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2000 Investigation Stage

APS-IH / November 2008

APS identifies the nature, extent, and root causes of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation during investigations. APS conducts thorough investigations to:

  •   determine if alleged victims meet eligibility criteria for protective services;

  •   conclude whether allegations and investigated situations meet the definitions of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation;

  •   identify factors that pose a threat to health or safety;

  •   collect evidence relevant to the allegations;

  •   assess if continued contact with alleged perpetrators creates safety concerns for alleged victims;

  •   decide if criminal conduct is suspected, and requires law enforcement notification;

  •   identify indicators of possible lack of capacity to consent to protective services;

  •   determine if legal intervention is needed to resolve abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation;

  •   detect if family violence occurred;

  •   establish whether a preponderance of the evidence determines the validity of allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation; and

  •   determine if protective services are needed and, if so, what type.

Chapter 48, Title 2, Texas Human Resources Code (HRC) provides legal remedies to assist with APS investigations including, but not limited to, access to records and a prohibition against interference with investigation or protective services.

2100 Case Assignment

APS-IH / November 2008

Reports of alleged abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of persons age 65 or older and adults with disabilities are assigned to trained APS specialists for investigation and delivery of protective services.

2110 Statewide Intake (SWI) Case Assignment

APS-IH / November 2008

Statewide Intake (SWI) receives reports of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of persons age 65 or older and adults with disabilities. SWI routes APS allegations to APS routing coordinators who then assign cases to APS specialists for investigation and service delivery. If there is a need for special handling, the routing coordinator notifies the APS supervisor for guidance in assigning the case.

If, after regular business hours, SWI receives a report of abuse or neglect requiring immediate attention, SWI calls the APS specialist on call and provides the report information over the phone.

See 1600 Allegation Priorities.

2111 Procedure for Statewide Intake (SWI) Case Assignment

APS-IH / November 2008

The SWI specialist:

  •   receives the report of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of a person age 65 or older or an adult with a disability and documents, at a minimum;

  •   identifying information for the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, even if the names are unknown,

  •   locating information for the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, and directions if necessary,

  •   age and date of birth of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, or an approximate age if unknown,

  •   nature and extent of the alleged victim's current situation,

  •   limited English proficiency or communication impairment issues for the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator,

  •   known worker safety issues, and

  •   sensitive or high profile issues;

  •   assigns initial priorities for APS allegations based on information obtained during the intake call;

  •   routes the APS investigation based on the county where the alleged victim is located at the time the intake call is received; and

  •   routes the APS investigation to an APS employee designated to receive cases in the IMPACT case management system.

The SWI employee assigns the APS investigation to the county where the alleged victim is located at the time of intake regardless of the:

  •   reason the alleged victim is not in his or her county of residence;

  •   length of time the alleged victim will be away from his or her county of residence;

  •   alleged victim's current placement (such as a hospital, jail, and so on); or

  •   allegation priority.

2120 Maintaining On-Call Information in IMPACT for Case Assignment

APS-IH / November 2008

APS maintains on-call information in the IMPACT system to facilitate accurate and timely routing of investigations and Information and Referrals (I&Rs).

2121 Procedure for On-Call Information in IMPACT for Case Assignment

APS-IH / November 2008

The assigned APS employee with Maintainer status in the IMPACT system ensures:

  •   all information on the On-Call Detail page in IMPACT is accurate, including that:

  •   employee contact numbers on the Staff Detail page are current,

  •   schedules on the On-Call Detail page show correct on-call information,

  •   all hours are covered on the On-Call Detail page;

  •   arouting coordinator(RC) is assigned on the On-Call Detail page in IMPACT for all times, including:

  •   during office hours for case assignment, and

  •   after office hours for assignment of all items not requiring call-out, such as I&R’s and non Priority 1 (non P-1) APS cases when the next day is a workday;

  •   every shift or block outside normal business hours contains an employee name with the designation of his or her  duty. These are:

  •   Primary Worker (PW);

  •   Supervisor (SP);

  •   Backup Worker (BW);

  •   Routing Coordinator (RC);

  •   Program Director (PD); and

  •   Program Director (PD) for Sensitive Case Contact.

