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2000 Receiving and Assessing Information Provided to SWI

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

This section contains cross-program assessment issues. Program-specific assessment criteria are in the program sections.

2100 Methods of Reporting and Assessing Reports Made to SWI

2110 Methods of Making a Report of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation to SWI

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation about a child, a person with a disability, or a person age 65 or older are made through:

  •   The toll-free hotline (1-800-252-5400).

  •   The Texas Abuse Hotline website.

  •   Fax (512-339-5900) or mail (P.O. Box 149030 Austin, TX 78714-9030 Mail Code 0193).

  •   Walking into the SWI facility to make a report, in some rare instances.

Persons who walk into the facility to make a report are directed to a telephone located in the outer lobby. They may use that phone to call the toll-free hotline and report concerns. This is the most efficient manner for SWI to:

  •   Gather and process the information.

  •   Provide the reporter with a call identification number.

  •   Create a recording of the report.

  •   Maintain the security of SWI staff.

If the reporter is insistent about speaking with someone in person, the security staff notifies support staff by telephone. Support staff sends a request through the instant message conference system to the “Supervisor Floor Support” room. One of the supervisors assigned to Floor Support duty reports to the security desk. The intake supervisor uses professional judgment to determine whether there is a need to conduct an intake interview in person. If not, the intake supervisor:

  •   Addresses any general concerns.

  •   Explains the process.

  •   Directs the reporter to the telephone to make a report.

Once information has been received, it is assessed and processed through normal procedures.

2120 Assessing Information Provided to SWI

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

SWI receives information from reporters in several different ways. Information may be called in, entered electronically on the internet, faxed, or mailed into the hotline. Each contact is reviewed and assessed, and must be documented by SWI staff. A contact is referred to as a report. Every report is assigned a unique identifying number referred to as the Report Identification Number (Report ID).

This section provides information about how various reports are handled when they are received at SWI.

Information is provided about how to assess a report. Each report is categorized as one of the following:

  •   an intake (a report that is recommended for investigation by a DFPS program);

  •   a special request; or

  •   an information and referral (I&R).

An intake specialist uses:

  •   information provided by the reporter;

  •   results of person searches and case history review; and

  •   program-specific guidelines to determine what type of report is needed.

Program-specific guidelines contain relevant statutes that support the individual allegations. Past dispositions in case history are reviewed to determine whether there is a pattern of abuse or neglect, or to determine the priority of an intake.

Program-specific guidelines are found within the following sections:

4000 Child Protective Services

5000 Child Care Licensing

6000 APS In-Home Protective Services

7000 APS Provider Investigations

Only the information provided by the current reporter is documented in the Narrative of the new report with three exceptions; UTC, CSCAL, and Re-Entries.

See:

4410 Unable to Complete (UTC) and Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) Cases

3170 Re-Entering a Report in IMPACT (Re-Entry)

2121 Obtaining Information During Calls

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Because the majority of reports received by SWI are called into the hotline, an intake specialist must know how to obtain the necessary information from the reporter and provide him or her with appropriate information.

Providing Intake Specialist Identification

The intake specialist provides his or her first name and identification number (phone extension) to reporters. The identification number may be provided at the beginning or the end of a call. If the reporter asks why the intake specialist is not required to give his or her last name, the specialist explains that the extension number is specific to the intake specialist. However, when the reporter is a professional (including law enforcement) who requests the intake specialist’s last name, the intake specialist may provide it.

Obtaining Reporter’s Identification and Other Information

On all calls, intake specialists ask the reporter for his or her name, address, and phone number. The reporter’s information is documented on the Report Information page.

Obtaining the Reporter’s Name

It is important for intake specialists to ask for the reporter’s name.

If the reporter expresses concern about disclosing his or her name, see 2131 Anonymous Reporters.

2130 Reporter Contact and Interaction

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Speaker Phone

The use of a speaker phone by a reporter is permissible. Intake specialists should not request that the reporter discontinue the use of a speaker phone unless the quality of the connection is so poor that it impedes the exchange of information.

Reporter Confidentiality

DFPS staff must not disclose the reporter’s name to the victim, the victim’s family, or the public. The reporter’s name may be released verbally or in writing to the courts, the district or county attorney, law enforcement agencies, and DFPS staff.

Reporters’ identities need to be protected in the IMPACT narrative. The intake specialist writes the IMPACT narrative in a way that de-identifies the reporter. If there is confidential information that needs to be documented, the intake specialist documents the information in the reporter’s Person Notes. See 3130 Narrative Page.

When notification of an intake is sent to either law enforcement or Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC), the reporter’s information is omitted from the intake. The following message is included with the notification:

“SECTION 261.201 (T.F.C.) The name of the complainant (i.e. reporter or informant) is confidential. Consequently, identifying information about the complainant is not included in this report. If this information is needed to conduct the criminal investigation, the assigned Child Protective Services worker or supervisor may orally share information about the complainant’s identity with the assigned investigating officer.”

However, when SWI has completed an I&R for another agency such as HHS, DSHS, or law enforcement, the reporter’s information is included. In these situations, it is necessary to provide the reporter’s information in order to facilitate the other agency’s ability to investigate the reported concerns.

See:

3630 I&Rs Assigned to the Faxing Workload

3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

For definitions of confidentiality and anonymity, see Texas Family Code §261.201.

Exception

The confidentiality of the reporter is not protected when sexual abuse (SXAB) is alleged to have occurred in a facility or by a provider under the jurisdiction of APS Provider Investigations.

See the APS Provider Investigations Handbook, 3160 Exception to the Confidentiality of the Reporter’s Identity.

2131 Anonymous Reporters

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Intake specialists must attempt to obtain identifying information from all reporters. However, if a reporter refuses to provide identifying information, the intake specialist does accept the anonymous call. The intake specialist encourages the reporter to provide his or her name by explaining that:

  •   when reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the identity of the reporter is kept confidential;

  •   if the reporter declines to disclose his or her identity, SWI cannot provide a Report ID, making it difficult for the reporter to call back with additional information on the situation; and

  •   field staff may need critical information that only the reporter can provide, and not knowing the reporter’s identity can adversely affect the investigation.

If the reporter still wishes to remain anonymous, the intake specialist asks the reporter to provide the county from which he or she is calling for statistical purposes.

An anonymous reporter is one who does not provide a first and last name.

  •   If the reporter provides his or her name and then requests to be anonymous, the intake specialist explains that the reporter cannot be anonymous because he or she already provided his or her name, and that the identity of the reporter is kept confidential when reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The reporter’s name is documented in the First and Last Name fields on the Report Information page.

  •   If a reporter, who expressed a desire to remain anonymous, inadvertently provides his or her name, he or she is not considered anonymous. The reporter’s name is documented in the First and Last Name fields on the Report Information page.

Anonymous reporters are assigned the REL/INT code of AN. If the relationship of the reporter to the victim is disclosed, inadvertently revealed, or can be surmised from the information provided, that information is documented in the Person Notes. The person’s relationship remains AN on the Report Information page and the Report Person Detail page.

Anonymous reporters are not provided with a Report ID number.

2132 Providing the Report Identification Number (Report ID)

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2018

A reporter may be given a Report ID number at the end of a call.

The reporter must provide a first or last name, and either:

  •   a means of contact (his or her personal or business phone, or other designated phone such as a neighbor, relative, employment, mailing address or PO Box), or

  •   a means of locating (to include personal residence, business, school, and so on).

If a reporter is unwilling to provide this information the reporter is not provided with the Report ID number.

2133 Acceptable Use of Caller ID Feature on SWI Phones

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Intake specialists’ phones are equipped with a Caller ID feature. When an intake specialist answers a call, the reporter’s telephone number appears on a screen on the phone.

Except in a life-threatening situation (see below), an intake specialist may not document or use this number or feature.

When an intake specialist answers the phone, the specialist should ask for the reporter’s name, address, and phone number at the beginning of the call. This is extremely important in the event that the call is accidentally disconnected.

  •   If the reporter provides a phone number, the intake specialist may compare this number with the Caller ID number and may ask the reporter to repeat the number if there is a discrepancy.

  •   The specialist should not question or argue about the validity of the reporter’s given number, if there is a discrepancy.

  •   The specialist should be aware that the numbers will not always match (for instance, the number may display as a switchboard number if the reporter is calling from a hospital; or the number may be different if the reporter is calling from a location different from the phone number given).

  •   If the reporter or SWI disconnects the call before the reporter has provided a telephone number, the intake specialist may not use the Caller ID feature to call back the reporter except in life-threatening situations (examples below).

  •   If the intake specialist forgets to ask for the reporter’s phone number during the call, the intake specialist may not document the Caller ID number in IMPACT except in life-threatening situations (examples below).

  •   If the reporter chooses to remain anonymous, the intake specialist should complete the interview and document the report as if SWI did not have the Caller ID information available. The intake specialist may not document the Caller ID number in IMPACT or share the number with anyone except in life-threatening situations (examples below).

  •   If the reporter asks whether SWI has Caller ID, the intake specialist should explain that SWI does have Caller ID, but that the displayed telephone number will not be documented or shared except in life-threatening situations.

Life-Threatening Situations

Life-threatening situations may include:

  •   a reporter who is suicidal or homicidal;

  •   a child who is or has been severely abused or neglected;

  •   an individual aged 65 or older who is or has been severely abused or neglected (for example, starvation or a head injury);

  •   an individual with a disability who is or has been severely abused or neglected (for example, starvation or a head injury);or

  •   a reporter is making a bomb threat to any public or private establishment.

In any life-threatening situation an intake specialist may use all possible tools to locate a client or family, including information found on Caller ID, regardless of whether the reporter has chosen to remain anonymous. In life-threatening situations, the number found on Caller ID may be shared with law enforcement and with DFPS staff, and documented in an I&R or intake.

Intake specialists are required to obtain supervisory approval before sharing or documenting Caller ID information in life-threatening situations.

2134 Reporter Calls Back Requesting the Report ID or the Status of a Previous Report

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If a reporter calls SWI requesting the Report ID number of a report, the intake specialist verifies that the caller was the original reporter by asking the reporter to provide all of the following:

  •   The reporter’s name and either the reporter’s:

  •   address, or

  •   phone number;

  •   The date (or approximate date) that the original report was made;

  •   The name of the client or family that is the subject of the report; and

  •   General information about the content of the report.

If the information provided matches the original report, the intake specialist may provide the Report ID to the reporter. If a reporter calls SWI requesting the status of a report, the intake specialist may only share if the report was referred to a DFPS regional office or was closed at SWI. If the reporter has the Report ID number, it is only necessary to verify the identity of the reporter by asking the questions in the first bullet above before providing this information.

The intake specialist may not discuss if a case that was referred to a regional office is open or closed.

The reporter’s request for the Report ID, information regarding a previous report, or status of a case is documented as an I&R General FPS info.

It is important to explain the call decision to every reporter during the initial call. It is not appropriate to advise the reporter to call back to check on the status of the case.

See 2136 SWI Feedback to Reporter.

If the reporter was anonymous, the intake specialist explains that anonymous reporters are not provided with a Report ID number.

See:

I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements

3620 Processing an I&R That Is Closed at Intake

2135 Calling Back a Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

There are times when an intake specialist may need to call back a reporter.

  •   Intake specialists must obtain supervisory approval to call back non-professional reporters.

  •   Supervisory approval is not needed to call back professional reporters.

2135.1 Confidentiality and Safety of the Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Any time an intake specialist calls a reporter back there is the possibility that the reporter’s confidentiality, and even the reporter’s safety, could be compromised. Therefore, an intake specialist must make a call back to a reporter (especially a non-professional reporter) only when necessary for assessing or processing a report.

See:

2135.2 Calling Back Professional Reporters

2135.3 Calling Back Non-professional Reporters

2135.2 Calling Back Professional Reporters

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

An intake specialist calls back a reporter who is employed in a professional capacity (such as school, medical, child care, mental health, or law enforcement staff) if the reporter is disconnected while making a report. This keeps the reporter from having to call back and wait in the queue again.

An intake specialist may also call back a reporter who is employed in a professional capacity if the specialist needs to clarify locating information or other information essential to assessing or processing the report.

Limited Information from Law Enforcement Dispatch

Sometimes a law enforcement officer will request that the dispatcher contact SWI on the officer's behalf. A dispatcher will often call SWI with little or no information to make a report. However, the dispatcher needs to inform SWI that an officer at the scene is requesting assistance.

Under these circumstances, the intake specialist:

1.   obtains the information for the officer on the scene;

2.   calls the officer to get more information to determine what type of assistance the officer requires; and

3.   processes the report accordingly.

The contact with the dispatcher is documented in IMPACT as an I&R Other Business Call.

2135.3 Calling Back Non-professional Reporters

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Supervisory approval is required for an intake specialist to call back a non-professional reporter.

An intake specialist only calls back a non-professional reporter (such as a family member, neighbor, or friend) if the reporter is disconnected or the specialist needs to clarify locating information or other information essential to assessing or processing the report.

2135.31 Guidelines for Calling Back a Non-professional Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When an intake specialist calls back a non-professional reporter the following guidelines must be observed:

If the intake specialist reaches an answering machine or voice mail, the intake specialist:

  •   does not leave a message; and

  •   documents the attempt in the narrative.

If someone answers the phone, the intake specialist:

  •   asks to speak to the reporter by name;

  •   gives the specialist’s first name only; and

  •   does not identify the specialist as being with SWI (for example, say: This is Beth, may I speak to Pam, please?).

If the reporter answers, the intake specialist:

  •   explains what additional information is needed; and

  •   documents the conversation in the existing narrative (or on the Person List, if it is demographic information).

