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6000 Investigations

6100 Overview of Investigations

LPPH December 2012

All reports that allege failure to comply with the law, administrative rules, or minimum standards require some degree of investigation, except when specific conditions exist as noted within policy.

An investigation of a report alleging possible risk to children must be completed promptly and thoroughly by the investigator to ensure that children who are or will be in care at the operation are protected. This applies to child-care operations that are regulated by DFPS as well as to operations that are subject to regulation.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC 745.8405

6110 Types of Investigations

LPPH December 2012

There are two types of intake reports:

Reports of Abuse or Neglect: Reports of abuse or neglect allege that a child in care of an operation was or may be harmed because of an act or omission by a person working under the auspices of a child care operation. Such harm must meet the definitions of abuse or neglect, as described in the Texas Family Code and Texas Administrative Code. Other statutes, administrative rules, or minimum standards may also be in violation.

Reports of Non-abuse or Neglect: Reports of possible violations allege that statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards have been or are in violation. No allegation of abuse or neglect is involved.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)

Texas Family Code §261.401

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8401; 745.8403; 745.8405; 745.8407; 745.8557; 745.8559

6120 The Roles of the Investigator and the Monitoring Inspector

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Licensing staff who conduct investigations are:

  •  inspectors; and

  •  investigators.

Monitoring Inspectors

An inspector who conducts an investigation becomes an investigator for purposes of Licensing policies and procedures.

Child care licensing inspectors:

  •  respond to reports of possible violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards that do not allege abuse or neglect (non abuse or neglect investigations); and

  •  follow up on deficiencies cited during investigations and complete entries related to the follow-up in the CLASS automated support system.

An inspector who has completed the training required to be a child care investigator may also:

  •  be the primary investigator of an abuse or neglect investigation; and

  •  conduct interviews and inspections to assist in an abuse or neglect investigation.

In some cases, district directors, residential managers, or supervisors may request that investigators follow up and complete the CLASS-related entries.

Investigators

Child care licensing investigators investigate:

  •  reports of possible child abuse, neglect, or child deaths (abuse or neglect investigations); and

  •  reports of possible violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards that do not allege abuse or neglect (non abuse or neglect investigations).

6130 The Role of the Supervisor

LPPH December 2012

Other staff involved in an investigation include:

a.   the monitoring supervisor;

b.   the investigation supervisor; and

c.   the supervisor’s designees.

Monitoring Supervisors

A monitoring supervisor oversees a monitoring inspector’s activities related to conducting investigations of non-abuse or neglect. A monitoring supervisor may also provide guidance and instructions to an investigator of abuse or neglect when performing on-call duties or acting as the designee of an investigation supervisor.

Investigation Supervisors

An investigation supervisor oversees an investigator’s activities related to conducting investigations of abuse or neglect, including approving all dispositions, citations, and notifications before closing the investigation. An investigation supervisor may also oversee an investigator’s activities related to non abuse or neglect investigations, as appropriate.

Supervisor’s Designee

A supervisor may assign another supervisor or an Investigator II as a designee for the purposes of providing required supervisory approvals in the supervisor’s absence.

A supervisor may assign a router, investigator, or inspector as a designee for the purposes of routing and processing intakes under the supervisor’s guidance.

See:

1220 Assigning a Designee in CLASS and IMPACT

1221 Maximum Number of Designees in CLASS and IMPACT

6131 The Role of the Supervisor in All Investigations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

In all investigations, the supervisor is responsible for all of the following:

a.   Coordinating the assignment of intakes to investigative staff

b.   Approving the downgrade or upgrade of intakes

c.   Approving intensified monitoring or surveillance

d.   Approving a recommended action of corrective or adverse action

e.   Approving requests for assistance from other DFPS divisions or government agencies when the expertise of Licensing staff is requested

f.    Ensuring that a safety plan is implemented, when the circumstances call for taking immediate safety measures

g.   Ensuring that investigators conduct and document investigations according to policy

h.   Arranging for other DFPS divisions or government agencies to review an investigation, as necessary

i.    Approving extensions of time, in accordance with policy, to complete an investigation

6132 The Role of the Supervisor in an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an investigation of abuse or neglect, the investigation supervisor has the additional responsibilities of:

a.   reviewing and assessing each intake report to determine whether it has been assigned the correct priority or should be closed, and the extent of the child’s safety;

b.   ensuring that on-call duties are followed;

c.   holding an interim case staffing with the investigator and monitoring the progress of the abuse or neglect investigation;

d.   ensuring that the protocol for informing and working with law enforcement is adhered to on investigations that meet criteria;

e.   holding a staffing to discuss and approve the disposition of the investigation before completion of the investigation;

f.    reviewing and approving the documentation in the IMPACT and CLASS systems within 15 days of the investigator submitting the documentation; and

g.   ensuring that due process policies are followed for an alleged perpetrator in cases where an investigator has determined that abuse or neglect has occurred.

6200 Assessing and Processing Intake Reports

6210 Reports Received From Statewide Intake (SWI)

LPPH December 2012

Policy

With one exception (see 6250 Reports Received by Licensing Offices), all reports of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards or of possible abuse or neglect must be:

a.   generated by the DFPS Statewide Intake (SWI) Division;

b.   entered into the IMPACT case management system; and

c.   forwarded to the local DFPS Licensing office for assessment.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

Texas Family Code §§261.101; 261.103

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8407

Procedure

Alleged Abuse or Neglect (Intake Reports)

If a report alleges abuse or neglect, SWI staff:

a.   process the report as an intake;

b.   prioritize the intake report as Priority 1 (P1) or Priority 2 (P2); and

c.   route the intake report to the appropriate routing coordinator.

Alleged Violation of Statute, Administrative Rules, or Minimum Standards (Information and Referral)

If a report does not involve an allegation of abuse or neglect, but does involve children or staff at a child care operation, SWI staff:

  •  process the report as an Information and Referral (I&R) for an alleged violation of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards; and

  •  route the report to the appropriate routing coordinator.

SWI staff do not assess whether an I&R violates the statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards or prioritize the report; they only forward the allegations.

Once the I&R is routed to the Licensing office, the report becomes an intake report for Licensing that does not allege abuse or neglect.

6220 Assessing an Intake Report for Type of Investigation and Priority

LPPH December 2012

Policy

All intake reports require an evaluation to determine:

a.   whether the information involves allegations of abuse or neglect;

b.   whether the information involves possible violations of the statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards;

c.   the immediate safety of children;

d.   the degree of risk to children;

e.   whether the operation is subject to a Licensing investigation; and

f.    the appropriate Licensing priority.

6221 Assessing an Intake Report for Type of Investigation

LPPH January 2014

Policy

Each intake report must be assessed to determine whether the report should be:

a.   investigated as alleging abuse or neglect;

b.   investigated as non-abuse or neglect; or

c.   closed without an investigation.

A supervisor or designee must review and assess each intake report containing an allegation of abuse or neglect.

A report alleging an injury to a child is only investigated when the injury occurred while the child was in the operation’s care.

6221.1 Intake Reports to Be Investigated as Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

The supervisor or designee determines that an intake report will be investigated as abuse or neglect if the intake report contains the following:

a.   an allegation of abuse or neglect;

b.   a child fatality; or

c.   an allegation of exploitation, depending on the nature and extent of the allegation.

Texas Family Code §261.401

6221.2 Intake Reports to Be Investigated as Non Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

The investigator, supervisor, or designee determines that an intake report will be investigated as non abuse or neglect if the report does not contain an allegation of abuse or neglect or the death of a child and does contain an allegation involving:

a.   a violation of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards;

b.   a person or operation that is subject to regulation providing care to children without the proper permit;

c.   an operation with a permit is providing care to more children than authorized by the permit; or

d.   an immediate risk of danger to the health or safety of children.

6221.3 Reports Received for Listed Homes

LPPH December 2012

A report about a listed home is investigated if the allegation involves:

a.   abuse or neglect;

b.   the caregiver administering medication in violation of Texas Human Resources Code §42.065;

c.   the caregiver providing care for more than three unrelated children; or

d.   an immediate risk of danger to the health or safety of a child being cared for in the home.

Texas Family Code §261.401

Human Resources Code §42.065

6221.4 Reports Investigated by a Child-Placing Agency

LPPH December 2012

At Licensing’s request, the child-placing agency (CPA) investigates reports of violations of minimum standards in the CPA’s homes.

See 6540 Investigations Involving Homes Regulated by CPS or a Private Child-Placing Agency (CPA).

6221.5 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

The supervisor or designee determines that an intake report will be closed without an investigation if the information in the report:

a.   clearly reflects that there is no alleged abuse or neglect or violation of law or minimum standards to investigate;

b.   clearly reflects that another DFPS division, another state agency, or law enforcement has investigative jurisdiction; or

c.   has already been investigated in a closed investigation.

6222 Assessing an Intake Report for Priority

LPPH June 2014

Policy

Each intake report that warrants an investigation must be assessed to determine the correct priority. This review must be completed quickly enough to meet requirements for time frames for initiating investigations.

All intake reports are assigned priorities based on:

a.   the information available at the time of intake;

b.   the presence of current threats to the child’s immediate safety;

c.   the degree of harm the child has sustained or may sustain in the foreseeable future; and

d.   the allegation that presents the greatest risk to the child, if multiple allegations are reported.

A supervisor or designee reviews and assesses each intake report containing an allegation of abuse or neglect to assess the priority, and may change the priority assigned by Statewide Intake, if necessary.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(5)

Prioritizing an Intake Report Involving an Illegal Operation

An intake report involving an operation that is operating without a permit is prioritized according to the same policies as an intake report involving an operation that is operating legally if there are allegations:

  •  of abuse or neglect; or

  •  that children are otherwise at risk.

If an intake report contains allegations that a person is providing care to children without a permit and there are no allegations of abuse or neglect or allegations that children are at risk, the intake report is prioritized as:

  •  a Priority 3 (P3) if the allegation is regarding a residential provider; or

  •  a Priority 5 (P5) if the allegation is of a day care provider.

6222.1 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 1 Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Abuse or Neglect Intake Reports (P1)

An abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a P1 investigation in IMPACT and CLASS, if the report concerns:

  •  the death of a child; or

  •  an immediate threat of serious physical or emotional harm or death of a child caused by abuse or neglect.

Non Abuse or Neglect Intake Reports (P1)

A non abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a P1 investigation in CLASS, if the report concerns an immediate threat to the health or safety of a child in care, including in a listed family home.

A non abuse or neglect intake report that is classified as a P1 includes, but is not limited to, reports concerning:

  •  structural damage to the home or operation that makes the home or operation uninhabitable; or

  •  the presence of unsafe or hazardous equipment or materials.

6222.2 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 2 Investigation

LPPH June 2014

Abuse or Neglect Intake Reports

An abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a Priority 2 (P2) investigation in IMPACT and CLASS, if the report concerns an allegation of abuse or neglect, and:

  •  the child is currently safe; or

  •  the child is not at immediate risk of serious physical or emotional harm as a result of the abuse or neglect.

Non-Abuse or Neglect Intake Reports

A non-abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a Priority 2 investigation in CLASS, if the report does not contain an allegation of abuse or neglect, but does concern:

a.   inappropriate discipline;

b.   inappropriate physical restraint;

c.   a serious injury;

d.   a serious accidental injury or medical incident;

e.   a significant safety or health hazard;

f.    a significant supervision problem;

g.   a person is present at the operation whose criminal or Central Registry history poses a risk of harm to a child; or

h.   an alleged illegal operation with a history of operating illegally, was previously listed, licensed, or registered and closed voluntarily or by adverse action, or is caring for more than 12 children.

