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6400 Conducting the Investigation

6410 Initiating the Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The purpose of initiation is to gather new and pertinent information regarding the allegations described in the intake report to:

  •  gather additional information regarding the child’s safety; and

  •  guide the next steps of the investigation.

The investigator determines the most appropriate method of initiation based on:

a.   the immediacy of the risk;

b.   the severity of the possible harm to the child; and

c.   the extent to which the method protects the integrity of the investigation.

6411 Consulting With the Supervisor Before Initiating an Investigation Involving Serious Physical or Sexual Abuse

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If the investigator is assigned an investigation involving a serious allegation of physical or sexual abuse, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine:

  •  the most appropriate method to initiate the investigation; and

  •  whether specialized skill in investigation, intensified monitoring, or surveillance are needed.

Also see 6351 Notifying and Working With Law Enforcement.

Requesting Assistance from CPS Special Investigators (RC Only)

Policy

An investigator or supervisor may request assistance from a CPS special investigator if the investigation meets one or more of the following criteria:

a.   child dies or is at risk of death, and the death is not related to known, ongoing medical issues;

b.   a principal in the investigation is arrested or there is significant involvement by law enforcement;

c.   there is widespread or significant media interest in the investigation, or the potential of such; or

d.   the investigation involves an allegation of physical or sexual abuse by a person who has previously been investigated for similar allegations.

Procedure

An investigator must receive supervisory approval to request assistance from a CPS special investigator. If the supervisor determines that special assistance is warranted, the supervisor discusses the request with the regional manager before initiating a formal request with CPS.

All decisions regarding the request for assistance from a CPS special investigator must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

6412 Defining What Constitutes an Initiation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The purpose of an initiation is to obtain new information that is pertinent to the allegations.

Initiation is not necessarily the first contact the investigator makes after being assigned an investigation.

The initiation is the first contact the investigator makes that yields new and pertinent information related to the allegations described in the intake report.

Attempts to gather new information that do not actually result in obtaining new or pertinent information may not be considered initiation.

6413 Methods of Initiation

6413.1 Initiation Methods That Do Not Require Supervisory Approval

LPPH December 2012

Policy

For all types of investigations, the investigator may initiate an investigation without supervisory approval by using one of the following methods:

a.   Face-to-face contact with a child involved in the allegation

b.   Face-to-face contact with an adult involved in the allegation

c.   Face-to-face contact with a significant collateral source

d.   An unannounced inspection

6413.2 Initiation Methods for Priority 3 Investigations That Require Supervisory Approval

LPPH December 2012

Policy

For Priority 3 investigations, the investigator must consult with the supervisor and obtain approval before using either of the following methods of initiation:

a.   Conducting an announced inspection

b.   Making a phone contact with any source, other than a reporter

c.   Contacting the reporter

d.   Any other means not specifically discussed in policy

6413.3 Initiation Methods for Priority 1 and Priority 2 Investigations That Require Additional Approval

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During a Priority 1 or Priority 2 investigation, the investigator and supervisor must obtain approval from the district director or residential manager before initiating an investigation by:

a.   conducting an announced inspection;

b.   making a phone contact with any source;

c.   contacting the reporter; or

d.   attempting contact by any other means not specifically discussed in policy.

Also see 6320 Contacting the Reporter.

6413.4 Initiation of an Investigation Involving a Child With Serious Injuries

LPPH November 2013

Policy

If an intake report alleges that a child involved in the allegation has serious injuries, and is assigned a priority 1 or priority 2 investigation, the investigator must initiate the investigation by making a face-to-face contact with the child so that the child’s injuries (or lack of injuries) may be photographed in a timely fashion.

If the investigator is unable to photograph the injuries timely, the investigator must notify the supervisor and documents the reason why the injuries could not be photographed in a timely fashion as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

6414 Documenting the Initiation

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator documents the initiation under the Initiation of Investigation section on the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS investigation. The investigator must document the initiation by the following calendar day.

Procedure

The investigator must include the following information in the initiation documentation:

a.   the date and time of the initiation;

b.   the method of initiation;

c.   the name of the person, operation, or entity with whom the initiation contact was made;

d.   a summary of the information obtained during the initiation, including the new information that was learned.

If the investigator initiated the investigation using a method that requires consultation and approval from a supervisor, director, or manager, the investigator must also document:

a.   the reason why the method of initiation was used;

b.   that approval was obtained before initiation;

c.   the name of the approver; and

d.   the date the approval was obtained.

6420 Conducting Interviews

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During the investigation, the investigator must attempt to locate and interview any person identified as a principal or collateral in the intake report or during the investigation.

A principal includes:

a.   all alleged victims and alleged perpetrators in an investigation of abuse or neglect;

b.   all household members of a foster family or group home; or

c.   anyone directly involved in the incident being investigated in a non abuse or neglect investigation.

A collateral includes anyone who is not directly involved in the incident, but may be able to provide information regarding:

a.   the incident being investigated;

b.   the children and adults that were involved in the incident; or

c.   the type of care and supervision provided at the operation.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(1)-(3) and (d)(2)

Procedure

A summary of all interviews or attempted interviews must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. If any principal or collateral cannot be located, attempts to locate them must be documented.

The contact must be documented as soon as possible and no later than the day following the date of the interview or attempted contact.

6421 Observing and Interviewing Children

LPPH December 2012

Policy

All alleged victims, if the investigation is of abuse or neglect, and all children directly involved in the incident must be observed and interviewed.

The investigator interviews as many other children (collateral sources) as necessary depending on the nature and complexity of the investigation.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(1) and (d)(2)

Procedure

Whenever possible, the investigator must interview all principal and collateral children in person.

Licensing staff may not transport the child or children who are to be interviewed, unless the child’s parent, guardian, or managing conservator is also present.

6421.1 Observing and Interviewing Alleged Victims (Abuse or Neglect Only)

LPPH May 2013

Time Frames for Observing and Interviewing Alleged Victims

Policy

The investigator must interview all alleged victims as soon as possible after receiving the intake report, but no later than:

  •  five days after receiving the intake report for a Priority 1 (P1) investigation; and

  •  seven days after receiving the intake report for a Priority 2 (P2) investigation.

If the information in the intake report indicates that an alleged victim has serious injuries, the investigator must observe the child sooner than these time frames.

During the interview, the investigator makes a reasonable effort to obtain the following information about the child:

a.   Full legal name

b.   Date of birth

c.   Ethnicity

d.   Social Security number

e.   Home address

f.    Home telephone number

If the child is unable to provide the above information, the investigator may request enrollment records to obtain the information or may request the information from the child’s parent.

See:

6413.4 Initiation of an Investigation Involving a Child With Serious Injuries

1422 Photos of Children

Exceptions to Observing and Interviewing Alleged Victims Within Time Frames

Policy

The investigator is exempt from observing or interviewing an alleged victim within the required time frames when:

a.   the alleged victim’s whereabouts are unknown;

b.   the alleged victim no longer lives in Texas;

c.   the alleged victim has already been interviewed about the allegations by CPS, law enforcement, or a children’s advocacy center; or

d.   other circumstances beyond the investigator’s control prevent the interview from taking place within the required time frame.

