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9000 Case Contacts

APS February 2021

APS makes contacts with alleged victims or clients, alleged perpetrators, and collaterals to conduct investigations and provide or arrange for services, as needed.

A successful contact is one in which the APS specialist or other person conducting the contact actually sees or speaks with the alleged victim or client, alleged perpetrator, or appropriate collateral.

9100 Requirements for Contacts

APS February 2021

Narrative Documentation

The goal of narrative documentation is to tell the whole story of the case with no major gaps. This documentation is all of the following:

  • Clearly written.
  • Well organized.
  • Easy to read.
  • Free of errors in spelling and grammar (except occasional minor errors).

Anyone who reads the case’s narrative documentation can clearly understand the following:

  • Actions APS took to investigate the allegations.
  • The justification (reasons) for all findings (conclusions about allegations).
  • The alleged victim’s whole situation at the start of the case, including all of the alleged victim’s problems and needs.
  • The actions that APS or others took on behalf of the alleged victim or client and the reasons for taking them.
  • Actions APS considered but did not take and the reasons for not taking them.
  • The results of actions that APS or others took.
  • The client’s situation at the close of the case.
  • Reasons why remaining problems, if any, could not be resolved.

Contact Detail Page in IMPACT

The APS specialist documents all case contacts using the Contact Detail page in IMPACT. To do this, the APS specialist does the following:

  1. Chooses the appropriate Contact/Summary Type.
  2. Fills in all fields on the Contact Detail page.
  3. Clicks the Save button.
  4. Clicks the Narrative button on the Contact Detail page.
  5. Enters the narrative contact information.

If the APS specialist contacts multiple agencies or service providers in rapid succession to provide immediate interventions or services to address the needs of the alleged victim or client, the APS specialist can choose to document these contacts on a single Contact Detail page.

The APS specialist uses individual Contact Detail pages for all other contacts.

Purpose of Contacts

The Contact Detail page has four choices in the Purpose drop-down menu. The APS specialist chooses the appropriate purpose of the contact.

The four options are as follows:

  • Assessment. The APS specialist assesses the alleged victim’s situation to determine the need for services. The assessment process starts with the intake and continues until APS has obtained all relevant information from the alleged victim, the alleged perpetrator, and collaterals.
  • Case Planning. APS develops a case plan, also called a service plan, when the assessment process is complete. This plan identifies the care, services, and resources required to meet the client’s needs, and how APS (or others) might deliver them most appropriately. APS develops the service plan through a collaborative process involving the client, the caretaker, and others, as appropriate.
  • Service Coordination and Monitoring. The APS specialist makes sure that the client has access to the care, services, and resources in the service plan. The APS specialist does this by making face-to-face visits and phone calls to the client or collaterals to make sure services occur and are appropriate. The APS specialist’s actions under this Purpose option include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Arranging for resources, services, or both.
    • Purchasing resources, services, or both with purchased client services (PCS) funds.
    • Conducting safety contacts or service contacts.
  • Case Plan Reassessment. The APS specialist continues to assess whether services in the service plan are adequate to meet the client’s needs. APS may change actions in the service plan if those actions have not resolved the identified problems.

New allegations that APS discovers during the Maintenance or Intensive Case Services stage require a new intake and a new assessment.

Content of Contacts

Contact narratives, especially those that summarize interviews, must be clear and include a summary of what was said, done, or observed.

If a person contacted is not listed on the Person Detail page, the APS specialist includes in the narrative the person’s name and relationship to the alleged victim or client (such as brother, friend, home health care provider, and so on).

9110 Time Frame for Entry of Contacts

APS February 2021

The APS specialist documents all contacts and attempted contacts as they occur or as soon afterward as possible. This maximizes both the accuracy of documentation and the efficiency of casework.

The APS specialist documents all contacts in a timely manner. Timely documentation means documenting on the day the contact occurred or by 11:59 p.m. the next business day. For example:

  • If a contact occurred at 4 p.m. on Thursday, the APS specialist documents that contact by 11:59 p.m. on Friday.
  • If a contact occurred at 4 p.m. on Friday, the APS specialist documents that contact by 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

See:

9510 Safety Contacts

9520 Service Contacts

9200 Case Initiation

APS February 2021

APS initiates a prompt and thorough investigation, regardless of the case’s assigned priority, within 24 hours of Statewide Intake receiving an allegation of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

Case initiation means APS’s first contact with a person who has current and reliable information about the alleged victim’s situation.

The purpose of a case initiation is to find out whether the alleged victim’s basic needs are met and whether he or she will be safe until the APS specialist can make face-to-face contact with him or her. During the case initiation, the APS specialist begins the process of investigating the allegations and assessing the need for protective services.

A successful case initiation involves the following:

  • Asking preliminary questions about the allegations.
  • Gathering enough information to determine whether the priority assigned at intake is appropriate, and which of the following applies:
    • The alleged victim needs emergency protective services.
    • The alleged victim’s basic needs are met, and he or she will be safe until the APS specialist makes the face-to-face contact as policy requires.

Texas Human Resources Code §48.151

Only trained APS staff members with the specialist classification or higher are allowed to initiate APS cases.

