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6000 Investigations

6100 Overview of Investigations

CCI August 2020

The investigator must promptly and thoroughly complete an investigation of a report alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation to ensure that children who are or will be in care of the operation are protected. This applies to child care operations that are subject to regulation by the Child Care Licensing division of HHSC.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC 707.711

6110 Components of a Thorough Investigation

CCI January 2021

In general, CCI investigators complete all the following tasks throughout each investigation:

  • Review the intake report and contact the reporter for a full statement.
  • Review criminal history and central registry search results for all principals 14 years old and older, except alleged victims.
  • Arrange for joint investigations with other programs or agencies, as needed.
  • Complete notifications required at the beginning of the investigation.
  • Interview the alleged perpetrator.
  • Interview the alleged victim.
  • Interview collaterals who witnessed the alleged incident or may have information.
  • Complete notifications to parents, guardians, or managing conservators of any child interviewed as a victim or collateral.
  • Gather any physical evidence relevant to the allegations, such as any operation documentation and video recordings, photographs, and medical records.
  • Complete the investigation within 30 calendar days, unless an extension is approved by a supervisor.
  • Notify applicable parties of the results of the investigation:

The supervisor must approve the case or return it to the investigator within 15 days of the completion of the investigation.

Investigators may complete additional or fewer tasks as required by policy or with the approval of a supervisor to support the specific needs of each unique investigation.

If the investigator and supervisor determine that all of the allegations in an investigation merit administrative closure, some of the tasks listed above may be omitted with the supervisor’s approval. See 6571 Investigator Responsibilities When Recommending an Administrative Closure.

6120 Roles and Responsibilities of Child Care Investigations and Child Care Licensing During an Investigation

CCI October 2020

CCI works in partnership with the Child Care Licensing (CCL) division of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) during investigations, due to CCL’s authority to regulate the licensing and permitting of child care operations. CCI communicates to CCL information obtained during investigations about possible licensing minimum standards violations and other pertinent information.

During investigations, CCI staff do the following:

  • Determine whether a child care operation is regulated by CCL or is subject to regulation by CCL.
  • Ensure that high-risk licensing minimum standards violations that pose a risk to the immediate safety of children are corrected during any visits to the operation.
  • Communicate to CCL information obtained during investigations about possible licensing minimum standards violations.
  • Ensure people involved in the investigation have an active background check in CLASS with an eligibility status of EligibleProvisional, or Conditional.

CCI staff must notify the operation’s CCL representative within one business day when either of the following events occur:

  • The investigator observes possible licensing minimum standards violations during a visit to an operation.
  • CCI makes a disposition regarding an investigation. (See 6634 Notification to Child Care Licensing.)

During an abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation, CCI staff must complete a risk assessment with the CCL representative within 10 days from the date the intake report was received. (See 6340 Risk Assessment of Regulatory History.)

Based on CCI’s observations and actions during the investigation, CCL staff determine whether the operation may be cited for a licensing minimum standards violation, if applicable.

6130 The Role of the Supervisor

LPPH December 2012

Other staff involved in an investigation include:

a.   the monitoring supervisor;

b.   the investigation supervisor; and

c.   the supervisor’s designees.

Monitoring Supervisors

A monitoring supervisor oversees a monitoring inspector’s activities related to conducting investigations of non-abuse or neglect. A monitoring supervisor may also provide guidance and instructions to an investigator of abuse or neglect when performing on-call duties or acting as the designee of an investigation supervisor.

Investigation Supervisors

An investigation supervisor oversees an investigator’s activities related to conducting investigations of abuse or neglect, including approving all dispositions, citations, and notifications before closing the investigation. An investigation supervisor may also oversee an investigator’s activities related to non abuse or neglect investigations, as appropriate.

Supervisor’s Designee

A supervisor may assign another supervisor or an Investigator II as a designee for the purposes of providing required supervisory approvals in the supervisor’s absence.

A supervisor may assign a router, investigator, or inspector as a designee for the purposes of routing and processing intakes under the supervisor’s guidance.

See:

1220 Assigning a Designee in CLASS and IMPACT

1221 Maximum Number of Designees in CLASS and IMPACT

6131 The Role of the Supervisor in All Investigations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

In all investigations, the supervisor is responsible for all of the following:

a.   Coordinating the assignment of intakes to investigative staff

b.   Approving the downgrade or upgrade of intakes

c.   Approving intensified monitoring or surveillance

d.   Approving a recommended action of corrective or adverse action

e.   Approving requests for assistance from other DFPS divisions or government agencies when the expertise of Licensing staff is requested

f.    Ensuring that a safety plan is implemented, when the circumstances call for taking immediate safety measures

g.   Ensuring that investigators conduct and document investigations according to policy

h.   Arranging for other DFPS divisions or government agencies to review an investigation, as necessary

i.    Approving extensions of time, in accordance with policy, to complete an investigation

6132 The Role of the Supervisor in an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an investigation of abuse or neglect, the investigation supervisor has the additional responsibilities of:

a.   reviewing and assessing each intake report to determine whether it has been assigned the correct priority or should be closed, and the extent of the child’s safety;

b.   ensuring that on-call duties are followed;

c.   holding an interim case staffing with the investigator and monitoring the progress of the abuse or neglect investigation;

d.   ensuring that the protocol for informing and working with law enforcement is adhered to on investigations that meet criteria;

e.   holding a staffing to discuss and approve the disposition of the investigation before completion of the investigation;

f.    reviewing and approving the documentation in the IMPACT and CLASS systems within 15 days of the investigator submitting the documentation; and

g.   ensuring that due process policies are followed for an alleged perpetrator in cases where an investigator has determined that abuse or neglect has occurred.

6140 Joint Investigations with Other Agencies or Departments

CCI November 2020

CCI investigators coordinate with other programs within DFPS, local law enforcement agencies, and other state agencies to support immediate child safety.

Any information gathered from or about a specific investigation may only be shared with individuals and agencies that are allowed to obtain this confidential information. See 8230 Confidential Information Not for Release to the Public.

40 Texas Administrative Code §707.765

Texas Human Resources Code §40.005

Texas Human Resources Code §42.004

6141 Heightened Monitoring (Residential Child Care Only)

CCI November 2020

An investigation at a residential child care operation requires a consultation with the Heightened Monitoring division of DFPS if the operation is currently on a heightened monitoring plan. The investigator must document any components of the heightened monitoring plan that may be relevant to the allegations being investigated.

6142 Other DFPS Programs

CCI November 2020

The CCI investigator works together with investigators or caseworkers from other DFPS programs or divisions when there are allegations within the investigative jurisdiction of multiple divisions. The CCI investigator initiates or participates in any cross-division case consultations with the other DFPS programs, to discuss the concerns of all programs involved.

If the CCI investigator becomes aware of allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that are outside CCI’s jurisdiction, the investigator notifies SWI or the appropriate agency. See 6270 Referring a Report of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation for Investigation When New Allegations Are Received During an Investigation.

6142.1 DFPS Residential Contracts (Residential Child Care Only)

CCI April 2021

The investigator notifies the Residential Contracts division of DFPS Purchased Client Services when the investigator suspects or observes any of the following by a residential child care operation that accepts placement of children in DFPS conservatorship:

  • The operation may have violated contractual requirements.
  • The operation poses a high risk to children in its care.

The investigator emails the Residential Contracts mailbox on the same day he or she observes or suspects the concerns listed above, with the exception of concerns meeting the criteria in 6142.11 Twenty-Four-Hour Awake Night Supervision (Residential Child Care Only).

If the concern is also a possible minimum standards violation, the investigator must notify the Child Care Licensing representative assigned to the operation. See 6120 Roles and Responsibilities of Child Care Investigations and Child Care Licensing During an Investigation.

6142.11 Twenty-Four-Hour Awake Night Supervision (Residential Child Care Only)

CCI March 2021

All licensed foster care placements housing more than six children (including all foster, biological, and adoptive children) are required to provide 24-hour awake night supervision when at least one of those children is in DFPS conservatorship. This includes both foster homes and general residential operations.

The investigator and supervisor identify whether the operation involved in the investigation is required to have 24-hour awake night supervision during the investigation assignment conference. The investigator documents this as part of the conference contact. See 6362 Investigation Assignment Conference.

When an operation is identified as being required to have 24-hour awake night supervision, the investigator asks about night-time supervision during interviews with children in care. The investigator documents this as part of the interview contact.

If there are concerns that caregivers are failing to remain awake to provide 24-hour awake night supervision, the investigator does all of the following:

  • Notifies the Residential Contracts Night Unit within two hours of a concern being identified. The investigator does this by emailing the DFPS 24 Hour Monitoring mailbox with a brief summary of the concern and the IMPACT case number for the investigation during which the concern was identified. The investigator copies his or her supervisor on the email.
  • Notifies the Child Care Licensing representative assigned to the operation about the concern within one business day.
  • Determines whether the failure to provide 24-hour awake night supervision contributed to the allegations being investigated or caused or may have caused substantial emotional harm or physical injury that requires a separate investigation to be called in.

The investigator documents any contacts made due to identified concerns as a contact in the case record.

6142.12 Notifying the Contract Manager of Investigation Findings

CCI April 2021

When an investigation involving an operation that accepts placement of children in DFPS conservatorship is completed, the investigator notifies the Residential Contracts division of the investigation findings.

The investigator includes the Residential Contracts Investigation Summary mailbox on the email when notifying Child Care Licensing of the investigation findings (see 6634 Notification to Child Care Licensing).

6143 CPI Special Investigators

CCI June 2021

A CCI investigator requests assistance from the CPI Special Investigations Division before initiation if an investigation meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • A child is an alleged victim of physical abuse and has sustained serious injuries.
  • A child is an alleged victim of sexual abuse, and a facility staff member or foster parent is the alleged perpetrator.
  • A child dies, and the death is not related to any known, ongoing medical issues.
  • A child receives a near-fatal injury, meaning that the child likely would have died as a result of the injury if the child had not gotten medical attention.
  • A child is alleged or suspected to be the victim of sex or labor trafficking.

A CCI investigator may request assistance or guidance from the Special Investigations Division when Special Investigations assistance may be beneficial in investigations that do not meet the above criteria.

When a special investigator is conducting a joint investigation due to allegations or suspicion of sex or labor trafficking, the special investigator is responsible for notifying law enforcement within 24 hours of CCI becoming aware of or suspecting a trafficking event.