Procedure

When the investigator is unable to interview an alleged victim within the required time frame, the investigator:

a.   explains the circumstances to the supervisor and requests an exception;

b.   arranges for an interview to take place as soon as circumstances allow; and

c.   documents in a contact in CLASS the circumstances that prevented the investigator from observing and interviewing the child within the required time frames and that an exception was granted by the supervisor.

Observations and Interviews of Alleged Victims by Another Professional Entity

Procedure

Interview Takes Place Before Receipt of Intake Report

If another professional, including a CPS investigator, a worker from a child advocacy center (CAC), or a law enforcement officer has already interviewed the alleged victim about the allegations by the time the intake report is received, the investigator must:

a.   request a copy of the recording, a transcript, or detailed documentation of the interview;

b.   review the interview recording or notes to assess whether all of the allegations were addressed in the interview; and

c.   document a contact in CLASS, including a summary of the interview and a statement explaining who conducted the interview.

If the investigator determines that the interview conducted by the other entity did not sufficiently address all of the allegations in the intake report, the investigator:

  •  consults with the supervisor to determine whether another interview should be conducted; and

  •  determines whether there is an active criminal investigation, if the supervisor agrees that another interview is warranted, and coordinates with the investigating law enforcement agency before proceeding with the interview.

Interview Is Scheduled to Take Place After the Receipt of the Intake Report

If another professional entity, such as a child advocacy center (CAC) or law enforcement, has not conducted an interview with the alleged victim by the time the intake report is received, and the investigator determines that a forensic interview is necessary, the investigator:

a.   works with law enforcement and the local CAC to schedule an interview with the alleged victim;

b.   attends and observes the forensic interview, if possible;

c.   requests a copy of the interview recording or transcript; and

d.   documents a contact in CLASS, including a summary of the interview and a statement explaining who conducted the interview.

If the investigator is unable to attend the forensic interview, he or she must also document the reason that the investigator did not attend the interview.

6421.2 Observing and Interviewing a Child Related to a Child Care Provider

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Biological and adopted children include any children for whom providers may hold legal guardianship, temporary managing conservatorship, or permanent managing conservatorship at the time of the investigation.

The investigator may need to obtain written consent before interviewing the biological or adopted children of a provider.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(1) and (d)(2)

Obtaining a Child Care Provider’s Consent Before Interviewing a Child

Procedure

If the child care provider is present during an inspection or investigation, the investigator must obtain written consent to interview any biological or adopted children of the provider who are in care at the operation. The investigator obtains consent using Form 2898 Consent to Interview Children of Providers.

The investigator may interview the children of a provider in a school, neutral location, or a child-care setting other than where the provider works without obtaining consent, unless the provider has previously refused to allow Licensing staff to interview his or her children.

Following the interview, the investigator must notify the parent that the child was interviewed. See:

6421.32 Notifying a Parent of a Child Interviewed as a Collateral Contact During an Investigation of Abuse or Neglect

6421.33 Notifying a Parent of a Child Interviewed During a Non Abuse or Neglect Investigation

If a provider is made aware that his or her child is being interviewed and instructs the investigator to stop the interview, the investigator must comply.

Consent for interviews and inspections may be withdrawn at any time and the investigator must comply with any withdrawn consent.

Determining Whether to Seek a Court Order to Interview a Child of a Child Care Provider

Procedure

The investigator must determine whether to seek a court order to conduct an interview, if:

  •  a provider refuses to allow his or her biological or adopted child to be interviewed; and

  •  the child’s information could be necessary to determine the outcome of an investigation.

The supervisor includes staff from the DFPS Legal Division in the decision-making process when determining whether to obtain a court order to interview a child.

Documenting a Child Care Provider’s Consent or Refusal

Procedure

If the investigator sought consent to interview the child of a child care provider, the investigator must document in the contact in CLASS whether:

  •  consent was granted or refused; and

  •  the completed Form 2898 Consent to Interview Children of Providers is filed in the investigation case file.

Conducting Investigations With Other Entities

Procedure

When conducting an investigation with another entity, such as law enforcement or CPS, Licensing must obtain consent separate from CPS or law enforcement to gain entry to interview a child.

The investigator identifies himself or herself separately by:

  •  presenting a DFPS-issued ID badge; and

  •  stating his or her specific role is in the investigation.

If the parent or provider grants consent to CPS or law enforcement, but does not grant consent to Licensing, the investigator must comply with the refusal and conduct other investigation activities.

6421.3 Notifying Parents, Guardians, or Managing Conservators of Interview With Child

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must make a reasonable effort to locate and notify a child’s parents, guardian, or managing conservator that a child was interviewed or observed during an abuse or neglect investigation. The notification must occur within 24 hours of the interview or observation.

The investigator must document the notification or attempted notification with the parent, guardian, or managing conservator as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. The notification must be documented as soon as possible, and no later than the day following the date of the notification.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8451

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(2)

6421.31 Notifying a Parent of an Alleged Victim

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

An investigator is considered to have made a reasonable effort to contact an alleged victim’s parents, guardian, or managing conservator if the investigator has taken at least one of the following actions:

a.   Provided verbal notification to the parent via phone call or face-to-face contact

b.   Left a message on the parent’s voice mail service

c.   Provided notification via email to the child’s CPS conservatorship (CVS) caseworker, if the child is in DFPS substitute care

If an investigator is unable to make verbal contact with the parent and leaves a message on the parent’s voice mail service, the message must include:

  •  a statement that the child was interviewed because the child was identified as being involved in the incident that is being investigated; and

  •  the investigator’s name and contact information.

If the parent requests information regarding the nature of the investigation, the investigator:

a.   informs the parent of the allegation;

b.   shares any other information with the parent necessary for the parent to make decisions regarding their child’s safety; and

c.   must protect the confidentiality of the investigation, including the names of alleged perpetrators and other alleged victims.

6421.32 Notifying a Parent of a Child Interviewed as a Collateral Source During an Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

An investigator is considered to have made a reasonable effort to contact the child’s parents, guardian, or managing conservator if the investigator has taken at least one of the following actions:

a.   Mailed notification letter (Form 2867) to the parent’s residential address

b.   Left notification letter (Form 2867) for the parent at the operation, if the operation is a day care operation

c.   Provided verbal notification to the parent via phone call, face-to-face contact, or by leaving a message on a voice mail service

d.   Provided notification via email to the child’s CPS conservatorship (CVS) caseworker, if the child is in DFPS substitute care

If the parent requests information regarding the nature of the investigation, the investigator:

a.   informs the parent about the content of the interview;

b.   shares any other information with the parent necessary for the parent to make decisions regarding their child’s safety; and

c.   protects the confidentiality of the investigation, including the names of alleged perpetrators and other children.

