National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. 9.4 Role of Law Enforcement and Other Agencies in CPS

05/01/2003

Another important aspect of how CPS agencies operate is their involvement with other agencies in the community. The study shows that few CPS agencies had lead responsibility for the investigation and alternative response functions across all types of maltreatment. Rather, agency responsibility for these functions typically varied depending on the type of maltreatment. Further, the findings reveal a distinction between the role of law enforcement and that of other agencies in CPS work. The specific circumstance of the maltreatment also shaped the role of CPS agencies with more sharing of lead responsibility for the more serious forms of maltreatment. At the same time, across the different types of perpetrators similar percentages of CPS agencies shared lead responsibility with other agencies.

The findings also reveal a distinction between the role of law enforcement and that of other agencies. Looking at the different types of maltreatment, CPS agencies reported sharing lead responsibility with law enforcement more often than with any other type of agency. The same pattern holds true for different types of perpetrators, with more sharing of lead responsibility with law enforcement agencies. This consistent pattern highlights the unique role of law enforcement in responding to different types of maltreatment and perpetrators.