If the intake specialist reaches a person who is not the reporter, the intake specialist:

  •   does not leave a message or identify themselves except to inform the person speaking that the specialist will try back later; and

  •   documents the attempt in the narrative.

When the person believed to be the reporter denies having made a call to SWI, the intake specialist:

  •   informs the person, without disclosing any details of the report, that someone gave his or her name and number to SWI; and

  •   documents that the person denies being the reporter.

In all cases in which the intake specialist does not reach the reporter the intake specialist assesses the call based on the information that was originally obtained.

See 2200 Determining the Type of Report: Intake, Special Request, or Information and Referral.

2136 SWI Feedback to Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The feedback shared with the reporter is determined by the type of report the call generates. The intake specialist assesses the information and determines which of the following procedures is appropriate.

Supporting Materials and Documentation

Reporters may indicate that they have materials such as internet links, pictures, emails, videos, letters, social media posts, and so on, that he or she would like to include with the report. SWI cannot accept any kind of supporting materials or documentation. If the reporter indicates that this material is available, the intake specialist advises the reporter to provide the materials to the investigator, if and when one contacts them.

The intake specialist documents in Person Notes that the reporter has supporting materials or documentation for the investigator.

I&R Clearly Not Reportable

The intake specialist:

  •   informs the reporter that the information does not meet guidelines for investigation at this time;

  •   encourages the reporter to call back if there are any changes, or if the reporter learns new information; and

  •   assures the reporter that his or her information has been documented.

See 2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs).

I&Rs Faxed to Another Agency

If the I&R is going to be faxed to another agency such as HHS, DSHS, or law enforcement, the intake specialist informs the reporter of this decision. See:

2600 Reports for Other Texas State or Community Agencies

3630 I&Rs Assigned to the Faxing Workload

3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

CPS PN

The intake specialist tells the reporter that, at this time, the intake is being sent to the field office to be reviewed. The decision to open an investigation will be made in the field office.

See 4300 CPS Assessment of Priority, for the definition of a PN.

Intake

The intake specialist:

  •   tells the reporter that an intake will be sent to the field office; and

  •   informs the reporter that it is up to the field office to determine how the case will proceed.

Unable to Determine

If an intake specialist needs assistance in making an assessment regarding the program, priority, or allegations for a report he or she consults with a supervisor (staffs). The reporter is requested to remain on hold while the staffing takes place.

2137 Notification to Reporter About Investigation Results

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reporters often ask what kind of information or updates they will receive during the course of an investigation, and after an investigation is complete.

Generally, an intake specialist explains that details of an investigation are confidential, that SWI will not provide any information on investigation findings, and that each DFPS program has policy regarding what information is shared with reporters.

2137.1 Reporter Notification From CPS

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

In most instances, CPS provides oral or written notification to the reporter about the investigation results.

See the Child Protective Services Handbook, 2293 Notification of Investigation Findings.

2137.2 Reporter Notification from Child Care Licensing

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Once the inspection or investigation is complete, the reporter will receive notification of the outcome unless:

  •   the reporter has indicated he or she does not wish to be notified;

  •   notification would jeopardize the reporter’s safety; or

  •   the reporter will receive notification through other means.

See the Child Care Investigations Handbook, 6633 Notifying the Reporter of Investigation Results.

2137.3 Reporter Notification From APS In-Home

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reporters of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the APS In Home program are not provided with case information unless otherwise entitled to records. APS In-Home only provides the reporter with pertinent case information necessary to:

  •   confirm whether allegations will be accepted for investigation;

  •   collect evidence and gather relevant information related to allegations and the client’s overall situation and risk; and

  •   arrange for protective services to reduce risk or alleviate abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

See the Adult Protective Services Handbook, 2344 Interviewing the Reporter.

2137.4 Reporter Notification From APS Provider Investigations

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Within 30 calendar days of completion of the investigation, the investigator will notify the reporter in writing of the findings of the investigation.

See the APS Provider Investigations Handbook, 7310 Notifying the Reporter.

2140 Reporters With More Than One Intake

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a reporter is calling in multiple reports, it is never appropriate to transfer the reporter back to the queue.

In general, intake specialists are expected to complete multiple reports generated from one call. However, there are circumstances that may warrant a request for assistance. Some examples would be:

  •   The first report involves a life threatening situation that requires immediate call out. (Not all P1s require immediate call out.)

  •   The first report resulted in triple intakes.

  •   The first report resulted in a complicated intake that requires immediate effort in order to organize the details.

  •   The local office is standing by to receive the first intake.

  •   The first call was an APS Provider InvestigationsFacility intake, which requires immediate processing and notification.

  •   An intake specialist with less than one year tenure receives a call that results in multiple reports.

  •   One call results in more than three unrelated reports.

If an intake specialist needs help completing multiple intakes, he or she contacts a supervisor through instant messaging.

The responding supervisor locates an available intake specialist to complete the remaining reports. The supervisor informs the requesting intake specialist of the name and direct extension of the intake specialist who will be assisting, so the call can be transferred directly to the new intake specialist. This ensures that the reporter will not have to wait on hold again to complete their call.

2150 Determining Who to Identify as a Reporter in IMPACT

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

There may be situations where more than one person is involved with the initial contact. The following table provides guidelines for determining who the reporter is, and whether more than one person should be identified as a reporter.

Reporter(s)

Situation

Result

Two Identified Callers

Two individuals identify themselves and provide information concerning an abuse or neglect situation.

The intake specialist enters both people as reporters.

Two Identified Writers of Mail or Fax

On correspondence mailed or faxed to SWI, one reporter is named in the actual form, but another writer’s statement describing the child's injuries has been attached to the report.

If both names are provided, the intake specialist enters both people as reporters.

One Identified Caller, One Anonymous

Two people call in an intake but one person chooses to remain anonymous.

The intake specialist does not enter the anonymous person as a separate reporter. The only reporter is the identified person. The intake specialist documents in the reporter Person Notes that a second person chose to be anonymous.

One Caller Reports Information Received from Someone Else

A retired former APS supervisor calls in an intake on information he or she received from someone else.

The only reporter is the person the intake specialist spoke with, the retired APS supervisor. The person the reporter received the information from is listed as a collateral.

One Professional Reports for Another Professional

A nurse calls in an intake for the doctor, and the nurse asks that an intake specialist enter both the nurse and doctor as reporters to satisfy the doctor's reporting responsibility.

If the intake specialist did not speak with the doctor, the only reporter is the nurse. The doctor is listed as a collateral (additional contact). See 3121.2 Reporter Information Section.

Professional Makes Report for Group

School personnel reports by phone that he or she wants to report for “all of them,” meaning the teacher, principal, nurse, and whoever else has been involved in the situation at school, because the others did not have time or could not make the call.

The only reporter is the person the intake specialist spoke with on the phone. The other school personnel are listed as collaterals.

DFPS Staff Reports for Someone Else

Someone in the community makes a report to a current DFPS staff person who then makes a report to SWI.

The reporter is the person who told the DFPS staff person the information. For documenting instructions, see 3121.53 DFPS Employees Reporting on Behalf of Someone Else.

DFPS Staff Makes Report as a Witness

A current DFPS staff person makes a report that he or she witnessed.

The DFPS staff person is the reporter. For documenting instructions see 3121.54 DFPS Employees Reporting as a Personal Witness or Participant.

Law Enforcement Makes Report

Law Enforcement reports a situation involving information reported by someone in the community or a situation that the officer has witnessed.

The law enforcement officer is the reporter. The person who told the officer about the abuse or neglect is listed as a principal or collateral depending on his or her role in the situation.

Person in the Background

The caller does not know the answer to the questions so asks a person in the background then tells the intake specialist the answers.

The only reporter is the person that the intake specialist spoke with on the phone.

Exception: If the person in the background is unable to communicate directly with the intake specialist and the only reason the person on the phone is present is to facilitate the question and answer interview.

The reporter would then be the person in the background whose intent was to be the reporter (example: TX Relay, language barrier). The intake specialist documents in the Person Notes why the reporter is different from the person on the phone.

2160 Chronic, Inappropriate, and Suicidal Callers

2161 Chronic Callers

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Chronic callers are alleged victims who have been determined by APS In-Home staff to have established a pattern of self-reporting allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation about themselves that are frivolous or patently without a factual basis. Persons identified by APS staff as having met the criteria to be identified as a chronic caller are placed on the Chronic Caller List with specific instructions as to how subsequent reports from these individuals should be handled.

SWI Program Improvement (PI) staff maintain the Chronic Caller List and process all requests from APS In-Home staff for both placement on or removal from the list. Only APS In-Home staff may request that a person be placed on the list. Specific procedures outlined in the APS In-Home program handbook must be followed for an individual to be placed on the Chronic Caller List.

See:

6700 Allegations Made by an APS In-Home Client That Are Frivolous or Patently Without a Factual Basis (Chronic Callers)

APS In-Home Investigations Handbook 1390 Allegations Involving Chronic Callers

2162 Offensive or Inappropriate Callers

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

At times a reporter may become inappropriate or obscene when sharing information with the intake specialist. The intake specialist meets this behavior with a professional response to direct the reporter back to providing details as they pertain to abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

If the redirection is not effective and the reporter continues to use excessive inappropriate language or describe obscene actions, the intake specialist should respond in a manner similar to this example:

      “Sir/Ma’am, I am trying to assist you, but will be unable to continue this call if you continue to use inappropriate language. Please know this call is being recorded.”

A response can be tailored to the specific situation that is occurring. If the reporter continues to be inappropriate, the intake specialist should disconnect the call in a manner similar to this example:

      “Sir/Ma’am, because of your continued use of inappropriate language, I am disconnecting this call.”

If the call is disconnected because of the reporter’s inappropriateness, document the reason for the disconnection in the reporter’s Person Notes.

Any information provided by the reporter is assessed for allegations of abuse or neglect and processed accordingly.

2163 Suicidal Callers

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If a caller appears to be suicidal, the caller’s immediate safety is the first concern. Determining whether the call meets guidelines for an intake is secondary.

The intake specialist never refers a suicidal caller to any other agency or hotline, without further assessment of the caller’s condition. The caller may not make that subsequent call.

The intake specialist always assesses the suicidal caller’s current status and takes any actions needed to ensure the caller’s safety, including calling law enforcement for a welfare check, if needed.

The actions below are taken while the caller is on the phone:

  •   The intake specialist keeps the caller engaged in conversation and never puts the caller on hold or transfers the call.

  •   The intake specialist copies the phone number listed on the phone display (Caller ID function). If no phone number is displayed, the intake specialist attempts to obtain the phone number from the caller. The intake specialist also attempts to obtain the caller’s name and a current location.

  •   The intake specialist sends an instant message (IM) to the supervisor group to request assistance. If supervisory assistance is not provided quickly, the intake specialist contacts any available staff member by IM to ask for assistance in handling a suicidal caller.

  •   While the supervisor or other staff member contacts law enforcement and requests a welfare check, the intake specialist remains on the phone with the caller until law enforcement arrives at the caller’s location.

  •   Once the intake specialist has confirmed that law enforcement has made contact with the caller, the intake specialist can end the call.

  •   If the only issue presented was the reporter’s emotional state (suicidal), the information is documented in the appropriate I&R type. If other issues were reported, the specialist assesses the information to determine the appropriate program, allegations, and priority. The report is processed according to standard procedures.

For instructions for handling suicidal threats from callers residing in a state hospital, state supported living center, or the Rio Grande State Center, see 7550 Suicidal Callers Residing in Certain Facilities.

2170 Requests to Speak to DFPS Staff

2171 Reporter Requests to Speak to an Intake Specialist

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a reporter wants to talk with the intake specialist he or she spoke with on a previous call, the intake specialist who received the current call must first determine whether the call should be transferred to the original intake specialist.

2171.1 Calls That Should Not Be Transferred

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

In the following situations, the current intake specialist completes the call and processes the information accordingly. The following calls are not transferred to the previous intake specialist:

  •   If the original call came in on another day or the report is in closed status in IMPACT.

  •   If the reporter was anonymous.

  •   If the requested intake specialist is unavailable or unable to take the call.

2171.2 Calls That Should Be Transferred

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If the documentation and processing of the original call is not yet complete, the intake specialist currently speaking to the caller contacts the intake specialist being requested. If the requested intake specialist is available and accepts the call, the transfer is completed. A blind transfer to another SWI employee is not acceptable.

2172 Reporter Requests to Speak to Field Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a reporter requests to speak with a field worker, the intake specialist must first determine why the reporter is calling.

The intake specialist must assess the following:

  •   If this is a new intake of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, then the intake specialist completes the information as an intake and processes accordingly. The intake specialist informs the reporter that a new intake is being completed. See 2210 Intake.

  •   If there is an open intake or case and the current reporter has additional information, the intake specialist completes an I&R. The intake specialist assesses whether a call out is warranted and follows call-out procedures as needed. See 2223 Subsequent Information Regarding an Existing DFPS Case and 3900 Assigning, Submitting, or Closing Reports.

If the reporter asks to speak to a field worker for other reasons, the reporter is referred to the local office and provided with the local office phone number. An I&R General FPS Information is completed, saved, and closed. For a description of this type, see I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements. See also 3620 Processing an I&R That Is Closed at Intake.

2172.1 Interstate Compact (ICPC) Requests

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Any reporter inquiring about placement or requesting a home study for a child across Texas state borders (a request from Texas to another state or another state making the request to Texas) is advised to make a formal ICPC request through his or her local state headquarters. This request will be forwarded to the Texas ICPC Division of CPS. See the Child Protective Services Handbook, 4500 Interstate Placements.

2172.2 Foster Care or Adoption Information Requests

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reporters requesting information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent or requesting information about a Texas child available for adoption are referred to the Children in Our Care page on the DFPS internet.

