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Child Safety Guide. A Collaboration Between National Resource Centers for. Child Protective Services, Action for Child Protection Therese Roe Lund. Legal and Judicial Issues, American Bar Association Timothy Travis. Objective of this Presentation.

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A collaboration between national resource centers for l.jpg
A Collaboration Between National Resource Centers for

Child Protective Services, Action for Child Protection

Therese Roe Lund

Legal and Judicial Issues, American Bar Association

Timothy Travis


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Objective of this Presentation

Introduce basic principles of child safety decision making

Begin consideration of whether to use The Guide in local court communities


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First Component of the Guide

Published Guide

Purchase from ABA

www.abanet.org/child/rclji/


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Second Component of the Guide

Materials on Web (free download)

www.nrccps.org

Text of the Guide

Addenda (not in published Guide)


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Third Component of the Guide

  • Bench Cards

    not included in down load version

    included in published version

Not sufficient, alone...


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Purpose of the Guide

  • Keep children who do not need to be in substitute care from going there.

  • Ensure that those who need to go will go

  • Ensure those who go stay no longer than necessary


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Child Safety Guide is

Not

a new “practice model”


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Child Safety Guide Helps the Legal Community

Focus on the underlying principles of good safety decision-making in any practice model

Use these principles to rationally and rigorously analyze situations and make decisions about child safety


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Safety Guide: Sets Out a Rational Decision Making Process, that Provides…

  • Common understanding of “child safety”

  • Commonly understood vocabulary to talk about it

  • Commonly accepted body of information to draw up in decision making


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Can people in your court explain… that Provides…

  • The judge’s definition of “safety” for a child?

  • How the judge determines whether a child is safe?


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Consensus About Expectations that Provides…(before anyone goes into the courtroom)

All involved should know what is expected of them (and others) in gathering sufficient evidence, presenting it and testing it.

Expectations should be developed in an inclusive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary process


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All involved need to know how good decisions are made about child safety

.

How do we know whether a severe injury of a child represents a pattern of dangerous family conditions or is a one-time incident?

  • This is how we can determine whether a child is safe

  • This is how can determine whether to return a child

  • These are the criteria do we use to determine safety


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Key Concept child safety

Threat of Danger?

+

Vulnerable child?

-

Protective Capacity?

=

“unsafe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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Initial hearings disposition review

Gather information

Safety Plan --Assess safety: adequate feasible, sustainable?

Least restrictive given circumstances? Reunify?

Treatment Plan-- Assess needs and progress: reduced threat, developed capacity? Parents keep child safe without support? (close case?)


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Keeping Track of Two Plans review

  • Safety Plan

  • Case/permanency Plan

Chapter 8, p. 74


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Gathering Information review

Chapter 2 p. 3


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Information/evidence drives decisions review

  • Court and advocates should be able to assess whether there is sufficient showing of evidence upon which to base the agency’s recommendations.

  • Answers to six questions is the bare minimum a judge needs to know to make safety decisions.

Chapter 2 p 3


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Six Questions—Six Categories review

  • Nature of maltreatment

  • Circumstances of maltreatment

  • Child’s day-to-day functioning

4. Parental discipline

5. Overall parenting practices

6. Parental life management skills

Chapter 2 p. 3 - 5


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Time, time, time… review

  • Initial contrary to to welfare determination may well be made mostly on the basis of the nature of the maltreatment

  • Reasonable efforts findings and the case plan—due 60 days from removal—must be made on complete information

Chapter 2 p 7


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Make a review rational decision based oncompleteinformation


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Assessing Safety review

  • Vocabulary of assessment

  • Threat of Danger

  • Vulnerable Child

  • Protective Capacities


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Vocabulary: Safe and Unsafe Child review

  • Safe child

    • “Vulnerable” children are safe when there are no “threats of danger” within the family or home OR when the caregivers possess sufficient “protective capacity” to manage or control any threats.

  • Unsafe child

    • Children are unsafe when they are “vulnerable,” there are “threats of danger” within the family or home AND the caregivers have insufficient “protective capacities” to manage or control the threats, making outside intervention necessary..

