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2000 Statewide Intake (SWI) and Case Assignment

APS February 2021

Statewide Intake (SWI) receives reports of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of persons age 65 or older and adults with disabilities.

SWI sends APS allegations to APS routing coordinators, who then assign cases to APS specialists for investigation and service delivery. If there is a need for special handling, the routing coordinator notifies the APS supervisor, so the supervisor can offer guidance in assigning the case.

SWI calls the on-call APS specialist and provides the report information by phone if both of the following apply to the report:

  • It is a report of abuse or neglect requiring immediate attention.
  • SWI receives it after regular business hours.

2100 Allegation Priorities

APS February 2021

DFPS assigns a priority to each intake report upon receiving it. DFPS uses these priorities to establish time frames for conducting initial face-to-face interviews with alleged victims and for delivering protective services. The priorities are based on the severity and immediacy of the alleged threat to the life or physical safety of the alleged victim.

APS conducts the initial face-to-face contact with the alleged victim according to the priorities in the table below.

Priority

Description

Examples

Time Frame for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

Priority I

Allegation that the victim is either of the following:

  • In a state of serious harm from abuse or neglect.
  • In danger of death from abuse or neglect.
  • Serious injuries.
  • Lack of life-sustaining medication.
  • Serious threats of harm or death to the alleged victim.
  • Severe lack of basic physical necessities, which could result in freezing, starvation, or dehydration.
  • Need for immediate medical attention to treat conditions that could result in irreversible physical harm.
  • Sexual abuse when there is danger of repeated abuse.
  • Lack of a caretaker when the alleged victim is unable to do critical personal care activities, and other community resources cannot meet his or her needs.
  • Living conditions that pose a serious health or safety hazard. 

Within 24 hours of SWI’s receipt of the allegation.

Priority II

Allegation that the victim is both of the following:

  • Abused, neglected, or financially exploited.
  • At risk of serious harm as a result.
  • Critical need for medical or mental health treatment.
  • Falling or being pushed, hit, or scratched, which allegedly resulted in bruises, other injuries, or severe mental anguish.
  • Inadequate attention to physical needs that is not life-threatening.
  • Illegal or improper use of the alleged victim’s income or resources, so that the alleged victim is unable to meet basic needs or is threatened with substantial loss of income or resources.
  • Unreasonable confinement.
  • Sexual abuse when there is clearly no immediate danger of repeated abuse.
  • Threats of physical violence or harm to the alleged victim.
  • Eviction from a nursing home expected soon because the alleged victim’s representative failed to use the alleged victim’s income to pay for care.
  • Threats of losing the caretaker’s services, when the alleged victim is dependent on the caretaker for basic needs.

Within three calendar days of SWI’s receipt of the allegation.

Priority III

Any other allegation that the victim is abused or neglected.

  • Intimidation of the alleged victim.
  • Low-quality care, or threats of withdrawal of care, by the caretaker, when the alleged victim needs assistance with basic activities of daily living.
  • Falling or being pushed, hit, or scratched, which is not alleged to have resulted in bruises, other injuries, or severe mental anguish.
  • Need for medical or mental health treatment that is not urgent. 

Within seven calendar days of SWI’s receipt of the allegation.

Priority IV

Allegation of financial exploitation, if the victim is not in danger of becoming impoverished very soon or of having basic needs unmet.

  • Lack of appropriate contribution to food and shelter expenses by household members.
  • Misuse of a nursing home resident’s personal needs allowance by someone who is not affiliated with the nursing home.
  • Improper use of income or resources, but the alleged victim’s needs are still met.

Within 14 calendar days of SWI’s receipt of the allegation.

Title 40, Texas Administrative Code §705.501

See also 8130 Changes in Allegation Priorities.

2200 Case-Related Special Requests

APS February 2021

A case-related special request (CRSR) is a request or mandate to provide assistance. It does not include allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. It requires DFPS to do casework without conducting an investigation.