2172.3 Child Care Information

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reporters requesting information about CCL regulations or licensed facilities are directed to the Texas Child Care Licensing (CCL) page on the DFPS internet.

2172.4 Requests From Law Enforcement to Speak to Field Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When law enforcement personnel (which includes Border Patrol officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers) contact SWI and request to speak with a field worker, the intake specialist first determines if the reporter wants to make a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. If so, the intake specialist conducts the interview and follows procedures for assessing a report. If a new intake is appropriate, the intake specialist prioritizes the intake based on normal assessment procedures.

When the situation does not involve taking an intake, but law enforcement requests that a DFPS field worker be contacted, the intake specialist completes either a CRSR or I&R.

When law enforcement wants a field worker contacted for immediate assistance, the intake specialist contacts:

  •   the routing coordinator, if the field office is open; or

  •   the on-call worker, if the field office is closed.

An I&R to an open case is completed if a case is open, if not a CRSR–Rqst Local Public Svc is completed.

When law enforcement wants to make contact with a field worker regarding an open case, the intake specialist:

  •   provides the phone number to the local office, if the field office is open; or

  •   contacts the on-call worker for the reporter, if the field office is closed. SWI does not provide law enforcement with personal information on field staff such as home, personal cell phone numbers, or private addresses.

An I&R is completed.

See:

3710 Processing Case-Related Special Requests (CRSR)

3600 Processing an Information and Referral (I&R)

2172.5 Requests From Field Staff to Speak With Other Field Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

SWI provides home or cell phone numbers for field workers or supervisors only to other DFPS staff who need to speak to them immediately about a case or work-related matter.

Before providing any home or cell phone number, SWI staff must obtain the requestor’s personal identifying information, such as his or her IMPACT person ID, office phone number, and supervisor’s name. This information can then be verified using the Staff Detail page in IMPACT.

For offices open 24 hours a day, SWI staff do not give out home phone numbers, but provide the phone number to the open office.

2173 Requests for DFPS IMPACT History Search

2173.1 Requests from DFPS Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

DFPS staff normally have access to complete their own IMPACT history searches. However, there may be times when field staff are unable to complete a search and must request assistance from SWI. Before initiating a search, the intake specialist obtains the DFPS worker's identifying information (such as date of birth, office phone number, and name of supervisor) and verifies the information in IMPACT by performing a Staff search. Once the verification has been completed, the intake specialist provides the worker with the results of the IMPACT history search. See 3200 Searches.

If a CPS field staff person requests a DPS criminal history check, the intake specialist transfers the call to the E-Unit. Only staff assigned to the E-unit have the authority to perform those checks. For information on DPS criminal history checks, see 2178 Requests from DFPS Staff for a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal History Check.

2173.2 Requests from Texas Law Enforcement

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Disclosures of IMPACT history information to Texas law enforcement are permissible only for limited purposes. These include:

  •   in the performance of official duties relating to the investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or

  •   to determine if there is a previous or current CPS case on a family that would preclude law enforcement from releasing a child to the prospective caretaker.

An intake specialist may verbally provide results of a DFPS history check (formerly called a records check) only after the requestor’s identity has been officially verified (see 2173.22 Verifying the Requestor’s Identity). If the requestor asks for documentation of the history check, the intake specialist refers him or her to the local office.

Examples of law enforcement officials who may request this information include, but are not limited to:

  •   city police;

  •   county deputy sheriffs;

  •   Texas Department of Public Safety troopers;

  •   medical examiner’s office investigators;

  •   officers of the court (for example, adult or juvenile probation or parole officers or district attorney’s office investigators); or

  •   the Victim Services Division of the Austin Police Department (APD).

2173.21 Austin Police Department (APD) Victim Services

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The staff of APD’s Victim Services Division are authorized agents of law enforcement. As the result of a memorandum of understanding between DFPS and APD, the Victim Services Division may be provided with the information resulting from a DFPS history check. APD’s division is the only victim services provider to which SWI can release DFPS history check information. APD Victim Services staff may request a DFPS history check to help them identify potential placement options for children. After verifying employment, the intake specialist informs the requestor whether there is a validated allegation or an open investigation that would preclude them from releasing a child to a prospective caretaker. While reporter information can be released to law enforcement, it cannot be released to APD Victim Services staff.

Intake specialists cannot recommend or authorize a placement. If APD Victim Services needs more direction or consultation about a case, or requests to speak with CPS, the intake specialist contacts the router during office hours or contacts the on-call staff person after-hours and requests that APD Victim Services be contacted.

The intake specialist provides the requestor with a Report ID number. If there is no open case, the information is processed as an I&R Request to Examine/Modify Records and closed at intake. If the name of the person that was searched shows up as a PRN in any open case, the intake specialist sends an I&R to the open case.

See:

2173.22 Verifying the Requestor’s Identity

2173.23 Providing the Search Results to Law enforcement

2173.22 Verifying the Requestor’s Identity

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When an intake specialist receives a call from a member of Texas law enforcement who is requesting a DFPS history check, the intake specialist must verify the requestor’s employment. The intake specialist accomplishes this by asking the caller for a main business telephone number and calling to verify that the individual is employed with the department in the capacity stated.

The intake specialist can do this quickly by placing the requestor on hold and opening a second phone line to complete the verification. Once the specialist has verified the requestor’s employment, the requested DFPS history search can be completed. The results of the history search are provided verbally to the requestor.

It is also acceptable for the intake specialist to obtain the requestor’s direct phone number and call the requestor back after the employment verification and the requested searches are completed.

If the requestor’s employment cannot be verified, or if the requestor is not a member of one of the entities listed above, the specialist does not disclose any information.

2173.23 Providing the Search Results to Law Enforcement

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The intake specialist performs a person search on all persons identified by the requestor and reviews the search results to determine if the information is pertinent to the request. For example, if the city police department is requesting history on a named person, any case history where the named person was a principal source might be relevant, but history where that person was a collateral source would not be relevant. After the requestor’s employment information is verified, the intake specialist verbally provides the caller with DFPS case information, including open and closed cases and reporter information. If the requestor asks for documentation of the history check, the intake specialist refers them to the local office.

2173.24 Providing Case Information in Writing

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

An intake specialist may not mail, fax, or electronically transmit copies of IMPACT reports to anyone outside DFPS. If a law enforcement officer wants to obtain a printed copy of a report, the officer must fax a request to SWI on the law enforcement agency’s official letterhead, stating the reason the documentation is needed.

Once the faxed request on the law enforcement agency’s letterhead has been received, support staff route it to the appropriate unit for processing.

2173.3 Out-of-State (OOS) Requests for Basic Case History From IMPACT

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2018

Who May Request Basic Case History?

An OOS agency may request basic case history information from Texas about a family or client who is now outside of Texas. This agency may be any of the following:

  •  An OOS law enforcement agency.

  •  Another state’s protective service agency.

  •  An equivalent agency in a foreign country.

For requests from private agencies, see 2174 Requests from Agencies for Central Registry Checks for Applicant Screening.

SWI does not provide screenings of applicants for potential employment. SWI refers a person or agency who requests this type of screening to the DFPS In-State and Out-of-State Child Abuse Central Registry.

What Is Basic Case History?

Basic case history information consists of the following:

  •  Dates related to the intake and investigation.

  •  Names and roles of victims, perpetrators, and other family or household members in the investigation.

  •  Addresses of people whose basic case history the OOS agency is requesting.

  •  Allegations and dispositions.

  •  Services that DFPS provided, if any, after the investigation.

How Does an OOS Agency Request Basic Case History?

An OOS agency sends a request to SWI by fax. The request must be on the OOS agency’s letterhead, and it must include the following information:

  •  The work-related reason for the search.

  •  Demographic information on the people whom SWI will search for. The OOS agency provides as much information as it has available, such as the following:

  •  Name

  •  Date of birth

  •  Social Security number

  •  Previous Texas address

  •  Date the OOS agency needs the results, if the request is urgent.

If an intake specialist receives a telephone request from an OOS agency asking SWI to complete a DFPS history search, the intake specialist explains these requirements.

How Does SWI Search for Basic Case History?

For procedures about how to complete a DFPS history search for an OOS requester, see the following:

  •  The OOS Procedures document, which is located on SWIndex (an SWI internal resource), under the Support Staff and EBC heading.

  •  3245 Out-of-State Requests for IMPACT Searches.

2174 Requests From Agencies for Central Registry Checks for Applicant Screening

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

A private entity, such as a social service or volunteer agency, may request abuse or neglect background information on individuals applying to be employees, volunteers, foster or adoptive parents, and so on. For applicant screening requests from a social service or volunteer agency, intake specialists refer the caller to the Background Check Support Line at 1-800-645-7549.

2175 Request for an Individual’s Case Record

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When an individual contacts SWI with a request for a personal record of a case the intake specialist refers the requestor to the DFPS internet page How to Request Copies of Case Records.

2176 Request for a Copy of a Recorded Call

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

For a variety of reasons, SWI receives requests for recorded calls from:

  •   DFPS program staff (APS, CPS, CCL).

  •   Law enforcement agencies (such as police departments, sheriff’s offices, district attorney’s offices, and federal law enforcement agencies).

  •   The HHSC Office of Inspector General.

  •   Attorneys representing DFPS.

At times, a request for a copy of the intake itself may be included. These requests for documentation may also be fulfilled following these procedures.

Requests for recordings or report documentation must include the Report ID number or case number, or enough details to locate the call.

In most instances, SWI Program Improvement staff processes the requests for recorded calls. However, in an emergency, a supervisor, worker V, or program administrator may handle requests for recorded calls. See 3500 Processing Requests for a Copy of a Recorded Call.

  •   If an intake staff member or a supervisor receives a request for a recorded call from DFPS staff or law enforcement, he or she informs the requestor of the appropriate procedures.

  •   If an intake staff member or supervisor receives a subpoena requesting a copy of a recorded call, he or she follows the procedures explained in the DFPS Subpoena Policy Handbook.

2176.1 Requests From DFPS Program Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Requests from DFPS program staff:

  •   are emailed to QAUNIT@dfps.state.tx.us; and

  •   must be made by staff of supervisory level or above; and

  •   must include the reason for the request.

SWI cannot fulfill the request if the sole purpose is to attempt to identify an anonymous reporter.

When the concern is about false or malicious reporting, requests for recorded calls must be submitted by an attorney representing DFPS or local law enforcement.

CPS special investigators are not members of law enforcement.

2176.2 Requests From Law Enforcement Agencies

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Requests from law enforcement agencies must include the reason for the request and must be:

  •   made on official agency letterhead and faxed to SWI at 512-339-5900 or 800-647-7410; or

  •   emailed directly to QAUNIT@dfps.state.tx.us from an official law enforcement email address.

SWI releases copies of recorded calls to law enforcement only if the recordings are needed for the pursuit of a criminal investigation. If a request is received via email, Program Improvement staff may call the agency to verify the employment of the requestor before providing the recording.

2176.3 Requests From Records Management Group or Attorneys Representing DFPS

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Requests from the Records Management Group, attorneys representing DFPS, or the HHSC Office of Inspector General are emailed to QAUNIT@dfps.state.tx.us. Program Improvement staff complete the request.

2177 Requests for a Courtesy Interview from Out of State

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If an out-of-state child protective services agency requests a courtesy interview or services to be provided to a person who is currently in Texas, but the situation does not meet DFPS guidelines for an investigation, the intake specialist completes a CRSR. See:

2221 Case-Related Special Requests for CPS and APS

3710 Processing Case-Related Special Requests (CRSR)

4800 Casework-Related Special Requests

2178 Requests from DFPS Staff for a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal History Check

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

CPS staff use DPS criminal history checks for determining the appropriateness and safety of voluntary placements for children or when directed to do so by the courts. Intake staff assigned to the E-Unit may occasionally be asked to complete DPS criminal history checks and DFPS history searches for CPS staff. These requests should only be made when the requestor cannot access IMPACT and no other CPS staff are available.

See 4810 Types of Casework-Related Special Requests (CRSRs) Entered by SWI.

2180 Consulting (Staffing) With the Intake Supervisor

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

In certain situations, intake specialists are required to consult with an intake supervisor. All consultations referred to as staffings are initiated by the intake specialist by calling the consultation queue. Intake supervisors, acting supervisors, and worker Vs are scheduled to monitor the staffing queue.

Intake specialists are required to consult (staff) with an intake supervisor in the following situations:

  •   The intake specialist assesses the information to be sensitive (see 2400 Sensitive Reports).

  •   The intake specialist finds sensitive history when completing a history search.

  •   Any report involving the death of a child is received (see 2230 The Death of a Child).

Intake specialists may staff if there are any other issues regarding the assessment or processing of reports.

There may be times when consultation (staffing) with a supervisor, worker V, or acting supervisor may be necessary but one is not available. In those instances, the intake specialist consults the Supervisor On-Call Schedule located on SWIndex (an SWI internal resource), under the Intake Specialists heading. If the person listed cannot be reached, the intake specialist calls the on-call program administrator listed on the “PAnDA On-Call Schedule”, which is located on SWIndex, under the Supervisors heading.

2200 Determining the Type of Report: Intake, Special Request, or Information and Referral

2210 Intake

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

DFPS programs include CPS, APS In-Home, APS Provider Investigations, and Child Care Licensing (CCL), which encompasses Child Day Care (DCL), and Residential Child Care (RCCL).

Each program is authorized by state law to investigate situations involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of individuals under certain circumstances. If the information is determined to meet statutory definitions under which the program is authorized to investigate abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the information is taken as an intake.

For assessment guidelines, see the individual program and I&R guidelines that are found on the Intake Procedures page of the DFPS intranet, under “Assessment”.

