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10-7106.


10-7106.


    A.  1.  Any county office of the Department of Human Services
receiving a child abuse or neglect report as provided in Section 7103
of this title shall promptly respond to the report by initiating an
investigation of the report or an assessment of the family in
accordance with priority guidelines established by the Department of
Human Services.  The Department may assign priorities to reports of
alleged child abuse or neglect based on the severity and immediacy of
the alleged harm to the child.  The Department shall adopt the
priority system pursuant to rules promulgated by the Commission for
Human Services.  The primary purpose of the investigation or
assessment shall be the protection of the child.
    2.  The Department, when feasible, shall designate certain staff
in each county office to only handle reports requiring an
investigation and shall designate other staff to conduct assessments
in response to reports which do not require an investigation.  In
county offices of the Department where an Integrated Family Services
Program exists, the Department shall utilize such program staff to
assist in linking families who have agreed to accept such services
with prevention and intervention-related services, and to assist in
the development of such services within the community.
    3.  If an investigation or assessment conducted by the Department
of Human Services in response to any report of child abuse or neglect
shows that the incident reported was the result of the reasonable
exercise of parental discipline as defined in Section 844 of Title 21
of the Oklahoma Statutes, the investigation or assessment will
proceed no further.  If such incident was the result of the
reasonable exercise of parental discipline, all records regarding the
incident shall be expunged.
    B.  As necessary to complete a thorough investigation or
assessment, the county office or the Department shall determine:
    1.  The nature, extent and cause of the abuse or neglect, if
applicable;
    2.  The identity of the person responsible for the abuse or
neglect, if applicable;
    3.  The names and conditions of any other children in the home;
    4.  An evaluation of the parents or persons responsible for the
care of the child;
    5.  The adequacy of the home environment;
    6.  The relationship of the child to the parents or persons
responsible for the care of the child;
    7.  Any service needs of the child and the parents or persons
responsible for the care of the child and any other children in the
home to reduce the potential for abuse and neglect; and
    8.  All other pertinent data.
    C.  1.  The investigation or assessment shall include a visit to
the child's home, unless there is reason to believe that there is an
extreme safety risk to the child or worker or it appears that the
referral has been made in bad faith, and shall also include an
interview with and examination of the subject child.  The interview
with and examination of the child may be conducted at any reasonable
time and at any place, including, but not limited to, the child's
school.  It shall be the responsibility of the Department of Human
Services to notify the parents of a child who has been interviewed at
a school.  The investigation or assessment may include an interview
with the child's parents or any other person responsible for a
child's health or welfare and an interview with and examination of
any child in the home.
    2.  The investigation or assessment may include a medical,
psychological, or psychiatric examination of any child in that home.
If admission to the home, school, or any place where the child may be
located cannot be obtained, then the district court having
jurisdiction, upon application by the district attorney and upon
cause shown, shall order the parents or other persons responsible for
the health or welfare of the child, or the person in charge of any
place where the child may be located, to allow entrance for the
interview, the examination and the investigation or assessment.  If
the parents or other persons responsible for the child's health or
welfare do not consent to a medical, psychological or psychiatric
examination of the child that is requested by the county office or
the Department, the district court having jurisdiction, upon
application by the district attorney and upon cause shown, shall
order the examination to be made at the times and places designated
by the court.  As necessary in the course of conducting an
investigation, the Department may request and obtain, without a court
order, copies of the prior medical records of a child including, but
not limited to, hospital records and medical and dental records.  The
physician-patient privilege shall not constitute grounds for failure
to produce such records.
    3.  The investigation or assessment may include an inquiry into
the possibility that the child, a parent or a person responsible for
the child's health or welfare has a history of mental illness.  If a
parent or person responsible for the child's health or welfare does
not allow the county office or the Department to have access to
mental health records or treatment plans, requested by the county
office or the Department, which may relate to the abuse or neglect,
the district court having jurisdiction, upon application by the
district attorney and upon good cause shown, shall by order allow the
county office or the Department to have access to the records
pursuant to terms and conditions prescribed by the court.
    4.   a.   If the court determines that the parent or person
              responsible for the child's health or welfare is
              indigent, the court shall appoint an attorney to
              represent the parent or person responsible for the
              child's health or welfare at the hearing to obtain
              mental health records.
         b.   A parent or person responsible for the child's health
              or welfare is entitled to notice and a hearing when the
              county office or the Department seeks a court order to
              allow a medical, psychological or psychiatric
              examination or access to mental health records.
         c.   Access to mental health records does not constitute a
              waiver of confidentiality.
    5.  The investigation of a report of sexual abuse or serious
physical abuse or both sexual abuse and serious physical abuse shall
be conducted, when appropriate and possible, using a
multidisciplinary approach.
    D.  The Department shall conduct an assessment in response to
reports initially referred for an investigation, if it is determined
that a complete investigation is not required.
    E.  The Department shall immediately commence an investigation if
it is determined, at any time during the assessment process, that an
investigation is warranted as provided for in the priority guidelines
established by the Department.
    F.  If, before the investigation is complete, the opinion of the
child protective services worker is that immediate removal of the
child is necessary to protect the child from further abuse or
neglect, the child protective services worker shall recommend that
the child be taken into custody pursuant to the Oklahoma Children's
Code.
    G.  The county office shall make a complete written report of the
investigation.  The report, together with its recommendations, shall
be submitted to the appropriate district attorney's office.
    H.  The Department shall identify prevention and intervention-
related services available in the community and arrange for such
services to be provided to the family when an investigation or
assessment indicates the family would benefit from such services, or
the Department may provide such services directly.  The Department
shall thoroughly document in the record its attempts to provide, or
arrange for the provision of, voluntary services and the reasons
these services are important to reduce the risk of future abuse or
neglect to the child.  If the family continues to refuse voluntary
services, and it is determined by the child protective services
worker that the child needs to be protected, the Department may
initiate an investigation.
    I.  Except as otherwise provided by the Oklahoma Child Abuse
Reporting and Prevention Act, the preliminary inquiry or
investigation of a child abuse or neglect report shall comply with
the provisions of Section 7003-1.1 of this title.
    J.  If the Department has reason to believe that a parent of the
child or other person may remove the child from the state before the
investigation is completed, the Department may request the district
attorney to file an application for a temporary restraining order in
any district court in the State of Oklahoma without regard to
continuing jurisdiction of the child.  After a hearing on the
application, the court may enter a temporary restraining order
prohibiting the parent or other person from removing the child from
the state pending completion of the investigation if the court finds
that the county office or the Department has probable cause to
conduct the investigation.



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