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4000 Records Retention and Disposal

RMG September 2016

RMG oversees DFPS’s Records Retention Schedule as approved by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). The Records Retention Schedule ensures the proper retention and disposal of all DFPS records, and RMG ensures staff are trained on and comply with the schedule and processes as directed by the RMO.

RMG is the sole entity to authorize when a record may be destroyed. Staff may only dispose of records after making the proper entry into HHS SOAR (System of Organized and Automated Records) and receiving the approval of their entry from RMG. Directors and other supervisors work with RMG to establish operating procedures.

All departments, divisions, and programs work with the RMO (or designee) to:

  •  establish an appropriate retention period for all DFPS records;

  •  create procedures to ensure compliance with the records retention schedule;

  •  maintain efficient use of space for DFPS records; and

  •  ensure that DFPS records are preserved or destroyed according to TSLAC guidelines.

Adherence to the schedule promotes efficient use of DFPS resources and office space. It allows DFPS to store documents in a setting that is economical, safe, secure, and in compliance with state law.

13 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 6

40 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 700.106, Subchapter A

Texas Government Code §441.180, §441.187

RMG SOAR Procedural Manual

DFPS SafetyNet How to Recover a Deleted File

5000 Management of Forms and Publications

RMG September 2016

In accordance with state law, DFPS creates and maintains forms and publications to gather and distribute information.

Texas Government Code, §§441.101, 441.180

5100 Forms Management

RMG September 2016

DFPS staff, volunteers, and contractors must use certified forms in specific situations. RMG establishes the criteria for determining when a DFPS form must be certified and the procedures for developing, reviewing, and publishing a certified form.

A form must be certified if it is developed and published by DFPS and is used:

  •  by the public (externally); or

  •  by all staff in a DFPS program or division (internally and statewide).

A form is an electronic or paper tool designed to do one or more of the following:

  •  Initiate an action

  •  Record a transaction

  •  Report information

  •  Request or collect information

This general definition of a form is based on the Forms Management guide published by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). TSLAC is the state agency that regulates records retention and provides guidance on forms management.

5110 Certified Form Criteria

RMG September 2016

A certified form must meet the following criteria, which are best practice for all DFPS forms. The forms support specialist or forms administrator must confirm a form meets the criteria before starting the certification process.

A certified form must be:

  •  necessary — the form must meet a specific and identified business need;

  •  clear — the form must be easy to understand;

  •  accessible — the form can be used by people with disabilities, as required by state law and HHS policy, and meets DFPS requirements; and

  •  professionally written and designed — the form must meet the DFPS guidelines on language and design.

5120 Form Ownership

RMG September 2016

A form’s owner is the program or division that creates, revises, or retracts it. All certified forms must have a designated owner before they can be published for use or registered in the DFPS Forms Database.

5130 Required Elements of a Certified Form

RMG September 2016

At a minimum, all certified forms must contain:

  •  the name of the agency, expressed as Department of Family and Protective Services or represented by the official DFPS seal;

  •  the name of the form owner (the program, division, or area that owns the form);

  •  the form’s title;

  •  a form number, assigned by the forms administrator or forms support specialist, using established conventions;

  •  a creation or revision date;

  •  page numbers, expressed as 1 of X (with “1” representing the current page and “X” representing the total number of pages);

  •  the purpose of the form;

  •  the instructions for completing the form; and

  •  directions explaining how to submit the form and where to get assistance with completing the form.

5140 Storage of Certified Forms

RMG September 2016

The forms database is used to retain and track information about each certified form. It may also be used as a repository for storing versions of a form.

Only RMG can access and manage the database and its contents. The functionality of the database is maintained by the Information Technology (IT) Operations area of Information Resource Management.

5150 Responsibilities and Roles Surrounding Forms

RMG September 2016

All employees must use only the most recent version of a certified form. Staff should not save forms to their desktop because the saved version will become outdated. Instead, DFPS staff should download the form directly from the intranet.

