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Appendix B: DCF District Attorney Referrals Policy

The DCF policy providing information on conditions that warrant a referral to a district attorney.

Table of Contents

Overview

The Department of Children and Families’ District Attorney Referrals Policy dated July 8, 2008, which was in effect during our audit period, states, in part,

Pursuant to MGL c. 119, § 51B(4), the Department is mandated to notify and provide information to the appropriate District Attorney and local law enforcement authority if certain specific conditions have resulted from abuse or neglect. The Department is also permitted to notify and provide information about other possible criminal conduct to the appropriate District Attorney and local law enforcement authority.

In addition, the Department is required to establish a Multi-Disciplinary Service Team for each referral to the District Attorney. The purpose of this team is to review the provision of services to children and their families who are the subjects of the referral.

POLICY: MANDATORY REFERRALS

Mandatory referrals are made to the District Attorney for the county and the local law enforcement authority of the city(ies)/town(s) in which the referred child resides and in which the alleged crime occurred. . . .

Conditions that warrant Mandatory Referrals:

(a)  a child has died.

(b)  a child has been sexually assaulted. This category includes the crimes of:

  • indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 (MGL. c. 265, § 13B);
  • indecent assault and battery on a child over 14 (MGL c. 265, § 13H);
  • rape by force or threat of bodily injury, if the act results in or is committed with acts resulting in serious bodily injury (MGL c. 265, § 22);
  • rape of a child under 16 by force (MGL c. 265, § 22A);
  • rape and abuse of a child under 16 (MGL c. 265, § 23);
  • assault with intent to commit rape (MGL c. 265, § 24);
  • assault of a child with intent to commit rape (MGL c. 265, § 24B); and
  • unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under 16 (MGL c. 272, § 35A).

(c)  a child has suffered brain damage, loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function or organ, or substantial disfigurement.

(d)  a child has been sexually exploited. This category includes the acts of:

  • encouraging a child to engage in prostitution (MGL c. 272, §§ 4A and 4B); and
  • obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child (MGL c. 272, § 29).
    The definition of the category of sexual exploitation is not dependent on money being paid for prostitution or pictures.

(e)  a child has suffered serious physical or sexual abuse [as described in MGL c. 119, § 51B(4)(e) and 110 CMR 4.51(1)(e)] including, but not limited to:

  • fracture of any bone, severe burn, impairment of any organ, or any other serious injury;
  • injury requiring the child to be placed on life-support systems;
  • disclosure of physical abuse involving physical evidence that may be destroyed;
  • current disclosure of sexual abuse; and/or
  • the presence of physical evidence of sexual assault.
Date published: December 7, 2017
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