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2240 Initial Face-to-Face Contact With the Alleged Victim

APS-IH / November 2008

The APS specialist makes initial face-to-face (FTF) contact with the alleged victim based on the final allegation priority. At the initial face-to-face contact, the APS specialist begins:

  •   assessing the alleged victim’s current danger factors; and

  •   gathering evidence to determine the truth of the allegations and identify any other problems that require APS assistance.

Only trained APS personnel of the specialist classification or higher are authorized to complete initial face-to-face contacts.

2241 Procedure for Initial Face-to-Face Contact With the Alleged Victim

APS IH September 2014

The APS specialist makes or attempts to make a face-to-face contact with an alleged victim, based on the final priority assigned, as explained below:

Priority I – Face-to-face contact within 24 hours of DFPS’s receipt of the report

Priority II – Face-to-face contact within three calendar days of DFPS’s receipt of the report

Priority III – Face-to-face contact within seven calendar days of DFPS’s receipt of the report

Priority IV – Face-to-face contact within 14 calendar days of DFPS’s receipt of the report

During the face-to-face visit with the alleged victim, the APS specialist:

  •   verifies that the alleged victim is eligible for APS services;

  •   begins to build rapport with the alleged victim to facilitate cooperation;

  •   completes a Safety Assessment to identify danger factors and reach a safety decision;

  •   begins gathering evidence to determine the truth of the allegations;

  •   begins an overall assessment of the alleged victim’s situation;

  •   determines what immediate interventions are needed, if any;

  •   schedules a later visit to assess the alleged victim’s living conditions, if the initial face-to-face contact is not made in the alleged victim’s home (If the alleged victim will not return home, it is not necessary to reschedule a home visit.);

  •   identifies any indicators that the alleged victim lacks the capacity to consent to or refuse protective services; and

  •   determines whether immediate interventions or other legal actions are necessary at this point in the investigation.

It is best practice for the APS specialist to conduct the initial face-to-face visit unannounced and unscheduled. This may provide for a more accurate assessment by preventing the alleged victims, alleged perpetrators, or collaterals from:

  •   altering the environment (for example, placing animals outside that normally live in the house);

  •   altering the situation (for example, hiring a caretaker to stay with a bedfast adult);

  •   colluding their statements regarding the allegations; or

  •   avoiding the contact by leaving the home before the APS specialist arrives.

If the Safety Assessment cannot be completed at the initial face-to-face contact, the APS specialist completes it as soon as possible.

See also 2410 Safety Assessment.

2242 Documentation for Initial Face-to-Face Contact With the Alleged Victim

APS IH / April 2015

The APS specialist documents in the Safety Assessment:

  •  the date and time of each attempted face-to-face contact with the alleged victim and check the attempted checkbox;

  •  a contact header for each attempted contact that includes the name of the person and his or her relationship to the alleged victim, if the person is someone other than the alleged victim;

  •  narrative information for each of these attempted contacts including  steps taken to locate the alleged victim (for example, letter sent, research of prior case history, or conversation with neighbors), if the initial face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is not successful;

  •  the date and time of the successful initial face-to-face contact with the alleged victim;

  •  narrative information for the successful face-to-face contact, including all relevant information pertaining to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation gathered at the initial face-to-face interview with the alleged victim, including factors affecting vulnerability and current danger factors noted on the Safety Assessment; and

  •  problems noted at intake that were not observed during the initial face-to-face interview.

All contacts made during the initial face-to-face visit may be documented in the face-to-face narrative section of the Safety Assessment. This includes a contact with the alleged perpetrator.

See:

2333 Documentation of Investigation Contacts

2411 Procedure for Completing the Safety Assessment

2250 Alleged Victim Cannot Be Located for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

APS-IH / November 2008

APS makes all reasonable efforts to make contact with alleged victims when initial face-to-face contacts are unsuccessful. This includes contacting various collaterals, family members, neighbors (if appropriate), reporter, or other agencies.

