Employee investigations should be conducted objectively, with privacy, and confidentiality that meets the public expectation for accountability. The investigating region is responsible for all notifications set forth in this SOP. Procedures for employee investigations are utilized when a referral is received where an employee or an employee’s household member is in a caretaking role and:
- Is an alleged perpetrator in an Adult Protective Services (APS) or Child Protective Services (CPS) referral; or
- Resides in the home where an APS or CPS incident allegedly occurred.
For the purposes of employee investigations, an employee includes: Protection and Permanency (P&P) staff, Family Support staff, and any contract person supervised by the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) and housed in a DCBS office.
- Submits the DPP-115-Confidential Suspected Abuse/Neglect, Dependency or Exploitation Reporting Form to the SRA or designee, through supervisory channels, within one (1) hour of receipt;
- Secures the hard copy case record and makes the case controlled access in TWIST; 1
- Follows guidelines in SOP 20 APS Investigations and Assessment, or SOP 2 Child Protective Services (CPS) Intake and Investigation;
- Consults with the employee subject to an investigation concerning the location of any interviews or meetings in order to maintain the employee’s confidentiality; and 2
- Complies with SOP regarding timeframes for completion of the investigation.
The SRA or designee:
- Contacts the Director of Service Regions (DSR) within one (1) hour;
- Provides a copy of the DPP-115 to the Director of Service Regions and the Assistant Director of Protection & Permanency, within twenty-four (24) hours, via e-mail, and regularly consults with the Director of Service Regions regarding the investigation;
- Immediately notifies the SRA where the employee’s workstation is located, if the employee’s workstation is located in a different region from where the alleged incident occurred; 3
- Completes the following steps, if the alleged incident occurred in the same region where the employee’s workstation is located:
- Consults with the Director of Service Regions or designee regarding:
- The assignment of the investigation;
- Investigations involving supervisors or other regional office staff so that the investigation may be assigned to an adjoining region;
- Whether it is necessary for the employee to be assigned to alternate duties until the completion of the investigation, the Director of Service Regions consults with the Commissioner, Office of Human Resource Management (or EKU if a contract employee), and Office of Legal Services regarding this decision. If the employee is given alternate duties:
- The decision is reviewed by the SRA or designee and Director of Service Regions or designee every ten (10) working days until the completion of the investigation; and
- The decision to return the employee to regular duty is reviewed by the Director of Service Regions in consult with Office of Legal Services, the Commissioner and Office of Human Resource Management (or EKU if a contract employee);
- Ensures the investigation is assigned:
- In another county within the region, but not in the same county in which the employee is currently working or lives;
- To a staff person without knowledge of the employee being investigated;
- To an experienced staff person; and
- To ensure that support and technical assistance are readily available;
- Ensures the SRCA or SRAA, not in the chain of command for the employee being investigated, consults with the investigator on the investigation; and
- Provides written updates to the Director of Service Regions or designee and the Assistant Director of Protection & Permanency regarding the progress of the investigation every ten (10) working days via e-mail;
- In consult with the Director of Service Regions or designee must approve any time frame extensions;
- Must notify the Director of Service Regions if an extension is granted;
- Submits a memorandum (through supervisory channels) to the appointing authority (or EKU if a contract employee) setting forth a summary of allegations and findings, and attaches the assessment for review if the allegation is substantiated against the employee;
- Along with the appointing authority (or EKU if a contract employee), Director of Service Regions or designee and the Commissioner consult and review the assessment to determine if disciplinary or other personnel action is appropriate;
- Of the employee’s service region of residence, in consultation with the Director of Service Regions, determines whether ongoing services for the employee, the employee’s spouse, partner or household member will be provided by another county within the region, or whether the case is to be referred to another region for such services.
The SSW, FSOS or regional management:
- Consults with the central office Child Protection Branch or Adult Protection Branch staff as needed during the investigation and prior to the submission of the assessment.
The Director of Service Regions:
- Maintains a process to “track” investigations involving DCBS employees.
Upon Completion of the Assessment:
- The SRA or designee submits the assessment to the Director of Service Regions and the Assistant Director of P&P for review within forty-five (45) calendar days.
- The Assistant Director of P&P recommends when final approval of the assessment is to occur and DSR provides the final approval to the region .
- The SSW, after notification of the Director of Service Region's final approval of the assessment:
- Notifies the alleged perpetrator or the victim’s parent(s) or guardian of any findings;
- Sends notification of a substantiated finding involving a DCBS employee; and
- Follows procedures outlined in SOP 2.15 Specialized Investigations when sending notification of a substantiated or unsubstantiated findings to the:
- Alleged perpetrator (sent to each perpetrator via certified, restricted mail, along with the DPP-155-Request for Appeal of Child Abuse or Neglect Investigative Finding when the finding is substantiated); and
- Parent or guardian.