Study Panels Recommends Changes To DCS Laws

Oct 3, 2018

A panel of lawmakers wants to give Department of Child Services case workers more time to begin and complete investigations into child abuse.

A study committee examining the embattled agency made its unanimous recommendation Wednesday.

Current law requires DCS workers to complete investigations within 30 days. DCS wants that to be 45. Chief Justice Loretta Rush says that could complicate court deadlines but DCS Associate Director Todd Meyer says the change could improve workflow with the courts.

“We’re not oftentimes able to get the reports in anyway at the 30-day juncture, which is why we’re looking to want to extend it,” Meyer says.

Another change would allow case workers up to four hours to begin an investigation if a child is in imminent danger. Current law puts it at one hour. Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) says she thinks it’s better if the law doesn’t include an exact time.

“To not put that time frame in statute but to put it in your policies – I just think that might give you more flexibility in how you run your department,” Houchin says.

Legislators say the exact time will be a key point of debate this coming session.