DHS Investigation Protocol

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ARKANSAS– The Department of Human Services conducted two investigations concerning abuse or neglect of Isaiah Torres, prior to his death. We wanted to know how the investigation process works, so we asked the state agency to walk us through it, step-by-step.

Every ten seconds child abuse is reported in the United States, according to ChildHelp.org , most start with a hotline call.

“Make sure you call and try and have as much information as you can because we need to know the name of the kid, we need to know where we can locate them,” Department of Human Services Communication Director, Amy Webb, said.

Webb says the agency assigns the report to the Division of Children and Family Services or, if the accusation is more severe, it’s assigned to state police.

“We have either 24 or 72 hours to initiate an investigation into the allegation. Obviously there’s some situations where we would try to intervene immediately as quickly as we could,” Webb said.

Webb says investigators will talk with the child privately, at school or at the Child Advocacy Center.

“If there’s a bruise, can the child explain why they got that bruise? Is the explanation plausible?” Webb said.

Parents, teachers, neighbors and physicians may also be interviewed. If any danger is suspected, Webb says DHS will remove from child from their home and put them in state custody.

Webb says it’s always their goal to keep families together, if it’s safe.

“Reunification is the goal. It’s traumatic for kids to be away from their families, unfortunately even in situations where they’re being abused,” Webb said.

If children are still in DHS custody after three days, then the court gets involved.

“The Judge ultimately will decide whether the kids can go back, and then determine the best course to move forward,” Webb said.

If a judge revokes parental rights, kids could end up with family members or in foster care.

Anyone who suspects child maltreatment may report. If you need to report child maltreatment, please call the Crimes Against Children Hotline at 1-800-482-5964.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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