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1260 Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF)

CPS March 2019

DFPS provides an administrative review of investigation findings (ARIF) whenever both of the following occur:

  •  Child Protective Investigations (CPI) makes a finding of Reason to Believe against a person for abuse or neglect of a child.

  •  This designated perpetrator requests such a review.

Texas Family Code §§261.309(c) and 261.309(d)

The DFPS rules for the ARIF process are in 40 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §700.516.

For purposes of the ARIF process, the designated perpetrator who requests the ARIF is called the requester.

The ARIF gives the requester the opportunity to challenge his or her designation as a perpetrator of abuse or neglect of a child.

An ARIF is an informal review process that does not involve a trial and does not include formal witness testimony.

A designated perpetrator’s request for an ARIF does not affect any of the following:

  •  The action taken on a case.

  •  DFPS’s decision to petition the court to remove a child from a home, restrict the requester’s access to a child, or take other protective actions.

40 TAC §700.516(g)

The Resolution Specialist

A resolution specialist reviews requests for an ARIF and oversees the ARIF process. The resolution specialist does as follows:

  •  Determines whether the requester is eligible for an ARIF and tells him or her this information (see 1261 Determining Eligibility and Notifying the Requester).

  •  Tells the requester that a criminal investigation or a civil or criminal court action is delaying the ARIF, if applicable, and that the requester’s eligibility for an ARIF may be reviewed after the delay is over (see 1262 Delaying the ARIF Because of a Court Case or Criminal Investigation).

  •  Handles matters related to giving a copy of the case record to the requester, if applicable, and any delay that may occur in connection with this (see Case Records and Delays, below, in this section).

  •  Conducts the ARIF meeting (see 1263 Conducting the ARIF Meeting).

  •  Provides a final written decision that upholds, overturns, or alters the investigation’s findings (see 1264 Making a Final ARIF Decision).

  •  Documents the results of the ARIF (see 1265 Documenting the ARIF in IMPACT).

  •  Updates the case in IMPACT, if applicable (see 1265 Documenting the ARIF in IMPACT).

  •  Arranges for the requester and other relevant people to receive the results of the ARIF (see 1266 Sending Notification of the Written Decision).

The resolution specialist does not review the DFPS investigation risk assessment during the ARIF process. The resolution specialist may look at the risk assessment, but he or she does not consider it to determine the disposition.

Case Records and Delays

The requester is allowed to ask for a copy of the case record. If the requester wants a copy of the case record, the resolution specialist enters a request for the redacted case record in OneCase. See Appendix 1000-1: Records Production for ARIF of a CPI Investigation. The resolution specialist also tells the requester that the requester has two options, as follows:

  •  Delay the ARIF process until the requester receives the case record.

  •  Proceed with the ARIF without the case record.

Delaying the ARIF Process

If the requester chooses to delay, the resolution specialist tells him or her that the ARIF request will be closed until the requester receives the case record.

If the requester wants to proceed with the ARIF after receiving the case record, he or she is responsible for contacting the resolution specialist within 45 days of receiving the case record. If the requester does not contact the resolution specialist by this deadline, the requester waives his or her right to an ARIF unless he or she provides good cause for an exception to the deadline.

Proceeding Without the Case Record

If the requester chooses to proceed with the ARIF without the case record, the requester has the opportunity to give more information either after receiving the case record (if he or she requested it) or as part of the ARIF meeting.

If the ARIF is still open, the resolution specialist adds this information in the Administrative Review for Investigation (ARI) stage. If the ARIF process is already completed, the resolution specialist adds the information in an addendum during the Closed stage.

The resolution specialist reviews the added information and determines whether it causes any changes to the findings.

1261 Determining Eligibility and Notifying the Requester

1261.1 Determining Eligibility

CPS March 2019

When a designated perpetrator requests an ARIF, the resolution specialist determines whether the requester is eligible for an ARIF.

