Families

1.3.4 Provincial Child Abuse Investigations

 

Volume 1: Agency Standards
Chapter 3: Child Protection Services
Section 4: Provincial Child Abuse Investigations
Approved: 2009/01/21
Last revised: 2020/02/28

 

This manual section pertains to child abuse investigations conducted or delegated by the Director of Child and Family Services.  It clarifies the roles and responsibilities of Designated Intake Agencies (DIA), licensing and placing agencies, and the Child and Family Services Branch (Branch).  DIA will complete the investigations of allegations of abuse against foster parents, as per criteria defined in the Foster Home Investigations Protocol, except in cases when the foster parents are also employed by a Child and Family Services agency. 

The Branch investigates all cases involving alleged abuse by a foster or place-of-safety parent who is also an employee of an agency or group care facility.

In the event there is a perceived or real conflict of interest the Authority may request investigative support from the Provincial Investigation (PI) Unit.

 

Standards
Policy
Legislation


 

Standards

  1. Reporting to Provincial Child Abuse Investigation Unit

    Foster Homes

    As per criteria in the Foster Home Investigation Protocol, for foster home allegations, the DIA in the geographical location of the foster home coordinates and completes the investigations.

    For Places of Safety allegations, the agency that designated the residence as a place of safety completes the investigation, unless the place of safety is also an employee.

    Group Care Facilities

    The licensee advises the guardian and if applicable the placing agency about the incident by phone or electronically as soon as possible. The Incident Report is completed by the staff person involved and submitted within five days.

    A copy of the Incident Report is given to the PI Unit only if the allegation is one of the below:

    • Current staff abuse allegations
    • Former staff abuse allegations
    • Allegations against staff working at the Manitoba Youth Centre or Agassiz Youth Centre  (there is an agreement between the Branch and Corrections to do these investigations under S4, not S18.6)
    • Restraints resulting in injury
  2. Agency Child Protection Records – On receiving information that a child is or might be in need of protection in a licensed foster home, the worker refers the matter to the DIA in the geographical location of where the foster home is located (as per criteria in the protocol).  The DIA then opens an Intake in accordance with the PI’s child protection records policy statement later in this section.  For a foster home, the DIA coordinates and ultimately conducts and concludes their investigation. For a Place of Safety the placing agency opens the IM and completes, coordinates and concludes their investigation. 

  3. Agency and Facility Personnel Records –  On receiving information on the results of a child abuse investigation conducted by the Child and Family Services Branch (see Findings and Conclusions in this section), a Child and Family Services agency or group care facility ensures a notation is made in the employee’s personnel file or volunteer’s file as to the results of the investigation and any disciplinary action taken.

 

 

Policy

Mandatory Provincial Child Abuse Investigations
Discretionary Provincial Child Abuse Investigations
Reporting Agency
Reporting to the Child and Family Services Branch
Foster Homes and Family Residences
Child Protection Records
Personnel Records
Findings and Conclusions

 

 

Mandatory Provincial Child Abuse Investigations

Child abuse investigations conducted by the Branch under section 18.6 of The Child and Family Service Act (The Act) are in addition to child protection investigations conducted by agencies. Section 18.6 does not replace an agency’s duty under section 18.4 to conduct a child protection investigation and to intervene to protect a child. The intent of section 18.6 is to minimize conflict of interest to agency persons conducting an investigation.

Provincial Child Abuse Investigations will include but are not limited to employees, board members and volunteers. Employees include regular field staff, supervisors, managers, homemakers, parent aides, child support workers, service-purchase staff, or any person that works for or volunteers for an agency or facility as defined in the Act.

 

 

Discretionary Provincial Child Abuse Investigations

The Director has discretionary powers under subsection 4(2) of The Actto conduct inquiries and carry out investigations with respect to the welfare of any child dealt with under The Act.

At the request of a Child and Family Services Authority, the Branch may investigate alleged abuse by a person who provides work for or provides services to an Authority.

While section 18.6 includes any place an agency places a child, the Branch (PI) may, with the authorities’ support and/or by request, conduct abuse investigations where a conflict of interest cannot be mitigated or requires a large-scale investigation due to multiple potential victims.

The Branch also provides case consultations and assists agencies in challenging investigations such as cases involving third-party child sexual exploitation or sexual exploitation networks (see Section 1.3.5 Child Sexual Exploitation).

 

 

Reporting Agency

Table 1 and 2 provides direction as to which agency is responsible for reporting the alleged abuse or abuse conclusion under section 18.6 to the Branch.

Table 1: Reporting agency

Suspected Abuser

Reporting Agency

Related Manual Sections

Agency employee or contractor

Employing or contracting agency, DIA or agency open to child

Section 1.4.2, Place of Safety (see Apartments and Houses),  other portions of this Section (1.3.4, Provincial C.A. Investigations)

Group care facility or treatment centre employee or contractor

Placing agency and group care facility 1,2

Volume 2, Facility Standards (see Policies and Procedures under Part 3)

Youth Correctional staff

Correctional facility or CFS agency

N/A (Section 4) of The Act



Table 2. Reporting of Conclusion to the Branch and Authority

Suspected Abuser

Reporting Agency

Related Manual Sections

Foster parent

DIA, and as applicable, licensing, guardian, placing and managing agencies

Section 1.5.4, Care Responsibilities (see Incident Reporting), other portions of this Section (1.3.4, Provincial C.A. Investigations), and Volume 2, Facility Standards (see Policies and Procedures under Part 3)

 

  1. When the alleged abuse occurred in a group care facility or treatment centre, the facility must report the incident to the Branch.  They must also report it to the guardian/placing agency, who will then report to the DIA and the foster parent’s licensing agency, as applicable
  2. When the alleged abuser works for or provides services to a group care facility or treatment centre, the placing agency may rely on the facility to report the details to the Branch. The placing agency, however, has the statutory duty to ensure the matter is reported to the Branch.

