The most important thing you can do is believe the child. Be mindful of your reaction and body language. We never want to make a child feel as though they are in trouble or they are at fault. Thank the child. Tell them they did the right thing by coming to you. Don’t make promises. There are many circumstances that will be outside of our control. Don’t blame anyone involved, especially the child.
The first step in the process is deciding whether there is enough information in the report. The hotline operator – a civilian member of the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division, or CACD – determines whether the report can be sent for investigation based on a number of factors, including the nature of the concerns and the amount of available information.
If the hotline operator accepts the report, it is sent to either the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or CACD to be investigated (who investigates the concerns depends on the severity of the concerns described).
What this means is that a highly-trained investigator will visit with everyone involved in the report to find out what happened and ensure the safety of any children in the family. The investigator also may begin to put services and supports in place for the family after a careful and thorough assessment of their needs.
At the completion of the investigation (usually within 45 days), the investigator will decide if the concerns made in the original report were true. The investigator also may find other concerns in addition to those already reported.