6421.33 Notifying a Parent of a Child Interviewed During a Non Abuse or Neglect Investigation

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

An investigator must notify the child’s parent, guardian, or managing conservator that a child was interviewed during a non abuse or neglect investigation when the investigation is of a day care operation. The investigator notifies the parent by:

a.   mailing a notification letter (Form 2866) to the parent’s residential address;

b.   leaving a notification letter (Form 2866) for the parent at the operation;

c.   providing verbal notification to the parent via phone call, face-to-face contact, or by leaving a message on a voice mail service; or

d.   providing notification via email to the child’s CPS conservatorship (CVS) caseworker, if the child is in DFPS substitute care.

An investigator is not required to notify the parents of a child interviewed during an investigation of violations at a residential operation.

6421.4 Age and Ability Requirements for Observing and Interviewing Children

LPPH December 2012

Observing Children With No Verbal Ability

Policy

Investigators must observe principal children who have no verbal ability because of the child’s:

  •  chronological age; or

  •  level of developmental functioning.

If the investigation involves an allegation of abuse or neglect, an alleged victim who has no verbal ability must be observed within the time frames outlined in 6421.1 Observing and Interviewing Alleged Victims (Abuse or Neglect Only).

Children who are collateral contacts and who have no verbal ability should be observed as necessary to assess the care being provided to other children in care of the operation.

Procedure

Observations of a child must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. The contact must include a brief statement describing the investigator’s observation of the child.

Interviewing Children With Limited Verbal Ability

Policy

Investigators must attempt to interview alleged victims and other identified principal and collateral contacts who are children if the child:

  •  is at least 3 years of age; and

  •  has some verbal ability.

If a child is younger than 3 years of age, but the investigator receives information that the child has some ability to communicate meaningful information, the investigator should attempt to interview the child and gather as much information as possible.

Procedure

The investigator adjusts the interview techniques as needed based on the age and ability of the child being interviewed.

If, after the investigator attempts to build rapport with the child and the child has demonstrated that he or she is unable to communicate meaningful information to the investigator, the investigator may discontinue the interview. The investigator must digitally record the attempted interview and document that an interview was attempted as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

If the investigator is unable to communicate with any child because of language barriers, the investigator follows the procedures in 6425 Interviewing Persons With Limited English Proficiency.

6422 Interviewing Adults

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an investigation, the investigator must interview, whenever possible:

a.   all alleged perpetrators, if the investigation is about abuse or neglect;

b.   all adults directly involved in the incident;

c.   other adults who may have witnessed the incident;

d.   other adults who may have knowledge of the incident;

e.   other adults who may be able to provide information regarding the type of care and supervision provided at the operation;

f.    other adults who may be able to provide information regarding the behaviors, level of functioning, and emotional state of any children involved in the investigation; and

g.   other adults who may be able to provide information regarding the child’s previous involvement in abuse or neglect investigations.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(b)(3) and (d)(2)

6422.1 Interviewing Alleged Perpetrators

LPPH May 2013

Policy

The investigator must conduct a face-to-face interview with all alleged perpetrators, whenever possible.

In the event that the alleged perpetrator is no longer employed at the operation, the investigator must obtain locating information on the person, including the person’s last known address or phone number.

Procedure

During the interview with an alleged perpetrator, the investigator:

  •  informs the alleged perpetrator about the allegations being investigated; and

  •  informs the alleged perpetrator that he or she is being investigated for his or her involvement in the incident.

During the interview, the investigator makes a reasonable effort to obtain the following information about the alleged perpetrator:

a.   Full legal name

b.   Date of birth

c.   Ethnicity

d.   Social Security number

e.   Home address

f.    Home telephone number

If the perpetrator refuses to provide the above information, the investigator may request employee records to obtain the information.

See 6352.2 Exceptions to Notifying the Operation.

Interview of an Alleged Perpetrator by Law Enforcement

Procedure

Interview Takes Place Before Receipt of Intake Report

If law enforcement has already interviewed the alleged perpetrator about the allegations by the time the intake report is received, the investigator must:

a.   request a copy of the recording, a transcript, or detailed documentation of the interview;

b.   review the interview recording or notes to assess whether all of the allegations were addressed in the interview; and

c.   document a contact in CLASS, including a summary of the interview and a statement explaining who conducted the interview.

If the investigator determines that the interview conducted by law enforcement did not sufficiently address all of the allegations in the intake report, the investigator:

a.   consults with the supervisor to determine whether another interview should be conducted;

b.   determines whether there is an active criminal investigation, if the supervisor agrees that another interview is warranted; and

c.   coordinates with the investigating law enforcement agency, if there is an active criminal investigation, before proceeding with the interview.

Interview Is Scheduled to Take Place After the Receipt of the Intake Report

If law enforcement conducts a joint investigation with Licensing, the investigator consults with law enforcement before interviewing the alleged perpetrator.

If law enforcement interviews the alleged perpetrator, the investigator:

a.   attends and observes the interview, if possible;

b.   requests a copy of the interview recording or transcript; and

c.   documents a contact in CLASS, including a summary of the interview and a statement explaining who conducted the interview.

If the investigator is unable to attend the interview, he or she must also document the reason that the investigator did not attend the interview.

Alleged Perpetrator Refuses to Provide Interview

Policy

If an alleged perpetrator refuses to be interviewed until legal counsel has been obtained or an attorney can be present, the investigator allows a reasonable time frame for the alleged perpetrator to make such arrangements.

The investigator informs the alleged perpetrator about certain facts, if:

a.   an interview is not scheduled within the time frame established; or

b.   the alleged perpetrator refuses to be interviewed; or

c.   the alleged perpetrator does not respond to the investigator’s attempt to schedule an interview; or

d.   the alleged perpetrator does not otherwise cooperate with the investigator.

The facts that the investigator informs the alleged perpetrator about are:

a.   the allegations being investigated;

b.   that the investigator is required to make a determination without the alleged perpetrator’s input; and

c.   the possible outcomes of the investigation.

Procedure

The investigator:

  •  notifies the alleged perpetrator in person or by phone about the need to schedule an interview; and

  •  follows up by sending the notification in writing, by regular and certified mail, to the alleged perpetrator’s residential address.

The investigator keeps a copy of the notification in the confidential file for abuse or neglect cases.

6422.2 Interviewing Principal and Collateral Sources

LPPH December 2012

In both investigations of abuse or neglect and non abuse or neglect, the investigator must interview all adults who were directly involved in the incident being investigated as well as other adults (collateral sources) who may have knowledge of the incident or of the children involved.

Principal and collateral sources include, but are not limited to:

a.   employees of the operation;

b.   household members;

c.   director, administrator, case manager, or other representative of the operation;

d.   school personnel, medical personnel, law enforcement, first responders, therapists, or other professionals; and

e.   parents, guardians, or managing conservators of the victims or the children interviewed.

The investigator interviews as many collateral sources as is necessary depending on the nature and complexity of the investigation.

6423 Recording Interviews

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an abuse or neglect investigation, the investigator must digitally record all interviews conducted with:

  •  a child; and

  •  an alleged perpetrator.

During an abuse or neglect or a non abuse or neglect investigation, the investigator may also digitally record any other person interviewed face-to-face.

