emailing *sto.dcfs.cpsnotifications no later than 10-business days after receiving notice.
(2) The CPS Programs Unit forwards all received forms and corresponding IRs to the designated child abuse examiner or child abuse pediatrician.
(3) The designated child abuse examiner or child abuse pediatrician returns the completed maltreatment medical review to the CPS Progam Unit for distribution. The child maltreatment medical review must be considered prior to making a finding and closing the child death investigation by the assigned CW specialist.