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6600 Completing the Investigation

LPPH January 2014

Policy

All Investigations

The investigation is complete when:

a.   all necessary contacts have been made;

b.   the safety of the children at the operation has been ensured; and

c.   findings (compliance with or violations of statute, administrative rules; and minimum standards) have been determined.

Non-Abuse or Neglect Investigations

Notification letters must be sent before the investigation is complete. Completion dates for non-abuse or neglect must be the same as or later than the notification sent dates.

See 6400 Conducting the Investigation.

6610 Time Frames for Completion of the Investigation

LPPH June 2014

Time frames for completing the investigation are based upon the priority assigned to the investigation:

Action

Priority 1

Priority 2

Priority 3

Priority 4

Priority 5

Complete investigation

30 days

30 days

60 days

60 days

60 days

For an abuse and neglect investigation, the date in the Investigation Complete box on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS must match the date the investigation is submitted to the supervisor for approval in IMPACT.

See Appendix 6000-1 Time Frames for Investigations.

6611 Extending Time Frames for Completing an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

The investigator must obtain supervisory approval if the time frames for completion cannot be met.

6611.1 Criteria for Requesting Additional Time to Complete the Investigation

LPPH March 2013

An extension is approved only when an investigation cannot be completed because of circumstances beyond the investigator’s control, such as unavoidable delays in obtaining crucial information. A supervisor may extend the time frame for completion by 30 days if:

a.   medical information is still needed;

b.   an autopsy report has not been received;

c.   law enforcement reports have not been received; or

d.   an interview with the alleged perpetrator or other principal source involved in the investigation has been delayed.

Before approving an extension, the supervisor reviews the investigation and ensures the reason for the extension request meets one of these criteria.

To receive an approval for an extension for reasons other than those listed above, staff obtains approval from:

  •  the district director for child day care; or

  •  the residential manager for residential child care.

An extension should not be approved for the following reasons:

  •  The absence of an investigator

  •  A staff shortage

During the extension period, the investigator must attempt to obtain the necessary information for completing the investigation at least once per week and document what efforts were made to obtain the information.

Exceptions

Investigators may attempt contact at least monthly, rather than weekly in the following circumstances:

  •  The investigator is waiting for autopsy results or a death certificate.

  •  The investigator is waiting on the results of a criminal investigation and Law Enforcement has requested not to be contacted until after a scheduled interview or other Law Enforcement action.

See 6524.6 Completing the Investigation Before the Results of the Autopsy Are Received.

6611.2 Documenting an Extension

LPPH December 2012

Following the staffing, the supervisor documents the approval of an extension by completing the required information in the Supervisor Extension Approval field. The narrative box must include the:

  •  reason for the extension; and

  •  date the extension expires.

6611.3 Obtaining an Additional Extension

LPPH December 2012

A supervisor may extend the first 30-day extension for the same reasons stated in 6611.1 Criteria for Requesting Additional Time to Complete the Investigation. The new extension should not exceed 30 days. To document approval of a second extension the supervisor enters a contact with the following information:

a.   the date of the staffing with the investigator;

b.   reason for the extension; and

c.   the expiration date of the extension.

During the extension period the investigator must attempt to obtain the necessary information for completing the investigation at least once per week and document what efforts were made to obtain the information.

If an extension is needed beyond the second 30-day period, the supervisor must consult with the director or manager to obtain approval for the extension.

6620 Determining the Findings

LPPH December 2012

At the end of the investigation, the investigator assigns a finding for each allegation identified during the investigation.

6621 Non Abuse or Neglect Investigations

LPPH December 2012

For investigations that do not involve abuse or neglect allegations the investigator determines:

  •  whether violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards have occurred; and

  •  whether further action is needed.

The investigator may, but is not required, to staff the finding with the supervisor.

6622 Investigations of Possible Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

For investigations involving abuse or neglect, the investigator makes a determination regarding:

a.   whether violations of the statute, administrative rules or minimum standards have occurred;

b.   whether further action is needed;

c.   whether the act or omission meets the statutory definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; and

d.   whether there is a preponderance of evidence that the abuse or neglect occurred.

The investigator must staff the investigation findings with the supervisor no later than the 25th day after the intake report is received to ensure that the findings meet the definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation by a preponderance of evidence. The investigation must then be submitted to the supervisor for approval in IMPACT no later than the 30th day, if no extension is granted.

The case consultation must include written information demonstrating:

  •  that a preponderance of evidence supports the recommendation of a disposition of Reason to Believe or Ruled Out; or

  •  why a disposition of Unable to Determine is necessary.

6622.1 Types of Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2014

Policy

DFPS has defined types of abuse and neglect, based on the definitions in Texas Family Code §261.401(a), which are further defined in 40 TAC §§745.8551 – 745.8559.

Exploitation of children is also defined in Texas Family Code, §261.401(a).

Procedure

Investigators use the definitions in 40 TAC §§745. 8551 – 745.8559 to document the disposition of allegations in abuse or neglect investigations. The preponderance statement should address all four elements of the finding.

