Licensing Policy and Procedures Handbook Revision August 2007
The Licensing Policy and Procedures Handbook revision was published on August 1, 2007. There revisions are explained below. Specific changes are noted in red. Not displayed are minor copyediting and formatting changes.
This revision provides clarification of various policies and procedures for investigations. All clarifications have previously been communicated to staff.
6200 Receiving the Report
April 2006 August 2007
No changes to Policy in this item. No changes to Procedures 1 through 4 or 6 through 14.
5. All reports are entered into the CLASS system. In addition, all abuse/neglect and exploitation reports are also entered into the IMPACT system. All reports taken by SWI are entered into IMPACT by SWI staff.
Licensing staff transfers the The IMPACT intake information and any additional licensing information will transfer into the CLASS system. When SWI records an allegation of possible deficiency into IMPACT, Licensing staff may close the intake report in the intake stage in IMPACT as appropriate.
6300 Classifying the Report
April 2006 August 2007
No changes to Policy in this item. No changes to Procedures 2 or 3.
Document in CLASS the types of allegations, priorities, and other information related to the incident being reported. The decision to close a report without opening an investigation is documented in CLASS.
1. Time frames for completion and notifications may only be exceeded with approval of the supervisor or their designee, who may give an appropriate time frame of up to 30 additional days for completion of the investigation. Exceeding time frames is approved only when an investigation cannot be completed due to circumstances beyond the investigator's control such as delays in obtaining police reports, medical reports, autopsy reports, or other information needed to complete an investigation. This approval must be documented in CLASS.
6320 Priority 2 Reports
January 2007 August 2007
No changes to Policy in this item. No changes to Procedures 3 through 6.
1. For a Priority 2 report with allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation the initiation must be as soon as possible,
Initiation of a Priority 2 report must be as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days 72 hours of the date on the Intake Report. For a Priority 2 report with allegations that do not involve abuse, neglect or exploitation, the initiation must be as soon as possible but no later than 5 days of the date on the Intake Report. Initiation should be by an unannounced inspection, but when not possible, the unannounced inspection must be conducted within 15 days of the intake.
2. In an abuse/neglect investigation, the alleged victim must be observed or interviewed as soon as possible but within 7
10 days of the date on the Intake Report unless:
· circumstances prevent such an action; or
· the victim has already been observed or interviewed by a child advocacy center, CPS staff, or law enforcement officers.
If the victim is not observed or interviewed within the time frames, the reasons must be documented in CLASS and approved by the supervisor.
6442 Investigation of Child Death
October 2006 August 2007
No changes to Procedures 3 through 8.
A. Licensing staff must investigate a child's death when notified that:
· a child has died while in the care of an operation; or
· a child's death could be related to care received at an operation.
B. When there are allegations of abuse or neglect, a child's death may be classified as an abuse/neglect investigation. C. When there are no allegations of abuse or neglect, · a child's death must be classified as a Priority 1 minimum standard rule violation and must be investigated by a child-care investigator. · the investigation procedures should be the same as those for an abuse/neglect investigation, even if the investigation is being conducted as a possible standards violation.
B. All child deaths are investigated as abuse or neglect. For example, if a medically fragile child dies while in care, the intake would be handled as an abuse or neglect investigation with a possible allegation of medical neglect.
D. An investigation is conducted to determine whether abuse or neglect was a factor in the child's death or if a violation of the law or minimum standard rules caused or contributed to the death.
E. With supervisory approval, the abuse or neglect investigation may be completed before an autopsy report is received.
F. The investigation worker must coordinate the CCL investigation with:
· CPS when applicable;
· the law enforcement agency that will investigate the child's death;
· the district attorney or other prosecuting attorney, if an arrest occurs or charges are taken to a grand jury; and
· as applicable, the medical examiner or justice of the peace if:
· the child is younger than six and the child's death was not the result of a motor vehicle accident,
· an autopsy was performed, or
· an inquest was held.
Texas Family Code §264.513, Report of Death of Child
1. When Licensing receives a report that a child has died while in the care of a child-care operation, Licensing staff must accept the report and conduct an investigation. (If the death occurred in an alleged illegal operation, first determine whether the operation is subject to regulation. If the operation is subject to regulation, proceed with the investigation of the death. If not, follow the guidelines in 6450 Receiving Reports of Illegal Operations.)
