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2300 Evidence Collection

APS-IH / November 2008

APS collects evidence to:

  •   determine whether abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation occurred;

  •   determine the nature, extent, and root cause of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation; and

  •   identify problems and factors that jeopardize the health and safety of an alleged victim;

2310 Procedure for Evidence Collection

APS-IH / November 2016

The APS specialist collects evidence by:

  •  conducting interviews with persons likely to have current and reliable information about the allegations or the alleged victim’s situation;

  •  requesting copies of relevant documents or records (such as from law enforcement, banks, physicians) within 10 calendar days of a successful initial face to face with the alleged victim or the supervisor consult if the alleged victim has refused to cooperate;

  •  photographing physical evidence (injuries, environments, and so on); and

  •  drawing diagrams, such as of the layout of an alleged victim’s house.

The APS specialist thoroughly investigates and uses professional judgment to determine when enough evidence has been collected to reach an accurate conclusion regarding the:

  •  validity of the allegations;

  •  need for protective services;

  •  alleged victim’s overall safety (for example, safe, conditionally safe, or unsafe); and

  •  root cause of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

The APS specialist:

  •  resolves discrepancies in evidence by:

  •  re-interviewing principals or collaterals,

  •  interviewing new collaterals, or

  •  gathering new documentary or demonstrative evidence;

  •  consults the supervisor and SME as necessary when evidence is unavailable or difficult to collect; and

  •  collects additional evidence when requested by APS state office, the district director, program administrator, the supervisor, or DFPS attorney.

2320 Types of Evidence Collected

APS-IH / November 2008

Evidence in an APS in-home case includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Examples of Types of Evidence

Testimonial

Documentary

Demonstrative

Physical

Verbal and written statements from:

  •   the alleged victim;

  •   the alleged perpetrator;

  •   collaterals.

Paper and electronic records, including:

  •   business records;

  •   legal papers;

  •   medical files;

  •   bank statements;

  •   letters;

  •   computer files.

Images or documents that capture physical evidence, such as:

  •   photographs;

  •   diagrams;

  •   maps.

Evidence that can be seen or touched, such as:

  •   objects;

  •   injuries;

  •   living environments.

2330 Testimonial Evidence (Interviewing)

APS-IH / November 2008

Human Resources Code §48.152 requires that APS investigations include an interview with the person age 65 or older or adult with disabilities, if appropriate, and with persons thought to have knowledge of the circumstances.

APS interviews all appropriate parties, including reporters, alleged victims, alleged perpetrators, witnesses, medical staff, and others who have knowledge of allegations and alleged victims' situations.

2331 Documentation of Persons Associated With the Case

APS-IH / November 2008

The APS specialist:

  •   adds additional principals and collaterals not entered at intake on the Person List page; and

  •   documents relevant information regarding persons associated with the case on the Person Detail page.

2332 Documentation of Information About Principals

APS IH / May 2011

The alleged victim and alleged perpetrator are the only individuals considered as principals for the purpose of an APS investigation. It is important that the information for these persons is as accurate as possible.

The APS specialist must attempt to verify and enter the following information on the Person Detail page for each principal or document the interviewee’s refusal to provide the information:

  •   Full name

  •   Most recent address

  •   Phone numbers (indicate whether the number is that of the alleged victim, a neighbor, a family member, and so on)

  •   Date of birth

  •   Ethnicity

  •   Preferred language

  •   Social Security number (if the person chooses to provide it)

  •   Gender

  •   SAVERR/TIERS Client ID Number (Department of Aging & Disability Services)

  •   Date of death

  •   All appropriate entries on the Person Characteristics page

The APS specialist selects a citizenship status for the alleged victim only if the APS specialist has knowledge of the alleged victim’s status; however, if the alleged victim is being referred to DADS Guardianship Services, the APS specialist must select a citizenship status.

See Appendix VIII: Definitions of Person Characteristics

2332.1 Privacy Rights Regarding the Social Security Number

APS IH September 2014

Adult Protective Services does not have the legal authority to require any person to provide his or her Social Security number. The APS specialist informs the interviewee that protective services are not dependent on providing his or her Social Security number, and he or she has the right to choose not to provide that information.

The APS specialist does not enter an incorrect or partial Social Security number in IMPACT for any principal or collateral in an APS case. If the principal is unable to provide or refuses to provide his or her full Social Security number, the APS specialist documents this in a contact narrative.

When referring a designated perpetrator to the EMR, the APS specialist must obtain the designated perpetrator’s Social Security number.

See:

2333 Documentation of Investigation Contacts

5412.1 Required Information for EMR-Eligible Investigations

5233 Manual Person Merge

2333 Documentation of Investigation Contacts

APS IH / April 2015

The goal of narrative documentation is to tell the whole story of the case. Narrative documentation has no major gaps and is:

  •  clearly written;

  •  well organized;

  •  easy to read; and

  •  free of all but minor errors in spelling and grammar.

Anyone who reads the case can understand clearly:

  •  how APS investigated the allegations;

  •  the justification for all findings;

  •  the alleged victim’s whole situation at the start of the case, including all of the alleged victim’s problems and needs;

  •  the actions taken by APS or others on the alleged victim’s behalf and the reasons for taking them;

  •  actions APS considered, but did not take, and the reasons for not taking them;

  •  the results of actions taken by APS or others;

  •  the alleged victim’s situation at the close of the case; and

  •  why remaining problems, if any, could not be resolved.

See Appendix III: APS Decision-Making Tree.