Elements of Abuse

The four elements of abuse are:

a.   any intentional, knowing, or reckless act or omission;

b.   by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of an operation;

c.   that causes or may cause emotional harm or physical injury to, or the death of;

d.   a child that the operation serves.

Elements of Neglect

The four elements of neglect are:

a.   an act or omission that is a breach of a duty;

b.   by a person working under the auspices of an operation;

c.   that causes or may cause substantial emotional harm or substantial physical injury;

d.   to a child.

Elements of Exploitation

Investigators use the definition in the Texas Family Code to document the disposition of allegations in an exploitation investigation. The preponderance should address all of the elements.

Exploitation is the illegal or improper use of a child or of the resources of a child for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of a facility or program as further described by rule or policy.

Texas Family Code §261.401

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8551 – 745.8559

6622.2 Issuing a Finding of Abuse or Neglect When the Perpetrator Cannot Be Determined

LPPH December 2014

If it is found that a child is abused, neglected, or exploited, and the perpetrator cannot be determined, the investigator:

  •   enters a disposition of Reason to Believe for the victim on the Allegation Detail page in IMPACT; and

  •   does not select a name or Unknown for the perpetrator on the Allegation Detail page. The Perpetrator field is left blank on the Allegation List page in IMPACT. Staff must not create an Unknown person in the IMPACT Person List.

In some situations, it may be appropriate to designate the director or administrator as the perpetrator. See 6631 Notifying the Operation of the Results of an Investigation regarding citing the standard for abuse or neglect.

6622.3 Possible Dispositions

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

At the end of the investigation, the investigator assigns a disposition in the IMPACT system to each allegation in order to:

a.   specify conclusions about whether the incident being investigated is abuse or neglect;

b.   determine the overall disposition for the investigation, including any additional allegations that surfaced during the investigation; and

c.   determine the role for each person involved in the investigation, including any new victims or perpetrators identified during the investigation.

The IMPACT and the CLASS systems provide the following dispositions for Child Care Licensing cases:

Reason to Believe (RTB) – A preponderance of evidence indicates that abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred. If the disposition for any allegation is Reason to Believe, the overall case disposition is Reason to Believe.

Ruled Out (R/O) – A preponderance of evidence indicates that abuse, neglect, or exploitation did not occur. If the dispositions for all allegations are Ruled Out, the overall case disposition is Ruled Out.

Unable to Determine (UTD) – A determination could not be made because of an inability to gather enough facts. The investigator concludes that:

  •  there is not a preponderance of the evidence that abuse or neglect occurred; but

  •  it is not reasonable to conclude that abuse or neglect did not occur.

      If the disposition for any allegation is Unable to Determine and there is no allegation assigned a disposition of Reason to Believe, the overall case disposition is Unable to Determine.

Administrative Closure (ADM) – The operation is not subject to regulation; or the allegations do not meet the definition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. If the dispositions for all allegations are Administrative Closure, the overall disposition is Administrative Closure.

6622.4 Assigning the Severity to a Reason to Believe Disposition

LPPH March 2016

Policy

For each allegation assigned a disposition of Reason to Believe, the investigator determines the severity of the abuse or neglect that occurred.

Procedure

If the investigator concludes that abuse or neglect has occurred, the investigator selects the appropriate severity level for each allegation on the Allegation page in IMPACT according to the table below:

Level of Severity

Assign when the finding is RTB and …

Mild

  •  no injuries occurred;

  •  there was a threat of harm with no injuries; or

  •  the child was financially exploited.

Moderate

the child was harmed, but the injury was not serious or critical.

Severe

  •  the child was sexually abused; or

  •  the child suffered a serious injury or has a medical event that resulted or may result in impairment to the child’s overall health or well-being.

Near Fatal

without medical attention, the child would likely have died as a result of the injury or illness.

Fatal

the child died as a result of abuse or neglect.

A supervisor may approve assigning a higher or lower severity based on the particular circumstances of the investigation.

Also see 6524.2 Assigning the Severity of the Abuse or Neglect When a Child Dies.

6622.5 Roles of Persons Involved in the Investigation

LPPH May 2013

When the investigator enters a disposition for each allegation on the Allegation List page in IMPACT, the IMPACT system automatically assigns the following roles to persons, depending on the disposition selected:

Designated Victim (DV) – Based on a preponderance of the evidence, the investigator concludes that the child was abused, neglected, or exploited, as defined in the Texas Family Code §261.401(1), (2), or (3). A child has the role of Designated Victim when he or she is named as a victim in an allegation that has a disposition of Reason to Believe, but is not named as a perpetrator in another allegation that has a disposition of Reason to Believe.

Designated Perpetrator (DP) – Based on a preponderance of the evidence, the investigator concludes that the individual is responsible for abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child and worked under the auspices of the operation at the time of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation. A person has the role of Designated Perpetrator when he or she is named as a perpetrator in an allegation that has a disposition of Reason to Believe, but is not named as a victim in another allegation that has a disposition of Reason to Believe.