The term serious indicates that the alleged violation has resulted in or may result in impairment to the child’s overall health or well-being.

6222.3 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 3 Investigation

LPPH December 2015

A non-abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a Priority 3 investigation in CLASS if the report concerns:

a.   an illegal operation with no other allegations (RC only);

b.   a violation of the law, administrative rules, or minimum standards that poses a low risk of harm to children and an inspection is required; or

c.   any injury or medical incident that does not rise to the level of a Priority 2 investigation.

6222.4 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 5 Investigation

LPPH June 2014

A non-abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a Priority 5 investigation in CLASS if the report concerns:

a.   an illegal operation with no other allegations (DC only);

b.   a report that is assigned to a child placing agency as an internal investigation; or

c.    self-report alleging minor violations of minimum standards and the parent has no concerns regarding supervision or safety (desk review).

6222.5 Re-Classifying a Priority 5 Investigation as a Priority 4 Investigation

LPPH June 2014

An intake report cannot be classified as a Priority 4 (P4). A Priority 5 investigation is re-classified as a Priority 4 investigation in CLASS when one of the following types of investigations requires an inspection:

a.   An illegal operation with no other allegations (DC only)

b.   A CPA internal investigation

c.   A desk review

6222.6 Choosing the Priority of an Intake Report in CLASS

LPPH October 2017

The priority assigned to an abuse or neglect intake report in IMPACT automatically transfers to the IMPACT Priority field under the IMPACT Information section of the Intake Report in CLASS.

For both abuse or neglect reports and non-abuse or neglect reports, the investigator, supervisor, or designee must select the correct CLASS priority from the dropdown list under the Priority section in the Intake Report. The priority assigned to a report of abuse or neglect in CLASS must be consistent with the IMPACT Priority.

The chart below outlines the appropriate CLASS options to prioritize intake reports. Refer to the Definitions of Terms for:

  •   Impairment

  •   Serious harm

  •   Serious incident

  •   Serious injury

  •   Substantial harm

Intake Priority

CLASS Options

Explanation

Type of Investigation

Priority 1: Death of a child

A child dies while in the care of an operation or an operation that is subject to regulation.

Abuse or neglect

Priority 1: Immediate danger of death

A child has been abused or neglected and the abuse or neglect places the child or other children at immediate risk of death or substantial harm.

Abuse or neglect

Priority 1: Violation of the law or minimum standards that pose an immediate risk to children

A violation of a law or minimum standard places children in care at immediate risk of substantial harm.

May also be used for listed family homes when there is an immediate risk of danger to the health or safety of children in care.

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 2: Abuse or neglect that does not indicate an immediate danger of death or serious injury

A child in care has been abused or neglected, but the child and other children are currently safe from the risk of death or substantial harm.

Abuse or neglect

Priority 2: Injury or serious mistreatment of a child

A child in care is disciplined, punished, or physically restrained in a manner that is prohibited by minimum standards.

Due to the child's involvement in a serious incident, a child sustains a serious injury

When determining whether an incident is serious, consider the following questions:

  •   Does the injury meet the definition of a serious injury?

  •   At the time of the incident, was the caregiver aware of what happened?

  •   Once the caregiver became aware of the incident, how did the caregiver respond?

  •   Is there a pattern of similar injuries at this operation?

  •   Is the child able to explain what occurred?

  •   Is the injury consistent with the explanation given?

  •   Was medical treatment by a professional required?

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 2: Serious Accidental Injury

Due to a child's involvement in a serious incident, a child suffers a serious accidental injury

When determining whether an incident is serious, consider the following questions:

  •   Does the injury meet the definition of a serious injury?

  •   At the time of the incident, was the caregiver aware of what happened?

  •   Once the caregiver became aware of the incident, how did the caregiver respond?

  •   Was the injury sustained while the child was engaged in an age appropriate activity?

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 2: Serious safety or health hazards

A violation of the minimum standards related to safety or health may pose a risk of harm to children in care. When determining whether a health or safety hazard  is serious, consider the following questions:

  •   Does the operation have a history of health or safety hazards?

  •   Is there an allegation that children have been harmed because of the health or safety hazard?

  •   Has the health or safety hazard resulted or may result in impairment to the child's overall health or well-being?

A person who is present at the operation has criminal or Central Registry history that may expose children in care to risk of harm. This includes:

  •   a person who has recent arrest history that poses a risk of harm to children and whose arrest has not gone through the justice system;

  •   a person who has recent Central Registry history and the person has not gone through due process; and

  •   a person on the sexual offender registry whose address is an exact match to the operation's address.

An alleged illegal operation:

  •   has a history of operating illegally;

  •   was previously listed, licensed, or registered and closed voluntarily or by adverse action; or

  •   is caring for more than 12 unrelated and related children.

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 2: Serious supervision problems

A violation of the minimum standards related to supervision may pose a risk of harm to children in care. When determining whether a supervision-related violation is serious, consider the following questions:

  •   At the time of the incident, was the caregiver aware of what happened?

  •   Once the caregiver became aware of the incident, how did the caregiver respond?

  •   What is known about the child's behavioral history and have any similar incidents involving the child occurred recently?

  •   Were any specialized supervision plans in place at the time of the incident?

  •   Did the incident result in, or is there a possibility that it could result in, impairment to the child's overall health or well-being?

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 3: Illegal operations with no other allegations (RC only)

A report that care is being provided to children by a residential care operation that does not have a permit, may be subject to regulation, and there are no other allegations.

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 3: Minor violation of the law or minimum standards that involve low risk to children

A violation of a law or minimum standard poses low risk of harm to the health or safety of children in care.

Risk factors exist that indicate children may be at low risk of harm. Risk factors include, but are not limited to:

  •   minor injuries that are accidental in nature and may indicate supervision problems;

  •   a pattern of incidents that normally do not require an investigation (such as repeated runaways).

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 5: CPA internal investigation

An intake report that is assigned to the child placing agency as an internal investigation.

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 5: Illegal operations with no other allegations (DC only)

A report that care is being provided to children by a day care operation that does not have a permit, may be subject to regulation, and there are no other allegations.

Non-abuse or neglect

Priority 5: Desk review

A self-report concerning:

  •   minor minimum standards violations;

  •   a parent who has no concerns regarding supervision or safety; and

  •   an investigation that may be handled without an inspection.

Non-abuse or neglect

6222.7 Changing the Priority of an Investigation in CLASS

LPPH June 2014

If necessary, the CLASS priority can be changed once the report has been progressed to an investigation in CLASS. The supervisor or designee changes the priority by making the following changes in the Priority Change section on the Investigation main page in CLASS:

a.   entering the date the priority is changed in the Priority Date Change field;

b.   selecting the new priority from the Priority drop-down list; and

c.   documenting the reason for the priority change in the Reason narrative box.

The priority in CLASS must be consistent with the priority assigned to the corresponding report in IMPACT, if applicable.

Also see 6240 Processing Intake Reports in IMPACT and CLASS for directions on upgrading or downgrading intake reports that have not been progressed to an investigation.

6230 Assessing an Intake Report for Allegation Types

LPPH December 2012

An investigator, supervisor, or designee must review every intake report and determine the types of allegations to be investigated:

  •  For reports of abuse or neglect, staff review allegation types in both IMPACT and CLASS.

  •  For reports of non-abuse or neglect, staff review allegation types in CLASS only.

6231 IMPACT Allegation Types

LPPH December 2012

Allegations of abuse or neglect entered in the Intake (INT) stage in IMPACT:

a.   are entered by the SWI staff who records the intake report;

b.   may not be deleted from IMPACT; and

c.   will automatically transfer from the intake report in IMPACT to the intake report in CLASS.

Allegations of abuse or neglect entered in the Investigation (INV) stage in IMPACT:

a.   are entered by the investigator;

b.   may be edited until the investigation is closed in IMPACT; and

c.   will automatically transfer from the INV stage in IMPACT to the Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Allegations of abuse or neglect on the Investigation Main page in CLASS:

a.   are indicated by a checkmark to the left of the allegation type;

b.   appear checked regardless if the allegation was entered in the INT stage or INV stage in IMPACT; and

c.   are not editable in CLASS.

6231.1 Selecting Allegations of Abuse or Neglect in IMPACT

LPPH December 2012

The chart below outlines the allegations of abuse or neglect in IMPACT:

IMPACT Categories of Abuse and Neglect

Explanation

Physical Abuse

Any of the following intentional, knowing, or reckless acts or omissions described in 40 TAC §745.8557 if there is at least a possibility that an act or omission resulted in the physical injury to a child:

  •  Any act such as striking, shoving, shaking, or hitting a child, whether intended as discipline or not

  •  Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent abuse by another person;

  •  Causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use alcohol or a controlled substance as defined by Health and Safety Code, Chapter 481 (other than a prescription drug that is prescribed to the child and used as prescribed)

  •  Using alcohol or a controlled substance in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical injury or emotional harm

Emotional Abuse

Any of the intentional, knowing, or reckless acts or omissions that could otherwise be the basis for a physical abuse finding if a child only suffers emotional harm or the possibility of emotional harm as a result of the act or omission.

If there is the possibility that the act or omission caused physical injury to the child, then the allegation must be investigated as physical abuse

Sexual Abuse

Any of the following intentional, knowing, or reckless acts or omissions described in 40 TAC §745.8557:

  •  Sexual conduct that constitutes the offense of indecency with a child as defined under Penal Code §21.11, sexual assault as defined under Penal Code §22.011, or aggravated sexual assault as defined under Penal Code §22.021

  •  Compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct

  •  Failure to make reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct to a child

  •  Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knows or should know that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Penal Code §43.21, or pornographic

  •  Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Penal Code §43.25

Physical Neglect

A neglectful act or omission if the primary breach of duty alleged is the failure to provide the child with the food, clothing, and shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child. See 40 TAC §745.8559(6).

Medical Neglect

A neglectful act or omission if the primary breach of duty alleged is the failure to seek, to obtain, or to follow through with medical care for a child. See 40 TAC §745.8559(5).

Neglectful Supervision

The allegation is not physical or medical neglect. The breaches of duty that could be the basis for a neglectful supervision investigation include the following subsections of 40 TAC §745.8559:

  •  Failure to take an action that a reasonable member of that profession, reasonable caregiver, or reasonable person should take in the same situation

  •  Taking an action that a reasonable member of that profession, reasonable caregiver, or reasonable person should not take in the same situation

  •  Placing a child in or failing to remove him or her from a situation that a reasonable member of that profession, reasonable caregiver, or reasonable person should realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities

  •  Leaving a child in a situation where a reasonable member of that profession, reasonable caregiver, or reasonable person would expect the child to be exposed to substantial physical injury or substantial emotional harm without arranging for necessary care for the child

  •  Placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which a reasonable member of that profession, reasonable caregiver, or reasonable person should know exposes the child to the risk of sexual conduct

  •  A violation of any law, rule, or minimum standard that causes substantial emotional harm or substantial physical injury to a child

  •  Repeated (two or more) violations of any law, rule, or minimum standard, after notice and an opportunity to correct the violation, that may cause substantial emotional harm or substantial physical injury to a child

  •  Failure to comply with an individual treatment plan, plan of service, or individualized service plan that causes substantial emotional harm or substantial physical injury to a child

  •  Repeated failures (two or more) to comply with an individual treatment plan, plan of service, or individualized service plan, after notice and an opportunity to correct the failure, that may cause substantial emotional harm or substantial physical injury to a child

Exploitation

Allegation that an individual working under the auspices of an operation engaged in the illegal or improper use of a child or of the resources of a child for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.

