Child Abuse Investigation Reform Act Exposed

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The Child Abuse Investigation Reform Act was adopted by ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force at the Annual Meeting on August 3, 2001, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors in September, 2001. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

ALEC Bill Text


This act establishes procedures for transferring investigative authority for child abuse cases from child protective services agencies to law enforcement agencies.

Model Bill

Section 1. {Short Title}

This act may be cited as the Child Abuse Investigation Reform Act.

Section 2. Findings

A. The legislature recognizes that the states have a responsibility to provide competent and thorough child abuse investigations which are sensitive to the needs of children and families.

B. It is difficult for child-protection services (CPS) caseworkers, who are currently charged with the responsibilities of investigating child abuse and providing services to children and families, to separate their dual roles as investigators and service providers.

C. Many studies show that child abuse investigations are compromised when these very different functions are not separated.

D. Child abuse is a crime and suspected child abuse should be investigated with due diligence by trained law enforcement officers.

Section 3. Family Protection Unit

A. Local child protection agencies shall transfer to or contract with law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations into all child abuse as defined by interagency agreement; and

B. Shall administer twenty-four-hour toll-free in-watts telephone services to report to the law enforcement agency information regarding possible incidents of child abuse.

Section 4. Social Service Delivery

When the child protection agency and the law enforcement agency contract for the administration of the child abuse hotline or for the law enforcement agency to conduct child abuse investigations or both, the contract shall include provisions that address the sharing of information reported to the child abuse hotline with the child-welfare agency when such information is necessary for the agency to provide appropriate service delivery to children and families.

Section 5. Personnel

Personnel transferred with the child abuse hotline or for child abuse investigations shall be required to meet employment standards and policies established by the law enforcement agency in order to retain their employment.

Section 6. Transfer of Powers and Funding

A. If a transfer of child abuse investigations occurs, any and all statutory authority, powers, duties, functions, records, authorized positions, property, un-expended balances of appropriations, allocations or other funds of the child-welfare for the purposes of child abuse investigations will be transferred to the law enforcement agency. The transfer will take place only after the development of a transition plan that will insure the efficient and effective transfer of the powers and duties of the child-welfare agency to the law enforcement agency so that there is continuous service delivery to and protection of the children.

B. Funds for providing child protective must be identified in the annual appropriation made to the child-welfare agency which shall award grants for the full amount identified to the respective law enforcement agency. Funds for the child protective investigations may not be integrated into the law enforcement agency’s regular budgets. Budgetary data and other data relating to the performance of child protective investigations must be maintained separately from all other records of the law enforcement agency.

Section 7. Performance Outcomes

A. The law enforcement agency shall submit reports regarding the administration of the child abuse hotline and the conduct of child abuse investigations at least yearly or more often as determined by legislative committees.

B. Program performance evaluation shall be based on criteria mutually agreed upon by the respective law enforcement agency and the child-welfare agency. Outcome measures concerning areas of protective investigation, including investigation protocol, substantiation rates, and standards of evidence collection and presentation will be developed.

C. The child-welfare agency and the law enforcement agency shall submit an annual report regarding quality performance, outcome-measure attainment and cost efficiency, to the Governor and state legislature no later than {insert date} of each year after the law enforcement agency begins contracting for child abuse investigations.

D. The Family Protection Unit shall develop and maintain statewide statistics regarding the incidence of child abuse. Each county and city law enforcement agency conducting child abuse investigations through referral from the child abuse hotline shall report the status and disposition of these investigations to the Family Protection Unit on a quarterly basis.

Adopted by ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force at the Annual Meeting August 3, 2001.

Approved by full ALEC Board of Directors September, 2001.