Unknown, in an Unable to Determine (UTD) disposition – The investigator could not conclude in the investigation whether an alleged perpetrator was involved in the alleged abuse or neglect. The investigator could not determine who inflicted the alleged abuse or neglect on the alleged victim. A person has the role of Unknown (Unable to Determine) when he or she is named in an allegation that has a disposition of Unable to Determine, but is not named in another allegation that has a disposition of Reason to Believe.

No Role (NO) – This applies when:

a.   a child who was originally alleged to be a victim was found not to have been abused or neglected;

b.   a person who was originally alleged to be a perpetrator was found not to have abused or neglected children;

c.   all of the allegations in which the person was named as a victim or perpetrator were administratively closed; or

d.   the person was not alleged to have abused or neglected a child in the investigation.

6622.6 Allegations Involving Child Sexual Aggression or Child-on-Child Physical Abuse

LPPH April 2017

Policy

If a report involves an allegation of child sexual aggression or child-on-child physical abuse, the investigator evaluates the caregiver's role and may determine that the abuse is the result of:

  •   neglectful supervision on the part of the caregiver; or

  •   failure to prevent abuse by another person.

In these situations, the caregiver is given the role of Designated Perpetrator in the Allegation Detail page in IMPACT.

Licensing staff determines that child-on-child physical abuse occurred if:

  •   there is a physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child and requires emergency medical treatment, excluding an accident; or

  •   a child fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another child that results in a physical injury with substantial harm.

Licensing staff determines that child sexual aggression occurred if:

  •   there is sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare; or

  •   a child fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to another child.

Texas Family Code §261.410

A child in care is never designated as a perpetrator of abuse or neglect.

Procedure

Child Sexual Aggression Involving a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

If the allegations involve an incident of child sexual aggression for a child currently in DFPS conservatorship, the Licensing and CPS programs must jointly staff the investigation to determine whether the incident can be confirmed. The investigator or supervisor first staffs the determination with the Licensing program administrator. Then, the following staffings between Licensing and CPS take place in the order listed below until the two programs reach a consensus about whether the incident occurred:

  1. Licensing program administrator and CPS program administrator

  2. Licensing district director and CPS regional director

  3. Licensing associate commissioner and CPS associate commissioner

If Licensing and CPS reach a consensus that an incident involving child sexual aggression occurred, the Licensing program administrator documents the confirmation in CLASS by following the steps outlined in 6724.1 Findings Involving Child Sexual Aggression.

If Licensing and CPS reach a consensus that an incident involving child sexual aggression did not occur, the investigator documents the determination as outlined in 6724 Investigation Findings and 6724.3 Explanation of Disposition Based on Preponderance.

Child Sexual Aggression Involving a Child Not in DFPS Conservatorship

If the allegations involve an incident of child sexual aggression for a child not currently in DFPS conservatorship, the investigator or supervisor staffs the determination with the Licensing program administrator. If the program administrator agrees that the incident can be confirmed, he or she documents the confirmation in CLASS by following the steps outlined in 6724.1 Findings Involving Child Sexual Aggression.

See:

Definitions of Terms, child sexual aggression

6724 Investigation Findings

6232.1 Selecting Allegations of Violations in CLASS

 

6630 Notifying Relevant Parties of the Results of an Investigation

LPPH March 2013

All notifications for investigations of abuse or neglect must be in draft form at the time the investigation is completed and submitted for approval. Within five days of the supervisor approving and closing the investigation in IMPACT, the investigator finalizes and mails the letter after making any changes recommended by the supervisor.

6631 Notifying the Operation of the Results of an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator uses Child Care Facility Inspection Form 2936 or the Investigation Letter 2896 to notify the following persons in writing about the results of the investigation:

a.   the person in charge at the operation;

b.   the applicant, permit holder, or designee; and

c.   those as required by Appendix 3000-2: Notifying the Operation.

The form or letter must be generated from the CLASS system and include:

a.   the findings;

b.   evaluations of compliance with applicable statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards;

c.   citations of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards;

d.   corrections needed; and

e.   time limits for correction.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8445; 745.8447

6631.1 Completing the Findings Letter or Compliance Evaluation Form

LPPH March 2013

Procedure

The Investigation Letter (Form 2896) or the Child Care Facility Inspection (Form 2936) provides the operation with information about the investigation, the findings, confidentiality protections, and next steps for the operation. The notification of deficiencies should only be identified on the inspection form or the investigations form, not both.

The letter or inspection form must contain identifying information, including:

a.   the purpose and date of the investigation;

b.   the statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards evaluated as a result of the report; and

c.   the name of the Licensing staff conducting the investigation.

