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 standard of practice (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 employees within the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) in one of the following divisions:
- The Division of Service Regions (DSR);
- The Division of Family Support (DFS); and
- The Division of Protection and Permanency (DPP).
This includes any individual that works for and/or is contracted to complete work on behalf of any of the three (3) divisions and/or is housed in an office with staff for any of these three (3) divisions.
- 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 DSR or designee within one (1) hour;
- Provides a copy of the DPP-115 to the DSR director or designee and the DPP assistant director, within twenty-four (24) hours, via e-mail, and regularly consults with the DSR director or designee regarding the investigation;
- Immediately notifies the SRA or designee of the region 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 DSR director 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 alternate duties until the completion of the investigation, the DSR director or designee consults with the commissioner, Office of Human Resource Management (OHRM), EKU (if it's a contract employee), and Office of Legal Services (OLS) regarding this decision. If the employee is given alternate duties:
- The decision is reviewed by the SRA or designee and DSR director 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 DSR director in consult with OLS, the DCBS commissioner, and OHRM or EKU if it's 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;
- Provides written updates to the DSR director or designee regarding the follow up tasks in need of completion and projected date of completion every ten (10) working days via e-mail, for employees placed on desk duty; and
- Provides written updates to the DSR director or designee and the Child Protection Branch regarding the follow up tasks in need of completion and projected date of completion every 30 (thirty) working days via email.
- In consult with the DSR director or designee, must approve any time frame extensions;
- Must notify the DSR director or designee 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), DSR director or designee, and the DCBS commissioner consult and review the assessment to determine if disciplinary or other personnel action is appropriate; and
- Of the employee’s service region of residence, in consultation with the DSR director or designee, 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 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 or designee:
- Maintains a process to track investigations involving DCBS employees.
Upon Completion of the Assessment:
- The SRA or designee submits the assessment to the DSR director or designee for dissemination to the Child Protection Branch or Adult Protection Branch for review within forty-five (45) calendar days.
- The Child or Adult Protection Branch manager 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 DSR director or designee'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.
- For APS notifications, follows procedures outlined in SOP 20.11 Completion and Distribution of Investigative Findings Notification.