2251 Procedure for When an Alleged Victim Is Not Located at Initial Face-to-Face Attempt

APS IH / September 2011

If an initial face-to-face contact is unsuccessful, the APS specialist must attempt the second face-to-face contact based on the final priority:

Priority I –Within 24 hours of the first attempted face-to-face contact

Priority II – Within three calendar days of the first attempted face-to-face contact

Priority III and IV – Within seven calendar days of the first attempted face-to-face contact

The supervisor is authorized to waive the second attempt at a face-to-face contact if:

  •   the alleged victim’s correct address is unknown; or

  •   the alleged victim will be inaccessible for an extended period of time.

If the locating information for the alleged victim is known to be correct after the second attempted face-to-face contact, the APS specialist follows the procedures in 2261 Procedure When Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With the Investigation.

If enough locating information cannot be obtained following the second attempted face-to-face contact, the APS specialist follows the procedures in 2551 Procedure When an Alleged Victim Cannot Be Located.

See:

2550 Client Moves or Cannot Be Located Before the Investigation Is Complete

2252 Alleged Victim Is Inaccessible or Unable to Communicate for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

2552 Procedure Used When an Alleged Victim Moves Within Texas

2553 Procedure Used When an Alleged Victim Moves Out of Texas

2252 Alleged Victim Is Inaccessible or Unable to Communicate for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

APS-IH / November 2008

The alleged victim may be temporarily inaccessible, when, for instance, the alleged victim is on vacation out-of-state or has a medical condition which renders him or her unconscious.

2253 Procedure for When the Alleged Victim Is Inaccessible for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

APS IH / January 2010

When the alleged victim’s current location is known, but he or she is inaccessible, the APS specialist:

  •   makes weekly contact with a person who has information about the alleged victim’s availability for a face-to-face visit; and

  •   keeps the case open until the alleged victim is seen or the APS specialist determines that the alleged victim will remain inaccessible indefinitely.

If the alleged victim’s whereabouts and return date are confirmed by a reliable source (for example, the alleged victim is visiting family in New York and will return home next Thursday), weekly contacts are not required prior to the date of return. If the alleged victim is inaccessible following the identified return date, the APS specialist follows the steps outlined above.

2260 Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With APS Investigation

APS-IH / June 2009

Alleged victims have the right to refuse to cooperate with APS investigations. However, APS continues to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation without cooperation or permission to determine an alleged victim’s capacity to consent to protective services and ensure the alleged victim’s safety by seeking information from other sources.

An alleged victim may refuse to cooperate in the APS investigation at the initial face-to-face or by failure to respond to all APS attempts to make contact. If the APS specialist has verified with reliable sources that the alleged victim resides at a specific address and attempts to contact the alleged victim in person, by phone, and by mail have been made, the APS specialist can proceed with the investigation.

See also 2421 Procedure for Assessing Indicators of a Lack of Capacity to Consent to or Refuse Protective Services.

2261 Procedure When Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With APS Investigation

APS-IH / November 2016

The APS specialist may contact, or attempt to contact, the alleged victim and find he or she is uncooperative with the investigation. The alleged victim may indicate he or she does not want to cooperate with the investigation by:

  •  refusing to participate in the investigation verbally or non-verbally (for example, slamming the door without speaking); or

  •  failing to act.

For example, by failing to return phone calls, respond to written communication from the APS specialist, or attend a meeting he or she previously scheduled with the APS specialist, the alleged victim is choosing to be uncooperative with the investigation.

It is important for the APS specialist to verify that the address provided for the alleged victim is the correct address before assuming the alleged victim is refusing to cooperate.

If the APS specialist is unable to verify the alleged victim’s address, the APS specialist follows policy in 2551 Procedure for When an Alleged Victim Is Not Located at Initial Face-to-Face Attempt.

In either of these instances, refusal or inaction, the APS specialist consults with a supervisor about the steps outlined below. The APS specialist documents the supervisory consult in IMPACT.

If the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation either verbally or non-verbally, the APS specialist attempts at least two additional visits with the alleged victim to build rapport and gain the alleged victim’s trust and cooperation with the investigation. These additional visits are not required if the alleged victim is refusing through inaction. The following chart provides some examples of when these two additional visits are needed.

Situation

Are two additional visits required?

Initial Face-to-Face Attempts: The APS specialist has made two attempted initial face-to-face contacts. There was no answer either time.

The card the APS specialist left after the first attempted visit was gone at the second attempt. The APS specialist verified the alleged victim’s name is still on the utility bill for this address.