Before a special investigator provides assistance on an investigation, the CCI investigator and special investigator determine the special investigator’s specific tasks. The special investigator is assigned as secondary on the investigation in IMPACT.

The CCI supervisor may determine when a special investigator is no longer necessary for an investigation. During required consultations between the investigator and supervisor throughout the investigation, the supervisor must document the special investigator’s required tasks. If the supervisor is unable to identify additional tasks, the supervisor unassigns the special investigator from the investigation in IMPACT.

6144 Law Enforcement

CCI November 2020

The CCI investigator requests a joint investigation with law enforcement when both of the following apply:

  • There are allegations that a child has been or may become the victim of conduct that constitutes a criminal offense.
  • The offense poses an immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse of a child that could result in the death of, or serious physical or emotional harm to, the child.

Texas Family Code §261.301(f)-(g)

6144.1 Notifying Law Enforcement

CCI November 2020

If the investigator is aware of allegations of serious physical or sexual abuse of a child before the initiation of an investigation, the investigator must contact law enforcement immediately after receiving the intake report and before initiation. The investigator must make sure that CCI makes diligent efforts to involve law enforcement in the investigation.

If the investigator learns of allegations of serious physical or sexual abuse of a child after the investigation is already initiated, the investigator informs law enforcement immediately.

Reporting Criminal Activity That Does Not Require a Joint Investigation

If the investigator learns of any allegations of criminal activity at any point during the investigation, but the allegations do not meet the criteria for conducting a joint investigation with law enforcement, the investigator must report the alleged criminal activity to law enforcement immediately upon learning of the allegations.

Texas Family Code §261.105

Texas Family Code §261.402(b)

6144.2 Conducting a Joint Investigation

CCI November 2020

During any criminal investigation, the CCI investigator cooperates with law enforcement. This may include the county or district attorney, law enforcement officials, and the Health and Human Services Commission Office of the Inspector General.

The CCI investigator’s responsibility continues to be assessing child safety and gathering information to determine whether abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred. Cooperating with a criminal investigation may involve actions such as sharing information or delaying an interview to avoid interfering with the criminal investigation.

When Law Enforcement Chooses Not to Conduct a Joint Investigation

If the investigation meets the criteria for a joint investigation, but law enforcement chooses not to investigate, the investigator does all of the following:

  • Consults with the supervisor.
  • Documents the efforts made to involve law enforcement.
  • Initiates and conducts the investigation with supervisory approval.
6144.3 Documenting Contact with Law Enforcement

CCI November 2020

The investigator documents a summary of law enforcement’s involvement in the Law Enforcement Involvement section of the Investigation Victim and Parent Details page in the CLASS investigation for each alleged victim. This documentation must include the following:

  • A summary of law enforcement’s involvement in the investigation.
  • The investigating officer’s name and title.
  • Contact information for the investigating officer.

The investigator also documents individual contacts with law enforcement, including attempted contacts, throughout the investigation.

6145 Investigations Involving Allegations of Child Trafficking (Sex and Labor Trafficking)

CCI January 2021

CCI investigates allegations of child trafficking when an employee, volunteer, or other person working under the supervision of a licensed or unlicensed child care operation does either of the following:

  • Knowingly causes, permits, encourages, engages in, or allows a child to be trafficked.
  • Fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent a child from being trafficked.

Texas Family Code §261.001(1)(L)

When Allegations Are Outside CCI Jurisdiction

If the investigator becomes aware of or suspects a child in the care of a child care operation is the victim of child trafficking, but the alleged perpetrator is not a person working under the auspices of the child care operation, the investigator does all of the following:

6145.1 Informing Special Investigations of Child Sex or Labor Trafficking

CCI January 2021

After receiving a report of child sex or labor trafficking the investigator must immediately do the following:

  • Send an email to the regional special investigator mailbox or notify the special investigator program director.
  • Assign the SI secondary on the case to work a joint investigation. The SI will complete notification to local law enforcement.
  • Contact the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) to jointly determine whether a multidisciplinary team (MDT) response is needed based on local protocol, and whether a forensic interview of the child is appropriate. See 6421.12 Contacting a Children’s Advocacy Center About Certain Allegations.
  • Contact the child’s caseworker, if the child is in the conservatorship of DFPS.
6145.2 Informing Law Enforcement of Child Sex or Labor Trafficking

CCI January 2021

When child sex or labor trafficking is alleged or suspected, the investigator must contact CPI Special Investigations immediately to request a joint investigation.

The SI must notify law enforcement no later than 24 hours after the investigator has determined an incident of child sex or labor trafficking may have occurred. Law enforcement does the following:

  • Determines whether to participate in the joint investigation with CCI and SI or to coordinate a new or ongoing criminal investigation with the CCI investigation.
  • Ensures worker and victim safety, as necessary.
6145.3 Confirmed and Suspected Victims of Child Sex or Labor Trafficking

CCI January 2021

When a child in an open investigation is identified as a victim or suspected victim of trafficking, the investigator must do the following:

  • Document the child’s trafficking victimization status in IMPACT.
  • Refer to appropriate services as needed.

Determining Whether a Trafficking Event Is Suspected-Unconfirmed or Confirmed

A trafficking event is Suspected-Unconfirmed when specific information regarding the child and the surrounding circumstances creates a reasonable belief the child has been trafficked.

A trafficking event is Confirmed when evidence supports the conclusion the child has been trafficked. Note: The supporting evidence must be more than just an allegation or suspicion but does not have to be a direct outcry from the child.

Documenting a Trafficking Event in IMPACT

When a child is Suspected-Unconfirmed or Confirmed to be a victim of sex or labor trafficking, the investigator must enter a trafficking event in IMPACT on the Tracking Detail page within 48 hours of suspecting or confirming the child’s victim status.

The investigator must add each Suspected-Unconfirmed or Confirmed sex or labor trafficking event into IMPACT as a trafficking event on the Trafficking Detail page.

Each trafficking event should only have one entry on the Trafficking Detail page. If a Suspected-Unconfirmed event is later confirmed, that event would have both a Suspected-Unconfirmed and a Confirmed event listed.

Corresponding Dispositions with Suspected-Unconfirmed or Confirmed Victims of Trafficking

If a sex or labor trafficking allegation results in a disposition of Reason to Believe or Unable to Determine,there must be a corresponding trafficking event entered into IMPACT on the Trafficking Detail page.

Trafficking events may be entered into IMPACT on the Trafficking Detail page without a corresponding allegation if the sex or labor trafficking allegation is investigated by a different agency or DFPS program.

Referral to Services for Child Sex or Labor Trafficking

When a child in an open investigation has been identified as a Confirmed or Suspected-Unconfirmed victim of trafficking, the investigator must refer the child to appropriate services, as available on the Human Trafficking Resources page of the DFPS website. The caseworker documents the referrals in a contact in IMPACT.

Notifying the Caseworker of a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

The investigator notifies a child’s caseworker when both of the following are true:

  • Child in an open investigation has been identified as a Confirmed or Suspected-Unconfirmed victim of trafficking
  • Investigator has determined that the child is in the conservatorship of DFPS.

The child’s caseworker determines appropriate resources for referral.

6146 Family Advocates and Other Advocacy Organizations

CCI October 2021

Family advocacy groups are organizations whose mission is to promote the rights of parents by doing the following:

  • Supporting parents and caregivers.
  • Educating the community and legislators about working with the child welfare system.

This policy (this section and its subitems) only applies to advocacy groups that meet both of the following criteria:

  • There is not a law authorizing them to be present at court hearings or case-related meetings or to receive or obtain information from DFPS.
  • DFPS does not have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with them about the release of information.

This policy does not apply to the following:

  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
  • Disability Rights Texas (DRTx).
  • Children’s advocacy centers (CAC).
  • Human trafficking and child exploitation (HTCE) advocate agencies.
  • Advocates for victims of family violence.

Contact the DFPS CCL Investigations mailbox for information about CCI MOUs.

The caseworker does not release or share information except as required by federal or state law.

Texas Human Resources Code §40.005

Texas Human Resources Code §42.004

40 Texas Administrative Code §§707.761-707.769

6146.1 Case Records

CCI October 2021

DFPS cannot release case records to any person not authorized by relevant law to obtain those records.

If a person involved in an investigation, such as an alleged perpetrator, signs a release of information for an advocate, this does not allow DFPS to release documents to the advocate.

Staff members direct all requests for records to the DFPS Records Management Group (RMG). See the Records Management Group Handbook, 3000 Disclosure of DFPS Records.

Texas Human Resources Code §40.005

Texas Human Resources Code §42.004

40 Texas Administrative Code §§707.761-707.769

6146.2 Communication

CCI October 2021

The caseworker communicates about an investigation with either of the following:

  • The appropriate people involved in the investigation.
  • Their attorneys, if they have attorneys.

Verbal Communication

If an advocate is present (either in person or by phone) during communication with a person involved in the investigation, the caseworker gets verbal consent from the person involved in the investigation before discussing the case in the presence of the advocate. The caseworker documents the consent or denial of consent in IMPACT. 

If the person involved in the investigation has previously provided written consent, the caseworker does not need to get additional verbal consent.

Written Communication

If an advocate or advocacy organization initiates communication on behalf of a person involved in the investigation, a DFPS staff member responds directly to the person involved in the investigation and that person’s attorney, if the involved person has one. The advocate or advocacy organization is not included in the response.

When communicating by email or text message, DFPS staff members make sure only people legally entitled to receive information are included in the communication.

6146.3 Participation in Meetings

CCI October 2021

Meetings that DFPS Facilitates

An advocate may attend meetings related to the case as a support to a person involved in the investigation, but the following requirements apply:

  • The advocate’s presence must not be disruptive to the meeting. If the advocate is disruptive, the meeting facilitator determines whether to ask the advocate to leave and tries to continue the meeting without disruption.
  • An advocate may not be present if the involved person whom the advocate is supporting is not entitled to the confidential information being discussed.

Court Proceedings, Settlement Conferences, and Court-Ordered Mediation

Only the following people can actively participate in court proceedings, settlement conferences, and court-ordered mediation:

  • Parties to the case.
  • Attorneys representing parties.
  • Court appointed special advocates.

However, family advocates may attend hearings (as permitted by the court) and participate as witnesses if a party calls them to do so. They may also be available as a support to a party who participates in mediation or settlement. If the advocate is disruptive, the caseworker consults with the attorney representing DFPS to determine whether it is appropriate for DFPS to object to the advocate’s presence as a support.