Contact Detail Page in IMPACT

All case contacts are documented using the Contact Detail page. To document contacts in IMPACT, the APS specialist:

  •  selects the appropriate Contact/Summary Type;

  •  fills in all fields on the Contact Detail page;

  •  clicks the Save button; and

  •  clicks the Narrative button on the Contact Detail page and enters the narrative contact information.

If the APS specialist contacts multiple agencies or service providers in rapid succession for the purpose of providing immediate interventions or services to address the alleged victim’s needs, these contacts can be documented in a single contact detail page. All other contacts must be documented on individual contact detail pages.

Purpose of Contacts

The Contact Detail page has four choices in the Purpose drop-down box. The APS specialist chooses the appropriate purpose of the contact.

The four options are defined as follows:

1.   Assessment. The APS specialist assesses the alleged victim’s situation to determine the need for service. The assessment process starts with the intake and continues until all relevant information is obtained from the alleged victim, the alleged perpetrator, and collaterals.

2.   Case Planning. When the assessment process is complete, a case plan, or service plan, is developed which identifies the care, services, and resources required to meet the alleged victim’s needs, and how they might be most appropriately delivered. The APS Service Plan is developed through a collaborative process involving the alleged victim, the caretaker, and other parties, as appropriate. Case planning is associated with the completion of the APS Service Plan as services are needed in the investigation stage or Intensive Case Services Stage.

3.   Service Coordination and Monitoring. The APS specialist ensures the alleged victim’s access to the care, services, and resources identified in the APS Service Plan. This is accomplished with face-to-face visits and telephone contacts to ensure services are implemented and appropriate. The APS specialist’s actions in this category include, but are not limited to:

  •  arranging for resources or services, or both;

  •  purchasing resources, services, or both with PCS funds; and

  •  Safety Contacts or Service Contacts.

4.   Case Plan Re-assessment. The APS specialist continues to assess if services are adequate to meet the identified needs. Re-assessment may lead to alteration of actions in the APS Service Plan if previous actions did not resolve the identified problems.

New allegations discovered during Maintenance or Intensive Case Services will require a new intake and, consequently, a new assessment.

Content of Contacts

Contact narratives, especially those that summarize interviews, are clearly documented, and include a summary of what was said, done, or observed. If the person is not listed on the Person Detail page, the APS specialist includes in the narrative the person’s name and relationship to the alleged victim (brother, friend, home health care provider, and so on).

Timeframe for Entry of Contacts

The APS specialist documents all investigation contacts and attempted contacts as they occur or as soon after they occur as possible, to maximize both the accuracy of documentation and the efficiency of casework. At the latest, all contacts must be documented within 24 hours, or the next business day when the next day is a weekend or a holiday.

Timely documentation within 24 hours means documenting the day the contact occurred or by the next business day. For example:

  •  If a contact occurred at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, the APS specialist documents that contact by 11:59 p.m. on Friday in order to be in compliance with policy.

  •  If a contact occurred at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, the APS specialist documents that contact by 11:59 p.m. on Monday in order to be in compliance with policy.

See:

2213 Documentation for Case Initiation

2242 Documentation for Initial Face-to-Face Contact With The Alleged Victim

2512 Documentation for Safety Contacts

2511 Procedure for Safety Contacts

3215 Documentation of Contacts During Service Delivery

2334 Written Statements

APS IH / January 2010

APS may take written statements from alleged victims, alleged perpetrators, or collaterals when necessary to strengthen investigations. Written statements may be helpful in cases being considered for referral to the Employee Misconduct Registry (EMR).

Upon written request, APS case records are available after completion of the investigation and de-identification to certain persons, including the alleged victim and the alleged victim’s guardian. The alleged perpetrator and collaterals interviewed during the course of the investigation are only entitled to the portion of the record that relates to his or her interview.

While taking a statement, if a collateral or alleged perpetrator wants a copy of the statement, the specialist will need to provide them with instructions on how to request a copy of the record to which the person has access once the investigation is complete.

See 5111 Individuals and Entities Entitled to the Case Record.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §705.7107

2334.1 Procedures for Written Statements

APS IH / June 2012

The APS specialist may consult the subject matter expert (SME) to determine whether:

  •   written statements would be helpful, and from whom; and

  •   assistance from an APS Facility investigator or SME is indicated.

2334.2 Ensuring the Integrity and Security of Documents Obtained Using the Tablet PC

APS IH / September 2011

Written statements, release forms, and diagrams may be obtained using a hard copy of the document or electronically using the tablet PC.

When the interviewee writes his or her statement, signs a release of information form, or draws a diagram using the tablet PC, the APS specialist is responsible for:

  •   removing the air card before the principal or collateral uses the tablet;

  •   maintaining direct oversight of the tablet at all times;

  •   monitoring the tablet screen to ensure that the principal or collateral is only writing on the appropriate form, and not reviewing other DFPS case information; and

  •   ensuring the principal’s or collateral’s electronic signature is not altered or copied and pasted onto any other documents; and

  •   saving the electronic document in a format that cannot be altered, while in the presence of the interviewee.

Written statements, release forms, and diagrams may be signed electronically on the tablet, or printed and signed in the presence of the APS specialist. It is the responsibility of the APS specialist to ensure the integrity and security of all statements and forms, including the signatures.

The APS specialist notes any documents obtained, hard copy or electronic, on the External Documentation page.

See Appendix XVI: Using the Tablet PC for Obtaining and Storing Written Statements and Diagrams to convert the statement form to Windows Journal, to save the statement to a protected file, and to save the statement to a disc.

See:

2341.13 Conducting the Interview With an Alleged Victim

5222 External Documentation Page

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