The requester is eligible only if all of the following apply:

  •  The requester has the role of designated perpetrator or designated victim/perpetrator in the investigation.

  •  The requester has requested the ARIF in writing within 45 days after receiving the DFPS Notice of Findings to Designated Perpetrator letter (generated in IMPACT) about the findings of the investigation. Exceptions to this deadline are as follows:

  •  If the requester was a minor at the time of the disposition, the deadline for requesting the ARIF does not apply.

  •  If the requester was an adult at the time of the disposition, the resolution specialist may choose to approve an ARIF request submitted after the 45-day deadline if one of the following applies:

  •  The requester did not receive notice of his or her right to an ARIF.

  •  There is other good cause for excusing the request’s lateness.

  •  DFPS has not previously provided him or her with an ARIF or a release hearing on the same allegation. The requester is not eligible for two ARIFs on the same allegation.

  •  A court has not made a previous finding against him or her consistent with the specific allegation for which he or she is requesting the ARIF. This type of court finding includes any of the following:

  •  A court order specifically has found that the requester committed abuse or neglect in the situation for which he or she requested the ARIF.

  •  A court order has terminated the requester’s parental rights as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the ARIF.

  •  The requester has been convicted of a crime as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the ARIF.

  •  There is another court finding that is legally sufficient for denying the ARIF.

If the requester is not eligible, the resolution specialist denies the ARIF request.

To determine whether the requester is eligible, the resolution specialist may do the following:

  •  Review the entire case record.

  •  Review relevant court records.

  •  Request a criminal background check.

  •  Seek other relevant information from the requester.

1261.2 Notifying the Requester of Initial Eligibility Determination

CPS October 2017

Denial of ARIF

If DFPS determines that the requester is ineligible for an ARIF, the resolution specialist must notify him or her in writing within 45 days of receipt of the request for an ARIF. The letter should indicate that the request has been denied and the reason for its denial.

Notice That ARIF Will Be Provided

If DFPS determines that the requester is eligible for an ARIF and a delay is not required, the resolution specialist must notify him or her of this decision.

If the resolution specialist is unable to make contact with the requestor to schedule the review and the requestor does not respond to the attempts to make contact within 30 days of the initial attempt, DFPS will not proceed with the review and the requestor waives his or her right to an ARIF.

If the requestor subsequently contacts DFPS after the above-specified timeframe, the resolution specialist may reschedule the review if the resolution specialist determines good reason existed for exceeding the timeframe.

40 TAC§700.516(e)

The resolution specialist must conduct the review proceedings within 45 days of receipt of the request for an ARIF. (See 1262 Delaying the ARIF Because of a Court Case or Criminal Investigation.)

40 TAC§700.516(d)

1262 Delaying the ARIF Because of a Court Case or Criminal Investigation

CPS March 2019

The resolution specialist consults with the attorney handling the court case to determine whether the ARIF should proceed or be delayed, if there is a related civil or criminal court case or criminal investigation.

Delays can occur at any point in the ARIF process.

40 TAC §700.516(f)

Guidelines for deciding whether to delay the ARIF process are as follows:

If:

Then:

a prosecutor or law enforcement agency requests a delay, and none of the other criteria in this column apply,

the resolution specialist delays the ARIF and documents the request.

a prosecutor or law enforcement agency requests a delay, but the finding of designated perpetrator or designated victim/perpetrator may put the ARIF requester’s employment or volunteer position at risk or cause other harmful actions,

the resolution specialist and the attorney handling the court case contact the prosecutor or law enforcement agency and attempt to provide a timely ARIF while accommodating the need for the delay.