At the beginning of the interview, the investigator must inform the person that the interview is being recorded. The recording of the interview must be accurate, unaltered, and without interruption.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(d)(7)

6423.1 Testing the Recording Equipment

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Before each interview, the investigator must test the audio recording device and software to ensure that the equipment is working and that all parties can be clearly heard on the recording before beginning the official interview.

6423.2 Authenticating the Recording

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator must authenticate the recording before beginning the structured interview. To authenticate the recording, the investigator must make the following statements at the beginning of each recorded interview:

a.   The investigator’s first name, last name, and job title

b.   The month, day, year, and time of the interview

c.   The CLASS or IMPACT investigation number

d.   The location of the interview

e.   The first and last name and the role of any other person present during the interview

f.    A statement that the interview is being recorded

The investigator asks the person being interviewed to state his or her:

  •  first and last name;

  •  identifying information, such as age, date of birth, or Social Security number, depending on the age and ability of the person being interviewed.

At the conclusion of the interview, the investigator states the time that the interview ended.

6423.3 Exceptions to Recording the Interview

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator is exempt from recording the interview when:

  •  the person refuses to allow the interview to be recorded; or

  •  a parent refuses to allow the interview of their child to be recorded.

6423.4 Documenting Whether an Interview Was Recorded

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If an interview was conducted face-to-face, the investigator must document whether or not the interview was recorded in the contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. If the interview was not recorded, the investigator must document the reason why.

A recorded interview does not replace a written summary of the interview in the investigation contacts.

6423.5 Storing Audio Files on a Compact Disc

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

All audio recordings must be stored on a compact disc (CD) that is to be filed as part of the hard copy confidential abuse or neglect investigation file.

Before the investigator saves the audio files to the CD, the investigator must identify the investigation number and interviewee by naming each audio file according to the following convention:

a.   IMPACT investigation number

b.   First letter of first name

c.   Full last name

The investigator may modify the naming convention if two or more people share the same first initial and same last name by including the age or some other identifying characteristic in the file name.

Example:

88888888_ASmith.wav; 88888888_CGarcia6.wav; 88888888_CGarcia10.wav

The investigator labels the CD with the:

a.   name and number of the operation;

b.   IMPACT and CLASS investigation numbers; and

c.   number to identify the CD, if more than one CD is needed to store all the digital files.

Audio files may be stored on the same CD as digital photographs. The investigator then stores the CD in a paper sleeve in the confidential abuse or neglect file.

The investigator must nevererase audio files stored on a CD and must preserve all audio recordings as evidence. When the paper case record is destroyed, the CD must not be reused, but rather must be destroyed in a manner that protects the information on the CD from disclosure.

6423.6 Using an Alternative Recording Device

LPPH December 2012

If an investigator has been issued a back-up recording device, such as a hand held digital recorder, the investigator must carry the device to all interviews in the event of a malfunction of the tablet or the audio recording software.

6424 Requesting a Courtesy Interview

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If an alleged victim, alleged perpetrator, or any other principal or collateral is located in another region than where the investigator is located, the investigator makes a request through his or her supervisor for a Licensing investigator in the region where the person is located to conduct the interview. The investigator conducting the interview is considered to be a secondary investigator, and the interview is considered to be a courtesy interview.

Procedure

If a secondary investigator conducts a courtesy interview, the investigator:

a.   advises the secondary investigator of what information and questions to address in the courtesy interview;

b.   adds the secondary investigator as a secondary worker in IMPACT;

c.   requests detailed information about the interview, including any recordings or interview notes after the courtesy interview has taken place;

d.   maintains contact with the secondary investigator until all information regarding the courtesy interview is received; and

e.   documents a summary of the interview as a contact in CLASS, including a statement of who conducted the interview.

The secondary investigator:

  •  documents the interview in the investigation contacts in CLASS; and

  •  adheres to all required time frames for conducting the interview.

6425 Interviewing Persons With Limited English Proficiency

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Individuals are identified as having limited English proficiency (LEP) when the person cannot read, write, speak, or understand English without assistive language services because he or she:

  •  does not speak English as their primary language; or

  •  has a speech or hearing impairment.

During an investigation, the investigator must accommodate any person with LEP by making reasonable efforts to provide information and services in a language or medium that the person can understand through the use of interpreters, translators, readers, or other methods.

Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI

Procedure

In order to ensure that a person with LEP is able to communicate with the investigator in his or her primary language or medium, district management must develop procedures for identifying the primary language needs within the district and for providing readily available access to interpreter services. The procedures must ensure that a person with LEP:

  •  is able to communicate his or her knowledge of or role in the incident being investigated;

  •  is given information about, and be able to understand, the investigation process, the outcome, and due process rights, if applicable.

6425.1 Using an Interpreter to Conduct an Interview

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If the investigator is unable to communicate with a person with limited English proficiency (LEP), the investigator must:

  •  make arrangements for an interpreter to be present during the scheduled interview; or

  •  contact one of the agency approved interpreter services listed on the DFPS Language Services Web page.

If the investigator arranges for an interpreter to be present during the interview, the investigator must choose an interpreter who does not have a conflict of interest with the investigation and who is:

  •  professionally trained as an interpreter; or

  •  a DFPS staff person who is fluent in the person’s primary language.

The investigator must explain to the interpreter that the investigation information must be kept confidential.

6425.2 Documenting the Use of Interpretation Services

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

If an interview was conducted with a person with LEP, the investigator must document any interpreter services that were offered and provided. The contact must include:

a.   any offer made by the investigator to provide an interpreter;

b.   the acceptance or refusal of interpreter services by person with LEP;

c.   the use of an interpreter;

d.   the interpreter’s name;

e.   the interpreter’s relationship (if any) to the person;

f.    the interpreter’s professional affiliation;

g.   the use of communication aids (such as a communication board and pictures.); and

h.   the investigator’s ability to communicate in the person’s primary language.

If an interpreter was not used, the reason must be documented.

6430 Conducting Inspections

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator is required to conduct an unannounced inspection for all investigations assigned a Priority 1 or 2. An unannounced inspection may or may not be necessary for an investigation assigned a Priority 3.

When conducting an inspection, the investigator must always assess the safety of children and evaluate minimum standards and law described in 4140 Conducting the Inspection.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8401; 745.8403; 745.8407

6431 Requirements for Conducting Unannounced Inspections

6431.1 Time Frame Priority 1 or Priority 2 Investigations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

For all investigations assigned a Priority 1 or Priority 2, the investigator must conduct an unannounced inspection at the operation that is the subject of the investigation as soon as possible and no later than 15 days following the date the intake report was received. Shorter time frames may be required in order to assess risk.

If subsequent inspections are necessary, the inspections may be announced or unannounced.

6431.2 Time Frame for Priority 3 Investigations

LPPH December 2012

Policy

For all investigations assigned a Priority 3 (P3), the investigator must conduct an unannounced inspection at the operation that is the subject of the investigation as soon as possible and no later than 30 days following the date the intake report was received. An inspection is not required when:

a.   the investigation was assigned to a child-placing agency as an internal investigation;

b.   the investigation was assigned a P3 to process a report of sex offenders who live within proximity of an operation; or

c.   there are allegations of minor violations that may be handled without an inspection as approved by the supervisor.

