National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Review of State CPS Policy. Priority Standards for Beginning an Investigation

04/01/2003

Most States outlined a prioritization process. Forty-four States (86.3%) specified priority standards for beginning investigations. (See table 4-E.) The Council on Accreditation (COA) and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) suggest prioritizing responses based on urgency; those with higher safety and risk issues should be responded to first. Priority standards reported in State policy were based most often on the seriousness of the allegation and the situation, and the age of the alleged victim.

Not all States specified timeframes, although priorities were discussed. Generally, the policy on response time for more serious situations was either "immediate" or within 24 hours, while the response time for lower risk situations ranged from 72 hours to 15 days (with several between 3 and 5 days).

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