Texas Family Code §261.401

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8555, 745.8557; 745.8559

6232 CLASS Allegation Types

LPPH December 2012

In CLASS, the investigator, supervisor, or designee reviews each abuse or neglect and non abuse or neglect report and selects the appropriate allegation types on the Intake Report or Investigation Main page, depending on when staff becomes aware of the allegation.

6232.1 Selecting Allegations of Violations in CLASS

LPPH October 2017

Regardless of the priority or whether an intake report is assigned for investigation, the Allegation Type check boxes must accurately reflect the allegations contained in the intake report. This includes all intakes of abuse or neglect and non-abuse or neglect. If additional allegations arise during the investigation, any additional boxes related to those allegations should be checked on the Investigation Main page. The chart below outlines the allegations of violations of minimum standards in CLASS:

Allegation Types in CLASS

Explanation

Type of Investigation

Standard/Law Violation

Allegation of a violation of a law, administrative rule, or minimum standard.

All investigations

Illegal Operation

Allegation that care is being provided to children by an operation that does not have a permit and the operation may be subject to regulation.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect

Suicide Attempt

Allegation that a child attempted suicide while in care at a residential operation.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect (RC only)

Child Death

A child dies while in the care of an operation or an operation that is subject to regulation.

Abuse or neglect

Serious Harm/Injury

Any physical injury to a child that requires medical treatment and resulted or may result in impairment to the child's overall health or well-being.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect

Critical injury

Near fatal injuries (previously known as critical injuries), are a subset of serious injuries in which the child would likely have died as a result of the injury or medical condition if the child did not get medical attention. In most circumstances, medical intervention includes admittance to an intensive care unit.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect

Child Arrest

A child in care of a residential operation is arrested.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect (RC only)

Illness Requiring Hospitalization

A child in care of an operation has an illness requiring hospitalization.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect

Child Run Away

A child in care of a residential operation runs away from the residential operation.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect (RC only)

Caregiver Drug Abuse

Allegation that a caregiver in a residential operation is using drugs.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect (RC only)

Domestic Violence

Report from law enforcement that law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call at a foster home.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect (RC only)

Endangering Person

Allegation that a sex offender's address listed in the sex offender database matches a child care operation.

Abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect

Child Sexual Aggression

Allegation of sexual behavior in which a child takes advantage of a younger or less powerful child through seduction, coercion, or force. Must document the number of children involved.

Abuse or neglect

Child on Child Physical Abuse

Allegation of child-to-child behavior that results in a child sustaining observable substantial harm requiring medical treatment. Must document the number of children involved.

Abuse or neglect

6232.2 Allegation Involving a Child Under the Age of 6 (Child-Placing Agency Only)

LPPH December 2012

For an abuse or neglect or non abuse or neglect investigation of an agency foster or group home, it is required that the investigator, supervisor, or designee indicate whether or not the report involves a child under the age of 6 by selecting the appropriate radio button on the Intake Report or Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Staff select Yes if a child is:

a.   in care of the child-placing agency;

b.   is directly involved in the incident or allegation being investigated; and

c.   is younger than age 6.

Staff select No if a child is:

a.   not in care of the child-placing agency (such as a biological child);

b.   is not directly involved in the incident or allegation being investigated; or

c.   is age 6 or older.

Human Resources Code §§42.044(2) and 42.044(3)

6240 Processing Intake Reports in IMPACT and CLASS

LPPH December 2012

The investigator, supervisor, or designee must process the intake report in IMPACT or CLASS, or both. Processing an intake report involves making the decision to:

a.   upgrade a report of non abuse or neglect to a report of abuse or neglect;

b.   investigate, downgrade, or close a report of abuse or neglect; or

c.   investigate or close a report of non abuse or neglect.

6241 Upgrading a Non Abuse or Neglect Intake Report to an Abuse or Neglect Intake Report

LPPH March 2013

Policy

A non abuse or neglect report that was processed as an Information and Referral (I&R) in IMPACT may need to be re-entered as an abuse or neglect intake report in IMPACT if:

  •  the supervisor determines that the information in the non abuse or neglect intake report constitutes an allegation of abuse or neglect; or

  •  after initiating the investigation, the investigator assigned to investigate the non abuse or neglect report learns additional information that constitutes an allegation of abuse or neglect.

Procedure

If a supervisor decides that the investigator must investigate the information as a report of abuse or neglect, the investigator, supervisor, or designee must:

  •  call the worker line for SWI support staff; and

  •  request that SWI re-enter the information in the IMPACT case management system as an intake report for abuse or neglect.

SWI may backdate the new intake report to the date and time of the original I&R if doing so will not affect the investigator’s ability to adhere to time frames for initiation for investigations of abuse or neglect. Otherwise, SWI may enter the current date and time in the intake report.

Non Abuse or Neglect Investigation Has Not Been Initiated

If the investigator has not yet initiated a non abuse or neglect investigation:

  •  the non abuse or neglect intake reportis assigned to the investigator assigned to investigate the abuse or neglect investigation in CLASS; and

  •  the investigator of the abuse or neglect investigation links the non abuse or neglect intake report to the abuse or neglect investigation in CLASS.

Non Abuse or Neglect Investigation Has Been Initiated

An investigator who initiates a non abuse or neglect investigation before determining that a change is needed:

a.   documents all contacts and marks each minimum standard that the investigator chose to evaluate as Compliant on the Standards Details page in CLASS if an inspection has already been conducted;

b.   deletes the minimum standards if an inspection has not been conducted;

c.   sends the Investigation Letter (Form 2896) to the operation and informs the operation that the investigation is being referred for an investigation of abuse or neglect;

d.   documents the investigation number of the abuse or neglect investigation and the reason for closure in the Explanation of the Disposition box on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS;

e.   closes the non abuse or neglect investigation in CLASS after ensuring that the intake report for abuse or neglect has been entered in IMPACT; and

f.    notifies the investigator of the abuse or neglect investigation of any contacts made as part of the non abuse or neglect investigation.

6242 Investigate, Downgrade, or Close an Abuse or Neglect Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

An intake report remains in the Intake (INT) stage in the IMPACT case management system until the supervisor or a designee determines whether to:

a.   leave the priority unchanged and assign the intake report in IMPACT and the associated intake report in CLASS to an investigator as an investigation of abuse or neglect;

b.   change the priority and assign the intake report in IMPACT and the associated intake report in CLASS to an investigator as an investigation of abuse or neglect;

c.   downgrade the priority and close the intake report in IMPACT and assign the associated intake report in CLASS to an investigator as an investigation of non-abuse or neglect; or

d.   close the intake report in IMPACT and close the associated intake report in CLASS with no investigation.

6242.1 Changing the Priority of an Abuse or Neglect Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

Policy

A supervisor or designee may change the priority of an intake report of abuse or neglect received by SWI if the supervisor or designee determines that the priority assessed by SWI is not the correct priority.

Procedure

The supervisor or designee may change the priority of an intake report from a Priority 1 (P1) to a Priority 2 (P2) or a P2 to a P1 when the supervisor determines that the information in the intake report should be investigated as abuse or neglect, but the priority is not correct. The supervisor or designee changes the priority and documents the reason for the change on the Priority Closure page located under the Case Management tab in IMPACT.

Once the changes have been entered in IMPACT, the supervisor or designee must ensure that the IMPACT Priority also changes in the associated CLASS Intake Report under the IMPACT Information section.

Also see 6311.1 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in IMPACT.

6242.2 Downgrading an Abuse or Neglect Intake Report to a Non Abuse or Neglect Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

Policy

A supervisor or designee may downgrade an abuse or neglect intake report received by Statewide Intake (SWI) to a non abuse or neglect report when the information in the report:

  •  suggests that a minimum standard was violated, but not that a child was abused or neglected; or

  •  indicates that there is some risk to children, but the information is too vague to determine that a child was abused or neglected.

Procedure

If the supervisor or a designee determines that an intake report does not involve abuse or neglect, the supervisor or designee downgrades the priority to a Priority N (PN), meaning no priority, and documents the reason for the change on the Priority Closure page located under the Case Management tab in IMPACT.

If the supervisor or designee is not able to enter a full explanation for closing the intake report in the Comments field on the Priority Closure page, the supervisor or designee may create a contact in the Intake (INT) stage in IMPACT to document additional information about the priority change and closure.

Once the priority change is entered in IMPACT, the supervisor or designee must ensure that the IMPACT Priority also changes in the associated CLASS Intake Report under the IMPACT Information section.

The IMPACT intake report must not be closed until the priority in the CLASS Intake Report matches the priority of the IMPACT intake report.

6242.3 Closing an Intake Report of Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

Policy

A supervisor or a designee may close an intake report in IMPACT without assigning it for investigation if the information in the report does not warrant an investigation.

See 6221.5 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation.

Procedure

If a supervisor or a designee determines that an intake report does not warrant an investigation by Licensing, the supervisor or designee downgrades the priority to a Priority N (PN), meaning none, on the Priority Closure page located under the Case Management tab in IMPACT.

Once the priority change is entered in IMPACT, the supervisor or designee must ensure that the IMPACT Priority also changes in the associated CLASS Intake Report under the IMPACT Information section.

The IMPACT intake report must not be closed until the priority in the CLASS Intake Report matches the priority of the IMPACT intake report. The CLASS Intake Report may then be closed.

6243 Investigate or Close a Report of Non Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

Policy

A report of non abuse or neglect (an I&R) remains open in the IMPACT case management system until the supervisor or a designee verifies that the intake report associated with the I&R transferred to CLASS. Upon verification, the supervisor or designee closes the I&R in IMPACT.

The investigator, supervisor, or designee then determines if the intake report in CLASS should be:

  •  assigned a priority and progressed to an investigation; or

  •  closed without conducting an investigation.

6243.1 Closing a Non Abuse or Neglect Intake Report

LPPH June 2014

Policy

An intake report in CLASS may be closed without an investigation if the investigator determines that an investigation is not warranted and receives supervisory approval to the close the report.

An intake report may be administratively closed without choosing a priority.

See 6221.5 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation.

Procedure

After the intake report or I&R is closed in the IMPACT system, the investigator, supervisor, or designee closes the report in the CLASS system by entering the date of the administrative closure and selecting and documenting the reason for closure under the Intake Status section on the Intake Report page.

6244 IMPACT and CLASS Options for Changing the Priority, Downgrading, or Closing an Intake Report

6244.1 IMPACT Options for Changing the Priority, Downgrading, or Closing an Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

The charts below outline the appropriate IMPACT options used to:

  •  change the priority of an intake report; and

  •  close an intake report.

Reasons for Changing the Priority Assigned to an Intake Report

Reason Changed: IMPACT Options

Explanation

Due to Additional Calls Made

Calls made to the reporter or collateral sources after the initial intake call provided additional information that warrants a priority change.

Due to Local Records

Information contained in local records reveals information that warrants a priority change.

Licensing rarely, if ever, uses this.

Closed and Reclassified

The allegations warrant follow-up by a DFPS division or program area

other than the one originally identified. To qualify as Closed and Reclassified, the report must be re-entered as a report for another DFPS division.

When Closed and Reclassified is the reason entered into IMPACT for changing a report’s priority, Closed and Reclassified must also be the reason for closing the intake report. This option is used only when changing the priority to N.

Inconsistent With Documented Risk

The level of risk documented in the intake report does not support the priority originally assigned.