See also:

8130 Changes in Allegation Priorities

8300 New Allegations and New Intakes During the Investigation

Determining Appropriate Contacts for Case Initiation

The APS specialist does the following:

  • Initiates cases by contacting appropriate people who can give objective, current, and reliable information about alleged victims’ situations.
  • Does not initiate cases by contacting alleged perpetrators of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation in the current case because they may have a motive to hide or minimize alleged victims’ situations.
  • Generally does not initiate cases by any of the following non-preferred methods:
    • Requesting welfare checks by law enforcement. When making such checks, law enforcement officers sometimes do not gather the information required about the alleged victim’s overall situation to meet the requirements for case initiation.
    • Calling alleged victims of abuse on the phone when it is possible the alleged perpetrator could be in the home. Alleged victims of abuse may not be able to give reliable information if the alleged perpetrator can overhear the conversation. This may also put alleged victims at risk of further abuse.
    • Calling people whom DFPS or the reporter has identified, at the point of intake, as having suicidal thoughts, mental illness, intellectual disabilities, or other forms of mental impairment. Mental impairment can hamper the ability to give reliable information about alleged victims’ situations.

Before initiating a case by contacting a person suspected to have a mental impairment, the APS specialist considers the following:

  • Previous acquaintance with the person (if any).
  • Specific information about the nature and severity of the mental impairment.
  • Nature and severity of the allegations.
  • Safety concerns about the alleged victim.

If the APS specialist has any concerns about whether it is appropriate to use a non-preferred method described above, the APS specialist consults with the supervisor before making the case initiation contact.

If the APS specialist initiates a case using any of the non-preferred methods above, then the APS specialist clearly documents the reasons in the case initiation contact narrative.

Factors to Consider in Determining Appropriate Contacts for Case Initiation

When deciding whom to contact to initiate the case, the APS specialist considers the following:

  • Length of time since the person last had contact with the alleged victim.
  • Characteristics of the person being contacted, which include:
    • Mental ability to provide reliable information.
    • Motivation for providing false or misleading information.
    • Source of knowledge about the alleged victim (for example, firsthand or through someone else).
    • Scope of knowledge about the alleged victim’s overall situation.

9210 Completing a Case Initiation

APS February 2021

The APS specialist does the following:

  1. Contacts the alleged victim or a collateral (for example, the reporter, a family member, or another person identified at intake) who has current and reliable information to gather necessary information as outlined in 9200 Case Initiation.
  2. Completes Section 1 of the Safety Assessment.

If the APS specialist conducts the case initiation by phone and identifies a situation that poses a threat to life or safety that needs to be resolved before the initial face-to-face contact through the use of purchased client services (PCS) funds, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Authorizes PCS as appropriate, even if unable to assess the alleged victim’s financial situation or determine whether alternate resources exist.
  • Gets the alleged victim’s income and budget information during the initial face-to-face contact to determine availability of alternate resources to meet the alleged victim’s needs.

When the APS specialist completes the case initiation at the same time as the initial face-to-face contact, the APS specialist gets income and budget information at that time.

See:

8140 Current Danger Factors and Immediate Interventions

10911 Client’s Budget and Financial Resources

If Case Initiation Cannot Be Completed by Phone

If the APS specialist is unable to gather the necessary information from a collateral or the alleged victim, if appropriate, by phone, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Researches prior case history for information about other collaterals.
  • Contacts other agencies for more information, if the intake narrative or other sources reveal that the alleged victim is involved with other agencies.
  • Attempts to make face-to-face contact with the alleged victim.
  • Contacts neighbors, if appropriate and nearby.

If Case Initiation Cannot Be Completed in 24 Hours

If the APS specialist has taken the actions listed above, including attempting to make face-to-face contact with the alleged victim, and is still unable to complete a successful case initiation within 24 hours, the APS specialist consults with his or her supervisor before the 24-hour initiation time frame expires. The supervisor determines whether the APS specialist has met all of the requirements listed above.

When the case initiation is unsuccessful within the 24-hour time frame, the APS specialist attempts, within the next two calendar days, at least one more phone contact with all known collaterals who may have current and reliable information and whom the specialist has not already successfully contacted.

Example: APS receives an intake at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Despite exhaustive efforts, the APS specialist cannot reach any collaterals by phone and is not able to see the alleged victim in the first 24 hours. On Saturday or Sunday, the APS specialist makes one more attempt to contact by phone all known collaterals who have not already been successfully contacted.

Documenting the Case Initiation

The APS specialist enters the following information in the Safety Assessment:

  • The date and time of the successful case initiation (in Section 1).
  • Narrative documentation about the case initiation, including the following:
    • A contact header with the name of the person contacted and his or her relationship to the alleged victim.
    • Information from a collateral with current and reliable information or from the alleged victim.

If the APS specialist makes multiple contacts before the successful case initiation, those contacts can all be included in a single generic Contact Detail page.

If the APS specialist was not able to complete a successful case initiation within the 24-hour time frame, the APS specialist enters the following information in the Safety Assessment:

  • The date and time that the APS specialist and supervisor discussed the APS specialist’s attempts to complete a successful case initiation (in Section 1).
  • Narrative documentation about this supervisor consult.

