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Definitions of Terms

APS January 2022

The definitions below serve as a glossary for this handbook.

Adult with a Disability

APS Definition January 2022

A person age 18 or older, or an emancipated minor, with a physical, mental, or developmental disability that substantially impairs the person’s ability to adequately provide for his or her own care or protection.

40 Texas Administrative Code §705.101 (3)

Allegation

APS Definition January 2022

An assertion that a client is in a state of or at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

40 TAC §705.101 (4)

Allegation Priority

APS Definition January 2022

Priority assigned by a Statewide Intake Specialist that defines the time frame for conducting an initial face-to-face interview with the client. This time frame is based on the severity and immediacy of the alleged threat to the life or physical safety of the client.

40 TAC §705.501 (a 1-4)

Alleged Perpetrator

APS Definition January 2022

A person who is reported to be responsible for the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of a client.

40 TAC §705.101 (5)

Client

APS Definition January 2022

An adult with a disability or age 65 or older who has been either of the following:

  • Reported to APS to be in a state of or at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
  • Determined by a validated finding to be in need of protective services.

40 TAC §705.101 (11)

Client/Perpetrator

APS Definition January 2022

An adult with a disability or age 65 or older who has been reported to APS to be in a state of or at risk of self-neglect.

40 TAC §705.101 (37)

Assisted Living Facility

APS Definition January 2022

An establishment that furnishes food and shelter to four or more people who are unrelated to the proprietor of the establishment.

Texas Health and Safety Code §247.002

Attorney Ad Litem

APS Definition January 2022

An attorney who provides legal services to a person, including a child, and who owes to the person the duties of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation.

Texas Family Code §107.001 (20)

Caretaker

APS Definition January 2022

A caretaker is any of the following:

  • A guardian, representative payee, or other person who, by act, words, or course of conduct, would cause a reasonable person to conclude that he or she has accepted the responsibility for protection, food, shelter, or care for a client.
  • An employee of a home and community support services agency (HCSSA) that provides non-Medicaid services to a client.
  • A person, including a family member, privately hired who receives monetary compensation to provide personal care services.

40 TAC §705.101 (10)

Collateral

APS Definition January 2022

A person, other than a principal, who has knowledge about the client’s situation and serves to support or refute information or evidence collected.

Consultation

APS Definition January 2022

A discussion between two or more APS staff members about case-related actions. Staff includes, but is not limited to, any of the following people: APS specialists, supervisors, subject matter experts (SME), program administrators, district directors, and regional attorneys as applicable.

Contact Standard

APS Definition January 2022

The number of required contacts, known as safety contacts, between the APS specialist and the client or a credible collateral every calendar month the case is open, except the month of the initial face-to-face contact.

Corporal Punishment

APS Definition January 2022

The deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or using any other physical force as a means of discipline.

Designated Perpetrator

APS Definition January 2022

An alleged perpetrator who has been determined in a validated finding to have abused, neglected, or financially exploited a client.

40 TAC §705.101 (13)

Designated Victim/Perpetrator

APS Definition January 2022

A client/perpetrator with a validated self-neglect finding.

40 TAC §705.101 (15)

Duplicate Referral

APS Definition January 2022

A second intake that is identical to the first and relates to the same event or incident or to an ongoing situation that is being addressed in an open case or has been resolved in a closed case. The second intake must include the same allegation or incident, client, and alleged perpetrator. The first and second intake do not have to be reported by the same person to be considered a duplicate referral.

Emancipated Minor

APS Definition January 2022

A person younger than 18 who has the power and capacity of an adult. This includes a minor who has had the disabilities of minority removed by a court or a minor who, with or without parental consent, has been married. Marriage includes common-law marriage.

40 TAC §705.101 (17)

Emergency Order for Protective Services (EOPS)

APS Definition January 2022

An order granted by a court authorizing APS to provide emergency protective services to a client who is experiencing a threat to life or safety.

Emotional Harm

APS Definition January 2022

A highly unpleasant mental reaction with observable signs of distress, such as anguish, grief, fright, humiliation, or fury.

40 TAC §705.101 (19)

Family Violence

APS Definition January 2022

An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. Also, a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. This definition does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

Texas Family Code §71.004(1)

Guardianship

APS Definition January 2022

A court may appoint a guardian with either full or limited authority over an incapacitated person as indicated by the incapacitated person’s actual mental or physical limitations. This is done only as necessary to promote and protect the well-being of the incapacitated person.

Texas Estates Code §1001.001

Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)

APS Definition January 2022

An agency comprised of hundreds of programs and services to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Texas residents. Programs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Home and Community-based Services
  • Primary Health Care Services
  • Long-term Care Regulatory Services
  • Office of Guardianship Services (OGS)

High-Profile Case

APS Definition January 2022

A case that is sensitive or involves people or situations that require additional safeguards to protect confidentially. Examples include cases involving HHSC OGS staff, DFPS staff or family members, elected officials, or the media.

