of Child and Family Policy


Department of Children and Family Services


Index No: 99.21


Issuance Date:  September 23, 1999


Origin of Request: Office of Inspector General


Distribution: X, Z, and C-3


Key Words: credible evidence, mitigating circumstance, substance abuse, substance abuse treatment


Approved by:




Question:                    Does a client’s participation or willingness to participate in a substance abuse treatment program affect the decision to “indicate” or “unfound” an investigation.


Applicable To:            Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations


Policy Citation:           Procedures 300.110 (i), Final Determinations


                                    When the investigative worker has completed all required investigative contacts and has secured appropriate physical evidence (e.g., photographs, X-rays, medical reports, police reports, etc), the investigative worker shall make a finding of Indicated or Unfounded.  This determination shall be based upon whether the information gathered during the investigation and from the direct observations made by the investigative worker constitutes credible evidence of child abuse or neglect.


Discussion:                 A client’s participation or willingness to participate in services should not affect a child protective investigator’s decision to “indicate” or “unfound” an investigation.  This is particularly true in substance abuse situations where the alleged perpetrator has been involved in treatment prior to or during an abuse or neglect situation.   The final finding must be made upon the facts of the case, and whether the legal criteria for child abuse or neglect was met.  Participation in services is a mitigating circumstance in the assessment of the current and long term safety of the children, not the determination of whether to “indicate” or “unfound” allegation.


Response:                   When credible evidence of abuse or neglect has been obtained, the allegation is Indicated.