If the APS specialist completes the case initiation and initial face-to-face contact at the same time, the APS specialist may leave the narrative portion of Section 1 blank and enter the narrative information for both contacts in Section 3 of the Safety Assessment.

See:

How to Document Initial Face-to-Face Contact in 9400 Initial Face-to-Face Contact With the Alleged Victim

9110 Time Frame for Entry of Contacts

Examples of Narrative Documentation for Case Initiation

Note: TCT stands for “telephone call to”.

Example One:

July 14, 8:15 AM. TCT neighbor Joyce Escalante (555-5551). Ms. Escalante said she visits the alleged victim’s house almost every day. The last time Ms. Escalante saw the alleged victim was late yesterday afternoon. The alleged victim’s house is neat and clean. The alleged victim does all her activities of daily living (ADLs) without any problem. The alleged victim is able to meet her basic needs, including paying her bills and shopping for food. The alleged victim takes medications for her asthma and has plenty on hand. She just seems to get confused and sometimes wanders at night. Ms. Escalante’s husband found the alleged victim two blocks away and helped the alleged victim get home. He said she didn’t seem to know where she was or where she was going. The police have also helped the alleged victim home on two other occasions. Ms. Escalante told the alleged victim’s daughter about the problem this morning, and the daughter is now staying with the alleged victim until other arrangements can be made.

July 14, 9:45 AM. TCT alleged victim’s home (555-6569). Elsa Frost, alleged victim’s daughter, answered. Ms. Frost said she intends to stay with her mother until other arrangements can be made. She has made an appointment for her mother to see her primary care provider this afternoon. The case will remain a Priority 2. No immediate action necessary.

Example Two:

October 8, 1:35 PM. TCT alleged victim (555-7423). Ms. Robinson says she has received a cutoff notice from the gas company. Service will end on Friday if payment of $94 is not received. She will be okay if it is cut off for a day or two, but she says there’s a cold snap coming next week, and she did not want to be without heat. I asked if she needed assistance with anything else. She hesitated but said she was out of her blood pressure medication and almost out of food. Her nephew stole half her money at the beginning of the month, but she didn’t call the police. She hasn’t told anyone about needing medication and food because she didn’t want to complain about too much at one time. She was afraid she might not get help with her gas bill. Priority upgraded from P2 to P1. Will call supervisor to request permission to get food and medicine for her today. Will visit this afternoon.

9300 Self-Neglect Resolved Before Initial Face-to-Face

APS February 2021

APS has the option of closing certain self-neglect cases without making face-to-face contact with alleged victims. Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is not required if both of the following apply:

  • The only allegation is self-neglect.
  • The APS specialist gathered enough information during case initiation or at any time before a successful face-to-face contact to determine that all alleged problems have been resolved and no other problems exist.

Determining Self-Neglect Resolved Before Initial Face-to-Face

The APS specialist does the following:

  • Confirms that there are no allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation by an alleged perpetrator.
  • Completes a case initiation contact or other contact with the alleged victim or an appropriate collateral who has current and reliable information.
  • Verifies with the alleged victim or appropriate collateral that the alleged problem existed but has been resolved.
  • Verifies with any involved entity (for example, an electric company or pharmacy) that the problem has been resolved.
  • Determines that no other problems exist beyond what was alleged.
  • Makes sure purchased client services (PCS) funds are not necessary or spent.

When using the closure reason of Self-Neglect Resolved Before Initial Face-to-Face, the APS specialist is not required to complete the following:

  • A Risk of Recidivism Assessment.
  • A self-neglect conclusion summary.

See also:

8700 Risk of Recidivism Assessment (RORA)

8641 Self-Neglect Conclusion Summary

Documenting Self-Neglect Resolved Before Initial Face-to-Face

The APS specialist does the following:

  • Completes only Section 1 of the Safety Assessment.
  • Enters narrative documentation about the case initiation in the Safety Assessment.
  • Completes a Contact Detail page, including narrative, for any other contacts made.
  • Enters a finding of Valid on the Allegation Detail page.
  • Enters a closure reason of Self-Neglect Resolved Before Initial Face-to-Face.
  • Submits the investigation to the supervisor for approval to close the case.

See:

9000 Case Contacts

14110 Investigation Stage Closure Codes

9400 Initial Face-to-Face Contact With the Alleged Victim

APS February 2021

The APS specialist makes initial face-to-face (FTF) contact with the alleged victim based on the final allegation priority. (See When to Make Face-to-Face Contact, below.)

At the initial face-to-face contact, the APS specialist begins by doing the following:

  • Assessing the current danger factors that affect the alleged victim.
  • Gathering evidence to determine whether, or to what extent, the allegations are true.
  • Identifying any other problems that require APS assistance.

Only trained APS staff members with the specialist classification or higher are authorized to complete initial face-to-face contacts.

