General Questions

Questions About Reporting Online

Having Trouble with Reporting Online? Review These Hints.

Report Entry

Confidentiality/Anonymity

Security

General Online

General Questions

Will the person know I've reported him or her?
Your report is confidential, and it is not subject to public release under the Open Records Act. The law provides for immunity from civil or criminal liability for innocent persons who report even unfounded suspicions, as long as your report is made in good faith. Your identity is kept confidential.
What if I'm not sure?
If you have reason to suspect abuse, but are not positive, make the report. If you have any doubts about whether or not it is abuse, call the hotline. They can advise you on whether the signs you have observed are abuse.
What are Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation?
  • Abuse is mental, emotional, physical, or sexual injury to a child or person 65 years or older or an adult with disabilities or failure to prevent such injury.
  • Neglect of a child includes failure to provide a child with food, clothing, shelter and/or medical care; and/or leaving a child in a situation where the child is at risk of harm.
  • Neglect of a person 65 years or older or an adult with disabilities that results in starvation, dehydration, over- or under-medication, unsanitary living conditions, and lack of heat, running water, electricity, medical care, and personal hygiene.
  • Exploitation is misusing the resources of a person 65 years or older or an adult with disabilities for personal or monetary benefit. This includes taking Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) checks, abusing a joint checking account, and taking property and other resources.
What will I be asked?
Information helpful to have on hand when filing an abuse report (if known) includes:
  • Name, age, and address of the child or person 65 years or older or an adult with disabilities
  • Your name and contact information
  • Brief description of the situation and the child or vulnerable adult
  • Current injuries, medical problems, or behavioral problems
  • For a child: Parents' names and names of siblings in the home
  • For an adult: Names of relatives in or outside the home and name of perpetrator
  • Explain how you know about the situation

Questions about Reporting Online

Having Trouble with Reporting Online? Review These Hints.

Report Entry

How do I make a correction or submit more information about a report I already made?
Please contact the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 to update information submitted using the abuse reporting website (https://www.txabusehotline.org).
Can I spell check the information I entered?
Yes, the new form has spell check built in. Spell check will be available on each page when reviewing your information.
Why can't I save report information and complete it at a later time?
To ensure the information you report is confidential, we have designed the web site so the information cannot be saved on your computer.
How can I print out the information typed into the report?
On the Summary page, once you have finished reviewing your information, you may click on the Print tab to print your report.  When you click Finish, your report will be submitted and you will be taken to the Confirmation page, which also contains the Print tab to print your report.  You may also print out this page.  It will contain your confirmation number and the date and time you submitted the report.
Who assesses the information I have submitted?
Specialists at the Abuse Hotline, known as "Statewide Intake," assess the information you submit via the internet.  Statewide Intake specialists are trained, degreed professionals and are some of the same intake workers you are accustomed to speaking with on the phone.
Which form should I use to file a report about an 18-year-old victim?
If you are reporting concerns about an 18 year old and not sure which form to use, you may use either form and Statewide Intake staff will assess the information send it to the program with jurisdiction.
If my session times out, will I lose what I have entered?
Yes. If you are in the middle of filling out a report and leave your computer unattended for 40 minutes, the session will time out for security reasons and you will lose what you have entered.

Confidentiality/Anonymity

What does making a report confidentially mean?
DFPS staff are required by law to keep the reporter’s identity confidential [Texas Family Code, Section 261.101 (d)] when the reporter is making a report of possible abuse, neglect or exploitation of children or [Texas Human Resources Code Chapter 48 101. (2)] the elderly and adults with disabilities. Providing your name and contact information allows field investigators to ask follow up questions of you, if needed, to insure quality investigations are performed and client safety is maintained to the extent possible.
Your identity as a reporter may be revealed only to a judge or law enforcement personnel in certain situations. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call the Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.
What does making a report anonymously mean?
Making reports anonymously means you do not provide your name and contact information when you make the report and field investigators are unable to contact you. When you make a report anonymously, you are not given a reference number for your records. Anonymous reports are not accepted via the internet reporting site. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call the Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.
Why can't I make an anonymous report via the Internet?
Each report entered via the Internet generates a "Report Identification Number" that is automatically e-mailed to the address provided by the reporter. This identification number is provided to document that the reporter's obligation to report abuse/neglect has been met. Since anonymous reporters do not leave their name or identifying information, there is no way to confirm who may have actually made the report, therefore our policy is to not provide a report identification number to anonymous reporters. Providing us with your identity also helps if someone in DFPS needs to communicate with you regarding the situation you reported to work together in protecting children, adults with disabilities and persons who are elderly.

