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1460 Closing Cases

CPS June 2008

There are three phases involved in closing a case:

  •  Discontinuing services

  •  Closing a case in the IMPACT data management system

  •  Preparing the paper file (external record)

Supervisors must approve a case for closure.

The order in which the phases for closure are completed varies depending on the stage of service.

See also:

1461 Phase 1: Discontinuing Services

1462 Phase 2: Closing a Case in IMPACT

1463 Phase 3: Preparing the Paper File

1461 Phase 1: Discontinuing Services

CPS June 2008

Making the Decision to End Child Protective Services

Investigations

An investigation ends when DFPS decides that:

  •  the investigation has been completed;

  •  the investigation cannot be completed because the family cannot be located, or the family has refused to cooperate and legal intervention is not appropriate; or

  •  it is appropriate to administratively close the case.

Family-Based Safety Services

Family-based safety services end when:

  •  the worker, the family, and the supervisor decide that no further services are necessary and the discontinuation of services has been discussed;

  •  there is no further case activity; and

  •  CPS has been dismissed from the court case, when there is court involvement.

Conservatorship Services

Services related to conservatorship end when:

  •  the child is dismissed from DFPS conservatorship and no further services are needed;

  •  the child turns 18 years old and leaves care and DFPS conservatorship ends;

  •  the young person is 18 years old or older, participates in the voluntary CPS Extended Foster Care Program, and then leaves care; or

  •  the supervisor approves an administrative closure. See 1464 Administrative Closure of Cases.

Examples include the following:

  •  The child returns home, supervision is successful, and the court dismisses DFPS conservatorship.

  •  The child’s adoption is consummated.

  •  The child’s placement with a relative becomes the permanent placement, the supervision is successful, the court gives permanent conservatorship to the relative, and the court dismisses DFPS.

Whom to Notify When a Case Is Closed

When a case is closed and services are discontinued, the worker must notify:

  •  the client and the child;

  •  any contracted agency providing services to the client; and

  •  relatives who have been actively involved or will remain as active sources of support to the family.

See 6182 Services at Discharge from Substitute Care.

1462 Phase 2: Closing a Case in IMPACT

CPS June 2008

The second phase required to close a case occurs when:

  •  the caseworker completes documentation of the case in the IMPACT data management system; and

  •  the supervisor approves the case for closure in IMPACT. See 1433 Supervisory Approval Process in IMPACT.

Do Not File in the Paper Record Documents Printed From IMPACT

When a case is closed, the case information maintained in IMPACT must not be printed and filed in the paper case record. Case information maintained in IMPACT does not meet the criteria for external documentation.

Exceptions

IMPACT documents must be printed for the paper case file, if:

  •  the information requires a signature;

  •  the information represents a point-in-time report, such as a Principal Case History Report or FPS History Check; or

  •  DFPS policy requires that the information be printed and filed in the paper record, as is required for a child’s Health Passport.

Calculating the Destruction Date

The expandable Records Retention section on the Case Summary page in IMPACT automatically calculates and displays the appropriate destruction date of a case upon closure.

The Records Retention section is visible only after the case has been approved for closure.

1463 Phase 3: Preparing the Paper File (External Record)

CPS June 2008

The third phase required to close a case occurs when the paper file (the external record) is reviewed, approved, and prepared to be submitted for retention (storage).

Over the life of the case, CPS staff store forms, photos, records, memorabilia, documentary evidence, and other case-related materials in the paper file.

1463.1 Unit Staff Responsibilities

CPS December 2017

All workers must ensure that the paper case file is suitable for storage and submit the file to the supervisor for approval.

To prepare paper case files for storage, workers must ensure that any case-related information that is stored in an electronic file other than IMPACT:

  •   is converted into a format suitable for filing in the paper record by the time the case is closed or is uploaded into OneCase; and

  •   is deleted from the electronic file after the information is printed and filed or after verifying a successful upload.

Examples of converting electronic files to a format suitable for storage include:

  •   printing forms, documents, email messages, court reports, and other materials saved on a Tablet PC or desktop PC; and

  •   exporting an audio recording from Audacity as an MP3 file and uploading it to OneCase.

Additional Steps

Other steps workers must take to prepare paper case files to be suitable for storage are listed below by type of worker.

Investigation Workers

To prepare a paper case file for storage, the investigation worker:

  •   retains or files all external documentation on the case in the paper case file. See 1463.2 Items Retained in the Paper Case File;

  •   does not file case information that has been maintained in the IMPACT system. Rather, the worker must remove from the paper case file any copies of case information maintained in IMPACT, except copies that:

  •   contain signatures;

  •   contain handwritten notes from the worker or supervisor; or

  •   represent a point-in-time report, such as a Principal Case History Report or a DFPS History Check.

Family-Based Safety Services Workers and Conservatorship Workers

To prepare paper case files for storage, family-based safety services workers and conservatorship workers must take the following steps:

  •   File in the paper case file all external documentation on the case. See 1463.2 Items Retained in the Paper Case File.

  •   Return certain items to the child when the conservatorship case is closed. See 1463.3 Items Returned to the Child When a Conservatorship Case Is Closed.

