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Assessments & In-Person Responses > Specialized Investigations & Services > Concurrent Investigations

Concurrent Investigations with Law Enforcement

0070-547.13 | Revision Date: 12/23/14


This policy reviews the distribution of authority and coordination of efforts required when law enforcement and DCFS investigate the same child abuse referrals, as well as the situations in which a concurrent investigation may be required.



Concurrent Investigations with Law Enforcement

Concurrent Investigation Referrals

Responding Without a Referral

Communication and Confidentiality

Crime Scene Preservation

Medical Examinations


Conducting a Concurrent Investigation with Law Enforcement

Emergency Response (ER) CSW Responsibilities


Helpful Links


Referenced Policy Guides


Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 07/01/14 version to clarify that when law enforcement has taken a child into custody, DCFS must conduct a safety assessment to determine if child protective services are required.


Concurrent Investigations with Law Enforcement

Both DCFS and law enforcement have the authority to investigate cases of suspected child abuse or neglect and to take children into temporary custody when required.


Completing concurrent investigations with law enforcement requires that DCFS and law enforcement make efforts to communicate from the earliest opportunity, coordinate investigations, limit repeat interviews by different agencies, and continue to share information throughout the investigation of the case. 


When law enforcement and DCFS are completing concurrent investigations, each agency must adhere to its’ separate mandates.  Law enforcement has authority to determine whether a crime has occurred.  DCFS has authority to determine whether the child requires protective services. 


When law enforcement detains or delivers (not detained) a child to DCFS, per WIC 306 and/or 309, a safety assessment must be conducted by the CSW to determine if the child should be taken into temporary custody. To take a child into temporary custody, a CSW must have one of the following:


When law enforcement has taken a child into temporary custody and it is determined by DCFS that the child(ren) can return home permanently or pending a removal order, ARA approval and notification to law enforcement is required.


If the situation warrants it, a CSW should call law enforcement for assistance when investigating a child abuse referral and/or taking a child into temporary custody. 

Concurrent Investigation Referrals

A concurrent investigation with law enforcement must be conducted, whenever possible, on any of the following types of referrals:


Cases requiring a concurrent investigation with law enforcement may be designated as either immediate or expedited referrals. A concurrent investigation with law enforcement can be conducted by any of the following staff:

Responding Without a Referral

In some situations, DCFS has a legal obligation to receive temporary custody of a child who has been delivered by a peace officer, with or without a referral.  If a child (dependent or non-dependent) is transported by law enforcement to a DCFS office and a child abuse referral has not been made, law enforcement must call the Child Protection Hotline to make a child abuse referral.


CSWs are authorized to protect children without a referral and take them into temporary custody as long as there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is:


CSWs are allowed to conduct a concurrent investigation with law enforcement without a referral, per WIC 306(a).  MART CSWs and co-located ER CSWs are the primary CSWs that respond without a referral; however law enforcement may directly contact a regional office for ER CSW assistance. As soon as the CSW responds to the location to meet law enforcement, the CSW must inquire if law enforcement called in the referral to the hotline.  If it was done, the CSW must obtain the 19 digit referral number from law enforcement.  If it was not done, the CSW must request that law enforcement call in the referral immediately and the CSW must obtain the 19 digit referral number prior to leaving the location.


CSWs may only assist with the placement of child(ren) whose parents have been arrested if law enforcement has detained a child(ren) under WIC 300, 305(a-d), and/or 309 and a referral has been generated to investigate child abuse or neglect.  A referral needs to be generated for CSWs to complete a criminal history check on relatives or nonrelative extended family members identified as a temporary caretaker by the arrested parent(s).


CSWs, however, can assist law enforcement obtain child welfare history on the potential caregiver identified by the arrested parent(s) via a search on CWS/CMS without a referral.

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Communication and Confidentiality

In concurrent investigations, CSWs are required to share information with law enforcement to the extent permitted by law.


When DCFS and law enforcement are both investigating the same child abuse referral, the documents that generated the child abuse referral may be shared without law enforcement having to complete the Declaration in Support of Access to Juvenile Records


Documents that generate a child abuse referral may include the following:


All subsequent incidents of suspected child abuse or neglect must be cross-reported to law enforcement.  Additional disclosure of cross-reported information must be discussed among the professionals affiliated with the case.