A supervisor may approve for an investigator to conduct an investigation assigned a P3 without conducting an inspection when:

  •  the investigation is self-reported with no concerns of standards violations; and

  •  the parent has no concerns regarding supervision or safety.

If subsequent inspections are necessary, the inspections may be announced or unannounced.

6432 Documenting the Observations Made During the Inspection

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

In addition to documenting the results of the inspection in the Child Care Facility Inspection Form 2936, the investigator must document the observations made during the unannounced inspection in the narrative box called Observations Made During Inspection on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

The documentation in the narrative box must include:

a.   the date the inspection was conducted;

b.   whether the inspection was announced or unannounced;

c.   specific observations of the operation and specific area in which the incident being investigated occurred;

d.   whether photographs were taken and the location of the photographs; and

e.   a statement that all background-related rules were evaluated for persons present during the inspection and persons involved in the investigation.

6440 Collecting Evidence

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During the investigation, the investigator must collect evidence to support or refute the allegations of abuse or neglect and allegations of minimum standard violations.

The collection of evidence includes:

a.   interviews with principal and collateral sources;

b.   digital audio or video recordings of interviews;

c.   written statements;

d.   original and computer generated notes;

e.   photographs;

f.    documentation of a physical exam or medical treatment of a child;

g.   drawings, diagrams, and timelines;

h.   digital copy of video surveillance; and

i.    any other physical evidence or document relevant to the allegation.

HHSC Rules, 1 TAC §351.503(d)(1)-(8)

6441 Collecting Evidence Related to Interviews

6441.1 Conducting and Recording Interviews

LPPH December 2012

Policy

All persons who have knowledge of the allegations must be observed or interviewed during the course of the investigation. Investigators of an abuse or neglect investigation must digitally record all interviews with children and alleged perpetrators and maintain the recordings in the confidential abuse or neglect file.

See:

6410 Conducting Interviews

6413 Recording Interviews

6441.2 Obtaining Written Statements

LPPH December 2012

Policy

If a principal source in an abuse or neglect investigation refuses to allow the investigator to record the interview, the investigator requests that the person provide a written statement.

For non abuse or neglect investigations, the investigator and supervisor may choose to obtain a written statement.

Procedure

The investigator uses Form 7275 Child Care Facility Investigations Statement to obtain a written statement. If a written statement has already been prepared by a person with knowledge of the incident before being contacted by the investigator, that statement may be accepted in the form in which it was written. The investigator then:

  •  compares the written statement to the information provided during the interview for consistency; and

  •  asks additional questions or conducts a follow-up interview to address any inconsistencies that are found.

The investigator files the written statement in the external case file, and:

a.   documents that a written statement was obtained in the contact narrative in CLASS

b.   includes a summary of the written statement in the narrative; and

c.   enters the written statement on the External Documentation List page in IMPACT.

6441.3 Maintaining Investigation Notes

LPPH December 2012

Policy

All notes taken during an abuse or neglect investigation are considered part of the investigation documentation and must be filed in the confidential abuse or neglect file for at least one year.

Investigation notes, whether handwritten or notes that were originally recorded on paper or computer-generated, include:

a.   interview notes;

b.   drawings, diagrams, or timelines;

c.   notes written on any document related to the investigation, such as a staffing form or intake report.

Notes for a non abuse or neglect investigation may be destroyed, except when a subpoena regarding the notes is received before the notes are destroyed.

Procedure

Diagrams, drawings, and timelines may be made by the investigator to aid in determining the finding. A diagram, hand-drawn or computer-generated is a drawing that shows arrangement and relation. For example, the drawing may be of the area where the incident occurred with placement of furnishings, equipment, children, and staff. Drawings may also be done to show the location of a bruise, or other injury on a child’s body. Timelines may be made to show who the child was with during the time when the incident or injury occurred.

Computer-generated notes taken either in CLASSMate or in another program located on the tablet PC, must be placed in the confidential abuse or neglect file. The investigator:

a.   prints the notes or copies the notes to a compact disc (CD) after the completion of the investigation;

b.   files the notes in the confidential abuse or neglect file; and

c.   deletes the notes from the computer’s hard drive.

6442 Taking Photographs as Evidence

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must always carry a digital camera to the inspection and interviews. Investigators must take, document, and store photographs of a child’s injury, the incident scene, and any other photographs of the operation according to the policies and procedures outlined in 1400 State-Issued Equipment, Photographs, and Video.

6443 Obtaining Written Documents as Evidence

LPPH December 2012

Policy

The investigator must review or obtain the following types of written documentation, as applicable to the investigation:

a.   Medical records

b.   Law enforcement reports

c.   CPS records

d.   Records from the operation

e.   Correspondence

6443.1 Obtaining Medical Records

LPPH March 2013

Procedure

The investigator requests that the parent provide a medical release and requests the medical records during an investigation of abuse or neglect when the allegations being investigated include:

a.   a child sustained injuries requiring medical treatment;

b.   serious physical abuse;

c.   medical neglect;

d.   physical neglect;

e.   sexual abuse, if the child received an exam by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE); or

f.    a child fatality.

If a child in DFPS conservatorship receives medical treatment or dies, the CPS caseworker obtains the records and provides a copy to the investigator.

If the child is not seen by a medical professional, the investigator must consult with a medical professional to obtain a professional opinion of the child’s medical condition.

The investigator may need to obtain the following types of medical records, depending on the allegations being investigated:

a.   Records from emergency medical services (EMS)

b.   Emergency room and other hospital records

c.   Medical records from the child’s primary care physician

d.   Medical records from a specialist who provides care or treatment to a child

e.   Records from a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE)

f.    Autopsy report and other related records from the medical examiner, if the child is deceased

g.   Star Health records

The medical release and all medical records obtained in an abuse or neglect investigation are filed in the confidential abuse or neglect file, and a summary of the information is documented in a contact narrative on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

An investigator of a non abuse or neglect investigation may request medical records if it is necessary to make a decision regarding the outcome of the investigation.

6443.2 Obtaining Reports From Law Enforcement

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator must request documentation from law enforcement during any investigation in which law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation of the allegations, regardless of the allegation type.

The investigator may need to request copies of the following types of law enforcement records, depending on the allegations being investigated:

a.   Police report

b.   Photographs taken by law enforcement

c.   Recording or transcript of interview

d.   911 call

e.   Any other document related to a criminal investigation

If law enforcement is unable to release copies of documents pertaining to the criminal investigation, the investigator requests an opportunity to review the documents. After reviewing the records, the investigator documents a summary of the records in the investigation contacts.

Law enforcement may conduct a polygraph as a part of the criminal investigation. Licensing may review the results of the polygraph and summarize how the results pertain to the criminal finding. However, Licensing may not use the results of the polygraph in making a determination of preponderance.

6443.3 Reviewing Documents From CPS

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator may need to review documentation located in a CPS record in IMPACT if:

  •  the investigation involves a child in conservatorship of CPS; or

  •  a joint or concurrent investigation with CPS is being conducted.