When to Make Face-to-Face Contact

The APS specialist makes, or attempts to make, face-to-face contact with the alleged victim. The deadline for making this contact depends on the report’s final priority, as follows:

  • Priority I – Within 24 hours of DFPS’s receipt of the report.
  • Priority II – Within three calendar days of DFPS’s receipt of the report.
  • Priority III – Within seven calendar days of DFPS’s receipt of the report.
  • Priority IV – Within 14 calendar days of DFPS’s receipt of the report.

What to Do During Face-to-Face Contact

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

  • 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. (If the APS specialist cannot complete this during the contact, the APS specialist completes it as soon as possible. For example, “as soon as possible” may mean in his or her car immediately after the contact or once any danger factors present have been addressed.)
  • Begins gathering evidence to determine whether, or to what extent, the allegations are true.
  • Begins an overall, global 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 does not occur in the alleged victim’s home. (This is not necessary if the alleged victim will not return home.)
  • Contacts the alleged victim again later, if the APS specialist observed the alleged victim but he or she was unable to talk at the time of the visit. For example, the APS specialist saw the alleged victim comatose in the hospital, or sleeping at home and could not awaken him or her.
  • Identifies any indicators that the alleged victim lacks the capacity to consent to or refuse protective services. See 10310 Assessing Indicators (Signs) of a Lack of Capacity to Consent.
  • Determines whether immediate interventions or other legal actions are necessary at this point in the investigation.

Why Not to Announce Initial Face-to-Face Contact

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 victim, alleged perpetrator, or collaterals from doing the following:

  • Changing the environment (for example, placing animals outside that normally live in the house).
  • Changing the situation (for example, hiring a caretaker to stay with an adult who is not able to get out of bed).
  • Working together to plan their statements about the allegations.
  • Avoiding the contact by leaving before the APS specialist arrives.

See:

6121 Interviewing an Alleged Victim or Client

8100 Safety Assessment

How to Document Initial Face-to-Face Contact

The APS specialist documents in the Safety Assessment the following information:

  • The date and time of each attempted face-to-face contact with the alleged victim. The specialist also checks the Attempted checkbox for each of these.
  • 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 the APS specialist took to find the alleged victim, if the first attempted initial face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is not successful. These steps may include, for example, sending a letter, researching prior case history, or talking with neighbors.
  • The date and time of the successful initial face-to-face contact with the alleged victim.
  • Narrative information for the successful initial face-to-face contact, including all relevant information about abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation that the APS specialist gathers at the initial face-to-face interview with the alleged victim. This includes factors affecting vulnerability and current danger factors noted in the Safety Assessment.
  • Problems that SWI noted at intake that the APS specialist did not observe during the initial face-to-face contact.

The APS specialist may document all contacts made during the initial face-to-face visit in the face-to-face narrative section of the Safety Assessment. This includes a contact with the alleged perpetrator.

See:

8100 Safety Assessment

8210 Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With APS Investigation

8220 Alleged Victim Moves or Cannot Be Located During the Investigation

9000 Case Contacts

9410 Alleged Victim Cannot Be Seen for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

APS February 2021

APS makes all reasonable efforts to see the alleged victim when the first attempted initial face-to-face contact is unsuccessful. Reasonable efforts include contacting various collaterals, family members, neighbors (if appropriate), the reporter, or other agencies.

When the APS specialist does not see the alleged victim at the first attempted initial face-to-face contact, the APS specialist makes a second attempt 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 may waive the second attempt at an initial face-to-face contact if either of the following apply:

  • The alleged victim’s correct address is unknown.
  • The alleged victim will be inaccessible for a long time.

The APS specialist follows the procedures in 8210 Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With APS Investigation if both of the following apply:

  • The APS specialist knows the locating information for the alleged victim is correct.
  • The second attempted initial face-to-face contact is unsuccessful.

The APS specialist follows the procedures in 8220 Alleged Victim Moves or Cannot Be Located During the Investigation if both of the following apply:

  • APS cannot get enough locating information.
  • The second attempted initial face-to-face contact is unsuccessful.

See:

8220 Alleged Victim Moves or Cannot Be Located During the Investigation

9420 Alleged Victim Is Inaccessible for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

9420 Alleged Victim Is Inaccessible for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

APS February 2021

The alleged victim may be temporarily inaccessible to APS, when, for instance, the alleged victim is on vacation out-of-state.

When APS knows the alleged victim’s current location, but he or she is temporarily inaccessible, the APS specialist does as follows:

  • Enters the date and time of the contact when the APS specialist found out the alleged victim is currently inaccessible, as an attempted initial face-to-face contact by marking the Attempted checkbox.
  • Documents narrative information for the contact in the Safety Assessment.
  • Completes the Safety Assessment to the best of his or her ability.
  • Makes weekly contact with a person who has information about the alleged victim’s availability for a face-to-face visit.
  • Keeps the case open until the APS specialist sees the alleged victim or determines that the alleged victim will remain inaccessible indefinitely.
  • Completes a Safety Reassessment when the APS specialist sees the alleged victim.

If a reliable source confirms the alleged victim’s location and return date (for example, the alleged victim is visiting family in New York and will return home next Thursday), weekly contacts are not required before the return date. If the alleged victim is still inaccessible after the identified return date, the APS specialist follows the steps above.

