National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Review of State CPS Policy. Introduction


The investigation function addresses the process of determining whether a child has been maltreated or is likely to be maltreated, and if services are needed to ensure that the child will not be harmed in the future. The following features of the investigation function are described in this chapter:

  • Abuse and neglect definitions;
  • Disposition categories and required levels of evidence;
  • Purpose for conducting investigations;
  • Joint responsibility for conducting investigations;
  • Priority standards for beginning an investigation;
  • Requirements for inclusion of other children in the family in the investigation;
  • Risk, safety, and other assessment requirements;
  • Contact and timeframe requirements;
  • Results of an investigation including decisionmaking and notifications;
  • Central Registry and due process requirements; and
  • Service provision during an investigation.

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