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1000 DFPS Background Checks (BC)

Background Checks April 2018

The BC team consists of DFPS employees who are responsible for processing background checks for a variety of populations. The BC team is part of the Operations division of DFPS.

1100 Responsibilities for Background Check Policy

Background Checks April 2018

All affected DFPS employees are responsible for:

  •   being aware of background check policies; and

  •   maintaining open communication regarding background checks.

1200 History of BC Team

Background Checks April 2018

Members of the BC team were originally part of the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU). Due to legislative mandates, the Licensing teams in CBCU transitioned to Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2017. The remaining staff from CBCU that stayed with DFPS make up the BC team.

The original CBCU was established in 2007 under the authority of Senate Bill 758 from Texas’s 80th Legislature. This bill mandated that DFPS create a program improvement plan that would build upon previous child protective services reforms. One of the requirements of the plan was to streamline criminal history background checks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of those checks.

Prior to 2007, background checks for Child Care Licensing, agency contractors, and volunteers were processed by various DFPS staff across the state. With the roll out of the CBCU in 2008, completion of these background checks was consolidated into one unit. There are benefits to DFPS using a more centralized approach to processing background checks, which ultimately lead to better DFPS regulatory and program decisions. These benefits include:

  •   greater consistency across the state

  •   improved efficiency and streamlined processes

  •   CBCU staff become experts in the subject of background checks

To further utilize the expertise of BC staff as it relates to background checks across the agency, the Editing and Publication Guide for DFPS Policy was updated in January 2014 to require that BC review any policy, procedure, or rule development which references background checks. (In the Editing and Publication Guide for DFPS Policy, see 1110 Approvals for Changes in Background Check Policy.) This requirement was implemented to further increase consistency and accuracy regarding background checks across the agency.

1300 Policies for All Populations Subject to Background Checks

1310 Reporting New Criminal Incidents and DFPS Investigations

1311 New Criminal Incidents

Background Checks January 2021

A person is required to report any new criminal incident, including any arrest or charge by any federal, state, or local agency or board, if the person has had a background check completed under any of the following policy sections:

2000 Background Checks for Purchased Client Services

3000 Background Checks for Non-DFPS Staff

7000 Background Checks for DFPS Volunteers and Interns

The person must report the incident within five business days to whichever of the following is most appropriate:

  • The Purchased Client Services (PCS) contractor.
  • The DFPS contract manager.
  • The DFPS sponsor.
  • The DFPS community engagement specialist.
  • The staff member in the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE).

DFPS refers to this as self-reporting.

1311.1 Purchased Client Services (PCS)

Background Checks January 2021

If a new incident is reported to a PCS contractor, the contractor does the following within three business days of when the person reports it:

Then, the DFPS contract manager does the following:

  • Informs Background Checks about the self-reported incident.
  • Makes sure to launch a new background check request in the ABCS.
1311.2 Non-DFPS Staff and DFPS Volunteers and Interns

Background Checks January 2021

If a new incident is reported to a DFPS contract manager, DFPS sponsor, DFPS community engagement specialist, or OVCE staff member, the person receiving the report does the following:

  • Informs the Background Checks staff about the new criminal history within three business days of when the subject reports it.
  • Submits a new background check request for the subject after at least 30 days have passed since the date of the incident (such as the arrest date).
1311.3 Background Checks

Background Checks January 2021

As soon as a new criminal incident is reported to Background Checks, Background Checks staff complete the following steps.

Step One

Background Checks staff assess the new criminal incident according to the applicable policy. See:

2000 Background Checks for Purchased Client Services

3000 Background Checks for Non-DFPS Staff

7000 Background Checks for DFPS Volunteers and Interns

Step Two

Background Checks staff notify the PCS contractor, DFPS contract manager, DFPS sponsor, DFPS community engagement specialist, or OVCE staff member of one of the following, as appropriate:

  • The subject of the background check may continue to have access to DFPS resources and clients while the disposition is pending.
  • The subject must be temporarily barred from accessing DFPS resources and clients while DFPS is waiting for a final disposition of the incident.

Note: If Background Checks staff bar a person from accessing DFPS resources and clients, the DFPS contract manager, DFPS sponsor, DFPS community engagement specialist, or OVCE staff member does the following:

  • Removes the person’s access to DFPS clients and resources.
  • Submits required documentation to DFPS Program Support stating that the person has been barred and may no longer have access to DFPS clients and resources, if applicable.

Step Three

Background Checks staff assess the final disposition of the criminal charge, once it becomes available.