Other Agency/Out of State

The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of DFPS Licensing and must be handled either by another authorized entity, such as law enforcement; another state agency or department such as the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS); or by another state.

When Other Agency/Out of State is the reason entered into IMPACT for changing the priority, Other Agency/Out of State must be the reason for closing the intake report. This option is used only when changing the priority to N.

P1 Response Increases Vulnerability

Responding within 24 hours could leave a child more vulnerable

Licensing rarely, if ever uses this code.

Reasons for Downgrading or Closing an Intake Report

Reason Closed: IMPACT Options

Explanation

Doesn’t appear to involve abuse, neglect, or risk

The information in the intake report does not appear to involve an allegation of abuse or neglect or a reasonable likelihood that a child will be abused or neglected in the foreseeable future.

Too vague or general

The allegations are too vague or general to determine whether a child has been abused or neglected or is likely to be abused or neglected.

Allegations addressed in previous case

The intake report is closed because there is an existing investigation in the CLASS system with the same allegations that has already been investigated and closed.

Not enough information to locate

The intake report does not give enough information to locate the child or an operation that is subject to regulation. Before closing the intake report, staff must search:

  •  local records;

  •  IMPACT records; and

  •  Internet-based telephone and address directories.

This reason may only be used for intake reports involving operations subject to regulation (illegal operation).

Closed and Reclassified

The allegations warrant follow-up by a DFPS division or program area other than the one originally identified. To qualify as Closed and Reclassified, the intake report must be re-entered as a report for another DFPS division.

Other Agency/Out of State

The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of DFPS Licensing and must be handled either by another authorized entity, such as law enforcement; another state agency or department such as the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS); or by another state.

6244.2 CLASS Options for Closing an Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

The chart below outlines the appropriate CLASS options used to close an intake report.

Reasons for Closing an Intake Report in CLASS

Reason Closed:

CLASS Options

Explanation

Not subject to investigation

The intake report is closed because the information in the intake report does not constitute a possible violation of minimum standards.

Not subject to regulation

The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of DFPS Licensing and must be handled either by another authorized entity, such as law enforcement; another state agency or department such as the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS); or by another state.

Re-entered as A/N

The intake report is closed because the information was reentered as an intake report for an investigation of abuse or neglect, and the intake report is not able to be linked to the abuse or neglect investigation.

Repeated reports

The intake report is closed because there is an existing investigation in the CLASS system with the same allegations that has already been investigated and closed.

6250 Reports Received by Licensing Offices

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An intake report that involves a child day care operation may be taken at the local Licensing office without being forwarded to Statewide Intake (SWI), if the report does not involve abuse or neglect or the death of a child.

6251 Entering a Non Abuse or Neglect Intake Report in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

When a staff at a regional day care licensing office receives a report regarding violations of the minimum standards, the staff records the information in the CLASS system by entering all required fields in the Intake Report located under the New Intake tab.

6251.1 Information to Obtain When Receiving a Report at a Local Licensing Office

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

When a report is made at a local office, staff obtains as much information as possible, including:

a.   the reporter’s personal information, including the reporter’s name, address, and phone number;

b.   the address of the operation being reported on, or directions to the operation, if the address is unknown;

c.   the phone number for the operation;

d.   the allegations or a description of the concern being reported;

e.   information regarding how the reporter has obtained knowledge of the allegations;

f.    the child’s personal information, including name and date of birth, if known, or approximate age;

g.   the parent’s or guardian’s information; including phone numbers and address;

h.   the caregiver’s information, including name, address, phone number, and age;

i.    the names and numbers of collateral sources;

j.    any other information that the intake worker considers important; and

k.   a note, when applicable, that the reporter has asked to receive follow-up information.

6251.2 Entering Reports of Illegal Operations

LPPH October 2013

Procedure

When receiving a report of a possible illegal operation, DFPS staff must search to determine whether the operation already exists in CLASS by using the Operation Search to search for open and closed operations. If staff finds that the operation is listed, registered, or licensed, and there are no concerns of violations of minimum standards, staff closes the intake report administratively.

Entering an Intake Report for an Operation With a History of Operating Illegally

If the operation has a history of operating illegally, re-open the former operation and enter the investigation under the previous operation number. If more than one prior operation exists, the caseworker reopens the most recent operation.

Entering Reporter Information for Illegal Operations Identified by DFPS Staff

Upon finding the operation through a media search, identify that the operation was found by DFPS staff by entering the following information under the Reporter Information section of the Intake Persons page:

  •  entering DFPS Identified in the Last Name field; and

  •  selecting FPS Staff from the Relationship to the Operation dropdown menu

6251.3 Encouraging a Reporter to Disclose His or Her Identity

LPPH October 2013

Procedure

When receiving a report in a Licensing office, staff must encourage the reporter to disclose his or her identity. If the reporter chooses to remain anonymous, staff must inform him or her that:

a.   the allegations will be difficult to investigate without knowing the reporter’s identity, because the investigator must be able to determine whether the information given is compelling and may be reasonably verified;

b.   the investigator may need critical information that only the reporter can provide; and

c.   the reporter receives the results of the investigation only if he or she provides identification (that is, if the reporter’s identity is known and confidential).

6251.4 Processing the Intake Report

LPPH October 2013

Procedure

The report remains as an Intake Report in CLASS until the investigator or supervisor decides whether to investigate or close the intake report without an investigation. Licensing staff follow the same procedures for making this determination as they do with an intake report received from SWI.

See 6243 Investigate or Close a Report of Non Abuse or Neglect.

6252 Referring Reports to Statewide Intake

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Reports received in the Licensing office must be forwarded to Statewide Intake (SWI) for entry in the IMPACT system if the report involves:

  •  an allegation of abuse or neglect; or

  •  a residential child care operation, except if the report is created to handle a match on the sex offender report.

If the local Licensing office receives a report regarding an allegation of abuse or neglect or a residential operation, staff must encourage reporters to report to Statewide Intake by:

  •  calling DFPS SWI at 1 (800) 252-5400; or

  •  reporting online, either by using SWI’s secure website Texas Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Reporting System or using the DFPS E-reporting system, if the reporter is a child care provider.

6260 Confidentiality of the Reporter’s Identity

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The name of the person who made the report is confidential and may not be revealed. If multiple reporters report the same or similar information, all are considered to be reporters and have the right to confidentiality.

Persons who supply new allegations or identify new alleged victims or perpetrators during an investigation are also considered to be reporters and have the right to confidentiality.

Texas Human Resource Code §40.005

Texas Government Code, Title 5, Ch. 552, Texas Public Information Act

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8483

6261 Identifying New Reporters During an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an investigation, a person is identified as a new reporter if the person provides the investigator with information regarding new allegations that are not being investigated in the current investigation. These new allegations may be:

a.   abuse or neglect of the current alleged victim by a new alleged perpetrator;

b.   abuse or neglect of a new alleged victim by the current alleged perpetrator;

c.   abuse or neglect of a new alleged victim by a new alleged perpetrator; or

d.   a minimum standard violation unrelated to the allegations currently being investigated.

Procedure

If the investigator identifies a new reporter during the course of an investigation, the investigator may:

a.   identify the person as a reporter in the IMPACT and CLASS investigation, depending on the type of investigation, if the allegations are to be investigated in the current investigation;

b.   refer the information to SWI for entry as a new intake report or Information and Referral (I&R) and identify the person who provided the information as the reporter; or

c.   enter the information as a new Intake Report in CLASS if the information does not include allegations of abuse or neglect and is regarding a day care operation.

When determining whether to investigate the new allegations in the current investigation or in a new investigation, the investigator consults with the supervisor and considers the following:

  •  How closely related the new allegations are to the current allegations

  •  Whether there is enough time remaining in the current investigation to fully investigate the new allegations

6262 Responding to Requests for the Reporter’s Identity

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If an operation’s director, administrator, or staff members know or suspect a reporter’s identity, the investigator does not confirm or deny the identity of the reporter. Under law, the reporter’s name and any identifying information about the reporter are protected.

If any employee of an operation requests the identity of the reporter, the investigator refers the employee to:

  •  the Attorney General’s Opinion, Open Records Decision No. 176, for non abuse or neglect reports; or

  •  the Texas Family Code, §261.201(a), for abuse or neglect reports.

6263 Protecting a Reporter’s Confidentiality During an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

While visiting an operation, an investigator must ensure that individuals who are not employed by DFPS do not have access to any confidential information that is contained on a tablet PC, in the intake report, or in handwritten notes. External documentation that identifies a person as a reporter, such as an intake report, may not be taken to the operation.

6270 Types of Intake Reports

6271 Anonymous Intake Reports

LPPH December 2012

An intake report is considered anonymous if the reporter does not provide a name or contact information.

6271.1 Evaluating the Factual Basis of an Anonymous Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If a reporter of a non abuse or neglect intake report decides to remain anonymous and the intake report does not contain allegations that the health or safety of children is at risk, the investigator evaluates if there is any factual basis to the intake report by:

  •  evaluating the operation’s compliance history for similar allegations and deficiencies; and

  •  contacting the operation and collateral sources.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8421; 745.8423

Procedure

If the investigator is able to determine that there is no factual basis for the allegations in the intake report, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine the appropriateness of administratively closing the intake report. See 6243 Investigate or Close a Report of Non Abuse or Neglect.

6271.2 Processing an Anonymous Intake Report in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An anonymous intake report may not be published on the DFPS website if there are no findings of violations (deficiencies).

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8423

Procedure

Anonymous intake reports must be investigated separately from intake reports that are received where a reporter’s identity is known and confidential and must not be linked in CLASS to an intake report in which the reporter’s identity is known and confidential.

To prevent publication online, Licensing staff must check the Anonymous checkbox on both the Intake Persons page in the Intake Report and the Investigation Persons page within the investigationin CLASS.

6272 Multiple Intake Reports Received for the Same Operation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Multiple intake reports received for the same operation may be investigated as one investigation when:

a.   two or more intake reports are received about the same incident, unless the second intake report also contains new allegations that cannot be adequately investigated within the required time frames of the first intake report;

      Example 1: Both the operation and the parent report that a child broke his arm, and the reports are received within a day of each other. The two reports must be investigated as one investigation.

      Example 2: The operation reports that a child broke his arm. Twenty days later, the parent reports that the child broke his arm and was inappropriately disciplined by a staff person. The two reports may be investigated as separate investigations if the investigator does not have enough time to adequately address the allegations of inappropriate discipline within the remaining 10 days of the investigation.

b.   two or more intake reports are received before an inspection is conducted on the first intake report and the allegations are related to the same standards;

      Example: Two incidents happen on separate days but both involve injuries to children, so the same standards are evaluated.

c.   two or more intake reports are received before an inspection is conducted on the first intake report and the allegations involve the same group of children;

      Example: one report states that the preschool room has too many children and the second states the preschool room is dirty.

d.   two or more intake reports are received before an inspection is conducted on the first intake report and the allegations involve the same staff member;

      Example: One report states that the staff person in the infant room does not change diapers when needed, and the second report states that the same staff person in the infant room leaves the infants in the cribs all day.

The initiation date and other required time frames for the investigation must be based on the intake report with the earliest intake date and time.

Exception

Intake reports in which the reporter chooses to remain anonymous must always be investigated separately from an intake report that is received with the reporter known and confidential.

See 6271.2 Processing an Anonymous Intake Report in CLASS.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

6272.1 Merging and Linking Investigations in IMPACT and CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

In order to investigate multiple intake reports of abuse or neglect as one investigation, the investigations must be:

  •  merged in the IMPACT system; and

  •  linked in the CLASS system.

