Referrals Regarding Children of Military Personnel
0050-503.55 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014

Overview

This policy guide reviews how referrals regarding the children of military personnel are to be handled when reported to the Child Protection Hotline (CPH).

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 05/13/09 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.

POLICY

Family Advocacy Program

The Family Advocacy Program Office, located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, is responsible for investigating and providing rehabilitative services for incidents involving child maltreatment in military families.  The Office includes a Family Advocacy Program Officer and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI). DCFS partners with the Family Advocacy Program to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect within military families in Los Angeles County. This partnership ensures communication is maintained between the Los Angeles Air Force Base and DCFS regarding the identification, reporting and investigating of suspected child abuse and neglect cases that involve active duty military families. Parents who are civilian employees on military bases are not subject to this Policy Guide.

If, in the course of an investigation, a CSW discovers that the child on the referral resides on a military base, the CSW must immediately call the Family Advocacy Officer. All information exchanged between DCFS and military personnel will be held in confidence and released only pursuant to appropriate federal and state law, or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. In addition, information will not be released to other agencies except to the court, DCFS, and law enforcement, including AFOSI and AF Security Police unless ordered by the court.

Family Advocacy Officer (FAO)

The Family Advocacy Officer (FAO) is a licensed mental health provider at the Los Angeles Air Force Base. The Family Advocacy Officer will be the point of contact between DCFS and the Office of Special Investigations. During business hours, the FAO or Family Advocacy Intervention Specialist (FAIS), who is also a licensed social worker, may be reached at (310) 653-6860. After duty hours, the FAO may be reached via the Mental Health on-call provider at (310) 345-6441 or via Command Post (310) 653-3070.

When the Family Advocacy Office receives a report of alleged child abuse or neglect regarding the child of military personnel in Los Angeles County, staff from the Family

Advocacy Office will contact the family and conduct an assessment within seventy-two (72) hours of the report. If the Family Advocacy Office establishes reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect, the Family Advocacy Office contacts the Child Protection Hotline to make a referral. In cases where child abuse and/or neglect allegations occur on Edwards Air Force Base the Family Advocacy Office must make a referral to Kern County Child Protection Services.

Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI)

Maltreatment cases involving a crime are managed by military legal and law enforcement agencies, generally in conjunction with their civilian counterparts. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) is responsible for conducting investigations on cases of alleged severe physical abuse and all child sexual abuse, both on and off the installation, involving military personnel and their families. The Family Advocacy personnel may assist with contacting AFOSI agents for notification of a case, or AFOSI can directly be reached at telephone number (310) 653-5783 during regular business hours (7:30 am-4:30 pm) and (310) 653-3070 during non-business hours.

DCFS and FAO Joint Investigations

In the interest of personal safety, Family Advocacy Personnel and investigating CSWs will be escorted by LAAFB Security Forces to the base facility or residential unit during child abuse investigations. Subsequent contacts by DCFS staff will also involve coordination with LAAFB Security Forces. CSWs must work with local law enforcement authorities, per existing policies. Military officials may take legal and/or disciplinary action against a member of the military who they deem to be responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child, but this authority does not supersede the authority of civilian law enforcement, Dependency Court or DCFS in such cases.

The child(ren) of an active duty military member who is/are the victim(s) of alleged sexual or physical abuse must receive a medical examination. CSWs must arrange for medical examinations off-base in order to determine the best location and facility to perform the examination(s).

PROCEDURE

Referrals Regarding Children of Military Personnel

CPH CSW Responsibilities

  1. Complete the referral.
  2. Complete all required cross-reports.
    • When completing the SS 8572, manually input the cross-report address information to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 61st Security Forces Squadron, L.A. Air Force Base, 483 Aviation Blvd., El Segundo, CA 90245-2808, Telephone: (310) 653-5427, Fax: (310) 653-5427.
  3. Select a response time.
  4. Forward to CPH SCSW for approval.

CPH SCSW Responsibilities

  • Review the referral. Approve and assign the referral as appropriate. If not, take corrective action.

ER CSW Responsibilities

If the military parent does not live with the child and does not have frequent face-to-face contact with the child, no contact with the military is necessary. Proceed with investigation per existing policy.

  1. If the military parent lives with the child or has frequent face-to-face contact with the child, upon receipt of the referral, contact the Family Advocacy Officer at (310) 653-6860 during regular business hours (7:30 am-4:30 pm) and (310) 653-3070 during non-business hours to arrange entry on to the military base to interview the child and family.
    • The CSW will be escorted by base Security Force Personnel or, if appropriate, an agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.
  2. Conduct the investigation.
  3. Coordinate with the Family Advocacy Office any necessary medical examinations of the child.
  4. Review case status and report all findings to the Family Advocacy Office on an on-going basis. Work with the Family Advocacy Officer to determine the appropriate disposition of the referral.
  5. If it is necessary to take the child into temporary custody, do so in coordination with Los Angeles Air Force Base Security Forces.
    1. The CSW must coordinate the removal of a child with Los Angeles Air Force Base Security Forces to ensure easy access to the installation.
    2. If appropriate, the CSW may bring civilian law enforcement officers for primary support when taking a child into temporary custody.
  6. In cases where ongoing services will be provided, work with Family Advocacy Personnel to develop an appropriate case plan. This may include, but not limited to:
    • Military Human Services
    • Community Resources

ER SCSW Responsibilities

  • Review the referral prior to approving the disposition of the referral. Approve the disposition of the referral. If not approved, return to the CSW for corrective action.
APPROVALS

CPH SCSW Approval

  • Approve and assign the referral

ER SCSW Approval

  • Approve the disposition of a referral
  • Approve the removal of a child
HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

CWS/CMS

SS 8572, Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR)

REFERENCED POLICY GUIDES

0050-502.10, Child Protection Hotline (CPH)

0050-503.15, Response Times to Referrals

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

0070-548.20, Taking Children into Temporary Custody

0080-502.10, Case Plans

0600-500.00, Medical Hubs

STATUTES AND OTHER MANDATES

Welfare and Institutions Code 16504 - in part 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 24-hour response system.

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies andProcedures (MPP) Division 31-084.4 - sets forth the Emergency Response protocol and general intake requirements.

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies andProcedures (MPP) Division 31-125 - summarizes the protocol for the social worker initially investigating a referral to determine the potential for the existence of any condition(s) which places the child, or any other child in the family or household, at risk and in need of services and which would cause the child to be a person described by Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 300(a) through 300(j).

Back to Helpful Links