Colorado Revised Statutes Title 19. Children's Code § 19-3-308. Action upon report of intrafamilial, institutional, or third-party abuse--investigations--child protection team--rules--report

(1)(a) The county department shall respond immediately upon receipt of any report of a known or suspected incident of intrafamilial abuse or neglect to assess the abuse involved and the appropriate response to the report.  The assessment shall be in accordance with rules adopted by the state board of social services to determine the risk of harm to such child and the appropriate response to such risks.  Appropriate responses shall include, but are not limited to, screening reports that do not require further investigation, providing appropriate intervention services, pursuing reports that require further investigation, and conducting immediate investigations.  The immediate concern of any assessment or investigation shall be the protection of the child, and, where possible, the preservation of the family unit.

(c) It shall be an appropriate response to a report of a known or suspected incident of intrafamilial abuse or neglect for a county department to require a parent or a child placement agency assisting a parent to verify that a petition for relinquishment has been filed or is imminent and to deem that a report does not require additional investigation pending finalization of the relinquishment in the following circumstance:

(I) When the report of a known or suspected incident of intrafamilial abuse or neglect involves a case in which the child tests positive at birth for either a schedule I or a schedule II controlled substance;  and

(II) The parents of the child have filed or a child placement agency assisting the parents has filed a petition for relinquishment or anticipates filing a petition for relinquishment pursuant to the expedited relinquishment process described in section 19-5-103.5 .

(1.5)(a) Upon referral to the county department, the county department shall assess the possibility of abuse or neglect.

(b) If, during the investigation and assessment process, the county department determines that the family's issues may be attributable to the child's mental health status, rather than dependency or neglect issues, and that mental health treatment services pursuant to section 27-67-104 may be more appropriate, the county department shall contact the mental health agency, as that term is defined in section 27-67-103(10) .  Within ten days after the commencement of the investigation, the county department shall meet with a representative from the mental health agency and the family.  The county department, in conjunction with the mental health agency, shall jointly determine whether mental health services should be provided pursuant to section 27-67-104 or whether the provision of services through the county department is more appropriate.

(c) On and after April 15, 2010, if a county department of human or social services that is participating in the differential response program pursuant to section 19-3-308.3 determines from an assessment performed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (1.5) that the known or suspected incident of intrafamilial abuse or neglect that was the basis for the assessment is of low or moderate risk, the county department, in lieu of performing an investigation pursuant to this section, may proceed in accordance with the provisions of section 19-3-308.3 .

(2) The investigation, to the extent that it is reasonably possible, shall include:

(a) The credibility of the source or the report;

(b) The nature, extent, and cause of the abuse or neglect;

(c) The identity of the person responsible for such abuse or neglect;

(d) The names and conditions of any other children living in the same place;

(e) The environment and the relationship of any children therein to the person responsible for the suspected abuse or neglect;

(f) All other data deemed pertinent.

(3)(a) The investigation shall include an interview with or observance of the child who is the subject of a report of abuse or neglect.  The investigation may include a visit to the child's place of residence or place of custody or wherever the child may be located, as indicated by the report.  In addition, in connection with any investigation, the alleged perpetrator shall be advised as to the allegation of abuse and neglect and the circumstances surrounding such allegation and shall be afforded an opportunity to respond.

(b) If admission to the child's place of residence cannot be obtained, the juvenile court or the district court with juvenile jurisdiction, upon good cause shown, shall order the responsible person or persons to allow the interview, examination, and investigation.  Should the responsible person or persons refuse to allow the interview, examination, and investigation, the juvenile court or the district court with juvenile jurisdiction shall hold an immediate proceeding to show cause why the responsible person or persons shall not be held in contempt of court and committed to jail until such time as the child is produced for the interview, examination, and investigation or until information is produced that establishes that said person or persons cannot aid in providing information about the child.  Such person or persons may be held without bond.  During the course of any such hearing, the responsible person or persons, or any necessary witness, may be granted use immunity by the district attorney against the use of any statements made during such hearing in a subsequent or pending criminal action.