The resolution specialist documents this agreement in a letter and sends it to the prosecutor or law enforcement agency. The resolution specialist files the letter in the paper case record.

a prosecutor or law enforcement agency does not request a delay, but the ARIF requester is involved in a court case for conservatorship, in which someone is seeking to terminate the requester’s parental rights based on the specific incident that the requested ARIF addresses,

the resolution specialist delays the ARIF until proceedings have been completed.*

The resolution specialist documents the reason for the delay.

the above criteria do not apply, but the associate commissioner of CPI and DFPS general counsel approve a delay because of extenuating circumstances,

the resolution specialist may delay the ARIF for up to 60 days after the request or until proceedings have been completed.*

The resolution specialist documents the reason for and approval of the delay.

none of the above criteria apply,

the resolution specialist provides the ARIF in a timely manner.

* Until proceedings have been completed means until the time when a court has done one of the following:

  •  Entered a final order in the termination case or other relevant civil case.

  •  Made a final disposition in the criminal case.

  •  Made a declaration that the criminal case has been closed or become inactive.

1262.1 Notifying the Requester of the ARIF Delay

CPS March 2019

If the resolution specialist delays the ARIF process because of a court case or criminal investigation, the resolution specialist tells the requester in writing within 45 days after CPI received the ARIF request. This notification includes the following:

  •  The length of time of the delay, or a statement requesting for the requester to tell CPI when the court case is complete or the criminal investigation is closed.

  •  A statement saying that the resolution specialist will review the requester’s eligibility for an ARIF when the delay is over.

1262.2 Determining Eligibility and Notifying the Requester After a Delay

CPS October 2017

The ARIF may be denied after a delay only when a court has made a previous finding against the requester that is consistent with abuse and neglect regarding the specific allegation for which the ARIF is being requested. Otherwise, the ARIF must be provided.

40 TAC§700.516(c)

Notice of Denial of ARIF After a Delay

If the ARIF is denied after a delay, the resolution specialist must notify the requester in writing within 45 days after the time period for the delay has elapsed or within 45 days after the requester has notified the agency that the court case has been completed or the criminal investigation has been closed. The reason for the denial must be included in the notice letter.

Notice that ARIF Will Be Provided After a Delay

If the requester is determined eligible for an ARIF after it has been delayed, the resolution specialist must notify the requester that the ARIF will be provided. The resolution specialist must conduct the review within 45 days after the time period for the delay has lapsed, or within 45 days after the requester has notified the agency that the court case has been completed or the criminal investigation has been closed. The resolution specialist must include information in the notice about the time and place of the ARIF, and how it will be conducted.

40 TAC§700.516(f)

1263 Conducting the ARIF Meeting

1263.1 Notifying People of the ARIF Meeting

CPS March 2019

The resolution specialist tells the requester that an informal discussion or review meeting will occur and states the time and place of this meeting.

The requester may do any or all of the following:

  •  Attend the ARIF meeting in person.

  •  Invite a representative to the ARIF meeting. (See Other People Who May Attend the ARIF Meeting in 1263.2 Holding the ARIF Meeting, below.)

  •  Submit relevant written material.

The resolution specialist tells the relevant caseworkers and supervisors (see below) that they may do the following:

  •  Meet with the resolution specialist before the ARIF meeting.

  •  Submit relevant written material.

The following people are relevant caseworkers and supervisors (but some cases do not have all of these):

  •  Investigation caseworker.

  •  Investigation supervisor.

  •  Ongoing caseworker (for example, in Conservatorship or Family-Based Safety Services).

  •  Ongoing supervisor.

DFPS does not notify other people of the ARIF meeting. If others want to participate in the ARIF meeting or to provide additional information, the resolution specialist may choose to allow this.

1263.2 Holding the ARIF Meeting

CPS March 2019

The ARIF meeting is an informal discussion in which the requester may make statements, provide information, or ask questions.

During this meeting, the resolution specialist does as follows:

  •  Gives a summary of the CPI case record.

  •  Asks questions to clarify issues.

  •  Gathers other relevant information.

The resolution specialist may consider all original allegations relating to the investigation, including allegations that CPI staff labeled Reason to Believe, Unable to Determine, or Ruled Out at the end of the investigation.

