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4000 Acceptance and Use of Donations

VCE October 2016

What is a Donation?

A donation is when an external entity provides a monetary or non-monetary (in-kind) gift to DFPS or a community partner on behalf of DFPS clients.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is an agency of the State of Texas, and contributions or gifts to DFPS made for exclusively public purposes fall within the definition of charitable contributions.

US Code, Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Part VI, §170(c)

4100 Prohibition Against Soliciting on Behalf of DFPS, its Programs, or Employees

VCE October 2016

DFPS does not have statutory authority to solicit cash, goods, or services on behalf of itself, its programs, or its employees; however, DFPS may accept such donations if they are handled according to guidelines set forth in Appendix I: Donations Procedures. Regional/District directors should identify designees responsible for carrying out these guidelines.

Example: A visitation room needs refurbishing. DFPS staff may not solicit funds, goods, or services to refurbish the room, as DFPS would be the actual recipient of the donation (even though DFPS clients would benefit from the improvements). If, however, an external partner or community member offers to donate funds, goods or services to refurbish a room, DFPS staff may accept such an offer. The same would hold true if an office needed a new copier, printer, or computer.

Placing items for which DFPS cannot solicit on a standing “wish list” is a good solution to many dilemmas; however, staff must be mindful not to include items for staff when working with client-focused groups or boards (especially those with statutory limitations). DFPS staff members are often asked by community members, “What can we do to help?” Directing inquirers to the wish list is entirely appropriate.

4200 Permissible Solicitation on Behalf of DFPS Clients

VCE October 2016

DFPS staff may solicit cash, goods, and services on behalf of a specific DFPS client, provided these donations are linked directly with the client. The client must be the actual recipient of the donation itself, not simply benefit from it. Additionally, any donations solicited or accepted for the above purpose may not come from any person or entity that is either regulated by DFPS or is someone with whom DFPS contracts or does business.

Example: A DFPS client suffers from an eating disorder, and his or her physician has recommended additional treatment not covered under current programs. DFPS staff may seek funds or donated services on behalf of the specific client, in order to provide the additional treatment.

4210 Handling Monetary and In-Kind Donations

VCE October 2016

The procedures for handling donations are as follows:

  •  All donations must be handled in accordance with the guidelines and procedures in Appendix I: Donations Procedures.

  •  Staff should link the client directly to the donor or service provider when possible or advisable.

  •  DFPS may temporarily store donated items (or temporarily hold monetary donations) that have been accepted according to Appendix I: Donations Procedures.

  •  Grant applications or requests to corporate or community funding pools, in which monies would be received by DFPS, must be coordinated through OVCE at the outset of the application or request process, or when notified by an external resource of interest in supporting DFPS, whichever is earlier.

4211 Monetary Donations

VCE October 2016

If monetary donations must be handled, the procedures in Appendix I: Donations Procedures must be followed thoroughly.

Any funds donated directly to DFPS, or in DFPS’s name, must be deposited in the Texas State Treasury so that all funds received and spent are recorded at the Texas Comptroller’s Office. For this reason it is advisable to find independent partners to accept such cash donations for the benefit of programs and clients.

If a partner is not immediately available, DFPS can serve as a go-between in the transfer of funds to their final disposition. However, DFPS does not assume ownership of the donated funds, and staff must not state or imply that such donations are made to DFPS. (See Appendix I: Donations Procedures)

With increasing frequency, external parties are interested in providing financial support for DFPS projects and programs (such as prevention calendars, trainings, and public awareness campaigns).

Grant applications, requests for funding from corporate or community funding pools, and other scenarios in which financial support for DFPS projects would be received by DFPS, must be coordinated through OVCE. OVCE will then seek project application reviews from all appropriate divisions, which may include the Legal, Federal Funds, Accounting, and Internal Audit divisions. This ensures that any assistance received will not violate DFPS’s restrictions regarding the acceptance and use of donated funds.

4212 In-Kind (Non-Monetary) Donations

VCE October 2016

DFPS is permitted to accept in-kind donations on its own behalf, or on behalf of DFPS clients, or its programs. DFPS staff are encouraged to connect these types of items directly to the client.

However, in some instances items cannot be matched immediately to a client, or the donor requests that the item stay with DFPS (for example, a painting for a local APS office’s lobby). In these instances, the donations must be accounted for and reconciled according to Appendix I: Donations Procedures.

DFPS staff must send a Form 0300 In-Kind Donation Thank You Letter to the donor acknowledging receipt of the contribution. Staff should not include any reference to the value of the item (this is the responsibility of the donor).

4220 Use of Retail or Other Gift Cards

VCE October 2016

Increasingly, retail or other gift cards are purchased by community boards, child welfare boards, or other community organizations with the intent of providing needed goods and services to DFPS clients. Access to these flexible resources is a privilege that carries with it a serious fiduciary responsibility.

The following procedures for use of gift cards by DFPS staff exist to protect both our partners’ assets and DFPS staff.

Staff who do not fully comply with these procedures may be barred from use of the partner’s resources and are subject to disciplinary action.

4221 Access to Gift Cards

VCE October 2016

Gift cards are the property of the purchasing organization, and DFPS staff is accountable to the organization for their proper use.

Gift cards must be secured in a locked cabinet, with access controlled by the community organization. In the case of unmanned resource rooms, the organization or partner may work with the regional/district director and state office staff to identify an acceptable plan for supervised access to the secured cards in that location.

Because these are cash-like instruments, staff should not accept gift cards directly from individuals or other organizations. Donors should be referred to the partner organization. In the event this is not possible because of the absence of a partner, the donation must be directed to the supervisor who ensures the gift card is logged according to the DFPS donations policy (see Appendix I: Donations Procedures).

4300 Securing Meeting Space

VCE October 2016

DFPS staff cannot solicit the donation of meeting space or the waiver of usual fees. Meeting space for DFPS initiatives or programs is normally provided by DFPS as a business process.

Because many DFPS programs (such as Family Group Decision-Making) or stakeholder initiatives (such as Special Task Units) require meeting rooms of a nature not found in DFPS offices, the following suggestions may be helpful to staff in complying with policy while meeting the goals of improved services for clients.

  •  Meeting space that is generally made available free of charge (whether to non-profits or the public at large) is not considered a donation. Staff should identify and maintain a list of free-of-charge meeting facilities in their communities.

  •  If a client’s family member belongs to an organization or church and membership entitles them to use of the meeting facilities without charge, this is not considered a donation. The family member makes arrangements with the organization.

  •  If a meeting facility normally charges for meeting space, DFPS cannot solicit a waiver or reduction of fees. However, if an entity wants to offer meeting space free of charge as its contribution towards strengthening families and protecting the vulnerable in its community, DFPS staff can accept that offer.

  •  DFPS staff may not solicit or accept meeting space donations from contractors, vendors, or licensees.

4400 Donations from Contractors, Vendors, or Licensees

VCE October 2016

DFPS staff and volunteers may not solicit donations or accept unsolicited donations from contractors, vendors, or licensees. Licensees are any person or organization that DFPS regulates; for example, a licensed day care center is regulated and licensed through DFPS.

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