(4)(a) The county department, except as provided in subsections (5) and (5.3) of this section, shall be the agency responsible for the coordination of all investigations of all reports of known or suspected incidents of intrafamilial abuse or neglect.  The county department shall arrange for such investigations to be conducted by persons trained to conduct either the complete investigation or such parts thereof as may be assigned.  The county department shall conduct the investigation in conjunction with the local law enforcement agency, to the extent a joint investigation is possible and deemed appropriate, and any other appropriate agency.  The county department may arrange for the initial investigation to be conducted by another agency with personnel having appropriate training and skill.  The county department shall provide for persons to be continuously available to respond to such reports.  Contiguous counties may cooperate to fulfill the requirements of this subsection (4).  The county department or other agency authorized to conduct the investigation pursuant to this subsection (4), for the purpose of such investigation, shall have access to the records and reports of child abuse or neglect maintained by the state department for information under the name of the child or the suspected perpetrator.

(b) Upon the receipt of a report, if the county department reasonably believes that an incident of intrafamilial abuse or neglect has occurred, it shall immediately offer social services to the child who is the subject of the report and his family and may file a petition in the juvenile court or the district court with juvenile jurisdiction on behalf of such child.  If, before the investigation is completed, the opinion of the investigators is that assistance of the local law enforcement agency is necessary for the protection of the child or other children under the same care, the local law enforcement agency shall be notified.  If immediate removal is necessary to protect the child or other children under the same care from further abuse, the child or children may be placed in protective custody in accordance with sections 19-3-401(1)(a) and 19-3-405 .

(c) Upon the receipt of a report, if the county department assessment concludes that a child has been a victim of intrafamilial, institutional, or third-party abuse or neglect in which he or she has been subjected to human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude, as described in section 18-3-504 , or commercial sexual exploitation of a child, it shall, when necessary and appropriate, immediately offer social services to the child who is the subject of the report and to his or her family, and it may file a petition in the juvenile court or the district court with juvenile jurisdiction on behalf of such child.  If, at any time after the commencement of an investigation, the county department has reasonable cause to suspect that the child or any other child under the same care is a victim of human trafficking, the county department shall notify the local law enforcement agency as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so.  If immediate removal is necessary to protect the child or other children under the same care from further abuse, the child or children may be placed in protective custody in accordance with sections 19-3-401(1)(a) and 19-3-405 .  In instances of third-party abuse or neglect as it relates to human trafficking, a county department of human or social services may, but is not required to, interview the person alleged to be responsible for the abuse or neglect or prepare an investigative report pursuant to subsection (5.3)(a) of this section.  If a county department elects to interview the third-party individual, it shall first confer with its local law enforcement agency.

(4.5)(a) The state department shall adopt rules setting forth procedures for the investigation of reports of institutional abuse.  Such rules may provide for investigations to be conducted by an agency that contracts with the state and has staff trained to conduct investigations, the county departments, or any other entity the state department deems appropriate.  The procedures may include the use of a review team responsible to make recommendations to the state department concerning the procedures for investigating institutional abuse.

(a.5)(I) The state department shall adopt rules that specify that, prior to notice of an investigation being sent to the parents or legal guardians of children cared for at a child care center, as that term is defined in section 26-6-102(5), C.R.S ., or a family child care home, as that term is defined in section 26-6-102(13), C.R.S ., which children were not involved in the incident being investigated, the state department or the county department shall ensure that:

(A) The incident of alleged child abuse or neglect that prompted the investigation is at the level of a medium, severe, or fatal incident of abuse or neglect, as defined by rule of the state board, or involves sexual abuse;

(B) The state department or county department has made a determination as to whether notice to the parents or legal guardians of the uninvolved children is essential to the investigation of the specific allegation or is necessary for the safety of children cared for at the facility;  and

(C) The state department or county department has stated in writing the basis for the determination and a state department or county department supervisor has provided written approval of the determination, which basis and approval may be in electronic form.

(II) The rules adopted pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a.5) shall require the notice of investigation to be sent to the parents or legal guardians within seventy-two hours after the determination described in sub-subparagraph (B) of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a.5) is made.

(b) If, as a result of an investigation conducted pursuant to rules adopted in accordance with this subsection (4.5), institutional abuse is found to have occurred, the entity that conducted such investigation may:

(I) If the institutional abuse is the result of a single act or occurrence at the facility, request that the owner, operator, or administrator of the facility formulate a plan of remedial action.  Such request shall be made within a period established by the state department.  Within thirty days of the agency's request, the owner, operator, or administrator of the facility shall notify the agency, in writing, of a plan for remedial action.  Within ninety days of the request, the owner, operator, or administrator shall complete the plan for remedial action.