Chapter 1, p. 2


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

-

Protective Capacity

=

“unsafe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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A SAFE CHILD! review

Threat

of

Danger

Vulnerable

child

Protective Capacity

Chapter 4, p. 19


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SAFE CHILD! review

Vulnerable

child

Protective Capacity

Chapter 4, p. 19


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SAFE CHILD! review

Vulnerable

Child-NOT!

Threat

of

Danger

Protective Capacity

Chapter 4, p. 19


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UNSAFE CHILD review

Vulnerable

child

Threat

of

Danger

Protective Capacity

Chapter 4, p. 9


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Removal review (and return) is about SAFETY


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Safety (Danger) Versus Risk review

Statutory Language Varies among states

  • Imminent risk

  • Risk of harm

  • Imminent risk of severe harm

  • Threat of harm

  • Threat of imminent harm

Chapter 1, p. 2


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Safety (Danger) versus Risk review

Safety concerned about imminence and severe consequences due to things being out of control

Risk vague concept regarding whether something might occur if there is not intervention; risk may be mild or serious.

  • the critical question is whether or not the child is safe.

Chapter 1, p. 2


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Threat of Danger review

Chapter 3, p. 10 Appendix A


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

-

Protective Capacity

=

“unsafe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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Vocabulary: Threats of Danger review

A specific family situation or behavior, emotion, motive, perception or capacity of a family member

observable

out of control

immediate

severe consequences

Chapter 3, p. 9 Appendix A pp 55-64


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15 Threats of Danger review

  • Where does the threat of danger perceived by the agency fit on this list?

  • Require specificity

Chapter 3 p. 48 Appendix A pp 55-64


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Child Vulnerability review

Chapter 3, p 11


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

-

Protective Capacity

=

“unsafe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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Vocabulary: Vulnerability review

  • Vulnerability: degree of dependence on others for protection and care

  • Asses vulnerability in light of specific threats in this family

Chapter 3, p. 11


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Vocabulary: Vulnerability review

AGE is not themarker, it’s only one marker

Chapter 3, p 11


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Obvious Vulnerabilities review

  • Age 0-6

  • Physical, developmental disabilities or delays

  • Poor health, physical capacity

  • Inability to articulate danger

Chapter 3, p. 12


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Less Obvious Vulnerabilities review

  • Isolated from community

  • Cannot anticipate or judge presence of danger

  • Consciously or unknowingly provokes danger

  • Emotionally vulnerable

  • Impact of prior maltreatment

  • Attachment (enmeshment), fear, insecurity re parent

  • Unable to articulate problems or danger

Chapter 3, p 12


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Protective Capacities review

Chapter 3, p 13 Appendix B pp 65 - 71


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

-

Protective Capacity

=

“unsafe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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Vocabulary: Protective Capacities review

Personal characteristics

associated with being protective,

that predict protective vigilance, and

indicate preparation and power to protect.

Chapter 3, p. 13 - 17 Appendix B pp 65 - 71


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Safe Child Flow Chart review

  • No threats

  • Threat but not vulnerable child

  • Threat and vulnerable child but sufficient protective capacity

Chapter 4, p. 19


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Initial hearings disposition review

Gather information

Safety Plan --Assess safety: adequate feasible, sustainable?

Least restrictive given circumstances? Reunify?

Treatment Plan-- Assess needs and progress: reduced threat, developed capacity? Parents keep child safe without support? (close case?)


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This Process is review Both a Sword and a Shield

  • Children who are not safe can be protected

  • Children who are safe will not be taken into care

  • What is the cause of unnecessary removals and tardy returns?

    • Uncertainty caused by lack of evidence and a consensus about how it should be applied.

    • “better safe than sorry”


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Mantra of the Parent’s Bar review

  • There is no threat of danger in the home


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Mantra of the Parents’ Bar review

  • Even if there were a threat of danger, the child is not vulnerable

    to that threat.