6146.4 Participation in Interviews

CCI October 2021

A person involved in the investigation may request an advocate’s presence while CCI is interviewing the involved person. For general policy on CCI interviews, see 6420 Conducting Interviews.

However, the caseworker interviews each alleged victim in private, without the presence of an advocate, to preserve the integrity of the interview.

If the advocate delays or obstructs the caseworker’s ability to conduct an investigation, including by interfering with or obstructing interviews, the caseworker consults with the attorney representing DFPS to seek an order in aid of investigation.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.04412

Texas Family Code §261.303

6200 Assessing and Processing Intake Reports

6210 Reports Received from Statewide Intake (SWI)

CCI October 2020

All reports of violations of law or administrative rules, or of possible abuse, neglect, or exploitation, must be both of the following:

  1. Generated by DFPS Statewide Intake (SWI).
  2. Entered into the IMPACT case management system.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

Texas Family Code §261.101

Texas Family Code §261.103

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §707.711

If a report alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation, SWI staff do the following:

  1. Process the report as an intake.
  2. Prioritize the intake report as Priority 1 (P1) or Priority 2 (P2).
  3. Route the intake report to the appropriate CCI routing coordinator.

CCI routing coordinators route the intake to the regional investigative unit or to CCL, as appropriate.

6211 SWI RCCI Screening Unit

CCI October 2020

After SWI receives an intake report and enters it into IMPACT, the SWI Residential Child Care Investigations (RCCI) Screening Unit completes an assessment. After the assessment, the intake report is assigned to a residential child care investigator for investigation.

The SWI RCCI Screening Unit reviews the intake report to confirm that it is appropriate for investigation by the residential branch of CCI. Assessments are conducted according to the policy of CCI and SWI, and statutory authority to investigate.

The SWI RCCI Screening Unit may do any or all of the following:

  • Determine that an intake report should be a higher or lower priority than that originally assessed by the intake specialist.
  • Conduct additional research in CLASS and IMPACT.
  • Make additional contacts to the reporter or professional collaterals.
6211.1 RCCI Intake Reports Determined Appropriate for Priority None (PN)

CCI October 2020

If SWI RCCI Screening Unit Identifies PN

Intake reports about residential child care operations may be reclassified to a Priority None (PN) for closure in IMPACT by the SWI RCCI Screening Unit only if one of the following situations applies:

  • The allegations in the intake report clearly reflect that another DFPS division, another state agency, or law enforcement has investigative jurisdiction. That is, the intake report is outside RCCI jurisdiction.
  • The allegations in the intake report have already been investigated in a closed investigation, and the intake report does not include new allegations. The intake involves the same incident that was previously investigated, with the same alleged victim and same alleged perpetrator.

If RCCI Identifies Possible PN

RCCI staff does not reclassify an intake report to a PN. If the RCCI investigator determines that an investigation meets one of the above criteria and is not appropriate for investigation by CCI, the investigator does one of the following:

  • If the investigator’s determination is based on information available in CLASS or IMPACT before conducting any investigation activities, the investigator consults with his or her supervisor. The supervisor consults with the SWI RCCI Screening supervisor, and if the SWI RCCI Screening supervisor agrees, the investigation is routed to the SWI RCCI Screening Unit for administrative closure. The SWI RCCI Screening Unit makes the final determination of whether the intake report requires investigation before RCCI gathers new information.
  • If the investigator’s determination is based on new information gathered while conducting the investigation, the investigator submits the investigation to his or her supervisor for approval for administrative closure.
6211.2 Contacting the SWI RCCI Screening Unit Outside Regular Business Hours

CCI October 2020

Priority 1 intake reports received after regular business hours are assigned to the on-call investigator after call-out notification.

If the on-call investigator reviews the information in the intake report and determines the intake report is not appropriate for investigation (see 6211.1 RCCI Intake Reports Determined Appropriate for Priority None (PN)), the investigator consults with the on-call supervisor. If the on-call supervisor agrees, the investigator contacts the on-call SWI RCCI screener.

If the SWI RCCI screener agrees, the investigator assigns the intake report to the SWI RCCI screener for reclassification to a PN.

If the SWI RCCI screener does not agree with the reclassification to a PN, the screener consults with the on-call SWI RCCI Screening supervisor for a final determination. The SWI RCCI Screening supervisor makes the final determination and contacts the on-call investigator and on-call RCCI supervisor to notify them of the decision. The on-call SWI RCCI Screening supervisor assigns the investigation to the on-call investigator.

6212 Intake Reports Not Requiring Screening

CCI April 2021

Certain intake reports do not require screening by the SWI RCCI Screening Unit. These intake reports fall under either of the following criteria:

  • Intake reports regarding day care operations.
  • Intake reports assessed as a Priority 1 that have been received outside regular business hours.

CCI staff must ensure all of the following tasks, if applicable, are completed before an intake report is stage progressed to an investigation in IMPACT:

6220 Assessing an Intake Report for Type of Investigation and Priority

LPPH December 2012

Policy

All intake reports require an evaluation to determine:

a.   whether the information involves allegations of abuse or neglect;

b.   whether the information involves possible violations of the statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards;

c.   the immediate safety of children;

d.   the degree of risk to children;

e.   whether the operation is subject to a Licensing investigation; and

f.    the appropriate Licensing priority.

6221 Assessing an Intake Report for Type of Investigation

CCI October 2020

The supervisor or designee assesses intake reports about day care operations to confirm whether each report should be investigated or closed without an investigation.

The SWI RCCI Screening Unit assesses intake reports about residential child care operations. The SWI RCCI Screening Unit makes the final determination on whether each of these reports should be investigated or closed without an investigation. See 6211.1 RCCI Intake Reports Determined Appropriate for Priority None (PN).

6221.1 Intake Reports to Be Investigated

CCI October 2020

The supervisor or designee determines that an intake report about a day care operation will be investigated if the intake report contains any of the following:

  • An allegation of abuse or neglect.
  • A child fatality.
  • An allegation of exploitation, depending on the nature and extent of the alleged exploitation.

Texas Family Code §261.401

6221.2 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation

CCI October 2020

The supervisor or designee determines that an intake report about a day care operation will be closed without an investigation if the information in the report meets any of the following criteria:

  • Clearly reflects that there is no alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation to investigate.
  • Clearly reflects that another DFPS division, another state agency, or law enforcement has investigative jurisdiction.
  • Has already been investigated in a closed investigation and does not include new allegations.

6222 Assessing an Intake Report for Priority

CCI August 2020

Each intake report that warrants an investigation must be assessed to determine the correct priority. This review must be completed quickly enough to meet requirements for time frames for initiating investigations.

All intake reports are assigned priorities based on the following factors:

  • The information available at the time of intake.
  • The presence of current threats to the child’s immediate safety.
  • The degree of harm the child has sustained or may sustain in the foreseeable future.
  • The allegation that presents the greatest risk to the child, if multiple allegations are reported.

A screener, supervisor, or designee reviews and assesses each intake report containing an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to assess the priority and may change the priority assigned by SWI, if necessary.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(5)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §707.715

Prioritizing an Intake Report Involving an Illegal Operation

An intake report involving an operation that is operating without a permit is prioritized according to the same policies as an intake report involving an operation that is operating legally, if there are allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

6222.1 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 1 Investigation

CCI August 2020

An abuse or neglect intake report is classified as a Priority 1 (P1) investigation in IMPACT and CLASS, if the report concerns either of the following:

  • The death of a child.
  • An immediate threat of serious physical or emotional harm or death of a child caused by abuse or neglect.
6222.2 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 2 Investigation

CCI August 2020

An abuse, neglect, or exploitation intake report is classified as a Priority 2 (P2) investigation in IMPACT and CLASS, if the report concerns an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and either of the following applies:

  • The child is currently safe.
  • The child is not at immediate risk of serious physical or emotional harm as a result of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
6222.3 Selecting the Priority of an Intake Report in CLASS

CCI August 2020

The priority assigned to an abuse, neglect, or exploitation intake report in IMPACT automatically transfers to the IMPACT Priority field in the IMPACT Information section of the Intake Report in CLASS.

The screener, supervisor, or designee must select the correct CLASS priority from the drop-down list in the Priority section in the Intake Report. The priority assigned to a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in CLASS must be consistent with the IMPACT Priority.

The table below outlines the appropriate CLASS options to prioritize intake reports. Refer to the Definitions of Terms for:

  • Impairment
  • Serious harm
  • Serious incident
  • Serious injury
  • Substantial harm

Options for Intake Priority in CLASS

Explanation

Priority 1: Death of a child

A child dies while in the care of an operation that is subject to regulation.

Priority 1: Immediate danger of death

A child has been abused or neglected, and the abuse or neglect places the child or other children at immediate risk of death or substantial harm.

Priority 2: Abuse, neglect, or exploitation that does not indicate an immediate danger of death or serious injury

A child has been abused, neglected, or exploited while in the care of an operation that is subject to regulation, but the child and other children are currently safe from risk of death or substantial harm.

6230 Assessing an Intake Report for Allegation Types

LPPH December 2012

An investigator, supervisor, or designee must review every intake report and determine the types of allegations to be investigated:

  •  For reports of abuse or neglect, staff review allegation types in both IMPACT and CLASS.

  •  For reports of non-abuse or neglect, staff review allegation types in CLASS only.

6231 IMPACT Allegation Types

LPPH December 2012

Allegations of abuse or neglect entered in the Intake (INT) stage in IMPACT:

a.   are entered by the SWI staff who records the intake report;

b.   may not be deleted from IMPACT; and

c.   will automatically transfer from the intake report in IMPACT to the intake report in CLASS.

Allegations of abuse or neglect entered in the Investigation (INV) stage in IMPACT:

a.   are entered by the investigator;

b.   may be edited until the investigation is closed in IMPACT; and

c.   will automatically transfer from the INV stage in IMPACT to the Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Allegations of abuse or neglect on the Investigation Main page in CLASS:

a.   are indicated by a checkmark to the left of the allegation type;

b.   appear checked regardless if the allegation was entered in the INT stage or INV stage in IMPACT; and

c.   are not editable in CLASS.

