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4430 Child Safety Issues

4431 Concerns Regarding an Unborn Child

SWI Policy and Procedures September 2017

In most cases, SWI cannot recommend an investigation regarding concerns for an unborn child. The child must be born alive before CPS has jurisdiction to intervene. When there are no other children to consider, the intake specialist completes the appropriate I & R type and recommends the reporter contact SWI after the child is born.

There are two exceptions that allow reports to be taken for unborn children:

1.   The intake specialist completes a CRSR – Request for Local Public Service when:

  •  the information does not support an intake for other children or there are no other children in the home; and

  •  a professional reporter (typically law enforcement, medical, or casework staff) is requesting CPS assistance; and

  •  the mother is expected to deliver in the next 24-48 hours.

The unborn child is not included on the Person List. A CRSR should not be completed if the woman is early in the pregnancy.

2.   The intake specialist completes a P1 MDNG intake when:

  •  the birth of the child is expected within 24 hours; and

  •  the child will require life sustaining medical treatment immediately after birth; and

  •  the mother is refusing to consent to the medical treatment.

The unborn child is documented as the OV on the intake.

4431.1 Drug or Alcohol Use During Pregnancy (Unborn Child)

SWI Policy and Procedures September 2017

SWI cannot recommend an investigation for abuse or neglect regarding drug or alcohol use by a pregnant woman until after the child is born. See number 1 in 4431 Concerns Regarding an Unborn Child for the exception.

Other Children to Consider

When a woman is alleged to be using drugs or alcohol during her pregnancy or tests positive during the pregnancy, the intake specialist assesses whether there are current safety issues to other children being cared for by the pregnant woman. The intake specialist’s assessment should include the nature and extent of the woman’s use of drugs or alcohol.

If the information supports an allegation, the intake specialist completes an intake, listing the known children as victims. The unborn child is not listed on the Person List. Concerns about the unborn child are documented in the intake Narrative.

4431.2 Drug or Alcohol Use During Pregnancy (Post Delivery)

SWI Policy and Procedures September 2017

Assessing for PHAB

If a newborn exhibits signs of physical harm due to the mother’s drug or alcohol use, the intake specialist completes a P1 intake with an allegation of physical abuse (PHAB) regardless of the drug screen results.

Signs of harm may include, but are not limited to, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Affect, or Neonatal Abstinence.

When an official diagnosis has not yet been given, the intake specialist can recommend an investigation for PHAB when the physician has expressed concerns that the newborn was physically harmed from exposure to drugs or alcohol.

Assessing for NSUP

When a mother or newborn tests positive for drugs or alcohol at the time of the child’s birth, but the child does not show any effects due to the mother’s use, the intake specialist completes a P1 with an allegation of neglectful supervision (NSUP).

When information is received that alleges a mother used drugs or alcohol during her pregnancy, but the mother and newborn tested negative at the time of the birth and there was no information that the newborn experienced physical harm due to mother’s use, the intake specialist considers the nature and extent of the mother’s substance use and her ability to provide a safe environment for the newborn.

If current safety issues are identified, the intake specialist completes a CPS NSUP intake. The priority is based on the severity and immediacy of the circumstances.

A single positive drug screen early in the pregnancy, with no other safety concerns, does not support an intake.

4431.3 Miscarriage or Fetal Demise

SWI Policy and Procedures December 2010

If it is reported that a woman had a miscarriage or fetal demise and it is suspected that the cause is related to drug or alcohol use or the woman was positive for drugs at the time of the miscarriage or demise, a child death intake is not warranted since there was not a live birth.

If there are other children in the home, the intake specialist assesses whether there are allegations of abuse or neglect to these children. If there is an allegation, the intake specialist completes an intake, listing the children in the home as victims. The child who died before birth is not listed on the Person List, but the intake specialist addresses concerns about the child in the narrative.

See 4300 CPS Assessment of Priority.

If there are no other children in the home, the intake specialist completes an I&R “Clearly Not Reportable.” See:

2323 Information & Referrals

3600 Processing an Information and Referral (I&R)

I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements

4432 Mother With AIDS or HIV Is Breastfeeding

SWI Policy and Procedures April 2009

If a mother with AIDS or HIV is breastfeeding, the intake specialist completes a P1 intake with an allegation of neglectful supervision (NSUP). Information regarding the mother’s diagnosis of AIDS, HIV, or other illnesses is documented in the Narrative.

