Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

20.2 General Interviewing Guidelines

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 20-APS Investigations and Assessment
Effective:
6/8/2018
Section:
20.2 General Interviewing Guidelines
Version:
4

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Legal Authority/Introduction

LEGAL AUTHORITY:

Procedure

The SSW completes the following steps when conducting interviews during an adult protective services investigation:

  1. Identifies self and states the purpose of the interview;
  2. Conducts face to face interviews in private, if possible;
  3. Explains the statutory responsibility to investigate;
  4. Allows the alleged victim and alleged perpetrator to respond to allegations, as appropriate;
  5. Encourages the alleged victim, alleged perpetrator and collaterals to give a complete account of the situation;
  6. Determines relationships to and attitude toward the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator;
  7. Determines if a pattern of abuse, neglect or exploitation exists;
  8. Determines severity and frequency of the abuse, neglect or exploitation;
  9. Observes non-verbal communication;
  10. Identifies physical and behavioral indicators of abuse, neglect or exploitation;
  11. Coordinates specialized multidisciplinary teams to investigate reports, when possible.
  12. When appropriate, shares findings and observations with the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator sharing details of action plans or recommendations;
  13. Keeps the name of the informant confidential;
  14. When appropriate, focuses the interview with the alleged perpetrator on actions to be taken to remedy the abuse, neglect or exploitation; and
  15. Gives special consideration and accommodation to disabled individuals;
  16. Determines, through discussion with the victim, his/her wishes and offers alternatives;
  17. Ascertains if there are other service needs not stated in the report; and
  18. Provides referral information or services.

Practice Guidance

  • When a person with a serious mental illness, resides in a personal care home (PCH) or is at risk of entry into a PCH he/she may apply and be provided services in an integrated setting.  Anyone who meets the criteria below may be considered for these services, whether or not they have a guardian. 
    • Eligibility criteria mandate that the person must be: 
    • At least 18 years old;
    • Currently residing in a PCH or is at risk of entry into a PCH;
    • Receiving or eligible for state supplementation; and
    • Diagnosed with a serious mental illness.
  • The referral form is available here:  http://dbhdid.ky.gov/ISA.
  • The SSW may assist the person with serious mental illness in completing the form.

Below are guidelines for interviewing different people who may be involved in an adult protective services investigation:

  • Alleged victim:
    • An adult protective services investigation includes a personal interview with the alleged victim and includes a face-to-face contact, if possible. DCBS staff can only make photographs, audio or video recordings with the express permission of the alleged victim.  If the alleged victim is unable to provide consent and the responsible party is not present or is the alleged perpetrator, it is preferred that staff request assistance from law enforcement in obtaining photographs or recordings.
    • Provides notice that they will be provided notification of the findings upon completion of the investigation.
  • Guardian/conservator:
    • If the alleged victim has a guardian or conservator, an interview with the guardian or conservator may be a part of the investigation.  The purpose of the interview is to explain SSW's role and obtain pertinent information.
    • Provides notice that they will be provided notification of tehe findings upon completion of the investigation.
  • Alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect or exploitation:
    • An interview with the alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect or exploitation may not be in the best interest of the victim;
    • The SSW advises the alleged victim if the alleged perpetrator is to be interviewed;
    • If there are concerns about whether to interview or share information with the alleged perpetrator , the SSW discusses the situation with the FSOS or designee prior to initiation of contact;
    • The SSW advises the alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect or exploitation that an interview is part of a protective services investigation;
    • If the alleged perpetrator makes an admission regarding the abuse, neglect or exploitation the SSW may attempt to get a written statement or have a witness to the admission.
  • Alleged perpetrator who is an employee or volunteer of an adult care provider or who is otherwise acting with an expectation of compensation who is in a caregiving role:
    • Provides alleged perpetrator, during interview, with notice of basic allegations, void of any specifics that may compromise the investigation or the safety of the victim;
    • Provides notice that they will be provided notification of the findings upon completion of the investigation, hearing procedures and rights and a statement that a validated substantiated finding will be reported on the Caregiver Misconduct Registry.
  • Collaterals:
    • In the course of the investigation collateral contacts may be necessary.  Anyone having pertinent information may be interviewed.  Collateral contacts may be family members, neighbors, witnesses, the reporting source, physicians, medical personnel, members of a faith based organization of the alleged victim, residents in alternate care facilities, court personnel, or law enforcement officials, etc.  The SSW may use the following guidelines when conducting interviews with collateral contacts:
      • Identify yourself;
      • State the purpose of the interview in accordance with confidentiality guidelines;
      • Obtain relevant information; and
      • Determine relationship to and attitude toward the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator.
  • Administrator or designee:
    • In alternate care facilities, the SSW informs the administrator or designee that a protective services investigation is being conducted.  The alleged victim and any other individuals are interviewed in private.

Below are guidelines regarding the review of different types of records that may be available during an adult protective services investigation:

  • Mental and physical health records:
    • When available, mental and physical health records necessary to complete the investigation are reviewed by the SSW and copies obtained, if possible, to be included in the report.  The SSW consults with a regional nurse consultant or a nurse service administrator if necessary;
      • If an institution does not allow access to medical records, the SSW may be able to gain access by using the DCBS-1 Informed Consent and Release of Information and Records  and DCBS-1A Informed Consent and Release of Information and Records Supplement; or
      • If the SSW has difficulty accessing records, the SSW may send a APS HIPAA Letter for Release of Information requesting the records.  The letter must be approved and signed by the FSOS (see page two of letter).
  • Financial records:
    • The SSW may review financial records including savings and checking account statements, financial eligibility and assistance records, disability or retirement income records and property valuation records. 
    • If a financial institution does not allow access to financial records, the SSW may be able to gain access by using the DCBS-1 and DCBS-1A; or
    • If the SSW has difficulty accessing records, the SSW may send a letter from the CHFS General Counsel requesting the records.  The letter must be approved and signed by the FSOS (see page two of letter).  If records are still not released, the Office of Legal Services may be consulted with supervisory approval and a petition for a court order to release financial information needed to complete an investigation may be requested.
  • Law enforcement records:
    • Police records, mental inquest, disability, probate records or other legal documents may be reviewed to complete the investigation and copies may be obtained, if possible, to be included in the investigative report;
    • The SSW may request a criminal records check through the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) at any time during the investigation or provision of ongoing services; and
    • The criminal records check may be requested on any household member, the alleged victim, the alleged perpetrator or the caretaker.
  • Voluntary statements:
    • A written voluntary statement regarding the alleged incident of abuse, neglect or exploitation may be obtained if it is pertinent to the case and the alleged victim, alleged perpetrator, witness(es) or others are willing;
    • The statement is prepared, signed and dated by the person providing the statement and witnessed by the SSW; 
    • The SSW advises the person making the voluntary statement that statements may be shared with authorized agencies or the court and court testimony may be required.
 

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