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Appendix 5223.8: Making a Detailed Diligent Search for Relatives

CPS December 2013

A caseworker makes diligent searches for relatives to identify potential placements for a child.

Step 1: Ask the Custodial Parent About the Relative

Identifying Information:

The caseworker asks for identifying information, such as the relative’s:

  •  name;

  •  date and place of birth;

  •  Social Security number; or

  •  driver’s license information.

Events and Personal History:

The caseworker asks the custodial parent about events or personal history pertaining to the relative, as follows. When inquiring about locations, the caseworker asks about the city, county, and state.

  •  What is the hometown of the relative?

  •  Where did the custodial parent meet the relative?

  •  Who is or was the relative’s employer?

  •  What schools did the relative attend?

  •  When and where did the relative marry?

  •  When and where did the relative separate or divorce?

  •  Is or was the relative in the military? If so, what branch, rank, and so on?

If the custodial parent is uncooperative about providing information, the attorney representing DFPS can subpoena the custodial parent as a witness to testify regarding his or her knowledge of the relative.

The caseworker:

  •  interviews children about the relative;

  •  interviews relatives of the custodial parent about the relative;

  •  interviews friends who may have information about the relative;

  •  reviews all case information in the IMPACT case management system and case files for information that could assist in identifying and locating the relative; and

  •  makes queries to free public search websites.

Step 2: Request a Diligent Search

If the relative cannot be found, the caseworker takes the following actions:

  •  Completes Form 2277 Request for Diligent Search.

      Do not prepare any other document other than Form 2277. No other document is accepted in lieu of Form 2277 and no other document is processed.

  •  Submit Form 2277 to the Family Inquiry Network/Database Research System (FINDRS) through the FINDRS mailbox. In the subject line of the email, include the oldest child’s name and the cause number for the case (as issued by the court). Form 2277 may be sent to FINDRS staff by the caseworker or by other DFPS staff designated to perform this task.

Once a search is completed, FINDRS staff forward the results to the caseworker (or to the worker who requested the search)re.

Citizens of a Foreign Country

If the relative is a citizen of a foreign country and it is believed that the absent parent lives in his or her home country, the caseworker must:

  •  contact the consulate of that country; and

  •  request assistance in locating the relative.

Step 3: Attempt to Make Contact

Once potential addresses have been obtained through the diligent search results, the caseworker or designee sends letters to attempt contact with the relative.

The caseworker uses only the form letters approved for contacting the absent parent or relative as part of a diligent search. The caseworker does not use any other letters when attempting to locate a parent or relative.

The caseworker does not use any other letters when attempting to locate a relative.

Other Resources

The caseworker uses the information obtained to makes inquires to the following resources. This list is not all-inclusive and known local resources must also be used.

Publicdata.com

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (Inquire about locating information for missing relatives who may be eligible for services, such as Medicaid and food stamps.)

US Postal Service (Request forwarding addresses.)

Texas Department of Pardons, Parole, and Probation (Request locating information for relatives who are the subjects of searches and the names of the probation or parole officers assigned to supervise the relative.)

Local jails (Request release information.)

Local law enforcement (Even if there is no criminal involvement, law enforcement may know the individual.)

Military Locator Service (Request discharge information or current duty assignment.)

Public utilities, including water, gas, electric and phone services

County tax assessor records

County records for marriage or divorces

Hospitals

Shelters

Telephone white pages and Internet phonebook searches such as AnyWho.com

Local chapters of community or religious organizations with which the relative is affiliated

Present and previous employers

Licensing entities, if the individual holds a professional license

Step 4: Notify Parties Involved That the Parent is Located

If the relative is located, the process stops and the parties involved in the case are notified.

If the relative is not located but additional information about the relative is obtained, the caseworker proceeds to Step 5, if needed.

Step 5: Repeat Diligent Search With New Information

If additional information is obtained that might help locate the relative, the caseworker:

  •  resubmits an updated Form 2277 to the Family Inquiry Network/Database Research System (FINDRS); and

  •  repeats Steps 2 and 3 to locate the relative.

At any time additional information is obtained that could help locate a relative, the caseworker forwards the information to FINDRS staff as quickly as possible.

It can take FINDRS staff up to 30 days to complete the search.

For tracking purposes, FINDRS staff require that the Subject line of all email communication with them contain:

  •  the oldest child’s name; and

  •  the cause number (as issued by the court).

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