DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 13: Cross Program Protocols
13-2  Reporting to the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Cross Program Protocols
13-2  Reporting to the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Reference Points
DOJ Reporting Law
Definition of an Active Investigation
Definition of Substantiated, Inconclusive and Unfounded Reports
Who is Responsible for Submitting the DOJ Report
What Must Be Reported
What Not to Report
Completing and Documenting the Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Indexing From (BCIA 8583) in CWS/CMS
Sending the Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Indexing From (BCIA 8583) to the Department of Justice
Notifying Suspects of the Listing Their Names on the CACI
Suspect Challenges Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) Listings
New Allegations on an Open Referral/Case
How a Person Finds Out if They are Listed on the CACI
Record Keeping
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 5/1/08
Last Updated: 10/26/11
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Assembly Bill (AB) 717
Popup Window

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) which includes:

Penal Code (PC) § 11164 through 11174.31

PDF2 A Guide to Reporting Child Abuse to the Department of Justice
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word

Notice of Child Abuse Central Index Listing (SOC 832)

  • (SOC 832) Spanish
MS Word

Grievance Procedures for Challenging Reference to the Child Abuse Central Index (SOC 833)

  • (SOC 833) Spanish
MS Word

Request for Grievance Hearing (SOC 834)

  • (SOC 834) Spanish
MS Word Child Abuse Central Index Self Inquiry Search Request
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Referral Management Section: Child Abuse Form (BCIA 8583)


Overview  

Social workers are required to submit the results of certain child abuse investigations to the California State Department of Justice (DOJ) when the disposition of the allegation is substantiated. The Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Investigation Form (BCIA 8583) is used to make the report to DOJ.

The Child Abuse Unit of the DOJ uses the information supplied on the SS8583 to maintain a database called the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). The CACI is a central state repository of substantiated and inconclusive reports of child abuse submitted since 1965.  The DOJ Child Abuse Unit receives, documents, enters, and searches for data contained in this database, which helps the DOJ track abusers as they change residences and counties.

Because this information is available to social workers and may assist in a future investigation, it is imperative that SS 8583 be completed accurately, forwarded promptly, and updated when new information becomes available . Accuracy is critical to prevent individuals from being erroneously labeled child abusers.

The integrity and accuracy of the CACI is also vital to child protection agencies that use this database for clearances when making placements in the homes of relatives and others.
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DOJ Reporting Law  

At the conclusion of an active investigation (see section below) on a referral alleging known or suspected child abuse or severe neglect, a written report must be forwarded to DOJ when both:

  • The allegation is mandated by law to be reported

    and

  • The disposition of the allegation is substantiated.

 

To comply with mandatory reporting laws, local child welfare agencies are:

  • Responsible for notifying “known or suspected child abusers” that they have been reported to the California Child Abuse Central Index.
  • Required to retain child abuse investigative reports filed with the DOJ until the person listed in the CACI has reached the age of 100, which is also the age at which the listing is removed from the CACI.
  • Responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the child abuse investigative reports.
 
The liability for false or inaccurate reports lies with the local child welfare agency. The law applies to both child welfare agencies and law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement has an independent duty to notify the suspected child abuser.
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Definition of an Active Investigation  

An “active investigation” is an investigation that meets one or both of the following descriptions:

  1. Any investigation or assessment by any DFCS social worker that results in the Santa Clara Juvenile Court sustaining a dependency petition on behalf of the child pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 300.
    • The suspect must be interviewed or an attempt must be made to interview the suspect as part of the dependency action for purposes of submitting the Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Indexing Form (BCIA 8583) to the DOJ. 
      • If the suspect is unavailable or unwilling to be interviewed, the social worker documents on the BCIA 8583 the reason why the suspect was not interviewed.

    OR

  2. Any investigation or assessment by a DFCS social worker that includes all of the following:

(a) It leads the social worker to conclude that the report of suspected  child abuse is substantiated.

AND

(b) The victim(s), the suspect(s) and witness(es) have been interviewed or an attempt has been made to interview the suspect.

  • If the victim(s), the suspect(s) or witness(es) were unavailable or unwilling to be interviewed, the social worker documents on the BCIA 8583 the reason why the individual was not interviewed.

