§ 3490.55. Investigation of reports of suspected child abuse.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the county agency shall begin its investigation within 24 hours of receiving a report of suspected child abuse. Upon beginning its investigation, the county agency shall see the child within 24 hours of receipt of the report.
(b) The county agency shall begin the investigation immediately upon receipt of a report of suspected child abuse and see the child immediately if one of the following applies:
(1) Emergency protective custody has been taken or is needed.
(2) It cannot be determined from the report whether or not emergency protective custody is needed.
(c) After ensuring the immediate safety of the child and other children in the home, the county agency shall verbally notify ChildLine of the receipt of the report, if it was not received initially from ChildLine.
(d) When conducting its investigation, the county agency shall, if possible, conduct an interview with those persons who are known to have or may reasonably be expected to have, information relating to the incident of suspected child abuse including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The child, if appropriate.
(2) The childs parents or other person responsible for the childs welfare.
(3) The alleged perpetrator of the suspected child abuse.
(4) The reporter of the suspected child abuse, if known.
(5) Eyewitnesses to the suspected child abuse.
(6) Neighbors and relatives who may have knowledge of the abuse.
(7) Day care provider or school personnel, or both, if appropriate.
(e) The county agency shall record in writing the facts obtained as a result of the interviews conducted under subsection (d) and any other interviews it conducts.
(1) When conducting its investigation, the county agency shall maintain a written record of the facts obtained from each interview it conducts.
(2) At the conclusion of its investigation, when the report is determined indicated, founded or unfounded and accepted for services, under § 3490.59 (relating to action by the county agency after determining the status of the report), the county agency shall enter a written summary of the facts obtained from each interview in the case record.
(f) When investigating a report of suspected child abuse in which a child has sustained visible injury, the county agency shall, whenever possible and appropriate, take, cause to be taken or obtain color photographs of the injury.
(1) Photographs shall include one snapshot in which the child is clearly identifiable with the injured part of the body visible to establish the identity of the child and the actual location and extent of the injury. More than one photograph of the injury shall be taken if it is necessary to obtain a clear close-up of the injury.
(2) The county agency shall maintain photographs it secures in the case record. Photographs shall be identified by all of the following:
(i) The name of the child.
(ii) The age of the child.
(iii) The date and time of day the photograph was taken.
(iv) The location at which the photograph was taken.
(v) The names of witnesses present.
(vi) The name of the photographer.
(g) When investigating a report of suspected serious mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation or serious physical neglect, the county agency shall, whenever appropriate, obtain medical evidence or expert consultation, or both. The county agency shall maintain a record of medical evidence or expert consultation, or both, obtained during its investigation, including one of the following:
(1) The reasons why medical examination or expert consultation, or both, was secured and the results of the examination/consultation.
(2) The reasons why medical examination or expert consultation, or both, was determined not to be necessary.
(h) If the investigation indicates serious physical injury, a medical examination shall be performed on the subject child by a certified medical practitioner. If there is reasonable cause to suspect there is a history of prior or current abuse, the medical practitioner has the authority to arrange for further medical tests or the county agency has the authority to request further medical tests.
(i) When conducting its investigation, the county agency shall visit the childs home, at least once during the investigation period. The home visits shall occur as often as necessary to complete the investigation and to assure the safety of the child.
(j) When investigating cases of suspected child abuse and a subject is located in a county other than where the abuse occurred, the county agency shall either make contact in the county where the subject is located or request the county where the subject is located to conduct the interview. The county agency where the subject is located shall assist in the investigation as required by this section.
The provisions of this § 3490.55 adopted December 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986, 15 Pa.B. 4547; amended December 27, 1985, effective January 1, 1986, 15 Pa.B. 4629; amended July 2, 1999, effective July 3, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 3513. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (211729) to (211731).
Notes of Decisions
Statements made by defendant to a Children and Youth Services caseworker, as part of an interview under this section, while Defendant was in custody, could be suppressed in the absence of Miranda warnings, since caseworker was required to forward the report to police. Commonwealth v. Ramos, 532 A.2d 465 (Pa. Super. 1987).
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