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5000 Background Checks for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members

5100 CASA Background Check Policy

CBCU March 2017

CBCU staff complete background checks on CASA employees, volunteers and board members who have a business need for direct access to DFPS clients and client information.

This policy applies only to CASA volunteers, board members, or employees. DFPS employees, volunteers, and other external users must follow the procedures listed in the associated DFPS policy for that population. Current DFPS employees are prohibited from acting as CASA volunteers, board members, or employees.

CASA conducts FBI fingerprint checks on all of its own employees, volunteers and board members. A DPS Criminal History Check is not required.

A FBI fingerprint check must be completed before CASA requests a DFPS History Check for a CASA employee, volunteer, or board member.

5110 Background Check Renewals

CBCU January 2016

CASA background check renewals are not required and the DFPS staff record in IMPACT stays active until the employee leaves the CASA program or until DFPS receives notification the employee no longer requires access to case connection or no longer provides services at CASA.

5120 DFPS Background Checks and Employment With CASA

CBCU January 2016

If the CBCU issues a decision to deny access to a CASA employee, volunteer or board member, that denial only prohibits the individual from accessing DFPS clients and client information.

The decision to hire or terminate a CASA employee, volunteer or board member is made at the discretion of the CASA organization. In addition, the CASA organization must ensure that CASA employees, volunteers or board members who are not cleared by the CBCU do not have access to DFPS clients or client information.

5130 Improper Use of DFPS Background Check Resources

CBCU January 2016

A CASA employee, volunteer, or board member may not ask for a DFPS background check on another CASA employee, volunteer or board member, unless that person will have access to DFPS clients or Case Connection.

Such a request would violate DFPS policy. The person who made the request could lose access to DFPS clients and resources including, but not limited to, the Automated Background Check System (ABCS) and IMPACT.

5200 Roles and Responsibilities

5210 CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members

CBCU June 2017

CASA employees, volunteers, and board members:

  •   provide personal information to the CASA ABCS representative for the purpose of submitting a background check request; and

  •   will receive and maintain a personal identification (PID) number from DFPS to access the HHS Enterprise Portal and Case Connection.

5220 CASA Automated Background Check System (ABCS) Representative

CBCU January 2016

The CASA ABCS representative:

  •  obtains consent from the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member to submit a background check request;

  •  ensures the accuracy of the vital information obtained on each CASA employee, volunteer, or board member seeking access to DFPS clients or client information for the purpose of maintaining accurate background check-related documentation;

  •  submits background check requests through ABCS; and

  •  receives and maintains notification from CBCU of the background check results for CASA employees, volunteers and board members.

5230 CASA HHS Enterprise Portal Representative

CBCU June 2017

The CASA HHS Enterprise Portal representative:

  •   communicates with all CASA employees, volunteers and board members to ensure compliance with background check policy;

  •   takes appropriate actions to address issues of noncompliance;

  •   ensures that background checks are submitted only in accordance with the requirements of this policy; and

  •   notifies DFPS when a CASA employee, volunteer, or board member is no longer employed with a CASA entity or no longer requires access to Case Connection.

5240 CBCU Staff

CBCU January 2016

CBCU staff:

  •  process and complete background checks accurately and in a timely manner;

  •  provide the results of the background checks to the CASA ABCS representative and CASA employee, volunteer, or board member; and

  •  conduct a risk assessment, if appropriate (see 5430 Risk Assessment).

5300 Procedures for Requesting a Background Check

CBCU June 2017

The CASA ABCS representative:

  •   obtains written consent and the necessary information from the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member to perform a background check;

  •   verifies all required information is complete and accurate; and

  •   enters the background check and submits it for processing through ABCS.

CBCU staff:

  •   conduct the DFPS History Check; and

  •   provides the results to the CASA ABCS representative and the CASA employee, volunteer or board member.

The CASA HHS Enterprise Portal representative approves the request for the HHS Enterprise Portal account and access to Case Connection.

When a CASA Employee, Volunteer, or Board Member Leaves CASA

The CASA HHS Enterprise Portal representative:

  •   terminates access to Case Connection through the HHS Enterprise Portal for any CASA employee, volunteer, or board member that is no longer associated with the CASA Program; and

  •   notifies DFPS when a CASA employee, volunteer, or board member is no longer associated with CASA.

The CASA ABCS Representative:

  •   terminates access to the HHS Enterprise Portal for any CASA employee, volunteer, or board member that is no longer associated with the CASA program; and

  •   notifies DFPS when a CASA employee, volunteer, or board member loses access to HHS Enterprise Portal and/or is no longer associated with CASA.

DFPS Program Support staff manually closes the individual’s personal identification (PID) record in IMPACT.

5400 Background Check Determinations

CBCU January 2016

CBCU notifies the CASA ABCS representative, and the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member whether the request for access is approved or denied.

The initial determination is based on the criteria in Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members.

The chart indicates when a DFPS history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation:

  •  is cleared to have access to Case Connection and DFPS clients;

  •  is an absolute bar to access to Case Connections and DFPS clients; or

  •  requires further review and a risk assessment to determine whether the person should be permitted access to Case Connection and DFPS clients.