No – The alleged victim is refusing to cooperate through inaction by not responding to attempted visits.

Initial Face-to-Face: The APS specialist goes to the alleged victim’s home for the initial face-to-face contact. When the alleged victim opens the door, he tells the APS specialist to get off his property and shuts the door.

Yes – The alleged victim is verbally refusing to cooperate. Unless waived by the supervisor, additional visits should be made to build rapport.

Scheduled Home Visit: The APS specialist speaks to the alleged victim and makes an appointment to meet at the alleged victim’s home during the course of the investigation. When the APS specialist arrives at the alleged victim’s home, there is no answer at the door.

The APS specialist verified the alleged victim’s address when scheduling the meeting.

No – The alleged victim is refusing to cooperate through inaction by failing to attend the scheduled meeting.

Unannounced Home Visit: The APS specialist goes to the alleged victim’s home during the course of the investigation to gather additional information. When the alleged victim opens the door and sees the APS specialist, the alleged victim slams the door without saying anything.

Yes – The alleged victim is non-verbally refusing to cooperate. Unless waived by the supervisor, additional visits should be made to build rapport.

If the additional visits are unsuccessful or the alleged victim is refusing the investigation through his or her inaction, the APS specialist:

  •  attempts to contact the alleged victim by phone at least once, if the APS specialist is unable to speak with the alleged victim face-to-face;

  •  enlists the assistance of collaterals to approach the alleged victim with APS’s request for an interview, if appropriate;

  •  sends a certified letter to the alleged victim’s home requesting an interview with the alleged victim, if the APS specialist is unable to speak with the alleged victim; and

  •  consults with his or her supervisor and the regional attorney, as appropriate, about further courses of action in the investigation, if the alleged victim has not responded to repeated attempts at contact.

The supervisor may waive certain steps identified above, including the additional visits, if the supervisor feels that further contact with the alleged victim could lead to allegations of harassment or upset the alleged victim in such a way that is detrimental to the alleged victim’s well-being.

The supervisor works closely with the APS specialist as he or she continues the investigation without the alleged victim’s cooperation. In order to complete the investigation, the APS specialist:

  •  speaks with collaterals such as family members, neighbors, physicians, or other persons who have information pertaining to the allegations and the alleged victim’s overall situation;

  •  completes the Safety Assessment to the best of his or her ability, regardless of whether the investigation is continuing without the alleged victim’s cooperation or will be closed due to an inability to gather additional information;

  •  consults with the supervisor:

  •  for assistance if unable to fully complete the Safety Assessment, or

  •  to determine whether legal intervention is indicated

  • clicks Save and Complete on the Safety Assessment after consulting with the supervisor

  •  consults with the appropriate subject matter expert (SME) as necessary; and

  •  evaluates all evidence and information gathered from other sources to determine whether a finding can be made on the validity of the allegations.

Completion of the Risk of Recidivism Assessment is required if:

  •  there is at least one valid allegation; and

  •  the investigation is being closed using the closure reason Client Refuses Services.

See:

Appendix III: APS Decision-Making Tree

2341.11 Denial or Revocation of Permission to Enter

2421 Procedure for Assessing Indicators of a Lack of Capacity to Consent to or Refuse Services

2421.1 Procedure When the Alleged Victim Refuses Protective Services

2810 Procedure for Completing the Risk of Recidivism Assessment

2261.1 Procedure for Choosing a Disposition When an Alleged Victim Has Refused to Cooperate With the APS Investigation

APS IH / April 2015

Once all necessary steps above have been completed, the APS specialist must reach a finding. The following chart provides guidance for choosing the appropriate disposition and closure reason:

If …

and …

then …

the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation by verbal refusal or failure to respond to attempted contact by the APS specialist …

  •  enough information is gathered from reliable collaterals to confirm the allegations;

  •  the alleged victim refuses services; and

  •  it is not appropriate to seek legal action…

the APS specialist reaches a finding of Valid, and a closure reason of Client Refused Services.

the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation by verbal refusal or failure to respond to attempted contact by the APS specialist …

enough information is gathered from reliable collaterals to confirm the allegations are not valid…

the APS specialist reaches a finding of Invalid.

the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation by verbal refusal or failure to respond to attempted contact by the APS specialist …

the APS specialist is unable to gather sufficient information from reliable collaterals to make a determination…

the APS specialist reaches a finding of Unable to Determine.

the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation by verbal refusal or failure to respond to attempted contact by the APS specialist …

enough information is gathered from reliable collaterals to confirm the allegations and no action is needed…

the APS specialist reaches a finding of Valid with a closure reason of No APS Services Required.