6231.1 Selecting Allegations of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation in IMPACT

CCI August 2020

The table below outlines the allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that are available in IMPACT:

IMPACT Categories of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Explanation

Physical Abuse

Allegation meeting the definition of physical abuse in 40 TAC §707.789

Emotional Abuse

Allegation meeting the definition of emotional abuse in 40 TAC §707.787

Sexual Abuse

Allegation meeting the definition of sexual abuse in 40 TAC §707.791

Physical Neglect

Allegation meeting the definition of neglect of the physical health of a child in the care of an operation subject to regulation, as established in 40 TAC §707.801

Medical Neglect

Allegation meeting the definition of neglect of the medical needs of a child in the care of an operation subject to regulation, as established in 40 TAC §707.801

Neglectful Supervision

Allegation meeting the definition of neglect of the supervision needs of a child in the care of an operation subject to regulation, as established in 40 TAC §707.801

Exploitation

Allegation meeting the definition of exploitation in 40 TAC §707.799

Texas Family Code §261.001

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§707.787-801

6232 CLASS Allegation Types

CCI August 2020

In CLASS, the investigator, screener, supervisor, or designee reviews each report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and selects the appropriate allegation types on the Intake Report or Investigation Main page, depending on when staff become aware of the allegation.

6232.1 Selecting Allegations of Violations in CLASS

CCI August 2020

Regardless of the priority or whether an intake report is assigned for investigation, the Allegation Type checkboxes must accurately reflect the allegations in the intake report. If additional allegations arise during the investigation, any additional boxes related to those allegations should be checked on the Investigation Main page. The table below outlines the allegations of violations of minimum standards in CLASS:

Allegation Types in CLASS

Explanation

Standard/Law Violation

Allegation of a violation of a law, administrative rule, or minimum standard.

Illegal Operation

Allegation that care is being provided to children by an operation that does not have a permit, and the operation may be subject to regulation.

Suicide Attempt

Allegation that a child attempted suicide while in care of a residential operation.

Child Death

A child dies while in the care of an operation that is subject to regulation.

Serious Harm/Injury

Any physical injury to a child that requires medical treatment and resulted or may result in impairment to the child’s overall health or well-being.

Near Fatal

Near fatal injuries (previously known as critical injuries) are a subset of serious injuries in which the child would likely have died as a result of the injury or medical condition if the child had not gotten medical attention. In most circumstances, medical intervention includes admittance to an intensive care unit.

Child Arrest

A child in care of a residential operation is arrested.

Illness Requiring Hospitalization

A child in care of an operation has an illness requiring hospitalization.

Child Run Away

A child in care of a residential operation runs away from the residential operation.

Caregiver Drug Abuse

Allegation that a caregiver in a residential operation is abusing drugs.

Domestic Violence

Report from law enforcement that law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call at a foster home.

Endangering Person

Allegation that a sex offender’s address listed in the sex offender registry matches a child care operation’s address.

Child Sexual Aggression

Allegation of sexual behavior in which a child takes advantage of another person in a sexual way through seduction, coercion, or force. Must document the number of children involved.

Child-on-Child Physical Abuse

Allegation of child-to-child behavior that results in a child sustaining observable substantial harm requiring medical treatment. Must document the number of children involved.

Abuse/Neglect Physical Abuse

Allegation meeting the definition of physical abuse in 40 TAC §707.789.

Abuse/Neglect Emotional Abuse

Allegation meeting the definition of emotional abuse in 40 TAC §707.787

Abuse/Neglect Sexual Abuse

Allegation meeting the definition of sexual abuse in 40 TAC §707.791

Abuse/Neglect Physical Neglect

Allegation meeting the definition of neglect of physical health in 40 TAC 707.801

Abuse/Neglect Medical Neglect

Allegation meeting the definition of neglect of medical needs in 40 TAC 707.801

Abuse/Neglect Neglectful Supervision

Allegation meeting the definition of neglect of supervision needs in 40 TAC 707.801

Abuse/Neglect Exploitation

Allegation meeting the definition of exploitation in 40 TAC 707.799

6232.2 Allegation Involving a Child Under the Age of 6 (Child-Placing Agency Only)

LPPH December 2012

For an abuse or neglect or non abuse or neglect investigation of an agency foster or group home, it is required that the investigator, supervisor, or designee indicate whether or not the report involves a child under the age of 6 by selecting the appropriate radio button on the Intake Report or Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Staff select Yes if a child is:

a.   in care of the child-placing agency;

b.   is directly involved in the incident or allegation being investigated; and

c.   is younger than age 6.

Staff select No if a child is:

a.   not in care of the child-placing agency (such as a biological child);

b.   is not directly involved in the incident or allegation being investigated; or

c.   is age 6 or older.

Human Resources Code §§42.044(2) and 42.044(3)

6240 Processing Intake Reports in IMPACT and CLASS

CCI August 2020

The screener, supervisor, or designee must process the intake report in IMPACT, CLASS, or both. Processing an intake report involves making the decision to investigate, downgrade, or close a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

6241 Investigate, Downgrade, or Close an Intake Report

CCI August 2020

An intake report remains in the Intake (INT) stage in IMPACT until the screener, supervisor, or designee does one of the following:

  • Leaves the priority unchanged and assigns the intake report in IMPACT and the associated intake report in CLASS to an investigator as an investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • Changes the priority from P1 to P2 or from P2 to P1 and assigns the intake report in IMPACT and the associated intake report in CLASS to an investigator as an investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • Downgrades the priority to Priority None (PN) and refers the associated intake report in CLASS to the Child Care Licensing division of Texas Health and Human Services.
  • Downgrades the priority to Priority None (PN) and closes the intake report in IMPACT and the associated intake report in CLASS with no investigation.
6241.1 Changing the Priority of an Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation Intake Report

CCI August 2020

A screener, supervisor, or designee may change the priority of an intake report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation received by SWI if the screener, supervisor, or designee determines that the priority assessed by SWI is not the correct priority.

The screener, supervisor, or designee changes the priority and documents the reason for the change on the Priority Closure page under the Case Management tab in IMPACT.

Once the changes have been entered in IMPACT, the screener, supervisor, or designee must ensure that the IMPACT Priority also changes in the associated CLASS Intake Report in the IMPACT Information section.

Also see 6311.1 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in IMPACT.

6241.2 Reclassifying an Intake Report to a Priority None (PN) Intake Report

CCI October 2020

An intake report received by SWI may be reclassified to a Priority None (PN) intake report when the information in the report does either of the following:

  • Suggests that a minimum standard was violated, but not that a child was abused, neglected, or exploited.
  • Indicates that risk to children existed in the past, but does not allege current abuse, neglect, or exploitation (see 6264 Reports of Incidents that Occurred in the Past).

A supervisor or designee may reclassify an intake report to a Priority None (PN) only if the intake report is about a day care operation.

Only the SWI RCCI Screening Unit may reclassify intake reports about residential child care operations. See 6211.1 RCCI Intake Reports Determined Appropriate for Priority None (PN).

If the supervisor or designee determines that an intake report meets the above criteria, the supervisor or designee reclassifies the priority to a Priority None (PN), meaning no priority, and documents the reason for the change on the Priority Closure page under the Case Management tab in IMPACT.

If the supervisor or designee is not able to enter a full explanation for closing the intake report in the Comments field on the Priority Closure page, the supervisor or designee may create a contact in the Intake (INT) stage in IMPACT to document additional information about the priority change and closure.

Once the priority change is entered in IMPACT, the supervisor or designee ensures that the IMPACT Priority also changes in the associated CLASS Intake Report in the IMPACT Information section.

The IMPACT intake report must not be closed until the priority of the CLASS Intake Report matches the priority of the IMPACT intake report.

6241.3 Notification of Priority None (PN) Intake Reports Involving a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

CCI October 2020

If an intake report involving a foster home or a child in DFPS conservatorship is reclassified to a Priority None (PN), the SWI RCCI Screening Unit, CCI supervisor, or designee must notify the following people as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours after DFPS received the intake:

  • The CPS caseworker and supervisor assigned to the alleged victim.
  • The CPS caseworkers and supervisors assigned to any other children in the foster home.

The SWI RCCI Screening Unit, CCI supervisor, or designee notifies the CPS caseworker and supervisor by completing the Notifications section in IMPACT on the Priority/Closure page, before stage progressing the intake report.

6242 Investigate or Close a Report of Non Abuse or Neglect

LPPH December 2012

Policy

A report of non abuse or neglect (an I&R) remains open in the IMPACT case management system until the supervisor or a designee verifies that the intake report associated with the I&R transferred to CLASS. Upon verification, the supervisor or designee closes the I&R in IMPACT.

The investigator, supervisor, or designee then determines if the intake report in CLASS should be:

  •  assigned a priority and progressed to an investigation; or

  •  closed without conducting an investigation.

6242.1 Closing a Non Abuse or Neglect Intake Report

LPPH June 2014

Policy

An intake report in CLASS may be closed without an investigation if the investigator determines that an investigation is not warranted and receives supervisory approval to the close the report.

An intake report may be administratively closed without choosing a priority.

See 6221.5 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation.

Procedure

After the intake report or I&R is closed in the IMPACT system, the investigator, supervisor, or designee closes the report in the CLASS system by entering the date of the administrative closure and selecting and documenting the reason for closure under the Intake Status section on the Intake Report page.

6243 IMPACT and CLASS Options for Changing the Priority, Downgrading, or Closing an Intake Report

6243.1 IMPACT Options for Changing the Priority, Reclassifying, or Closing an Intake Report

CCI October 2020

The tables below outline the appropriate IMPACT options to do the following:

  • Change the priority of an intake report.
  • Reclassify or close an intake report.
Reasons for Changing the Priority of an Intake Report

Reason Changed

Explanation

Due to Additional Calls Made

Calls made to the reporter or collaterals (after the initial intake call) provided additional information that warrants a priority change.

Due to Local Records

Local records, including electronic records documented by the local CCI office, revealed information that warrants a priority change.

CCI rarely, if ever, uses this reason code.

Closed and Reclassified

The allegations warrant follow-up by CCL or a DFPS division or program other than CCI. To qualify as Closed and Reclassified, the report must be re-entered for the appropriate DFPS division or (for reports warranting follow-up by CCL) transferred through CLASS.

When Closed and Reclassified is the reason entered in IMPACT for changing a report’s priority, Closed and Reclassified must also be the reason for closing the intake report. This option is used only when changing the priority to PN.

This reason code does not apply for investigations of residential child care operations.