2211 Special Handling Reports

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reports that require special handling may require field staff to follow different procedures during the investigation.

A report is classified as Special Handling for the following reasons:

  •   Active militaryany principal is active military or resides on a military base.

  •   Law enforcementany principal is employed by the law enforcement agency that is responsible for conducting a criminal investigation.

  •   Retired militaryany principal is retired from the military.

  •   Native Amer/Reservaany principal resides in a Native American Nation or the abuse or neglect occurred in a Native American Nation.

  •   OAG-ACP—a person involved in the report is a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). See 3422 Documenting Address Confidentiality Program Information for information on how to handle the report when a person involved is an ACP participant with the Office of Attorney General and has a confidential address.

For procedures, see 3144 Special Handling Section.

2211.1 Worker Safety Issues

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

A thorough interview includes questions about the safety of the victims as well as questions directly related to the safety and well-being of investigative staff.

Examples of safety issues that may affect field staff include whether:

  •   The family or client has threatened others with weapons that are accessible.

  •   There are dangerous dogs in the yard.

  •   There is a methamphetamine (meth) lab in the home.

  •   The family or client has a gang affiliation.

  •   There is a risk to the worker of contracting a contagious infectious disease.

Intake specialists are not required to ask about each of these issues on every call. Based on the information provided to them, intake specialist determine if there is an indication of potential worker safety issues, and if so, ask relevant follow-up questions.

See 3144 Special Handling Section, which includes instructions for documentation of worker safety issues.

2212 Law Enforcement Jurisdiction

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The law enforcement agency with jurisdiction to investigate an incident of abuse or neglect is the law enforcement agency responsible for the location where the incident occurred. This is sometimes a different location than where the victim resides.

For CPS and Child Care Licensing (CCL) intakes, the intake specialist must ask where an incident occurred, so that appropriate law enforcement notification can be made.

It is very important that staff obtain the correct spelling for the name of the town and the county since there are many towns in Texas that may sound similar but have different spellings.

In IMPACT, law enforcement is abbreviated as LA.

Gathering Information on the Location of the Incident

On all CPS and CCL intakes and on all I&Rs designated as Non-FPS Criminal Matter Ref’d to Law, it is mandatory that intake specialists gather enough information to determine which law enforcement agency should receive the information. See 2661 Reports of Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, or Death That Law Enforcement Investigates.

Intake specialists ask the reporter where the incident of abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred and document that information in the narrative.

When the Location of the Incident is Known

If the reporter provides an address where the abuse or neglect occurred, depending on the type of report, IMPACT will calculate the jurisdiction. The intake specialist is able to manually add additional jurisdictions if needed.

Military Installations

If the incident occurred on a military installation, the military police department has law enforcement jurisdiction. Military police departments are contained in the law enforcement database.

When the Location of the Incident Is Unclear

When it is unclear where the incident occurred, the intake specialist must clarify law enforcement jurisdiction with the reporter. The intake specialist can try asking:

  •   Which law enforcement agency responds to the area where the incident occurred (or, if appropriate, where the family lives), Police Department or the Sheriff’s Office?

  •   If you (the caller) were calling law enforcement from the victim’s house, would you call the police department or the sheriff’s office?

Once jurisdiction is clarified, the intake specialist uses the Add Jurisdiction feature to manually search for and select the correct law enforcement agency.

When the Location of the Incident Is Unknown

If the reporter does not know where an incident occurred, the law enforcement agency where the child resides is considered the agency with jurisdiction. If the address is a post office box or rural route and the reporter does not know whether the family resides inside or outside the city limits, the county sheriff’s office is considered the agency with legal jurisdiction.

Risk-Based CPS Intakes

If the report is a CPS intake based on risk and there is no specific incident of abuse or neglect, the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the location where the child resides is considered the agency with jurisdiction.

Multiple Jurisdictions

If incidents occurred in more than one law enforcement agency’s jurisdiction, the intake specialist uses the Calculate Jurisdiction button to select the first agency and the Add Jurisdiction feature to add one or more law enforcement agencies. The Law Enforcement Notification will be sent to each of the law enforcement agencies that were selected.

2213 Limited Locating Information

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a reporter has limited locating information, it is imperative for the intake specialist to ask the reporter if he or she has any of the following information:

  •   Directions to the home or facility.

  •   A post office box or rural route address (even if directions are not known).

  •   The name, address, or other locating information for the child’s school or day care.

  •   The name, address, or other locating information for the work places of the household members.

  •   A physical description of the client, child, or household members.

  •   The current location of the client, child, or household members, if the location is different than the residence or if the residence is unknown (The intake specialist must obtain specific dates and times when the client, child, or household member is at this location.)

  •   A Texas license plate number that is registered to a valid address.

  •   The names and contact information for any principal and collateral sources, including the alleged perpetrator, who may know the address or location of the client, child, or family.

If Any Information Is Obtained

SWI has sufficient locating information to generate an intake if:

  •   the intake specialist is able to obtain any of the above information from the reporter;

  •   the intake specialist is able to find any of the information through IMPACT, TIERS, or an internet search; or

  •   there is a reasonable likelihood that sufficient locating information is present at the time of intake to enable an investigation to be initiated.

If any of the above information is known, even if an exact address is not known, the intake specialist documents the information thoroughly, then prioritizes and processes the intake following normal procedures based on allegations and safety threats.

No Locating Information Is Obtained

Reports Regarding Adults

If there is absolutely no locating information for reports under the jurisdiction of APS In-Home or APS Provider Investigations, the report is completed as an I&R CNR (Clearly Not Reportable). See I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements.

Reports Regarding Children

For information on reports regarding children when there is no locating information, see 2221.1 Generating a CRSR When There is Not Enough Locating Information for a CPS Intake.

A CPS report is not assessed as a Priority N (PN) just because there is not enough locating information.

For the only 3 reasons to assess a Priority N (PN), see 4330 Assessment of Priority N.

2220 Special Requests and Information & Referrals (I&Rs)

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If the information received at SWI does not meet the statutory definitions under which CPS, APS In-Home, APS Provider Investigations, or CCL are authorized to investigate, the information cannot be taken as an intake. Any reports that are not intakes of abuse, neglect, or exploitation are documented and classified as one of the following:

Special Request (Administrative)

Case-Related Special Request

Information and Referral (I&Rs)

2221 Case-Related Special Requests for CPS and APS

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Case-Related Special Requests (CRSR) are requests for assistance that do not include allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation but require some type of casework. CPS and APS In-Home are the only DFPS programs to use the CRSR.

See:

3710 Processing Case-Related Special Requests (CRSR)

4810 Types of Case-Related Special Requests (CRSRs) Entered by SWI

4820 Changing a Case-Related Special Request (CRSR) or Information and Referral (I&R) to an Intake

CRSR Best Practice Narrative

For information on CRSRs that are completed due to a lack of locating information, see 2221.1 Generating a CRSR When There is Not Enough Locating Information for a CPS Intake.

2221.1 Generating a CRSR When There is Not Enough Locating Information for a CPS Intake

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The intake specialist makes certain that there is not enough locating information to process an intake by searching IMPACT and the internet and requesting a license plate search when a license plate is known. See 2213 Limited Locating Information and 3125.53 Report Person Detail Page When a Person’s Information is Obtained From a License Plate Check.

The intake specialist contacts support staff via instant message and requests a TIERS search when:

  •   there is not enough locating information to process an intake regarding a child;

  •   it is known that the family lives in Texas; and

  •   the intake specialist has obtained the first and last name of:

  •   an adult alleged perpetrator, or

  •   an adult household member of the victim or alleged perpetrator.

See 3243 TIERS: The Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS). The intake specialist provides all information requested by support staff, as well as the Report ID number of the report.

If the Search is Successful

If the search is successful, support staff provides the locating information to the intake specialist and the intake specialist completes the intake.

If the Search is Unsuccessful

If the search is unsuccessful, support staff requests assistance from FINDRS, an investigative unit within DFPS, and notifies the intake specialist. Then, the intake specialist assesses a CRSR Req Local Public Svc and submits it to the Supervisor Review workload. See 3711 Processing a CRSR that is Generated Due to a Lack of Locating Information.

If FINDRS is unable to obtain locating information, FINDRS notifies support staff and assistance is requested from the Missing Persons Clearing House (MPCH), a unit within law enforcement.

If locating information is received from FINDRS, the correspondence is assigned by IEX to an intake specialist per normal correspondence assignment procedures (see 3321 Processing Mailed and Faxed Reports). Correspondence received from the Missing Persons Clearing House (MPCH) is assigned to an intake specialist by a program administrator or supervisor. The correspondence with the new locating information will contain the original Case Number, enabling the intake specialist to retrieve the information from IMPACT and re-enter it (see 3175 Re-Entering a CRSR That is Assessed Due to a Lack of Locating Information).

If there is no locating information and the name of the adult alleged perpetrator or an adult household member of the victim or alleged perpetrator is unknown, then the information is assessed as an I&R Clearly not reportablere:children.

2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs)

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Every contact (call, fax, mail, or internet) that is not assessed to be an intake or Special Request is documented as an information and referral (I&R) report.

For all I&R reports, intake specialists must request and document the reporter’s name, address, phone number, and the county from which he or she is calling.

All I&R reports are able to contain person lists, however a person list is only required for specific types. To determine which I&R types require a person list see I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements.

For processing I&Rs, see 3600 Processing an Information and Referral (I&R).

2223 Subsequent Information Regarding an Existing DFPS Case

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

During the intake process, the intake specialist performs a search on the principals and reporter in order to identify any related cases.

When a case match is found, the intake specialist determines if the information provided by the current reporter meets criteria for a new intake. The type of reporter is also considered to ensure the information is processed correctly.

See 3220 Case History Search.

When a subsequent report is received that provides information about an open DFPS case, and there are no new incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that meet legal definitions, the intake specialist determines whether or not the information is relevant to the open stage of the existing DFPS case. When it is unclear if the information is relevant to the open stage, the intake specialist processes an I&R to an existing case for the appropriate DFPS program.

Some CCL or APS Provider cases may require different processing. See 2223.5 Determining the I&R Type for an Existing CCL or APS Provider Case.

  •   If there are open cases in multiple counties, the intake specialist completes an I&R for each county.

  •   If critical information about an open case comes into SWI outside normal business hours, the information is called out to the on-call worker.

  •   SWI does not send I&Rs to open cases in the following stages:

  •   C-JPC (DFPS opens C-JPC stages to transfer federal reimbursement of foster care funds to Juvenile Probation Departments.)

  •   C-TYC (DFPS opens C-TYC stages to transfer federal reimbursement of foster care funds to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.)

  •   ADO (adoption

  •   FAD (foster adopt)

  •   PAD (post adoption)

  •   KIN (kinship)

  •   PCA (permanency care assistance)

  •   PAL (preparation for adult living)

      PAL cases require a more extensive search to determine if there is an open INV or Sub-Care stage. SWI can send an I&R to an open PAL case if either of these service delivery stages remain open within the PAL case.

If no open case is found, the information is assessed using standard guidelines specific to the program involved.

See:

I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements

3642 Additional Information for an Open DFPS Case

3920 Call-Outs

4930 Open Service Delivery Stages (CPS)

4481 Situations that Always Require an I&R Call Regarding an Existing CPS Case

2223.1 Subsequent Contact From the Original Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The intake specialist completes an I&R when information from an original reporter is the same information that he or she previously reported, or new information that does not meet criteria for a new intake.

If the Case is Still Open

If the case is still open, the intake specialist completes an I&R to the existing case.

If the Case is Closed

If the case is closed, the intake specialist completes the most appropriate I&R type and processes accordingly.

See 3642 Additional Information for an Open DFPS Case.

If the Reporter Provides Information Regarding a New Incident

If the reporter provides information regarding a new incident that meets legal definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the intake specialist generates a new intake, even if:

  •   the original case is still open, or

  •   the allegation type in the open case is the same as the new allegation type.

Example:

Assessment:

A neighbor made a report last week about a mother leaving injuries on a three year old after she spanked the child with a stick. There is an open case for PHAB. A new call comes in from the same neighbor alleging the three year told her today that his mother bit him last night. He has bruising and multiple puncture wounds on his arm.

Despite the fact that there is already an open PHAB case against the mother, a new incident that meets legal definitions has occurred. The intake specialist processes a new intake for PHAB.

An 82 year old client contacted SWI last month to ask for help because she could not afford her medication. There is an open APS investigation for PHNG. The same client calls again because she just got a termination notice from her utility company. The client cannot afford to pay the bill. She is worried that she will not be able to run her oxygen machine without electricity.

Despite the fact that there is already an open case with the same allegation type made by the same reporter, the new incident meets legal definitions and is assessed independently of the open case. The intake specialist processes a new intake for PHNG.

If the original reporter calls back to inquire about the status of a report he or she made previously, see 2134 Reporter Calls Back Requesting the Report ID or the Status of a Previous Report.

2223.2 Subsequent Contact From a Different Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Contact from a different reporter always results in a new intake if the subsequent information meets legal definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, regardless of existing cases alleging the same concerns.

When a new reporter provides information that does not meet the legal definitions for an intake, the intake specialist processes the information using the appropriate I&R type.

2223.3 Subsequent Contact From a Professional Reporter

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a professional reporter discloses knowledge of an open case that was previously reported by a co-worker, the intake specialist asks the reporter whether their intention is to make a report of abuse or neglect, or to add additional information to an existing case.

The intake specialist explains that confidentiality laws do not allow him or her to confirm or deny the existence of an open case, but if a case is found, their information will be passed along to the field.