4434 Risk to a Child Exposed to a Methamphetamine Lab

SWI Policy and Procedures April 2008

When a child is alleged to be exposed to methamphetamine manufacturing (commonly known as meth labs), the intake specialist generates an intake.

Prioritization

When a law enforcement (LE) official or an LE representative (such as victim services) informs SWI that police are at a home or are planning to respond to a home where methamphetamines are being manufactured and children are present, the intake specialist generates a Priority 1 intake.

When a reporter other than law enforcement reports that methamphetamines are suspected to be manufactured in the home, the intake specialist obtains detailed information about:

  •   the location of the lab in the home;

  •   when and how often the drug is being made;

  •   where the chemicals are stored;

  •   whether there is a chemical odor in the home; and

  •   whether children have access to the chemicals or processing equipment.

If the information appears to be credible regarding a meth lab in the home, the intake specialist generates a Priority 1 intake.

If the reporter has only a suspicion of a laboratory in the home and has no specific details, the intake specialist assesses the priority based on all the risk factors.

Special Handling

If the report meets the requirement for special handling (see 2311 Special Handling Reports), the intake specialist:

  •   marks the Special Handling check box; and

  •   documents brief comments, such as the location of the lab, in the Special Handling section on the Intake Actions page (the intake specialist enters the details in the Narrative, rather than in the Comment box).

4435 Processing Intakes Assigned a Priority of N (PNs)

SWI Policy and Procedures March 2015

Intake Specialist’s Actions

In the Conclusion section of the narrative, the intake specialist documents the Assessment Statement, which indicates the program, allegations, and priority, followed by a narrative conclusion.

On the Intake Actions page, the intake specialist:

  •   chooses the priority of PN;

  •   clicks the Assign PN button located to the right of the Priority dropdown box on the Intake Action page; and

  •   selects the appropriate Closure Code from the dropdown menu.

The intake specialist saves and assigns the PN to the designated SWI workload following regular procedures. If an intake specialist accidentally saves and submits a PN, a supervisor is contacted to correct the error.

See:

2311 Special Handling Reports

4300 CPS Assessment of Priority

4436 Protective Service Alerts (PSA)

SWI Policy and Procedures May 2015

Protective Service Alerts (PSAs) are notifications from child protective agencies outside the State of Texas. The families referenced in the notifications are under investigation, but currently have no known address. IMPACT allows the identifying information of these families to be added to our database in the form of a CPS Case Related Special Request (CRSR) and the special request type is CRSR – Protective Services Alert.

PSAs arrive primarily as written correspondence, but may arrive by phone or by Internet report. When a PSA is received the intake specialist searches each family member in IMPACT for history.

Match is Found

If a match is found and reveals an open DFPS case, the PSA is entered as an I&R – Call regarding existing case and saved and assigned to the routing coordinator per routing instructions.

Match is Not Found

If a match is not found, the PSA information is entered as a CRSR. The Program Type is CPS, and the Special Rqst Type is Protective Service Alert.

The family should be entered on the Person List as principals with NO role. All identifying and demographic information that is provided by the reporter should be included on the Call Person Detail page. The person sending the PSA to SWI is the reporter. All other provided information should be documented in the narrative. From the Intake Actions page, the CRSR should be saved and submitted to the designated workload following existing procedures.

See Manual Assignment Chart.

Support staff who discover incomplete CRSRs in the process of performing their duties  request assistance from an intake supervisor or worker V.

4437 Reports Involving Family Violence

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2017

"Family violence" is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

Texas Family Code §71.004

When assessing situations that involve family violence, the intake specialist must consider several factors, which include, but are not limited to:

  •   severity of injuries to the child or caregiver;

  •   severity of the incident;

  •   whether the child is in proximity of the violence;

  •   child vulnerability;

  •   caregiver protective actions;

  •   intended target of violence; and

  •   potential for substantial injury.

A report of family violence has the potential to result in an intake for NSUP, PHAB, EMAB, or any combination of the three. When information regarding family violence does not meet the criteria for NSUP, PHAB, or EMAB, the intake specialist completes the appropriate I&R type. See I&R and CRSR Types and Requirements.