Inconsistent with Documented Risk

The level of risk documented in the intake report does not support the priority originally assigned.

Other Agency/Out of State

The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of CCI and must be handled by one of the following:

     
  • Another authorized entity, such as law enforcement.
  •  
  • Another state agency or department, such as HHS Long-Term Care Licensing or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
  •  
  • Another state.

When Other Agency/Out of State is the reason entered in IMPACT for changing the priority, Other Agency/Out of State must also be the reason for closing the intake report. This option is used only when changing the priority to PN.

P1 Response Increases Vulnerability

Responding within 24 hours could leave a child more vulnerable.

CCI rarely, if ever, uses this reason code.

Reasons for Reclassifying or Closing an Intake Report

Reason Closed

Explanation

Doesn’t appear to involve abuse, neglect, or risk

The information in the intake report does not appear to involve an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, or a reasonable likelihood that a child will be abused, neglected, or exploited in the foreseeable future.

This reason code does not apply for investigations of residential child care operations.

Too vague or general

The allegations are too vague or general to determine whether a child has been abused, neglected, or exploited or is likely to be abused, neglected, or exploited.

CCI rarely, if ever, uses this reason code.

This reason code does not apply for investigations of residential child care operations.

Allegations addressed in previous case

An investigation with the same allegations has already been investigated and closed.

Not enough information to locate

The intake report does not give enough information to locate the child or an operation that is subject to regulation. Before closing the intake report, staff must search all of the following:

     
  • Local records.
  •  
  • IMPACT records.
  •  
  • Internet-based phone and address directories.

This reason may only be used for intake reports involving operations subject to regulation (illegal operations).

CCI rarely, if ever, uses this reason code.

Closed and Reclassified

The allegations warrant follow-up by CCL or a DFPS division or program other than CCI. To qualify as Closed and Reclassified, the intake report must be re-entered for the appropriate DFPS division or (for reports warranting follow-up by CCL) transferred through CLASS.

This reason code does not apply for investigations of residential child care operations.

Other Agency/Out of State

The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of CCI and must be handled by one of the following:

     
  • Another authorized entity, such as law enforcement.
  •  
  • Another state agency or department, such as HHS Long-Term Care Licensing or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
  •  
  • Another state.

6243.2 CLASS Options for Closing an Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

The chart below outlines the appropriate CLASS options used to close an intake report.

Reasons for Closing an Intake Report in CLASS

Reason Closed:

CLASS Options

Explanation

Not subject to investigation

The intake report is closed because the information in the intake report does not constitute a possible violation of minimum standards.

Not subject to regulation

The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of DFPS Licensing and must be handled either by another authorized entity, such as law enforcement; another state agency or department such as the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS); or by another state.

Re-entered as A/N

The intake report is closed because the information was reentered as an intake report for an investigation of abuse or neglect, and the intake report is not able to be linked to the abuse or neglect investigation.

Repeated reports

The intake report is closed because there is an existing investigation in the CLASS system with the same allegations that has already been investigated and closed.

6250 Confidentiality of the Reporter’s Identity

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The name of the person who made the report is confidential and may not be revealed. If multiple reporters report the same or similar information, all are considered to be reporters and have the right to confidentiality.

Persons who supply new allegations or identify new alleged victims or perpetrators during an investigation are also considered to be reporters and have the right to confidentiality.

Texas Human Resource Code §40.005

Texas Government Code, Title 5, Ch. 552, Texas Public Information Act

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8483

6251 Identifying New Reporters During an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an investigation, a person is identified as a new reporter if the person provides the investigator with information regarding new allegations that are not being investigated in the current investigation. These new allegations may be:

a.   abuse or neglect of the current alleged victim by a new alleged perpetrator;

b.   abuse or neglect of a new alleged victim by the current alleged perpetrator;

c.   abuse or neglect of a new alleged victim by a new alleged perpetrator; or

d.   a minimum standard violation unrelated to the allegations currently being investigated.

Procedure

If the investigator identifies a new reporter during the course of an investigation, the investigator may:

a.   identify the person as a reporter in the IMPACT and CLASS investigation, depending on the type of investigation, if the allegations are to be investigated in the current investigation;

b.   refer the information to SWI for entry as a new intake report or Information and Referral (I&R) and identify the person who provided the information as the reporter; or

c.   enter the information as a new Intake Report in CLASS if the information does not include allegations of abuse or neglect and is regarding a day care operation.

When determining whether to investigate the new allegations in the current investigation or in a new investigation, the investigator consults with the supervisor and considers the following:

  •  How closely related the new allegations are to the current allegations

  •  Whether there is enough time remaining in the current investigation to fully investigate the new allegations

6252 Responding to Requests for the Reporter’s Identity

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If an operation’s director, administrator, or staff members know or suspect a reporter’s identity, the investigator does not confirm or deny the identity of the reporter. Under law, the reporter’s name and any identifying information about the reporter are protected.

If any employee of an operation requests the identity of the reporter, the investigator refers the employee to:

  •  the Attorney General’s Opinion, Open Records Decision No. 176, for non abuse or neglect reports; or

  •  the Texas Family Code, §261.201(a), for abuse or neglect reports.

6253 Protecting a Reporter’s Confidentiality During an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

While visiting an operation, an investigator must ensure that individuals who are not employed by DFPS do not have access to any confidential information that is contained on a tablet PC, in the intake report, or in handwritten notes. External documentation that identifies a person as a reporter, such as an intake report, may not be taken to the operation.

6260 Types of Intake Reports

6261 Anonymous Intake Reports

LPPH December 2012

An intake report is considered anonymous if the reporter does not provide a name or contact information.

6261.1 Evaluating the Factual Basis of an Anonymous Intake Report

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If a reporter of a non abuse or neglect intake report decides to remain anonymous and the intake report does not contain allegations that the health or safety of children is at risk, the investigator evaluates if there is any factual basis to the intake report by:

  •  evaluating the operation’s compliance history for similar allegations and deficiencies; and

  •  contacting the operation and collateral sources.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8421; 745.8423

Procedure

If the investigator is able to determine that there is no factual basis for the allegations in the intake report, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine the appropriateness of administratively closing the intake report. See 6242 Investigate or Close a Report of Non Abuse or Neglect.

6261.2 Processing an Anonymous Intake Report in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An anonymous intake report may not be published on the DFPS website if there are no findings of violations (deficiencies).

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8423

Procedure

Anonymous intake reports must be investigated separately from intake reports that are received where a reporter’s identity is known and confidential and must not be linked in CLASS to an intake report in which the reporter’s identity is known and confidential.

To prevent publication online, Licensing staff must check the Anonymous checkbox on both the Intake Persons page in the Intake Report and the Investigation Persons page within the investigationin CLASS.

6262 Merging Investigations about the Same Allegations

CCI November 2020

If DFPS receives multiple intake reports for the same allegations, CCI may investigate them as one investigation when all of the following criteria apply:

  • The intake reports are about the same incident or incidents.
  • The intake reports involve the same alleged perpetrator and alleged victim.
  • The new intake report does not include new allegations or identify new alleged perpetrators or alleged victims.
  • An investigation is currently open.

When a new investigation is merged into an existing investigation, the investigator must complete a new face-to-face contact with each alleged victim to confirm the child’s safety and to ensure that all reported allegations have been addressed. The required time frame for this face-to-face contact is as follows:

  • Within 24 hours from the date and time of the new intake report if the investigation is a Priority 1.
  • Within 72 hours from the date and time of the new intake report if the investigation is a Priority 2.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

6262.1 Merging and Linking Investigations in IMPACT and CLASS

CCI November 2020

In order for CCI to investigate multiple intake reports as one investigation, the investigations must be merged in IMPACT and linked in CLASS.

If DFPS receives an Information and Referral (I&R) related to an investigation, an associated CLASS intake report is automatically created in CLASS. The associated CLASS intake report is then automatically linked to the investigation in CLASS. The investigator, supervisor, or designee closes the I&R in IMPACT.

Once an investigation is closed, no merge actions may be performed. A closed investigation cannot be merged with an open investigation or with another closed investigation.

6263 Repeated Reports with No New Allegations

CCI October 2020

A repeated report is an intake report that meets both of the following criteria:

  • It contains allegations that have previously been investigated.
  • It does not contain new allegations that have not previously been reported or investigated.

If a repeated report is received, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine which of the following actions the investigator should take:

  • If the new reporter is the same as the original reporter, the investigator contacts the reporter to obtain information about his or her previous report and explores the reporter’s reason for calling again.
  • If the new reporter is a different person, the investigator contacts the new reporter and explains that the allegation has previously been reported and investigated.

If the investigator determines that there are no new allegations, the investigator does both of the following:

  • Consults with the supervisor to confirm a disposition of Administrative Closure.
  • Submits the investigation to the supervisor for approval.

See also:

6570 Allegations That Merit Administrative Closure

6800 Submitting and Approving Investigations

6264 Reports of Incidents That Occurred in the Past

CCI October 2020

If the supervisor or designee receives information about an incident that happened in the past, the supervisor or designee gathers as much information as possible.

The supervisor or designee considers the following questions:

  • How long ago did the incident occur?
  • What motivated the reporter to report now?
  • Are current staff at the operation the same staff who were present at the time of the incident?
  • Is the child who was involved in the incident still being cared for at the operation?
  • Did other people witness the incident?
  • Is other information or evidence (such as photographs) available to help determine whether the abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred?
  • Is there a current risk to other children in care of the operation?
  • Were there any subsequent problems?

If the intake report is about a residential child care operation, and there are allegations that CCI did not previously investigate, the report must be sent to the field for investigation.

6265 Incidents Reported by an Operation, Known as Self-Reports

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An intake report is identified as a Self Report if the director, administrator, or other representative of the operation reports an incident that occurred at the operation.

The Licensing staff who processes the intake report must identify the report as a Self Report in CLASS to ensure that the intake report is identified as a Self Report on the DFPS website.

Procedure

In CLASS the staff identifies an intake report as a self-report by checking the Self Report checkbox on:

  •  the Intake Report page; and

  •  the Investigation Main page.

