(1) Child protective investigators shall respond to all reports of child-on-child sexual abuse where the alleged juvenile sexual offender is age twelve or younger.
(a) Unless the facts otherwise so warrant, the department shall respond to reports alleging juvenile sexual abuse within 24 hours after acceptance of the report by the Florida Abuse Hotline.
(b) If the sexual offender is a sibling or has on-going access to the victim the department will respond immediately.
(2) Assessment elements to be considered in determining a need for services and case planning include, but are not limited to:
(a) Offense Characteristics – the victim is substantially younger than the offender rather than peer age; the victim is known to the offender; the use of coercion, violence, and bribes by the offender; there are elements of secrecy involved; there are multiple victims; the number of abusive incidents; there is history of non-sexual aggravated assault.
(b) Child Maltreatment History – the offender has a history of sexual victimization, physical abuse, neglect, or family/domestic violence.
(c) Social and Interpersonal Skill and Relationships – the offender’s family has a history of instability; there is a history of physical or emotional separation from one or both parents; the offender has inadequate social skills, poor peer relationships, and/or is socially isolated.
(d) Sexual Knowledge and Experience – the offender has knowledge of advanced sexual practices and/or exposure to pornography.
(e) Academic and Cognitive Functioning – the offender has academic difficulties, reduced empathy and blames the victim.
(f) Mental Health Issues – the offender has a history of impulse control problems, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse.
(3) Referrals for services will not be initiated when, in the determination of the protective investigator, the reported incident contains elements of normal sexual exploration that is voluntary, spontaneous, and typically involves same-age children. These ‘play’ incidents typically involve gender role exploration in looking at, and touching each other’s bodies without modeling adult sexual experiences.
(4) Referrals for services will be initiated when sexual behaviors are documented to be repetitive, unresponsive to adult intervention and supervision, equivalent to adult criminal violations, pervasive – occurring across time and situations, and highly diverse – consisting of a wide array of developmentally unexpected sexual acts.
(5) Case planning and determination of treatment needs are to be conducted through a multi-disciplinary staffing approach involving the child’s parents, child protective investigative staff, law enforcement, representatives of the child protection team of the Department of Health or Children Advocacy Centers, and community-based care providers under contract with the department to provide ameliorative and treatment services as appropriate.
(6) The child protective investigator will document the assessment, treatment needs, and case plan, if needed in the statewide automated child welfare information system within thirty days of acceptance of the report by the Florida Abuse Hotline.
(7) A services worker will be identified through the staffing process who will be responsible for periodically reassessing and revising the treatment needs, treatment objectives, and required interventions.
(8) The department may pursue a child protective investigation when the facts otherwise so warrant as in the case of a caregiver’s failure to provide adequate supervision to prevent a child-on-child sexual abuse incident or when disclosure indicates caregiver to victim sexual abuse was the antecedent to the child-on-child sexual abuse.
(9) In those situations where the caregiver does not agree with the multidisciplinary staffing recommendations for further assessment or treatment for the juvenile sexual offender the services worker will refer the family for mediation or arbitration, if available.
(a) If the family or caregiver refuses to participate in mediation or arbitration, the child protective investigator will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the caregiver’s failure to comply for consideration of legal charges against the offender.
(b) If the family or caregiver refuses to participate in mediation or arbitration, the child protective investigator will refer the child to the Child Protection Team to determine if the parent’s refusal to follow the recommendations of the multi-disciplinary staffing will place the child at risk of emotional, physical or medical harm.
(c) The child protective investigator will also staff the case with Child Welfare Legal Services for consideration of filing a petition for dependency based on medical neglect or the risk of harm, as determined by the CPT assessment.