(a) (1) All cases reported to the juvenile court judge or to state or local law enforcement officers shall be referred immediately to the local director of the county office of the department for investigation.
(2) If the court or law enforcement officer finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is suffering from illness or injury or is in immediate danger from the child's surroundings and that the child's removal is necessary, appropriate protective action shall be taken under part 1 of this chapter.
(b) (1) The county office of the department or the office of the sheriff or the chief law enforcement official of the municipality where the child resides, upon receipt of a report of harm or sexual abuse, shall give notice of the report to the judge having juvenile jurisdiction where the child resides.
(2) If the case appears to involve severe child abuse as defined in § 37-1-102, including child sexual abuse, the county director of the department shall immediately notify and consult with the district attorney general where the harm occurred, and the district attorney general may take such action as the district attorney general deems appropriate, including petitioning the court for removal of the child or termination of parental rights in accordance with part 1 of this chapter. Whenever there are multiple investigations, the department, the district attorney general, law enforcement, and, where applicable, the child protection team, shall coordinate their investigations to the maximum extent possible so that interviews with the victimized child shall be kept to an absolute minimum. Reference to the audio or videotape or tapes made by the child protection team or department should be utilized whenever possible to avoid additional questioning of the child.
(3) If, before the investigation is complete, the county office of the department or the local district attorney general determines that immediate removal is necessary to protect the child or other children, or if the district attorney general determines that influence is being exerted on a child victim of sexual abuse to change the child victim's testimony, the department or the district attorney general may proceed under part 1 of this chapter.
Acts 1973, ch. 81, § 1; 1977, ch. 482, § 9; 1980, ch. 776, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A., § 37-1205; Acts 1985, ch. 478, §§ 33, 41.