Incapacitated Person

APS Definition January 2022

A person who is a minor or an adult who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to do the following:

  • Provide food, clothing, or shelter for him or herself.
  • Care for the person’s own physical health.
  • Manage the person’s own financial affairs.

Estates Code §22.016

Interpreter Services

APS Definition January 2022

Services offered to a principal in an APS case who needs communication assistance because of any of the following:

  • Limited English proficiency (LEP) or a preferred language for communication that is not English.
  • Impaired sensory ability.
  • Impaired speaking ability.

Intimidation

APS Definition January 2022

Behavior by actions or words that creates fear of physical harm, death, or abandonment.

40 TAC §705.101 (26)

Least-Restrictive Alternative

APS Definition January 2022

The minimum action taken on behalf of a person to alleviate abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation while limiting infringement on the person’s rights as much as possible. This may include treatment, placement, and other interventions.

Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) 1915(c) Waivers

APS Definition January 2022

Allow states to provide home and community-based services as an alternative for people who meet eligibility criteria for care in an institution. These waivers include the following types:

  • Home and Community-based Services (HCS)
  • Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS)
  • Texas Home Living (TxHmL)
  • Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD)
  • Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP)
  • Youth Empowerment Services (YES).

Minor

APS Definition January 2022

A person under 18 years of age who is not and has not been married or who has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes.

Texas Family Code §101.003

Negligence

APS Definition January 2022

The failure to exercise the care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same circumstances.

Nursing Home

APS Definition January 2022

An institution that provides organized and structured nursing care and service and is subject to licensure.

Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 242

Office of Inspector General (OIG)

APS Definition January 2022

A program responsible for investigating fraud, waste, and abuse in publicly funded, state-run HHSC programs.

Physical Harm

APS Definition January 2022

Physical pain, injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

40 TAC §705.101 (28)

Primary Specialist

APS Definition January 2022

An APS specialist responsible for performing all case-related tasks for an assigned case, including case closure.

Principal

APS Definition January 2022

A client or an alleged perpetrator in an APS investigation.

Protective Services

APS Definition January 2022

Services provided by DFPS or another protective services agency to an APS client, designated victim or designated victim/perpetrator or to that person’s relative or caretaker. The services are provided if DFPS determines they are necessary to prevent the client from being in or returning to a state of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

40 TAC §705.101 (29)

Purchased Client Services

APS Definition January 2022

A type of protective service including, but not limited to, emergency shelter, medical and psychiatric assessments, in-home care, medication, and other supplies.

40 TAC §705.101 (29)

Rapid Closure

APS Definition January 2022

A case closed without a full investigation.

Reasonable Person

APS Definition January 2022

A hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct.

Recidivistic Case

APS Definition January 2022

A case in which the client has been listed as a victim in two or more previous APS cases within the previous five years.

Representative Payee

APS Definition January 2022

A person or an organization responsible for managing the finances of another person who is unable to manage or direct the management of his or her benefits.

Root Cause

APS Definition January 2022

An initiating cause of either a condition or chain of events that leads to an outcome or effect. An underlying or fundamental reason for any failure of safety observance, accident, or issues including those related to health, environment, quality, reliability, or production. Identifying root cause is essential for APS to address an existing problem or to prevent a problem from happening in the future.

Safety Contact

APS Definition January 2022

Required contact every calendar month the case is open, except the month of the initial face-to-face contact, to monitor the client’s safety. See 9510 Safety Contacts After Completion of the Safety Assessment.

Secondary Specialist

APS Definition January 2022

An APS specialist who assists the primary specialist in performing any case-related tasks (such as conducting interviews or reviewing records) except case reassignment or closure.

Statewide Intake (SWI)

APS Definition January 2022

A program within DFPS that takes reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and routes them to the right program for investigation.

Substantially Impairs

APS Definition January 2022

When a disability grossly and chronically diminishes an adult’s physical or mental ability to live independently or provide self-care as determined through observation, diagnosis, evaluation, or assessment.

Sustained Perpetrator

APS Definition January 2022

A designated perpetrator whose validated finding of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of a designated victim has been sustained by an administrative law judge in a due process hearing, including a release hearing or Employee Misconduct Registry (EMR) hearing, or a designated perpetrator who has waived the right to a hearing.

40 TAC §705.101 (37)

Undue Influence

APS Definition January 2022

The improper use of power or trust in a way that deprives a person of free will and substitutes another person’s objective.

Unreasonable Confinement

APS Definition January 2022

This can be defined in any of the following ways:

  • An act that results in a forced isolation from the people with whom one would normally associate, including the following:
    • Friends
    • Family
    • Neighbors
    • Professionals
  • An inappropriate restriction of movement.
  • The use of any inappropriate restraint.

40 TAC §705.101 (38)

Ward

APS Definition January 2022

A person for whom a guardian has been appointed by a court.

Estates Code §22.033

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