2. The investigation of a child's death in the care of a child-care operation must be conducted according to both the guidelines for an abuse or neglect investigation and the guidelines for conducting an investigation.
If it is not an abuse/neglect investigation it is not necessary to determine abuse/neglect findings, but all other investigation procedures must be followed.
6410 Referring Reports of Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, or Child Death
6500 Conducting an Investigation
6552 Responsibilities of the Supervisor
August 2004 August 2007
No changes to Policies A through F or H in this item. No changes to Procedures.
G. staffing all abuse or neglect investigations findings before notification letters are mailed (see 6600 Completing the Investigation, Procedure 1); and
6554 Conducting Interviews
October 2006 August 2007
No changes to Policies A through D or F in this item. No changes to Procedures.
E. For all types of abuse,
or neglect, or exploitation allegations, interviews with victims must be videotaped or audiotaped, if possible, whether conducted by a DFPS investigator or by an investigating agency other than DFPS. The taping of these interviews must be without interruption and must meet the requirements that the recording be accurate and unaltered. See Texas Government Code 2001.121. Interviews with other children concerning the abuse, neglect, or exploitation must be audiotaped or videotaped, if possible.
Examples of the possible reasons that alleged victims may not be videotaped or audiotaped include the following:
1. The alleged victim is younger than three years of age or cannot communicate verbally because of his or her level of functioning.
2. The child refuses to allow the interview to be recorded.
3. A parent who is not an alleged perpetrator refuses to allow the interview to be recorded.
Texas Family Code §261.302(e)
6600 Completing the Investigation
August 2004 August 2007
No changes to Policies in this item. No changes to Procedure 2.
1. In an abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation investigation, the investigator must staff the investigation findings with the supervisor to ensure the findings meet the definitions of abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation by a preponderance of evidence. The staffing 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 or unable to complete is necessary.
6611 Dispositions for Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Investigations
April 2006 August 2007
There are no Policies in this item. No changes to Procedure 1. There is no Procedure 4 in this item (removed in an earlier revision). No changes to Procedures 6 through 8.
2. The following dispositions available through the IMPACT and the CLASS systems will be assigned as dispositions in Child Care Licensing cases:
a. Reason-to-believe (RTB) A preponderance of evidence indicates abuse/neglect/exploitation occurred. If any allegation disposition is reason to believe, the overall case disposition is reason to believe.
b. Ruled-out (R/O) A preponderance of evidence indicates that abuse/neglect or exploitation did not occur. If all allegation dispositions are ruled out, the overall case disposition is ruled out.
c. Unable to Complete (UTC) Unable to complete the investigation because people involved in the allegation moved and/or could not be located, or refused to cooperate with the investigation. If any allegation disposition is unable to complete and no allegation disposition is reason to believe or unable to determine, the overall investigation disposition is unable to complete.
d. Unable-to-determine (UTD) Determination could not be made due to inability to gather enough facts. Staff may not use UTD because the people moved and became unable to locate. Staff conclude that:
· there is not a preponderance of the evidence that abuse or neglect occurred; and
· it is not reasonable to conclude that abuse or neglect did not occur.
e. Administrative Closure (ADC) The operation is not subject to regulation; or the allegations do not meet the definition of abuse, neglect or exploitation and the report will be investigated for possible standards violations. If all allegation dispositions are administrative closure, the overall disposition is administrative closure.
3. Licensing staff must designate a role for each person according to the following:
a. Designated victim (DV) Based on a preponderance of the evidence, Licensing staff conclude that the child had been abused, neglected, or exploited as defined in the Texas Family Code, §261.401(1), (3).
b. Designated perpetrator (DP) Based on a preponderance of the evidence, Licensing staff conclude that the individual is responsible for abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child and that this person worked under the auspices of the operation at the time of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
c. Designated victim/perpetrator (DB) Based on a preponderance of the evidence, Licensing staff conclude that the child, age 10 years or older, has both been a victim and has abused, neglected, or exploited other children in the operation. A child in care is never designated as a perpetrator of abuse or neglect unless criminal charges are filed. See Procedure 7, below.
d. Unknown (Unable to Determine) (UD) Staff could not conclude in the investigation whether the person was involved in the alleged abuse or neglect because the worker could not determine whether the person named as the perpetrator inflicted the type of abuse or neglect named in the allegation on the child named as the victim in the allegation.
e. Unknown (Unable to Complete) (UC) Staff could not determine in the investigation whether the alleged abuse or neglect involving the person occurred because the person moved before a determination could be made or refused to cooperate with the investigation.
f. No role (NO)
· a child who was originally alleged to be a victim was found not to have been abused or neglected;
· a person who was originally alleged to be a perpetrator was found not to have abused or neglected children;
· all of the allegations in which the person was named as a victim or perpetrator were administratively closed; or
· the person was not alleged to have abused or neglected a child in the case.