If an Information and Referral (I&R) relating to an investigation of abuse or neglect is received, an associated CLASS intake report is automatically created in the CLASS system. The associated CLASS intake report is then linked to the abuse or neglect investigation in CLASS. The investigator, supervisor, or designee closes the I&R in IMPACT.

In order to investigate multiple intake reports of non abuse or neglect as one investigation, the intake reports must be linked in the CLASS system only.

Criteria for Merging Investigations in IMPACT

Before merging two or more intake reports of abuse or neglect in IMPACT, the investigator must ensure that:

a.   the Merge To investigation and the Merge From investigation are both in an open Investigation (INV) stage;

b.   the Merge To investigation is the investigation with the earliest intake date and time;

c.   each person in the Merge To investigation and the Merge From investigation has only one Person ID; and

d.   the same Person ID is listed as a victim in both the Merge To and the Merge From investigation (for at least one victim).

Once an investigation is closed, no merge actions may be performed. A closed investigation cannot be merged with an open investigation or with another closed investigation.

For information on merging persons, see Operating Policy OP-7102 Directive: Merging Persons in IMPACT and the related Appendix A: Person Merge Process and Guidelines.

See the following IMPACT FYI resources related to merging investigations:

Merge a Case

Case Merge/Split Detail page

Split a Case

Case Merge Error Message

See the following IMPACT FYI resources related to relating and merging persons:

Merge a Person

Relate a Person

Search for a Person

Person Search page

Person Detail page

Person Merge/Split Detail page

Add a Person to the Person List

Person List

Delete a Person From the Person List

Criteria for Linking Investigations in CLASS

Procedure

Prior to linking two or more intake reports (either abuse or neglect or non abuse or neglect) in the CLASS system the investigator must ensure that:

a.   the investigations in the IMPACT system were successfully merged if the investigation is of abuse or neglect;

b.   the intake report with the earliest date and time has been progressed to an investigation in CLASS (considered to be the active investigation); and

c.   all subsequent intake reports involved in the linking must be completed according to policy and remain as an intake report in CLASS.

If a non abuse or neglect intake report is to be linked to an abuse or neglect investigation in CLASS, it is imperative that the abuse or neglect investigation be the active investigation regardless of which intake report has the earliest date and time.

Once these steps have been conducted, the Licensing staff links the subsequent intake reports to the active investigation by:

a.   selecting the checkbox by Intake Complete on the Intake Report;

b.   selecting the checkbox by Link to Active Investigation on the Intake Report and clicking Save; and

c.   click on the Date Received for the active investigation;

All time frames, including the initiation time frame, are based on the active investigation.

6273 Repeated Reports With No New Allegations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Licensing does not investigate repeated reports. A repeated report is an intake report that:

  •  contains allegations that have previously been investigated; and

  •  does not contain new allegations that have not previously been reported or investigated.

Procedure

If a repeated report is received, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine whether one of the following actions should be taken:

  •  If the reporter is the same as the original reporter, investigator contacts the reporter to obtain information regarding his or her previous report and explores the reporter’s reason for calling again.

  •  Investigator contacts the reporter and explains that the allegation has previously been reported and investigated.

If the investigator determines that there is no basis for an investigation, the investigator:

  •  consults with the supervisor to obtain approval to close the intake report with no investigation; and

  •  documents the supervisory approval and reason for closure in the IMPACT system, the CLASS system, or both.

Notifying the Reporter of the Results

If the investigator obtains supervisory approval to close the intake report without investigation and the reporter has requested to be notified about the outcome of the report, the investigator:

  •  notifies the reporter that because the allegations have already been investigated, another investigation will not be conducted; and

  •  refers the reporter to the previous investigation on the DFPS website.

6274 Report of Incidents That Occurred in the Past

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If an investigator receives information about an incident that happened in the past, the investigator gathers as much information as possible to assess the need for investigation.

Procedure

In deciding whether to investigate, the investigator considers the following questions:

a.   How long ago did the incident occur?

b.   What motivated the reporter to report now?

c.   Are current staff at the operation the same staff who were present at the time of the incident?

d.   Is the child who was involved in the incident still being cared for at the operation?

e.   Did other persons witness the incident?

f.    Is other information or evidence (such as photographs) available to help determine whether the violation occurred?

g.   Is there a current risk to other children in care?

h.   Were there any subsequent problems?

The investigator must consult with a supervisor to determine whether an investigation is required. All consultation with the supervisor must be documented in the IMPACT system or the CLASS system, or both, depending on the type of investigation.

If it is determined that an investigation is not required, the intake report is closed without an investigation.

6275 Incidents Reported by an Operation, Known as Self-Reports

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An intake report is identified as a Self Report if the director, administrator, or other representative of the operation reports an incident that occurred at the operation.

The Licensing staff who processes the intake report must identify the report as a Self Report in CLASS to ensure that the intake report is identified as a Self Report on the DFPS website.

Procedure

In CLASS the staff identifies an intake report as a self-report by checking the Self Report checkbox on:

  •  the Intake Report page; and

  •  the Investigation Main page.

6275.1 Incidents Self-Reported by Operations That May Not Require an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Minimum standards require operations to report certain incidents, even though an investigation may not be required under certain circumstances.

Incidents that must be self-reported, but may not require investigation include:

a.   an employee or child at an operation contracts a communicable disease;

b.   a disaster or emergency causes an operation to close or renders part of the operation unsafe or unsanitary;

c.   a child in care of a residential operation is arrested or indicted for a crime;

d.   a child is absent from a residential operation; and

e.   a child in care is involved in a minor accident.

See 6221.5 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.063

6275.2 Self-Reports Received by a Licensing Office

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

When a local office receives a report directly from the operation and the information obtained clearly does not meet the criteria for an investigation, staff document the following in the CLASS system as a monitoring Chronology:

  •  The name and work-related title of the person making the report

  •  The information received in the report

If the staff taking the report is unsure whether the information obtained meets the criteria for an investigation, the staff consults with a supervisor to determine whether an intake report is needed.

If a supervisor determines that an intake report is needed, staff follow the procedures in 6250 Reports Received by Licensing Offices.

6276 Reports Requiring Special Handling

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The following checkboxes must be selected either in the intake report or in the investigation in IMPACT and CLASS, as appropriate:

a.   Sensitive

b.   Media Attention

c.   Disaster Relief

d.   H1N1

6276.1 Processing Sensitive Intake Reports

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An intake report or investigation is considered sensitive when:

a.   A DFPS employee, volunteer, or intern is:

  •  the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator, or

  •  a spouse, significant other, relative, or household member of the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator.

b.   A non-DFPS employee housed in the same office as DFPS staff is the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator;

c.   The alleged victim or alleged perpetrator is a high profile individual such as a judge, legislator, or district attorney;

d.   The situation has significant media interest or coverage;

e.   Personal or family issues involving a DFPS employee are reported that do not involve abuse or neglect; or

f.    Work-related issues or a breach of confidentiality by a DFPS employee are reported.

When the Sensitive checkbox in IMPACT is checked, only the following persons may review the investigation in IMPACT:

a.   The assigned investigator

b.   The supervisor and above

c.   Anyone designated by a DFPS employee in one of the positions mentioned in this list

d.   Any DFPS employee with designated security clearance to view sensitive cases

Processing Sensitive Intake Reports in IMPACT

Procedure

A report of abuse or neglect can be identified as a sensitive report either in the Intake stage or the Investigation stage in IMPACT. If the SWI staff that processes the report of abuse or neglect is aware of the sensitive information at the time the intake is being recorded, the SWI staff is responsible for selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the intake report.

If the Sensitive Case checkbox is not selected in the intake report and the investigator becomes aware that the report contains sensitive information, the investigator may identify the investigation as sensitive either in the Intake stage or in the Investigation stage by:

  •  selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox on the Case Summary page in IMPACT; and

  •  documenting the reason why the investigation is marked sensitive in the Comments field.

SWI staff may also identify an I&R as containing sensitive information by selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the I&R.

Processing Sensitive Intake Reports in CLASS

Procedure

Either a report of abuse or neglect or a report of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards may be identified as containing sensitive allegations in CLASS. If the SWI staff selects the Sensitive Case checkbox in the intake report or I&R in IMPACT, the Sensitive checkbox is automatically checked in the Intake Report in CLASS.

If the SWI staff did not select the Sensitive Case checkbox in IMPACT, the investigator may identify the report in CLASS as sensitive by selecting the Sensitive checkbox in the Intake Report or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware of the sensitive information.

6276.2 Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The Media Attention checkbox is used to indicate when an investigation has received or may receive attention from the media.

Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention in IMPACT

Procedure

A report of abuse or neglect that receives media attention is identified as a Sensitive Case in IMPACT in order to restrict the number of people who can access the investigation. Investigations receiving media attention can be identified as a Sensitive Case either in the Intake stage or the Investigation stage in IMPACT. If the SWI staff that processes the report of abuse or neglect is aware that the allegations have received media attention at the time the intake is being recorded, the SWI staff is responsible for selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the intake report.

If the Sensitive Case checkbox is not selected in the intake report and the investigator becomes aware that the report has received or may receive media attention, the investigator may identify the investigation as sensitive either in the Intake stage or in the Investigation stage by:

  •  selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox on the Case Summary page in IMPACT; and

  •  documenting the reason why the investigation is marked sensitive in the Comments field.

SWI staff may also identify an I&R as receiving media attention by selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the I&R.

Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention in CLASS

Procedure

Either a report of abuse or neglect or a report of non abuse or neglect may be identified as containing allegations receiving media attention in CLASS. The investigator may identify that the report has received or may receive media attention by selecting the Media Attention checkbox on the Intake Report or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware of the media attention.

6276.3 Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The Disaster Relief indicators are used to identify intake reports or investigations involving a disaster, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief in IMPACT

Procedure

SWI staff is responsible for identifying a report of abuse or neglect or a report of non abuse or neglect (an I&R) in IMPACT as involving a disaster by selecting the appropriate Disaster Relief option in the intake report or I&R.

If a report of abuse or neglect involves a disaster, the investigator selects the appropriate option from the Disaster Relief drop-down box on the Person Detail page (found under the Person tab in the Investigation stage in IMPACT) for each person involved in the disaster if SWI staff has not already made the designation in the intake report.

Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief in CLASS

Procedure

Either a report of abuse or neglect or a report of non abuse or neglect may be identified as involving a disaster in CLASS. Depending on when the investigator becomes aware that the intake report involves a disaster, the investigator completes the following fields on either the Intake Report page or the Investigation Main page in CLASS:

a.   Disaster Relief checkbox

b.   Disaster Type drop-down box

c.   Disaster Name field

6276.4 Processing Intake Reports Involving H1N1

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The H1N1 checkbox is used to indicate when an intake report contains information that either an employee of or a child in care of a child care operation has contracted the H1N1 virus.

Procedure

The Licensing staff may identify that the intake report involves the H1N1 virus by selecting the H1N1 checkbox on the Intake Report page or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware that the report involves the H1N1 virus. There is no H1N1 indicator in IMPACT.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.063

6280 Referring a Report of Abuse or Neglect for Investigation When New Allegations Are Received During an Investigation

LPPH June 2015

Policy

An investigator must immediately refer allegations of abuse, neglect, or death of a child to the DFPS Statewide Intake (SWI) division or to another responsible agency when the investigator becomes aware of the allegations, and determines that the allegations have not previously been reported.

