The Georgia Cold Case Project
date of birth, to obtain the SHINES ID for each case, which was required to locate a file at the local DFCS office. ARS assigned each case a unique Cold Case ID (to maintain confidentiality, only the Cold Case ID was written on data collection forms). 2. Schedule Case Reviews. ARS identified counties with multiple cases for review, ensuring representation of both urban and rural counties, as well as counties distributed throughout the state geographically. After selecting counties for review, the Project Lead Fellow made initial contact with each county DFCS Director to introduce the project, answer questions, and advise that ARS would soon be calling to schedule reviews. Based on the project Google Calendar availability, Fellows were contacted directly to confirm their availability for reviews. ARS then contacted the DFCS offices and scheduled case reviews. Confirmation emails were sent to the Fellows to
confirm the date and time of review, DFCS office location, DFCS contact person, and cases to be reviewed.
Reminder Emails. ARS sent reminder emails to the designated site contact at each county DFCS office
24 hours prior to scheduled case review.
Conduct Case Reviews. Fellows printed a copy of the Cold Case Review Packet from Google Documents
for each case under review. Fellows arrived at the DFCS office on time, checked in at the front desk, and requested to meet with the contact person from their confirmation email. Before reviews could begin, the Fellows presented consent forms for signature. One copy was given to the DFCS representative with the Fellow retaining the other copy. Fellows were escorted to a conference room or empty office within the DFCS office and were provided case files. Files were reviewed on-site. Files were not copied nor removed from the DFCS office. At the completion of the review process, files were left in the same order as provided. Only the Cold Case File Number, provided by
ARS, was placed on all forms. No other identifying information was captured on the forms package.
Interview DFCS Case Manager. During introductions with the DFCS contact, Fellows requested a
meeting time with the child’s current case manager at the end of the review process. A short 10-15 minute interview was conducted by the Fellow, following the Case Manager Interview Protocol included in the forms package. The case manager’s name and contact information was captured on the Cold Case Review Checklist, which was submitted to ARS within 24 hours. If the case manager was not available, the Fellow made contact via telephone in the days following the review. 6. Thank You Email. ARS sent a “thank you” email to the DFCS Director, DFCS contact in charge of scheduling (if not the Director), and the DFCS case manager(s) interviewed. The email was copied to the Fellow assigned to the case and selected Cold Case Project personnel (including Project Director and Lead Fellow). 7. Submit Cold Case Forms Package. Fellows completed all forms in the package (one package per case). This included writing a case narrative covering 10 key points following the Narrative Summary Instructions. The
10 points were:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10
Diligent Search. See Q25, Q48-51. Permanency Hearings. See Q31-34. Efforts to Achieve Permanency. See full case review form & narrative. Compelling Reason for Why APPLA Was Chosen. See Q35. Signed WTLP. See Q36. Evidence of Connection to ILP Services. See Q61 and narrative. Evidence of Connection to an Adult. See full case review form and narrative. Evidence of Plan for Education/Health/Housing. See full case review form and narrative. Child Attorney/GAL. See Q19, Q20 and narrative. Original Identification Documents (birth certificate, social security card) Provided to Child at Age 18.
See case file.
Within 5 business days of the review, the narrative and key points were submitted to ARS via email in word processing format (not PDF). Within 5 business days of the review, the full forms package was faxed or mailed to ARS. Original consent forms were mailed or hand delivered to ARS. 8. Process Cold Case Forms Package. ARS reviewed all completed forms packages and contacted Fellows for any required clarification. When necessary to fill in gaps, ARS accessed case documentation in SHINES. Pertinent information located in SHINES was added to the review forms and emailed to the Fellow. All data and consent forms were alphabetized and stored in a secure filing cabinet. Due to the prevalence of sexual victimization, ARS created a supplemental checklist to be completed after reading case narratives and prior to data entry. ARS entered all data captured on the data forms, the supplemental checklist, and the 10 key points into an automated database for statistical analysis. The only identifying case information captured in the database was the cold case