(II) If the institutional abuse is one of several similar incidents that have occurred at the facility, request that the owner, operator, or administrator of the facility make administrative, personnel, or structural changes at the facility.  Such request shall be made within a period established by the state department.  Within thirty days of such request, the owner, operator, or administrator of the facility shall notify the agency of the progress in complying with the request.  The agency and the owner, operator, or administrator shall establish the period in which the requested changes shall be completed.

(III) If an owner, operator, or administrator of a facility does not formulate or implement a plan for remedial action in accordance with subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b) or make requested changes in accordance with subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (b), recommend to the entity that licenses, oversees, certifies, or authorizes the operation of the facility that appropriate sanctions or actions be imposed against the facility.

(c) A teacher, employee, volunteer, or staff person of an institution who is alleged to have committed an act of child abuse shall be temporarily suspended from his position at the institution with pay, or reassigned to other duties which would remove the risk of harm to the child victim or other children under such person's custody or control, if there is reasonable cause to believe that the life or health of the victim or other children at the institution is in imminent danger due to continued contact between the alleged perpetrator and a child at the institution.  A public employee suspended pursuant to this paragraph (c) shall be accorded and may exercise due process rights, including notice of the proposed suspension and an opportunity to be heard, and any other due process rights provided under the laws of this state governing public employment and under any applicable individual or group contractual agreement.  A private employee suspended pursuant to this subsection (4.5) shall be accorded and may exercise due process rights provided for under the laws of this state governing private employment and under any applicable individual or group employee contractual agreement.

(d) Nothing in this subsection (4.5) shall be construed to abrogate or limit any other enforcement action provided by law.

(5) If a local law enforcement agency receives a report of a known or suspected incident of intrafamilial abuse or neglect, it shall forthwith attempt to contact the county department in order to refer the case for investigation.  If the local law enforcement agency is unable to contact the county department, it shall forthwith make a complete investigation and may institute appropriate legal proceedings on behalf of the subject child or other children under the same care.  As a part of an investigation pursuant to this subsection (5), the local law enforcement agency shall have access to the records and reports of child abuse or neglect maintained by the state department for information under the name of the child or the suspected perpetrator.  The local law enforcement agency, upon the receipt of a report and upon completion of any investigation it may undertake, shall forthwith forward a summary of the investigatory data plus all relevant documents to the county department.

(5.3)(a) Local law enforcement agencies have the responsibility for the coordination and investigation of all reports of third-party abuse or neglect by persons ten years of age or older.  Upon receipt of a report, if the local law enforcement agency reasonably believes that the protection and safety of a child is at risk due to an act or omission on the part of persons responsible for the child's care, such agency shall notify the county department of human or social services for an assessment regarding neglect or dependency.  In addition, the local law enforcement agency shall refer to the county department of human or social services any report of third-party abuse or neglect in which the person allegedly responsible for such abuse or neglect is under age ten.  Upon the completion of an investigation, the local law enforcement agency shall forward a copy of its investigative report to the county department of human or social services.  The county department shall review the law enforcement investigative report and shall determine whether the report contains information that constitutes a case of confirmed child abuse and requires it to be submitted to the state department, which report, upon such determination, shall be submitted to the state department in the manner prescribed by the state department within sixty days after the receipt of the report by the county department.

(b) If, before an investigation is completed, the local law enforcement agency determines that social services are necessary for the child and, if applicable, the child's family or that assistance from the county department of human or social services is otherwise required, the agency may request said services or assistance from the county department.  The county department shall immediately respond to a law enforcement agency's request for services or assistance in a manner deemed appropriate by the county department.

(c) When the investigation involves a suspected perpetrator who was acting in his official capacity as an employee of a school district, the local law enforcement agency shall coordinate such investigation with any concurrent abuse investigation being conducted by the department of education or the school district to the extent such coordination is possible and deemed appropriate.

(5.5) Upon the receipt of a report, if the county department reasonably believes that an incident of abuse or neglect has occurred, it shall immediately notify the local law enforcement agency responsible for investigation of violations of criminal child abuse laws.  The local law enforcement agency may conduct an investigation to determine if a violation of any criminal child abuse law has occurred.  It is the general assembly's intent that, in each county of the state, law enforcement agencies and the respective county departments of human or social services develop and implement cooperative agreements to coordinate duties of both agencies in connection with the investigation of all child abuse or neglect cases and that the focus of such agreements is to ensure the best protection for the child.  The agreements must provide for special requests by one agency for assistance from the other agency and for joint investigations by both agencies.