2262 Documentation for Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With APS Investigation

APS IH September 2014

The APS specialist documents in IMPACT all:

  •   contacts;

  •   attempted contacts made to build rapport with the alleged victim and determine whether legal intervention is warranted;

  •   letters sent; and

  •   supervisor and SME consultations.

See also 2421 Procedure for Assessing Indicators of a Lack of Capacity to Consent to or Refuse Protective Services.

2270 Referring Cases to Law Enforcement

APS IH September 2014

The APS specialist immediately involves law enforcement if at any time during the investigation or service delivery the APS specialist suspects allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation constitute a criminal offense.

The APS specialist is not required to notify law enforcement at the point of intake if law enforcement reported the alleged abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation to DFPS.

Law enforcement decides whether to conduct a criminal investigation. The APS specialist cooperates with law enforcement’s investigations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, but the APS specialist does not conduct criminal investigations or act on behalf of law enforcement.

APS cooperates with law enforcement officials, including county or district attorneys, and other investigative entities during a criminal investigation by:

  •   providing case-related information; and

  •   testifying at grand jury or criminal hearings, as requested.

Human Resources Code §48.1522

Reporting Crimes Identified at Intake for Allegations Outside of APS Jurisdiction

When APS determines an intake contains allegations that may constitute a crime but are not appropriate for APS investigation, the APS specialist:

  •   notifies law enforcement of the potential crime by phone or by faxing the intake with a standard confidential cover sheet. Sending the APS investigation or using the LE Suspected form is not necessary; and

  •   creates a Contact Detail page to document the notification.

Reporting Crimes Identified During an Investigation That Are Not Related to Abuse, Neglect, or Financial Exploitation

When APS discovers during an investigation potential crimes unrelated to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, the APS specialist considers the safety of the alleged victim and uses his or her judgment to determine whether notifying law enforcement of the potential crime is necessary. If the APS specialist determines notification is necessary, the APS specialist:

  •   notifies law enforcement by phone of the potential crime. Sending the APS investigation or using the LE Suspected form is not necessary; and

  •   creates a Contact Detail page to document the notification.

As appropriate, APS encourages alleged victims or other involved parties to report to law enforcement any possible criminal activity that is unrelated to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

See:

1341 Procedure for Assessing Allegations

1346 Financial Exploitation (EXPL) Allegations

2333 Documentation of Investigation Contacts

2271 Procedure for Referrals to Law Enforcement

APS IH / April 2017

The APS specialist takes the following actions immediately upon having cause to believe abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation constitutes a criminal offense:

  •   Sends the LE Form Suspected, which is located in IMPACT, for each incident of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation received at intake that may constitute a criminal offense unless law enforcement reported the alleged abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation to DFPS.

  •   If APS has knowledge the alleged perpetrator is an employee of the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction where the alleged abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation occurred, the APS specialist sends the LE Form Suspected to an alternate law enforcement agency with appropriate jurisdiction.

  •   An additional form is not required for each alleged perpetrator in a case because the form field allows information for multiple alleged perpetrators to be listed.

  •   If a new related incident occurs after the form is sent, the APS specialist informs law enforcement by phone of the new incident. If a new allegation or incident unrelated to the originally reported allegation is discovered during the investigation, the APS specialist sends a new LE Form Suspected.

  •   Cooperates with law enforcement officials, including county or district attorneys and other investigative entities during a criminal investigation, including providing case information, if requested.

  •   Requests a copy of the law enforcement incident report.

  •   Sends the following information to law enforcement at the close of the investigation:

  •   LE Form Conclusion located in IMPACT;

  •   APS Case Review; and

  •   Copies of external documentation.

See 5125 Confidentiality of Persons Who Are HIV Positive or Have AIDS.

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