Child abuse and neglect have been traditionally regarded as the principal responsibility of child protective services and social welfare agencies. However, research has demonstrated that a large percentage of repeat offenses, many of which involve serious injury or death, involve known offenders. Effective response to child maltreatment requires cooperative and coordinated efforts between social welfare and law enforcement agencies, and, further, that under certain circumstances, arrest and criminal prosecution are appropriate and the preferred approach to the problem from a preventive standpoint. Once the child’s safety has been ensured, the primary responsibility law enforcement is to determine whether a crime has been committed and then to identify the responsible party. All reports of child abuse and neglect should be thoroughly investigated in accordance and appropriate measures taken consistent with state law that will best protect the interests of the child.
These documents provide guidelines for recognizing instances and accepting reports of child abuse and neglect and coordinating the investigation of such cases with appropriate child protective services agencies and prosecuting attorney’s offices.