Residential and Placement Licensing
Policy Statement: P-R&P-11
EEC Requirement to conduct an internal investigation
Regulation 102 CMR 5.04(3)(d) requires that foster care and adoption placement agencies conduct an internal investigation within the agency or on any foster or adoptive homes that the agency oversees concerning any suspected incidents of abuse or neglect, any serious incidents involving the health and safety of children in their care, or in the event of the death of child.
Placement Agency reporting to EEC within 24 hours
Regulations further stipulate that agencies must submit to EEC copies of their internal investigation reports within 24 hours of a complaint or incident. To comply with this regulation programs must submit to EEC within 24 hours of a complaint or incident a completed " 51A or Incident Reporting Checklist" form, provided by EEC.
Determining disposition of complaint/incident
The EEC licensor for the foster care /adoption placement agency will review the completed "51A or Incident Reporting Checklist" to determine whether the complaint or incident meets any of the following criteria:
- A 51B Report supported by the Department of Social Services;
- The reported incident reflects a regulatory issue within the placement agency, rather than a violation by a foster or adoptive parent of an agency policy;
- The complaint was initiated and reported by an outside source (such as a parent, a funding source, a child resident of the home in question, etc.), rather than by the program itself;
- The allegation(s) against the foster or adoptive home are of a serious nature that includes sexual assault, rape, serious injury or death of a child.
If the EEC licensor determines that the complaint or incident meets any of the above criteria, the licensor will enter the report into the EEC Complaint and Incident Tracking System. The EEC licensor will contact the placement agency to request that they submit their complete internal investigation report as soon as the investigation is completed, and will remind the Agency that they must include the report's results in the Agency Summary Report of Investigation Conclusions for the quarter 1. The EEC licensor will then follow current EEC working procedures for investigating such incidents.
If the EEC licensor determines that the report does not meet any of the above criteria, the EEC licensor will place the " 51A or Incident Reporting Checklist" in the agency's licensing file without entering the report on the EEC Complaint and Incident Tracking System. The EEC licensor will inform the Agency that they will not be required to submit to EEC a copy of their complete internal investigation report. Alternatively, only the conclusions of the internal investigation must be submitted in An Agency Summary Report of Investigation Conclusions for that quarter.
Placement agencies must submit to EEC electronically An Agency Summary Report of Investigation Conclusions by the tenth of the month following the end of each quarter. The summary report must contain information about all of the investigations that the agency conducted during the quarter, including information reported through the "51A or Incident Reporting Checklist" and complete investigations that were submitted to EEC immediately upon the close of the investigation. The Summary Report will be reviewed by the EEC licensor and placed in the Agency's licensing file.
If upon review of the Summary Report the EEC licensor determines that there are significant trends, issues, or notable concerns that need to be addressed, the licensor will follow up with the Placement Agency. In addition, when the EEC licensor has serious concerns about information contained in the Summary Report(s ), or the licensor determines that the agency is not reporting or investigating incidents appropriately, the licensor may request that the Agency resume submitting their complete investigation reports to EEC immediately at the close of each investigation in order to ensure a more timely review of each incident.
1 EEC anticipates that generally one week's time is sufficient to complete an internal investigation, although placement agencies may require more time in complex investigations involving numerous interviews and extensive documentation (see Internal Investigations Number R & P -EEC 95-08).