5410 Cleared

CBCU March 2017

This determination indicates that the CASA employee, volunteer or board member has no history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that is identified as requiring further action based on the criteria in Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members.

CBCU sends the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member an email that contains the individual’s PID number.

CBCU sends the CASA ABCS representative receives one email stating that the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member has been cleared and access to DFPS clients and Case Connection is approved for the individual. This email also contains the PID for the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member, and must be maintained by the CASA ABCS Representative.

5420 Denied

CBCU January 2016

This determination indicates that the CASA employee, volunteer or board member has a history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that is identified as Barred, based on the criteria in Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members.

CBCU notifies the CASA ABCS Representative and the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member that access to DFPS clients and client information is not granted to the individual.

5430 Risk Assessment

CBCU January 2016

This determination indicates that the CASA employee, volunteer or board member has a history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, but and the history is eligible for a risk assessment.

The CBCU conducts a risk assessment before rendering a decision. Anything identified as a Review in Appendix 3000-2: DFPS History Chart for External Users, DFPS Prospective Employees, Volunteers, and Interns, and CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members indicates that the person is eligible for a risk assessment.

The CASA employee, volunteer, or board member is not granted access until the risk assessment is complete and the individual is cleared.

The CBCU does not disclose any DFPS history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation outside of DFPS. Procedures for emergency disclosure when an individual’s DFPS history presents immediate health and safety concerns for others are outlined by, and may be addressed through, the DFPS program that conducted the investigation.

Based on the risk assessment outlined above, the CBCU notifies the CASA ABCS representative and the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member that the individual is cleared and may have access to DFPS clients and client information, or that the individual is not cleared and access to DFPS clients and client information is denied.

The history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is not included in the notice approving or denying clearance.

5500 New Incidents and DFPS Abuse and Neglect Investigations

CBCU January 2016

SWI notifies the CBCU when a new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is received that involves a CASA employee, volunteer, or board member who has had a background check conducted under this policy.

The CBCU conducts a risk assessment on a case-by-case basis and takes into consideration the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member’s level of involvement in the investigation and the circumstances surrounding the investigation. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the allegations, the CBCU consults with the DFPS Office of General Counsel (Legal Division) to make a determination.

The CBCU determines whether the CASA employee, volunteer or board member:

  •  may continue to have access to DFPS clients and client information while the investigation is pending; or

  •  must temporarily be denied access to DFPS clients and client information while the investigation is pending.

During the Investigation

If the CBCU determines that the allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation reach the threshold of risk, the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member is temporarily denied access to DFPS clients and client information. The CBCU then tracks the DFPS investigation until it closes and a final disposition is rendered.

CBCU closes the IMPACT staff record for the CASA employee, volunteer or board member and notifies the CASA ABCS representative when access is temporarily denied during the course of an investigation.

After the Investigation Closes

Person is Not Cleared

If the CBCU determines that the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member must be permanently denied access to DFPS clients and client information:

  •  CBCU communicates the decision to the CASA ABCS representative and the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member; and

  •  ensures the IMPACT staff record for the CASA employee, volunteer or board member is closed.

Person is Cleared

If the CBCU determines that the CASA employee, volunteer or board member is cleared for access to DFPS clients and client information, and during the course of the investigation the IMPACT staff record was closed out. CBCU notifies the CASA ABCS representative that a new background check must be submitted in order to reopen the staff record and allow the individual access to DFPS clients and client information.

If the IMPACT staff record for the CASA employee, volunteer or board member was not closed during the course of the investigation, no further action is required and the person maintains access to DFPS clients and client information.

5600 Requests to Review the CBCU’s Background Check Decisions

CBCU January 2016

A CASA employee, volunteer, or board member may request a review of the CBCU’s decision to deny access to DFPS clients and client information.

Time Frame for Requesting the Review

The request for review must be submitted in writing to the CBCU within 30 days of the date that the CBCU issued a decision.

The request must include:

  •  the name of the subject of the background check; and

  •  the date the decision was issued.

CBCU Management Review

The review conducted by CBCU management ensures that all policies and procedures were followed. If necessary, CBCU management reviews the decision with the DFPS Office of General Counsel (Legal Division) before issuing a response.

Notification and Confidentiality

If the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member is denied access because of a history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, then the CBCU works directly with the individual who is the subject of the background check to discuss the finding and the CBCU’s decision to bar the individual from having access.

The CBCU cannot disclose specifics of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation history to the CASA ABCS representative or any other individual other than the subject of the check. The CBCU reviews the decision after further discussion with the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member and provides a response to the individual who is the subject of the background check, regardless of whether the CBCU’s decision changed during the review.

Information Received During the Investigation

A mismatch has occurred if additional information is provided proving that the person in the abuse, neglect, or exploitation case in question is not the subject of the background check that the CBCU conducted.

Request for a Second Review by the COO

If the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member disagrees with the CBCU’s review decision, he or she may request a second review by the DFPS chief operating officer.

The request:

  •  is made in writing within 30 days of the denial;

  •  is identified as a “second request for review”;

  •  includes the name of the subject of the background check; and

  •  includes the date the denial was issued.

CBCU staff forwards the request to the chief operating officer to review the decision to deny access to DFPS clients and client information.

The chief operating officer’s decision regarding the review is final.

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