AND

(c) It is based upon the social worker's review of five or more of the following sources of information about the report of suspected child abuse or neglect:

  • Interview of the child victim
  • Interview of the suspect
  • Interview of the child's caretaker
  • Interview of any eyewitness to the abuse or neglect
  • Interview of extended family members
  • Previous abuse or neglect referrals for the child and/or family
  • The suspect's criminal record
  • Collateral medical psychological, educational, police, probation, parole, or social worker reports
  • Interview of collateral medical, psychological, educational, police, probation, parole, or social service personnel
  • Any open or closed service case files involving siblings or half-siblings
  • Any closed case files involving the child.
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Definition of Substantiated, Inconclusive and Unfounded Reports  

The social worker investigates the referral and determines into which category it falls, as defined by Penal Code (PC) 11165.12:

  • Substantiated - There is evidence that makes it more likely than not that child abuse or neglect occurred.
  • Inconclusive - Not unfounded but there is insufficient evidence to determine if abuse has occurred.
  • Unfounded - Referral is determined to be false, the result of an accidental injury, or of a situation that does not constitute child abuse.
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Who is Responsible for Submitting the DOJ Report  

Any social worker who completes an investigation on a referral of child abuse or neglect is responsible for submitting a DOJ report, when the criteria for reporting exists.  Essentially, the reporting requirement applies to all DFCS case carrying social workers:

  • Emergency Response social workers
  • Dependent Intake (DI) social workers
  • Continuing social workers
  • Adoption social workers
  • Voluntary Family Maintenance social workers
  • Informal Supervision social workers
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What Must Be Reported  

Penal Code section 11169(a) requires DFCS to report to the DOJ Child Abuse Central Index "every case it investigates of known or suspected child abuse or severe neglect which is determined to be substantiated, other than cases coming within PC § 11165.2(b).

 

When an allegation is concluded as "substantiated", the following allegations or circumstances must be reported to DOJ:

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual exploitation

  • Mental/emotional abuse which involves willfully causing or permitting the child to suffer, or inflicting thereon, unjustifiable mental suffering

  • Severe neglect which includes:
    • The negligent failure of a person having the care or custody of a child to protect the child from severe malnutrition or medically diagnosed non organic failure to thrive, and
    • Those situations of neglect where any person having the care or custody of a child willfully causes or permits:
      • The person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered, as proscribed by Section 11165.3, including the intentional failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care; and
      • Any child to suffer, or inflicting thereon, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering.
  • Causing the death of a child by abuse or neglect
  • Abandonment cases which involve the parent willfully abandoning the child under circumstances which constituted a serious danger to the child, meaning that without the intervention of another person or agency the child would have sustained severe or permanent disability, injury, illness or death
  • Cruelty by a parent or guardian
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What Not to Report  

The following incidents are not to be reported:

  • Unfounded reports (a report determined to be false, inherently improbable, or involving an accidental injury) (PC 11165.12)
  • Reports determined to be Inconclusive (there is insufficient evidence to determine whether child abuse or neglect, as defined in PC 11165.6, has occurred.
  • General neglect (PC 11165.2(b)); this also refers to a 300 Petition sustained solely on the basis of Section 300 (g)
  • Emotional damage under WIC section § 300 (c), if based upon the parents' inability to provide appropriate care (PC11166)
  • Consensual sexual acts between minors of a similar age, unless such acts include incest, sodomy, oral copulation, penetration with a foreign object, or statutory rape
  • A positive toxicology screen at the time of the newborn's delivery, absent other risk factors (PC11165.13)
  • Cases involving incarcerated parents in which the child was not willfully left at risk for death or severe injury
  • Mutual fights between children (PC11165.6)
  • Reports from adults stating that they were abused or molested as children, unless perpetrator has access to children and there is reason to believe the children may be at risk
  • No adoption within one year of relinquishment
  • Sibling abuse or neglect

See California Penal Code for Penal Code citations listed above.

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Completing and Documenting the BCIA 8583 in CWS/CMS  

Before creating the Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Indexing Form (BCIA8583) in CWS/CMS, the social worker consults with his or her supervisor to review the referral to verify that an active investigation was completed and that the underpinnings of the investigation support a conclusion of substantiated.

To make a report to the DOJ, social workers:

  • Complete form BCIA 8583 in CWS as follows:
    • Click on the name of the Suspect that appears in the Suspect window.
    • Click the Yes button to the question, "Suspect given written notice per PC 11169(B)?"
    • Enter the date the forms are generated and given to clerical for mailing.
    • Click "By Mail" under Delivery Method

      See PDF A Guide to Reporting Child Abuse to the Department of Justice.

  • Click the OK button.


    CWS/CMS generates and automatically prints the:

    • Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Indexing Form
    • Notice of Child Abuse Central Index Listing (SOC 832)
    • Grievance Procedures for Challenging Reference to the Child Abuse Central Index (SOC 833)
    • Request for Grievance Hearing (SOC 834)


  • Make a copy of the four documents.
     
