The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 33: Human Services

Chapter 49: CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

Sub-Chapter 02: Reporting Abuse Of Children

33 V.S.A. § 4915b. Procedures for investigation



§ 4915b. Procedures for investigation

(a) An investigation, to the extent that it is reasonable under the facts and circumstances presented by the particular allegation of child abuse, 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 observation 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, a child care provider regulated by the Department, or a nurse.

(3) Determination of the nature, extent, and cause of any abuse or neglect.

(4) Determination of the identity of the person alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect.

(5)(A) The identity, by name, of any other children living in the same home environment as the subject child. 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.

(B) The identity, by name, of any other children who may be at risk if the abuse was alleged to have been committed by someone who is not a member of the subject child's household. 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 or other environment.

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

(8) All other data deemed pertinent.

(b) For cases investigated and substantiated by the Department, the Commissioner shall, to the extent that it is reasonable, provide assistance to the child and the child's family. For cases investigated but not substantiated by the Department, the Commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, provide assistance to the child and the child's family. Nothing contained in this section or section 4915a of this title shall be deemed to create a private right of action.

(c) The Commissioner, designee, or any person required to report under section 4913 of this title or any other person performing an investigation may take or cause to be taken photographs of trauma visible on a child who is the subject of a report. The Commissioner or designee may seek consultation with a physician. If it is indicated appropriate by the physician, the Commissioner or 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.

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

(e) The Department shall report to and request assistance from law enforcement in the following circumstances:

(1) investigations of child sexual abuse by an alleged perpetrator age 10 or older;

(2) investigations of serious physical abuse or neglect likely to result in criminal charges or requiring emergency medical care;

(3) situations potentially dangerous to the child or department worker.

(f) The Department shall not substantiate cases in which neglect is caused solely by the lack of financial resources of the parent or guardian. (Added 2007, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)