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1420 Opening a Case

CPS October 2020

Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas (IMPACT) is the electronic system for DFPS case records. An electronic case record is established in IMPACT if DFPS staff members do either of the following:

  • Document an intake alleging abuse or neglect.
  • Record a CRSR and assign it for follow-up.

In IMPACT, a case begins with the opening of any stage, and the case ends when all stages are closed. If any stage is re-opened with a request for services, or a new report of abuse or neglect in the same family is accepted for investigation, these are considered a new stage in an existing case.

1421 The Case Record

CPS October 2020

Case records are records collected, developed, or used in a child abuse or neglect investigation or in providing services as a result of an investigation, and that are under the custody and control of DFPS.

The case record contains all documentation related to a case (see 1410 Definition of Case and Stage) and includes the confidential information described in Texas Family Code, Section 261.201. The case record includes files, reports, communications, audio and video recordings, photos, and working papers used or developed in the investigation or in providing services, such as foster care or family-based safety services. It also includes any information about a report of suspected abuse or neglect and the identity of the person making the report.

The complete case record consists of both the IMPACT record and the external record, if there is an external record for that case.

With the exception of cases closed before the implementation of the Child and Adult Protective System (CAPS), DFPS must have a case record in IMPACT for each child and family who receives protective services. (CAPS was the predecessor to IMPACT.)

Case information, in any format, stored outside IMPACT is considered the external record. See 1422 Parts of the Case Record.

When it is necessary to view the complete case record outside IMPACT, a CPS or CPI staff member sends a records request to the Records Management Group (RMG). Reasons for needing a case record outside IMPACT include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A subpoena requires the caseworker to bring the record to court. (This occurs with some, but not all, subpoenas.)
  • A parent, victim, or designated perpetrator requests a copy of the record.
  • A DFPS attorney requests the record.
  • DFPS needs to provide the record to an adoptive parent.
  • The record is part of case reading for a federal audit.
  • Law enforcement or a prosecutor requests the record for use in a criminal case.
  • A child death review team requests the record.

Caseworkers may use the Case File Print feature in IMPACT to print case records for the caseworker’s own use outside of IMPACT. The caseworker only prints the specific records that are needed offline.

1422 Parts of the Case Record

1422.1 IMPACT Record

CPS October 2020

Case information stored in IMPACT (Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas) is referred to as the IMPACT record. The IMPACT record contains, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Identifying information about each client.
  • The basis for determining the client’s eligibility for services.
  • The services provided.
  • The goals and objectives of the services.
  • The results of the services.
  • The providers of the services.
  • Other agencies or professionals involved in the case.
1422.2 External Record

CPS October 2020

Information about a case that is stored outside IMPACT is referred to as the external record. The external record may include both electronic and physical records. See 1463.2 Items Retained in the Paper Case File for a list of records that may be included in the external record.

When a case is closed, the external record is prepared and retained as specified in 1463 Phase 3: Preparing the Paper File (External Record) and 1470 Retention and Disposition of Case Information.

Organization of the Physical Case File

DFPS keeps some external records in a physical format and files them in the physical case file. The contents of the physical case file are organized using a standard filing format in which records are filed behind tabbed dividers.

Physical case records for investigation, family preservation, substitute care, and adoption services are filed in a family-based filing system. This system reduces the need for duplicate documentation for each child in substitute care.

If the size of the physical case file for an open case becomes too large to manage, staff members may create an inactive file for materials that are more than two years old. The active file and the inactive file are identically organized. When the case is closed, the active and inactive files are consolidated and retained as specified in 1470 Retention and Disposal of Case Information.

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