340:75-3-500. Child Protective Services investigation findings
After completion of the child protective services (CPS) investigation, a finding is made regarding whether there was some credible evidence to constitute child abuse or neglect, per Section 1-1-105 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-1-105) and OAC 340:75.
(1) Ruled out. A finding of ruled out means the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), after an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect, determined that no child abuse or neglect occurred.
(2) Unsubstantiated. A finding of unsubstantiated means DHS, after an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect, determined insufficient evidence exists to fully determine whether child abuse or neglect occurred. When child abuse or neglect is unsubstantiated, DHS may recommend, when determined necessary, that the parents or persons responsible for the care of the child obtain child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention-related services.
(3) Substantiated. A finding of substantiated means DHS, after an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect and based upon some credible evidence, determined that child abuse or neglect occurred. When child abuse or neglect is substantiated, DHS may recommend:
(A) court intervention if DHS finds the child's health, safety, or welfare is threatened; or
(B) child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention-related services for the child, parents, or persons responsible for the care of the child if court intervention is not determined necessary.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-3-500
1.Child Protective Services (CPS) findings.CPSfindings are entered into the KIDS system.Form 04Kl003E, Report to District Attorney, is used to document all findings.
(1) CPS investigative findings.Findings in Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-3-500 paragraphs (1) through (3) are made only in CPS investigations and not in CPS assessments, per OAC 340:75-3-130 guidelines.
(2) Documentation.Form 04Kl003E is initially used to document all investigative findings, including a determination of reasonable exercise of parental discipline.Procedures in OAC 340:75-3-140 Instructions to Staff (ITS) are followed to document findings or determinations in KIDS.
(3) Circumstances that prevent an investigation finding.The CPS investigation cannot be completed due to special circumstances or when there is a determination that the reported incident was the result of the reasonable exercise of parental discipline involving the use of ordinary force.The reasonable exercise of parental discipline has a determination of no finding.Specific circumstances that result in a determination of no finding include:
(A) an unable to locate determination.The unable to locate determination may be used when diligent efforts were made but failed to locate the child victim and family, per OAC 340:75-3-200 ITS # 19;
(B) a failure to cooperate determination.The failure to cooperate determination may be used when the person responsible for the child's (PRFC) health, safety, or welfare does not cooperate in an assessment or investigation by refusing to allow access to the child victim for observation and an interview, per OAC 340:75-3-200 ITS # 18; or
(C) reasonable exercise of parental discipline.The reasonable exercise of parental discipline determination, per 10A O.S. § 1-2-105, may be used when the incident reported was the result of the reasonable exercise of parental discipline involving the use of ordinary force, including spanking, switching, or paddling.The investigation or assessment proceeds no further and all records regarding the incident are expunged.
2.Ruled out investigation finding.When there is no identified risk of child abuse or neglect and the family does not need prevention or intervention-related services, a finding of ruled out is appropriate.
3.Unsubstantiated investigation finding.When insufficient evidence exists to fully determine whether child abuse or neglect occurred, the child welfare (CW) specialist may recommend, when necessary, that the parents or PRFCs obtain child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention-related services.This finding is not used when a safety threat existswith the exception of a subsequent allegation for a PRFC with an open, deprived case with the child(ren) in out-of-home care due to the original safety threat at the time of the subsequent allegation.
4.Substantiated investigation finding.A substantiated finding is appropriate when a report is determined by a CW specialist, after an investigation and based upon some credible evidence, to constitute child abuse or neglect.When child abuse or neglect is substantiated, the CW specialist assures the child's safety and selects one or more of the intervention strategies listed in (1) and (2) of this Instruction.
(1) Upon finding a child safe, the CW specialist secures the PRFC's cooperation with Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to modify his or her behaviors or conditions in the home that caused the abuse or neglect to occur.
