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7000 Background Checks for DFPS Volunteers and Interns

Background Checks September 2019

The DFPS Background Checks program completes background checks on DFPS volunteers and interns.

A background check has two parts, as follows:

  •   A Texas name-based criminal history check.

  •   A DFPS history check.

If a background check reveals any criminal or DFPS history for a person, the Background Checks staff considers the history to determine whether the potential volunteer or intern would put DFPS clients or resources at risk. See 7430 Risk Assessment for the criteria for assessing risk.

The Background Checks staff also does an FBI criminal history check in certain circumstances. See 7210 FBI Criminal History Check.

A person who has cleared a background check under another DFPS Background Checks policy is also required to clear a background check under this policy before being allowed to volunteer or intern with DFPS.

7100 Dividing Staff Responsibilities

Background Checks September 2019

All staff members whose work involves background checks are responsible for doing the following:

  •   Understanding this policy.

  •   Maintaining open communication about issues that relate to background checks.

The following DFPS staff members share responsibilities for background checks that DFPS conducts under this policy (7000 Background Checks for DFPS Volunteers and Interns and its subitems):

  •   Background Checks staff.

  •   Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE) staff.

  •   CPS community engagement specialists.

  •   Adult Protective Services (APS) community engagement specialists.

7110 Background Checks Staff

Background Checks September 2019

Background Checks staff is responsible for doing the following:

  •   Completing background checks accurately and in a timely manner.

  •   Notifying the appropriate community engagement specialist and OVCE staff members about the results of the background checks, according to this policy.

7120 OVCE Staff and Community Engagement Specialists

Background Checks September 2019

Community engagement specialists and OVCE staff members are responsible for making sure that all of the following occur before a person is allowed to volunteer or intern with DFPS:

  •   Potential volunteers and interns comply with 7000 Background Check Procedures in the Volunteer and Community Engagement Policy Handbook.

  •   Community engagement specialists and OVCE staff members submit background checks according to the requirements of this background check policy.

  •   Community engagement specialists and OVCE staff members request FBI criminal history checks for potential volunteers and interns who have lived outside Texas in the last two years. See 7210 FBI Criminal History Check.

  •   The appropriate community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member receives notification that all required background checks are cleared.

In addition, community engagement specialists and OVCE staff members are responsible for making sure that the following occur, when applicable:

  •   A community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member removes a person’s access to DFPS clients and resources when the person no longer volunteers or interns with DFPS.

  •   Community engagement specialists and OVCE staff members submit renewal background checks in a timely manner for all volunteers and interns.

Determining Which Staff Member Is Appropriate

This policy often mentions both the community engagement specialist and the OVCE staff member when explaining a particular task or step.

Unless otherwise specified, the appropriate staff member is the one who submitted the person’s background check. This may be either the community engagement specialist or the OVCE staff member, depending on the situation.

7200 Requesting a Background Check

Background Checks September 2019

A person who applies to volunteer or intern with DFPS must consent to a background check by completing and signing Form 0250 Volunteer Application.

Next, the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member requests the background check through the Automated Background Check System (ABCS). The specialist or OVCE staff member makes sure to request an FBI criminal history check for all applicants who have lived outside Texas in the last two years. See 7000 Background Check Procedures in the Volunteer and Community Engagement Policy Handbook for more information on submitting the background check request.

The Background Checks staff processes the background check according to this policy and notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member about the results of the background check.

7210 FBI Criminal History Check

Background Checks September 2019

When to Request an FBI Criminal History Check

The Background Checks staff completes an FBI criminal history check on a potential volunteer or intern if the person lives outside Texas or has lived outside Texas in the last two years.

DFPS may require an FBI criminal history check if the person has not lived outside Texas in the last two years but DFPS has good cause for doing this check. The following are examples of situations in which DFPS would have good cause:

  •   The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member has a reasonable belief that the person may have a criminal history in another state.

  •   The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member has concerns that the person did not fully disclose his or her criminal history.