See:

IMPACT FYI Add Shift or Block to On-Call Schedule

IMPACT FYI Modify Existing On-Call Shift or Block

IMPACT FYI Delete On-Call Shift or Block

IMPACT FYI Add Employee to On-Call Shift or Block

IMPACT FYI Delete Employee From On-Call Shift or Block

IMPACT FYI Modify Employee Information for On-Call Shift or Block

IMPACT FYI Add New On-Call Schedule Using Existing

2130 Evaluating Investigations for Special Needs

APS-IH / November 2008

Certain factors require special consideration for case assignment decisions. APS evaluates each case to ensure it is assigned to the most appropriate APS specialist.

2131 Routing Coordinator Review for Special Needs Case Assignment

APS IH / July 2013

APS routers review APS investigations upon receipt from SWI to identify special needs and ensure cases are appropriately assigned.

Special needs include, but are not limited to, cases that:

  •   may require subject matter expert (SME) involvement (such as severe neglect or financial exploitation);

  •   require special cultural knowledge or interpreter services;

  •   indicate potential judiciary or law enforcement involvement;

  •   are sensitive or high profile (such as involving elected officials, DADS guardianship specialists, DFPS staff or family members, or the media);

  •   require joint investigations with APS Facility Investigations or other agencies; and

  •   are recidivistic (the alleged victim has been listed as a victim in two or more APS investigations within the last five years).

See also 2134 High Profile Cases.

2131.1 Procedure for Routing Coordinator Review for Special Needs Case Assignment

APS IH / July 2013

Upon receiving an APS investigation from SWI, the routing coordinator:

  •   reviews the intake narratives;

  •   notes the priorities assigned by SWI; and

  •   identifies any special needs.

When special needs are identified, the routing coordinator:

  •   assigns the case to an APS specialist in compliance with regular case assignment procedure; and

  •   notifies the supervisor of:

  •   the special needs; and

  •   which APS specialist was assigned the case.

The supervisor determines whether the case requires assignment to a different APS specialist.

2132 Supervisor Notification of Special Needs Case Assignment

APS IH / June 2012

Special needs cases require heightened awareness and involvement on the part of APS supervisors. The routing coordinator or assigned APS specialist notifies the APS supervisor upon receipt of a special needs investigation.

For the definition of special needs, see 2131 Routing Coordinator Review for Special Needs Case Assignment.

2132.1 Procedure for Supervisor Following Notification of Special Needs Case Assignment

APS IH / June 2012

Upon notification of special needs cases identified by the routing coordinator or the APS specialist, the supervisor:

  •   may assign the case to the appropriate APS specialist based on experience, skills, and competencies;

  •   refers the assigned APS specialist to a SME as necessary;

  •   notifies the district director of investigations that involve high profile or sensitive cases (such as, a ward of the DADS Guardianship program, DFPS staff or family members, or cases with media or legislative involvement);

  •   reviews any cases identified as recidivistic;

  •   documents the supervisor’s review and case-related decisions in IMPACT.

See also 2133 Supervisor Review of Recidivistic Cases.

2133 Supervisor Review of Recidivistic Cases

APS IH / June 2012

Cases in which the alleged victim has been listed as a victim in two or more previous APS investigations within the previous five years are classified as recidivist cases. APS supervisors review recidivist cases to provide additional guidance regarding difficult or complicated situations that result in recurrent abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

APS supervisors assist in developing long-term plans in an attempt to resolve the issues leading to recidivism.

Human Resources Code §48.1523

2133.1 Procedure for Supervisor Review of Recidivistic Cases

APS IH / June 2012

An APS supervisor becomes aware of a recidivistic case in one of two ways:

  •   The router alerts the APS supervisor about any case in which the alleged victim has been listed as a victim in two or more APS cases within the previous 12 months (flagged with an “M” on the Case Summary page).

  •   The APS specialist reviews the alleged victim’s case history and refers the case to the supervisor if the alleged victim has been involved in two or more APS investigations within the previous five years.

