The APS In-Home Investigations and Services program put a new casework practice model into action on September 1, 2014. It benefits clients by helping our caseworkers make decisions, identify needs, and resolve problems so clients are less likely to be abused, neglected, or financially exploited in the future. APS calls the practice model SHIELD (Strategies that Help Intervention and Evaluation Leading to Decisions). SHIELD includes three assessment tools:
- Safety Assessment
- Risk of Recidivism Assessment
- Strengths and Needs Assessment
In FY 2016, SHIELD tools marked their first annual milestone. APS provided follow-up training to all staff and began an evaluation process to ensure that SHIELD was working as intended and to ensure performance measures are being met.
Improving Provider Investigations
APS took steps to improve investigations involving clients who have intellectual or developmental disabilities or mental illness. Effective September 2015, the Texas Legislature broadened the type of cases APS investigates, protecting more vulnerable Texans. In FY 2016, APS worked closely with other agencies on implementation, communication, and training of providers to ensure understanding by all.APS was able to reach a consensus on the roles and responsibilities of providers and APS in the new types of investigations. The expanded scope of Provider Investigations caused a rapid and significant increase in cases and workload. APS managed the increases and received approval to hire 27 new positions.