  •   Dispose of certain items. See 1463.4 Items Removed From the File When Closing FBSS or Conservatorship Cases.

Supervisors

The supervisor must review the paper case file submitted by the worker to ensure that it:

  •   contains the correct information; and

  •   does not contain information that should not be included in the closed file.

When the supervisor approves the paper record as ready to be arranged for storage, the paper record is given to the administrative technician.

See:

1463.2 Items Retained in the Paper Case File

1463.3 Items Returned to the Child When a Conservatorship Case Is Closed

1463.4 Items Removed From the File When Closing FBSS or Conservatorship Cases

Administrative Technician

The administrative technician:

  •   prepares the paper case file; and

  •   arranges for the file to be shipped to the DFPS Records Information Officer (RIO).

See How to Prepare Your APS and CPS Case Records for Storage (accessible to DFPS employees only)

1463.2 Items Retained in the Paper Case File

CPS December 2017

DFPS retains the records after a case is closed to:

  •   document the services provided to clients; and

  •   meet state and federal requirements for accountability.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.106(a)

Over the course of an active case, CPS staff store forms, photos, records, memorabilia, and other case-related materials in the paper case file.

When the case is closed, certain items are retained as follows:

  •   All non-digital photos taken during the investigation stage (digital photographs taken during an investigation are uploaded into digital storage in the IMPACT system)

  •   Original case notes taken by the caseworker during an investigation

  •   Photos taken during the Family-based Safety Services (FBSS) and conservatorship (CVS) stages that document the presence or absence of abuse and neglect

  •   Copies of medical, dental, and psychological records

  •   Court documents

  •   Correspondence, both sent and received

  •   Documents that require or contain signatures

  •   Supporting documents received from external resources, such as police reports

  •   Caregiver reports

  •   Copies of original birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, or other forms of official identifications

  •   Information pertaining to family group decision-making

  •   Audio and video recordings (DVDs, CDs, and other forms of media used) received from other parties (for example, Child Advocacy Centers)

  •   the child’s Health Passport (printed and filed in the paper record)

For additional information about the retention of records, see:

1470 Retention and Disposal of Case Information

1477 Destruction of Case Records in Regional Storage

1463.3 Items Returned to the Child When a Conservatorship Case Is Closed

CPS June 2008

Items to be removed from the paper file and given to the child when a conservatorship case is closed are:

  •  photos of the child and the child’s family that were used for reasons other than documenting the presence or absence of abuse or neglect;

  •  original birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, or other forms of official identifications (copies of the items returned are retained in the case file);

  •  original letters to the child; and

  •  personal items, such as:

  •  personal property; and

  •  memorabilia (any item that may hold special meaning to the child, such as items that represent or document life events associated with the child or the child’s family).

See 6552 Closure.

Returning Personal Items and Memorabilia

Memorabilia and personal items belonging to the youth are given to the youth when the youth leaves DFPS conservatorship.

If the youth cannot be contacted, the worker contacts relatives who have been active in the case and asks them to assume responsibility for the youth’s belongings.

Handling Unclaimed Personal Items and Memorabilia

If the youth or relatives cannot be located, the youth’s personal items are retained for three years after the youth leaves care. The items must be stored at the local office.

At the conclusion of the three years:

  •  unclaimed personal items and memorabilia are destroyed; and

  •  unclaimed items such as electronics, bikes, or clothing are donated.

Before disposing of the youth’s items, the worker documents in a closed stage addendum in the Subcare stage the actions taken to:

  •  locate the youth and the youth’s relatives; and

  •  maintain or dispose of the youth’s personal items.

1463.41463.4 Items Removed From the File When Closing FBSS or Conservatorship Cases

CPS June 2008

When a worker closes a conservatorship or family-based safety services case in IMPACT, the worker closes the paper case file and prepares it for storage.

To prepare the paper case file for storage, the worker or other designated regional staff removes the following items from the paper file:

  •  Duplicative copies of documents

  •  Duplicative copies of printed photos

  •  All but the final document from cumulative reports, such as report cards from school, since each semester grade is shown on the final report card

  •  Paper items that have been documented in IMPACT, such as notes written on pages from a pad or phone messages taken by support staff

  •  Printed copies documented in IMPACT that do not require physical signatures

Exceptions

The worker does not remove history checks printed from IMPACT and principal case history reports. History checks and reports are point-in-time reports and are not duplicative in IMPACT.

See:

1470 Retention and Disposal of Case Information

1477 Destruction of Case Records in Regional Storage

1464 Administrative Closure of Cases

CPS June 2008

Child protective services cases are administratively closed if:

  •  the supervisor approves administrative closure;

  •  a program director approves administrative closure of an investigation or an FBSS case; or

  •  the case receives only priority C services.

When Administrative Closure May Not Be Used

Administrative closure may not be used for cases in which the provision of priority A and B services is ongoing (including cases in which children and parents of children in substitute care receive services), unless parental rights have been terminated.

For the definitions of priority A, B, and C services, see 1492 Ongoing Priority of Cases.

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