A CRSR progresses a request or mandate from the IMPACT Intake stage directly to one of the following service stages:

  • C-OS (for out-of-state CRSRs).
  • C-Reg (for all other types of APS CRSRs).

SWI creates the CRSR in IMPACT and sends it to an APS regional office or to the APS state office in Austin, as appropriate.

In the Statewide Intake Policy and Procedures Handbook, see 5810 Requirements for CRSRs.

Types of APS CRSRs

There are four types of CRSRs that APS uses.

Law Enforcement

SWI makes a Law Enforcement CRSR when all of the following criteria apply:

  • APS state office staff requests a CRSR.
  • Law enforcement requests help from APS with a high-profile situation that involves a person age 65 or older or an adult with a disability.
  • The situation does not involve allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)

SWI makes an HHSC CRSR when HHSC cannot find (after one year of searching) a parent or guardian for an adult resident of either of the following:

  • A nursing home.
  • An intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF-IID).

APS is responsible for notifying guardianship courts when an adult has a guardian whom neither HHSC nor APS can locate.

Texas Government Code §531.165

APS Court

SWI makes an APS Court CRSR when both of the following criteria apply:

  • APS state office staff directs SWI to do so because a court or legislator has requested help from APS with a high-profile situation that involves a person age 65 or older or an adult with a disability.
  • The situation does not involve allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

Out-of-State

SWI makes an Out-of-State CRSR when both of the following criteria apply:

  • A probate court or an adult protective services program in another state requests help from APS with a situation that involves a person age 65 or older or an adult with a disability.
  • The situation does not involve allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

2210 How to Handle CRSRs

APS February 2021

SWI assigns a CRSR as described in the Statewide Intake Policy and Procedures Handbook, 5810 Requirements for CRSRs.

A routing coordinator in an APS office receives the CRSR and assigns it to an APS specialist. However, the routing coordinator assigns it to an APS supervisor if it involves a high-profile situation.

When APS receives a CRSR, the assigned APS specialist (or assigned supervisor) does as follows:

  1. Reads the CRSR.
  2. Does as follows to complete the CRSR:
    • Contacts the requester (such as law enforcement or an out-of-state agency) to coordinate the request.
    • Provides the requested or mandated assistance.
    • Asks SWI to reenter the CRSR as an intake report, if the APS specialist determines that abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation may be involved.
  3. Saves the CRSR and submits it to the supervisor in IMPACT. The supervisor’s approval is required before closure.

Documenting the CRSR

SWI sends a CRSR to APS in one of the following service stages: C-Reg or C-OS.

The APS specialist creates a new Contact Detail page in IMPACT for each contact completed while working on a CRSR. To document contacts in IMPACT, the APS specialist does as follows:

  • Chooses Contact as the Contact/Summary Type.
  • Fills in all fields on the Contact Detail page.
  • Clicks the Save button.
  • Clicks the Narrative button on the Contact Detail page.
  • Enters the contact information in the Narrative.

CRSRs do not contain any assessments or service plans.

Closing the CRSR

When the CRSR is complete, the APS specialist saves it in IMPACT and submits it to the supervisor for review and closure.

The APS specialist uses one of the following closure codes:

  • Client Died: The client died before the completion of the request.
  • Services Completed: APS has completed the request.
  • Unable to Comply With Request: APS cannot locate the client, or the request is not the responsibility of APS.
  • Request Withdrawn: The requester cancels the request.
  • Duplicate Closure: A duplicate CRSR was created, in error. (There is no Case Merge option for CRSRs.)
  • Admin Closure: The request is ready to be closed but does not meet the criteria for the other closure codes.

