Code of the District of Columbia

§ 4–1301.09. Social investigation; services; report.

(a) If the initial investigation results in a substantiated report, the information from the initial investigation shall be immediately referred to the police or the Agency, as appropriate. A social investigation shall be commenced immediately by the Agency in all cases of an allegedly abused child which are referred for petition to the Family Agency of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and by the Agency in all other cases, except that cases which are or were recently active with the Agency may be investigated by the Agency. The purpose of the social investigation shall be to determine what services are required by the family to remedy the conditions of abuse or neglect.

(b) If there is a substantiated report, the agency responsible for the social investigation shall, as soon as possible, prepare a plan for each child and family for whom services are required on more than an emergency basis and shall forthwith take such steps to ensure the protection of the child and the preservation, rehabilitation and, when safe and appropriate, reunification of the family as may be necessary to achieve the purposes of this subchapter. Such steps may include, but need not be limited to: (1) arranging for necessary protective, rehabilitative and financial services to be provided to the child and the child’s family in a manner which maintains the child in his or her home; (2) referring the child and the child’s family for placement in a family shelter or other appropriate facility; (3) securing services aimed at reuniting (with his or her family) a child taken into custody, including but not limited to parenting classes and family counseling; (4) providing or making specific arrangements for the case management of each case when child protective services are required; and (5) referring the family to drug treatment services in the event of neglect or abuse that results from drug-related activity. To the maximum extent possible, the resources of the community (public and private) shall be utilized for the provision of services and case management.

(c) A report of the social investigation required under subsection (a) of this section and the plan required under subsection (b) of this section shall be submitted to all counsel at least 5 days prior to the date of the fact-finding hearing in cases in which a petition was filed pursuant to § 16-2305; provided, that nothing added to the report or the plan subsequent to either an initial appearance or shelter care hearing shall be considered by the court prior to the completion of the fact-finding hearing unless the parent, guardian, or custodian alleged to be responsible for the neglect consents to such consideration.

(d) As part of its activities under this section, the agency responsible for the social investigation shall assure:

(1) That each child has a case plan designed to achieve the child’s placement in a safe setting that is the least restrictive and most appropriate setting available, and is consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child; and

(2) If the child is placed outside of the home pursuant to § 16-2320(a)(3), that the child’s status is reviewed periodically during an administrative review.

(e)(1) The periodic review required by subsection (d)(2) of this section shall determine the safety of the child, the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement, the extent of compliance with the case plan, and the extent of progress which has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement outside the home, and to project a date, not exceeding 14 months from the date of removal from the home, by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the home or placed for adoption or other permanent placement.

(2) The child and the following individuals, if there are any for the child, and their attorneys, shall be provided notice of, and an opportunity to be heard during, the administrative review required by subsection (d)(2) of this section:

(A) The child’s parents;

(B) The child’s guardian or legal custodian;

(C) The child’s current foster parent;

(D) The child’s current preadoptive parent;

(E) The child’s current kinship caregiver;

(F) The child’s attorney;

(G) The child’s guardian ad litem;

(H) The child’s therapist; and

(I) A relative or other individual with whom the child is currently placed pursuant to § 16-2320(a)(3)(C).