Many of the documents and proceedings relating to minors are confidential by statute, case law, and/or court order.  Dependency court proceedings and records are confidential; however, criminal court proceedings are not confidential.  When the crime involves a sexual offense, the victim’s identity can remain confidential upon request and not be disclosed on any public records.  In addition, the victim may, at the judge’s discretion, be addressed as Jane or John Doe in court records and in court.

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Crime Scene Preservation

During concurrent investigations, CSWs are to avoid disturbing potential forensic evidence and communicate the existence and location of potential forensic evidence to law enforcement. Potential forensic evidence may include but is not limited to:

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Medical Examinations

During the course of a concurrent investigation with law enforcement where there is evidence/suspicion of sexual or physical abuse, a medical examination of the child should be performed by health care providers with expertise in the area of detecting and diagnosing abuse and neglect. Medical examinations are an important component of investigations in that they can yield forensic evidence and/or expert testimony that is admissible in both dependency and criminal court.


Medical exams (either forensic or to detect and treat child abuse injuries and neglect) are prohibited unless one or more of the following conditions exist:


Children over 12 must consent to the exam themselves. The exam should not be performed by force on children of any age.


Requests for investigative/evidentiary medical examinations where exigent circumstances do not exist should be made at a court hearing, in a warrant application, or through parental consent. 

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Conducting a Concurrent Investigation with Law Enforcement

Emergency Response (ER) CSW Responsibilities

  1. Respond to the request to conduct a concurrent investigation as follows:
  1. With a Referral:
  1. Without a Referral:


  1. Obtain and document the name, badge number, phone number, and cell phone number of the officer that will participate in the concurrent investigation.


  1. Confirm the information on the referral, including the:


  1. Clarify the purpose of the home call and expectations, including:


  1. Ask the investigating officer if there is other information on the family that the CSW should be aware of, such as:


  1. Discuss how to assess for any risks to the child’s safety and determine whether exigency exists or whether there is a need to obtain a search warrant.


  1. Discuss who will take the lead in interviewing all parties involved in the referral.


  1. Agree on the time to meet at the address of where the child(ren) is located.  Request that the police officer wait for CSW to start interviews


  1. Document all contact with law enforcement including the officers work phone number and cell phone number.


  1. Depending on the type of referral you are investigating, follow appropriate Emergency Response procedures and document the results.


  1. Conduct a safety assessment to determine if protective services are necessary, even if law enforcement has already taken the child(ren) into temporary custody.


  1. If after completing a thorough safety assessment it is determined that the child can be released back to the parent(s), seek ARA approval. 


  1. During the course of the concurrent investigation, the CSW should:


  1. Discuss the situation with the SCSW, if a decision is made to remove the child(ren), take the child(ren) into temporary custody.


  1. If the child(ren) was detained:
  1. Ensure the initial medical examinations are conducted. 
  1. In cases of sexual abuse, attempt to arrange for the forensic exam to take place at a Medical Hub, as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours of removal in cases where the last incident of sexual abuse has occurred within the last 72 hours. 
  1. Inform the officer that the child will be taken into protective custody and to contact the CSW should a follow-up interview with the child(ren) be needed.


  1. If a decision is made not to detain, devise a safety plan (if necessary) and/or provide the family with appropriate community resources to meet their needs, such as Community Response Services or Alternative Response Services


  1. Request that law enforcement complete an incident report or crime report.


  1. Throughout the investigation of the referral, maintain contact with the assigned detective/officer and complete the following tasks (if applicable):
  1. Request a copy of the incident or crime report from law enforcement.
  1. Request photographic evidence if taken at the scene.
  1. If a crime was committed, confirm whether charges will be filed against the perpetrator and the court date for the hearing.
  1. Discuss the status of the criminal case including location of perpetrator and charges.
  1. Inform law enforcement if additional disclosures were made by the child(ren).
  1. Inform law enforcement as to the disposition of the referral.
  1. Inform law enforcement as to the placement of the child(ren) to facilitate further interviews (if needed).
  1. Assist law enforcement in arranging for the child(ren) to participate in any related criminal proceedings.