2300 Case Assignment

APS February 2021

Role of SWI in Assignment of APS Cases

When SWI receives a report of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of a person age 65 or older or an adult with a disability, the intake specialist (SWI staff member) does the following:

  1. Documents, at a minimum, the following:
    • Identifying information for the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, even if the names are unknown.
    • Locating information for the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, and directions if necessary.
    • Age and date of birth of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, or an approximate age if date of birth is unknown.
    • Details about the alleged victim’s current situation, including how extensive or severe it is.
    • Limited English proficiency or communication impairments (if applicable) of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator. See 1220 Interpreter Services for Principals.
    • Any known issues that may be a danger to APS staff members working on the case.
    • Sensitive or high-profile issues. See 2332 High-Profile Cases.
  2. Assigns an initial priority for each APS allegation based on the information from the intake call (or the electronic report). See 2100 Allegation Priorities.
  3. Sends the investigation to an APS employee designated in IMPACT to receive cases. The intake specialist identifies this employee based on the county where the alleged victim is located at the time SWI receives the report. (See Case Assignment to the Field, below.)

Case Assignment to the Field

The intake specialist assigns the APS investigation to the county where the alleged victim is located at the time of intake, regardless of any of the following:

  • Reason the alleged victim is not in his or her county of residence.
  • Length of time the alleged victim will be away from his or her county of residence.
  • Alleged victim’s current placement (such as a hospital, jail, and so on).
  • The allegation priority.

2310 Priority I (P1) Intakes after Hours

APS February 2021

When SWI receives a report of abuse or neglect after regular business hours that requires immediate attention or is a Priority I, the intake specialist follows the procedure in the table below for notifying the on-call APS specialist.

Time of Priority I Intake

Day of Priority I Intake

Law Enforcement Request

Intake Specialist’s Action

8 a.m. to 10 p.m.* (daytime or evening)

Saturday, Sunday, or any official DFPS holiday**

Same procedure for all P1 intakes during this time, whether or not law enforcement is requesting assistance.

Calls the on-call APS specialist to tell him or her of the Priority I intake.

4 p.m. to 10 p.m.* (evening)

Monday through Friday (DFPS business days)

Same procedure for all P1 intakes during this time, whether or not law enforcement is requesting assistance.

Calls the on-call APS specialist to tell him or her of the Priority I intake.

10 p.m.* to 8 a.m. (overnight)

Any day

Yes, law enforcement is requesting immediate assistance.

Does both of the following:

  • Places the Priority I intake on the on-call APS specialist’s workload in IMPACT.
  • Calls the on-call APS specialist to tell him or her of the Priority I intake and the request from law enforcement.

10 p.m.* to 8 a.m. (overnight)

Any day

No, the intake does not involve law enforcement requesting immediate assistance.

Does both of the following:

  • Places the Priority I intake on the on-call APS specialist’s workload in IMPACT.
  • Sends a text to the on-call APS specialist to tell him or her of the Priority I intake. See Call Outs at SWI Discretion, below, for exception.

* Exception for P1 intakes that will go to El Paso: Where this table says 10 p.m., SWI staff members use 9 p.m. Central time (8 p.m. Mountain time) instead of 10 p.m. because of the time zone difference.

** P1 intakes that SWI receives on an official DFPS holiday follow on-call procedures for weekends. However, skeleton crew days and optional holidays use on-call procedures for business days (not holidays).

On-Call APS Specialists

Each on-call APS specialist is responsible for checking his or her workload by 8 a.m. every morning for any Priority I intakes that SWI may have assigned overnight. The on-call APS specialist is responsible for any cases on his or her workload, even if the specialist did not receive notification from SWI.

The on-call APS specialist works with the local routing coordinator to assign intakes (other than Priority I) that SWI receives after business hours to a primary APS specialist. 

Call Outs at SWI Discretion

An intake specialist may use his or her discretion to call out (rather than text) a Priority I intake after 10 p.m. if both of the following apply:

  • The intake does not involve law enforcement requesting immediate assistance.
  • The intake may require immediate action.

The APS specialist accepts the call and the intake.

The APS specialist does the following if he or she determines no immediate action is necessary:

  • Asks the intake specialist to place the intake on the APS specialist’s workload, if the intake specialist has not already done so.
  • Follows up with the SWI liaison or the Quality Assurance unit (SWI DFPS QAUNIT mailbox), if there are concerns with how SWI handled the situation at intake.