The allegations must be reported regardless of if the child is in care of a regulated operation and if the alleged perpetrator is under the auspices of an operation.

Texas Family Code §§261.001; 261.401

HHSC Rules, 15 TAC §351.503(g)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.501

Procedure

An investigator may become aware of new allegations of abuse or neglect of a child through:

a.   an inspection of the operation;

b.   an investigation of a violation of minimum standards;

c.   an investigation of abuse or neglect of another child or situation;

d.   a media outlet; or

e.   a call to the Licensing office.

The following chart shows which investigating agency to refer a report of abuse or neglect of a child, depending on if the child is in care of an operation and the relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child. A child living in the verified foster home of a relative or fictive kin is considered "in the care of an operation."

 

If the child:

And the person alleged to have abused or neglected the child is:

Refer to:

Is in care of an operation

A person working under the auspices of an operation, including a foster parent who is providing care to a related child in care

CCL

Is not in care of an operation

A person who does not have a familial relationship, but lives in the same household as the child

CPS

Is either in care of an operation or Is not in care of an operation

A caregiver related to the child through either a biological or adoptive relationship, according to HRC 42.002(16)

CPS

Is either in care of an operation or Is not in care of an operation

A person employed by a school, including a school located on the same campus as a regulated operation

CPS

Is either in care of an operation or Is not in care of an operation

A person who does not work under the auspices of an operation, does not live in the same household as the child, and does not have a familial relationship with the child

Law enforcement

Is either in care of an operation or Is not in care of an operation

A person employed by a hospital or nursing home, including an acute unit located on the same campus as a regulated operation

DADS

Is either in care of an operation or Is not in care of an operation

A person employed at a home or operation regulated by another state agency

The state agency which regulates the operation

If the child is being cared for in their own home by a caregiver with a Listed Home designation, the investigation is conducted by CPS. If the subject of the investigation is a child care center, Licensing may conduct a joint investigation with CPS of an allegation of abuse or neglect of a child related to the caregiver if:

  •   the caregiver was under the auspices of the operation at the time of the alleged abuse neglect; and

  •   the child was in care of the operation at the time of the alleged abuse or neglect.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.002(16)

6300 Preparing for the Investigation

6310 Preparing the Investigation in IMPACT and CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Investigators must complete certain tasks in IMPACT and CLASS in preparation of initiating the investigation.

6311 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An abuse or neglect intake report must be progressed to an investigation in both the IMPACT and CLASS systems. In order to ensure that the syncing process between IMPACT and CLASS occurs correctly, the investigator assigned to an abuse or neglect report must progress the intake report to the Investigation (INV) stage in IMPACT before progressing the intake report to an investigation in CLASS.

A non abuse or neglect intake report is progressed to investigation in the CLASS system only.

6311.1 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in IMPACT

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator of an abuse or neglect report must progress the intake report to the Investigation (INV) stage in IMPACT once a supervisor or designee determines that the information in the intake report should be investigated as a report of abuse or neglect.

If the priority of the intake report was changed in IMPACT before being assigned for investigation, the investigator must ensure that the priority also changed in the associated intake report in CLASS before progressing the intake report to the INV stage in IMPACT.

6311.2 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator of an abuse or neglect report or a non-abuse or neglect report progresses an intake report to an investigation in CLASS once the investigator or supervisor determines that the information in the intake report is subject to investigation.

6312 Reviewing the Intake Report Narrative and Determining the Allegations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

After being assigned an investigation, the investigator must review the Allegation Narrative in the Intake Report in CLASS. The investigator reviews the narrative to identify each allegation of:

  •  abuse or neglect (if the report is of abuse or neglect); and

  •  a violation of law, administrative rule, or minimum standard.

Following the review of the Allegation Narrative, the investigator enters the following information in CLASS:

  •  a summary of the allegations; and

  •  the specific statutes, administrative rules, and minimum standards to evaluate during the investigation.

Procedure

The investigator must review the Allegation Narrative before initiating the investigation and complete the CLASS entries before linking the investigation to an inspection form in CLASS. The summary of the allegations and the laws, rules, and standards being evaluated is automatically entered on the Form 2936 Child-Care Facility Inspection once the investigator links the investigation to an inspection.

6312.1 Writing the Allegation

LPPH December 2015

Policy

The investigator documents a concise summary describing each allegation that is to be investigated under the Allegations section on the Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Procedure

When writing an allegation, the investigator avoids:

a.   including first or last names of children or adults;

b.   including specific ages or gender of children, or any other identifying information;

c.   using abbreviations of words or phrases;

d.   using legal terms, such as abuse or neglect, that are defined in the Texas Family Code or Texas Administrative Code;

e.   using inflammatory or prejudicial words or phrases.

When writing an allegation, the investigator must:

  •  use good grammar and proper spelling; and

  •  be concise, yet descriptive.

Example:

Incorrect: It is alleged that a child was physically abused by his caregiver.

Incorrect: It is alleged that a 6-year-old male was whipped with a belt by his caregiver for wetting his pants. The boy has a two-inch welt on his lower back and several linear welts on his legs.

Acceptable: It is alleged that a child was inappropriately disciplined by his caregiver.

Acceptable: It is alleged that a caregiver disciplined a child by hitting the child with a belt and causing injuries to the child’s back and legs.

6312.2 Determining Which Minimum Standards to Evaluate

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must evaluate an operation’s compliance with applicable statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards during each investigation.

Procedure

To evaluate applicable statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards, the investigator adds the laws, rules, or minimum standards to the Add/View Allegation page in the CLASS investigation. The laws, rules, and minimum standards that the investigator chooses to evaluate are based on:

  •  the alleged violations in the narrative of the intake report, including the minimum standard that prohibits the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child for all abuse or neglect investigations; and

  •  other laws, rules, or minimum standards related to the allegations.

When investigating an allegation of abuse or neglect, the investigator always evaluates the standard related to abuse or neglect in an operation. The investigator may not delete a law, administrative rule, or minimum standard from the Add/View Allegation page once the investigation has been linked to an inspection; however, investigators may add laws, rules, or minimum standards to the investigation if the investigator obtains new information about possible violations during the course of an investigation.

6320 Contacting the Reporter

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If necessary the investigator contacts the reporter before the initiation of the investigation to:

a.   clarify the details of the intake report;

b.   obtain additional information that the reporter may have; and

c.   determine the location of the children involved in the report, if the intake report does not contain this information.

Procedure

It may not be necessary to contact the reporter if the reporter:

a.   is an employee of the operation;

b.   has no direct knowledge of the incident being reported; and

c.   is reporting the incident to fulfill professional reporting obligations.

Contact with the reporter may not be considered to be the initiation of an investigation unless:

  •  the district director or residential manager gives approval; or

  •  the reporter is a representative of a child-placing agency and the investigation is being assigned as an internal investigation.

See 6412.11 Exceptions to Initiating by Contact With Alleged Victim and 6412.2 Initiating an Investigation Not Involving Abuse or Neglect.

6330 Assessing the Immediate Safety of Children

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must assess the immediate safety of children involved in the investigation as well as the safety of other children being cared for by the operation.

If the investigator identifies a threat to a child’s safety, the investigator must take steps to ensure the child’s safety by requesting the operation implement a safety plan.

The investigator continues to evaluate the safety of children throughout the investigation and take steps to ensure children’s safety at any point during the investigation that the investigator determines a child is not safe.

6331 Evaluating the Need for a Safety Plan

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator identifies possible threats to children’s safety by:

a.   reviewing the information in the intake report;

b.   considering any additional information gathered before the initiation; and

c.   considering additional information gathered during the course of the investigation.

If at any point during the investigation the investigator determines that a child in care of the operation is not safe, the investigator may determine that:

  •  a safety plan is necessary; or

  •  an existing safety plan must be amended.

6331.1 Defining Child Safety

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Safety refers to the threat of harm presented to a child at the current time, or within the next few days. To determine whether a child is safe or unsafe, the investigator must evaluate:

a.   the immediacy and severity of the threat;

b.   the child’s vulnerability; and

c.   the caregiver or operation’s capacity to protect the child.

A child is considered safe when:

  •  there is no immediate threat of harm to the child; or

  •  the operation or caregiver has demonstrated sufficient protective capacity to keep a vulnerable child from being harmed.

A child is considered unsafe when:

  •  there is an immediate threat of harm to the child; and

  •  the caregiver or operation has not demonstrated sufficient protective capacities to keep a vulnerable child from being harmed.

6331.2 Determining Safety

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Before the initiation and throughout the investigation, the investigator considers the following questions:

Immediate Safety Threat

  •  Does the information in the intake report indicate that a safety threat poses an immediate threat of harm to a child without intervention?

  •  Does the alleged perpetrator continue to have unsupervised access to children?

Protective Capacities

  •  Has the caregiver or operation failed to protect the child since the alleged incident occurred?

Child Vulnerability

  •  Do the allegations involve children under the age of 6?

  •  Are there multiple alleged victims?

  •  Do the allegations involve children with special needs or who are otherwise vulnerable?

If the investigator answers yes to any of the questions, a safety plan is likely warranted.

For an abuse or neglect investigation, if an investigator determines that a safety plan is not warranted despite answering yes to any of the questions, the investigator:

a.   discusses the decision with the supervisor;

b.   must receive supervisory approval to not implement a safety plan; and

c.   documents the reason why the safety plan was not implemented along with the supervisory approval as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

Also see 6335 Documenting the Safety Plan in CLASS.

6332 Requesting a Safety Plan

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Upon identifying an immediate safety threat, the investigator must:

  •  immediately notify the operation about the nature of the threat; and

  •  request that the operation implement a safety plan to minimize the threat.

If the investigator’s first contact with the operation is to request a safety plan, the investigator must also follow the procedures outlined in 6352 Notifying the Operation.

If the operation requests assistance with developing a safety plan, the investigator:

a.   consults with the supervisor and the operation to develop a safety plan;

b.   ensures that the operation understands the conditions of the safety plan; and

c.   provides a copy of the safety plan to the operation.

6332.1 Requesting a Safety Plan Outside of an Inspection

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If an immediate safety threat is identified before initiation or at some other point outside of an inspection, the investigator must:

a.   contact the operation immediately;

b.   explain to the operation the nature of the safety threat; and

c.   request that the operation develops and implements a safety plan to minimize the threat to the child or children in care.

The investigator requests that the operation submit a written safety plan via fax or email. A copy of the signed safety plan must be filed in the confidential abuse or neglect file.

6332.2 Requesting a Safety Plan During an Inspection

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

When an immediate safety threat is identified during an inspection, the investigator must address the threat with the person in charge at the time of the inspection.

If the person in charge, or their designee, states the safety plan to the investigator during the inspection, the investigator:

  •  documents that a safety plan was agreed to in the narrative box labeled Additional Inspection Information on the Inspection Details page in the CLASS Inspection; and

  •  requests the operation to submit a written summary outlining the plan that both parties agreed to during the inspection.

6332.3 Requesting That an Alleged Perpetrator Not Have Contact With Children

LPPH December 2012

Policy

In the case that the investigator or supervisor determines that a person who is alleged to have abused or neglected a child poses an immediate threat or danger to the health and safety of children, the investigator may notify the administrator or director of the operation that the person may not have contact with children in care during the course of the investigation.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.705

Procedure

If the determination is made that the person may not have contact with children, the following steps must be adhered to:

a.   The investigator must receive supervisory approval before notifying the operation.

b.   The investigator must make the determination and notify the operation as soon as possible during the investigation, and the notification may occur either outside of or during an inspection.

c.   The operation must indicate in writing that they understand and will adhere to the requirement.

d.   The investigator must not inform anyone from the operation that the person is an alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect, but does inform the administrator or director that for the safety of the children, the person may not have contact with children.

e.   The investigator must notify the operation immediately if the investigator obtains information before the completion of the investigation that the person’s contact with children no longer poses a safety threat to children.