The intake specialist gathers the new information and determines if an I&R can be sent to the existing case or if a new intake is needed. Regardless of the reporter’s intent, if the reporter discloses a new incident that meets the existing criteria for abuse or neglect, the intake specialist generates a new intake.

The intake specialist must obtain enough demographic information to search for the previously reported case while the reporter is still on the phone.

  •   If an open case cannot be found, the intake specialist obtains all the information known by the new reporter and assesses for a new intake.

  •   If an open case cannot be found and the new information does not meet criteria, the information is documented and processed as the appropriate I&R type.

While the previous Report ID number should not be requested, if the reporter volunteers this information, it is acceptable to document the number and use it to search for an existing case.

Example:

Assessment:

A nurse calls to report the 3 year old OV, who was admitted last night due to father hitting him in the head with a pan, has been moved out of ICU and is now in room 242. The nurse stated that she does not need to make a report because the hospital social worker called it in last night. She recites the Report ID number from the child’s chart and states she just wanted to let CPS know where to find the child and provide an update on his condition. The nurse then reports that OV’s x-ray results came in and they show multiple rib fractures in various stages of healing.

Despite the nurse’s intent to only add information to the case, this scenario would result in a new intake for PHAB, because the nurse has reported a new incident of abuse.

A teacher states her principal filed a report earlier today regarding a 5 year old with a bruise in the shape of a handprint on her face. The principal asked her to call SWI and provide the name of the daycare that OV attends after school. The teacher has no other information.

This scenario would result in an I&R regarding the existing CPS case. Despite disclosing knowledge of abuse, the teacher expressed intent to provide information about OV’s daycare. She did not wish to file another report. The intake specialist is not required to generate another report unless he or she is unable to find the open case.

 

2223.4 Subsequent Contact from Law Enforcement

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Duplicate Correspondence

Law enforcement reports are occasionally faxed to SWI twice by mistake. When a duplicate law enforcement report is received at SWI, the intake specialist completes an I&R call regarding an existing case and saves and closes the I&R.

See 3321 Processing Mailed and Faxed Reports.

Contact From A Second Officer Regarding the Same Incident

If there is an existing open case that was called in by one law enforcement officer and a second officer calls to report the same incident, if the information provided by the second officer meets criteria for an intake, the intake specialist completes a new intake.

If the information provided by the second officer does not meet the legal definition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the intake specialist processes the appropriate I&R type.

Subsequent Contact Regarding a (LEN) Law Enforcement Notification sent by SWI

SWI is responsible for notifying the local law enforcement agency for all CPS and CCL intakes. These LENs sometimes result in subsequent calls from officers who have questions about the intake or have followed up with the family and have additional information to share.

LEN Follow Up Regarding Non-Reportable Information

When law enforcement contacts SWI to follow up on an intake that was sent to them through the law enforcement notification process, the intake specialist completes an I&R to the existing case. Some examples of these follow-up calls include: asking a question about the intake, requesting a history check, or providing the results of a welfare check. In these instances, it is important for the intake specialist to confirm the officer’s employment before acknowledging an open case or discussing any details about the case.

See 2173.2 Requests from Texas Law Enforcement.

LEN Follow Up Regarding New Reportable Information

Sometimes when law enforcement follows up on a report received through the SWI law enforcement notification process, they discover new information such as an additional AP who is not on the existing person list, or a new incident of abuse or neglect that is not included in the open case. In these cases, the intake specialist assesses the new information independently of the open case and generates a new intake.

2223.5 Determining the I&R Type for an Existing CCL or APS PI Case

SWI Policy and Procedures February 2018

Child Care Licensing (CCL)

The intake specialist completes an I&R to the existing case when:

  •   SWI receives new information;

  •   the new information pertains to the existing investigation in the open case; and

  •   the new information does not meet the criteria for a new intake.

The intake specialist completes a standards compliance I&R when:

  •   SWI receives new information;

  •   the new information involves an incident different than the one being investigated in the open case; and

  •   the new information does not meet the criteria for a new intake.

If the intake specialist completes a standards compliance I&R, it is not necessary to complete an additional I&R to the existing case.

See Handling CCL Situations Involving a Child in DFPS Conservatorship.

APS Provider Investigations (APS PI)

The intake specialist completes an I&R to the existing case when:

  •   SWI receives new information, regardless of whether the information pertains to the existing investigation or not; and

  •   the new information does not meet the criteria for a new intake.

The intake specialist does not complete an I&R AFC Client Rights/Fac Admn Issues.

2223.6 Original Intake Is in Open Status (SBA) With SWI

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If the current reporter is the original reporter and the original intake is currently in open status, Submitted for Approval (SBA) at SWI, see 3643 Additional Information on an Intake Still Being Processed by SWI.

2224 Requests by DFPS Field Staff for other DFPS Field Staff to Conduct Courtesy Interviews or Case Assistance

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a DFPS staff member calls to request that another DFPS staff member provide a courtesy interview or provide services to a client or family in an open case, the intake specialist directs the staff to contact the appropriate county in which the assistance is needed.

The intake specialist provides the necessary business phone numbers and information to facilitate communication between the field staff in Texas. The report is coded as an I&R – General FPS Information.

See 4810 Types of Case-Related Special Requests (CRSRs) Entered by SWI.

2225 Client Moves During an Investigation: Transfer Cases

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Transfer Cases Within Texas

If a field worker calls to report that a family or client has moved during the course of an open investigation, and there are no new allegations, the intake specialist does not generate a new intake. The appropriate procedure is for the field worker to contact the local field office where the family has relocated.

This applies to an open investigation that was:

  •   not completed before the client or family moved to another county; or

  •   initiated in a county other than the family’s county of residence.

Transfer Cases From Out of State

If an out-of-state social services agency requests that a case on a family or an individual who has moved to Texas be transferred to Texas, the intake specialist:

  •   assesses the request to determine if the situation meets DFPS guidelines for investigation; and

  •   processes the report according to standard SWI procedures.

See:

2210 Intake

2220 Special Requests and Information & Referrals (I&Rs)

3600 Processing an Information and Referral (I&R)

Manual Assignment Charts for processing a Texas intake

2221 Case-Related Special Requests for CPS and APS

3710 Processing Case-Related Special Requests (CRSR)

4800 Case-Related Special Requests

2226 Requests by an Out-Of-State Protective Services Agency for DFPS Staff to Conduct Courtesy Interviews or Provide Case Assistance

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If an out-of-state child protective services agency requests a courtesy interview or services to be provided to a person who is currently in Texas, but the situation does not meet DFPS guidelines for an investigation, the intake specialist completes a CRSR Request-Out of State.

2230 The Death of a Child

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The intake specialist is required to consult (staff) all child death reports with an intake supervisor, worker V, or acting supervisor. These consultations are required even when the child’s death occurred in the past, the information is vague, or all that is known is that a child died.

See:

4420 Child Death Reports Under CPS Jurisdiction

5260 A Child’s Death in a CCL Operation

It is essential that intake specialists conduct thorough interviews when a child’s death is reported, even if the death appeared to be accidental.

2231 Death of a Child Reported by Law Enforcement

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

See 4422 Death of a Child Reported by Law Enforcement.

2232 Death of a Child While in DFPS Conservatorship

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Children who are in DFPS conservatorship often reside in foster homes or residential child care facilities. However, children in DFPS conservatorship also may reside in a number of other types of placements, including in their own homes, with relatives, in detention facilities, or in nursing homes.

2232.1 Notifying the Local CPS Office of the Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Regardless of which agency or DFPS program has the jurisdiction to investigate, SWI notifies the CPS county that has conservatorship of the child that has died.

When an I&R to an open CPS case is completed, it is not necessary to call out the information when the local office is open unless an emergency response is needed. After hours, SWI must call out the information to the on-call CPS worker.

2232.2 Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship Report for CPS

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a child in DFPS conservatorship dies, regardless of the circumstances of the death, the intake specialist completes a CPS P1 intake if:

  •   the child lived in a relative or kinship placement;

  •   the child lived in the child’s own home;

  •   the child was on runaway status and the child is not listed as being a resident of a licensed placement; or

  •   the child died while hospitalized in a medical facility and the IMPACT placement log lists the hospital as the child’s placement.

If the county of conservatorship is different from the county that is responsible for the investigation, an I&R to the CPS open sub care case is also generated.

Even when the death is clearly not attributable to abuse or neglect, a P1 intake is completed. The allegation most applicable to the situation is selected. If there is no abuse or neglect alleged, no perpetrator is listed on the person list.

2232.3 Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship Report for RCCL

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a child in DFPS conservatorship dies in an RCCL licensed home or facility, the intake specialist completes an RCCL P1 intake regardless of how the death occurred.

If the child was on runaway status or was in the hospital at the time of death, but was still listed in IMPACT as being a resident of a RCCL licensed placement, a RCCL intake is completed.

The intake is processed following standard procedures. See 5464 RCCL Assignment and Call Out.

An I&R to the open CPS sub care case is also generated.

Even when the death is clearly not attributable to abuse or neglect, a P1 intake is completed. The allegation most applicable to the situation is selected. If there is no abuse or neglect alleged, no perpetrator is listed on the person list.

2232.4 Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship Report for DCL

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a child in DFPS conservatorship dies in a DCL licensed home or facility, the intake specialist completes a DCL P1 intake regardless of how the death occurred.

The intake is processed following standard procedures. An I&R to the open CPS sub care case is also generated.

Even when the death is clearly not attributable to abuse or neglect, a P1 intake is completed. The allegation most applicable to the situation is selected. If there is no abuse or neglect alleged, no perpetrator is listed on the person list.

See Manual Assignment Charts

2232.5 Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship in a Facility Under the Jurisdiction of APS Provider Investigations

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Death is Unexplained or the Result of Abuse or Neglect

The intake specialist completes an APS Provider Investigations P1 intake when a child who is in DFPS conservatorship dies in a facility that APS Provider Investigations has jurisdiction to investigate, and the death:

  •   appears to be a result of abuse or neglect; or

  •   the cause of death is unexplained.

The intake specialist follows standard processing procedures.

Death is a Result of Natural Causes

If the death is a result of natural causes, and there are no allegations of abuse or neglect, the intake specialist refers the reporter to both the administration of the facility and to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The intake specialist completes an I&R to inform APS Provider Investigations of the child death and to follow standard processing procedures.

IMPACT Procedures

In both situations, the intake specialist uses the New Using function of IMPACT and also completes:

  •   an I&R to the open CPS case and follows standard processing procedures. For call out, see 4481 Situations That Always Require an I&R Call Regarding Existing CPS Case; and

  •   an I&R to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction and follows the procedure for I&R type Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law Enforcement.

2232.6 Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship in a Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) Placement

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a child who is in DFPS conservatorship dies in a Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) placement, the intake specialist refers the reporter to the administration of the TJJD facility and to the appropriate law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction.

The intake specialist utilizes the New Using function of IMPACT and completes:

  •   an I&R to the open CPS case and follows standard processing procedures. For call out, see 4481 Situations That Always Require an I&R Call Regarding Existing CPS Case;

  •   an I&R to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction and follows the procedure for I&R type Non-DFPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law Enforcement. See 3630 I&Rs Assigned to the Faxing Workload; and

  •   an I&R to TJJD and follows the procedures for processing I&Rs for other state and social service agencies. See 3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

2232.7 Death of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship in a Nursing Home

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2018

The reporter is referred to HHS and to the appropriate law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction when a child in DFPS conservatorship dies in a nursing home.

The intake specialist uses the New Using function of IMPACT and completes:

  •   an I&R to the open CPS case and follows standard processing procedures. For call out, see 4481 Situations That Always Require an I&R Call Regarding Existing CPS Case;

  •   an I&R to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction and follows the procedure for I&R type Non-DFPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law Enforcement. See 3630 I&Rs Assigned to the Faxing Workload; and

  •   an I&R Referred to HHSC and follows the procedures for processing I&Rs for other state and social service agencies. See 3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

2240 Death of a Person Age 65 or Older or Adult With a Disability

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

See:

6300 Allegations that APS In-Home Investigates

7590 Reports Regarding a Client’s Death

2250 Reports Made by DFPS Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

2251 When DFPS Staff Make a Report for Their Own DFPS Program

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

This item and its sub-items apply when DFPS staff make initial reports in a professional capacity for the same DFPS program in which they are employed; for example, when a CPS field staff member reports an incident of child abuse.

For various reasons the intake specialist may determine that this report is a re-entry rather than an initial report. For information on re-entry requests, see 3170 Re-Entering a Report in IMPACT (Re-Entry).

2251.1 Reports Made Verbally by DFPS Staff for Their Own DFPS Program

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If a DFPS staff member calls to request that a report be entered, and the report relates to the DFPS program for which the caller works, the intake specialist obtains and documents complete information about the incidents, allegations, and risk factors following standard assessment procedure. See 2200 Determining the Type of Report: Intake, Special Request, or Information and Referral.

Determining the Proper Date and Time

The intake specialist must always ask if the report needs to be entered with a date and time that differs from the date and time of the call; for example, if a field staff member has already contacted the family or collateral sources (teachers, friends, neighbors, and so on), then that is the valid date and time that work on the case began. Therefore, the intake specialist enters the date that the field staff member made contact. This is referred to as backdating the report. See 3110 Beginning a Report.

If SWI Agrees With DFPS Staff Regarding the Report Assessment

If a DFPS staff member and an intake specialist agree that a situation meets the criteria for an intake, the intake specialist completes the intake following normal processing procedures. See 3100 Entering Information Into IMPACT.

If SWI Disagrees With DFPS Staff Regarding the Report Assessment

If field staff requests that an I&R or CRSR be entered, but the intake specialist assesses that the information given meets guidelines for an intake, the intake specialist enters an intake. The intake specialist informs the field staff that since the information meets guidelines for an intake, SWI will enter an intake. The intake specialist documents in the conclusion section that field staff requested an I&R or CRSR, but SWI assessed that an intake was warranted.