5. In an investigation, the overall role for a person involved in abuse or neglect is determined by considering the dispositions given to the allegations involving the person. The methods used to determine a person's overall role in an investigation are described in the following:
· 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.
· 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.
· A child has the role of designated "victim/perpetrator" when he or she is named as a victim in an allegation that has a disposition of reason to believe, and is named as a perpetrator in another allegation that has a disposition of reason to believe.
· 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.
· A person has the role of "unknown (unable to complete)" when he or she is named in an allegation that has a disposition of unable to complete, but is not named in another allegation that has a disposition of reason to believe or unable to determine.
· A person has the role of "not involved" when either:
· all the allegations in which the person is named have a disposition of ruled out;
· the overall disposition for the investigation is administrative closure; or
· the person was not named in an allegation as a perpetrator or victim.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.512(b)(3)-(6)
October 2006 August 2007
No changes to Policies in this item. No changes to Procedures 3 through 9.
1. The amount of documentation needed is determined by the complexity of the investigation. Documentation can be brief and succinct but must adequately describe or explain the situation. Documentation must never consist of “see file.”
2. The documentation for an investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation must include:
a. information entered into the Licensing Investigation Report in IMPACT;
b. information about the location of external documentation, including audiotapes or videotapes;
c. information concerning all contacts;
· In IMPACT, the documentation of the contacts should demonstrate how the findings concerning the abuse, neglect or exploitation show preponderance about the persons (such as the perpetrator and victim).
· In CLASS, the documentation of the contacts should demonstrate how the operation was responsible or not responsible for the findings.
d. an explanation of how staff determined that abuse, neglect, or exploitation did or did not occur;
e. an explanation of how the decision meets the criteria for a preponderance of evidence; and
f. all compliance deficiencies, chronologies, findings, and notifications entered in CLASS.
6740 Notification to the Perpetrator of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation Findings
August 2004 August 2007
No changes to Policies in this item. No changes to Procedures 2 through 4.
1. The notification to the perpetrator of the findings is generated from CLASS and should:
a. be sent by certified mail and regular mail, if the finding is “reason to believe” and by regular mail for any other finding;
b. include definitions of abuse or neglect from the Texas Family Code §261.401;
c. include information to support the finding if abuse or neglect was determined; and
d. provide notification that the name of the perpetrator will be entered into the central registry.
Texas Family Code §261.002
Definitions of Terms
January 2007 August 2007
Only affected definitions are displayed here.
assessment services program: Services to provide an initial evaluation of the appropriate placement for a child to ensure that appropriate information is obtained in order to facilitate service planning.
An authorization by DFPS for a regulated child-care facility or child-placing agency to make determinations of the placement needs of a child who requires substitute care. autistic-like: A type of specialized care provided by some residential child care operations for children diagnosed with autistic disorder. automated forms system: See DFPS Desktop Automated Forms system (Smiley Face desktop icon)
caregiver: A person whose duties include the supervision, guidance, and protection of a child or children. See DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.21(4), §746.105(11),
and §747.105(11) , 748.43(5), and 749.43(6).
child/caregiver ratio: The maximum number of children for whom one caregiver can be responsible.
Child Care Licensing (CCL): The division within DFPS that regulates child day care and residential child-care operations and other child-care activities,
such as assessment services and the licensing of child-care administrators and child-placing agency administrators.
child-placing agency administrator: A person who supervises and exercises direct control over a child-placing agency, and who is responsible for the operation's program and personnel, regardless of whether he or she has an ownership interest in the operation or shares duties with anyone. See DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §745.8903.
discipline: A form of guidance that is constructive or educational in nature and appropriate to the child’s age, development, situation, and severity of behavior.
emergency behavior intervention: Interventions used in an emergency situation, including personal restraints, mechanical restraints, emergency medication, and seclusion.
emergency shelter: A licensed operation that provides short-term (See DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §720.912, Admission Policies, for time limits on duration of services) residential child care, for 13 or more children up to the age of 18 years. See DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §745.37.
family member: An individual related to another individual within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity.
field trip: A group activity conducted away from the operation.
forms: See DFPS Desktop Automated Forms system
full-time: At least 40 hours per week, as relating to staff working hours in a child care operation.
