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5200 Content and Maintenance of APS Case Records

APS-IH / February 2009

APS case records consist of all files, reports, records, communications, and working papers which were collected, developed, or used in an abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation investigation, or in providing services as a result of an investigation, and which are under the custody and control of DFPS.

A complete case record consists of:

  •   electronic case information in the IMPACT database; and

  •   external documentation such as:

  •   paper documents, spreadsheets, and photographs that cannot be stored in IMPACT;

  •   computer disks; and

  •   audio and video tapes.

See:

Human Resources Code §§48.101, 48.102

Texas Administrative Code §705.7105

5210 Content of Record

5211 Electronic Case File

APS-IH / November 2016

The electronic case file includes all information that is entered into the IMPACT case management system pertaining to a specific case beginning at intake and continuing throughout the case.

Documents stored in electronic files (including e-mail) other than in IMPACT are not automatically included in the electronic case file and must be described appropriately in IMPACT.

See:

2352 Documentation for Photographs

5223 Records Retention

5212 External Case File

APS IH / April 2015

All external supporting case information that cannot be entered or uploaded into the IMPACT case management system is filed separately. External case files are not maintained when there is no additional external documentation. IMPACT records must never be printed and filed in the external case file.

External documentation may include: 

  •  paper documents;

  •  spreadsheets, photographs, and other electronic documents, such as e-mail, that cannot be stored in IMPACT;

  •  computer disks;

  •  audio tapes and videotapes; and

  •  digital or other recordings of forensic interviews obtained from Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs).

All external supporting case information that cannot be entered or uploaded into IMPACT, including case specific e-mails and printed DFPS forms, is documented in the External Documentation page and maintained in an external documentation file.

Any copies of legal forms received pertaining to legal actions taken before APS involvement, such as powers of attorney, letters of guardianship, and so on are documented in the External Documentation page.

Any legal forms pertaining to current legal actions taken in the case is documented by checking the Document In Case File box related to the legal action in the Legal Action and Outcome page.

See 5223 Records Retention.

5220 Maintenance of Record

5221 Testimonial Evidence and External Case Notes

APS-IH / February 2009

The practice of keeping external case notes risks exposure of confidential client information. The Mobile Protective Services (MPS) application of the tablet PC enables the APS specialist to enter information directly into the case and reduces the need to keep paper case notes outside of the IMPACT case management system.

The APS specialist:

  •   uses MPS to enter case information directly into IMPACT, when possible;

  •   enters information into IMPACT within 24 hours of the contact if it is necessary to take written case notes outside of MPS or IMPACT;

  •   destroys the case notes in a manner that does not jeopardize confidentiality; and

  •   never keeps written case notes in the external file or in the APS specialist’s office.

5222 External Documentation Page

APS-IH / February 2009

As appropriate, the APS specialist maintains an external documentation file for documents that are essential to the case and cannot be entered into the IMPACT case management system.

The APS specialist lists all external documentation, except legal forms (see 4130 Documentation of Legal Actions) in the External Documentation page. This is the only indication for other persons viewing the case (supervisors, coworkers, case readers) that external documentation exists.

The APS specialist selects the appropriate type in the External Documentation page. If none are appropriate, the APS specialist selects Other. The APS specialist also enters the date the document was obtained and the location of the document (for example, case file; file drawer).

5223 Records Retention

APS-IH / February 2009

DFPS maintains APS case records for five years from case closure in order to enable DFPS to research critical information related to the history of a person’s involvement with APS.

APS staff assist in the management of IMPACT system records before destruction by:

  •   merging and relating persons;

  •   updating person detail information; and

  •   merging cases, as appropriate.

See:

5230 Merging and Relating Persons

5240 Case Merge

5260 Destruction of APS Case Records

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