No cross-examination of witnesses occurs. Formal rules of evidence do not apply.

40 TAC §700.516(h)

The resolution specialist may seek more information about the case to make a decision, but the ARIF is not a re-investigation of the allegations. If further investigation is necessary, the regional office may begin a new investigation.

Other People Who May Attend the ARIF Meeting

In some situations, the following people may attend the ARIF meeting:

  •  Interpreter. If the requester does not speak English or has a hearing impairment, DFPS is required to provide a certified interpreter unless the requester chooses to provide one. The requester pays for the interpreter if the requester chooses to provide one himself or herself.

  •  Legal representative. A requester (designated perpetrator) has the right to bring a legal representative to the ARIF meeting. The legal representative may speak on the requester’s behalf during the meeting.

  •  Parent or guardian. If the designated perpetrator is a minor, his or her parent or guardian may speak on the minor’s behalf during the ARIF meeting.

  •  Support person. An adult requester may bring a support person to the ARIF meeting, but the support person does not participate in the meeting. Any witnesses for the requester submit their statements in writing, and the resolution specialist does not interview them.

1264 Making a Final ARIF Decision

CPS October 2017

The resolution specialist may base his or her decision on relevant evidence gathered in the investigation and ARIF process, including information that is in other parts of the case record, collected to determine eligibility for the ARIF, or received during the review proceedings. The resolution specialist must determine whether the original allegations against the requester are supported by a preponderance of the evidence, which is the standard of evidence for all ARIF decisions. On this basis, the allegations are upheld, overturned, or altered.

The ways in which the resolution specialist can uphold, overturn, or alter the disposition, type, or severity of abuse or neglect in an allegation are indicated in the following table:

If the resolution specialist decides:

then the resolution specialist may:

there is a preponderance of the evidence indicating the requester has abused or neglected a child,

  •   leave the disposition of the allegation as "reason to believe";

  •   leave the type of abuse or neglect in a confirmed (that is "reason to believe") allegation as originally noted in the record;

  •   leave the severity of the abuse or neglect in a confirmed allegation as originally noted in the record;

  •   change the type of abuse or neglect in a confirmed allegation;* or

  •   change the severity of abuse or neglect in a confirmed allegation.**

there is not a preponderance of the evidence indicating the requester has abused or neglected a child,

  •   leave the disposition of the allegation as "unable to determine" or "ruled-out"; or

  •   change the disposition of the allegation from "reason to believe" to "ruled out" or "unable to determine."

*An example of changing the type of abuse or neglect in a confirmed allegation would be to change an allegation of "reason to believe" for physical abuse to an allegation of "reason to believe" for neglectful supervision. See 1265.4. Changing the Type of Abuse or Neglect in a Confirmed Allegation.

**An example of changing the severity of abuse or neglect in a confirmed allegation would be to change an allegation of "reason to believe" that the requester physically abused a child to a severe degree to an allegation of "reason to believe" that the requester physically abused the child to the extent that it resulted in the child's death (that is, "fatal" severity). See 1265.5 Changing the Severity of a Confirmed Allegation to or from Fatal.

40 TAC§700.516(i)

Updating DFPS Records to Reflect the New Decision

If changes are made to any of the allegations as a result of the ARIF, the resolution specialist must ensure that the record of the allegations in IMPACT reflects the decisions made in the ARIF. (See 1265 Documenting the ARIF in IMPACT).

40 TAC§700.516(j)

1265 Documenting the ARIF in IMPACT

CPS March 2019

The resolution specialist documents the following in IMPACT:

  •  The fact that the ARIF process occurred.

  •  All contacts related to the ARIF (within seven days of the contact).

  •  The ARIF decision (within 15 days of completing the ARIF).

The resolution specialist documents this information through the Administrative Review for Investigation (ARI) stage. However, if the ARI stage will not open, he or she documents the information in an addendum during the Closed stage instead.

