OCA October 2014
An individual who is identified as a designated perpetrator of abuse or neglect after both a CPS investigation and an ARIF may be eligible to appeal the findings through the OCA review process (OCA Review).
The OCA conducts appeals of CPS cases with validated findings of abuse and neglect of a child by an individual identified with the role of designated perpetrator. The individual must use the ARIF process offered by CPS before being eligible for the OCA Review.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.841(a)
OCA October 2014
A request for an OCA Review must be submitted to OCA in writing, and received by OCA within 45 calendar days of the date the individual was notified of the finding of the Administrative Review of Investigation (ARIF).
A request for an OCA Review may be sent to the OCA via:
• fax at (512) 339-5892;
• the OCA email ; or
• U.S. Postal Service
Letters may be sent to the following address:
Office of Consumer Affairs Y-946
Department of Family and Protective Services
Post Office Box 149030
Austin, TX 78714-9030
The request for an OCA Review should include the name, telephone number, and mailing address of the requester, as well as the CPS case number or name and date of birth of the designated victims. Requests may also include other records or other documentation that the requester believes is pertinent, and that was available during the original investigation and ARIF and either was considered or should have been considered. Only in extraordinary circumstances, at the discretion of the OCA manager or his or her designee, is new information considered.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.847
If the requester is an attorney on behalf of the designated perpetrator, a release of information document must be signed by the designated perpetrator and provided to OCA staff before the start of the OCA Review. If the requester is an attorney on behalf of the designated perpetrator, a release of information document on the attorney’s letterhead must be signed by the designated perpetrator and provided to OCA staff within 45 calendar days of the date the request was made to OCA by the attorney. The results of the OCA Review cannot be provided to the attorney until the signed release is provided to the OCA.
If the requester has formally requested or intends to request a copy of DFPS records and would like to review them before the OCA Review, the following must occur for a delay in the initiation of the OCA Review.
• The requester must contact OCA within 45 calendar days of the date the individual was notified of the ARIF finding.
• OCA acknowledges receipt of the request.
• A copy of the email or letter that was received from the Records Management Group (RMG) acknowledging the request must be provided to OCA within 45 calendar days after the initial contact with OCA.
A delay is only granted for DFPS case records.
OCA October 2014
An OCA Review cannot be completed if a court has issued an order that is consistent with the specific allegation for which the OCA Review has been requested, this includes the following:
• a court order specifically finds that the requester committed abuse or neglect in the situation for which he or she requested the OCA Review;
• a court order terminates the parental rights of the requester as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the OCA Review;
• a requester has been convicted of a crime as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the OCA Review;
• A court orders removal of a child for the conduct or occurrence that formed the basis of the CPS abuse/neglect finding.
• the Legal Division determines that there is another court finding legally sufficient for denying the OCA Review.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.841(b)
If the requester has pending criminal charges that are in direct relation to the allegation, OCA employees must obtain approval from the local district attorney’s office to complete the OCA Review, even if the CPS resolution specialist received permission before completing the Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF).
An OCA Review may be denied if the requester does not qualify for an OCA Review even if the requester qualified for the ARIF.
An OCA Review will not be completed if there is criminal or civil litigation pending against DFPS by the party requesting the review.
OCA October 2014
Upon receiving a request for an OCA Review, the OCA staff assigned to the appeal obtains the CPS investigation and ARIF documentation for review. The OCA staff review the information from CPS as well as information from the requester, and submit the review and recommended finding to the OCA manager or his/her designee for consideration.
The OCA Review may recommend that the allegation or findings be changed or added. For example: the original allegation is physical neglect; however, if, in reviewing the case information it is determined that a finding of Reason to Believe or Unable to Determine for neglectful supervision is more appropriate, the OCA employee may make this recommendation.
If the OCA’s findings sustain the ARIF, the OCA manager or designee notifies the requestor in writing of the final disposition of the case.
If the OCA does not concur with the ARIF, the following procedures take place:
• The OCA forwards the OCA Review, CPS Records, and documentation, if any, provided by the requester to the CPS assistant commissioner or his or her designee for review.
• If concurrence is reached, the OCA notifies the requester in writing of the findings.
• If the OCA and CPS assistant commissioner do not agree, the case may be referred to the DFPS general counsel, who reviews the case and makes the decision on the case as the commissioner’s designee. The OCA Manager or his or her designee then notifies the requester of the final case disposition.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.849
The appropriate CPS regional director and the CPS resolution specialist who completed the ARIF are copied on all letters. If a change in the findings has been recommended and approved, it is the CPS resolution specialist’s responsibility to make the appropriate changes in IMPACT, and notify the persons who were originally notified of the investigation findings. The CPS resolution specialist does not notify the person who requested the OCA Review as the OCA staff will notify him or her.
OCA may complete an expedited OCA Review if the designated perpetrator is a DFPS employee.