An operation’s agreement to prohibit a person who is alleged to have abused or neglected a child from having contact with children may be considered a safety plan, though the investigator may determine that the operation also needs to take additional measures to ensure children’s safety.

6332.4 Requesting That an Operation Cease Operating (Day Care Only)

LPPH March 2013

Policy

An investigator or supervisor may request that a child care home cease operating if:

a.   the investigator or supervisor determines that a person who is alleged to have abused or neglected a child poses an immediate threat of danger to the health or safety of children; and

b.   the person is the permit holder of a regulated operation or the primary caregiver of an illegal operation; or

c.   the permit holder or primary caregiver of an illegal operation refuses or is unable to remove the alleged perpetrator from the child care home.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.705

Procedure

If the determination is made that a child care home should cease operating, the investigator must adhere to the following steps:

a.   The investigator receives supervisory approval before notifying the provider.

b.   The investigator makes the determination and notify the provider as soon as possible during the investigation, and the notification may occur either outside of or during an inspection.

c.   The investigator notifies the provider immediately if the investigator obtains information before the completion of the investigation that the provider may resume operation because he or she does not pose a safety threat to children.

d.   If the home fails to cease operation and the risk to children remains high, the investigator immediately consults with the supervisor and works with the Licensing attorney to consider immediate legal action. See 7200 Handling Immediate Danger to Children.

A provider of a child care home’s agreement to cease operating may be considered a safety plan.

6332.5 Operation Refuses to Develop a Safety Plan

LPPH March 2017

Policy

If the operation refuses to develop a safety plan, the investigator must notify his or her supervisor. This includes situations in which:

  •  an operation continues to allow a person to have contact with children when Licensing has made the determination that the person’s continued contact with children poses a safety threat; and

  •  a provider of child care homes refuses to cease operating despite Licensing’s determination that the provider’s continued operation poses a safety threat to children.

Procedure

If the operation or provider refuses to develop a safety plan, the supervisor:

a.   considers citing relevant deficiencies and taking enforcement action;

b.   notifies the district director or residential manager; and

c.   works with the Licensing attorney to consider immediate legal action.

See 7200 Handling Immediate Danger to Children.

6333 Approving the Safety Plan

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must evaluate the safety plan to ensure the plan includes all of the following:

a.   The actions the operation has agreed to take to ensure the safety of children

b.   The date the safety plan is to be implemented

c.   The person at the operation responsible for evaluating compliance with the safety plan

Procedure

If the plan that the operation submits does not adequately minimize the threat, the investigator makes additional recommendations to ensure that the safety plan protects the immediate safety of children in care.

All tasks in the plan must relate directly to the child’s immediate safety and must not contradict existing court orders.

If the operation does not respond to the investigator’s technical assistance, the investigator follows the steps in 6332.5 Operation Refuses to Develop a Safety Plan.

6334 Notifying the Supervisor and Monitoring Inspector of the Safety Plan (Abuse or Neglect Only)

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If a safety plan is developed in response to a threat during an abuse or neglect investigation, the investigator must notify his or her supervisor and the monitoring inspector responsible for the operation of the safety plan.

Procedure

The investigation supervisor must evaluate whether the safety plan ensures the immediate safety of children and take appropriate actions if the plan does not adequately ensure the safety of children.

6335 Documenting the Safety Plan in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If the operation implements a safety plan, a summary of the safety plan must be documented on the Risk Factors page in the CLASS investigation.

Procedure

The investigator documents that a safety plan is in effect on the Risk Factors page in the CLASS investigation. The investigator documents a summary of the safety plan, including:

a.   the actions the operation has agreed to take;

b.   the dates the plan is in effect; and

c.   the person responsible for ensuring the operation’s compliance with the plan.

A copy of the safety plan is filed in the external case file and documented in IMPACT on the External Documentation Detail page for an abuse or neglect investigation.

6336 Ongoing Evaluation of the Safety Plan

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the safety plan throughout the course of the investigation to ensure the plan is effectively minimizing the threat to children in care.

6336.1 Plan Does Not Minimize Safety Threat

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If the plan does not adequately minimize the immediate safety threat, the investigator must:

  •  inform the operation that the threat continues to exist; and

  •  request that the operation develop additional safety measures to minimize the threat.

If additional safety measures are added to the safety plan, the investigator must add these additional measures in the Safety Plan field on the Risk Factors page in CLASS.

6336.2 Operation Does Not Comply With Safety Plan

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If the operation does not comply with the safety plan, the investigator must follow the steps in 6332.5 Operation Refuses to Develop a Safety Plan.

6337 Ending the Safety Plan

LPPH December 2012

Policy

A safety plan may end when:

a.   the investigator determines that the threat has been sufficiently minimized;

b.   another safety plan is implemented that superimposes the existing safety plan;

c.   legal action such as emergency suspension or closure has taken place; or

d.   the investigation is completed.

Procedure

When a safety plan is ended before the completion of the investigation, the investigator documents the reason the plan is no longer needed on the Risk Factors page in CLASS.

6340 Assessment of Risk During Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator begins assessing the risk to children at the beginning of the investigation and continues to assess risk throughout the duration of the investigation. A risk assessment is a staffing between the investigator and inspector to review the operation’s:

a.   characteristics;

b.   compliance history; and

c.   investigation history.

The purpose of a risk assessment during an abuse or neglect investigation is to:

a.   ensure the continuity in regulatory decisions between investigation and monitoring activities;

b.   ensure that appropriate licensing action is taken to protect children; and

c.   determine the overall safety of children and likelihood of future abuse or neglect in the home or operation.

Risk of future abuse or neglect is defined as the reasonable likelihood that children in care of an operation will be abused or neglected in the foreseeable future (three to 12 months) after the investigation is closed.

A risk assessment requires the coordination of the investigator of the abuse or neglect investigation and the operation’s monitoring inspector.

6341 Requesting a Risk Assessment

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator initiates a risk assessment by contacting the operation’s monitoring inspector.

Procedure

Requesting a risk assessment does not fulfill the investigator’s requirement to conduct a risk assessment. The investigator and the operation’s monitoring inspector must discuss the items in 6342 Information to Discuss During a Risk Assessment to fulfill the requirement. The risk assessment may be conducted via face-to-face, phone, or email contact.

6342 Information to Discuss During a Risk Assessment

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The monitoring inspector and investigator discuss the:

a.   operation’s compliance history;

b.   operation’s investigation history;

c.   type of care and services provided by the operation;

d.   characteristics of the children in care of the operation;

e.   characteristics of the caregivers and other staff employed by the operation;

f.    information obtained as a part of the current investigation; and

g.   conditions of any safety plan that was implemented and the outcome of the safety plan, if applicable.

When considering the operation’s overall compliance history, characteristics, and the status of the current investigation, the inspector and investigator focus on:

a.   the level of risk posed by past deficiencies;

b.   the level of risk posed by the current allegations; and

c.   the operation’s response to past deficiencies and the current investigation.

Also see 4500 Evaluating Risk to Children.

6342.1 Reviewing the Operation’s Compliance and Investigation History

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator reviews the list of all inspections and investigations within 24 months of the current investigation.

The investigator reviews the investigations to determine:

a.   if there is a pattern of similar allegations;

b.   the outcome of recent investigations, including the disposition and deficiencies; and

c.   the status of all open investigations.

If the investigator determines that there is a pattern of similar allegations or that the current investigation may interfere with an open investigation, the investigator discusses this information with a supervisor to determine the next step to take.

Procedure

A review of the compliance history includes a review of:

a.   all deficiencies cited in the last 24 months;

b.   the last unannounced or announced monitoring inspection, including which standards were evaluated, the time of the inspection, and whether children were in care at the time of the inspection;

c.   allegations in intake reports closed without an investigation (administratively closed); and

d.   allegations in abuse or neglect and non abuse or neglect investigations.

Evaluating Compliance History of Illegal Operations and Listed Family Homes

An investigator searches CLASS to determine whether the person operating the illegal operation or the listed family home has been involved with another type of regulated operation within the last 24 months. If the investigator finds that the provider has previous involvement with another regulated operation within the past 24 months, the investigator evaluates the relevant compliance history.

Exception to Evaluating 24-Month Period of Compliance History

If an investigator has conducted previous investigations at the operation and a supervisor determines that the investigator is sufficiently familiar with the operation’s compliance and investigation history, the supervisor may grant an exception that allows the investigator to review a shorter time period of compliance and investigation history.

Exceptions should be documented in the Risk Assessment contact. See 6343 Documenting the Risk Assessment.

6342.2 Reviewing the Alleged Perpetrator’s Investigation History

LPPH October 2013

Procedure

For investigations of abuse or neglect, the investigator views the alleged perpetrator’s investigation history by reviewing the alleged perpetrator’s Case List in IMPACT and by conducting a Global Person Search in CLASS. The investigator reviews all previous and open investigations, regardless of program type, in which the alleged perpetrator is listed as an alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect of a child.

The investigator reviews the investigations to determine:

a.   whether there is a pattern of allegations made against the alleged perpetrator;

b.   the outcome of previous investigations; and

c.   the status of all open investigations.

If the investigator determines that there is a pattern of similar allegations or that the current investigation may interfere with an open investigation, the investigator discusses this information with a supervisor to determine the next step to take.

A person search must be conducted and all person merges completed before reviewing the alleged perpetrator’s history.

See operating policy OP-7102 Directive: Merging Persons in IMPACT and the related Appendix A: Person Merge Process and Guidelines.

See also 1500 Conducting a Search in CLASS.

6342.3 Reviewing the Alleged Victim’s Investigation History

LPPH March 2017

Procedure

For investigations of abuse or neglect, the investigator views the alleged victim’s investigation history in IMPACT to understand the child’s history of trauma. The investigator reviews all previous and open CCL investigations in which the alleged victim is listed as an alleged victim of abuse or neglect.

The investigator reviews the investigations to determine:

  a.  whether the child has been involved in investigations involving similar allegations;

  b.  the outcome of previous investigations; and

  c.  the status of open investigations.

If the investigator determines that there is a pattern of similar allegations or that the current investigation may interfere with an open investigation, the investigator discusses this information with a supervisor to determine the next step to take. If the alleged victim is in the conservatorship of CPS, the investigator may also need to review the child’s CPS investigation history.

A person search must be conducted and all person merges completed before reviewing the alleged perpetrator’s history. See Operating Policy OP-7100 Managing Person Information in IMPACT.

6342.4 Recommending Action

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If any safety concerns still exist by the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator informs the:

a.   investigation supervisor;

b.   monitoring supervisor; and

c.   monitoring inspector.

The group meets to:

  •  evaluate the safety concerns; and

  •  determine what actions to take to ensure there is no longer an immediate threat to the safety of children in care.

6343 Documenting the Risk Assessment

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator documents each contact with the monitoring inspector as a contact in CLASS.

Procedure

Any discussion with the monitoring inspector regarding the operation’s characteristics, compliance history, or investigation history should be labeled as Risk Assessment in the Source of Information field on the Contact List on the Investigation Conclusion page.

The contact should:

a.   include a brief explanation of what information was discussed;

b.   highlight particular deficiencies, patterns, or previous investigations that have relevance to the current investigation;

c.   state whether or not any recommended actions were agreed upon; and

d.   describe any exceptions that were met under 6342.1 Reviewing the Operation’s Compliance and Investigation History.

