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8000 Responsibilities of Volunteers and Volunteer Supervisors

VCE October 2016

All persons who complete a DFPS volunteer application and are given an assignment by the designated volunteer supervisor must receive appropriate orientation and training. Often, particularly in rural areas, the volunteer supervisor conducts these trainings.

An orientation session should be held as soon as possible and cover the following topics:

  •  job basics;

  •  types of available training, including computer use (if applicable);

  •  safety;

  •  attendance;

  •  confidentiality;

  •  personal use of state property;

  •  rights of volunteers;

  •  procedure for acceptance of donated funds;

  •  transportation issues, such as insurance and accident reporting;

  •  reimbursement of expenses if applicable;

  •  legal protection, liability, and immunity;

  •  the volunteer performance appraisal system, including a copy of the Volunteer Performance Evaluation; and

  •  opportunities for growth and job development.

8100 Dispute Resolution

VCE October 2016

A volunteer who experiences a volunteer-related problem that cannot be resolved informally with the volunteer liaison or volunteer supervisor should contact the regional/district community engagement specialist or the OVCE.

8200 Attendance Policy

VCE October 2016

Volunteer supervisors should communicate to volunteers that they value their work and depend on them to be at work at the scheduled time. Failure to keep the scheduled work hours may have an adverse effect on clients, staff, and other volunteers, and diminish the quality of the contribution that the volunteer is making to DFPS. Volunteers must be instructed to notify their supervisors as soon as possible whenever they know they will be absent or late.

8300 Personal Use of State Property

VCE October 2016

Volunteer supervisors are responsible for making volunteers aware that using state-owned property, such as files, computers, equipment, and supplies for personal business is a violation of state law. Brief, local telephone calls are allowed, but personal long-distance calls at state expense are not permitted.

8400 Reimbursement of Expenses

VCE October 2016

If funds are available, DFPS may reimburse volunteers for expenses according to approved state limits and local program budgets. Expenses that may be reimbursed include:

  •  travel;

  •  per diem;

  •  out-of-town meals;

  •  training or conference fees; and

  •  parking fees.

Mechanical repairs or the cost of replacement parts for personal vehicles are not reimbursed.

8410 Reimbursement Procedures

VCE October 2016

For a volunteer to be reimbursed for specific expenses, the following procedures must be followed:

For a first-time reimbursement claim, the volunteer supervisor submits the following forms to the appropriate regional/district staff person:

  • Form AP-152 Application for Payee Identifcation Number

  •  Form 4116xe State of Texas Purchase Voucher and Form 4116xepg2 Purchase Voucher Continuation, with receipts attached, listing items and cost. The voucher must state in field number 20: “Reimbursement to volunteer for travel, per diem to provide services to DFPS recipients under [program code], [program].”

For subsequent claims, only Form 4116xe State of Texas Purchase Voucher and Form 4116xepg2 Purchase Voucher Continuation must be submitted.

Please complete Form 4110 Texas Identification Number Change Request to update address or other information provided on Form AP-152 Application for Texas Identification Number.

8500 Liability, DFPS Responsibility, and Immunity

VCE October 2016

The coverage described in this section is only available to registered DFPS volunteers. A volunteer is considered to be registered when he or she has submitted the volunteer packet and has a volunteer personnel file on record.

8510 Liability and DFPS Responsibility

VCE October 2016

Volunteers are not paid state employees and are not entitled to compensation and attorney general representation in the event of a job-related lawsuit (Chapter 104, Civil Practice and Remedies Code). Consequently, staff should be especially careful to screen, train, and supervise volunteers. Special attention should be given to volunteers who:

  •  provide direct services to clients;

  •  are exposed to hazardous conditions; or

  •  have access to confidential information.

8520 Immunity from Civil Liability for Good Faith Actions

VCE October 2016

According to Chapter 84, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, volunteers serving in charitable organizations are immune from civil liability for good faith actions taken in the course and scope of their service. Although DFPS is not included as a charitable organization under this law, volunteer organizations furnishing volunteers to DFPS may qualify, and the volunteers they provide may be immune from civil liability.

