340:75-3-420. Protocol for investigating reports of abuse or neglect in child care centers or homes
• 1 & 2
(a) Reports of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and serious neglect in child care centers or homes, licensed or unlicensed, are investigated by child protective services staff.
(b) Allegations of general neglect and violations of licensing laws and regulations, such as a dirty facility, children not being appropriately supervised, or other similar situations, are referred to and addressed by Child Care Services.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-3-420
1.Protocol for investigating reports of abuse or neglect in child care centers or homes.
(1) The Child Welfare Services (CWS) child protective services (CPS) specialist notifies and coordinates with Child Care Services (CCS) personnel when a child abuse or neglect report related to a child care center or home is assigned.When possible, the CCS licensing specialist accompanies the CPS specialist and assists with conducting the investigation.
(2) The CPS Programs Unit is available for consultation as needed.The CPS specialist coordinates with the district attorney and law enforcement officials when appropriate.
(3) While the general investigative time requirements and protocols apply, there are sequential differences and additional protocols applied in the child care investigation.
(A) The time requirement for initiation of the investigation pertaining to the child care center depends on if the alleged perpetrator is still employed and continues to care for or have access to children.
(i) Assigned reports pertaining to child care homes are assigned a Priority I initiation time requirement as generally the owner/operator is also an employee and thus continues to have access to children.
(ii) An exception may be granted to assign the child care investigation as a Priority 2 with a two-business day response time in limited circumstance, such as when the report is received after normal business hours.
(B) The CPS specialist reviews all CCS records pertaining to the child care center or home to obtain background information.
(i) The CWS supervisor, CPS specialist, or both contact the current CCS licensing specialist assigned to the center or home to confer regarding the most appropriate way to conduct the investigation.
(ii) The investigation protocol may be modified to allow the CPS specialist to first interview other individuals or witnesses who may have additional identifying information.
(C) The alleged child victim's parent is interviewed first, usually in his or her home.
(i) The CPS specialist interviews the:
(I) alleged child victim's parent; and
(II) parents of other children in the child care center who are subsequently named as victims or witnesses.
(ii) The parent of each child in the child care home is interviewed as each child in the child care home is considered a potential victim.
(D) Interviews with each child victim and child witness are conducted after obtaining the parent's permission.Each alleged victim and witness is interviewed privately unless it is in the child's best interest for the parent to remain in the room with the child during the interview.When the parent is present during the child's interview, the parent is asked to say as little as possible and allow the CPS specialist to direct the interview.Other than officials conducting the investigation, no one else is present during the interview.
(E) When injuries are alleged or apparent, the child is visually inspected by the CPS specialist with the child's parent's consent.A medical examination for injury documentation is needed when the injury appears serious or when sexual abuse is alleged.The CPS specialist assists the parent in arranging for the examination.
(F) An unannounced visit is made to the child care center or home and the child care operator is advised of the nature of the allegation.
(G) Administrative staff, employees, and the alleged perpetrator are interviewed privately and, separately.Other persons are interviewed as appropriate.
(H) The physical premises where the alleged incident occurred are viewed or examined.
(I) While no child victim or child witness is interviewed without parental permission, in the event inadvertent contact with a child victim or child witness is made by the CPS specialist at the child care center or home, the child's parent is contacted the same day.
(J) Investigation of allegations of abuse or neglect is necessary even when there is no identified alleged victim, such as when the reporter does not name a specific child, but states the alleged victim is a child attending the child care center or home or that several children may be victims.
(K) CCS staff may be advised of the investigation's status prior to completion.
(L) Investigative interviews with the child victim and PRFC are documented within five-calendar days from the date the interview is completed.
(M) Each investigative interview is completed and documented and the investigation is closed within 30-calendar days from the date the abuse or neglect report was received.
(N) The CPS specialist determines the abuse or neglect finding.
(i) When there are allegations of abuse by a child care center or home employee, the allegations regarding the operator and owner pertain to whether the owner and operator knew or should have known the employee could harm the child.
(ii) The operator and owner are individually notified verbally and in writing of their individual findings.
(iii) Each employee is individually notified verbally and in writing of the individual findings.The finding letter is mailed to the employee's home address and not to the child care center or home.
(iv) The operator and owner are notified of the findings on the employee to determine what action may be taken regarding continued employment.
(v) When a substantiated finding is made, the investigative report is reviewed by the Restricted Registry committee.
(O) After the investigation's completion, the CPS specialist provides the investigation findings to:
(ii) the child care owner and operator; and
(iii) the parent of each child victim.
(I) Questions regarding the child abuse or neglect are answered.
(II) Parents of the child(ren) who attends the child care center or home who is not an alleged victim are referred to CCS staff.
(P) Issues related to licensing are addressed with the child care owner and operator by the CCS licensing specialist.
(Q) Form 04KI003E, Report to District Attorney:
(i) is expedited when CCS requires the report to initiate action to close or revoke the child care center or home license;
(ii) does not contain recommendations as to the child care center or home's closure or license revocation but does include in the Summary/Recommendation the statement, "This matter is referred to Child Care Services in regard to related licensing issues";
(iii) may be submitted to CCS after the CWS supervisor's signature prior to the district attorney review; and
(iv) regardless of the finding, is forwarded to the district attorney, per OAC 340:75-3-510.
(R) A copy of Form 04KI003E is provided to the CCS licensing specialist.
(i) Other case information is provided to the licensing specialist, including Form, 04KI036E, Referral/Investigation Case Contacts, Form 04KI001E, Referral Information Report, and all other CWS records regarding the child care center or home.
(ii) To ensure confidentiality, all documents provided by CWS to the CCS licensing specialist have a cover sheet with the notation "Confidential per Section 1-6-107 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes."
(iii) Licensing files are open to the public but CCS maintains a separate section for CWS case information as CWS case material is confidential and not available for public inspection.
(S) The CWS specialist completes:
(i) Form 04CP004E, Child Welfare Investigative Summary - Notification to Child Care Services.The original is provided to the CCS licensing specialist for placement in the public file and a copy is maintained in the CWS case record; and
(ii) when a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect is appealed and reversed by the Appeals Section, a new Form 04CP004Ewith the new finding is forwarded to CCS.
2.Sharing CWS records.Other than as specified in previous subsections of this Section, CCS is not authorized to receive CWS information or records pertaining to:
(1) individual child care center employees and their child(ren); or
(2) child care home employees who are not members of the household and the employee's child(ren).