Notification Requirements for All Investigations

The letter or form must contain the results of the investigation, including:

a.   specifics of violations;

b.   corrections needed, if any, and time limit set for corrections, unless the investigation findings may result in revocation, suspension, or denial;

c.   the requirement for posting the investigation results for child day care (see 4173 Posting the Day Care Inspection Form or Assessment Form); and

d.   a statement explaining the operation’s right to an administrative review and an explanation of the procedures for requesting one.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8447

6631.2 Additional Notification for Abuse or Neglect Investigations

LPPH March 2013

When notifying the alleged perpetrator (see 6632 Notification to the Alleged Perpetrator for an Abuse or Neglect Investigation), the Licensing staff member also cites the operation for the minimum standard relating to abuse, neglect, or exploitation, if appropriate.

The notification letter to the operation includes the same information needed for minimum standard violations as outlined in 6631.1 Completing the Findings Letter or Compliance Evaluation Form. To protect the confidentiality of the alleged victim, alleged perpetrator, or reporter, the investigator does not include their names in the letter.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8485; 745.8487

6631.3 Release of Necessary Information

LPPH March 2013

Certain circumstances make the release of information concerning the alleged perpetrator necessary before the results of a release hearing have been determined. The operation may be informed of the identity of the alleged perpetrator before the results of the release hearing have been determined if the presence of the alleged perpetrator constitutes an immediate threat or danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the children and the operation or family home must take action to safeguard children’s health, safety, or welfare.

A release hearing must be offered even if the information is released under circumstances considered necessary.

The investigator must obtain supervisory approval and must consult with a Licensing attorney before releasing necessary information to the operation.

See 7727 Emergency Release.

6632 Notification to the Alleged Perpetrator for an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must notify the alleged perpetrator of the findings of the abuse or neglect investigation separately from notification that is sent to the operation.

The notification to the alleged perpetrator may not be released to the public, whereas the notifications to the operation become public information.

Procedure

The notification to the alleged perpetrator of the findings is:

a.   generated from the CLASS system;

b.   sent by certified mail and regular mail if the finding is Reason to Believe; and

c.   by regular mail only for any other finding.

The investigator and supervisor must ensure that all letters are mailed to the perpetrator within five days of closure of the investigation in IMPACT. They must also ensure that all letters to the alleged perpetrator are mailed to the perpetrator’s home address and not to the operation address, unless the alleged perpetrator lives and works at a child care home.

6632.1 For Findings of Reason to Believe 

LPPH March 2013

If the finding for an investigation is Reason to Believe, the investigator sends CLASS Form 2894 Abuse or Neglect Findings Letter to the Perpetrator, which informs the perpetrator that he or she has been found responsible for abuse or neglect of a child in care.

The letter to the alleged perpetrator must include:

a.   the applicable definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation from the Texas Family Code §261.401;

b.   a brief description of the allegation and the basis of the finding;

c.   notification that the individual’s name will be entered into the Central Registry as described in Texas Family Code §261.002;

d.   notification that the individual’s name has been released to the employer if an emergency release has been completed; and

e.   the right to request an administrative review within 15 days. See 7710 Administrative Reviews and DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8805.

When completing the narrative box for Form 2894 for the allegation description 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 and Texas Administrative Code; and

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.

If no administrative review is requested within 15 days, the investigator sends Form 2886 Decision Letter to Perpetrator, notifying the perpetrator of his or her right to request a release hearing within 30 days. See:

7713.1 Determining Whether a Request for an Administrative Review Meets the Due Date

7720 Hearings Concerning Child Abuse or Neglect Findings

6930 Actions to Take Following the Investigation of a Regulated Operation

If an Administrative Review Is Requested

If an administrative review is requested and the decision is upheld, Licensing staff include in the decision letter the perpetrator’s right to request a due process hearing within 30 days.

If the abuse or neglect determination was overturned in the administrative review, no due process hearing is offered.

See 7716 Deciding the Outcome of an Administrative Review.

6632.2 If the Alleged Perpetrator Is an Employee of the Operation

LPPH December 2012

If the alleged perpetrator is an employee of a child-care operation, the letter notifying him or her about the results of the investigation must also explain:

  •  that the employer will be notified of the finding and that it could affect the alleged perpetrator’s ability to continue to work in child care; and

  •  whether the findings will be released to the employer before an administrative review or release hearing. See 7727 Emergency Release.

6632.3 If the Alleged Perpetrator Is a Minor (10 to 17 years of age)

LPPH December 2012

If the alleged perpetrator is a minor between the ages of 10 and 17, the notification letter is also mailed to the minor’s parent, guardian, or managing conservator via certified and regular mail.

The administrative review of the Reason to Believe finding may be requested by the minor or the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or managing conservator within 15 days of the notification.

See:

7713.1 Determining Whether a Request for an Administrative Review Meets the Due Date

7600 Adverse Actions

6632.4 If a Due Process Hearing Is Requested

LPPH March 2013

After the due process hearing is held and the supervisor is informed of the judge’s decision, the investigator or supervisor must send the final letter, Form 2889 Letter to the Perpetrator – SOAH Decision, that states the judge’s decision.

The supervisor then documents the status of the perpetrator in IMPACT and the status of the due process in CLASS.