Once a recidivistic case is identified, the APS supervisor:

  •   reviews all of the alleged victim’s APS history. Cases investigated within the last 12 months contain the most pertinent information about the alleged victim’s current situation;

  •   refers the case to the subject matter experts, if necessary;

  •   assists the assigned APS specialist in developing a long-term plan to attempt to resolve the issues that lead to recidivism. This includes providing guidance regarding the need for additional investigative actions, or additional or different protective services;

  •   re-assigns the case to a different APS specialist with different skills or experience, if necessary;

  •   refers the case to the Internal Regional Case Management Quality Assurance Team, if needed;

  •   determines whether indicators show the root cause is the alleged victim’s refusal or inability to change circumstances or behavior;

  •   determines whether available resources exist to resolve recidivistic issues;

  •   determines whether indicators show a possible lack of capacity to consent to protective services and that professional assessment is needed;

  •   determines whether administrative closure is appropriate because all reasonable efforts to resolve the problems have been exhausted and no other alternative action is known to exist;

  •   completes a Supervisor Recidivism Review Contact Detail page; and

  •   documents the review and consultation in IMPACT.

2134 High Profile Cases

APS IH November 2017

High profile cases require additional safeguards to protect confidentiality. A high profile case may involve:

  •   a DFPS employee or his or her spouse, significant other, relative, or household member;

  •   a ward of a guardianship agency or program;

  •   a non-DFPS employee in the same office location, such as  an HHSC employee;

  •   an elected official, such as a county judge, legislator, or district attorney;

  •   an investigation that has gained or is expected to gain media attention; or

  •   a client who died under unusual circumstances or as a result of abuse or neglect during an open case.

District management may determine that a case is high profile for similar reasons.

2134.1 Procedure for High Profile Cases

APS IH November 2017

A case that meets criteria for a high profile case is marked "sensitive" in IMPACT. Access to a sensitive case is restricted to APS staff with the appropriate security in IMPACT, including the primary and secondary specialist assigned to the case and the specialist's chain of command.

To mark a case sensitive in IMPACT, a DFPS intake specialist, router, APS specialist, or APS supervisor:

  •   selects the Sensitive Case indicator checkbox located under the Special Handling section of the Case Summary page; and

  •   enters the reason the case is sensitive in the Comments section.

An APS specialist cannot assign or re-assign another APS specialist to a sensitive case. The APS specialist's supervisor re-assigns the case or assigns a secondary APS specialist as necessary.

High Profile Case Form

The APS specialist completes Form 2272 Notification of High Profile APS Case and emails it to the supervisor.

The supervisor reviews the form before emailing it to the program administrator and district director. The district director reviews the form and emails it to the director of policy and performance and the director of field operations.

See:

IMPACT FYI: Record, Review, Modify, or Delete Sensitive Case

2645 Procedure When Alleged Perpetrator's Actions May Have Contributed to the Alleged Victim's Death

3573 Client's Death May Involve Allegations Validated in the Investigation Stage

3574 Procedure When a Client's Death May Involve New Incidents of Allegations Investigated or Validated During the Investigation Stage

3575 Client's Death Involves New Allegations of Abuse or Neglect by an Alleged Perpetrator

5100 Confidentiality, Disclosure, and Release of Case Information

5420 Due Process for Non-EMR Cases

2140 Assigning Secondary APS Specialists

APS-IH / November 2008

Secondary APS specialists assist primary APS specialists in conducting interviews, researching records, and performing all other case-related tasks except case reassignment or case closure.

2141 Procedure for Assigning Secondary APS Specialists

APS IH / June 2012

If a case requires additional assistance from an APS specialist within the same APS unit, the APS specialist:

  •   requests assistance from his or her co-worker;

  •   provides specific case direction; and

  •   makes the secondary assignment in IMPACT.

If a case requires additional assistance from an APS specialist in a different APS unit, the primary APS specialist consults his or her supervisor.

The APS supervisor;

  •   communicates with the APS supervisor or designee in the county where additional case actions are required to establish the:

  •   name and contact information of the secondary APS specialist,

  •   responsibility of each APS specialist (for example, interviewing an alleged perpetrator), and

  •   timeline for completion of the assistance; and

  •   designates a secondary APS specialist in IMPACT.

If an alleged victim moves to another area of Texas and the case requires further investigation or service delivery, follow the policy outlined in 2552 Procedure for When an Alleged Victim Moves Within Texas.

See IMPACT FYI – Workload Management.

2142 Documentation for Secondary APS Specialists

APS IH / September 2011

The secondary APS specialist enters all appropriate documentation in the IMPACT system and documents his or her name as the person making the entry.

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