“You can handle the truth?!?” Best practice in records requesting.Styles vary dramatically. Maybe you’re the kind of person who “weezes the juice”. Maybe not. Maybe you’re uptight like Judge Smails. Maybe not. Whatever the case, you’re the kind of person who needs to get things done and the CFPS state support staff can help!
Kate and I have been road trippin’ across the state for the last several months in an effort to visit at least one of our local partners each month. (If you’d like us to visit you, all you need to do is say so! We’re pretty relentless when an opportunity presents itself, however, so be prepared!) Throughout the course of our travels, we’ve learned a lot about each other’s preferences. For instance, my colleague, Kate, has an unusual affinity for the powdered scrambled eggs that each hotel we’ve stayed in conspicuously seems to share and serve. I, on the other hand, have developed an inappropriate relationship with the sometimes raw, sometimes crispy sausages these same hotels also all seem to share! Spending all this time together, however, we’ve also developed some routines, like getting coffee from a local shop each morning (admittedly though, Kate gets some kind of weird tea/milk mix! Blech!) (Shout out to Solar Roasters in Pueblo!). We know these patterns and differences develop through experience. Sometimes they can be good, e.g., the powdered eggs - these are 100% real, apparently. Sometimes, however, they may not be so good, witness the undercooked breakfast sausage. Just like these habits, your review process can develop its own patterns, some good and some bad.
Here are a few items to keep in mind when requesting records. Our statute 25-20.5-408(1a) specifically calls out our access to records from departments of human/social services. The statute indicates that “…the state review team and the local or regional review teams shall have access to all records and information in the possession of the department of human services and the county departments of social services that are relevant to the review of a child fatality, including records and information related to previous reports and investigations of suspected child abuse or neglect.” This means that you should be requesting these records from the county of residence and receiving reports prior to the meeting to help complete sections related to history of victimization and perpetration for the decedent, caregiver, or supervisors as circumstances of the case dictate. While it is useful for DHS to share this information during the meeting, best practice would be to request and receive these records prior to the meeting to have the most complete available information at your fingertips.