Definition of Child Abduction and Over–All Responsibilities of The Child Protective Services (CPS) Social Worker
Child Abduction is any act of concealment of a child from the Juvenile Dependency Court or any act of concealment from the Child Protective Services Social Worker for the purpose of preventing the detention of a child when a parent, legal guardian or relative is aware that such a detention is about to be made.
If a child is under Dependency Court supervision, including the child that is under a Home of Parent (HOP) order and is abducted by a parent or legal guardian, this is considered a ‘Child Abduction’. If the child is abducted by a relative or non-related individual, this is considered a ‘Kidnapping’. Law Enforcement is to be immediately notified by the appropriate parties so that a ‘Missing Persons Report’ AND either a ‘Child Abduction Report’or a ‘Kidnapping Report’ can be filed pursuant to Penal Code 278 and the child entered into the NCIC system. There is no waiting time for filing a Missing Persons Report and it should be filed the moment that the abduction becomes known. The Dependency Court, as well as all appropriate attorneys for all the parties involved, must be immediately notified within one business day, as well as requests for the issuance of Protective Custody Warrants.
If the child is not yet before the Dependency Court, a Non-Detained Petition should be filed by the appropriate CPS Social Worker and a request for the issuance of Protective Custody Warrants be made.
In order to improve the chances of locating an abducted child, in Los Angeles County, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Office of the County Counsel, serving the Department of Children and Family Services and the District Attorney’s Office, Child Abduction Unit have entered into an agreement on the most efficient way to handle the children who are under Dependency Court jurisdiction and supervision. The Office of the County Counsel serves as a liaison between DCFS and the District Attorney’s Office and completes all the appropriate paperwork to assist the Child Abduction Investigators at the District Attorney in locating the child. This includes but is not limited to background information on the family and contained within the DCFS case, a 3130 Order and/or a Hague Convention Treaty application/petition.
Current, photographs, demonstrating clear facial features should be either in the case record or obtained for both the child and the abductor. Paperwork should be initiated by the appropriate CPS Social Worker for ‘Notification of Intent to Publish’ the photographs and submitted to the Dependency Court. After this paperwork is submitted and approved, depending on each county’s regulations, the photographs should be disseminated, on a case-by-case basis to appropriate agencies that can assist in locating and recovering the child.
Content written by Linda Quintana-Mansouri, CPS Consultant to Los Angeles County.
For Information and Resources:
Please contact Xiomara Flores-Holguin, Children Services Administrator, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (213) 700-9921.