How to Complete an FBI Criminal History Check

The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member contacts the potential volunteer or intern and provides the steps to submit fingerprints for an FBI criminal history check.

7220 Renewals of Background Checks

Background Checks September 2019

Request for Renewal Background Check

A person who has a background check under this policy must have a new background check every year.

The person is allowed to continue volunteering or interning with DFPS while the Background Checks staff is processing the results, if the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member has requested the renewal background check in a timely manner.

The Background Checks staff processes the renewal background check according to this policy.

Results of Renewal Background Check

The Background Checks staff notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member about the results of the renewal background check.

If these results reveal anything that would bar the person from volunteering or interning (either criminal or DFPS history, as described in 7420 Absolute Bars), the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member does as follows:

  •   Makes sure that the person is no longer allowed to volunteer or intern with DFPS.

  •   Removes any access that the person has to DFPS clients and resources.

7300 Assessing the Results of Background Checks

7310 DFPS History

Background Checks August 2020

The Background Checks staff determines whether the person has had any of the following roles in any case of abuse, neglect, or exploitation:

  • Alleged perpetrator (AP)
  • Designated perpetrator (DP)
  • Sustained perpetrator (SP)
  • Undetermined (UD)
  • Client (CL)

The Background Checks staff makes a determination to either clear or bar the person from volunteering or interning with DFPS, based on the following:

  • The person’s role in the investigation.
  • The person’s relationship in the investigation.
  • The disposition or status of the investigation.

See 7400 Making a Determination.

7320 Criminal History

Background Checks September 2019

The Background Checks staff uses the charts in Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Employees, Volunteers, Interns, Prospective Employees, and Non-DFPS Staff to determine whether to allow a person to volunteer or intern with DFPS.

References to DFPS employment in the charts also apply to volunteering and interning.

The charts indicate the following:

  •   The criminal convictions that are absolute bars to DFPS employment. These convictions cause a person to be ineligible to volunteer or intern with DFPS.

  •   The criminal convictions that are likely or possible contraindications to DFPS employment. These convictions require further review (risk assessment) to determine whether the person is eligible to volunteer or intern with DFPS. See 7430 Risk Assessment.

7330 Sex Offender Registration

Background Checks September 2019

The Background Checks staff receives information about sex offender registration as part of a criminal history background check.

A person who is currently required to register as a sex offender in Texas or any other state is barred from volunteering or interning with DFPS.

7340 Juvenile History

Background Checks September 2019

The Background Checks staff receives certain juvenile history records in the process of doing a criminal history background check. These records come from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI.

The Background Checks staff reviews juvenile history records to determine whether the person’s criminal history puts DFPS clients or resources at risk. If the Background Checks staff determines that the potential volunteer or intern poses an immediate risk to DFPS clients or resources, the Background Checks staff may do the following:

  •   Consult with the DFPS Office of General Counsel in the Legal division.

  •   Bar the person from becoming a volunteer or intern with DFPS, if appropriate.

7350 Incomplete or Inconclusive Criminal History Records

Background Checks September 2019

The Background Checks staff must resolve any issues related to incomplete or inconclusive criminal history records before making a final determination about a background check.

The Background Checks staff does the following:

  •   Notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member about incomplete or inconclusive criminal history records that require further action.

  •   Makes a determination to clear or bar the person based on what information, if any, DFPS receives.

See also 7440 Bars for Incomplete or Inconclusive Criminal History Records.

Incomplete Records

An incomplete criminal history record does not include a final disposition, such as convicted or deferred.

When a criminal offense without a final disposition appears in a person’s record, the Background Checks staff contacts the appropriate authority to get the final disposition. The appropriate authority is one of the following:

  •   District or county attorney.

  •   District or state court.

  •   Law enforcement agency that made the arrest.

The person is barred from volunteering or interning with DFPS if the final disposition is not available at the time of the background check.

A community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member may request a new background check after the final disposition becomes available. The Background Checks staff processes the new background check according to this policy.

