Child protective and child welfare services are provided to families to protect children from child abuse and neglect. The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is the agency responsible for administering these services.
If an individual suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, that abuse or neglect can be reported to the DCYF Child Protective Services (CPS) office or to law enforcement. If the CPS determines that the report is credible and meets screening criteria, it will assign either a 24-hour investigation response or 72-hour family assessment response, depending on the severity of the allegation.
Anyone, including the DCYF, may file a petition in court alleging that a child should be a dependent of the state due to abuse, neglect, or because there is no parent, guardian, or custodian capable of adequately caring for the child. If a court determines that a child is dependent, the court will conduct periodic reviews and make determinations regarding the child's placement, provision of services by the DCYF, compliance of the parents, and whether progress has been made by the parents.
By September 1, 2023, the DCYF, in consultation with the Department of Health, must produce and make available to the DCYF staff a child malnutrition field guide. This field guide must:
(In support) The reasons that this bill is needed are tragic ones. A young man with developmental disabilities died of starvation six days after the CPS visited him and his malnourished siblings. Their guardians used food as a disciplinary method, and the person who died was 15 years old and weighed only 60 to 70 pounds. The investigation began long before with several complaints. This may seem like a small step, but it is an important step that must be taken to help the CPS identify and report accurately when they come across a child who is malnourished.