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2005 Testimony

Testimony Before The House Human Services Committee

Clara Sue Price, Chairman

Child Protection Services - DHS duties

January 17, 2005

Chairman Price and members of the House Human Services Committee, I am Gladys Cairns. I serve as the administrator of child protection services for the Department of Human Services. I am here today to provide testimony on HB 1267 and offer an amendment for a word change.

In June of 2003 the National Child Abuse and Prevention And Treatment Act, which is the model act for our child abuse and neglect law, was amended. The amendments required several new provisions. North Dakota must certify that we have all 22 provisions in effect. Two of the new provisions correspond with the offered amendments to the North Dakota child abuse and neglect law in House bill 1267. Those provisions are:

“(xviii) provisions and procedures to require that a representative of the child protective services agency shall, at the initial time of contact with the individual subject to a child abuse and neglect investigation, advise the individual of the complaints or allegations made against the individual, in a manner that is consistent with laws protecting the rights of the informant;

(xix) provisions addressing the training of representatives of the child protective services system regarding the legal duties of the representatives, which may consist of various methods of informing such representatives of such duties, in order to protect the legal rights and safety of children and families from the initial time of contact during investigation through treatment;”

For your review, I have attached the policy developed to meet the first of these two provisions

I have attached for your review, a copy of a pamphlet entitled, “What Happens Next? A Guide to the North Dakota Child Protection Services”, which is provided to the caregiver in a report of suspected child abuse or neglect.

I have also attached the outline for the curriculum we now use for the training of social workers who provide child welfare services in North Dakota. We contract with the University of North Dakota for this training.

We do not currently provide training on the fourth amendment of the Constitution of the United States or section 8 of article I of the Constitution of North Dakota. Nor do we currently provide training to the social workers on the requirements for law enforcement officers on legal search or seizure.

Attached to this testimony is a fact sheet that provides you with information on North Dakota Child Protection Services.

I am asking the committee to consider an amendment to change the word “investigation” to “assessment” in lines 9 and 14. The law that this bill amends requires the department to “initiate an assessment, or cause an assessment, of any report of child abuse or neglect…”. The change from investigation to assessment happened in the '95 legislative session as a result of an interim study.

I would be pleased to answer any questions the committee members may have. Thank you.

Attachment 1 -policy

Attachment 2 -“What Happens Next?”

Attachment 3 -Training Curriculum

Attachment 4 -CPS Fact Sheet


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