Inconclusive Records

A criminal history record is inconclusive if the Background Checks staff is not certain whether it relates to the same person on whom DFPS is doing a background check.

The Background Checks staff tries to determine whether the criminal history belongs to the person by comparing the following:

  •   The person’s identifying information that was submitted with the background check request.

  •   The identifying information in the criminal history record.

The Background Checks staff does as follows after comparing the information:

  •   If the Background Checks staff determines that the criminal history does not belong to the person, the staff clears the person. See 7410 Cleared Background Checks.

  •   If there is not enough information to determine whether the criminal history belongs to the person, the Background Checks staff does as follows:

  •   Presumes that the criminal history belongs to the person.

  •   Assesses the criminal history. See 7320 Criminal History.

  •   Determines whether to clear or bar the person. See 7400 Making a Determination.

The potential volunteer or intern may request an FBI criminal history check if both of the following apply:

  •   The Background Checks staff bars the person.

  •   The person claims that the criminal history does not belong to him or her.

The potential volunteer or intern may also formally contest the information in the criminal history record. See 7500 Contesting Background Check Results.

7400 Making a Determination

7410 Cleared Background Checks

Background Checks September 2019

The Background Checks staff notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member that the person is cleared to volunteer or intern with DFPS if the person meets both of the following criteria:

  •   No criminal history that bars the person. See:

7320 Criminal History

7330 Sex Offender Registration

7340 Juvenile History

  •   No DFPS history, as described in 7310 DFPS History.

7420 Absolute Bars

Background Checks September 2019

The Background Checks staff notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member that the person is barred from being a volunteer or intern with DFPS if the person has any of the following:

  •   A criminal conviction that is an absolute bar (see Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Employees, Volunteers, Interns, Prospective Employees, and Non-DFPS Staff).

  •   A criminal offense, if both of the following apply:

  •   The final disposition is not available at the time of the background check.

  •   A conviction for the offense is an absolute bar (see Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Employees, Volunteers, Interns, Prospective Employees, and Non-DFPS Staff).

  •   A requirement to register as a sex offender (see 7330 Sex Offender Registration).

  •   A history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation where the person is the Designated Perpetrator (DP) or Sustained Perpetrator (SP) in any investigation in the IMPACT computer system that has any of the following dispositions:

  •   Reason to Believe (RTB).

  •   Confirmed (CON).

  •   Valid (VAL).

  •   An allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation where the person is the alleged perpetrator (AP) in an open investigation.

7430 Risk Assessment

Background Checks August 2020

The Background Checks staff does a risk assessment before making a decision to clear or bar the person, under the following circumstances:

  • The person has one or more criminal convictions and any of the following apply:
  • One or more of the person’s offenses is identified as a contraindication in Appendix 3000-1: Criminal History Chart for DFPS Applicants and Employees.
  • The person has a pattern of criminal history that might put DFPS clients or resources at risk.
  • The person’s role is Undetermined (UD) in any investigation in the IMPACT computer system that has any of the following dispositions:
  • RTB
  • CON
  • VAL
  • Unable to Determine (UTD)
  • Incomplete (INC)
  • The person’s role is CL in an APS investigation with a VAL disposition and the person’s relationship in the investigation is Self.

The Background Checks staff may consult with the DFPS Legal division to approve or deny the decision to clear or bar the person, when applicable. After Legal approves the decision, the Background Checks staff notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member that the person is either cleared or barred from volunteering or interning with DFPS.

The person may not volunteer or intern with DFPS until both of the following occur:

  • The risk assessment is complete.
  • The Background Checks staff clears the person.

7440 Bars for Incomplete or Inconclusive Criminal History Records

Background Checks September 2019

This section applies when the Background Checks staff is not able to complete the background check process because of an incomplete or inconclusive criminal history record.

See also 7350 Incomplete or Inconclusive Criminal History Records.

Closing the Background Check and Barring the Person

The Background Checks staff closes the background check and bars the person from volunteering or interning with DFPS if both of the following apply:

  •   The person has an incomplete or inconclusive criminal history record.