See:

8100 Safety Assessment

9410 Alleged Victim Cannot Be Seen for Initial Face-to-Face Contact

9500 Safety and Service Contacts

APS February 2021

One or more safety or service contacts are required every calendar month that a case is open.

Exception: Safety and service contacts are not required during the following months:

  • The month of the initial face-to-face contact, if that contact was successful.
  • The month of the completed Safety Assessment, if the initial face-to-face contact was not successful.

In all cases, the required number of contacts and required method of contact are based on the safety decision or final risk level.

Contact Standards

The contact standard is the number of required contacts between the APS specialist or another appropriate person and the alleged victim or client or a credible collateral every calendar month. The contact standard for a case may change after completion of an assessment or progression of the case to a new stage or stage type.

Investigations

The contact standard during the Investigation stage depends on the following:

  • The safety decision reached in the Safety Assessment.
  • The monitoring agreement that the APS specialist makes with the alleged victim (if conditionally safe) or supervisor (if unsafe), if applicable.

See Safety Decisions and Contact Standards in 9510 Safety Contacts.

Service Stages

The contact standard during a service stage depends on whether the case progresses to Maintenance or Intensive Case Services (ICS).

During a Maintenance case, only one contact is required each month after the case has progressed to that stage. If a case progresses from Maintenance to ICS, the contact standard depends on the final risk level from the Risk of Recidivism Assessment.

During an ICS case, the final risk level from the Risk of Recidivism Assessment indicates the minimum number of required contacts. In ICS, the contact standard can change after the first calendar month, but changes do not take effect until the following calendar month.

See 9520 Service Contacts.

Requirement to Complete Contacts

The following are not acceptable reasons for failing to complete required face-to-face safety or service contacts with the alleged victim or client:

  • A high caseload.
  • The geographical distance.
  • The APS specialist’s time constraints.

People Who Can Complete Safety and Service Contacts

APS staff members, APS human services technicians (HSTs), and college students interning with APS may complete safety or service contacts. APS contractors cannot complete safety or service contacts, but APS staff members, HSTs, or interns may use a contractor as a collateral when completing a safety contact.

Final Safety or Service Contact

Only one face-to-face safety or service contact with the alleged victim or client is required in the month of closure, regardless of the contact standard at the time of case closure. However, this final face-to-face contact is not required in the month of closure if any of the following exceptions apply:

  • The initial face-to-face contact occurred in the same month as case closure.
  • The supervisor approves the contact being by phone with the alleged victim or client or a collateral, instead of face-to-face with the alleged victim or client.
  • The APS specialist saw the alleged victim or client face-to-face no more than 15 calendar days before case closure and verified the situation was stable.

Safety and service contacts are not required while the APS specialist is waiting for the supervisor to approve a case that the specialist has submitted for progression or closure. If the supervisor rejects the case’s progression or closure, the APS specialist completes the safety or service contacts as policy requires before resubmitting the case to the supervisor.

Only trained APS staff members in the position of APS specialist I or higher may complete the final safety or service contact in the month of closure.

9510 Safety Contacts

APS February 2021

During the Investigation stage, required contacts are called safety contacts.

Purpose of Contacts

APS makes sure the alleged victim is safe and minimizes or alleviates any risk of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation by monitoring each alleged victim’s safety throughout the case.

APS monitors each alleged victim’s safety. APS considers all of the following to determine whether any of them is currently true in the case:

  • The alleged victim is safe.
  • Problems identified on the immediate interventions agreement or service plan have been resolved or require further action.
  • New problems have developed and require action.
  • Further investigation is necessary.

Criteria for Safety Contacts

The following criteria apply to safety contacts:

  • Safety contacts occur every calendar month a case is open in the Investigation stage, except the month of the initial face-to-face contact.
  • The person who completes a safety contact documents multiple interviews during a single visit as one safety contact.
  • When the APS specialist completes a Safety Reassessment, the APS specialist or another appropriate person must complete the required safety contacts every calendar month after the month in which the Reassessment was completed.
  • The contact standard depends on the safety decision and cannot change, except with the completion of a Safety Reassessment.
  • People who complete safety contacts follow the contact standard set by the Safety Assessment (original or reassessment) until the APS specialist submits the investigation for closure or progresses it to a service delivery stage.

Safety Decisions and Contact Standards

The Safety Assessment or Safety Reassessment results in a safety decision. The table below describes the contact standard for safety contacts, for each possible safety decision.

Safety Decision

Contact Standard for Safety Contacts

Safe

One contact, either face-to-face or by phone, is required every calendar month. This contact may be with either of the following people:

  • The alleged victim.
  • A credible collateral who has current and reliable information.

For example, if the APS specialist completes the initial face-to-face contact on June 15th, a safety contact is required in July (between July 1st and July 31st). Another safety contact is required during each calendar month after that, until the APS specialist does one of the following:

  • Completes a Safety Reassessment that changes the contact standard.
  • Submits the case for closure.
  • Submits the case for progression to a service delivery stage.