See 7724 Documenting the Results of the Due Process Hearing.

6633 Notifying the Reporter of Investigation Results

LPPH August 2013

Policy

The investigator sends notification of the findings upon completion of the investigation unless:

a.   The reporter has indicated that he or she does not want to be notified;

b.   there is a reasonable likelihood that notifying the reporter will jeopardize the reporter's safety; or

c.   The reporter is the person in charge, director, administrator, applicant, permit holder, board chair, or designee and will receive notice in another capacity.

See Appendix 3000-2 Notifying the Operation

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8445

Procedure

The investigator generates Conclusion to Reporter Letter Form 2814 from the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS system.

The letter states only whether statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards were or were not violated.

The letter includes any brochures or pamphlets that may be educational to the reporter regarding reports.

The investigator does not disclose information in the final report of findings that is confidential.

The investigator sends the letter to the reporter by regular mail.

6634 Notification to Monitoring Unit

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If the investigation is conducted by an abuse or neglect investigator, the investigator notifies the inspector responsible for the operation about the:

a.   results of the investigation;

b.   actions recommended; and

c.   follow-up procedures needed.

Notification can be completed by phone or email.

See also 6900 Recommending Action as a Result of Investigation Findings.

6635 Special Notifications for Investigations Involving Children in DFPS Conservatorship

LPPH April 2017

Policy

If the alleged victim is a child in the conservatorship of DFPS, the alleged victim's Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworker must be notified about the results of the investigation.

Procedure

The child's CPS caseworker can be notified by phone or email. Licensing staff document the date of notification on the Investigation page in the CLASS system. If the investigation involves allegations of child-on-child physical abuse or child sexual aggression, the investigator provides a copy of the investigation report to the CPS caseworker via email regardless of the investigation findings.

For investigations involving allegations of child sexual aggression or child-on-child physical abuse, see 6622.6 Allegations Involving Child Sexual Aggression or Child-on-Child Physical Abuse.

6636 Notification to Parent of an Alleged Victim of the Results of an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

The investigator sends notification of the results of an abuse or neglect investigation to the parent of an alleged victim once the investigation is approved by the supervisor and closed in IMPACT. The investigator completes Form 2892a Initial Letter to Parent of Victim with RTB Finding if the finding of the investigation is Reason to Believe. The investigator completes Form 2893 Letter to Parent of Victim UTD or R/O Finding if the finding of the investigation is either Unable to Determine or Ruled Out.

6700 Documenting the Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Investigations are documented to record the investigation activities and conclusions related to findings with statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards.

Investigation contacts must be documented in the CLASS system on the same date as the contact or by the next day. This applies to both abuse and neglect investigations and non-abuse or neglect investigations.

Activities related to all investigations are documented in CLASS. Additional detailed information regarding abuse, neglect, and exploitation investigations is documented in IMPACT.

Procedure

The amount of documentation needed is determined by the complexity of the investigation. Documentation may be brief and succinct but must adequately describe or explain the situation

6710 Documentation in the CLASS and IMPACT Systems

6711 Documentation of All Investigations

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Investigators document the following information in the CLASS system:

a.   Allegations in the intake report by selecting the correct Allegation Type checkboxes

b.   A description of the allegation

c.   Statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards evaluated as part of the investigation

d.   The identity of the agency home that is the subject of the investigation, if the investigation is of an agency foster or group home

e.   Location of external documentation, including audiotapes or videotapes

f.    Information on the Risk Factors page, including a safety plan if applicable

g.   Victim information, including injury information if the child has been injured

h.   Staffings and all other consultations

i.    All contacts made during the course of an investigation

j.    An explanation of how the evidence supports the findings

k.   All compliances, deficiencies, findings, and notification dates

See:

6232 CLASS Allegation Types

6312.1 Writing the Allegation

6312.2 Determining Which Minimum Standards to Evaluate

6423.4 Documenting Whether an Interview Was Recorded

6335 Documenting the Safety Plan in CLASS

6460 Interim Staffing With Supervisor

6622 Investigations of Possible Abuse or Neglect

6724 Investigation Findings

6712 Additional Documentation for Abuse or Neglect Investigations

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

For abuse or neglect investigations, the investigator documents additional information in CLASS, including:

a.   how the evidence supports the preponderance of the evidence;

b.   risk assessment information (see 6343 Documenting the Risk Assessment);

c.   the child death report if the investigation involves the death of a child in CLASS (see 6521.6 Completing the Preliminary Child Death Report (Form 2899e) in CLASS;

d.   information regarding law enforcement involvement on the Investigation Victim and Parent Details page (see 6351.3 Documenting Contact With Law Enforcement).

The investigator documents the following information in the IMPACT system:

a.   The Licensing Investigation Report (LIR)

b.   The Allegation List in IMPACT

c.   The Person List in IMPACT

6720 Documentation on the Investigation Conclusion Page in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

All of the information used to determine a finding in an investigation must be documented in CLASS on the Investigation Conclusion page.

