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NO. 78. AN ACT RELATING TO CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATION INTERVIEWS OF OTHER CHILDREN IN THE SAME HOME.

(H.114)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 33 V.S.A. § 4915 is amended to read:

§ 4915. INVESTIGATION; REMEDIAL ACTION

(a) The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services shall cause an investigation to commence within *[seventy-two]* 72 hours after receipt of a report made pursuant to section 4914 of this title.

(b) The investigation, to the extent that it is reasonable, shall include all of the following:

(1) A visit to the child's place of residence or place of custody and to the location of the alleged abuse or neglect*[;]* .

(2) An interview with, or observance of the child reportedly having been abused or neglected. If the investigator elects to interview the child, that interview may take place without the approval of the child's parents, guardian or custodian, provided that it takes place in the presence of a disinterested adult who may be, but shall not be limited to being, a teacher, a member of the clergy, or a nurse*[;]* .

(3) *[The]* Determination of the nature, extent, and cause of *[the]* any abuse or neglect*[;]* .

(4) *[The]* Determination of the identity of the person alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect*[;]* .

(5) *[The names and conditions of any other children living in the same home environment;]* The identity, by name, of any other children living in the same home environment. The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, unless the child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(6) A determination of the immediate and long-term risk to each child if that child remains in the existing home environment*[;]* .

(7) *[The]* Consideration of the environment and the relationship of any children therein to the person alleged to be responsible for the suspected abuse or neglect*[; and]* .

(8) All other data deemed pertinent.

(c) If the investigation produces evidence that the child has been abused or neglected, the commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, cause assistance to be provided to the child and the child's family in accordance with a written plan of treatment.

(d) The commissioner, *[his]* designee, or any person required to report under section 4913 or any other person performing an investigation pursuant to section 4914 may take or cause to be taken, photographs of trauma visible on a child who is the subject of a report. The commissioner or *[his]* designee may seek consultation with a physician. If it is indicated as appropriate by the physician, the commissioner or *[his]* designee may cause the child who is subject of a report to undergo a radiological examination, without the consent of the child's parent or guardian.

(e) Services may be provided to the child's immediate family whether or not the child remains in the home.

Approved: April 10, 2000