  • Place one set of the documents in the DOJ basket (located on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th floors.
  • File one set of the documents in the case file.
     
  • Document in the Cross Report page of the CWS/CMS referral that the Child Abuse Form was sent to the DOJ.
    • If a referral meets DOJ reporting criteria and is not sent to DOJ, explain why the report was not sent in the Narrative Description box.
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Sending the BCIA 8583 to the DOJ  

The Emergency Response and Dependent Intake clerical staff at the Julian Office and the GFRC clerical staff at South County send the Child Abuse or Severe Neglect Indexing Form(BCIA S8583) to the Department of Justice (DOJ).  After receiving the BCIA 8583 from the social worker, the clerical staff:

  • Mails the Child Abuse Form to the Department of Justice at the following address:
    • Department of Justice Bureau of Criminal Information and Analysis
      ATTENTION: Child Protection Program
      P.O. Box 903387
      Sacramento, CA 94203-3870
      Telephone: (916) 227-3285
     
  • Logs into the DOJ Report database the:
    • Case number
    • Suspect's Name
    • Date the BCIA 8583 is sent to DOJ
    • Date the SOC832 is sent to the individual whose name is being referred to the DOJ. See the following section Notifying Individuals of the Listing Their Names on the CACI .
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Notifying Individuals of the Listing Their Names on the CACI  

At the time a report is forwarded to the Department of Justice, the agency must notify in writing the known or suspected child abuser that he or she has been reported to the Child Abuse Central Index. There are three State forms used to inform a suspect that his or her name has been sent to the Department of Justice for listing on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). 

  • Notice of Child Abuse Central Index Listing (SOC 832)
    • Informs the person has been referred to the DOJ for listing on the CACI as the result of a completed child abuse investigation.
    • Includes:
      • The victim's name
      • A brief description of the alleged abuse/severe neglect, including the date and location where it occurred
      • The individual's right to request a Grievance Hearing and instructions for requesting a hearing
      • A county contact person
      • He or she may inspect the referral documents as part of the Grievance Hearing Procedures. 

  • Grievance Procedures for Challenging Reference to the Child Abuse Central Index (SOC 833)
    • A two-page document that explains the Grievance Hearing process and what the suspect must do to file a grievance to challenge his or her listing on the CACI.

  • Request for Grievance Hearing (SOC 834)

The DOJ Desk clerical staff mails all three forms, the SOC 832, 833, and 834 to the suspect and logs into the DOJ Report database the date the Notification forms were sent to the individual.

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Suspect Challenges

to CACI Listings

 

See OPP Chapter 13-2.1: Suspect Challenges to Name Listing on the CACI.

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New Allegations on an Open Referral/Case   When a new allegation is received on an open referral/case, the social worker completes a new SS 8583 for the new allegation, if it is investigated and meets the DOJ reporting criteria stated previously.
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How a Person Finds Out if They are Listed on the CACI  

Any person may find out if he or she is listed in the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) by submitting a notarized request to the Department of Justice (DOJ) at the address below.  The inquiry must include the person's name, address, date of birth, and either a social security number or a California identification number.  The form, Child Abuse Central Index Self Inquiry Search Request, may be sent to the person to complete for submittal to the DOJ. 

  • California Department of Justice

Bureau of Criminal Information and Analysis

Child Protection Program

P. O. Box 903387

Sacramento, CA 94203-3870

If the DOJ confirms that the person is listed on the CACI, the DOJ must inform the suspect of the date of the report and name of the submitting agency.  In order to request a Grievance Hearing, the suspect is then responsible for mailing a written and signed request (Request for Grievance Hearing form) to DFCS within 30 calendar days of the date that the Notice of Child Abuse Central Index Listing and other forms were mailed to the person.   When an individual requests, the social worker shall assist the individual in completion of the form necessary to initiate the request for the Grievance Hearing. 

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Record Keeping  

Records related to substantiated reports sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ) must be retained until the person who is the subject of the referral reaches the age of 100 years.

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Other References  
PDF Department of Justice Regulations for Child Abuse Reports Record Keeping
PDF

The information in this chapter is reformatted from the document: "Statement of Policy and Procedure- Reporting Suspected Child abuse and Neglect to the California State Department of Justice “Child Abuse Central Index”

bullet2 CWS/CMS Guide for Creating the Child Abuse Investigation Report
PDF  A Guide to Reporting Child Abuse to the Department of Justice
MS Word

How to create more than One Copy of SS-8583 (Child Abuse Investigation Report on CWS/CMS)

bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-2.1: Challenges to Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) Listings
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