6343.1 Documenting the Recommended Actions

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If an action was recommended, the contact should also include:

a.   an explanation of the recommended action;

b.   the time frame to implement the recommended action; and

c.   the person responsible for implementing the recommended action.

The investigator selects the appropriate option from the Recommended Action drop-down field on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

6350 Notifications Made at Beginning of Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Notification to law enforcement, the operation, and a child’s conservatorship caseworker should be made before initiation or as soon as is reasonably possible after the initiation, if the notification is required by policy.

6351 Notifying and Working With Law Enforcement

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator of an abuse or neglect report is responsible for requesting a joint investigation with law enforcement when:

  •  there are allegations that a child has been or may be the victim of conduct that constitutes a criminal offense; and

  •  the offense poses an immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse of a child that could result in the death of or serious physical or emotional harm to the child.

District Child Care Licensing offices and the regional Child Protective Services (CPS) offices develop local agreements, guidelines, and protocols with local law enforcement officials.

Texas Family Code §261.301(f)-(g)

6351.1 Procedures for Notifying Law Enforcement

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If the investigator is aware of allegations of serious physical or sexual abuse of a child before the initiation of an investigation, the investigator must contact law enforcement immediately after receiving the intake report and before initiation. The investigator must ensure that diligent efforts are made to involve law enforcement in the investigation.

If the investigator learns of allegations of serious physical or sexual abuse of a child after the investigation is already initiated, the investigator informs law enforcement immediately.

Reporting Unlawful Activity That Does Not Require a Joint Investigation

If the investigator learns of any allegations of unlawful activity at any point during the investigation, but the allegations do not meet the criteria for conducting a joint investigation with law enforcement, the investigator must report the unlawful activity to law enforcement immediately upon learning of the allegations.

Texas Family Code §§261.105; 261.402(b)

6351.2 Conducting a Joint Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If there is a criminal investigation being conducted in conjunction with the Licensing investigation, the investigator must cooperate with the county or district attorney, law enforcement officials, and HHSC’s Office of the Inspector General. The investigator must not act as a law enforcement agent by gathering evidence or interviewing persons for the sole purpose of the criminal investigation.

Procedure

The investigator:

a.   consults with law enforcement before interviewing alleged victims or alleged perpetrators;

b.   assists law enforcement, if necessary, with arranging a forensic interview of an alleged victim;

c.   requests to observe an interview that law enforcement conducts with an alleged perpetrator;

d.   attends multi-disciplinary meetings with law enforcement, medical personnel, and other involved parties;

e.   provides law enforcement officials with information gathered during the course of the investigation, upon request;

f.    testifies at criminal hearings, if requested or subpoenaed; and

g.   cooperates in other ways with law enforcement officials within limitations of policy and procedures.

When a Joint Investigation Is Not Conducted

If the investigation meets the criteria for a joint investigation, but law enforcement chooses not to investigate, the investigator:

a.   notifies the supervisor;

b.   documents the efforts made to involve law enforcement; and

c.   initiates and conducts the investigation with supervisory approval.

6351.3 Documenting Contact With Law Enforcement

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator documents a summary of law enforcement’s involvement under the Law Enforcement Involvement section of the Investigation Victim and Parent Details page in the CLASS investigation for each alleged victim. The contact must include:

a.   a summary of law enforcement’s involvement in the investigation;

b.   the investigating officer’s name and title; and

c.   contact information for the investigating officer.

The investigator also documents individual contacts with law enforcement, including attempted contacts, on the Contact List on the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS investigation throughout the investigation.

6352 Notifying the Operation of an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must notify the applicant, permit holder, director, or person in charge at the operation when an investigation is being conducted.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8441

Procedure

During the first contact the investigator has with the operation, the investigator must inform the administrator or director:

a.   about the purpose of the investigation and nature of the allegations;

b.   whether a safety plan is needed;

c.   that the operation must not conduct any interview about the alleged incident with staff, children, or witnesses at the operation who may have knowledge of the incident, unless the operation qualifies for an exception.

Exception to Operation Conducting Interviews

State law requires some residential operations to investigate the death of a child and file a report about the death with the attorney general. The operations may conduct interviews about the death of a child in order to file the required report.

These operations may include foster homes, licensed residential facilities that contract with the Texas Youth Commission, and juvenile probation facilities that choose to be licensed.

6352.1 Methods of Notifying the Operation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator may notify the operation via phone, email, inspection, or inspection form depending on the circumstances.

Notifying the Operation Outside of an Inspection

Procedure

The investigator may notify the director or administrator of the operation of the investigation outside of an inspection:

  •  if the investigator needs to contact the operation to request additional information or a safety plan before conducting an inspection; or

  •  within a day after conducting an onsite inspection if the director or administrator was not present during the inspection.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8443

Notifying the Operation by Inspection or Inspection Form

Procedure

The investigator notifies the director or administrator of the operation of the nature of the investigation in person if the director or administrator is present at the time of the inspection.

If the director or administrator is not present at the time of the inspection, the investigator may leave a copy of the Form 2936 Child-Care Facility Inspection at the operation. The Inspection Form may be used to notify the operation in lieu of another type of contact as long as the inspection form contains a written description of the allegations being investigated and the minimum standards being evaluated for compliance. See 6312 Reviewing the Intake Report Narrative and Determining the Allegations.

The investigator may need to follow up with the director or administrator if the investigator determines that a safety plan should be developed.

6352.2 Exceptions to Notifying the Operation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator may delay notifying the director or administrator of the operation about the nature of the investigation if:

  •  the allegations are against the director or administrator; or

  •  the investigator has reason to believe that the notification may compromise the investigation.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8441; 745.8443

Procedure

If the investigator determines that the notification to the operation should be delayed, the investigator:

a.   must obtain supervisory approval;

b.   document the decision and the supervisory approval as a contact in CLASS; and

c.   notify the director or administrator of the operation as soon as the investigator determines the investigation will no longer be compromised.

6353 Notifications Involving a Child in the Conservatorship of DFPS (Abuse or Neglect Only)

LPPH April 2017

Policy

If a child is in the conservatorship of DFPS, the investigator or designee must notify the child's CPS caseworker if:

  •   the child is listed as an alleged victim of abuse or neglect; or

  •   the child lives in a foster home where another child is alleged to have been abused or neglected.

The investigator or designee must also notify the Licensing program administrator if the investigation involves an allegation of child sexual aggression.

6353.1 How to Notify the CPS Caseworker

LPPH April 2017

Procedure

The investigator or designee notifies the CPS caseworker via email and includes:

  a. the child's name;

  b. name of the operation that is the subject of the investigation;

  c. name of the foster home, if applicable;

  d. the IMPACT case ID number;

  e. a statement regarding whether or not the allegations involve sexually aggressive behavior or child-on-child physical abuse; and

  f.  whether the child is listed as an alleged victim or as a household member in the intake report.

6353.2 Maintaining Contact With the CPS Caseworker of Alleged Victims

LPPH December 2012

Policy

After the initial notification, the investigator must attempt to maintain contact with the child’s CPS caseworker if the child is listed as an alleged victim in order to:

a.   obtain additional information about the child, including the child’s history of abuse or neglect, behavioral patterns, and any other information that provides insight into the investigation;

b.   share information with the CPS caseworker about the status of the investigation, including any concerns the investigator may have with the child’s placement and detailed information regarding incidents of child-on-child abuse; and

c.   obtain assistance with acquiring the child’s medical records from a doctor’s office or hospital, if necessary.

6353.3 Documenting Contact With the CPS Caseworker

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

All contacts with a child’s CPS caseworker must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS investigation as soon as possible and no later than the following day.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact a child’s CPS caseworker must also be documented.

6354 Notifying a School District About Allegations Against a Public School Employee (Abuse or Neglect Only)

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If during an investigation, the investigator determines that the child abuse or neglect involves an employee of a public primary or secondary school, and that the alleged victim is a student at the school, the investigator must verbally notify the superintendent of the employee’s school district about the investigation. For example, if a foster parent who is a school teacher is alleged to abuse her foster child, the investigator notifies the superintendent.

Texas Family Code §261.105(d)

6355 Requesting Assistance from CPS Special Investigators (Residential Care Only)

LPPH March 2017

Policy

An investigator or supervisor may request assistance from a CPS special investigator if the investigation meets one or more of the following criteria:

  a.  The child dies or is at risk of death, and the death is not related to known, ongoing medical issues.

  b.  A principal in the investigation is arrested or there is significant involvement by law enforcement.

  c.  There is widespread or significant media interest in the investigation, or the potential of such.

  d.  The investigation involves an allegation of physical or sexual abuse by a person who has previously been investigated for similar allegations.

Procedure

An investigator must receive supervisory approval to request assistance from a CPS special investigator. If the supervisor determines that special assistance is warranted, the supervisor discusses the request with the regional manager before initiating a formal request with CPS.

All decisions regarding the request for assistance from a CPS special investigator must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

6360 Preparing for the Initiation

6361 Time Frames for Initiation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The time frame for initiating an investigation varies, depending on:

  •  the type of investigation (abuse or neglect or non abuse or neglect; and

  •  the priority of the investigation.

The time frame for initiation for investigations of abuse or neglect is based upon the time the intake report was received. The time frame for initiation for non abuse or neglect investigations (with the exception of investigations assigned a Priority 1) is based upon the date the intake report was received.

HHSC Rules, 15 TAC §351.503(c)(2)

See Appendix 6000-1 Time Frames for Investigations.

6361.1 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 1 (P1) Investigation

LPPH June 2014

Policy

An investigation that is assigned a Priority 1 must be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the time the intake report was received, regardless of whether the investigation is abuse or neglect or non-abuse or neglect.

Acting on Priority 1 Reports After Regular Business Hours

Procedure

If an intake report is received after regular business hours, including on the weekends and holidays, and Statewide Intake (SWI) assigns a Priority 1 to the report, SWI notifies the regional on-call investigator for Licensing. The on-call investigator must contact the on-call supervisor to receive instructions on how to proceed, unless the on-call investigator is an Investigator II and has received approval to act on any Priority 1 investigations without supervisory guidance.

6361.2 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 2 (P2) Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Initiating a P2 Investigation of Abuse or Neglect

An abuse or neglect investigation that is assigned a P2 must be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after the time the intake report was received by SWI.

Initiating a P2 Non Abuse or Neglect

A non abuse or neglect investigation that is assigned a P2 must be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than 5 days after the day the intake report was received by SWI or in the Licensing office.

6361.3 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 3 (P3) Investigation

LPPH June 2014

Policy

A non-abuse or neglect investigation that is assigned a Priority 3 must be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the day the intake report was received by SWI or the Licensing office.

6361.4 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 5 Investigation

LPPH June 2014

Policy

A non-abuse or neglect investigation that is assigned a Priority 5 must be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than five days after the day the intake report was received by SWI or the Licensing office.

6370 Preparing Equipment and Other Required Items

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Before initiating the investigation, the investigator must prepare the equipment necessary to conduct a thorough investigation in accordance to all policy and procedures. When conducting investigation activities away from the office, all investigators must carry with them:

a.   a tablet PC;

b.   a portable printer;

c.   a digital camera; and

d.   electric chargers or batteries for all equipment.

Additionally, an investigator of abuse or neglect investigations must carry with them a back-up digital recorder, if he or she has been assigned one.

The investigator must ensure that all equipment is adequately charged before leaving the office.

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