The Child Protective Services Program is mandated by statute, which means there are state laws that declare a child's right to be free from abuse and neglect. These laws are called the Kentucky Unified Juvenile Code and are contained in KRS Chapters 600 to 645. The code requires the reporting of neglect; physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; and dependency of children, whether it occurs in the home, the school, or other community settings. The code requires that these reports be assessed and investigated and requires that social services be provided to children found to be experiencing maltreatment. Inherent in the code are two basic principles: a child's fundamental right to be safe and to be nurtured and a child's basic right to be raised by his or her own parents, whenever possible. Also included in the body of the code are provisions for interviewing children who are the alleged victims.
- It is the district's policy (JCBE Policy: 09.2211) that school district personnel who know or have reasonable cause to believe that a child is dependent, neglected, or abused shall immediately cause a report to be made to the proper authorities in accordance with state law. Under Kentucky law there are several authorities to whom abuse or neglect can and should be reported, including the Department for Social Services, Child Protective Services (CPS) - Child-Abuse Hotline ( 595-4550) and local law enforcement agencies, including the Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU) of the Louisville Metro Police Department ( 574-2465).
- Both civil and criminal immunity from prosecution are given to any person making a report or assisting legal authorities or the CPS Program in making an assessment as long as that person is acting in good faith.
CPS workers and CACU officers have the authority to investigate child abuse, neglect, and dependency reports at schools without parent consent. When interviewing a child at school, the worker or officer should inform appropriate school personnel of the need to interview a child regarding a referral and should show proper identification.
- If a CPS worker or CACU officer wishes to interview a child alone, school personnel are to comply after receiving proper identification from the CPS worker or CACU officer. Please document the CPS worker's or CACU officer's name and allow the child to be interviewed.
Details of the investigation and the allegation should be limited to appropriate school personnel who have a legitimate interest in the case.
- A child may request to have a teacher or counselor present. In this event, the CPS worker or CACU officer should make a decision that is in the best interest of the child.
The district wants to give full cooperation to CPS workers and CACU officers to fulfill its legal obligation and to protect children. The Child-Abuse Hotline telephone number is (502) 595-4550. If you are uncertain as to whether you should call the Child-Abuse Hotline, that is an indication that you should call.