Immediately, if possible, or no later than within 24 hours, the alleged child victim is interviewed in person by the Department's Access Unit member. If the report indicates that the child may be in immediate danger, the child will be located and interviewed immediately.
An assessment of immediate danger is made by the Access Worker, leading to a decision of whether or not to involve law enforcement. If there is evidence of current abuse, the Access Worker, will involve law enforcement in an effort to take the child into custody. The child will be held in custody in a location other than the present foster home. This is particularly important if the child has been in the foster home for six months or more. In such cases of taking/holding in custody, a court hearing will automatically be scheduled for the following working day. The Social Worker/Access Worker will notify the natural parents/guardian and the foster parents of the hearing.
Unless the child absolutely and credibly denies any maltreatment, or lack of care, or the facts of the case prove the allegations to be without basis, the child will be moved from the foster home. The Case Manager will set a court review hearing for the next working day. If the Case Manager decides that the facts warrant leaving the foster child in that placement, the worker will confer with his/her supervisor within 24 hours.
If medical attention or evidence gathering is appropriate, The Department's Access worker will arrange medical examination through the pediatrician or hospital and photographs by law enforcement.
Natural parent, legal custodian, Corporation Counsel, Resource Unit Supervisor and Social Worker will be notified of pending investigation by the Foster Care Coordinator.
Foster parents will be informed of the allegation by the Foster Care Coordinator and method of independent investigation. Notification will be made after the foster children and/or natural children of the foster parent have been interviewed by the Access Worker who is determining immediate safety, or when this worker notifies the Foster Care Coordinators that it is an appropriate time to notify the foster parent. If warranted, an independent investigation by Outagamie County or some other appropriate resource will be initiated following the immediate assessment of safety for the children living with the foster parent.
Upon the initial abuse allegation report, the Foster Care Coordinator will make themselves available to the Foster Parents for support. The Foster Care Coordinator shall not comment on or participate in the abuse/neglect investigation.
The Case Manager will inform the natural parents of the alleged abuse report and provide support to the natural parents.
The Supervisor of the Resource Unit will notify the Area Administrator of the DHFS Regional Office of the allegations and the actions taken.