6721 Initiation of Investigation Field

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

All pertinent information must be completed in the Initiation of Investigation section. See 6414 Documenting the Initiation.

6722 Observation Made During Inspection Field

LPPH October 2017

Procedure

The inspector documents any observation made during the initial investigation inspection in the Observation Made During the Inspection field on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

The documentation in the narrative box must include:

  •   the date the inspection was conducted;

  •   specific observations of the operation related to the allegations; and

  •   the specific area in which the incident being investigated occurred.

The inspector may document additional inspections conducted during the investigation as separate contacts in the contact list on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

See 6430 Conducting Inspections.

6723 Contact List

LPPH March 2013

Procedure

The investigator enters a contact by selecting Add New under the Contact List section of the Investigation Conclusion page. Details of the following types of contacts are entered on the Add/View Contacts page:

a.   Face-to-face contacts

b.   Telephone conversations and attempted telephone calls

c.   Correspondence whether sent or received

d.   All staffings or consultations including interim staffings, dispositional staffings, and risk assessments

e.   Any approvals received from management regarding the investigation

Face-to-Face Contacts

During the course of an investigation, all face-to-face contacts should be documented in the following manner on the Add/View Contacts page in CLASS:

a.   Choose Face-to-Face from the Contact Type drop down box, including face-to-face interviews conducted at the operation during the course of an inspection.

b.   If a face-to-face contact is attempted, but not conducted, the investigator chooses Other from the drop down box and notes that it was an attempted face to face interview in the subject line of the contact.

See:

6420 Conducting Interviews

6440 Collecting Evidence

6460 Interim Staffing With Supervisor

6340 Assessment of Risk During Abuse or Neglect Investigation

If interviews are recorded, a summary of the interview is entered in the contact and the location of the recording is documented. Documentation regarding children should include the first name and last initial of the child only.

6724 Investigation Findings

LPPH April 2017

Procedure

The investigator completes the Investigations Findings section on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS for all investigations.

6724.1 Findings Involving Child Sexual Aggression

LPPH April 2017

Procedure

If the preponderance of the evidence indicates a child in DFPS conservatorship exhibited child sexual aggression and the staffing requirements outlined in 6622.6 Allegations Involving Child Sexual Aggression have been met, the Licensing program administrator selects the Child Sexual Aggression checkbox.

See 6635 Special Notifications for Investigations Involving Children in DFPS Conservatorship.

6724.2 Findings Involving Child-on-Child Physical Abuse

LPPH April 2017

Procedure

If the preponderance of the evidence indicates child-on-child physical abuse has occurred and there is a Reason to Believe (RTB) finding for Neglectful Supervision (NSUP), the investigator selects the corresponding checkbox.

6724.3 Explanation of Disposition Based on Preponderance

LPPH April 2017

Procedure

For a non abuse or neglect investigation, this documentation explains how the investigator evaluated the evidence and determined whether the operation was in compliance with the relevant standards. For abuse or neglect investigations, the documentation includes whether the evidence meets the preponderance of the evidence threshold for each element of each allegation. This information must be consistent with the preponderance statement in the Licensing Investigation Report (LIR) in IMPACT.

6724.4 Final Disposition and Summary of Due Process

LPPH April 2017

Procedure

If each designated perpetrator involved in the abuse or neglect investigation waives his or her right to a due process hearing, the assigned Licensing supervisor:

  a. selects Reason to Believe from the Final Disposition drop-down menu on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS; and

  b. documents the reason for the final disposition, including the designated perpetrator's decision to waive his or her right to the due process hearing, and the date the decision became final in the Summary of Due Process narrative box in CLASS.

See:

7723.3 Waiving the Right to a Due Process Hearing

7725 Sustaining a Perpetrator in IMPACT

6725 Notification Dates

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The following dates are entered:

Notification to Provider – the date the 2936 or investigation letter was sent to the provider notifying them of the outcome of the investigation and any citations issued;

Notification to Reporter – the date the notification letter to the reporter was sent. If no notification is required this field is left blank;

Investigation Complete – the date all actions in the investigation were taken and a determination was made. This date must match the date the investigation was submitted to the supervisor in IMPACT if this is an abuse or neglect investigation.

Documentation Complete – the date that all documentation pertaining to the investigation has been completed. This date must match the Investigation Complete date.

Investigation Closed – the date the investigation is closed in CLASS and no further action regarding this investigation is needed including due process actions for the operation. For abuse or neglect investigations this field is not completed and the investigation is not closed in CLASS before the investigation is closed in IMPACT.

6725.1 Extension Approval

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

All pertinent information must be entered in the Extension Approval any time an extension has been approved for an investigation. See 6611.2 Documenting an Extension.

6730 Updating the Person Detail Page

LPPH March 2013

By the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator must ensure that identifying information and certain other information has been obtained and updated for each alleged victim and alleged perpetrator involved in the investigation.