If a DFPS staff member who is lower in authority than a program director requests that an intake be entered, but the intake specialist assesses that the information provided does not meet the legal guidelines for an intake, the intake specialist consults (staffs) with an intake supervisor to discuss the situation.

If the intake supervisor agrees with the intake specialist’s assessment, the intake specialist informs the reporting staff member that a staff person at the program director (PD) level or higher for CPS, or at the program administrator (PA) level or higher for all other DFPS programs, must approve the intake.

It is the responsibility of the reporting staff to obtain that approval from a PD or PA.

The PD or PA need not contact SWI directly to request that a report be entered. A staff member who is lower in authority than a PD or PA may contact SWI to make the request, if he or she:

  •   obtains approval from the PD or PA; and

  •   provides the intake specialist with the name of the PD or PA who has approved the request.

The intake specialist then:

  •   documents in the Conclusion section of the Narrative page that the intake was entered as requested by field staff; and

  •   documents the name of the PD or PA.

Requests Made by PD or PA Staff

For all DFPS programs, if a field PD/PA (or higher level staff) requests an intake and the intake specialist assesses that the information is an I&R, the intake specialist:

  •   enters an intake with the priority requested by field staff; and

  •   documents in the Conclusion section that the intake and priority was entered as requested by field staff; and

  •   documents the name of PD or PA.

Borderline Cases

If the intake specialist assesses the situation as borderline (meaning that it is not clearly an intake or an information and referral (I&R) and is open for interpretation), the intake specialist:

  •   completes the intake with the priority requested by the field; and

  •   documents in the Conclusion section of the Narrative page, that the priority was entered as requested by field staff.

Determining Priority

If the DFPS worker requests a certain priority, but the intake specialist disagrees with the priority assessment, the intake specialist:

  •   completes the intake with the priority requested by the field; and

  •   documents in the Conclusion section of the Narrative page, that the priority was entered as requested by field staff.

When a Request Goes Against DFPS Policy

If what is being requested is clearly against DFPS policy (such as entering two intakes for the same situation):

  •   The intake specialist consults with an intake supervisor, and

  •   the intake supervisor consults with a SWI program administrator (PA).

The intake specialist documents in the narrative the assessment decision that was made and all parties involved in the staffing.

2251.2 E-Reports Made by DFPS Staff for Their Own DFPS Program

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When staff obtain information that needs to be reported to SWI, they have the option of making the report by using the Texas Abuse Hotline Website. See 3310 Internet Reports (E-Reports).

Intake specialists assess the reports received following standard assessment procedures. See 2200 Determining The Type of Report: Intake, Special Request, or Information and Referral.

If the reporting staff member documents that the report has been approved for entry as an intake by a staff person at the program director (PD) level or higher, the intake specialist:

  •   documents in the Conclusion section of the Narrative page that the intake was entered as requested by field staff; and

  •   documents the name of the PD, for a CPS case, or the program administrator (PA), for all other cases, who approved the entry.

If what is being requested is clearly against DFPS policy:

  •   the intake specialist consults with an intake supervisor; and

  •   the intake supervisor consults with an intake program administrator.

If the reporting staff member requests in the e-report that an intake be entered, but the intake specialist assesses the information to be either an information and referral (I&R) or a casework related special request (CRSR) and there is no documentation that it was approved by a staff person at the PD level for entry as an intake, the intake specialist consults with an intake supervisor.

If the intake supervisor and intake specialist assess that an intake is not warranted, the intake specialist completes an I&R.

The reporting staff member then receives an email that is automatically generated by the DFPS online reporting system. The email states that the information was entered into the database and no further action is planned.

2252 When Program Staff in One DFPS Program Report for a Different DFPS Program

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a staff person in one DFPS program reports for a different DFPS program (for example, an APS staff person reporting potential child abuse), the intake specialist assesses the situation following normal procedures. See 2200 Determining the Type of Report: Intake, Special Request, or Information and Referral.

Entering the Current Date and Time

The intake specialist always uses the current date and time when entering a report made by field staff in one program about a different program. The report is never backdated. For example, if a CPS worker talks with a child who is placed in a foster home and determines that an intake for Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) needs to be reported, the date and time that the CPS worker made the report is the date and time that the intake specialist enters into IMPACT.

2260 Reporter’s Sole Basis of Knowledge Was Obtained From Media

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

When a reporter’s sole basis of knowledge was obtained from a media source, for instance, the reporter learned about the situation from the news or social media, the intake specialist:

  •   conducts a complete interview based on the information available;

  •   assesses the information using standard guidelines;

  •   obtains the source of knowledge;

  •   documents the source of knowledge in the reporter’s Person Notes; and

  •   searches for an open case.

The intake specialist processes an I&R Call Regarding Existing Case if an open case already exists.

The intake specialist processes a new case if the information provided meets defined criteria and there is not already an existing case.

These intakes and all subsequent I&Rs may require sensitive handling due to media interest.

See:

2400 Sensitive Reports, under the heading Required Staffing for Sensitive or Potentially Sensitive Reports

2110 Methods of Making a Report of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation to SWI, under the heading Supporting Materials and Documentation

3242 Social Media Search

2300 Law Enforcement “Welfare Checks”

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

It is appropriate for an intake specialist to suggest that a reporter contact the local law enforcement agency to request a “welfare check” on a family or client when there is an immediate need for assistance or if there is a belief that the life and safety of an individual is in danger.

The examples below do not represent all possible situations, but serve as guides for the intake specialist.

When to Recommend a Law Enforcement Welfare Check

A law enforcement welfare check is recommended in the following situations:

  •   If a situation is occurring at the time of the call to SWI and immediate assistance is required.

  •   Example: When it is reported that very young children (under the age of 6) are home alone, without any supervision from a responsible teen or adult.

  •   Example: When there is concern about an elderly person who has not been seen or contacted recently, and there are no other family members, caretakers, or others to “check on” the person.

  •   If there is reason to believe that an on-going situation has placed the life or safety of an individual in danger (the degree of danger does not necessarily have to rise to the level of being life threatening).

  •   Example: When it is reported that predictable and recurring abuse or neglect takes place and the day, hour, or scenario is drawing near for the abuse or neglect to happen again. A possible scenario would include: every semester after grades are released a child is beaten if he or she earns a “C” average, and this semester the child once again earned a “C” average.

  •   Example: When it is reported that someone who is not eligible as a DFPS client is sensitive to the heat, does not have air conditioning or fans, and the outside temperature continues to increase.

When Not to Recommend a Law Enforcement Welfare Check

A law enforcement welfare check is NOT recommended in the following situations:

  •   When it is more appropriate for the intake specialist to explain to a reporter why an intake is not being generated. An intake specialist does not refer a reporter to law enforcement as a means to “satisfy” the reporter and therefore end the call.

  •   Example: When parents or family members are involved in custody disputes or other disagreements and would like for someone to “check on” the child.

  •   Example: If a patient who is not eligible as a client has left a hospital setting AMA (against medical advice), or for some other reason, and a health care professional is requesting that the patient be returned to the hospital.

  •   When an intake is generated, but the situation does not rise to the level of a priority one (P1) investigation.

  •   Example: An intake has been completed and the reporter insists that someone go out to the home immediately, even though the intake information does not support the need for immediate field contact.

2400 Sensitive Reports

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

For a variety of reasons, DFPS staff may choose to restrict access to certain reports (intake, I&R, or CRSR) found in IMPACT. DFPS accomplishes this by designating the information as “sensitive.”

Identifying Sensitive Reports in IMPACT

Sensitive reports (intake, I&R, or CRSR) are identified by an exclamation point (!) before the caller name on the Report Log Search Results List section of the Report Log for I&Rs and before the case number for intakes and CRSRs on the Case List page. The exclamation point is automatically generated when the sensitive box is checked on the Intake Actions page.

Required Staffing for Sensitive or Potentially Sensitive Reports

Intake specialists must staff all sensitive reports (intake, CRSR, or I&R) with a supervisor or worker V. Acting supervisors are not authorized to staff sensitive reports. If the intake specialist has concerns about whether a report may or may not be sensitive, he or she should staff with a supervisor.

If a previous intake or I&R that was designated as sensitive is found, the intake specialist must staff with a supervisor or Worker V.

Designating the Report as Sensitive in IMPACT

A report is given a sensitive designation by marking the Sensitive Case checkbox, in the Special Handling section of the Intake Actions page and entering the pertinent details in the associated Comments field.

If the current report does not need to be made sensitive, the intake specialist documents this staffing decision in the narrative under his or her signature.

See 2410 Reasons SWI May Designate a Report as Sensitive.

Assessing and Prioritizing a Sensitive Report

Sensitive reports are assessed and prioritized according to established procedures.

If the reporter indicates that details of the investigation are needed for a judicial bypass proceeding when a minor seeks an abortion without notice to a parent, conservator, or guardian, a priority 1 is assigned.

Law Enforcement Notification for Sensitive Reports

Intakes

SWI does not send law enforcement notifications when the intake is sensitive; the local DFPS office is responsible for the notification.

I&Rs

SWI does send the law enforcement notification when a I&R Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law is Sensitive. See 3146.1 Law Jurisdiction Section

Processing a Sensitive Report

After staffing with a supervisor or worker V, the intake specialist processes the report according to the Manual Assignment Charts.

The supervisor or worker V reviews the report, ensures the documentation of the sensitive reason is accurate, and documents further details as needed. He or she then follows the handling procedures found in the Sensitive Report Instructions.

2410 Reasons for Sensitivity (Sensitive Reasons)

SWI Policy and Procedures October 2018

DFPS, including SWI, designates a report as sensitive only if at least one of the following reasons applies:

  •  A DFPS employee is one of the following:

  •  Principal in an intake or casework-related special request (CRSR).

  •  Spouse, significant other, relative, or household member of the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator in an intake or CRSR.

  •  Subject of a complaint or concern in an information and referral entry (I&R).

  •  An external staff member who has access to IMPACT is one of the following:

  •  Principal in an intake or CRSR.

  •  Spouse, significant other, relative, or household member of the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator in an intake or CRSR.

  •  Subject of a complaint or concern in an I&R.

  •  A non-DFPS employee who works in the same office as DFPS staff is an alleged victim or alleged perpetrator in an intake.

  •  A high-profile individual, such as a judge, police chief, member of a child welfare board, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) worker, court-appointed attorney, or celebrity, is one of the following:

  •  Principal in an intake or CRSR.

  •  Spouse, significant other, relative, or household member of the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator in an intake or CRSR.

  •  Subject of a complaint or concern in an I&R.

  •  The situation has or is likely to have significant media interest.

  •  A minor who is in a CPS intake has had or wants to have an abortion without telling the people in her family whom DFPS needs to involve in the investigation.

  •  A participant in the Texas Address Confidentiality Program, which the Office of the Attorney General manages, is involved in an intake, I&R, or CRSR.

  •  SWI receives an e-report that complains about a DFPS employee or that accuses a DFPS employee of misconduct, and SWI cannot prevent the information from showing in IMPACT.

Identifying DFPS Employees and External Staff Members in IMPACT

When an intake specialist does a Person Search in IMPACT, the list of results shows a blue diamond icon next to the name of each staff member who appears. This includes current and former DFPS employees and external staff members.

The intake specialist does not relate (electronically connect in IMPACT) any person in the report to an existing record for an employee or external staff member.

When an intake specialist does a Person Search and finds a result that has a blue diamond icon and that matches someone in the report, the intake specialist completes the following steps:

  1. Click the Name link for the match with the blue diamond. The Person Detail page opens and shows one of five possible Attention messages.

  2. Read the Attention message. It is located above the Person Name section on the Person Detail page.

  3. Use the table below to determine whether to consult (staff) with a supervisor about the report.

If the Attention message is:

Then:

This person is an employee. For more information use staff search.

Consult (staff) with a supervisor because the report may need to be sensitive.

This person is External Staff – with IMPACT access. For more information use staff search.

Consult (staff) with a supervisor because the report may need to be sensitive.

This person is External Staff – No IMPACT access. For more information use staff search.

Consult (staff) with a supervisor because the supervisor may need to do more processing.

This person is a former employee. For more information use staff search.

Do not consult (staff) with a supervisor, unless another reason for sensitivity applies.

This person is a former external staff. For more information use staff search.

Do not consult (staff) with a supervisor, unless another reason for sensitivity applies.

 

2420 Specific Information Required for Reports That are Designated as Sensitive

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

For sensitive reports, the intake specialist or staffing supervisor must obtain and document specific information that is related to the reason that the report is designated as “sensitive.” Such information may include:

  •   The DFPS employee’s name, employee person identification number (PID), relationship to the victim, program, office location, and city of employment.

  •   Information about the high profile individual and his or her position. For example, if the person is a judge, {type of judge (district, county, federal), and what city, county, and court}.

  •   The reporter’s basis of knowledge regarding the situation of significant media interest, such as television news, social media, website, etc.

  •   Information specified in section 2450 Parental Notification When A Minor Wants Or Has Had An Abortion.

  •   Information specified in section 2460 Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).

If such information is known to the intake specialist through the information provided by the reporter, he or she will document the information in the Comments field associated with the Sensitive Case checkbox.

If the information is only known to the staffing supervisor with whom the report was staffed, the intake specialist is instructed to document the following in the Comments field: “staffing supervisor will add the reason for sensitivity.”

The staffing supervisor completes the sensitive reason or reviews any information documented by the intake specialist to ensure it is correct.