Security

How secure is this web site?
The web site's security is sufficient to permit Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-covered entities to file reports of child abuse or neglect, as mandated by state law. The session between the reporter and the server is encrypted, using SSL, Secure Socket Layer technology. The transmission is secure. The data flow is one way, from the reporter to the server. The reporter sees only a blank form. The reporter cannot access any data submitted in the DFPS computer operating system.
Does the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevent me from reporting suspected abuse/neglect using this web site?
No. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was never intended to prohibit, delay, or otherwise interfere with reporting or providing information necessary to investigate suspected child abuse or neglect. Texas Family Code, Section 261.101 requires everyone to report suspected child abuse, including medical professionals. The HIPAA Privacy Rules, specifically 45 Code of Federal Regulations Section 164.512(b)(1)(ii), authorizes the disclosure of protected health information to DFPS, without the need for an authorization from the individual, for purposes of reporting and investigating suspected child abuse or neglect.
Texas Family Code, Section 261.101. Persons Required to Report; Time to Report (a) A person having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as provided by this subchapter.
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(c) The requirement to report under this section applies without exception to an individual whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a member of the clergy, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health professional, and an employee of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services.
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45 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.512 Uses and disclosures for which an authorization or opportunity to agree or object is not required. A covered entity may use or disclose protected health information without the written authorization of the individual, as described in § 164.508, or the opportunity for the individual to agree or object as described in § 164.510, in the situations covered by this section, subject to the applicable requirements of this section.
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(b) Standard: uses and disclosures for public health activities. (1) Permitted disclosures. A covered entity may disclose protected health information for the public health activities and purposes described in this paragraph to:
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(ii) A public health authority or other appropriate government authority authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect;

General ONLINE

Why wasn't my report sent to the local office for investigation?
If your report is not sent to a local office for investigation that means the information you provided did not meet the guidelines for assignment according to the Texas Family Code or the Texas Human Resource Code. Answer all the questions as thoroughly as possible. Providing detailed and descriptive information about the situation you are reporting helps Statewide Intake more accurately assess the need for an investigation.
What is the difference between an eReport confirmation number and a report identification number?
The eReport confirmation number is a system-generated number that acknowledges the initial receipt of submitted information via the Internet. The eReport confirmation number is obtained on the confirmation page of the e-Report website. The report identification number from Statewide Intake is the number associated with the entry of your information into the DFPS system after it has been reviewed and assessed by an intake worker. The report identification number is obtained in the e-mail that is sent back to you. We recommend you save both numbers.
What exactly do you e-mail back? Are names of persons used? I ask this because we do not have secure e-mail addresses and I am concerned about information being accessed by others.
The e-mail response you receive from Statewide Intake includes the identification number associated with the information reported in the DFPS automated system. That number will verify that you have reported the suspected abuse/neglect to our statewide hotline. We reference the child only by their initials in the body of the e-mail to help you match our e-mail response to the particular situation you reported. We do not include any of the information from your report in our response. We also provide a general statement regarding how we have assessed the information you reported. The subject line of the e-mail only includes the identification number and does not contain any language that would mean anything to anyone other than the person who reported it to us.
How do I use Teletypewriter (TTY) to file a report?
The caller can use a TTY to type conversations to a relay agent who then reads the typed conversation to a hearing person. The relay agent transmits the hearing person's spoken words by typing them back to the TTY user.
I created an account to use the web site. Why can’t I log in?
The most likely reason is that you entered your username and/or password incorrectly. You can reset your password if you have forgotten it. You will have to know your username and the answer to your security question in order to reset your password. If you do not know your username or the answer to your security question, then you will need to create a new account.
You may not be able to log into your account because inactive accounts are routinely deleted. As part of the maintenance of our system, accounts that have not been used within 12 months are purged from the system. When an account has not been used within 11 months, an email is sent warning the user that the account will soon be deleted and encourages the user to log in to keep the account active. If your account has been deleted, you will need to create a new account to use the web site.
Do cookies need to be enabled to use this web site?
Yes, Cookies must be enabled to access the DFPS Internet reporting forms.

 

Last updated June 6, 2010