4437.1 Assessing for NSUP As a Result of Exposure to Family Violence

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2017

It is not necessary for a child to have an injury to support an NSUP allegation for exposure to family violence. When assessing for NSUP, the intake specialist considers whether the child is in the proximity of the violence. Proximity is defined as the child being located in a place that reasonably places the child at risk of physical harm in relation to the level of violence. The intake specialist also considers the child's level of vulnerability, injuries sustained by the child, and the severity of injuries sustained by the caregiver. The severity of injuries sustained by the caregiver is an indicator of the level of violence, which helps the intake specialist determine the threat of potential harm to the child.

The intake specialist completes an intake for NSUP in the following circumstances:

  •   A caregiver is in proximity of a child and is committing family violence that has the potential to cause serious harm to the child, such as throwing objects, using weapons to harm or threaten others, or striking others when a child is likely to be hit. This includes situations when a child attempts to intervene by placing himself or herself in close proximity to the violence.

  •   A household member assaults a caregiver who is supervising a vulnerable child, when the severity of the caregiver's injuries prevent the caregiver from providing appropriate care and supervision for the child. This situation does not require the child to be in proximity of the violence.

  •   A child who is over the age of five receives a minor injury as a result of being exposed to family violence, but the severity of the incident could have resulted in a more serious injury.

The priority is determined based on the immediacy and severity of the situation. See 4437.4 Assigning Roles for Family Violence Related Intakes.

Texas Administrative Code §700.475

4437.2 Assessing for PHAB As a Result of Exposure to Family Violence

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2017

When a child is injured as a result of being exposed to family violence, the intake specialist considers the age of the child, the severity of the injury, the presence of special needs or disabilities, and direct threats of physical harm to the child.

The intake specialist completes an intake for PHAB when:

  •   family violence results in any physical injury to a child age five or under or a child of any age with special needs or a disability that raises the child's level of vulnerability;

  •   family violence results in a substantial physical injury to a child of any age; or

  •   a caregiver threatens to kill or substantially harm a child, and factors indicate a reasonable likelihood that the caregiver may follow through with the threat or the child exhibits genuine fear of harm.

The priority is determined based on the immediacy and severity of the situation. See 4437.4 Assigning Roles for Family Violence Related Intakes.

Texas Administrative Code §700.475 and §700.455

4437.3 Assessing for EMAB As a Result of Exposure to Family Violence

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2017

When assessing for EMAB as a result of exposure to family violence, the intake specialist explores the child's behaviors to look for a link between the violence and the child's behaviors. See 4220 Determining Emotional Abuse in CPS Reports.

Once the intake specialist identifies behaviors or symptoms, he or she must determine if these symptoms present an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning. This determination requires the intake specialist to apply professional judgment. The priority is determined based on the immediacy and severity of the situation. See 4237.4 Assigning Roles for Family Violence Related Intakes.

Texas Family Code §261.001(1)(A),(B)

Texas Administrative Code §700.475 and §700.453

4437.4 Assigning Roles for Family Violence-Related Intakes

SWI Policy and Procedures August 2017

The Texas Administrative Code includes specific criteria for identifying alleged perpetrators of family violence. The majority of the information needed to support those definitions is often not known at the intake stage. For this reason, once abuse or neglect has been determined:

  •   the role of the alleged perpetrator is assigned based on which adult caused harm to another adult in a way that presented a safety threat to a child; and

  •   the role of the adult victim of family violence is assigned as Unknown, which allows CPS to change the role if necessary, after the caseworker has assessed the situation in its entirety and can determine if the specific criteria outlined in TAC §700.475 are applicable.

The frequency of occurrence is not a factor to consider when assigning roles. Additionally, the adult victim's actions in defending himself or herself or the children should not be considered as "engaging" or "participating" in family violence.

Both adults may be assigned a role of alleged perpetrator if:

  •   both of them have caused harm during separate incidents; or

  •   one adult demonstrated aggression but the other adult intensified the violence beyond what was necessary for self-protection. (For example: Mother pushes aunt and then walks away. Aunt responds by grabbing a hammer and hitting mother in the head.)

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