6266 Reports Requiring Special Handling

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The following checkboxes must be selected either in the intake report or in the investigation in IMPACT and CLASS, as appropriate:

a.   Sensitive

b.   Media Attention

c.   Disaster Relief

d.   H1N1

6266.1 Processing Sensitive Intake Reports

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An intake report or investigation is considered sensitive when:

a.   A DFPS employee, volunteer, or intern is:

  •  the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator, or

  •  a spouse, significant other, relative, or household member of the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator.

b.   A non-DFPS employee housed in the same office as DFPS staff is the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator;

c.   The alleged victim or alleged perpetrator is a high profile individual such as a judge, legislator, or district attorney;

d.   The situation has significant media interest or coverage;

e.   Personal or family issues involving a DFPS employee are reported that do not involve abuse or neglect; or

f.    Work-related issues or a breach of confidentiality by a DFPS employee are reported.

When the Sensitive checkbox in IMPACT is checked, only the following persons may review the investigation in IMPACT:

a.   The assigned investigator

b.   The supervisor and above

c.   Anyone designated by a DFPS employee in one of the positions mentioned in this list

d.   Any DFPS employee with designated security clearance to view sensitive cases

Processing Sensitive Intake Reports in IMPACT

Procedure

A report of abuse or neglect can be identified as a sensitive report either in the Intake stage or the Investigation stage in IMPACT. If the SWI staff that processes the report of abuse or neglect is aware of the sensitive information at the time the intake is being recorded, the SWI staff is responsible for selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the intake report.

If the Sensitive Case checkbox is not selected in the intake report and the investigator becomes aware that the report contains sensitive information, the investigator may identify the investigation as sensitive either in the Intake stage or in the Investigation stage by:

  •  selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox on the Case Summary page in IMPACT; and

  •  documenting the reason why the investigation is marked sensitive in the Comments field.

SWI staff may also identify an I&R as containing sensitive information by selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the I&R.

Processing Sensitive Intake Reports in CLASS

Procedure

Either a report of abuse or neglect or a report of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards may be identified as containing sensitive allegations in CLASS. If the SWI staff selects the Sensitive Case checkbox in the intake report or I&R in IMPACT, the Sensitive checkbox is automatically checked in the Intake Report in CLASS.

If the SWI staff did not select the Sensitive Case checkbox in IMPACT, the investigator may identify the report in CLASS as sensitive by selecting the Sensitive checkbox in the Intake Report or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware of the sensitive information.

6266.2 Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The Media Attention checkbox is used to indicate when an investigation has received or may receive attention from the media.

Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention in IMPACT

Procedure

A report of abuse or neglect that receives media attention is identified as a Sensitive Case in IMPACT in order to restrict the number of people who can access the investigation. Investigations receiving media attention can be identified as a Sensitive Case either in the Intake stage or the Investigation stage in IMPACT. If the SWI staff that processes the report of abuse or neglect is aware that the allegations have received media attention at the time the intake is being recorded, the SWI staff is responsible for selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the intake report.

If the Sensitive Case checkbox is not selected in the intake report and the investigator becomes aware that the report has received or may receive media attention, the investigator may identify the investigation as sensitive either in the Intake stage or in the Investigation stage by:

  •  selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox on the Case Summary page in IMPACT; and

  •  documenting the reason why the investigation is marked sensitive in the Comments field.

SWI staff may also identify an I&R as receiving media attention by selecting the Sensitive Case checkbox in the I&R.

Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention in CLASS

Procedure

Either a report of abuse or neglect or a report of non abuse or neglect may be identified as containing allegations receiving media attention in CLASS. The investigator may identify that the report has received or may receive media attention by selecting the Media Attention checkbox on the Intake Report or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware of the media attention.

6266.3 Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The Disaster Relief indicators are used to identify intake reports or investigations involving a disaster, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief in IMPACT

Procedure

SWI staff is responsible for identifying a report of abuse or neglect or a report of non abuse or neglect (an I&R) in IMPACT as involving a disaster by selecting the appropriate Disaster Relief option in the intake report or I&R.

If a report of abuse or neglect involves a disaster, the investigator selects the appropriate option from the Disaster Relief drop-down box on the Person Detail page (found under the Person tab in the Investigation stage in IMPACT) for each person involved in the disaster if SWI staff has not already made the designation in the intake report.

Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief in CLASS

Procedure

Either a report of abuse or neglect or a report of non abuse or neglect may be identified as involving a disaster in CLASS. Depending on when the investigator becomes aware that the intake report involves a disaster, the investigator completes the following fields on either the Intake Report page or the Investigation Main page in CLASS:

a.   Disaster Relief checkbox

b.   Disaster Type drop-down box

c.   Disaster Name field

6266.4 Processing Intake Reports Involving H1N1

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The H1N1 checkbox is used to indicate when an intake report contains information that either an employee of or a child in care of a child care operation has contracted the H1N1 virus.

Procedure

The Licensing staff may identify that the intake report involves the H1N1 virus by selecting the H1N1 checkbox on the Intake Report page or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware that the report involves the H1N1 virus. There is no H1N1 indicator in IMPACT.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.063

6270 Referring a Report of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation for Investigation When New Allegations Are Received During an Investigation

CCI August 2020

An investigator must immediately refer allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or death of a child to SWI or to another responsible agency when the investigator becomes aware of the allegations and determines that they have not previously been reported.

The allegations must be reported regardless of whether the child is in care of a regulated operation and whether the alleged perpetrator is working under the auspices of an operation.

Texas Family Code §261.001

Texas Family Code §261.401

HHSC Rules, 15 TAC §351.503(g)

An investigator may become aware of new allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child through any of the following:

  • A visit to an operation.
  • An investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of another child.
  • A media outlet.

The following table shows to which investigating agency to refer a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child, depending on whether the child is in care of an operation and the relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child. A child living in the verified foster home of a relative or fictive kin is considered “in care of an operation.”

If the child:

And the person alleged to have abused, neglected, or exploited the child is:

Refer to:

Is in care of an operation

A person working under the auspices of an operation, including a foster parent who is providing care to a related child in the care of the operation

CCI

Is not in care of an operation

A person who does not have a family relationship with the child but lives in the same household as the child

CPS

Is, or is not, in care of an operation

A caregiver with either a biological or adoptive relationship to the child, according to Human Resources Code 42.002(16)

CPS

Is, or is not, in care of an operation

A person employed by a school, including a school located on the same campus as a regulated operation

CPS

Is, or is not, in care of an operation

A person who does not work under the auspices of an operation, does not live in the same household as the child, and does not have a family relationship with the child

Law enforcement

Is, or is not, in care of an operation

A person employed by a hospital or nursing home, including an acute unit located on the same campus as a regulated operation

HHS Long-term Care Licensing

Is, or is not, in care of an operation

A person employed at a home or operation regulated by another state agency

The state agency that regulates the operation

If the child is being cared for in the child’s own home by a caregiver with a Listed Home designation, the investigation is conducted by CPS.

If the subject of the investigation is a child care center, CCI may conduct a joint investigation with CPS of an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child related to the caregiver if both of the following apply:

  • The caregiver was working under the auspices of the operation at the time of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • The child was in care of the operation at the time of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.002(16)

6300 Preparing for the Investigation

6310 Preparing the Investigation in IMPACT and CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Investigators must complete certain tasks in IMPACT and CLASS in preparation of initiating the investigation.

6311 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

An abuse or neglect intake report must be progressed to an investigation in both the IMPACT and CLASS systems. In order to ensure that the syncing process between IMPACT and CLASS occurs correctly, the investigator assigned to an abuse or neglect report must progress the intake report to the Investigation (INV) stage in IMPACT before progressing the intake report to an investigation in CLASS.

A non abuse or neglect intake report is progressed to investigation in the CLASS system only.

6311.1 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in IMPACT

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator of an abuse or neglect report must progress the intake report to the Investigation (INV) stage in IMPACT once a supervisor or designee determines that the information in the intake report should be investigated as a report of abuse or neglect.

If the priority of the intake report was changed in IMPACT before being assigned for investigation, the investigator must ensure that the priority also changed in the associated intake report in CLASS before progressing the intake report to the INV stage in IMPACT.

6311.2 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in CLASS

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator of an abuse or neglect report or a non-abuse or neglect report progresses an intake report to an investigation in CLASS once the investigator or supervisor determines that the information in the intake report is subject to investigation.

6312 Reviewing the Intake Report Narrative and Determining the Allegations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

After being assigned an investigation, the investigator must review the Allegation Narrative in the Intake Report in CLASS. The investigator reviews the narrative to identify each allegation of:

  •  abuse or neglect (if the report is of abuse or neglect); and

  •  a violation of law, administrative rule, or minimum standard.

Following the review of the Allegation Narrative, the investigator enters the following information in CLASS:

  •  a summary of the allegations; and

  •  the specific statutes, administrative rules, and minimum standards to evaluate during the investigation.

Procedure

The investigator must review the Allegation Narrative before initiating the investigation and complete the CLASS entries before linking the investigation to an inspection form in CLASS. The summary of the allegations and the laws, rules, and standards being evaluated is automatically entered on the Form 2936 Child-Care Facility Inspection once the investigator links the investigation to an inspection.

6312.1 Writing the Allegation

LPPH December 2015

Policy

The investigator documents a concise summary describing each allegation that is to be investigated under the Allegations section on the Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Procedure

When writing an allegation, the investigator avoids:

a.   including first or last names of children or adults;

b.   including specific ages or gender of children, or any other identifying information;

c.   using abbreviations of words or phrases;

d.   using legal terms, such as abuse or neglect, that are defined in the Texas Family Code or Texas Administrative Code;

e.   using inflammatory or prejudicial words or phrases.

When writing an allegation, the investigator must:

  •  use good grammar and proper spelling; and

  •  be concise, yet descriptive.

Example:

Incorrect: It is alleged that a child was physically abused by his caregiver.

Incorrect: It is alleged that a 6-year-old male was whipped with a belt by his caregiver for wetting his pants. The boy has a two-inch welt on his lower back and several linear welts on his legs.

Acceptable: It is alleged that a child was inappropriately disciplined by his caregiver.

Acceptable: It is alleged that a caregiver disciplined a child by hitting the child with a belt and causing injuries to the child’s back and legs.

6312.2 Evaluating Allegations of Licensing Minimum Standards Violations During an Investigation

CCI August 2020

Intake reports alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation may also include allegations of licensing minimum standards violations.

The investigator must do the following:

  • Evaluate allegations of licensing minimum standards violations while conducting the investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • Ensure that any observed high-risk violations are corrected during visits to the operation, if practicable.
  • Provide evidence obtained during the investigation that verifies whether a possible licensing minimum standards violation occurred to the appropriate CCL staff for the operation.