Conditionally Safe

This contact standard is required to include at least one face-to-face contact with the alleged victim every calendar month, but it can include more if the alleged victim agrees.

For example, if the APS specialist completes the initial face-to-face contact on June 15th, then at least one face-to-face safety contact with the alleged victim, and any additional contacts agreed upon with the alleged victim, are required in July (between July 1st and July 31st) and during every calendar month after that, until the APS specialist does one of the following:

  • Completes a Safety Reassessment that changes the contact standard.
  • Submits the case for closure.
  • Submits the case for progression to a service delivery stage.

Unsafe

The APS specialist consults with his or her supervisor to determine an appropriate monitoring plan. The APS specialist and supervisor consider the following in developing the monitoring plan:

  • Progress toward legal action.
  • Any findings of a professional assessment of capacity.
  • The likelihood of maintaining a good relationship with the alleged victim.

The monitoring plan includes, at a minimum, two face-to-face contacts with the alleged victim every calendar month.

For example, if the APS specialist completes the initial face-to-face contact on June 15th, then at least two face-to-face safety contacts with the alleged victim, and any additional contacts determined in the monitoring plan, are required in July (between July 1st and July 31st) and during every calendar month after that, until the APS specialist does one of the following:

  • Completes a Safety Reassessment that changes the contact standard.
  • Submits the case for closure.
  • Submits the case for progression to a service delivery stage.

See 8710 Risk-Based Contact Standards.

Documentation of Safety Contacts

The APS specialist creates a new Contact Detail page in IMPACT for each safety contact completed, whether it was attempted or successful.

All Safety Contacts

For every safety contact (attempted or successful), the APS specialist does the following:

  1. Chooses Safety Contact as the Contact/Summary Type.
  2. Fills in all fields on the Contact Detail page.
  3. Clicks the Save button.
  4. Clicks the Narrative button on the Contact Detail page.
  5. Enters the narrative documentation for the contact. If a person contacted is not listed on the Person Detail page, the APS specialist includes the person’s name and relationship to the alleged victim (such as brother, friend, home health care provider, and so on).

Successful Safety Contacts

For each successful safety contact, the contact narrative includes the following information:

  • A summary of the contact, including all actions that the APS specialist or others took.
  • Statement of whether the alleged victim is safe.
  • Any problems identified in the service plan (Immediate Interventions section or Services Related to ANE section) and whether they have been resolved or require further action.
  • Any new problems that have developed and require action.
  • Any protective services that APS or others delivered and the effectiveness of the services.
  • Statement of whether the case needs further investigation.

Immediate Intervention or Current Danger Factors

If there was an immediate intervention during the case initiation or if there are current danger factors identified in the Safety Assessment, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Notes in the Contact Standards section of the service plan how many and what kind of safety contacts will occur with the alleged victim and collaterals, if appropriate.
  • Documents every safety contact (attempted or successful) as outlined above.

See 9000 Case Contacts.

9511 Safety Contacts When the Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate

APS February 2021

If the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation (verbally, nonverbally, or by failing to respond to APS’s attempted contacts) and safety contacts with the alleged victim are required, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Follows the procedure in 8210 Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate With APS Investigation.
  • Documents all attempted safety contacts as outlined in Documentation of Safety Contacts in 9510 Safety Contacts.
  • Consults with the supervisor about the APS specialist’s attempts to complete a successful safety contact.
  • Documents this consultation as a separate safety contact by doing the following:
    1. Choosing Safety Contact as the Contact/Summary Type.
    2. Entering the date and time of the consultation in the Contact Detail page.
    3. Choosing the alleged victim under Principals/Collaterals Contacted on the Contact Detail page.
    4. Choosing Staffing as the method of contact.
    5. Summarizing the discussion with the supervisor, including any additional actions that the APS specialist will take to gain the alleged victim’s cooperation.

The APS specialist does not use these procedures for two or more consecutive safety contacts.

The APS specialist no longer tries to make face-to-face contact if the specialist has made good faith efforts to encourage the alleged victim to cooperate and the alleged victim still refuses to cooperate. This applies even if more than one face-to-face safety contact is required in a calendar month.

9520 Service Contacts

APS February 2021

During a service stage (Maintenance or Intensive Case Services), required contacts are called service contacts.

Purpose of Contacts

The APS specialist monitors the status of the service plan, according to the contact standard, to determine the following:

  • How the client is doing.
  • How effectively the services provided are alleviating current abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation and minimizing risk of future abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
  • Whether any new problems have developed and require action.
  • Whether any problems identified on the immediate interventions agreement or service plan have been resolved or require more or different protective services.

When multiple interviews occur during a single visit, the person conducting the visit documents the interviews as one service contact.

Documentation of Service Contacts

The APS specialist creates a new Contact Detail page in IMPACT for each service contact completed, whether it was attempted or successful.

All Service Contacts

For every service contact (attempted or successful), the APS specialist does the following:

  1. Chooses Service Contact as the Contact/Summary Type.
  2. Fills in all fields on the Contact Detail page.
  3. Clicks the Save button.
  4. Clicks the Narrative button on the Contact Detail page.
  5. Enters the narrative for the contact. If a person contacted is not listed on the Person Detail page, the APS specialist includes the person’s name and relationship to the client (such as brother, friend, home health care provider, and so on).