Contact Information in IMPACT

It is each APS district’s responsibility to make sure the on-call schedule and APS specialists’ contact information are up-to-date and accurate in IMPACT.

2320 On-Call Information in IMPACT for Case Assignment

APS February 2021

APS maintains on-call information in the IMPACT system to help SWI send investigations and information and referrals (I&Rs) to the correct staff member in a timely manner.

The assigned APS employee with Maintainer status in IMPACT makes sure of the following:

  • All information on the On-Call Detail page in IMPACT is accurate, including the following:
    • Employee contact phone numbers on the Staff Detail page are current.
    • Schedules on the On-Call Detail page show correct on-call information.
    • All hours are covered (that is, they have on-call staff members) on the On-Call Detail page.
  • A routing coordinator is assigned on the On-Call Detail page for all times, including the following:
    • During normal business hours, for case assignment.
    • After normal business hours, when the next day is a workday, for assignment of all items not requiring call out, such as I&Rs and APS cases that are not Priority I.
  • For every shift or block of time outside normal business hours, each duty designation has an employee’s name assigned to it (six employees in total). The designations are as follows:
    • Primary Worker (PW).
    • Supervisor (SP).
    • Backup Worker (BW).
    • Routing Coordinator (RC).
    • Program Director (PD).
    • Program Director (PD) for Sensitive Case Contact.

2330 Intakes with Special Considerations

APS February 2021

Certain factors require special consideration when assigning cases. APS evaluates each intake to make sure to assign it to the most appropriate APS specialist. APS routing coordinators review intakes upon receipt from SWI to identify special considerations and make sure to assign cases appropriately.

Special considerations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cases that may require the involvement of a subject matter expert (SME), such as severe neglect or financial exploitation.
  • Cases that require special cultural knowledge or interpreter services.
  • Cases that will be likely to involve the court system or law enforcement.
  • Sensitive or high-profile cases, such as those involving elected officials, specialists in the HHSC Office of Guardianship Services, DFPS staff members or their family members, or the media. See 2332 High-Profile Cases.
  • Cases that require joint investigations with other agencies, such as the Provider Investigations program in the HHSC Regulatory Services Division.
  • Recidivistic cases (in which the alleged victim has been an alleged or designated victim in two or more APS investigations in the last five years). See 2331 Recidivistic Cases.

Routing Coordinator Review

The routing coordinator does the following upon receiving an APS intake from SWI:

    • Reviews the intake narrative.
    • Notes the priority that SWI assigned.
    • Identifies any special considerations.

If the case has special considerations, the routing coordinator assigns it to an APS specialist, in compliance with regular case assignment procedure.

The routing coordinator or the assigned APS specialist notifies the supervisor that the case has special considerations and tells the supervisor which APS specialist was assigned to it.

Supervisor Actions after Notification

The supervisor does the following upon receiving notification of a case with special considerations:

  • Determines whether to assign the case to a different APS specialist. The supervisor assigns the most appropriate APS specialist, based on experience and skills.
  • Refers the assigned APS specialist to a subject matter expert (SME), if necessary.
  • Notifies the district director of any high-profile or sensitive cases. See 2332 High-Profile Cases.
  • Reviews any cases identified as recidivistic. See 2331 Recidivistic Cases.
  • Documents the supervisor’s review and case-related decisions in IMPACT.

2331 Recidivistic Cases

APS February 2021

Recidivistic cases are those in which the alleged victim has been an alleged or designated victim in two or more previous APS cases in the last five years. APS supervisors review recidivist cases to give APS specialists more guidance about difficult or complicated situations that result in recurrent abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

Human Resources Code §48.1523

Supervisor Review

An APS supervisor becomes aware of a recidivistic case in either of two ways:

  • The routing coordinator alerts the APS supervisor about any new case in which the alleged victim has been an alleged or designated victim in two or more APS cases in the last 12 months. IMPACT flags these new cases with an M on the Case Summary page.
  • The assigned APS specialist reviews the alleged victim’s case history and refers the new case to the supervisor if the alleged victim has been a victim in two or more previous APS cases in the last five years.