During the investigation, the investigator documents observations made during visits to the operation in the Observations Made During Inspection narrative box on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

The investigator notifies the CCL inspector assigned to the operation of possible licensing minimum standards violations by email, phone, or in person. Evidence, such as photographs or copies of records, may be provided to the CCL inspector for the inspector’s use in evaluating any necessary citations.

For example, if unsecured medication was observed to be accessible to children, the investigator ensures the medication is secured during the visit, documents the observation in CLASS, and notifies the CCL inspector to evaluate for possible citation.

6320 Contacting the Reporter

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If necessary the investigator contacts the reporter before the initiation of the investigation to:

a.   clarify the details of the intake report;

b.   obtain additional information that the reporter may have; and

c.   determine the location of the children involved in the report, if the intake report does not contain this information.

Procedure

It may not be necessary to contact the reporter if the reporter:

a.   is an employee of the operation;

b.   has no direct knowledge of the incident being reported; and

c.   is reporting the incident to fulfill professional reporting obligations.

Contact with the reporter may not be considered to be the initiation of an investigation unless:

  •  the district director or residential manager gives approval; or

  •  the reporter is a representative of a child-placing agency and the investigation is being assigned as an internal investigation.

6330 Assessing the Immediate Safety of Children

CCI March 2021

The investigator evaluates the immediate safety of children during every contact with children in care and every visit to the operation or home.

Child Safety

When determining whether a child is currently safe or unsafe, the investigator must evaluate all of the following:

  • The nature of the danger.
  • The immediacy and severity of the danger.
  • The child’s vulnerability.
  • The caregiver or operation’s capability to protect the child.

6331 Evaluating the Need for a Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

If the investigator identifies an immediate danger to a child in the care of an operation, the investigator immediately begins to determine the appropriate safety interventions necessary to ensure child safety.

Safety interventions may include:

  • Implementing a safety plan.
  • Modifying an existing safety plan.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §707.717(6)

Safety Plan

A safety plan is a signed, temporary agreement between DFPS and the child care operation or home. It describes specific actions, interventions, or conditions that will occur at the operation or home in order to support the ongoing safety of children while an investigation is being conducted.

Safety plans are used to mitigate conditions or situations at a child care operation or home that are likely to cause or contribute to immediate dangers if no safety intervention is implemented.

Safety plans are unrelated to the expectation that an operation comply with minimum standard requirements established under its license or permit to operate.

Immediate Danger

A danger is immediate if the substantial risk or threat of physical, emotional, or mental harm it presents is happening now, or can be expected to happen within the next few days. An immediate danger may require immediate action. See 7200 Handling Immediate Danger to Children.

Dangers that are not immediate refer to a risk or threat of harm that has the potential to occur, but is not likely to occur in the near future.

6331.1 Safety Assessments

CCI March 2021

After visiting the operation or home and interviewing the alleged victims, the investigator completes a safety assessment to do all of the following:

  • Document the information obtained at that point in the investigation.
  • Determine the presence of any danger indicators.
  • Guide decision-making about child safety.
6331.2 Danger Indicators

CCI March 2021

The investigator considers the presence of danger indicators when evaluating child safety. Danger indicators are conditions, behaviors, or situations that are likely to cause or contribute to immediate danger to the health or safety of children in care. Danger indicators require safety interventions to be implemented to prevent the conditions, behaviors, or situations from escalating to immediate dangers.

The investigator documents the presence or absence of danger indicators during the safety assessment to determine whether a safety plan is needed.

If the safety assessment does not support the presence of danger indicators, but the investigator has concerns that safety interventions are necessary, the investigator staffs with the supervisor to determine if a safety plan may be implemented.

6332 Implementing a Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

The investigator must complete both of the following before implementing a safety plan:

  • Face-to-face contact with an alleged victim, if the identity or location of the alleged victim is known.
  • Evaluate the operation to assess for danger indicators and immediate danger.

The investigator discusses the threats to child safety with the operation and develops a safety plan to mitigate the danger indicators. The investigator documents the safety plan on Form 3016 Safety Plan and shares the completed form with the operation. Each safety plan must explain all of the following details:

  • The actions the operation has agreed to take.
  • The timeframe by which each action will be completed, or the dates each intervention is in effect.
  • The person who will be present at the operation or home and be responsible for ensuring the operation’s compliance with the plan.

The investigator ensures that each person signing the form understands and agrees to all of the following:

  • His or her responsibilities.
  • The potential consequences of not complying with the safety plan.
  • The actions or circumstances needed to eliminate the need for the safety plan.
6332.1 Supervisory Review of the Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

Before Implementation

Before implementing a safety plan, the supervisor must approve any safety plan that includes any of the following interventions:

  • A person may not have any contact with children in care.
  • A person may not serve in a supervisory capacity over other caregivers.
  • An operation must temporarily stop operating.

After Implementation

No later than 48 hours after implementing a safety plan, the supervisor must review the plan to ensure it adequately reduces the risk to children in care and includes appropriate documentation.

If the safety plan does not adequately reduce the risk to children in care, the investigator and supervisor must immediately contact the operation and determine appropriate corrections. The safety plan is amended by documenting on a new Form 3016 Safety Plan.

6332.11 Restricting an Alleged Perpetrator’s Contact With Children or Role at the Operation

CCI March 2021

If a person under the auspices of the operation presents a likelihood to cause or contribute to an immediate danger, a supervisor may approve a safety plan that requires either of the following:

  • The person may not have any contact with children in care.
  • The person may not serve in a supervisory capacity over other caregivers.
6332.12 Requesting That an Operation Stop Operating

CCI March 2021

A supervisor may approve a safety plan that requires an operation to stop operating if any of the following criteria apply:

  • An immediate danger to the safety of children in care is present at the operation or home and the permit holder of a regulated operation or the primary caregiver of an illegally operating facility refuses to correct or remove the immediate danger.
  • A person under the auspices of the operation poses an immediate danger to the safety of children in care, and the permit holder of a regulated operation or the primary caregiver of an illegally operating facility refuses or is unable to remove the person posing the immediate danger.
  • The permit holder of a regulated operation or the primary caregiver of an illegally operating facility poses an immediate danger to the safety of children in care.
6332.2 Documenting the Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

IMPACT

After the supervisor approves the safety plan, the investigator documents that a safety plan is in effect by entering a contact with the purpose code Gather/Obtain Info. The contact includes a summary of the safety plan and its effective dates.

A copy of the safety plan is filed in the external case file and uploaded in the OneCase application within IMPACT.

CLASS

After the supervisor approves the safety plan, the investigator documents that a safety plan is in effect on the Risk Factors page in the CLASS investigation. The investigator documents a summary of the safety plan, including all of the following:

  • The actions the operation has agreed to take to ensure the safety of children, and detailed information explaining how the operation intends to take these actions.
  • The date the safety plan is to be implemented and the timeframes for each condition or action.
  • The person at the operation responsible for evaluating compliance with the safety plan.
6332.3 Notifying the Licensing Representative of the Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

No later than 48 hours after the supervisor approves a safety plan, the investigator does the following:

  • Notifies the Child Care Licensing representative assigned to the operation.
  • Provides the representative with a copy of the safety plan signed by the operation staff.

6333 Operation Refuses to Implement a Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

The investigator works with the operation to determine measures that appropriately mitigate danger indicators.

If the operation refuses to implement a safety plan, or refuses to implement an appropriate safety intervention, the investigator immediately consults with the investigator’s supervisor.

The investigator and supervisor consult with the program administrator and a DFPS attorney, as necessary, to determine appropriate action.

See:

7200 Handling Immediate Danger to Children

7727 Emergency Release

6334 Evaluating and Ending a Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

The investigator evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of the safety plan no later than every 15th day from the safety plan’s implementation date, for as long as the safety plan is in effect.

The investigator evaluates for new danger indicators, or danger indicators that are not being effectively managed by the safety plan, while completing any of the following tasks:

  • Conducting follow-up visits to the operation or home.
  • Conducting follow-up interviews with children, caregivers, or collaterals at the operation.

The investigator’s summary of the evaluation of the safety plan is documented as a separate contact in IMPACT using the purpose code Gather/Obtain Info.

Before ending a safety plan, the investigator must visit the operation or home to complete a final evaluation. The investigator conducts any additional follow-up contacts as necessary to verify all of the following criteria:

  • There are no longer any danger indicators at the operation.
  • The operation has demonstrated an appropriate capacity to protect children in care on its own without additional safety interventions by CCI.

The investigator must immediately notify the operation if the safety plan may be ended before the documented end date. The investigator must do the following when a safety plan ends before the end date documented on the safety plan form:

  • Document a contact in IMPACT and CLASS.
  • Notify the Child Care Licensing representative assigned to the operation.
6334.1 Revising or Extending a Safety Plan

CCI March 2021

If the investigator identifies new immediate dangers, or that immediate dangers are not being effectively managed by the existing safety plan, the investigator must receive supervisory approval to revise or extend the safety plan or the relevant individual safety interventions.

If an existing safety plan is not effectively managing immediate dangers due to the operation’s failure to implement the safety plan, the investigator consults with the investigator’s supervisor (see 6333 Operation Refuses to Implement a Safety Plan).

Any revision or extension of a safety plan or individual safety intervention must be documented on a new Form 3016 Safety Plan. Any time a new safety plan form is completed, all of the following steps must be repeated:

  • All signatures must be completed again.
  • The completed form is uploaded to the OneCase application in IMPACT.
  • The Child Care Licensing representative assigned to the operation must be provided a copy of the completed form.

The reason for the change or extension must be shared with the operation and documented in the electronic case record.

6340 Risk Assessment of Regulatory History

CCI March 2021

A risk assessment of regulatory history is a consultation between the investigator and the Child Care Licensing inspector assigned to the child care operation to review all of the following information about the operation:

  • Characteristics of children in care and the staff present at the operation.
  • Regulatory compliance history.
  • Investigation history.

By reviewing this information, the investigator is able to identify patterns of behaviors and conditions at the operation that may be relevant to the current allegations and inform the investigator’s ongoing assessment of child safety at the operation.

6341 Requesting a Risk Assessment of Regulatory History

CCI March 2021

Within 10 days of receiving the intake report, the investigator contacts the Child Care Licensing (CCL) inspector assigned to the operation to request a risk assessment of the operation’s regulatory history.