The resolution specialist changes allegations in IMPACT to reflect changes resulting from the ARIF process. He or she does this through the ARI stage or a data fix.

The resolution specialist files in the paper case record any paper documents that cannot be placed in IMPACT. This may include original or signed requests, letters, and so forth.

Deadline for Changing Overturned Dispositions

Any of the following may overturn a finding:

  •  An ARIF.

  •  A review of perpetrator designation by the Office of Consumer Relations. See 1280 Review by the Office of Consumer Relations (OCR).

  •  A hearing before an administrative law judge.

When that occurs, the resolution specialist removes the person’s name from the central registry not later than the 10th business day after the date of the final decision.

Texas Family Code §261.002(b)(3)

1265.1 Documenting and Changing Allegations in the ARIF Stage

CPS October 2017

The resolution specialist must document the results of the ARIF in the ARIF stage in IMPACT if it will open. This stage must be opened at the time the resolution specialist receives the request for the ARIF.

The resolution specialist must document the information regarding the ARIF on the Administrative Review and Appeal window and in the "Forms Info..." narrative that can be accessed from the window. The resolution specialist must complete the "Result" field on the window as follows:

  •   Select "DFPS position upheld" if there is at least one allegation against the requester with the disposition of "reason to believe" that remains in the investigation.

  •   Select "DFPS position not upheld" if there are no allegations against the requester with the disposition of "reason to believe" that remain in the investigation.

If the decision made in the ARIF changed the disposition of an allegation from "reason to believe" to "unable to determine" or "ruled out," the resolution specialist must make this change in IMPACT through the ARIF stage. Otherwise, changes to allegations in IMPACT are made through a data fix (see 1265.3 Changing Allegations Through a Data Fix.

1265.2 Documenting in a Closed-Stage Addendum Contact

CPS October 2017

If IMPACT will not open the ARIF stage in the case, the resolution specialist must document the results of the ARIF in a closed-stage addendum contact that is attached to the investigation being reviewed. The information must be recorded all at once at the end of the review process since a closed-stage addendum contact cannot be modified after being saved.

The resolution specialist must request a data fix to make any change in allegations (see 1265.3 Changing Allegations Through a Data Fix).

1265.3 Changing Allegations Through a Data Fix

CPS October 2017

Changes in allegations that can be made through data fixes include:

  •   Changing the allegation disposition from "reason to believe" to "unable to determine" or "ruled out." (Note: If the resolution specialist is documenting the ARIF in the ARIF stage, the changes are instead recorded there.)

  •   Changing an allegation disposition from "ruled out" or "unable to determine" to "reason to believe." The resolution specialist must state the severity of the allegation.

  •   Changing the type of a "reason-to-believe" allegation (see 1265.4 Changing the Type of Abuse or Neglect in a Confirmed Allegation).

  •   Changing the severity of a confirmed allegation (see 1265.5 Changing the Severity of a Confirmed Allegation to or from Fatal).

To request the data fix, the resolution specialist must provide the following information in Section 2 of the IMPACT Database Correction and Stage or Case Reopen Request form:

  •   In the box entitled List the specific data that needs correction, enter the beginning and ending dates of the investigation under review, the identification number of each allegation that needs to be changed, and any other relevant information.

  •   For example: "Investigation from 8-2-2001 to 10-1-2001. Allegation with identification number of 12345678 that Joe Jones ABAN Susie Queue, R/O; allegation with identification number of 23456789 that Joe Jones NSUP Johnny Jones, RTB; reason for death of Johnny Jones is not a/n."

  •   In the box entitled List the correct data that needs to be corrected, indicate by allegation identification number the changes that should be made in that allegation and indicate any other changes needed.

  •   For example: "Change disposition of allegation with identification number of 12345678 to RTB with moderate severity; change the severity of the allegation with identification number of 23456789 to Fatal; change the reason for death of Johnny Jones to abuse/neglect — no prior."