  •   The Background Checks staff is not able to resolve the incomplete or inconclusive record.

This may occur in any of the following situations:

  •   There is not enough information to determine whether the criminal history belongs to the person, and the Background Checks staff determines that the person would put DFPS clients or resources at risk.

  •   The person does not communicate with the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member.

  •   The person does not provide needed information and documents within 10 calendar days of when the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member requests them.

  •   The Background Checks staff is not able to get all required information to make a final determination on the background check within 30 calendar days of when the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member requests it. Exception: The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member may contact the Background Checks staff to request an extension of the 30-day deadline if the person provides proof that he or she has taken reasonable steps to meet all requirements.

Requesting a New Background Check

The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member submits a new background check request through ABCS if all of the following apply:

  •   The Background Checks staff has closed a background check and barred the person under the circumstances described in this section.

  •   The person still wishes to volunteer or intern with DFPS.

  •   Information is available to resolve the incomplete or inconclusive criminal history.

See 7200 Requesting a Background Check.

7500 Contesting Background Check Results

Background Checks September 2019

A person may formally contest background check results if all of the following apply:

  •   The person has been the subject of a background check under this policy.

  •   The background check results contain either of the following types of history:

  •   DFPS history.

  •   Criminal history from either the Texas Department of Public Safety or the FBI.

  •   The person indicates that the history does not belong to him or her.

The person may email the AskBC mailbox to request information about formally contesting the criminal history or DFPS history information.

7600 Reporting New Criminal Incidents and DFPS Investigations

7610 New Criminal Incidents

Background Checks September 2019

A current volunteer or intern who has had a background check completed under this policy is required to report any new arrest by any federal, state, or local agency or board. The person must report the arrest to the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member within five business days. DFPS refers to this as self-reporting.

The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member does the following:

  •   Informs the Background Checks staff about the new criminal history within three business days of when the person reports it.

  •   Uses ABCS to submit a new background check request for the person, when at least 30 days have passed since the arrest date.

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

The Background Checks staff does the following:

  •   Processes the new background check request.

  •   Assesses the new background check according to this policy.

  •   Notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member of the results.

If the Background Checks staff bars the person from volunteering or interning with DFPS, the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member removes the person’s access to DFPS clients and resources.

7620 New DFPS Investigations

Background Checks September 2019

When Statewide Intake (SWI) receives a new report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that involves a person who has had a background check under this policy, SWI notifies both of the following:

  •   The Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement.

  •   The Background Checks program.

When SWI does this, the following occurs, depending on who submitted the original background check request for the volunteer or intern:

  •   If the OVCE staff member submitted the original request, the OVCE staff member removes the person’s access to DFPS clients and resources.

  •   If the community engagement specialist submitted the original request:

1.   The OVCE staff member forwards SWI’s report to the community engagement specialist.

2.   Then, 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 both of the following apply:

  •   The investigation closes with a finding of Ruled Out, Unable to Determine, or Incomplete.

  •   The community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member chooses to use the volunteer or intern again.

The Background Checks staff does the following:

  •   Processes the new background check according to this policy.

  •   Notifies the community engagement specialist or OVCE staff member of the results.

7700 Reviewing Background Check Decisions

Background Checks September 2019

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

  •   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.

7710 Requesting a Review

Background Checks September 2019

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 volunteer or intern and dates of those background checks.

  •   Any new information that the Background Checks staff has 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 and why he or she is not a threat to DFPS 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.

7720 Conducting the Review

Background Checks September 2019

First Review

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.

Second Review

The community engagement specialist, OVCE staff member, or the subject of the background check may request a second 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 community engagement specialist, OVCE staff member, or the subject of the background check may make this request by following the directions in 7710 Requesting a Review.

The second review’s decision about whether to continue barring the person is final.

7800 Using DFPS Background Check Resources

Background Checks September 2019

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 (either this policy or another relevant DFPS policy).

  •   Get background check information on such a person.

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

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