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Mantra of the Parents’ Bar review

3. Even if there were a threat, and even if the child were vulnerable…

A. The parents have (or now have) sufficient protective capacity to keep the child safe, or

B. Resources have been (or can be) put into the home to augment any (alleged) shortcomings in the parents’ protective capacity.


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Parents’ Bar review

The burden doesn’t shift…

But…


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Unsafe Child? review

What now?


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In home safety plan review

Safety Plans

combination

Out of home safety plan

Chapter 5, p 21 - 23


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Safety Plan review

actions and services that will temporarily substitute for lacking parental protective capacity to control the threat of danger

Chapter 5, p 21


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Keeping Track of Two Plans review

  • Safety Plan

  • Case/permanency Plan

Chapter 8, p. 39


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Safety Plan ≠ Case/Treatment Plan review

  • Does not include:

1. how parent needs to change, or

2. Services to be employed to support parental change

Chapter 5, p 22


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Safety Plan Must review

  • Immediately control or manage threat of danger

  • Be made up of components (people and services) accessible when threat will be present

  • Describe concrete, action oriented activities and tasks assigned to identified people

  • NEVER rely on parental promises

Chapter 5, p. 22


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In-home safety plan? review

With threats of danger clearly identified by defined criterion it becomes easier to assess whether agency could ameliorate them within the child’s home

  • Managing Crises

  • Providing Social Support

  • Separating Parent and Child when necessary for safety

  • Providing Resources (Practical Benefits the Family Might Otherwise Be Unable to Afford)

Chapter 5, p 22


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An in-home safety plan in review this case?

  • Can this vulnerable child, notwithstanding lack of these parent’s capacity to protect from these threats of danger, be made safe in this home?

Chapter 5, p. 22


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Is a plan… review

  • Sufficient?

  • Feasible?

  • Sustainable?

  • How often and for how long would services be necessary?

  • Providers available as often and for duration needed?

  • Aware, committed and reliable people involved?

  • Able to sustain the intense effort until parents are able to protect without support?

Chapter 6, p. 23


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Out of home placement review /out of homesafety plan only when

  • it can be shown

  • that insufficient protective capacities by adult caregivers exist;

  • And

  • that an in-home safety plan managed by CPS is not sufficient, feasible and sustainableto control for safety.

Chapter 5, p. 23


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

+

Safety Plan

=

“safe child”

Chapter 1 p. 36


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Reasonable Efforts? review

If an in-home safety plan would be sufficient,

and the agency fails to consider or implement one,

then the agency has failed to provide reasonable efforts to prevent removal.

Chapter 5, p. 25


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Reasonable Efforts to Prevent Placement review

Was the safety plan implemented

the least intrusive possible?

  • Were actions and services necessary for safety identified accurately?

  • Was sufficiency, feasibility and sustainability of in-home plan assessed?

Chapter 5, p. 59, p. 25


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The review Out-of-home Safety Plan: Tasks and Responsibilities

An out-of-home safety plan raises two issues the court must decide:

1) Contact “visitation”/parenting time

2) conditions for return

(establishing clear objectives)

Chapter 7, p. 33


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Visitation review


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Supervision of Visits? review

  • Violence toward child?

  • Child’s fears of parents?

  • Premeditated harm?

  • Negative perceptions or unrealistic expectations of child?

  • Abduction risk?

  • Volatility?

Chapter 7, p 34


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Minimum Visitation Plan review

  • Face to face weekly and more frequently

  • Sibling visits at least once per month

  • Augment with other contact

  • Written into an order distributed to everyone

  • CPS oversight as appropriate to the case

  • Other steps to maintain attachment and develop protective capacity

  • Dates to review

  • Most natural, visitation friendly settings

Chapter 7, p 34


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Conditions for Return review

Chapter 7, p 34 Appendix D


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Conditions for Return review

These conditions are behaviors and circumstances that must exist in the home that would allow for an in-home safety planmanaged by CPS that is sufficientfeasible and sustainable.

Chapter 7, p 35 Appendix D pp 77 - 81


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Write Down Conditions for Return review

Case example p. 71 and Appendix D pp 108-112

Lists threats

Describe specific, verifiable actions and circumstances that will protect from listed threats.