Successful Service Contacts

For each successful service contact, the contact narrative includes a summary of the contact and addresses the following:

  • All actions that the APS specialist or others took.
  • The client’s current status (whether the client is safe, how he or she is doing, and so forth).
  • The status of any unresolved problems.
  • Any protective services that APS delivered and the effectiveness of the services.

See:

9000 Case Contacts

9520 Service Contacts

14200 Service Stage Closure

9521 Service Contacts in the Month of Progression

APS February 2021

During the month a case progresses from the Investigation stage to ICS or Maintenance, the APS specialist must meet the requirement for the contact standard based on the final risk level from the Risk of Recidivism Assessment (RORA). Safety contacts, service contacts, or a combination of both completed during the month the case progresses can be used to meet this requirement. However, if the case progresses in the same month as the initial face-to-face contact or the month the Safety Assessment is completed, service contacts are not required until the following month.

See:

8710 Risk-Based Contact Standards

10200 APS Service Plan

11100 Maintenance Cases

9521.1 Progression to Maintenance

APS February 2021

The APS specialist completes one service contact every calendar month, beginning with the month the case progresses to Maintenance. This contact can be by phone or face-to-face, and it can be with the client or a credible collateral.

If the service plan is unsuccessful for any reason during Maintenance, the APS specialist follows procedures in 11000 Maintenance and Intensive Case Services.

See 9500 Safety and Service Contacts.

9521.2 Progression from Maintenance to Intensive Case Services (ICS)

APS February 2021

If the APS specialist completes a Safety Reassessment during the Maintenance stage and the safety decision is Conditionally Safe or Unsafe, the case progresses to ICS.

The APS specialist completes service contacts every calendar month, beginning with the month the case progresses to ICS, based on the final risk level from the Risk of Recidivism Assessment (RORA), as outlined in the table below.

Final Risk Level

Contact Standard for ICS

Low Risk

One face-to-face contact with the client every calendar month, beginning with the month the case progresses to ICS.

Moderate Risk

Two contacts with the client or reliable collateral every calendar month, beginning with the month the case progresses to ICS. One of these two contacts must be face-to-face with the client.

9521.3 Progression to Intensive Case Services (ICS)

APS February 2021

The contact standard during ICS depends on the final risk level from the RORA, as outlined in the table below.

Final Risk Level

Contact Standard for ICS

Moderate Risk

Two contacts with the client or reliable collateral every calendar month while the case is in ICS. One of these must be face-to-face with the client.

High Risk

Three contacts with the client or reliable collateral every calendar month while the case is in ICS. Two of these must be face-to-face with the client.

The APS specialist or another appropriate person must complete service contacts every calendar month beginning with the month the case progresses to ICS. The contact standard cannot change for the first calendar month the case is in ICS (the month of progression to ICS). If the contact standard changes in a later month, the new standard must include at least one service contact (by phone or face-to-face, with the client or a credible collateral) every calendar month.

9522 Changes to Contact Standards during ICS

APS February 2021

Once the APS specialist has completed the original Strengths and Needs Assessment (SNA) and the people involved in the case have developed a service plan, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Determines whether an increase or decrease in the contact standard is appropriate based on the client’s situation and needs.
  • Consults with the supervisor if the new contact standard is less than the contact standard that was based on the final risk level in the RORA. This includes when APS is changing the contact standard based on the original SNA, a Strengths and Needs Reassessment (SNA reassessment), or a review of the service plan.

The APS specialist, in consultation with the supervisor, may also change the contact standard based on the progress in a service plan. This change can occur with or without an SNA reassessment.

Any changes to the contact standard do not take effect until the following calendar month. For example, the APS specialist completes an SNA reassessment on January 15th and determines the contact standard should increase. The existing contact standard remains in effect through January 31st, and the new contact standard takes effect on February 1st.

If the APS specialist changes the contact standard in IMPACT during ICS (including if this change is based on the original SNA, an SNA reassessment, or a review of the service plan), the APS specialist does the following:

  1. Notes the change in the Contact Standards section of the service plan.
  2. Reassesses the appropriateness of the new contact standard if the client’s situation changes.
  3. Documents each service contact as outlined in 9520 Service Contacts.

The monthly time frame (calendar month) for completing service contacts does not change during ICS when the APS specialist completes an SNA reassessment or makes changes to the service plan.

The contact standard cannot change based on a Safety Reassessment completed during ICS. However, the APS specialist documents in the service plan any interventions as a result of the Safety Reassessment, including the need to call in a new intake, if applicable.

9523 Service Contacts When the Client Fails to Respond

APS February 2021

If the APS specialist is unable to successfully contact the client and service contacts with the client are required, the APS specialist considers which of the following is more likely:

  • The client has moved.
  • The client is still living at the known address but is withdrawing from services by failing to respond to the attempted contacts.

If the APS specialist believes the client may have moved and is no longer available at the known address, the APS specialist follows the procedures in 8220 Alleged Victim Moves or Cannot Be Located During the Investigation.

