Referrals to Child Protective Services Regarding Substance Exposed Infants Bradley J. Wentz, MSW Child Protective Services Supervisor Charlottesville Department of Social Services 10/28/10
Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse VA Code § 63.2-1509. • “..in their professional or official capacity, have reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child, shall report the matter immediately to the local department of the county or city wherein the child resides or wherein the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred or to the Department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline.” • All persons required by this subsection to report suspected abuse or neglect who maintain a record of a child who is the subject of such a report shall cooperate with the investigating agency and shall make related information, records and reports available to the investigating agency unless such disclosure violates the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g).
Child Protective Services and Identification of Prenatal Substance Exposure • A blood or urine test of the infant or mother conducted within 48 hours of the infant’s birth indicates the presence of a controlled substance. A physician must not have prescribed the controlled substance for the mother. The findings of the blood or urine test must be made within seven days of the child’s birth. • Within 48 hours of the infant’s birth, the attending physician finds that the infant was born dependent on a controlled substance and demonstrated withdrawal symptoms. A physician must not have prescribed the controlled substance for the mother. • Within seven days of the infant’s birth, the attending physician diagnoses the child as having an illness, disease or condition which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, is attributable to in utero exposure to a controlled substance. A physician must not have prescribed the controlled substance for the mother or the child. • Within seven days of the child’s birth, the attending physician makes the diagnosis that the child has fetal alcohol syndrome attributable to in utero exposure to alcohol.
Child Protective Services Response – Family Assessment • CPS Investigation • Incident focused • Determine if incident occurred before services recommended • Appropriate for Court Involvement/Police partnerships • +70% of reports to CPS are for NEGLECT • Approach centers around service planning and support • Not incident related – Needs global assessment of patterns • CPS Family Assessment • Still a valid case for Child Abuse (Physical Abuse, Physical Neglect, Mental Abuse/Neglect, Medical Abuse Neglect, and/or Sexual Abuse) • Still has to complete immediate assessment of safety and assess the level or risk to the child • Instead of producing a finding of guilt (Founded/Unfounded) Family Assessment creates a Service Plan
Family Assessment and Prenatal Substance Exposure • VA law does not provide that prenatal substance exposure as the basis for a removal • CPS is positioned to assess the risk factors to the child and safety planning for all contributing risk factors- Policy Requires a Family Assessment to be completed. • Work cooperatively with Project LINK to ensure an offering of services regarding a parent’s substance use. Contributes or is a deficit for child safety • Further service planning to elements outside of parental substance use in order to protect child
Reporting Child Abuse • Contact the Department of Social Services where either the child lives, or where the incident occurred, or the State Hotline • City of Charlottesville- (434) 970-3400 • Albemarle County- (434) 972-4010 • Greene County- (434) 985-5246 • Fluvanna County- (434) 842-8221 • VA State Child Abuse Hotline (800) 552-7096 • CPS will need • Description of why you suspect abuse, especially any harm or risk of harm to the child • The child’s current location and status • Demographic information for everyone in the home or where the abuse took place • Contact information for you/Anonymous Reporting • CPS Immediate Response – Validity and Referrals