Probable Cause Affidavit

During some cases, you may be required to assist in writing a Probable Cause Affidavit (PCA) to shelter a child from a parent who was once considered non-offending. After speaking with your supervisor, operations and Children’s Legal Services a PCA may be required. Keep in mind that as a case manager, you are unable to remove children; removal is the role of the investigator. Below are some tips and tricks for writing a succinct, yet detailed Probable Cause Affidavit for shelter.

     Information to Include:

1.  Summary of all maltreatments in the allegation section of the PCA.

2.  Date of abuse report (if there is a new report).

3.  Refer to fathers by name, especially if there is more than one father.

4.  Refer to any paramour by name.

5.  Facts and evidence to support removal: The most alarming facts should be included first. All facts should be supported by witnesses or records. Was there a determination of present danger/impending danger? How was that conclusion reached? Include the danger threat and how the diminished protective capacities affect the danger threat to the child.

6.  Explain services provided by case management prior to the point of shelter to prevent removal.

7.  Explain the safety plan process, and why an in-home safety plan is no longer feasible.

8.  Include an assessment of why the children need to be removed right away, especially if there is a time lapse since the concerns developed.

11. Include statements from parents, children (if age appropriate) and others.

12. Assess parent who is not at home/on scene and why they are not appropriate to take custody of the child.

13. Provide facts and evidence in the prior reports that impact on child safety, not only the findings of the reports, i.e. not substantiated, verified, etc.

14. Include a recommendation for visitation level i.e. supervised, four hours, etc.

15. Include a recommendation for placement.

Other Tips:

1. Use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling.

2. Limit the use of “stated” find alternate words (claimed, reported, indicated, etc.).

3. Write formally and do not refer to parents by first name or Mom/Dad.

4. Proofread your writing. Have a supervisor review as well.

5. Be prepared to testify at the shelter hearing.