General Residential Operation: A residential child-care operation that provides child care for 13 or more children or young adults. The care may include treatment services and/or programmatic services. These operations include formerly titled emergency shelters, operations providing basic child care, operations serving children with mental retardation, and halfway houses. A residential treatment center is not a general residential operation.
group of children: Children assigned to a specific caregiver(s). Generally, the group stays with the assigned caregiver(s) throughout the day and may move to different areas throughout the operation.
habilitative care: A type of specialized care provided by foster homes for children that are diagnosed as developmentally delayed. halfway house: A licensed residential child-care operation that provides transitional living services for 13 to 24 children, ages 15 up to 18 years. This operation prepares older children for independent living. See DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §745.37.
health-care professional: A licensed physician, licensed registered nurse, a licensed vocational nurse, or other licensed medical personnel providing health care to the child within the scope of his license. This does not include medical doctors or medical personnel not licensed to practice in the United States.
human-services field: A field of study that contains coursework in the social sciences of psychology and social work including some counseling classes focusing on normal and abnormal human development and interpersonal relationship skills from an accredited college or university. Coursework in guidance counseling does not apply.
IMPACT: Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas, a case-management computer application used by DFPS staff.
This system replaced CAPS.
infant: A child from birth to 17 months.
master record: The compilation of all required records for a specific person or home, such as a master personnel record, master case record for a child, or a master case record for a foster or adoptive home.
minimum standard rules: The rules contained in Chapters 727 of this title (relating to Licensing of Maternity Facilities), 746 of this title (relating to Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers), 747 of this title (relating to Minimum Standards for Child-Care Homes), 748 of this title (relating to General Residential Operations and Residential Treatment Centers), 749 of this title (relating to Child-Placing Agencies), 750 of this title (relating to Independent Foster Homes) and Subchapter I of this chapter (relating to Maternity Home Minimum Standards), which are minimum requirements for permit holders that are enforced by DFPS to protect the health, safety and well-being of children.
The rules contained in Chapters Chapter 720 (24-Hour Care Licensing), 727 (Licensing of Maternity Facilities), Chapter 746 (Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers), Chapter 747 (Minimum Standards for Child-Care Homes), and Subchapters H (Residential Child-Care Minimum Standards) and I of Chapter 745 (Maternity Homes Minimum Standards). These DFPS rules are the minimum requirements for permit holders and are enforced by DFPS to protect the health, safety, and well-being of children. DFPS provides publications that contain the minimum standard rules and guidelines for compliance for each type of operation except for listed family homes. Listed family homes do not have minimum standard rules.
residential treatment center (RTC): An operation that exclusively provides care and treatment services for emotional disorders for 13 or more children up to the age of 18 years.
A licensed residential child-care operation that provides care and treatment for 13 or more emotionally disturbed children up to the age of 18 years. See DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §745.37.
school-aged children: A child five years old or older who will attend school in August or September of that year.
service plan: A plan that identifies a child’s basic and specific needs and how those needs will be met.
therapeutic care: Settings in which children with emotional or psychological difficulties can receive appropriate care. therapeutic camp: A licensed residential child-care operation that provides a camping program for 13 or more children, ages 13 up to the age of 18 years. It is designed to provide an experiential therapeutic environment for children who cannot function in their home school or community. DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §745.37.
toddler: A child from 18 months through 35 months.
treatment director: The person responsible for the overall treatment program providing treatment services. A treatment director may have other responsibilities and may designate treatment director responsibilities to other qualified persons.
volunteer: A person who provides child-care services, treatment services, or programmatic services under the auspices of the operation without monetary compensation, including a “sponsoring family” or any type of services under the auspices of the operation without monetary compensation when the person has unsupervised access to a child in care.
water activities: Activities related to the use of splashing pools, wading pools, swimming pools, or other bodies of water.
young adult: An adult whose chronological age is between 18 and 22 years, who is currently in a residential child-care operation, and who continues to need child-care services.