The investigator may need to review the following types of CPS documentation located in IMPACT related to the investigation (INV), substitute care (SUB), or adoption (ADO) stages of service:

a.   Person Detail information

b.   Contact narratives

c.   Legal Actions

d.   Child’s Service Plan

e.   Placement information

f.    Common Application

g.   Family Tree

If a CPS case is marked Sensitive, the investigator requests assistance from the assigned CPS caseworker to obtain access to the information.

6443.4 Obtaining Documents From the Operation

LPPH March 2013

Procedure

Licensing has the authority to review and obtain copies of any documentation found at the operation. This documentation includes, but is not limited to:

a.   a child’s record, including the service plan;

b.   an employee’s record;

c.   a foster home’s record, including the home study;

d.   training curriculum;

e.   operational policy; and

f.    incident reports.

The investigator reviews all necessary records and documentation and obtains copies of all documentation that is relevant to refuting or supporting the allegations. Documentation obtained is summarized in a contact narrative on the Investigation Conclusion page and filed in the external investigation file.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8419

6444 Maintaining Records of Correspondence

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

In the process of conducting an investigation, the investigator may receive or create correspondence through email, written correspondence, or the telephone.

6444.1 Documenting and Maintaining Email Correspondence:

LPPH December 2012

The investigator summarizes the contents of the email in a contact narrative on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS, using professional and objective language.

If the email exchange is between the investigator and an external resource, the investigator prints a copy and files the copy in the external investigation file.

Licensing must follow any legal directive requiring that emails be held and not delete any emails that are covered by the directive. Otherwise, if there is no relevant directive, the investigator may delete the email exchange after documenting a summary of it and printing a copy.

6444.2 Documenting and Maintaining Written Correspondence

LPPH December 2012

Written correspondence may be generated in CLASS or in the DFPS automated forms system. The investigator may also receive written correspondence during the course of an investigation.

The investigator handles written correspondence in the following manner:

  •  The investigator does not print any written correspondence that is generated or stored in CLASS and does not need to file the correspondence in the external record.

  •  For all written correspondence located outside of CLASS, the investigator:

1.   documents a summary of the correspondence in a contact narrative on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS;

2.   files a copy of the correspondence in the external investigation file; and

3.   enters the correspondence under the External Documentation tab in IMPACT for an abuse or neglect investigation.

6444.3 Documenting and Maintaining Voicemails and Texts

LPPH December 2012

The investigator may receive voicemails and texts during the course of an investigation. When a voicemail or text message is received, the investigator must capture the following information in a contact narrative on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS:

a.   originator and receiver;

b.   date and time of the communication;

c.   type of message (text or voicemail); and

d.   a brief summary of the message to document the transaction.

OP-4106 Documentation of Instant, Text, and Voice Mail Message Records

6450 Conducting Surveillance (Day Care Only)

Policy

An investigator or supervisor may determine that surveillance is necessary to determine whether:

a.   a program or caregiver is subject to regulation;

b.   an operation is complying with a safety plan that requires the operation to cease operating;

c.   can operation is providing care to more children than the permit allows; or

d.   allegations of abuse or neglect or violations of minimum standards have a factual basis

Procedure

An investigator must receive supervisory approval to conduct surveillance. All decisions regarding conducting surveillance must be documented as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

Upon receiving the necessary approval, the investigator may conduct surveillance at the location of the operation or at other locations where children in care are transported by the operation. The investigator should take photographs or video recordings as necessary during the course of the surveillance to support violations or a lack of violations.

See 1400 State-Issued Equipment, Photographs, and Video.

6460 Interim Staffing With Supervisor

LPPH December 2012

Policy

During an investigation involving allegations of abuse or neglect, the investigator must conduct a minimum of one interim staffing with the supervisor no later than the 20th day after the investigation is received. The interim staffing must include a discussion of:

  •  the information and evidence obtained up to that time; and

  •  any additional tasks to be completed before a disposition can be made.

Following the interim staffing, the investigator documents the information discussed in the staffing in a contact narrative labeled Interim Staffing in the Source of Information field on the Contact List on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

6470 Handling Obstruction of an Investigation

6471 Obstruction by the Operation

LPPH March 2013

Procedure

If operation staff refuse, delay, or obstruct investigation attempts after being told the purpose of the investigation, Licensing staff inform the person in charge that Licensing staff have authority to investigate under applicable laws.

The operation must allow the investigator access to all children in care, staff, records, the physical plant, and any other information needed to conduct the investigation.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.8401; 745.8415; 745.8417

Human Resources Code §42.04412

Remedial action may be taken against the operation if the person in charge of the operation refuses, prevents, or delays the inspection or investigation. See 7000 Voluntary Actions and Remedial Actions.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8425

6472 Alleged Perpetrator Requests Investigation Status

LPPH March 2013

During the investigation, an alleged perpetrator may request clarification about the status of the investigation or file a complaint about the conduct of the investigation. If this occurs, the supervisor must conduct an informal review within 15 days after receiving the request or complaint. The review may not be used to delay or obstruct the investigation.

Texas Family Code §261.309(b)

6473 Obstruction by Regulated Operations

LPPH March 2013

If a regulated operation obstructs the investigation, the investigator leaves an Inspection Form (Form 2936) citing HRC §42.04412(a) for obstruction of an investigation, violation of Licensing rules allowing inspection, and the possible consequences of the violation.

6474 Obstruction by Unregulated Operations

LPPH March 2013

In an unregulated operation, the investigator notifies the person in charge of Licensing’s authority to investigate under the law. If the person remains uncooperative, the investigator leaves the operation. If possible, the investigator documents:

a.   any evidence of violation of the Human Resources Code or Texas Administrative Code;

b.   any observed hazards to children or situations that would be a violation of standards if the operations were registered or licensed; and

c.   any child care practice that puts children at risk.

See 6550 Investigations of Illegal Operations With No Allegations of Abuse or Neglect.

6480 Worker Safety

LPPH October 2013

Policy

Staff safety is one of the most important factors in any investigation or inspection. CCL staff must immediately leave any situation they feel is unsafe.

If a provider or another person shows any signs of physical or verbal hostility or aggression, staff should immediately leave the operation and not return unless and until circumstances indicate that returning to the operation would not pose a safety threat. Attempting to continue an investigation or inspection in these situations can escalate an unsafe situation.

A co-worker or supervisor should accompany staff on a return attempt to inspect or investigate the operation. If verbal or physical signs of hostility or aggressive behavior continue to be present, staff consult with their supervisor. If staff must return to complete necessary interviews or inspections, staff may contact law enforcement in order to ensure safety during the completion of the inspection or investigation. They may also contact DFPS Legal Services about getting a court order to assist the investigation. See Human Resources Code §42.04412.

No law, policy, or local procedure requires CCL staff to enter or remain in a dangerous situation.

See SAFETY central on the DFPS Safety Net.