Any child identified through the process of an abuse or neglect investigation or a non abuse or neglect investigation as being directly involved in the allegations of the investigation is listed as a victim on the Investigation Persons list in CLASS.

6740 Documentation of Case Notes

LPPH December 2012

For an investigation alleging abuse or neglect, all notes taken during the investigation are considered part of the case documentation and must be kept in the case file for at least a year.

Case notes include any written notes, comments, explanations, and observations documented during the course of an investigation, regardless of whether the notes were originally recorded on paper or computer.

When recording case notes on a computer, Licensing staff print out the notes and save or destroy them as appropriate, depending on the type of investigation and whether the notes were subpoenaed before their destruction.

The case notes of an investigation that does not involve abuse or neglect may be destroyed, unless a subpoena regarding the notes is received before their destruction. In such cases, staff must produce the notes in response to the subpoena.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(d)

For policy and procedures regarding receipt of a subpoena, refer to the DFPS Subpoena Policy.

6750 Maintaining an Investigation File

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During all types of investigations, an investigation file is kept separate from the operation record. The investigation file is confidential and may be disclosed only in special situations. See 8100 Information for General Release and 8230 Confidential Information Not for Release to the Public.

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

Procedure

The investigator develops a confidential investigation file that includes notes and documents obtained during the investigation. The materials used in the investigation are kept separate from the operation’s case record until after completion of the investigation. Information that is included in CLASS does not have to be included in the investigation file unless it is an item that requires an original signature.

6751 Investigations Not Involving Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

After completion of the investigation all of the information in the investigation file becomes part of the operation record and is subject to open records requests with confidential information redacted.

6752 Investigations Involving Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2015

After completion of the investigation, some records of the investigation are maintained separately from an operation’s record.

The documents added to the operation record are:

a.   a description of the nature of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation allegation that was investigated;

b.   a copy of any written notices sent to the operation;

c.   a copy of the written notice sent to the operation with the finding of the investigation;

d.   a form or letter documenting any inspections that were conducted during the investigation;

e.   documentation of the permit holder’s receipt of any of the above notices or documents; and

f.    documentation of any recommendations for follow-up actions.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8489

The documents included in the investigation file are:

a.   photographs taken during the course of the investigation;

b.   copies of any external documentation gathered during the course of the investigation;

c.   audio recordings of interviews conducted during the course of the investigation.

See 6700 Documenting the Investigation.

6800 Submitting and Approving Abuse and Neglect Investigations

6810 Submitting an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH October 2016

Procedure

On the day the investigator completes an abuse or neglect investigation, the investigator enters that date in the:

  •  Investigation Complete field in CLASS;

  •  Documentation Complete field in CLASS; and

  •  Investigation Completed field in IMPACT.

On that same date, the investigator submits the investigation to the supervisor for approval in IMPACT.

The date of submission should be no later than 30 days after the date the intake was received or no later than the time frame provided for an extension, if applicable.

The investigator must complete all items in the following sections before submitting the investigation in IMPACT:

  •  6600 Completing the Investigation

  •  6700 Documenting the Investigation

If a supervisor conducted all or part of an investigation, the investigator submits the investigation to another supervisor for review and approval.

6820 Reviewing an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH October 2016

Procedure

The supervisor must take one of the following actions no later than 15 days after the investigator completes the investigation:

  •  Reject the investigation

  •  Approve and close the investigation

  •  Submit the investigation to a secondary approver, if required

The secondary approver must either approve and close or reject the investigation no later than 15 days after the supervisor submits the investigation to the secondary approver.

The supervisor or secondary approver reviews the following items before approving or rejecting an investigation:

  a.  All documentation requirements listed in the following sections are met.

  •  6710 Documentation in the CLASS and IMPACT Systems

  •  6720 Documentation on the Investigation Conclusion Page in CLASS

  •  6730 Updating the Person Detail Page

  b.  The preponderance of evidence supports the disposition.

  c.  The documentation is professionally written with minimal spelling and grammar errors.

  d.  All notification letters are in draft form and contain appropriate language, citations, and technical assistance.

To review reasons a supervisor or secondary approver may reject an investigation and the time frames for doing so, see:

  •  6830 Rejecting and Resubmitting an Abuse or Neglect Investigation.

  •  6831 Rejecting and Resubmitting the Investigation for Minor Documentation Errors

  •  6832 Rejecting and Resubmitting the Investigation For Significant Documentation Errors Or Incomplete Investigation Activities

If a supervisor conducts all or part of any investigation, that investigation must be submitted to another supervisor for review and approval.

6830 Rejecting and Resubmitting an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH October 2016

Procedure

When rejecting an investigation, the supervisor or secondary approver selects each applicable reason the investigation was rejected on the Investigation Conclusion page and the date of the rejection in IMPACT.