Explain why an in home plan will not work now and when it will

Chapter 7, p 36 Appendix D pp 77 - 81


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What are conditions for Return? review

Well, why was an in home safety plan deemed insufficient?

What measures and services

will temporarily substitute

for missing protective capacities to control

the identified threats of danger?

Chapter 10, p 36 Appendix D pp 77 - 81


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

+

In home safety plan

=

“safe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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A safety plan review controls threats of danger

It does not completely remove of them

Control of threats drives conditions of return

Chapter 7, p. 71 Appendix D pp. 77 – 81


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Reunification is a Safety Decision review

  • What circumstances made you decide an in home safety plan would not be sufficient, feasible and sustainable?

  • Do those same circumstances still exist?

Chapter 7, p. 36 Appendix D pp. 77 – 81


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Whether the Child is in the home review

Or in care

Review of Safety Plan:

Is the child safe?

Is this safety plan least restrictive necessary?


Slide77 l.jpg

Initial hearings disposition review

Gather information

Safety Plan --Assess safety: adequate feasible, sustainable?

Least restrictive given circumstances? Reunify?

Treatment Plan-- Assess needs and progress: reduced threat, developed capacity? Parents keep child safe without support? (close case?)


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Keeping Track of Two Plans review

  • Safety Plan

  • Case/permanency Plan

Chapter 8, p. 39


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Point of treatment plan review

Developing Parental Protective Capacities

Chapter 8, p 39


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Treatment Plan is review

  • An effective and expedient strategy to prepare parents to protect child

  • Revised over time

  • States what change is expected, what evidence will show change and how will it be generated

Chapter 8, p 39


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Evaluating the Treatment Plan review

  • Concrete goals and tasks?

  • Follow logically from threats?

  • Same as safety plan?

  • Target issues where threats arise? Where capacities compromised?

  • What is parental reaction to plan?

  • Both threat reduction and capacity increase?

Chapter 8, p 40


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evaluating the treatment plan review

Services

what will develop this capacity in this parent?

Evidence/Information

what will show it’s been developed or not?

Appendix B


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Visitation as Parenting Time review

  • Is there a good reason to not include parents in appointments, school or church events?

Chapter 7, p 34


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Developing Safety review Visitation or Parenting Time?

  • Can visits be integrated into efforts to develop protective capacity?

  • Do visits provide information about developing capacities and lessening of threats of danger?

Chapter 7, p 34


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evaluation of parental progress review

Change needed/protective capacity to be developed:

  • parent sets aside her/his needs in favor of a child

Chapter 9, p. 43


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evaluation of parental progress review

  • Have parents demonstrated the ability to put the child’s needs above their own?

    • Does parent give time to child rather than to own gratification?

    • Does parent spend money on child’s needs?

Chapter 9, p 43


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Review Hearing Includes review

  • Are safety plan and case plan up to date and appropriate?

  • Are services being provided and is meaningful evidence being gathered to evaluate progress?

Do facts indicate that change is happening? (p 43)

Chapter 9, p 43


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Evaluating Progress review

  • NOT-- have parents completed services?

can we identify parental change that has taken place in terms of lessened threat and/or increased capacity?

Chapter 9, p. 43


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Lack of Progress? review

Right strategies to enhance this protective capacity?

Services appropriate?

Parents understand change required and accept the need?

Time frame realistic to make this change?

Chapter 9, p 44


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Closing the Case — review Safe Child

  • Eliminated threats

  • Improved capacity

  • Combination of the two

  • Ongoing parental improvement over time

  • Parental insight

  • Parental engagement in steps to sustain change

  • Supports from social service agencies, family and others in place

Chapter 11 p 51


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Key Concept review

Threat of Danger

+

Vulnerable child

+

Protective Capacity

=

“safe child”

Chapter 1 p. 2


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Technical Support review (free)

Therese Roe Lund

NRC for Child Protective Services

608-276-6881

[email protected]

Timothy Travis

NRC on Legal and Judicial Issues

503 703 6630

www.travisconsulting.net


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