Procedure

The following best practices are steps that can be taken to help ensure worker safety in the field when conducting inspections and investigations:

a.   Conduct team inspections if the operation is located in an area with a high rate of crime or if the inspection is conducted at night.

b.   Upon arriving to the operation, ask the provider who else is in the operation at the time of the inspection.

c.   Upon arriving to the operation, ask the provider to describe or show you the layout of the operation.

d.   Ask the provider to lead the way during an inspection.

e.   Update your Outlook calendar before each inspection or investigation activity with the operation name, operation number and your location (e.g. operation, school, or off-site meeting location).

f.    Take your DFPS-issued phone with you to all inspections and investigation activities.

g.   Enter you supervisor’s phone number on speed dial.

h.   Identify an agreed upon strategy with your supervisor for emergencies.

i.    During the course of the inspection or investigation, if the provider or any other person displays inappropriate behavior or comments leave the operation or interview, report the incident to your supervisor, and return at another time with a coworker.

6500 Special Considerations for Certain Types of Reports

6510 Investigation of DFPS Employees

LPPH December 2012

Policy

When DFPS has statutory responsibility to investigate a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation made against a DFPS employee and the alleged victim is a child in care in an operation that is regulated by Child Care Licensing (CCL), DFPS expedites both the investigation and disposition of the case.

DFPS Human Resources Operating Policy HR-3101 Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation Allegations Against DFPS Employees

Procedure

When a report in which allegations are made against a DFPS employee is received, the supervisor must notify the residential manager and residential child care Licensing director.

The investigator then:

a.   ensures the investigation is marked Sensitive in the IMPACT and CLASS systems;

b.   ensures the strictest level of confidentiality and refrains from discussing the case with other DFPS staff other than the supervisor;

c.   completes and documents the case within 10 days;

d.   submits the case for supervisory approval within 10 days; and

e.   keeps the supervisor apprised of all investigative activities and consults about each action of the case.

If allegations against an employee are validated, and the employee fails to request an administrative review within two business days after being notified of the conclusions, the employee may still request an administrative review within 45 days, the time period allowed under ordinary administrative review procedures. However, if the employee chooses this option, the administrative review is not expedited and a change in the investigative conclusions does not alter any personnel action that has been taken. The supervisor must consult with the residential manager and residential child care Licensing director before approving a finding.

See 6276.1 Processing Sensitive Intake Reports.

6520 Investigation of a Child’s Death

LPPH May 2013

Policy

Licensing must investigate a child’s death when notified that:

  •  a child has died while in the care of an operation; or

  •  a child’s death could be related to the care received at an operation.

Any time a child dies, Licensing investigates the death as an abuse or neglect investigation; for example, if a medically fragile child dies while in care, the intake report is handled as an abuse or neglect investigation with a possible allegation of medical neglect.

An investigation is conducted to determine whether abuse or neglect was a factor in the child’s death or whether a violation of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards caused or contributed to the death.

The investigator must coordinate the investigation with:

a.   CPS, when applicable;

b.   the law enforcement agency that investigates the child’s death;

c.   the district attorney or other prosecuting attorney, if an arrest occurs or charges are taken to a grand jury; and

d.   the medical examiner or justice of the peace, as applicable, if:

  •  an autopsy was performed, or

  •  an inquest was held.

Procedure

When Licensing receives an intake report that a child has died while in the care of a child-care operation, the supervisor assigns the intake report to an investigator to conduct as an abuse or neglect investigation.

If the death occurred in an alleged illegal operation, the investigator first determines whether the operation is subject to regulation. If the operation is subject to regulation, the investigator investigates the death. If the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator follows the guidelines in 6557 Procedures When an Illegal Operation Is Determined to Be Not Subject to Regulation.

The investigation of a child’s death in the care of a child-care operation must be conducted according to the guidelines for an abuse or neglect investigation.

See 6400 Conducting the Investigation.

6521 Actions Taken in the First 24 Hours

LPPH May 2013

Within 24 hours of receiving an intake report indicating that a child in care has died, the investigator:

a.   ensures that the date of death is entered in IMPACT and the Child Fatality Allegations Question in IMPACT is marked Yes;

b.   evaluates the safety of the other children in care;

c.   notifies law enforcement, the medical examiner, and DFPS, as applicable;

d.   ensures that the preliminary cause of death and manner of death are entered in CLASS;

e.   completes the preliminary Child Death Report in CLASS ; and

f.    initiates the investigation.

See:

6331 Evaluating the Need for a Safety Plan

6340 Assessment of Risk During Abuse or Neglect Investigation

6350 Notifications Made at Beginning of Investigation

6410 Initiating the Investigation

6524 Completing the Child Death Report in CLASS

6527.1 Cause and Manner of Death

6522 Assessing the Safety of Other Children in Care

LPPH December 2012

If the preliminary cause of death is not known at the time of initiation or if any other conditions exist that require a safety plan, a safety plan must be implemented immediately by the operation for any remaining children in care.

See 6330 Assessing the Immediate Safety of Children.

6523 Notifications of a Child’s Death

6523.1 Notifying Law Enforcement

LPPH December 2012

The investigator contacts law enforcement to request a joint investigation.

See 6351 Notifying and Working With Law Enforcement

6523.2 Notification Regarding the Death of a Child Younger Than Age 6

LPPH December 2012

In the case of the death of a child younger than age 6, the investigation caseworker reports the death to the medical examiner of the county in which the death occurred. The death must be reported to the medical examiner whether or not the death is alleged to be the result of abuse or neglect.

Exceptions:

  •  If the child dies as the result of a motor vehicle accident, the caseworker is not required to report the death.

  •  If the county does not have a medical examiner, the caseworker must report the death to a justice of the peace in the county in which the death occurred.

Texas Family Code §264.513

6523.3 Notifications Within DFPS

LPPH May 2013

Within 24 hours of being notified about a child’s death (either by receiving the intake report or another form of notification), the investigator sends certain DFPS staff a copy of CLASS Form 2899e Child Death Report by email, noting the preliminary cause of death.

See 6524 Completing the Child Death Report in CLASS.

6524 Completing the Child Death Report in CLASS

6524.1 Preliminary Child Death Report

LPPH March 2013

Within 24 hours of receiving an intake report or being notified about a child’s death, the investigator:

  •  completes a preliminary version of CLASS Form 2899e Child Death Report; and

  •  sends a copy of the report to certain DFPS staff.

Before the investigator completes the Child Death Report, the investigator enters the following information on the Victim and Parent Details page in CLASS:

a.   Incident location

b.   Cause and manner of death (see 6527.1 Cause and Manner of Death)

c.   Death related to abuse or neglect

d.   Death related to restraint

e.   Law enforcement notification (see 6523.1 Notifying Law Enforcement)

The investigator completes the information according to the information that is known within the first 24 hours after being notified of the child’s death. The investigator may update the information as the investigation progresses.

To complete the Child Death Report, the investigator:

a.   selects the Preliminary radio button;

b.   enters the case name of the IMPACT investigation; and

c.   enters a summary of the allegations in the Brief Incident Summary narrative box.