(5.7) Upon initial investigation of a report alleging abuse or neglect in which the suspected perpetrator was acting in his official capacity as an employee of a school district, if the county department or the local law enforcement agency reasonably believes that an incident of abuse or neglect has occurred, it shall immediately notify the superintendent of the school district who shall consider such report to be confidential information;  except that the superintendent shall notify the department of education of such investigation.

(6)(a) It is the intent of the general assembly to encourage the creation of one or more child protection teams in each county or contiguous group of counties.  The creation of a child protection team in any given county is left to the discretion of the county director or the directors of a contiguous group of counties.  If a county director or the directors of a contiguous group of counties decides to form a child protection team, the child protection team may be consolidated with other local advisory boards pursuant to section 24-1.7-103 .  If a child protection team is formed pursuant to this section in a county or contiguous group of counties, the director or directors of the county department or departments of human or social services may, at their discretion, implement the provisions of this section.

(b) If a child protection team is established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section, it may review an assessment or the investigatory reports of a case, including the diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment services being offered to the family in connection with the reported abuse.

(c) At each meeting, each member of a child protection team established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section may be provided with the investigatory reports on each assessment or case being considered.

(f) Immediately after any executive session at which a child abuse or neglect case is discussed, a child protection team established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section shall publicly review the responses of public and private agencies to each reported incident of child abuse or neglect, publicly state whether the responses were timely, adequate, and in compliance with the provisions of this part 3, and publicly report nonidentifying information relating to any inadequate responses, specifically indicating the public and private agencies involved.

(g) After this mandatory public discussion of agency responses, a child protection team established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section shall go into executive session upon the vote of a majority of the child protection team members to consider identifying details of the case being discussed;  discuss confidential reports, including but not limited to the reports of physicians, including psychiatrists;  or, when the members of the child protection team desire, act as an advisory body concerning the details of treatment or evaluation programs.  The child protection team shall state publicly, before going into executive session, its reasons for doing so.  Any recommendation based on information presented in the executive session shall be discussed and formulated at the immediately succeeding public session of the child protection team, without publicly revealing identifying details of the case.

(h) At the next regularly scheduled meeting of a child protection team established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section, or at the earliest possible time, the child protection team shall publicly report whether there were any lapses and inadequacies in the child protection system and if they have been corrected.

(i) A child protection team established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section may make a report of its recommendations to the county department with suggestions for further action or stating that the child protection team has no recommendations or suggestions.  Contiguous counties may cooperate in meeting the requirements of this subsection (6).

(7) If a county or group of contiguous counties decides to establish a child protection team pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section, each member of the child protection team is appointed by the agency he or she represents, and each child protection team member serves at the pleasure of his or her appointing agency;  except that the county director may appoint the representatives of the lay community, including the representatives of any ethnic, racial, or linguistic minority, as well as persons with disabilities, and may actively recruit all interested individuals and consider their applications for appointment as lay-community representatives on the team.

(8) The county director or his or her designee is the local coordinator of the child protection team, if one is established pursuant to subsection (6)(a) of this section.

(10) In the event that the local department initiates a petition in the juvenile court or the district court with juvenile jurisdiction on behalf of the child who is the subject of a report, the department shall notify, in writing, the guardian ad litem appointed by the court under section 19-3-312 to represent the child's interest.  Such notice shall include:

(a) The reason for initiating the petition;

(b) Suggestions as to the optimum disposition of this particular case;  and

(c) Suggested therapeutic treatment and social services available within the community for the subject child and the responsible person.

(11) Upon a finding that a report contains information that constitutes a case of confirmed child abuse or neglect that requires it to be submitted to the state department, the person who is found to be responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child in the confirmed report shall be given timely notice of this finding and of the right to appeal pursuant to rules established by the state board pursuant to section 19-3-313.5(3) .

(12) The state department shall include a summary and description of work of child protection teams that were implemented pursuant to this section in its annual presentation to the legislative committees during the committees' hearings held prior to the 2017 regular session under the “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act”, part 2 of article 7 of title 2.


FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.

Copied to clipboard