The certified version of a form is either published on the internal or external DFPS forms page.

All supervisors, managers, and directors must ensure compliance with this policy within their area of responsibility and adhere to the DFPS internal form procedures.

The following table describes the roles in the development of a form.

Person or Entity

Responsibility

DFPS Director

  •  Designate at least one staff person within his or her area to serve as a forms coordinator (assigned as an additional duty).

  •  Provide the name of the forms coordinator to the forms administrator.

Form Developer

A form developer is any DFPS employee who develops a form that must be certified. A developer works with the form coordinator from his or her area to create or revise a certified form. A developer follows the accessibility criteria determined by HHS and DFPS.

Form Coordinator

The form coordinator oversees the publication of all certified forms owned by the coordinator’s area. The coordinator guides the form developer when a new form is being created. The coordinator works with the forms administrator to ensure that all forms management policies and procedures are followed, including complying with the required annual review of the area’s forms.

Forms Administrator and Forms Support Specialist

The forms administrator and forms support specialist are RMG employees who coordinate with all programs and divisions to develop and publish forms that require certification.

The administrator and support specialist:

  •  serve as the contact for all issues and requests related to certified forms;

  •  train form developers and coordinators (with assistance from the Office of Communications) to create and revise forms that meet DFPS standards for design, language, and accessibility;

  •  determine whether a form may require integration and testing for compatibility with applications or mobile equipment;

  •  provide assistance to form coordinators, as needed;

  •  review and approve all certified forms for publication;

  •  ensure that certified forms meet DFPS accessibility and translation requirements;

  •  assign unique identification numbers to certified forms, consistent with established protocol;

  •  maintain master copies of all certified forms;

  •  maintain the database for certified forms, entering the necessary information and ensuring that it is accurate; and

  •  review, at least once every year, all certified forms in the database to be sure that they are valid. If the validity of a form is questioned, the forms administrator and forms support specialist work with the form coordinator to update or delete the form, as necessary.

Office of Communications

The Office of Communications ensures compliance by providing training and working closely with staff. It ensures all electronic information produced by DFPS (including DFPS forms) complies with the following:

  •  Government Code, Chapter 2054, Subchapter M

  •  1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 213, Software Applications and Operating Systems

  •  HHS accessibility policy

  •  DFPS accessibility guidelines

The Policy Administration area of the Office of Communications edits forms for clarity, grammar, and consistency in voice.

Information Technology (IT) Applications Development and Maintenance

IT Applications Development and Maintenance reviews forms when necessary to ensure forms work appropriately with relevant applications.

5160 Form Procedures

RMG September 2016

When a DFPS program or division determines that a form requires certification (see 5100 Forms Management), the program or division follows the procedures for certifying a DFPS form.

While not required, it is recommended that these procedures also be followed for forms that do not require certification.

RMG Forms and Publications Procedural Manual

5200 Management of Publications

RMG September 2016

DFPS prepares printed materials that communicate information to the general public. Inventory of available publications is maintained on an internal website. Publications include:

  •  stationeries;

  •  pamphlets;

  •  brochures;

  •  carbon copy forms;

  •  posters;

  •  tip cards;

  •  tip sheets; and

  •  program handbooks.

DFPS ensures publication requests are prepared or reprinted for inventory stock, orders filled, and provided to the requester by mail.

Publications intended for internal distribution may be submitted directly to RMG to be made available for ordering.

Publications intended for external distribution must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Communications before submission to RMG. See 5000 Publication Services in the Office of Communications Handbook.

RMG Forms and Publications Procedural Manual

6000 Voluntary Adoption Registry

RMG September 2016

The DFPS Voluntary Adoption Registry (VAR) is a mutual-consent registry managed by RMG. It allows people adopted from DFPS and their birth parents and birth siblings to look for each other. A person must be at least 18 years old to sign up for the VAR.

Texas Family Code §§162.401–05

RMG Voluntary Adoption Registry Procedural Manual

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