2430 SWI Employees Who Need to Make a Sensitive Report

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

A SWI employee needing to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation that involves him or herself, a significant other, or a family or household member should contact a program administrator (PA). If a PA is not on duty, the employee should contact a supervisor. The preferred method is for an employee to submit an e-report and immediately give the confirmation number to the PA (or supervisor) to process the sensitive report.

2440 Sensitive Reports Involving a SWI Employee

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Reports regarding a SWI employee should be kept to the smallest circle of people needed to take and process the report.

At the Beginning of the Phone Call

If near the beginning of a phone call an intake specialist learns it involves a SWI employee, his or her significant other, family member, or other household member, the specialist obtains the reporter’s telephone number when possible, and stops the interview. The specialist notifies the reporter that consultation with management is necessary and asks the reporter to hold.

The specialist staffs with a program administrator who may request the call be transferred or may arrange to call the reporter back. If a program administrator is not on duty, the specialist staffs with a supervisor who may request the call be transferred or may arrange to call the reporter back.

The specialist closes the report as an I&R Other business call and leaves the narrative and In Regards To field blank.

Late into the Phone Call

If late into the call an intake specialist becomes aware that the report involves a SWI employee, his or her significant other, family member, or other household member, it is acceptable for the specialist to finish taking the report. When finished, the specialist:

1.   Staffs the situation with a program administrator. If a program administrator is not on duty, the specialist staffs with a supervisor.

2.   Documents the staffing.

3.   Clicks the Sensitive Case checkbox.

4.   Documents the sensitive reason in the Comments field.

5.   Submits the report for processing by the program administrator.

E-Report or Correspondence

If an intake specialist is entering an e-report or correspondence and becomes aware that the report involves a SWI employee, his or her significant other, family member, or other household member, the specialist immediately staffs with a program administrator. If a program administrator is not on duty, the specialist staffs with a supervisor. The specialist may be instructed to complete the report or have it completed by management and is provided processing instructions accordingly.

See 3430 Processing Sensitive Reports.

2450 Parental Notification When A Minor Wants or Has Had an Abortion

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

This CPS policy applies only to the relatively narrow circumstance in which a minor:

  •   is reported to be a victim of abuse or neglect; and

  •   wants or has had an abortion without telling the persons in her family whom DFPS will need to involve in the investigation.

Texas Family Code, Chapter 33 Notice of and Consent to Abortion

It is not an automatic intake when a child is pregnant and wants an abortion, or was pregnant and had an abortion. There must be allegations of abuse or neglect that meet CPS criteria for an intake.

If the intake specialist completes an intake and has obtained information that a child wants or has had an abortion without informing the persons in her family who would have contact with CPS, the intake is designated as sensitive.

The following statement is entered into the Comments field, “Abortion Related Information.”

In the Child Protective Services Handbook, see also 2341 Abortion.

Additional Information to Obtain

If the reporter indicates that the minor wants or has had an abortion, the intake specialist must try to determine whether the minor:

  •   has told, or does not want to tell, her family about the abortion-related information; or

  •   is considering obtaining, or has obtained, a court order to get the abortion without telling her family (judicial bypass).

Judicial Bypass Proceeding

If the reporter indicates that details of the investigation are needed for a judicial bypass proceeding when a minor seeks an abortion without notice to a parent, conservator, or guardian, the intake specialist designates the report as priority 1.

When There Are No Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

If there is information that a child wants or has had an abortion without informing her parents, but there are no allegations of abuse or neglect for this child, the information is taken as an I&R.

  •   If there is an open CPS case involving this family and child, the I&R is designated as sensitive.

  •   If there is no open CPS case, the I&R is not designated as sensitive.

See 3421 Documenting Abortion-Related Information.

2460 Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2018

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) administers an Address Confidentiality Program for victims of family violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If a reporter states that a person involved in the report is an ACP participant, the intake specialist must insure that the participant’s address remains confidential by following specific procedures.

The intake specialist asks for the participant’s ACP number. If the reporter is not able to provide the participant’s number, the intake specialist still follows the procedures for completing a report involving an ACP participant.

The ACP address is:

P.O. Box 12108 MC068

Austin, TX 78711-2108 (Travis County)

This is the only address used by the ACP program. The address is the same for all participants regardless of where in the state they may reside. A participant’s actual residential address or location is not listed on the Report Person Detail page.

The intake specialist documents in the Special Handling Comments field any current physical addresses for the residence, school, work, and any other locating information on the client or family. This is the only section of the report where the client’s or family’s actual locating information is documented.

The report is marked “Sensitive” and the intake specialist assesses the information following normal procedures.

For documenting ACP intakes, see 3422 Documenting Address Confidentiality Program Information.

2500 Handling Complaints

2510 Complaints Regarding a Report Taken by SWI

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

SWI may be notified of a complaint or concern about the assessment or processing of a report or the customer service that was provided by SWI staff. These complaints or concerns may be received from (but are not limited to) the following sources:

  •   The general public through a call directly to SWI. A SWI supervisor or worker V reviews the report and responds to the caller.

  •   Field staff in other DFPS programs (CPS, APS, CCL). These may be resolved through the re-entry queue or speaking directly with a SWI supervisor, depending on the situation.

  •   The Office of Consumer Relations (OCR), which receives inquiries from a variety of sources. The SWI Program Improvement unit is responsible for researching and responding to these concerns.

  •   From within the SWI program. A SWI supervisor or worker V determines what, if any, action needs to be taken.

2511 Complaints About SWI Staff From the Public

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

All complaints about SWI staff must be staffed with a supervisor. When the original reporter calls with a concern about a SWI report, the intake specialist:

  •   obtains:

  •   the Report ID,

  •   the name and number of the person calling, and

  •   a brief explanation of the concern;

  •   confirms that the caller is the original reporter by accessing the report in IMPACT;

  •   informs the complainant (if confirmed as the original reporter) that supervisory staff will be given the concern for review; and

  •   notifies an intake supervisor or worker V of the concern immediately via the staffing queue.

If the caller is not the original reporter, the intake specialist explains that no information may be shared, and assesses whether a new report needs to be taken.

Documentation When the Complaint Is the Only Information Provided

Regardless of whether the caller is the original reporter or not, in IMPACT the intake specialist:

  •   enters an I&R—Other business call;

  •   documents in the narrative “Concern regarding SWI handling of a report. Notified [name of intake supervisor or worker V].” Details of the concern are not documented in IMPACT; and

  •   closes the I&R.

If the call contains both information about abuse, neglect, or exploitation AND a complaint, only the information about the abuse, neglect, or exploitation is documented in IMPACT.

If a call back is required, it is made by the staffing supervisor as soon as the staffing schedule permits. If the matter requires immediate attention (for example, a possible incorrect assessment), the staffing supervisor handles the complaint.

If the matter does not require immediate attention (for example, a SWI intake specialist allegedly was rude), the staffing supervisor forwards the information to the SWI intake specialist’s supervisor, who reviews the concern and addresses the matter with the employee if necessary.

2512 Handling Concerns Originating Within the SWI Program

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Occasionally an intake specialist may have concerns regarding the way a call was handled or a report was processed. If this occurs, the intake specialist consults with an intake supervisor or worker V, who determines whether any action needs to be taken. If needed, the intake supervisor sends a description of the concern as well as the steps taken to resolve the concern to the involved specialist’s supervisor via email.

2513 Procedures for Field Staff Regarding Concerns Shared with SWI

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

At no time should field staff call or email a specific SWI intake specialist directly, nor should field staff email or leave a voice mail for a specific intake supervisor. When field staff have concerns about the handling of a report processed by SWI, field staff have been instructed as follows.

Concerns That Need Immediate Attention

Notifications of concerns that must be handled immediately should be made by a field supervisor level or above. It is imperative for the field supervisor to:

  •   contact SWI by phone on the administrative line (800-252-3223);

  •   identify himself or herself as a DFPS field staff supervisor (or above); and

  •   ask to speak to an intake supervisor or worker V.

Concerns Regarding Incorrect Assignment

Supervisory field staff should transmit these reports to the correct routing coordinator before notifying SWI. These reports should not be closed or assigned back to SWI.

Supervisor level field staff then notify the SWI Program Improvement (PI) Unit of the error via email to QAUNIT@dfps.state.tx.us; so that SWI PI may review the error and provide feedback to the SWI specialist.

Re-Entry Requests

If the field staff is requesting a re-entry, the intake specialist transfers the field staff to the re-entry queue (x 3966). See 3172 Receiving a Re-Entry at SWI.

Concerns Regarding the Quality of an Intake

Field staff (supervisor level or above) may email concerns to QAUNIT@dfps.state.tx.us; when the concern involves a quality issue that does not require immediate action, resolution, or re-entry.

2520 SWI Concerns Regarding Field Handling of an Investigation

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

While assessing and documenting a report, an intake specialist may develop a concern regarding the local office’s handling of a case (for example, an intake that was closed without any contacts being made). The intake specialist documents the concern in an email to his or her intake supervisor.

The intake supervisor reviews the issue. If there appears to be a legitimate reason for concern, the intake supervisor forwards the information to the Program Improvement Unit mailbox QAUNIT@dfps.state.tx.us. The SWI Program Improvement staff notifies the regional contact to request a review of the case. Program Improvement staff do not perform any case reviews.

2530 Complaints Regarding Case Handling or Actions by DFPS Field Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Serious Concerns

Serious concerns about non-SWI, DFPS employee misconduct received at intake are sent to the Office of Consumer Relations (OCR) (previously known as the Office of Consumer Affairs OCA) for review and handling. Examples of such concerns include but are not limited to:

  •   A breach of confidentiality by DFPS staff.

  •   DFPS staff abused a child (not in DFPS conservatorship) on a CPS investigation or family preservation caseload during a home visit.

  •   An APS specialist arranged for an APS client to hire the specialist’s brother to complete home repairs for the client.

  •   A DFPS employee was observed to be intoxicated while transporting a client.

These complaints are sent to OCR regardless of whether the reporter has indicated intent to contact the local office or OCR. The intake specialist who receives the complaint fills out the OCR Complaint email template and sends the complaint directly to OCR. The OCR Complaint email template is located in the Templates section of SWIndex (an SWI internal resource).

Serious Concerns That Need Immediate Attention

If a complaint about non-SWI DFPS staff is received after normal OCR business hours and it is believed the matter needs immediate attention, the concern is staffed with an intake supervisor, worker V, or higher authority if a supervisor is not available.

If it is determined that a call out is needed, the staffing supervisor:

1.   Calls out the complaint to the on-call PD;

2.   Completes the OCR Complaint email template located on the Templates section of SWIndex;

3.   Sends the completed template to the OCR mailbox, the OCR manager, and the on-call PD you contacted. The name and contact information for the OCR manager is located on the Office of Consumer Relations page on the DFPS intranet.

Customer Service Concerns

When reporters share concerns by phone regarding the customer service of local casework staff, (such as “the caseworker was rude” or “the caseworker is not returning my calls”) the intake specialist refers the reporter to the local chain of command which ultimately ends with the Office of Consumer Relations (OCR). The intake specialist provides the phone number to the local office in which the employee is housed. If the reporter has already called the local office or this option is not acceptable to the reporter, the intake specialist:

  •   Provides the number to OCR (800-720-7777); or

  •   Offers to transfer the call to OCR (extension 3105) when the call is completed, if it is during OCR’s business hours (M-F, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, excluding holidays).

For minor concerns regarding customer service, no other action is needed by SWI staff, regardless of the reporter’s intent to call the local office or OCR (1-800-720-7777).

2540 Documenting Complaints in IMPACT

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Complaints Received by Phone, Fax, or Mail

If the intake specialist receives no other information except for the complaint, the specialist enters an I&R Other business call and documents “Complaint about DFPS staff” as the body of the narrative, then closes the I&R. The DFPS staff member named in the complaint is entered into the In Regards To field.

If the intake specialist receives information in addition to the complaint, the specialist documents and processes that information following normal procedures. No additional I&R Other business call is needed.

In neither situation should the intake specialist document details of the complaint in IMPACT.

Complaints Received through the DFPS Texas Abuse Hotline Website

All complaints received via e-report must be staffed with a supervisor for possible sensitivity. If the narrative contains:

  •   Only the complaint and no additional information that would need to be sent to the field (i.e. can be closed at intake), the intake specialist marks the I&R Other business call as sensitive with the reason “Worker Complaint/Misconduct.” If the information provided is a serious concern, the intake specialist copies and pastes the complaint information word for word into the OCR Complaint template which gets sent to OCR. Without altering the narrative, the specialist closes the report as an I&R Other business call.

  •   Additional information that needs to go to the field as either an intake or an I&R Call regarding existing case, the intake specialist removes the information regarding the complaint from the narrative. If the information provided is a serious concern, the intake specialist copies and pastes the complaint information word for word into the OCR Complaint template which gets sent to OCR. The specialist should delete the narrative line stating that the e-report has not been altered. The redacted narrative can then be sent to the field per normal assignment procedures.

  •   Information that needs to go to another agency, the intake specialist assesses an I&R Protect matter refer’d on, marks it as sensitive, and enters the notation of “Worker Complaint/Misconduct” in the associated Comments field. Without altering the narrative, the specialist saves and assigns the I&R to the faxing workload for faxing to the other agency per normal assignment procedures. If the information provided is a serious concern, the intake specialist copies and pastes the complaint information word for word into the OCR Complaint template which gets sent to OCR.

2550 Complaints Regarding Investigations Conducted by Another Texas State Agency

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Complaints about investigations conducted by other state agencies are referred to that agency for review according to the agency’s internal procedures.