If the CCL inspector is unable or unwilling to participate in the consultation, the investigator conducts the risk assessment by reviewing the information documented in CLASS and consults with the investigator’s supervisor.

6342 Conducting a Risk Assessment of Regulatory History

CCI March 2021

The investigator reviews all of the following:

  • All inspections and investigations of the operation conducted in the previous 24 months.
  • Regulatory deficiencies cited in the last 24 months.
  • Any regulatory waivers, variances, corrective action, or adverse action in effect at the operation in the last 5 years.
  • Type of care, operating times, capacity and age groups of children, and services provided by the operation.
  • Any regulatory conditions placed on the license or permit.
  • Any regulatory conditions placed on staff at the operation as a result of a Provisional, Conditional, or Ineligible background check status.
  • Recent regulatory history for any other operation the investigation principals have been affiliated with in the previous 24 months.

The investigator also considers any DFPS investigation history for each alleged perpetrator and alleged victim to determine any pattern of similar allegations, and the outcomes of those investigations.

6343 Documenting the Risk Assessment of Regulatory History

CCI March 2021

The investigator documents the risk assessment as a contact in IMPACT and CLASS.

IMPACT

The investigator enters the contact with the purpose code Assessment.

CLASS

The investigator labels the contact as Risk Assessment in the Source of Information field on the Contact List on the Investigation Conclusion page.

6350 Notifications Made at Beginning of Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Notification to law enforcement, the operation, and a child’s conservatorship caseworker should be made before initiation or as soon as is reasonably possible after the initiation, if the notification is required by policy.

6352 Notifying the Operation of an Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must notify the applicant, permit holder, director, or person in charge at the operation when an investigation is being conducted.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8441

Procedure

During the first contact the investigator has with the operation, the investigator must inform the administrator or director:

a.   about the purpose of the investigation and nature of the allegations;

b.   whether a safety plan is needed;

c.   that the operation must not conduct any interview about the alleged incident with staff, children, or witnesses at the operation who may have knowledge of the incident, unless the operation qualifies for an exception.

Exception to Operation Conducting Interviews

State law requires some residential operations to investigate the death of a child and file a report about the death with the attorney general. The operations may conduct interviews about the death of a child in order to file the required report.

These operations may include foster homes, licensed residential facilities that contract with the Texas Youth Commission, and juvenile probation facilities that choose to be licensed.

6352.1 Methods of Notifying the Operation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator may notify the operation via phone, email, inspection, or inspection form depending on the circumstances.

Notifying the Operation Outside of an Inspection

Procedure

The investigator may notify the director or administrator of the operation of the investigation outside of an inspection:

  •  if the investigator needs to contact the operation to request additional information or a safety plan before conducting an inspection; or

  •  within a day after conducting an onsite inspection if the director or administrator was not present during the inspection.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8443

Notifying the Operation by Inspection or Inspection Form

Procedure

The investigator notifies the director or administrator of the operation of the nature of the investigation in person if the director or administrator is present at the time of the inspection.

If the director or administrator is not present at the time of the inspection, the investigator may leave a copy of the Form 2936 Child-Care Facility Inspection at the operation. The Inspection Form may be used to notify the operation in lieu of another type of contact as long as the inspection form contains a written description of the allegations being investigated and the minimum standards being evaluated for compliance. See 6312 Reviewing the Intake Report Narrative and Determining the Allegations.

The investigator may need to follow up with the director or administrator if the investigator determines that a safety plan should be developed.

6352.2 Exceptions to Notifying the Operation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator may delay notifying the director or administrator of the operation about the nature of the investigation if:

  •  the allegations are against the director or administrator; or

  •  the investigator has reason to believe that the notification may compromise the investigation.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8441; 745.8443

Procedure

If the investigator determines that the notification to the operation should be delayed, the investigator:

a.   must obtain supervisory approval;

b.   document the decision and the supervisory approval as a contact in CLASS; and

c.   notify the director or administrator of the operation as soon as the investigator determines the investigation will no longer be compromised.

6353 Notifications of Investigations Involving a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

CCI August 2020

If a child is in the conservatorship of DFPS, the screener, supervisor, or designee must notify the following people within 24 hours of the intake report:

  • The CPS caseworker and supervisor assigned to the alleged victim.
  • The CPS caseworkers and supervisors assigned to any other children in a foster home that is under investigation.

The investigator or designee must also notify the CCI program administrator if the investigation involves an allegation of child sexual aggression.

6353.1 How to Notify the CPS Caseworker and Supervisor

CCI August 2020

The screener, supervisor, or designee notifies the CPS caseworker and supervisor for each alleged victim identified in the intake report by completing the Notifications section in IMPACT on the Priority/Closure page, before stage progressing the intake report to an investigation. If additional alleged victims are identified during the investigation, the investigator manually notifies the CPS caseworker and supervisor by email. This notification must be documented as a contact in CLASS. The email must include the following information:

  • Child’s name.
  • Name of the operation that is the subject of the investigation.
  • Name of the foster home, if applicable.
  • IMPACT case ID number.
  • A statement of whether or not the allegations involve sexually aggressive behavior or child-on-child physical abuse.
  • A statement of whether the child is listed as an alleged victim or a household member in the intake report.
6353.2 Maintaining Contact With the CPS Caseworker of Alleged Victims

LPPH December 2012

Policy

After the initial notification, the investigator must attempt to maintain contact with the child’s CPS caseworker if the child is listed as an alleged victim in order to:

a.   obtain additional information about the child, including the child’s history of abuse or neglect, behavioral patterns, and any other information that provides insight into the investigation;

b.   share information with the CPS caseworker about the status of the investigation, including any concerns the investigator may have with the child’s placement and detailed information regarding incidents of child-on-child abuse; and

c.   obtain assistance with acquiring the child’s medical records from a doctor’s office or hospital, if necessary.

6353.3 Documenting Contact With the CPS Caseworker

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

All contacts with a child’s CPS caseworker must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS investigation as soon as possible and no later than the following day.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact a child’s CPS caseworker must also be documented.

6354 Notifying a School District About Allegations Against a Public School Employee (Abuse or Neglect Only)

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If during an investigation, the investigator determines that the child abuse or neglect involves an employee of a public primary or secondary school, and that the alleged victim is a student at the school, the investigator must verbally notify the superintendent of the employee’s school district about the investigation. For example, if a foster parent who is a school teacher is alleged to abuse her foster child, the investigator notifies the superintendent.

Texas Family Code §261.105(d)

6360 Preparing for the Initiation

6361 Time Frames for Initiation

CCI November 2020

The time frame for initiating an investigation is determined by the priority of the investigation.

The time frame for initiation is based on the time (not just the date) when DFPS received the intake report.

40 Texas Administrative Code §707.715

See Appendix 6000-1: Time Frames for Investigations.

6361.1 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 1 (P1) Investigation

CCI November 2020

A Priority 1 investigation must begin immediately if the allegations involve either of the following:

  • The death of a child.
  • Circumstances in which serious physical or emotional harm or death of a child will occur without immediate intervention.

All other Priority 1 investigations must be initiated within 24 hours of the intake report.

6361.2 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 2 (P2) Investigation

CCI November 2020

A Priority 2 investigation must begin as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after the intake report.

6362 Investigation Assignment Conference

CCI April 2021

Before the investigation initiation, the supervisor and the investigator discuss the tasks to be completed and identify and prioritize contacting principals in the investigation.

During this conference, the supervisor and investigator review all of the following information:

  • The allegations, alleged victims, and alleged perpetrators identified in the intake report.
  • Whether the intake report requires or merits a joint investigation with another agency or program.
  • Whether the allegations require a forensic interview by the local Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC).
  • Whether a safety plan is warranted and, if so, what specific risks the safety plan must mitigate.
  • The notifications made at the beginning of the investigation (see 6350 Notifications Made at Beginning of Investigation).
  • Background check history for eligible principals.
  • The operation’s recent compliance history, including:

The supervisor and investigator identify the immediate tasks necessary to begin the investigation, including initiation and contacting the reporter, and the time frames by which these tasks are due.

The investigator documents this conference as a contact and lists the tasks and concerns discussed.

The supervisor follows up on these tasks during the interim staffing (see 6460 Interim Staffing With Supervisor) and before the investigation is submitted for approval. The investigator consults with the supervisor as needed throughout the investigation.

6362.1 Background Checks on Principals

CCI November 2020

The investigator reviews background check results for all principals age 14 and older in an investigation, except alleged victims, to determine whether there is any prior criminal or central registry history that may be relevant to the current allegations.

The investigator documents a summary of any background check history relevant to the allegations as a contact in IMPACT.

The investigator reviews background check results by doing either of the following:

  • Locating an existing background check for the principal in CLASS.
  • Launching a Department of Public Safety (DPS) name-based check and central registry check in IMPACT.

All background check history is confidential and may not be discussed with external people or entities other than the subject of the background check.

Texas Government Code §411.114

26 Texas Administrative Code §745.641

Background Checks Completed in CLASS

When the principal already has a completed background check in CLASS, the investigator reviews each type of background check that has a match and notes any history that may be relevant to the current allegations.

The investigator also documents the following:

  • The eligibility determination by the Child Care Licensing (CCL) Centralized Background Check Unit inspector.
  • Whether there are any conditions or restrictions on the person’s presence at the operation.

Background Checks Launched in IMPACT

The investigator only launches a new background check in IMPACT if the investigator cannot find a background check completed for CCL for that principal in CLASS.

Situations when this may occur include the following:

  • The child care operation is illegally operating without a license or permit.
  • The child care operation has allowed a person to have access to children at the operation without a completed background check.

The investigator does both of the following:

  • Notifies the CCL representative of the possible minimum standards violation.
  • Conducts a background check in IMPACT so that the investigation of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation is not delayed by the CCL background check process.

6370 Preparing Equipment and Other Required Items

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Before initiating the investigation, the investigator must prepare the equipment necessary to conduct a thorough investigation in accordance to all policy and procedures. When conducting investigation activities away from the office, all investigators must carry with them:

a.   a tablet PC;

b.   a portable printer;

c.   a digital camera; and

d.   electric chargers or batteries for all equipment.

Additionally, an investigator of abuse or neglect investigations must carry with them a back-up digital recorder, if he or she has been assigned one.

The investigator must ensure that all equipment is adequately charged before leaving the office.

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