There are several things that must happen at the end of a CPS investigation and one of the most important involves notifying certain involved people. Section 2273 of the Handbook regulates notification at the end of an investigation.
Unless the investigation was administratively closed (the family moved), the following people must be notified:
1. Each alleged victim who was interviewed during the investigation. This includes the children that were alleged to have been abused or neglected.
2. Each custodial parent of each alleged victim. If the parents of an alleged victim do not live together, this includes the parent who has the legal right to designate the residence of the child.
3. Each non-custodial parent of each alleged victim. If the parents of an alleged victim do not live together, this includes the parent who does not designate the residence, but rather has visitation rights.
4. Each legal guardian, if one has been appointed, of each alleged victim. Legal guardian is a court-ordered relationship. If such a relationship exists, the legal guardian must be notified.
5. Each person identified as an alleged perpetrator. This is not limited to only the person about whom the report was made, but rather it includes any person CPS identified during their investigation as a possible perpetrator of abuse or neglect to a child within that alleged perpetrator’s family. This means that even if someone reported to CPS an allegation that mom was abusing the child, CPS may decide that dad is also an alleged perpetrator. In that case, both mom and dad must be notified at the close of an investigation.
6. The person who reported the alleged abuse or neglect, if his or her identity is known. The person or persons (if more than one report came in regarding the same family) who initially reported the abuse or neglect to CPS must be notified at the end of an investigation.
All of these people must be notified, but what does the “notice” include? Generally, notice includes overall disposition of the case (whether it has been ruled out, there is a finding of reason to believe, etc.) and also what each individual involved in the investigation has been designated as (designated perpetrator, designated victim, etc.).
For more information about the contents of an end-of-the-investigation notice, please check back next week!