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Appendix 2000-1: Summary of Consent Requirements

CPS August 2017

The following chart summarizes the requirements for gaining consent for various actions during the investigation. It specifies who can and cannot consent and the limitations to that consent.

These requirements are based on interpretation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable governmental search and seizure.

Definitions

Parent—refers to a person legally responsible for the child, including a managing conservator. This may also include a person who has a signed authorization agreement or power of attorney from the parent.

Person Responsible—refers to a person who appears to have been left responsible for the child or is temporarily caring for the child (i.e., a caretaker). This includes another child or youth who appears to have been temporarily left with responsibility for the child.

Actions

Who Can Consent

Limitations On Consent

Who Does Not Have Authority To Consent

Entering the home

  •   Parent.

  •   Adult or another child/youth responsible for alleged child victim in parent's absence. (e.g., babysitter, relative.)

  •   Child who has capacity to consent.

  •   Adult occupant of home (e.g., roommate, other household members, renters).

An adult occupant of the home who is not responsible for the home and alleged child victim can only consent to entering:

  •   common areas (e.g., kitchen, living room);

  •   his/her own room; and

  •   the room of his/her own child.

Non-resident owner. (e.g., landlords, relatives, military base commander, or other person who owns but does not live in home and who is not responsible for the premises and alleged child victim.)

Interviewing the child at home

  •   Parent.

  •   Adult responsible for alleged child victim in parent's absence.

  •   Alleged child victim who has capacity to consent.

  •   If parent has previously denied consent during current investigation, caseworker must not seek consent from alleged child victim or any other person responsible for child in parent's absence.

  •   In two-parent household, if one parent denies consent, caseworker must not seek consent from other parent.

  •   Non-resident owner.

  •   Adult resident of home who is not responsible for alleged child victim.

  •   Another child/youth left in charge of alleged child victim, even if the child/youth has capacity to consent to entry.

Visually examining the child at home

  •   Parent.

  •   Adult responsible for alleged child victim in parent's absence.

  •   Alleged child victim who has capacity to consent.

  •   If parent has previously denied consent during current investigation, caseworker must not seek consent from alleged child victim or any other person responsible for child in parent's absence.

  •   In two-parent household, if one parent denies consent, caseworker must not seek consent from other parent.

  •   Caseworker must not proceed if child objects.

  •   When seeking consent to examine a child's diaper area for allegations of extreme diaper rash or injury, only parent/person with legal responsibility of child can provide consent.  However, if there are allegations of sexual abuse, the caseworker must not seek consent from the parent for a visual examination.

  •   Non-resident owner.

  •   Adult resident of home who is not responsible for alleged child victim.

  •   Another child/youth left in charge of alleged child victim, even if the child/youth has capacity to consent to entry.

Interviewing the child at a TEA school

  •   If parent present at school, caseworker must obtain parental consent. 

  •   If parent not present, caseworker may proceed with interview after notifying appropriate school personnel.

Caseworker must not interview child if parent has previously denied consent during current investigation.

Not applicable

Interviewing the child at a non-TEA school

  •   If parent present at school, caseworker must obtain parental consent.

  •   If parent not present, caseworker must obtain consent from appropriate school personnel.

Caseworker must not seek consent from school personnel if parent has previously denied consent during current investigation.

Not applicable

Visually examining the child at a TEA school

  •   If parent present, caseworker must obtain parental consent.

  •   If parent not present, caseworker does not need consent from school personnel but must have reasonable belief that there are physical manifestations of abuse/neglect on child's body. (See 2243.32 Consent to Interview a Child at School.)

  •   Caseworker must not proceed if parent previously denied consent during current investigation.

  •   Caseworker must not proceed if child objects.

  •   When seeking consent to examine a child's diaper area for allegations of extreme diaper rash or injury, only parent can provide consent. However, if there are allegations of sexual abuse, the caseworker must not seek consent from the parent for a visual examination.

Not applicable

Visually examining the child at a non-TEA school

  •   If parent present at school, caseworker must obtain parental consent.

  •   If parent not present, caseworker must obtain consent from appropriate school personnel.

  •   Caseworker must not obtain consent from appropriate school personnel if parent previously denied consent during current investigation.

  •   Caseworker must not proceed if child objects.

  •   When seeking consent to examine a child's diaper area for allegations of extreme diaper rash or injury, only parent can provide consent. However, if there are allegations of sexual abuse, the caseworker must not seek consent from the parent for a visual examination.

Not applicable

Transporting  the child

  •   Parent.

  •   Person legally authorized to make decisions for the child.

Not applicable

  •   School personnel.

  •   Alleged child victim.

Examination of Child by External Entities

  •   Parent.

  •   Person legally authorized to make decisions for the child.

Not applicable

Alleged child victim.

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