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October 2003Vol. 4, No. 8Collaboration with Law Enforcement Found to Enhance Abuse Investigations

A collaborative effort between law enforcement and child protective services (CPS) is the preferred approach to investigating reports of child maltreatment, according to a recent study issued by the American Humane Association. Investigation Models for Child Abuse and Neglect--Collaboration with Law Enforcement is the second and final report in an effort to delineate the different models of collaboration between law enforcement and CPS being utilized in the United States, analyze how those models are implemented in practice, and determine how well they are working.

The analysis, completed with support from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and its Center for Community Partnerships in Child Welfare, explores how collaborative programs are being implemented at sites in six States: Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Utah, and Florida. Each site was selected to represent one of the following three models of CPS-law enforcement cooperation:

  1. Minimal law enforcement involvement or coordination (Wyoming)
  2. Joint or coordinated child abuse and neglect investigations (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, and Utah)
  3. Sole law enforcement investigation responsibility (Florida)

For each site, the report offers a description of the model, demographics of the setting, how the model works in policy and practice, strengths of the model, suggestions to better serve children and families, and outcomes data. The report also includes results of interviews with representatives from eight national organizations, to provide an overview of national collaboration trends. A 14-page executive summary collects overarching themes from the site visits, best practices, and practice concerns.

Investigation Models for Child Abuse and Neglect--Collaboration with Law Enforcement is available on the American Humane website at docID=1141.