IMPACT Note: To find the identification number for an allegation, scroll to the right on the Allegation List window.

1265.4 Changing the Type of Abuse or Neglect in a Confirmed Allegation

CPS October 2017

The resolution specialist may decide that the requester did not commit one type of abuse or neglect but did commit another. Generally, this occurs when the evidence does not meet the definition of one type of abuse or neglect but does meet another definition. In this instance, the results of the ARIF would be that the original allegation was ruled out but a new allegation reflecting a different type of abuse or neglect was confirmed against the requester.

When this is the result of the ARIF, changing the type of abuse or neglect in the allegation in IMPACT is a two-step process. The resolution specialist:

1.  Changes the disposition of the original allegation to "ruled out" through the ARIF stage or through a database correction request.

2.  When changing the type of abuse or neglect, requests a data fix to add a new allegation with the same perpetrator, same victim, new type of abuse or neglect, RTB disposition, and a level of severity appropriate to the case.

See procedures for requesting a data fix in Item1265.3 Changing Allegations Through a Data Fix.

1265.5 Changing the Severity of a Confirmed Allegation to or from Fatal

CPS March 2019

The resolution specialist does not change the severity of an allegation to or from Fatal unless the evidence in the case shows that the change is appropriate.

When the resolution specialist changes the severity of an allegation to or from Fatal, he or she does as follows:

  •  Makes sure that the reason for the child’s death is consistent with the change in severity.

  •  Reviews the Child Fatality Protocol Handbook to make sure that he or she has updated all appropriate fields or has requested data fixes if needed.

  •  Tells the lead child safety specialist (CSS) for the region of the fatality investigation that there is an ARIF that is causing a change in severity. The lead CSS works with the appropriate staff to make sure that DFPS meets all requirements for public reporting.

Changing Severity to Fatal

If the resolution specialist changes a severity code to Fatal, he or she requests an IMPACT data fix to make sure that all of the following are complete and correct:

  •  The record names the deceased child as a victim.

  •  The question of whether this is a child fatality investigation has the answer Yes.

  •  The fatal allegation has the disposition Reason to Believe.

  •  The fatal allegation has the severity code Fatal.

  •  All relevant fields on the child’s Person Detail window show the correct fatality information.

See Ensuring Consistency in IMPACT When a Child Dies and Documenting a Child’s Death in the Child Fatality Protocol Handbook.

The resolution specialist tells the lead CSS for the region of the fatality investigation, as described above in this section.

Changing Severity from Fatal

If the resolution specialist changes a severity code from Fatal to another degree of severity, he or she requests an IMPACT data fix to make sure that all of the following are complete and correct:

  •  No allegation involving the deceased child victim has the severity code Fatal.

  •  The question of whether this is a child fatality investigation has the answer Yes.

  •  Each allegation has the correct disposition.

  •  The child’s Person Detail window shows an updated Reason for Death, and this reason is one of the Not abuse or neglect related reasons.

See Ensuring Consistency in IMPACT When a Child Dies and Documenting a Child’s Death in the Child Fatality Protocol Handbook.

The resolution specialist tells the lead CSS for the region of the fatality investigation, as described above in this section.

1266 Sending Notification of the Written Decision

CPS March 2019

When the ARIF process is complete, the resolution specialist tells the following people the ARIF result:

  •  The requester.

  •  The victim’s parents or guardians, the reporter, and others, if appropriate.

  •  The regionally designated investigation staff member and ongoing staff member.

For details and directions, see the subitems of this section.

1266.1 Notifying the Requester of the Decision

CPS March 2019

The resolution specialist sends the written decision to the requester within 15 days after the ARIF meeting occurs. If the resolution specialist upheld the finding, he or she makes sure that this notification tells the requester that he or she has a right to make an appeal to the DFPS Office of Consumer Relations if he or she is not satisfied with the decision.