However, in the event of a lawsuit, these volunteers are still responsible for arranging their own legal representation.

8530 Insurance and Accident Reporting

VCE October 2016

DFPS provides accident, volunteer liability, and, if appropriate, excess auto insurance to its volunteers, in accordance with the terms of the insurance policy. Some examples of exclusions include persons who are uninsured motorists and court-mandated community service volunteers, and volunteers processed under Form 0256 Volunteer Group Application/Project.

8540 Reporting Accidents

VCE October 2016

When a volunteer who is directly supervised by DFPS staff is injured while performing volunteer-related duties, the following must occur:

  •  Whoever is available to help should call for medical assistance, if needed, and notify the volunteer’s supervisor immediately.

  •  A DFPS employee who has the most direct knowledge of the accident or injury must notify a manager who can log on to CAPPS’s Manager’s Center to complete an accident report for the volunteer.

  •  Instructions for completing an accident/incident report for a non-employee can be found through the CAPPS Help menu under CAPPS Help for Managers.

When the form is complete click Save to register the report with the HHS risk manager. A hard copy of the accident report is placed in the volunteer’s personnel file, and a copy is sent to the community engagement specialist.

8541 Notification of Intent to Sue

VCE October 2016

If someone notifies a volunteer of intent to sue because of injury to a person or damage to property, immediately notify the regional/district attorney and the Policy and Program Support Unit in the DFPS Office of the General Counsel.

8600 Driving

VCE May 2019

If the volunteer will be driving, the community engagement (CE) specialist:

  •  Ensures that the volunteer has the proper qualifications and supporting documentation to transport a client, has indicated a willingness to transport, and has requested a background check with satisfactory results.

  •  Follows the requirements for approving a volunteer to drive a motor vehicle which are the same as for a DFPS employee, as contained in the DFPS Human Resources Handbook Chapter 1, Selection (B. Agency Employment Requirements; Driver License and Driver Record Requirements). This includes conducting a driving record check with the Texas Department of Public Safety and evaluating the results.

  •  Validates that the volunteer has signed Form 0250c Volunteer Transportation Acknowledgment.

A supervisor must not request that a volunteer use the volunteer’s vehicle for driving duties unrelated to a DFPS client, unless designated in the DFPS standard job description as an essential function of the volunteer’s position.

8700 Handguns

VCE September 2018

Volunteers licensed to carry a handgun under Chapter 411, Texas Government Code may carry their concealed or openly holstered handguns on any premises owned, leased, or operated by DFPS. Volunteers must comply with all legal requirements associated with carrying a handgun.

Volunteers who violate this policy will be removed from the DFPS volunteer program.

A handgun is considered to be openly holstered if it is inside a holster, regardless of whether it is partially or wholly visible on or about the license holder’s person.

Other Prohibited Weapons

Volunteers are prohibited from carrying other prohibited weapons on agency premises or in agency owned or leased vehicles. Prohibited weapons include:

  •   Handguns carried by volunteers who do not hold a handgun license

  •   Explosives

  •   Location-restricted knives

  •   Any other item that could be used to hurt or threaten another person, as defined under Chapter 46, Texas Penal Code

Where Handguns Are Not Permitted

Volunteers licensed to carry a handgun are prohibited from carrying their handgun (concealed or openly):

  •   In areas prohibited by state or federal law or otherwise posted

  •   During home visits

  •   During visits to licensed facilities, child advocacy centers, contracted providers’ sites, private residences, or family violence shelters

Where Handguns Are Permitted

Volunteers licensed to carry a handgun may carry handguns on their person or in their personal vehicles while traveling to and from activities that are in the course and scope of their volunteer activities away from agency premises.

Upon arrival, volunteers, including those licensed to carry a handgun, must abide by posted notices concerning handguns and otherwise comply with the legal requirements associated with carrying a handgun.

DFPS volunteers licensed to carry a handgun may carry handguns in their personal vehicles but must ensure that the handguns are not accessible to clients.

Reporting Violations

If a volunteer has seen or has received a credible report about any violation of the handgun and other weapons policy, the volunteer has a duty to report that violation to the local volunteer coordinator.

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