2600 Reports for Other Texas State or Community Agencies

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities regulated by other state agencies are handled by those agencies, with the exception of any operation that is under the investigational jurisdiction of APS Provider Investigations. See:

7210 Assessing Jurisdiction Based on Facility

7211.4 Home and Community-based Services (HCS) (Facility)

7220 Assessing Jurisdiction Based on Provider

When reporters allege abuse or neglect of children or adults in other Texas state or community agencies or have concerns about issues related to clients’ rights that other agencies are responsible for investigating, the intake specialist advises the reporter to make the report to that agency during regular business hours.

If the reporter agrees to report to the other agency, the intake specialist provides the reporter with the reporting number for that agency. The intake specialist completes an I&R report that is closed.

See:

2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs)

3620 Processing an I&R That Is Closed At Intake

SWI Responsibility for Contacting Appropriate Agency

If the reporter is unwilling or unable to contact the appropriate agency, the intake specialist obtains the necessary information and completes an I&R to be sent to the appropriate agency.

When reports are received via fax, mail, or internet, the intake specialist completes an I&R for the appropriate agency and follows standard processing procedures.

See:

2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs)

3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

Intake specialists are not responsible for knowing rules and regulations of other agencies.

Emergency

If SWI receives a call for another agency when that agency is closed and the information provided appears to require immediate attention, the intake specialist refers the reporter to the local law enforcement agency.

If the reporter refuses or cannot contact law enforcement, the intake specialist obtains the necessary information and calls law enforcement because of the immediacy of the situation. The intake specialist completes an I&R to the appropriate state or community agency. The intake specialist documents in the I&R narrative that law enforcement was notified. The I&R is processed following standard procedures.

See:

2660 Reports Concerning Law Enforcement

3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

2610 Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Departments

2611 Mental Health Services and Services for Persons With Intellectual Disabilities

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Texas mental health services are administered by DSHS. See 2613 Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Texas services for persons with intellectual disabilities are administered by HHSC. See 2612 Health and Human Services (HHS) Long Term Care and Supports.

The APS Provider Investigations program investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in all programs and facilities for persons with intellectual disabilities. For information regarding state hospitals, state supported living centers, the Rio Grande State Center, community centers serving clients with mental health issues or intellectual disabilities, Home and Community-Based Services (HCS), and Texas Home Living (TxHmL) providers, see 7000 APS Provider Investigations.

2612 Health and Human Services (HHS) Long Term Care and Supports

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

HHS regulates facility-based programs (assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, and nursing homes), multiple Medicaid waiver programs, and community-based programs. HHS also provides help for individuals with medical, physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.

HHS has the jurisdiction to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of persons residing in or receiving services from facilities and programs regulated by HHS, under specific circumstances. For example, APS In-Home can investigate when a nursing home resident is being financially exploited by a family member.

State supported living centers operated by HHS are licensed and certified as intermediate care facilities (ICFs/IID) by HHS. At times, both APS Provider and HHS have jurisdiction to investigate a particular case at a state supported living center. The HHS investigation is conducted from a licensing perspective, while APS Provider investigates to determine if abuse, neglect, or exploitation has occurred. In the best interest of the person served, a joint investigation should be conducted when feasible and appropriate.

2612.1 Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Complaint and Incident Intake

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2018

Callers may contact the HHSC Complaint & Incident Intake Unit at 1-800-458-9858 to report suspected abuse or neglect that occurs in:

  •   Nursing homes.

  •   Assisted living facilities.

  •   Hospice provided in facility licensed by HHSC.

  •   Day activity and health services.

In some situations, callers may contact DFPS as DFPS may also have jurisdiction to investigate the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of individuals residing in these settings (See 1112 Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation of a Person Age 65 or Older or a Person With a Disability.)

The HHSC Complaint & Incident Intake phone line is answered by in-office employees from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. If a call is placed outside of those hours, there is an option to leave a message and the call will be returned the next workday.

There is no emergency or on-call person for HHSC Complaint & Incident Intake, so if an emergency situation is reported, the intake specialist refers the reporter to local law enforcement.

When SWI reporters allege abuse or neglect, or have concerns about consumer rights issues in the facilities not investigated by APS Provider Investigations or situations not investigated by APS In-Home Investigations, the intake specialist:

  •   advises the reporter to make the report to HHSC Complaint & Incident Intake;

  •   completes an I&R Referred to HHSC; and

  •   closes the report.

If the reporter refuses to contact HHSC, the intake specialist:

  •   obtains the information;

  •   completes an I&R Referred to HHSC; and

  •   manually assigns the I&R to the Faxing workload.

See:

I&R Best Practice Narratives

3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

2612.2 Correspondence Received from HHSC Complaint and Incident Intake

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2018

Intake specialists review reports forwarded from HHSC Complaint and Incident Intake
to ensure that the situation meets guidelines for investigation by either APS In-Home or APS Provider Investigations.

There are times when SWI sends an I&R Referred to HHSC, but HHS personnel decides that the situation does not meet criteria for investigation by HHS and returns these reports to the SWI Program Improvement Unit for review.

If the situation does not appear to meet DFPS guidelines, the intake specialist consults with an intake supervisor.

2613 Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

2613.1 Facilities Investigated by DSHS

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

DSHS is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and issues concerning client and consumer rights issues in the following facilities:

  •   Abortion center, ambulatory surgical center, birthing center, end stage renal disease facility, medical hospital, or special care facility, including a private psychiatric hospital.

  •   Comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility, outpatient physical therapy or speech pathology service, portable X-ray service, or rural health clinic.

  •   Narcotic treatment clinic or substance abuse treatment facilities.

The DSHS complaint hotline phone number is 1-888-973-0022.

2613.2 SWI Responsibility

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

I&Rs Closed at SWI

During normal business hours, SWI may receive reports that involve situations under the authority of DSHS to investigate. If the intake specialist determines that the report is for DSHS, the intake specialist refers the reporter to DSHS and provides the phone number. If the reporter agrees to call, the intake specialist completes an I&R Referred to DSHS report, and closes the I&R.

I&Rs Faxed to DSHS

In the following situations, the intake specialist completes an I&R Referred to DSHS and the report is processed according to established procedures (see 3630 I&Rs Assigned to the Faxing Workload):

  •   The reporter is unable or unwilling to contact DSHS.

  •   The intake specialist determines it is a DSHS matter after the call with the reporter already has ended.

  •   The information is received via internet, fax, or mail.

For processing instructions, see 3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency.

2620 Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

The Texas Workforce Commission offers several programs and services for individuals with physical or cognitive impairments. These programs include:

  •   The Vocational Rehabilitation program for individuals with visual impairments, including the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center;

  •   The Vocational Rehabilitation program for individuals with other disabilities;

  •   The Business Enterprises of Texas program; and

  •   The Independent Living Services program for older individuals who are blind.

If a caller has concerns about one of these programs, the intake specialist refers the caller to TWC Vocational Inquiries at 1-800-628-5115.

2630 Agencies Serving Children

2631 Texas Juvenile Justice Department

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

This agency oversees county juvenile detention facilities, institutions, halfway houses, and contracted residential placements.

If a caller has concerns about a county juvenile detention facility, the intake specialist refers the caller to the following contact information:

Hotline: 1-877-786-7263

Email: abuseneglect@tjpc.state.tx.us

Fax: 512-424-6716

If a caller has concerns about a facility, the intake specialist refers the caller to the following numbers:

512-424-6235

Fax: 512-424-6125

See the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) website.

2632 Texas Education Agency (TEA)

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

There are no facilities operated by TEA. All complaints about school policies or school board decisions are referred to TEA. The intake specialist refers reporters to TEA if they have concerns about individual treatment of a child by a school employee or volunteer, but the concerns do not meet criteria for abuse or neglect allegations.

For reports involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation, see SWI Handbook sections CPS 4490 Reports of Abuse or Neglect that Involve School Personnel or APS 6650 Private and Public Schools.

The General Complaints contact number is 512-463-9290.

2640 Veterans Administration (VA) Hospitals

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Persons report allegations of abuse or neglect by staff in VA hospitals to the hospital director for the facility, or to the Benefits Section of the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs Office of Inspector General by calling 1-800-488-8244.

2650 Adult Living Facilities Not Subject to Licensure

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

There are living facilities for adults that provide temporary or long-term housing such as homeless shelters, halfway houses, or boarding houses. These facilities are usually not subject to licensure. To ensure that the facility is not licensed, the intake specialist completes a resource search.

If the facility is not subject to licensure, and the adult resident is age 65 or older or has a disability, see 6640 Unlicensed Facilities.

If a reporter alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult resident who does not meet APS guidelines, the intake specialist refers the reporter to local law enforcement.

2660 Reports Concerning Law Enforcement

2661 Reports of Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, or Death That Law Enforcement Investigates

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2018

An intake specialist completes an I&R Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law when both of the following apply:

  •   A reporter suspects abuse or neglect of a child or adult.

  •   The situation does not fall under DFPS’s or another Texas state agency’s jurisdiction to investigate.

I&R stands for information and referral entry, and Non-FPS stands for Non-Family and Protective Services.

The intake specialist follows standard processing procedures, whether or not the reporter decides to report the matter to law enforcement.

See:

3631 I&Rs For Another Texas State Agency

Assignment Charts

I&R Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law

If the intake specialist receives information about criminal activity that threatens the health or safety of a child or adult, and the information is not under DFPS jurisdiction to investigate, the intake specialist encourages the reporter to contact law enforcement. The intake specialist provides the phone number for local law enforcement when necessary.

If the intake specialist determines that the intake specialist should not send the report to a DFPS caseworker in the field, the intake specialist creates an I&R Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law and closes the report. The intake specialist does this whether or not the reporter decides to report the matter to law enforcement.

If the information requires immediate attention from law enforcement, but the reporter is not a law enforcement officer, and the report does not involve human trafficking, the intake specialist does as follows:

1.   Calls local law enforcement.

2.   Uses the I&R Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law type of report.

3.   Documents the call requesting assistance from law enforcement on the Narrative page.

4.   Closes the report.

This type of immediate attention from law enforcement is called a welfare check.

Reporter Who Is Law Enforcement

If the reporter is a law enforcement officer but the report does not involve human trafficking, the intake specialist chooses the I&R Clearly Not Reportable (Child or Adult) type of report and closes the report.

Human Trafficking

If the report involves any type of human trafficking but contains no allegations that are under DFPS jurisdiction, the intake specialist chooses the I&R Non-FPS Criminal Matter Referred to Law type of report. This applies even if the reporter is a law enforcement officer.

The intake specialist does as follows:

1.   Uses the Add Jurisdiction feature to search for and choose both the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction and the Joint Crimes Information Center.

2.   Closes the I&R.

3.   Closes the report, which causes IMPACT to send a notification to law enforcement automatically.

See 3621.1 I&R for the Texas Department of Public Safety Joint Crimes Information Center (JCIC).

2670 Indian Reservations and Military Bases

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

For specific DFPS programs’ requirements regarding reports involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation on Indian reservations and military bases, see:

4528 Indian Reservation and Military Base

5320 Operations Exempt from Regulation by DCL

6660 Indian Reservations and Military Bases (APS)

2680 Reports Involving a DFPS Program and Another Texas State or Community Agency

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If an intake is warranted for a DFPS program and another agency within the state, the intake specialist completes an intake for the DFPS program.

The intake specialist refers the reporter to the appropriate Texas state agency.

For the I&R types, see 2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs)

For assessing an intake, see 2200 Determining the Type of Report: Intake, Special Request, or Information and Referral

For documenting an intake, see 3100 Entering Information into IMPACT

For processing a Texas intake, see Manual Assignment Charts.

2690 Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) and Texas School for the Deaf (TSD)

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

TSBVI is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired when the alleged perpetrator is affiliated with the facility.

The TSBVI contact numbers are 1-800-872-5273 or (512) 454-8631.

TSD is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the Texas School for the Deaf when the alleged perpetrator is affiliated with the facility.

The TSD contact number is (512) 462-5353.

2700 Reports of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation for Another State’s Protective Services Agency

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

Intake specialists are not responsible for knowing rules and regulations of other states.

If a report is clearly for another state (for example, all persons involved live out of state and the incident occurred out-of-state), the intake specialist advises the reporter to make the report to that agency.

If the reporter agrees to report to the other state, the intake specialist provides the reporter with the reporting number for that state. These numbers are found on the Referrals for Callers page on the DFPS intranet. The intake specialist completes an I&R Protect matter Refere’d on report that is closed.

For processing, see 3620 Processing an I&R That Is Closed At Intake.

The intake specialist completes an I&R Protective Matter Ref’d On to be faxed to the appropriate out-of-state agency in any of the following situations:

  •   If the reporter is unwilling or unable to make a call to the other state for any reason.

  •   If the intake specialist determines it is a matter for another state after the call has been disconnected.

  •   If the information is received at SWI via fax, mail, or internet.

For assessment, see 2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs).

For processing, see 3630 I&Rs Assigned to the Faxing Workload.

If the situation involves a CPS issue, see 4600 Incidents, Victims, or Perpetrators Outside Texas.

2710 Texas Intake With Additional Victims at Risk Outside Texas

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2018

If an intake is warranted for a DFPS program and another state needs to be notified of a victim in that state, the intake specialist completes an intake for the DFPS program and an I&R Protective Matter Referred On to be sent to the appropriate out-of-state agency.

For a Texas CPS intake, see 4513 Texas CPS Intake and Additional Children at Risk in Another State.

For assessing a Texas intake, see Manual Assignment Charts.

For processing an I&R Protective Matter Referred On, see 3632 I&R for Another State’s Protective Service Agency or Out-Of-State Law Enforcement Agency.

Also see:

2222 Information and Referrals (I&Rs)

4600 Incidents, Victims, or Perpetrators Outside Texas

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