The notification includes the following contact information:

Office of Consumer Relations, Y-946

Department of Family and Protective Services

P.O. Box 149030

Austin, Texas 78714-9030

Phone: 1-800-720-7777

Fax: 512-339-5892

Email: ocr@dfps.state.tx.us

1266.2 Notifying the Parent or Guardian and Reporter of the Decision

CPS March 2019

If the ARIF process changes the findings in the investigation, the resolution specialist sends notification of the new findings to people who received notification of the original findings, including the following:

  •  The victim’s parents or guardians.

  •  Professional reporters whom DFPS staff previously told that the investigation had confirmed the allegations against the requester.

However, the resolution specialist does not notify the following people of the ARIF’s results:

  •  Professional reporters whom DPFS staff previously told only whether CPI planned to provide services.

  •  Non-professional reporters.

1266.3 Preparing and Sending Notification Letters

CPS March 2019

The resolution specialist prepares and sends notification letters and related forms.

For an ARIF Using the Administrative Review for Investigation (ARI) Stage

If the resolution specialist documented the ARIF in the ARI stage, he or she follows the directions below.

To notify the requester, the resolution specialist does as follows:

1.   Generates the following documents from the closed ARI stage:

  •  Cover letter.

  •  Findings of Administrative Review report.

2.   Signs the cover letter.

3.   Mails the letter and report to the requester.

To notify the parent or guardian and the professional reporter (if appropriate), the resolution specialist does as follows:

1.   Generates the Parent or Professional Reporter letter from the closed ARI stage.

2.   Signs the letter.

3.   Mails a copy of this letter to each of these people.

For an ARIF Using an Addendum During the Closed Stage

If the resolution specialist documented the ARIF in an addendum during the Closed stage, he or she follows the directions below.

To notify the requester, the resolution specialist does as follows:

1.   Composes and signs a cover letter.

2.   Mails the letter to the requester.

To notify the parent or guardian and the professional reporter (if appropriate), the resolution specialist does as follows:

1.   Composes and signs a letter.

2.   Mails a copy of the letter to each of these people.

1267 Providing an ARIF During the Release-Hearing Process

CPS March 2019

CPI may choose to provide an ARIF for the requester as part of the release-hearing process, if the requester did not receive an ARIF after the original investigation.

See:

1294 Designated Perpetrator Does Not Request a Release Hearing

DFPS rules 40 Texas Administrative Code §700.605

The release-hearing process relates to findings that CPS or CPI has made. This process usually begins with action by Child Care Licensing (CCL), which is part of the Health and Human Services Commission. CCL chooses to tell one of the following (or a similar person or organization) that a person abused or neglected a child:

  •  The person’s employer.

  •  A volunteer agency.

  •  The administrator of a facility that CCL regulates.

This process ends when one of the following occurs:

  •  A release hearing occurs in front of an administrative-law judge in the State Office for Administrative Hearings.

  •  The perpetrator fails to request a release hearing.

When CCL begins the release-hearing process, procedures vary depending on the date of the findings, as follows:

  •  For findings before April 16, 1999, CCL requests that CPI review the investigation to determine whether the evidence meets the preponderance of evidence standard that the perpetrator abused or neglected a child. This review is called a preponderance review or desk review.

  •  For findings after April 16, 1999, CCL sends the case to the licensing attorney without requesting that CPI review the investigation.

In the release-hearing process for a person whom CPI has identified as a designated perpetrator, CPI does an internal review of the case to determine whether a preponderance of evidence proves the findings. This review can be an ARIF or a preponderance review. CPI considers the following when deciding which type of review to do:

  •  If an ARIF occurred before DFPS’s decision to begin the release-hearing process, a preponderance review is usually not necessary.

  •  If no ARIF has occurred, CPI may do a preponderance review instead of an ARIF.

  •  If CPI chooses to do a preponderance review instead of an ARIF, but a designated perpetrator wants an ARIF anyway, CPI may choose to provide the requester (designated perpetrator) with the ARIF.

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