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2183 Requests for DFPS IMPACT History Search

2183.1 Requests from DFPS Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2015

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 Performing 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 2220 Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal History Check.

2183.2 Requests from Texas Law Enforcement

SWI Policy and Procedures December 2015

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 2183.22 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).

2183.21 Austin Police Department (APD) Victim Services

SWI Policy and Procedures December 2015

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 Call 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:

2183.22 Verifying the Requestor’s Identity

2183.23 Providing the Search Results

2183.22 Verifying the Requestor’s Identity

SWI Policy and Procedures December 2015

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.

2183.23 Providing the Search Results

SWI Policy and Procedures December 2015

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.

2183.24 Providing Case Information in Writing

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2015

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.

2183.3 Requests for DFPS Basic IMPACT History Search from Out-of-State and Foreign Requestors

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2015

An out-of-state protective services or law enforcement agency, or equivalent foreign agency, may request basic case history information from Texas on a family or client in that state. For requests from private agencies, see 2184 Requests from Agencies for Central Registry Checks for Applicant Screening.

Basic case history information includes:

  •   intake and investigation related dates;

  •   names and roles of victims, perpetrators, and other family or household members in the investigation;

  •   allegations and dispositions; and

  •   services provided after the investigation, if any.

If an intake specialist receives a verbal request from an out-of-state law enforcement agency or another state’s protective service agency, or an equivalent agency from a foreign country, asking SWI to complete a DFPS history search, the intake specialist explains that the request must be faxed to SWI on that agency’s letterhead. The following information must be included in the request for an Out of State (OOS) search to be performed:

  •   The work-related reason for the search

  •   Demographic information on the persons being searched, such as the name, date of birth, Social Security number, or previous Texas address

If the request is urgent, the requestor must provide the date the results are needed. For procedures regarding the completion of the DFPS history search for an OOS requestor, see the Out of State Procedures Document located on SWIndex (an SWI internal resource), under the Support Staff and EBC tab.

Once the faxed OOS request is received, SWI support staff routes it to an intake specialist in an E-Unit for processing. After completing the search, the results are documented as an I & R - "Req to exam/modify records." The E-Unit intake specialist calls the requestor and verbally provides the Call ID number and search results.

Any intake specialist may provide the DFPS history results to an out-of-state law enforcement agency or another state’s protective service agency or an equivalent agency from a foreign country who calls back asking for the search results following the instructions below:

  •   The intake specialist obtains the Call ID provided to the requestor.

  •   If the requestor is unable to provide the Call ID, the intake specialist must locate the information on the Call Log using the requestor’s name. The intake specialist then verifies the requestor’s identity by having him or her recall the information previously faxed to SWI.

  •   The intake specialist communicates the information found in the Narrative to the requestor.

The intake specialist documents in IMPACT the following:

  •   The requestor's information on the entry page

  •   The name of the main person being searched the In Re section

  •   The I&R type as Call Out

  •   The initial Call ID number and a statement regarding the communication with requestor in the Narrative.

The I&R is saved and closed.

If a Texas DFPS staff person calls SWI requesting a records check on someone in another state, the intake specialist refers the staff person to the other state.

2183.4 Requests for DFPS Case Record from Out-of-State

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2015

If an out-of-state protective services or law enforcement agency requests a complete case record, the intake specialist refers the requesting agency to the Records Management Group Customer Support Office at 1-877-764-7230.

2184 Requests From Agencies for Central Registry Checks for Applicant Screening

SWI Policy and Procedures April 2010

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 DFPS Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU). For the toll free number, see the Help for Automated Background Check System (ABCS) for Providers page on the internet.

2185 Request for an Individual’s Case Record

SWI Policy and Procedures April 2010

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.

2186 Request for a Copy of a Recorded Call

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2016

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; and

  •  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 Call 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.

2186.1 Requests From DFPS Program Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2016

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.

2186.2 Requests From Law Enforcement Agencies

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2016

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. 

2186.3 Requests From Records Management Group or Attorneys Representing DFPS

SWI Policy and Procedures January 2016

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

2187 Request for Information Packets

SWI Policy and Procedures April 2012

When a caller requests information packets via the phone, intake staff provide the requestor the email or mailing address for the Center for Consumer and External Affairs.

E-mail:

agencyinfo@dfps.state.tx.us

Mailing Address:

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Communications Office

P.O. Box 149030, Mail Code E--554

Austin, Texas 78714-9030

Staff then complete an I&R Non-Protective Matter Referred On. See:

2323 Information & Referrals (for assessing an I&R)

3620 Processing an I&R That Is Saved and Closed at Intake (for processing an I&R)

 

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