The reasons offered in IMPACT are listed below:

  a.  Inaccurate or incomplete documentation

  b.  Incorrect or missing citations

  c.  Need to interview all principals (adults or children)

  d.  Preponderance of evidence does not support the disposition

  e.  External documentation has not been obtained and/or documented

  f.  Need additional collaterals/professional collaterals

  g.  Abuse/neglect history is not documented

  h.  Documentation does not address all allegations

  i.  Person list is not complete

  j.  Other reasons not included above

If the supervisor or secondary approver selects Other, a reason for the rejection must be entered in the Comments narrative box.

The supervisor or secondary approver is not required to reject an investigation in IMPACT for the following reasons:

  •  Minor documentation errors that the investigator or supervisor can easily correct

  •  Required investigation activities were not completed, but conducting the activities would not change the preponderance of the evidence.

At the time the investigation is rejected, the supervisor or secondary approver must provide specific feedback to the investigator on what information must be corrected and a specific time frame for resubmitting the investigation.

6831 Rejecting and Resubmitting the Investigation for Minor Documentation Errors

LPPH July 2017

A supervisor or secondary approver may reject an investigation so the investigator can correct minor documentation errors.

The investigator resubmits the investigation for approval in IMPACT by the date specified by the supervisor or secondary approver.

The supervisor or secondary approver must approve the resubmitted investigation within 15 days of the original rejection, regardless of how many times the investigation is rejected and resubmitted.

Example:

If the supervisor rejected the investigation for minor documentation errors on February 1st and again on February 8th, the resubmitted investigation must be approved (either closed or submitted to the secondary approver) by February 15th.

6832 Rejecting and Resubmitting the Investigation For Significant Documentation Errors Or Incomplete Investigation Activities

LPPH October 2016

Procedure

If a supervisor or secondary approver rejects an investigation because of significant documentation errors or because required investigation activities were not completed, the supervisor or secondary approver must delete:

  •  the Investigation Complete date in CLASS;

  •  the Documentation Complete date in CLASS; and

  •  the Investigation Completed date in IMPACT.

Once the investigator corrects the documentation or completes the investigation activities, the investigator conducts a new staffing to determine the disposition.

The investigator then resubmits the investigation to the supervisor and enters the new:

  •  Investigation Complete field in CLASS;

  •  Documentation Complete field in CLASS; and

  •  Investigation Completed field in IMPACT.

On that same date, the investigator resubmits the investigation to the supervisor for approval in IMPACT.

The supervisor must review the changes and either approve and close or reject the investigation within 15 days of the resubmission.

6840 After an Abuse or Neglect Investigation Is Approved

LPPH October 2016

Within five days of the supervisor or secondary approver approving the investigation in IMPACT, the investigator finalizes and mails the notification letters.

The investigation in CLASS is closed after due process for any citation is complete.

6900 Recommending Action as a Result of Investigation Findings

LPPH March 2013

Policy

After Licensing staff complete an investigation, the investigator must decide what action to recommend.

6910 Conducting a Case Review Before Recommending an Action

LPPH March 2017

Procedure

After an investigation is completed, if the recommendation is for enforcement action or increased monitoring, the investigator initiates a case review.

The review may be conducted in a face-to-face meeting, by telephone, or by email.

The review team includes the:

a.  monitoring inspector;

b.  investigation supervisor;

c.  monitoring supervisor; and

d.  investigator (if different from the inspector).

6920 Issues to Consider Before Recommending an Action

LPPH March 2013

Before making a recommendation, the investigator consults with the supervisor to consider the:

a.   findings of the investigation;

b.   level of risk to children in care; and

c.   operation’s compliance history.

6930 Actions to Take Following the Investigation of a Regulated Operation

LPPH March 2013

The recommended actions to take following the investigation of a regulated operation may include:

a.   adverse action;

b.   corrective action;

c.   no action;

d.   re-evaluate monitoring frequency; or

e.   routine monitoring.

If corrective or adverse action is implemented, the monitoring inspector or monitoring supervisor handles the action.

Emergency Release

If there is a Reason to Believe finding and the supervisor and investigator determine there is an immediate threat, the investigator requests an emergency release by following the procedures outlines in 5333.3 Emergency Release of Findings Based on Immediate Risk.

See 5333.2 Assessing Risk.

6940 Actions to Take Following an Investigation of an Unregulated Operation

LPPH March 2017

The recommended actions to take following the investigation of an unregulated operation may include:

a.  setting time limits for the operation to submit an application if no risk to children is identified;

b.  ensuring the operation is not providing care to children if risk to children has been determined;

c.  follow-up to ensure that the application is submitted or the care subject to regulation is no longer offered; or

d.  a referral for legal action if the operation continues to care for children and does not submit an application timely.

See also Appendix 7000-1: Assessing the Need for Enforcement Action.

Texas Human Resources Code §43.004

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8933

6950 Documentation in CLASS

LPPH March 2013

The investigator documents the case review, if required, on the Contact List on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. The documentation includes:

a.   who was present for the review;

b.   the outcome of the review; and

c.   information regarding the risk assessment as it applies to the recommended action.

The investigator documents the recommendation by choosing the correct option from the Recommended Action drop-down field on the Investigation Conclusion page.

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