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5000 Appealing an Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF)

OIA July 2018

An individual who is identified as a designated perpetrator of abuse or neglect after both a Child Protective Investigations case and an ARIF may be eligible to appeal the findings through the OIA review process (OIA Review).

The individual must use the ARIF process offered by Child Protective Investigations before being eligible for the OIA Review.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.841(a)

5100 Requirements for OIA Review

OIA July 2018

The person requesting the OIA review must submit his or her request in writing. OIA must receive the request within 45 calendar days of the date the designated perpetrator was notified of the decision in the Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF).

The requester may submit his or her request by:

  •   Fax: (512) 339-5892

  •   Email: DFPS Office of Internal Affairs mailbox

  •   Standard mail:

Office of Internal Affairs Y-946

Department of Family and Protective Services

Post Office Box 149030

Austin, TX 78714-9030

The request for an OIA Review should include the name, telephone number, and mailing address of the requester, as well as the Child Protective Investigation case number or name and date of birth of the designated victims. Requests may also include other pertinent records, if those records:

  •   were available during the original investigation and ARIF; and

  •   were or should have been considered.

Only in extraordinary circumstances, at the discretion of the OIA director or his or her designee, is new information considered.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.847

If the requester is an attorney on behalf of the designated perpetrator, a release of information document on the attorney’s letterhead must be signed by the designated perpetrator and provided to OIA staff. The results of the OIA Review cannot be provided to the attorney until the signed release is provided to OIA.

If the requester has also formally requested or intends to request a copy of DFPS records and would like to review them before the OIA Review, the following must occur for a delay in the initiation of the OIA Review.

  •   The requester contacts OIA to request an appeal within 45 calendar days of the date the designated perpetrator was notified of the ARIF decision.

  •   OIA acknowledges receipt of the request.

  •   Within 45 calendar days after the initial contact with OIA, the requester provides OIA a copy of the email or letter that he or she received from the Records Management Group (RMG) acknowledging the request for DFPS records.

A delay is only granted for DFPS case records.

5200 Denial of OIA Review

OIA July 2018

An OIA Review cannot be completed if a court has issued an order that is consistent with the specific allegation for which the OIA Review has been requested. This includes any of the following:

  •   A court order specifically finds that the requester committed abuse or neglect in the situation for which he or she requested the OIA Review.

  •   A court order terminates the parental rights of the requester as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the OIA Review.

  •   A requester has been convicted of a crime as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the OIA Review.

  •   A court orders removal of a child for the conduct or occurrence that formed the basis of the abuse or neglect finding.

  •   The DFPS Office of General Counsel determines that there is another court finding legally sufficient for denying the OIA Review.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.841(b)

If the requester has pending criminal charges that are in direct relation to the allegation, OIA must obtain approval from the local district attorney’s office to complete the OIA Review, even if the Child Protective Investigations resolution specialist received permission before completing the Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF).

An OIA Review may be denied if the requester does not qualify for an OIA Review even if the requester qualified for the ARIF.

An OIA Review will not be completed if there is criminal or civil litigation pending against DFPS by the person requesting the review.

5300 OIA Review Process

OIA July 2018

Upon receiving a request for an OIA Review, the OIA staff assigned to the appeal obtains and reviews the documentation from the Child Protective Investigations (CPI) case and ARIF. OIA staff also review the information from the requester. OIA staff submit the review and recommended finding to the OIA director or his or her designee for consideration.

The OIA Review may recommend that allegations or findings be changed or added. For example: the original allegation is physical neglect; however, if, in reviewing the case information it is determined that a finding of Reason to Believe or Unable to Determine for neglectful supervision is more appropriate, the OIA employee may make this recommendation.

If OIA’s findings sustain the ARIF, the OIA director or designee notifies the requestor in writing of the final disposition of the case.

If OIA does not concur with the ARIF, the following procedures take place:

  •   OIA forwards the OIA Review, case records, and documentation provided by the requester to the Investigations associate commissioner or his or her designee for review.

  •   If concurrence is reached, OIA notifies the requester in writing of the findings.

  •   If OIA and the Investigations assistant commissioner do not agree, the case may be referred to the DFPS general counsel, who reviews the case and makes the decision on the case as the DFPS commissioner’s designee. The OIA director or his or her designee then notifies the requester of the final case disposition.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.849

The appropriate CPI regional director and the CPI resolution specialist who completed the ARIF are copied on all letters. If a change in the findings has been recommended and approved, it is the CPI resolution specialist’s responsibility to make the appropriate changes in IMPACT and notify the persons who were originally notified of the investigation findings. The CPI resolution specialist does not notify the person who requested the OIA Review; OIA staff will notify him or her.

A copy of the OIA response letter will be sent to the CPI resolution specialist within five business days after the date listed on the OIA notification letter to the requester.

OIA may complete an expedited OIA Review if the designated perpetrator is a DFPS employee.

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