If the APS specialist believes the client still lives at his or her known address, the specialist does the following:

  • Follows the procedure in 10320 Client Refusing or Withdrawing from Services.
  • Documents all attempted service contacts as outlined in 9520 Service Contacts.
  • Consults with the supervisor about the APS specialist’s attempts to complete a successful service contact.
  • Documents this consultation as a separate service contact by doing the following:
    1. Choosing Service Contact as the Contact/Summary Type.
    2. Entering the date and time of the consultation in the Contact Detail page.
    3. Choosing the client under Principals/Collaterals Contacted on the Contact Detail page.
    4. Choosing Staffing as the method of contact.
    5. Summarizing the discussion with the supervisor, including any additional actions that the APS specialist will take to gain the client’s cooperation.

The APS specialist does not use these procedures for two or more consecutive service contacts.

The APS specialist no longer tries to make face-to-face contact if the specialist has made good faith efforts to encourage the client to continue with the service plan and the client still withdraws from services. This applies even if more than one face-to-face service contact is required in a calendar month.

The APS specialist resumes attempting to contact the client if the specialist receives new information about the client’s location.

9524 Service Contacts in Cases Involving HHSC Office of Guardianship Services

APS February 2021

In some cases, both of the following apply:

  • The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has permanent guardianship of the client.
  • APS is keeping the case open only to help pay for the client’s care until HHSC can resolve the client’s Medicaid eligibility.

In these cases, the APS specialist is not required to conduct service contacts or any other case actions, except for documenting service authorizations and other methods of procurement (purchasing) to help pay for the client’s care.

If HHSC has temporary guardianship of the client, service contacts are required as outlined in 11100 Maintenance Cases.

See:

7343 Case Management After Emergency Referral

7370 General Issues About HHSC OGS Referrals

9530 Safety and Service Contacts When APS Cannot Find the Client

APS February 2021

In some cases, the APS specialist is unable to successfully contact the client after doing both of the following:

  • Attempting at least two face-to-face safety or service contacts on different days, preferably at different times of day.
  • Making all reasonable efforts to reach the client.

In these cases, the specialist considers which of the following is more likely:

  • The client has moved.
  • The client is still living at the known address but is failing to respond to the attempted contacts.

If the APS specialist believes that the client may have moved and is no longer available at the known address, the specialist does the following:

  • Follows the procedures in 8220 Alleged Victim Moves or Cannot Be Located During the Investigation.
  • Documents the attempted safety or service contact by doing the following:
    1. Choosing Safety Contact or Service Contact (as appropriate) as the Contact/Summary Type.
    2. Entering the date and time that the APS specialist attempted to make a contact on the Contact Detail page.
    3. Marking the Attempted checkbox.
    4. Choosing the client under Principals/Collaterals Contacted on the Contact Detail page.
    5. Choosing Other as the method of contact.
    6. Summarizing all relevant information in the Narrative section of the Contact Detail page.

The APS specialist does not use these procedures for two or more consecutive contacts.

The APS specialist no longer tries to make face-to-face contact if the specialist has made good faith efforts to find the client and determines the client cannot be found. This applies even if more than one face-to-face safety or service contact is required in a calendar month.

The APS specialist resumes attempting to contact the client if the specialist receives new information about the client’s location.

9540 Safety and Service Contacts When the Client Dies

APS February 2021

If the APS specialist learns of the client’s death while attempting to make a safety or service contact, the APS specialist does the following:

  • Enters the date and time that the specialist learned of the death as the date and time for the safety or service contact on the Contact Detail page.
  • Enters the date of death (if known) on the Person Detail page.

No additional safety or service contacts are required after the client’s death, even if the investigation is incomplete, will continue, or includes new incidents or new allegations that require investigation during a service delivery stage.

See:

12200 Client Dies During a Service Delivery Stage

9000 Case Contacts

9600 Supervisor Consultations

APS February 2021

The APS specialist consults with the supervisor about all case actions for which policy requires supervisor consultations. The APS specialist may also consult with the supervisor for guidance on other case actions, as necessary.

Documentation of Supervisor Consultations

The APS specialist or supervisor enters the following in IMPACT:

  • A contact in the Supervisor Consult Contact Detail page for each supervisor consultation completed.
  • A narrative of the case-related issues and required actions discussed. The APS specialist includes the consulted supervisor’s name if the consultation was not with the specialist’s direct supervisor.

9700 Subject Matter Expert (SME) Consultations

APS February 2021

The APS specialist consults with the SME about all case actions for which policy requires SME consultations.

Documentation of SME Consultations

For each SME consultation, the SME or designee enters a narrative of the case-related issues and required actions discussed on either of the following pages:

  • EDI SME Consult Contact Detail page.
  • Risk/Self-Neglect SME Consult Contact Detail page.

This narrative must include the following information:

  • The method by which the consultation occurred (such as phone, email, or face-to-face).
  • The people who participated in the consultation.
  • A brief summary of the recommended case actions discussed during the consultation.

See 15430 Management Review of EMR-Eligible Investigations.

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