The APS supervisor does the following after learning of a recidivistic case:

  • Reviews all of the alleged victim’s APS history. Cases investigated in the last 12 months contain the most pertinent information about the alleged victim’s current situation.
  • Refers the case to the subject matter experts, if necessary.
  • Helps the assigned APS specialist develop a long-term plan to try to resolve the issues that lead to recidivism (recurring maltreatment). This includes giving guidance about the need for more investigative actions than usual, or more or different protective services.
  • Assigns the case to a different APS specialist with different skills or experience, if necessary.
  • Refers the case to the Internal Regional Case Management Quality Assurance Team (CMQAT), if needed.
  • Determines whether the root cause may be the alleged victim’s refusal or inability to change circumstances or behavior.
  • Determines whether available resources exist to resolve recidivistic issues.
  • Determines whether indicators (signs) suggest that the alleged victim possibly lacks the capacity to consent to protective services and therefore needs a professional assessment.
  • Determines whether administrative closure is appropriate because APS has already exhausted all reasonable efforts to resolve the problems and knows of no other alternative action.
  • Completes a Supervisor Recidivism Review Contact Detail page.
  • Documents the details of the review and consultation in the Narrative.
  • Documents the consultations with other staff members (such as the APS specialist, subject matter experts, or CMQAT) in IMPACT.

2332 High-Profile Cases

APS February 2021

High-profile cases require more safeguards to protect confidentiality than other cases do. A high-profile case may involve any of the following:

  • A DFPS employee or his or her spouse, significant other, relative, or household member.
  • A ward of a guardianship agency or program, such as the HHSC Office of Guardianship Services.
  • A non-DFPS employee who works in the same office location as DFPS, such as an HHSC employee.
  • An elected official, such as a county judge, legislator, or district attorney.
  • An investigation that has gained, or is expected to gain, media attention.
  • A client who died under unusual circumstances or as a result of abuse or neglect during an open case.

District management may determine that a case is high-profile for similar reasons.

Completing and Reviewing the High-Profile Case Form

The APS specialist completes Form 2272 Notification of High Profile APS Case and emails it to the supervisor.

The supervisor reviews the form, then emails it to the program administrator and district director.

The district director reviews the form and emails it to the director of policy and performance and the director of field operations.

Designating a Case as Sensitive

APS designates some (but not all) high-profile cases as sensitive cases.

After the APS specialist completes a high-profile case form, the APS specialist and supervisor determine whether the case requires designation as sensitive.

All cases involving a DFPS employee are sensitive. In other high-profile cases, the APS specialist and supervisor use their discretion to determine whether to designate the case as sensitive.

Only APS staff members with the appropriate security in IMPACT can access a sensitive case. These staff members include the following:

  • The primary and secondary specialists assigned to the case.
  • The primary and secondary specialists’ chains of command.

To mark a case as sensitive in IMPACT, an intake specialist, APS routing coordinator, APS specialist, or APS supervisor does the following:

  • Marks the Sensitive Case checkbox located in the Special Handling section of the Case Summary page.
  • Enters the reason the case is sensitive in the Comments section.

An APS specialist cannot assign or reassign another APS specialist to a sensitive case. The APS specialist’s supervisor reassigns the case or assigns a secondary APS specialist as necessary.

See:

12140 Alleged Perpetrator’s Actions May Have Contributed to the Alleged Victim’s Death

12230 Client’s Death May Involve Allegations Validated in the Investigation Stage

12240 Client’s Death May Involve New Incidents Related to Allegations Investigated or Validated During the Investigation Stage

12250 Client’s Death Involves New Allegations of Abuse or Neglect by an Alleged Perpetrator

15300 Due Process for Non-EMR (Employee Misconduct Registry) Cases

16100 Disclosure and Release of Case Information

2340 Assignment of Secondary APS Specialists

APS February 2021

Secondary APS specialists help primary APS specialists conduct interviews, research records, and do all other case-related tasks except case reassignment or case closure.