Step Four

Background Checks staff notify the PCS contractor, DFPS contract manager, DFPS sponsor, DFPS community engagement specialist, or OVCE staff member of the final determination.

1312 New DFPS Investigations

Background Checks January 2021

Statewide Intake (SWI) notifies Background Checks staff when SWI receives a new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that involves a person who has had a background check completed under any of the following policy sections:

2000 Background Checks for Purchased Client Services

3000 Background Checks for Non-DFPS Staff

5000 Background Checks for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members

7000 Background Checks for DFPS Volunteers and Interns

8000 Background Checks for State and Federal Audit Staff

Background Checks staff complete the following actions based on the relationship of the subject of the background check to DFPS.

1312.1 Purchased Client Services (PCS)

Background Checks January 2021

Background Checks staff review the new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to determine what action is required.

No further action is required if the new report is an investigation, but the subject is not an alleged perpetrator.

Background Checks staff contact the PCS contractor to determine whether the subject of the new report is currently employed by the contractor, if either of the following applies:

  • The new report is an Alternative Response case, and the subject has any role.
  • The new report is an investigation, and the subject is an alleged perpetrator.

If the subject of the new report is no longer employed by the contractor, Background Checks staff close the person’s background check record, and no further action is required.

If the subject of the new report is currently employed by the contractor, Background Checks staff evaluate the new report to determine which of the following applies:

  • The person may continue to access DFPS resources while the case is ongoing.
  • The person must temporarily be denied access to DFPS resources while the case is ongoing.

If the subject of the new report becomes a designated perpetrator in a closed investigation and is currently employed by the contractor, Background Checks staff complete the following actions:

1312.2 Non-DFPS Staff

Background Checks January 2021

Background Checks staff evaluate the new report to determine which of the following applies:

  • The person may continue to access DFPS resources while the case is ongoing.
  • The person must temporarily be denied access to DFPS resources while the case is ongoing.

If Background Checks staff determine that the subject of the background check is temporarily denied access to DFPS resources until the investigation or Alternative Response case closes, Background Checks staff direct the DFPS sponsor to remove the person’s access to DFPS resources while DFPS is waiting for the outcome. The DFPS sponsor removes the person’s access to DFPS resources and notifies the contractor that the person is temporarily denied access.

Once the investigation or Alternative Response case closes, Background Checks staff complete the following:

  • Determine whether a new background check is required.
  • Process the new background check (if required) according to 3000 Background Checks for Non-DFPS Staff.
  • Notify the DFPS sponsor of the final determination.

The DFPS sponsor completes one of the following actions based on the final determination from Background Checks staff:

  • If Background Checks staff determine that a person who had been temporarily denied access is now cleared, the DFPS sponsor communicates the decision to the person and reinstates the person’s access to DFPS resources.
  • If Background Checks staff determine that the person must be permanently barred, the DFPS sponsor communicates the decision to the person and submits required documentation to DFPS Program Support stating that the person has been barred and may no longer have access to DFPS resources.
1312.3 CASA Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members

Background Checks January 2021

Background Checks staff evaluate the new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and determine which of the following applies:

  • The CASA employee, volunteer, or board member may continue to access DFPS resources and clients while the case is ongoing.
  • The CASA employee, volunteer, or board member must temporarily be denied access to DFPS resources and clients while the case is ongoing.

If Background Checks staff determine that the subject of the background check is temporarily denied access to DFPS resources and clients until the investigation or Alternative Response case closes, Background Checks staff notify the CASA ABCS representative that the person is temporarily denied access while the case is ongoing.

Once the investigation or Alternative Response case closes, Background Checks staff review its results according to 5000 Background Checks for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Employees, Volunteers, and Board Members and complete the following action based on the final determination.

Person Is Cleared

If the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member was denied access to DFPS resources and clients while the case was ongoing, Background Checks staff notify the CASA ABCS representative that he or she needs to submit a new background check.

If the CASA employee, volunteer, or board member was not denied access to DFPS resources and clients while the case was ongoing, no further action is required, and the person maintains access to DFPS resources and clients.

Person Is Not Cleared

Background Checks staff communicate the decision to bar the person from accessing DFPS resources and clients to the person and the CASA ABCS representative.