(2) Upon finding a child unsafe, the CW specialist:
(A) secures the PRFC's agreement to participate in family-centered services; and
(i) keeps the DHS case open to monitor the safety plan; and
(ii) determines if the PRFC:
(I) is taking action to control or manage the safety threats; and
(II) has adequate protective capacities; or
(B) requests court intervention by recommending a deprived petition.The CW specialist documents in KIDS Case Contacts, the district attorney's comments on Form 04KI003E, when court intervention is requested.
5.Documenting attempts to provide, refer, or arrange voluntary services.Attempts to provide, refer, or arrange voluntary services are documented in the DHS record, per OAC 340:75-3-520.
6.SoonerStart referrals for the child younger than 3 years of age when substantiated finding made.The child younger than 3 years of age who is the victim of substantiated child abuse or neglect is referred to SoonerStart, per OAC 340:75-4-12.1.
7.Child care program and child care home investigations.Court intervention via a deprived petition is not necessary for the child care program or child care home investigations.When there is concern that the child victim's PRFC is not protecting the child from the child care program or child care home perpetrator, a separate referral is made regarding the PRFC's alleged failure to protect the child and an assessment or investigation is conducted when indicated.
8.Reasonable exercise of parental discipline.When circumstances indicate the PRFC used ordinary force and age-appropriate, reasonable discipline methods that did not result in injury or visible marks on the child, the case information is forwarded to the CPS Programs Unit for review, per OAC 340:75-3-140 ITS # 2.
9.(a) Final determination review processes.
(1) All completed investigations, with a substantiated finding, for out-of-home, trial reunification, child death, near death, and critical incidents, receive a review by the CPS Programs Unit.
(2) When the proposed substantiated out-of-home, trial reunification, child death, near death, or critical incident investigative finding is in compliance with OAC 340:75-3-120, no action is taken and the review is documented in the appeal/review screen in KIDS.
(3) When the proposed substantiated out-of-home, trial reunification, child death, near death, or critical incident investigative finding is not in compliance with OAC 340:75-3-120, the CPS Programs Unit may:
(A) request additional information or an investigation as necessary; or
(B) revise the finding when appropriate.
(4) When the proposed substantiated out-of-home, trial reunification, child death, near death, or critical incident investigative finding is not in compliance with OAC 340:75-3-120 and requires revision, the CPS Programs Unit:
(A) contacts the appropriate district director or deputy director for the region to assure all relevant information is considered prior to the final determination;
(B) marks improper entry on a particular allegation and enters the revised allegation and appropriate finding;
(C) amends the finding, when appropriate, and notifies the appropriate district director or regional deputy director of the change within five-business days;
(D) notifies the PRFC that he or she is allowed 30-calendar days to send additional information regarding the new finding;
(E) completes the review of the proposed finding for compliance with OAC 340:75-3-120 and documents the final determination review in the appeals/review screen in KIDS; and
(F) notifies the appropriate district director and regional deputy director of the final determination.
(5) After review by the CPS Programs Unit and the exchange of information between district and program staff, the finding becomes final.
(6) When the final determination is complete, the county of jurisdiction notifies the district attorney of the new finding.
(b) Re-opening the out-of-home, trial reunification, child death, near death, or critical incident investigation pending final determination.During the final determination review process, the investigation may be re-opened to add additional information or to conduct additional interviews.When a referral is reopened, information may be obtained for 15-calendar days.Reopened referral requirements include (1) through (6).
(1) Collateral contacts may be interviewed to gather additional information, when the Appeals or CPS Programs Unit requests the referral be reopened based on a lack of supporting documentation.
(2) The CW specialist will not reinterview any identified PRFCs, alleged perpetrators, siblings, or victims.
(3) Information obtained during this period may be entered as an addendum to Form 04KI003E.
(4) Supporting documentation is scanned into the referral File Cabinet in KIDS.
(5) The referral may only be open for a period of 15-calendar days from the time the district director receives the request from the CPS Programs Unit.
(6) At the end of 15-calendar, days no further documentation is considered by the CPS Programs Unit in regard to the appeal.
10.All other completed investigations with a substantiated finding may be appealed by the individual about whom the substantiated finding was made, per OAC 340:75-3-530.