If a case requires help from another APS specialist in the same APS unit, the primary APS specialist does the following:

  • Requests help from his or her co-worker.
  • Gives the co-worker specific directions about what help is needed with the case.
  • Assigns the co-worker as a secondary specialist in IMPACT.

If a case requires help from an APS specialist in a different APS unit, the APS supervisor does the following:

  • Communicates with the APS supervisor or designee in the area where additional case actions are required to establish the following information:
    • Name and contact information of the secondary APS specialist.
    • Responsibilities of each APS specialist (for example, interviewing an alleged perpetrator).
    • Timeline for completion of the tasks.
  • Assigns the secondary APS specialist in IMPACT.

If an alleged victim moves to another area of Texas and the case requires further investigation or service delivery, see Within Texas under When an Alleged Victim Moves in 8220 Alleged Victim Moves or Cannot Be Located During the Investigation.

Documentation by Secondary APS Specialists

The secondary APS specialist enters all appropriate documentation in IMPACT.

2400 Chronic Callers

APS February 2021

Some alleged victims establish a pattern of making allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation about themselves that are frivolous or clearly without a factual basis. These alleged victims and their allegations take APS specialists’ time and attention away from other allegations.

Criteria for Chronic Callers

An alleged victim may be making frivolous or clearly false allegations about himself or herself if one or more of the following occur:

  • The details of the specific allegations are almost exactly the same as previous reports the person has made.
  • DFPS has found that there is no supporting evidence that abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation has occurred.
  • The alleged victim makes repeated requests that DFPS send a particular APS specialist to interview him or her. (This may be a specific APS specialist or an APS specialist of a specific gender.)
  • The program administrator determines that the allegations are a result of any of the following:
    • The alleged victim’s documented attention-seeking behavior.
    • The alleged victim’s documented diagnosis of mental illness or intellectual disability.
    • A situation in which there is no supporting evidence that abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation has occurred.
  • APS has other reasons to believe the allegations are frivolous or clearly false.

See also 14111 Rapid Closure Codes and Disposition of Other.

2410 Notifying SWI about Chronic Callers

APS February 2021

An APS specialist consults with his or her supervisor if the specialist has identified an alleged victim who has a pattern of making frivolous or clearly false allegations. The APS specialist and the supervisor make sure that the alleged victim meets the criteria for the chronic caller list that SWI maintains.

If the alleged victim meets the criteria, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Notifies the program administrator that the alleged victim meets the criteria for the chronic caller list.
  • Requests that the program administrator send a request to the SWI DFPS QAUNIT mailbox to add the alleged victim to the chronic caller list.

Once the alleged victim is on the chronic caller list, SWI sends his or her calls to the district as information and referrals (I&Rs), if each call matches the criteria that APS used to add the person to the list.

2420 Tracking the Chronic Caller List

APS February 2021

Each district maintains a list to track alleged victims added to the chronic caller list. The tracking list includes the following information:

  • The alleged victim’s name.
  • The date the alleged victim was added to the chronic caller list.
  • Specific information about the criteria that APS used to establish a pattern of making frivolous or clearly false allegations.

2430 Removing a Person from the Chronic Caller List

APS February 2021

It is the program administrator’s responsibility to make sure that the chronic caller list is up-to-date. The program administrator checks the chronic caller list on a quarterly basis.

If the criteria that APS used to establish a pattern of false reporting for a particular caller are no longer relevant, the program administrator does the following:

  • Removes the caller from the district’s chronic caller tracking list.
  • Emails the SWI DFPS QAUNIT mailbox to ask SWI to take the caller off the SWI chronic caller list.

Reasons that the criteria are no longer relevant may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The alleged victim is no longer calling in false allegations.
  • Specific details about the allegations that the caller is reporting no longer match the reasons that the caller was added to the chronic caller list, so there is no longer a specific pattern.

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