 

 

Reporting to the Child and Family Services Branch

The Branch has established procedures and forms for reporting suspected child abuse that falls under section 18.6 of The Act. They apply to Child and Family Services agencies and to group care facilities other than foster homes. Reporting is mandatory.

Agency reporting involves the following steps:

  1. The reporting agency contacts the PI Unit at the Branch within one working day of receiving information of suspected child abuse. Preliminary information about the incident or situation should include:
    • Name of the person suspected of abusing a child
    • Where the person works or provides services including as a foster parent or place-of-safety provider
    • Name and age or birth date of the child, if known
    • Legal status of the child (for example, living at home, in care, voluntary placement, order of guardianship)
    • Where and when the alleged abuse occurred.

  2. The reporting agency completes the provincial child abuse investigation referral form and submits it to PI within five working days of receiving information of the suspected abuse. The PI referral form (labelled “PI Referral Form”) is available through the Child and Family Services Information System or the Branch. The report may be sent by email to the PI specialist assigned to the case.

    • Group care facilities are required to report an incident involving suspected abuse of a resident to the Branch and the child’s placing agency. They must provide preliminary information to a licensing specialist at the Branch and the child’s case manager within one working day of receiving the information. They are also required to submit an incident report on the departmental incident reporting form to a licensing specialist within five working days of receiving the information of suspected abuse. The licensing agency provides a copy of the incident report to the PI Unit.  

    Foster Homes and Family Residences

    As per the Foster Home Abuse Investigation Protocol the DIA providing services in the geographical area in which the foster home is located is responsible to conduct the child abuse investigation. The agency that has approved a family residence as a place of safety is responsible to conduct the child abuse investigation.

    Agencies are to report the results of their investigations of alleged abuse of a child in a foster home by a foster parent to the Branch and Authority. The Branch investigates all cases involving alleged abuse by a foster or place-of-safety home operated by an employee of an agency or group care facility.

    When a perceived or actual conflict of interest cannot be addressed, the investigating agency must consider alternative ways to conduct the investigation. Options include requesting:

    • another agency to conduct the investigation as a courtesy,
    • the agency’s mandating Authority to assign another agency or to request assistance from another Authority, or
    • the assistance of the PI Unit

    The DIA is responsible for completion of the investigation in accordance with standards Section 1.1.1 Intake and Section 1.1.2 Assessment, subsection Child Protection Investigations.  The DIA then reports the detailed results of the investigation to the Director (via the PI Unit), to the licensing and placing agencies, the local Child Abuse Committees and the DIA’s mandating Authority.  

     

     

     

    Child Protection Records

    The agency that received the allegation/information refers the matter to the DIA responsible for conducting the investigation. The DIA creates a case record using the Intake Module. If the home is a Place of Safety, the proposed licensing or placing agency opens the Intake on the Intake Module and completes the investigation.

    If a case has been referred to the PI Unit for investigation, the Intake is closed, and the PI Unit opens a CFSIS PRT-M case to record their investigation and conclusion.

    When an incident of alleged abuse pertains to a foster home or family residence (see Foster Homes and Family Residences in this section), the PI Unit will not open a record unless it undertakes an investigation because the alleged abuser is also an employee of an agency or group care facility, or there are issues relating to conflict of interest that require provincial involvement.

     

    Personnel Records

    The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) applies to personnel records of provincial government departments and to external agencies designated as government agencies in Schedule B of the Access and Privacy Regulation

    Under subsection 76(3) of The Act, information concerning a child protection investigation placed on a personnel file should be identified and some caution clearly noted to indicate the information is subject to subsection 76(3) of The Act. For example, the identification of a source of referral must still be protected.

     

    Findings and Conclusions

    In compliance with subsection 76(3) of The Act and the Child Abuse Regulation, the PI Unit limits the sharing of detailed information regarding a child abuse investigation to Child and Family Services agencies and police directly involved in a case.  The Branch may also share details with a group care facility involved such as a group home, treatment centre or youth correction facility when necessary for the protection of other residents.

    Consistent with clauses 18.4(2) and (3) of The Act, the Branch may report the conclusions of its investigation to other parties involved or may rely on the DIA to do so. As a matter of policy, the Branch sends a letter summarizing the findings and conclusions to the alleged offender, guardian agency, and when applicable, to the alleged offender’s employer.  For children not in care of an agency, the Branch may contact the child’s guardian/parents to explain the results.

    Legislation

    Child and family services agencies are required under section 18.6 of The Child and Family Services Act to immediately report to Child Protection Branch alleged abuse by a person who provides work for or services to an agency or to a child care facility or other place where a child has been placed by the agency. The director must investigate the matter and take such further steps as required by the Act, prescribed by regulation, or as the director considers necessary.

    Section 1 of the Act defines a child care facility as foster home, group home, treatment centre or any other place designated in the regulations as a child care facility. Section 2 of the Child Care Facilities (Other than Foster Homes) Licensing Regulation lists the facilities to which the regulation applies.