  1. Complete all required cross-reports:


  1. Document all contacts and the results of the investigation.

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SCSW Approval

ARA Approval




BCIA 8583, Child Abuse or Severe Indexing Form

LA Kids

Expedited Response Alert Fax

Declaration in Support of Access to Juvenile Records

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-529.10, Assessing Allegations of Physical AbuseNon-accidental bodily injury that has been or is being willfully inflicted on a child. It includes willful harming or injuring of a child or endangering of the person or health of a child defined as a situation where any person willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any 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.

0070-532.10, Assessing Allegations of Sexual AbuseThe victimization of a child by sexual activities, including, but not limited to, those activities defined in Penal Code Section 11165.1(a)(b)(c). See "sexual assault" and "sexual exploitation."

0050-503.15, Response Times for Referrals

0070-548.00, Community Response Services, Alternative Response Services and Up-Front Assessments

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

0070-548.09, Multi-Agency Response Team (MART) Referrals

0070-548.10, Disposition of Allegations and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals


0070-548.17, Completion and Submission of the SS BCIA8583, Child Abuse or Severe  

NeglectThe failure to provide a person with necessary care and protection. In the case of a child, the term refers to the failure of a parent(s)/guardian(s) or caretaker(s) to provide the care and protection necessary for the child's healthy growth and development. Neglect occurs when children are physically or psychologically endangered. The term includes both severe and general neglect as defined by Penal Code Section 11165.2 and medically neglected infants as described in 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1340.15(b). Indexing Form

0070-548.18, Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) Review Hearings

0070-548.20, Taking Children into Temporary CustodyThe removal of a child from the home of a parent or legal guardian and placement or facilitation of placement of the child in the home of a non-offending parent, relative, foster caregiver; group home or institutional setting.Temporary custody also includes: placing hospital holds on children; situations in which the CSW interrupts an established Family Law Court custody or visitation orders when the CSW believes that if the order is carried out, the child would be placed in immediate risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation and the child is allowed to remain in the home of the non-offending parent; situations in which DCFS requests that law enforcement remove a child from the home of his or her parent/legal guardian and the CSW places the child with a relative or unrelated caregiver; and situations in which the child is living with a relative or an unrelated caregiver and all of the following conditions exist: child’s parent is asking for the child to be returned home, CSW believes that the return of the child to his or her parent would place the child at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, CSW does not allow the child to be returned to his or her parent; and, the child remains in the home of the relative or is placed in out-of-home care.

0070-548.25, Completing the Structured Decision Making (SDM) Safety Plan

0070-570.10, Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders

0100-510.60, Placement Considerations for Children

0500-501.20, Release of Confidential DCFS Case Record Information

0500-509.10, Permission to Interview Children/Youth

0600-500.00, Medical Hubs

0600-501.10, Medical Consent


CDSS MPP Division 31-115 – States the circumstances under which the social worker shall conduct an in-person immediate investigation.


Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 300 – Provides descriptions in which any child is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge that person to be a dependent child of the court.


WIC Section 305(a) – States circumstances and conditions, under which any peace officer may, without a warrant, take a minor into temporary custody and when they must notify a social worker in the county welfare department to assume custody of the child


WIC Section 306 – States circumstances and conditions under which a social worker in a county welfare department may take a minor into temporary custody and required safety considerations to determine whether the child can remain safely at home


WIC Section 324.5 – Permits either law enforcement or the social worker to authorize a forensic exam to detect and/or treat child abuse injuries and neglect, if deemed necessary/appropriate by the forensic specialist, whenever a child is detained due to allegations of physical or sexual abuse.


WIC Section 16504(a) – States that any child reported to the county welfare department to be endangered by abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall be eligible for initial intake and evaluation of risk services. Each county welfare department shall maintain and operate a 24-hour response system. An immediate in-person response shall be made by a county welfare department social worker in emergency situations in accordance with regulations of the department. The person making any initial response to a request for child welfare services shall consider providing appropriate social services to maintain the child safely in his or her own home. However, an in-person response is not required when the county welfare department, based upon an evaluation of risk, determines that an in-person response is not appropriate.

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