1312.4 DFPS Volunteers and Interns

Background Checks January 2021

When the subject of the new report is a DFPS volunteer or intern, SWI notifies the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE), as well as Background Checks, of the new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

When a new report is received, the following action or actions occur, based on who submitted the original background check request for the DFPS volunteer or intern:

  • If the OVCE staff member submitted the original request, the OVCE staff member removes the person’s access to DFPS resources and clients.
  • If the community engagement specialist submitted the original request:
    • The OVCE staff member forwards the report to the community engagement specialist.
    • The community engagement specialist removes the person’s access to DFPS clients and resources.

See 7000 Background Check Procedures in the Volunteer and Community Engagement Policy Handbook.

The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member submits a new background check request in ABCS if he or she chooses to use the volunteer or intern again and one of the following applies:

  • The investigation closes with a finding of Ruled Out, Unable to Determine, or Incomplete.
  • The Alternative Response case closes without progressing to an investigation.

The Background Checks staff does the following:

1312.5 Federal and State Audit Staff

Background Checks January 2021

Background Checks staff evaluate the new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and determine which of the following applies:

  • The state or federal auditor may continue to have access to DFPS resources while the case is ongoing.
  • The state or federal auditor must temporarily be denied access to DFPS resources while the case is ongoing.

If Background Checks staff determine that the state or federal auditor is temporarily denied access to DFPS resources until the investigation or Alternative Response case closes, Background Checks staff notify the state or federal auditor’s DFPS sponsor. The DFPS sponsor notifies the state or federal agency employing the auditor that the person is temporarily denied access to DFPS resources.

Once the investigation or Alternative Response case closes, Background Checks staff complete the following:

The DFPS sponsor completes one of the following actions based on the final determination from Background Checks staff:

  • If Background Checks staff determine that an auditor who had been temporarily denied access is now cleared, the DFPS sponsor communicates the decision to the auditor and reinstates the person’s access to DFPS resources.
  • If Background Checks staff determine that the person must be permanently barred, the DFPS sponsor communicates the decision to the auditor and submits the required documentation to DFPS Program Support stating that the person has been barred and may no longer have access to DFPS resources.

1320 Reviewing Background Check Decisions

Background Checks January 2021

The following people may request a review of the Background Checks program’s decision to bar a person from access to DFPS resources and clients:

  • A person who is the subject of a background check under this policy.
  • The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member, acting on behalf of a volunteer or intern.
  • The DFPS sponsor, acting on behalf of a state or federal auditor.

In addition, a PCS contractor or the contractor’s staff may request a review of a person’s criminal history. However, only the person who is the subject of the background check may request a review of his or her history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

1321 Requesting a Review

Background Checks January 2021

The person requesting a review submits the request to Background Checks in writing within 30 days of the date that Background Checks issued a decision.

The request must include the following information:

  • The name of the subject of the background check.
  • The date that Background Checks issued the decision.
  • Details about the basis of the request, including any of the following that apply:
    • Previous DFPS background check policies under which DFPS approved the barred person to access DFPS resources or clients and the dates of those background checks.
    • Any new information that Background Checks staff have not yet considered and that the barred person believes may change the decision.
    • A detailed statement from the barred person explaining the circumstances surrounding the investigation, case, or incident and why he or she is not a threat to DFPS resources or clients.
    • Information about which portion or portions of this policy the barred person believes the Background Checks staff may not have followed when making the decision.
    • Proof that the criminal history or DFPS history does not belong to the barred person.
  • Other documentation as determined by Background Checks staff.

1322 Conducting the Review

1322.1 First Review

Background Checks January 2021

Background Checks management conducts the review to make sure that all involved DFPS staff members followed all policies and procedures. Background Checks management reviews the decision with the Background Checks program administrator and DFPS Office of General Counsel (in the Legal division), if necessary, before issuing a response.

Background Checks management considers the following when conducting the review:

  • Additional information that proves that a mismatch has occurred. This means that the subject of the background check is not the person who was arrested, convicted, or involved in the abuse, neglect, or exploitation case in question.
  • New information about the investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
1322.2 Second Review

Background Checks January 2021

The person requesting the initial review may request a second review by following the directions in 1321 Requesting a Review, if he or she disagrees with Background Checks management’s decision. The director in the Office of the Deputy Chief Operating Officer conducts the second review.

The second review’s decision about whether to continue barring the person from accessing DFPS resources and clients is final.

1330 Using DFPS Background Check Resources

Background Checks January 2021

No one may use DFPS background check resources to do any of the following:

  • Request a background check on a person who is not subject to a DFPS background check policy.
  • Get background check information on such a person.

Doing so violates DFPS policy and may result in adverse action.

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