The summary of the allegations includes information obtained to date regarding the circumstances surrounding the child’s death, including:

a.   where the incident occurred;

b.   who was present;

c.   events leading up to the child’s death; and

d.   suspected cause of the child’s death, if known.

Before the investigator saves a final version of the preliminary Child Death Report, a supervisor or above reviews the report for accuracy. Upon approval from a supervisor or above, the investigator saves a final version of the report.

After receiving approval from the supervisor or above, the investigator forwards the report via email to the program improvement specialist in his or her district for day care, or to the supervisor for residential care.

The email including the 2899e includes:

a.   the operation’s name and number and the region, county and city in which the operation is located;

b.   the CLASS investigation number;

c.   the IMPACT investigation number;

d.   the child’s name, date of birth, and date of death;

e.   information concerning the involvement of law enforcement; and

f.    a summary of the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

The program improvement specialist for day care, or supervisor for residential care, then forwards the email with the 2899e attached to the:

a.   assistant commissioner for Child Care Licensing;

b.   director for residential care, or the director for day care;

c.   district director for day care, or the manager for residential child care;

d.   program specialist at the DFPS state office who is responsible for reporting the death of a child;

e.   regional director for CPS (if the victim is a child in CPS conservatorship);

f.    CPS conservatorship caseworker (if the victim is a child in CPS conservatorship);

g.   lead investigation analyst;

h.   division administrator for performance management;

i.    residential contract manager (residential only);

j.    DFPS Internal Audit director;

k.   local public information officer; and

l.    any other person designated by the district director or manager

6524.2 Confirmed Child Death Report

LPPH March 2013

Upon receipt of a final autopsy report or a death certificate, the investigator updates the information about the child’s death on the Victim and Parents Details page and the Child Death Report (2899e) in CLASS. To complete the confirmed Child Death Report, the investigator:

a.   selects the Confirmed radio button;

b.   enters the case name of the IMPACT investigation; and

c.   enters a summary of results of the investigation in the Brief Incident Summary narrative box.

The summary of the investigation includes:

a.   the events leading up to the child’s death;

b.   the cause of the child’s death; and

c.   the finding of the investigation.

Before the investigator saves a final version of the confirmed Child Death Report, a supervisor or above reviews the report for accuracy. Upon approval from a supervisor or above, the investigator saves a final version of the report.

After receiving approval from the supervisor, the investigator forwards the report via email to the program improvement specialist in his or her district for day care or to the supervisor for residential care.

The email including the 2899e includes:

a.   the operation’s name and number and the region, county, and city in which the operation is located;

b.   the CLASS investigation number;

c.   the IMPACT investigation number; and

d.   the child’s name, date of birth, and date of death.

The program improvement specialist for day care, or supervisor for residential care, then forwards the email with the 2899e attached to the:

a.   assistant commissioner for Child Care Licensing;

b.   director for residential care or the district director for day care;

c.   the district director for day care, or the manager for residential child care;

d.   program specialist at the DFPS state office who is responsible for reporting the death of a child;

e.   regional director for CPS (if the victim is a child in CPS conservatorship);

f.    CPS conservatorship caseworker (if the victim is a child in CPS conservatorship);

g.   The lead investigation analyst;

h.   The division administrator for performance management;

i.    residential contract manager (residential only);

j.    local public information officer;

k.   DFPS Internal Audit Director; and

l.    any other person designated by the district director or manager.

6525 Staffing an Investigation of a Child's Death

LPPH May 2013

During the course of an investigation involving the death of a child, the investigator keeps the supervisor apprised of all investigation activities.

An interim staffing is held with the supervisor no later than the 20th day after the intake report is received. See 6460 Interim Staffing With Supervisor.

Upon completion of the investigation, a final dispositional staffing includes:

a.   the investigator;

b.   the supervisor; and

c.   the district director or the residential manager, and the DFPS attorney for Licensing, as needed.

6526 Completing the Investigation of a Child's Death

LPPH May 2013

Policy

When the investigation is complete, the investigator staffs the investigation with the supervisor to determine a disposition.

Upon receiving a final autopsy report or a death certificate, the investigator updates the information about the child’s death:

  •  on the Parent and Victim Details page in CLASS, including any new information about law enforcement’s involvement in the case; and

  •  in the Child Death Report (2899e) in CLASS.

See:

6524 Completing the Child Death Report in CLASS

6600 Completing the Investigation

6526.1 When an Extension Is Needed to Obtain Autopsy Results

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

An extension must be approved and entered by the supervisor if it is determined that the case will remain open beyond 30 days because of pending autopsy results or an active criminal investigation. See 6611.1 Criteria for Requesting Additional Time to Complete the Investigation.

6526.2 Completing the Investigation Before the Results of the Autopsy Are Received

LPPH May 2013

Procedure

If the supervisor and investigator determine that enough information has been gathered to complete the investigation, they may make a disposition before they receive the final autopsy report; however, the investigator must still attempt to contact the medical examiner (or other necessary party, such as a justice of the peace) at least once a month until the report is received.

After the autopsy is received, the investigator:

a.   updates the information on the child’s death;

b.   creates a Child Death Report in CLASS and notes the cause of death as confirmed;

c.   notifies the appropriate program improvement specialist or supervisor; and

d.   closes the investigation in IMPACT according to the procedures outlined in 6528 Closing the Investigation of a Child’s Death.

See 6524 Completing the Child Death Report in CLASS.

The program improvement specialist for day care or the supervisor for residential care:

  •  notifies the lead investigation analyst in the DFPS state office that the investigation is complete; and

  •  includes the name and number of the operation, the CLASS investigation number, and the name of the child.

The CLASS investigation remains open until:

  •  the final autopsy result is received; and

  •  all information is completed in CLASS.

See Appendix 6000-2: Checklist for Reporting a Child’s Death.

6527 Documenting the Investigation of a Child’s Death

LPPH May 2013

Policy

The investigator documents the investigation according to the requirements for abuse and neglect investigations. See:

6700 Documenting the Investigation

6760 Maintaining an Investigation File

A preliminary and confirmed Child Death Report are documented in CLASS. See 6524 Completing the Child Death Report in CLASS.

6527.1 Cause and Manner of Death

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator ensures that the Cause of Death and Manner of Death documented in CLASS are consistent with the manner and cause of death listed on the final autopsy report or death certificate. If no autopsy is conducted, the investigator must obtain a copy of the death certificate. If the investigator is uncertain how to interpret the autopsy findings a staffing with the supervisor is needed. The supervisor may then request a staffing with the investigation analyst as needed.

The cause of death describes the specific mechanism that resulted in the child’s death (that is, the specific disease, illness, or injury that caused the death).

Manner of death describes how the child died (that is, whether the cause of death is a result of natural or unnatural causes).  

6527.2 Documentation in IMPACT

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigator ensures the following documentation is completed in IMPACT before submitting the investigation for approval:

a.   The date of the child’s death

b.   The reason for death

c.   The disposition of the allegation

d.   Severity of the allegation if the investigation is Reason to Believe (RTB)

e.   All updated person information as outlined in 6730 Updating the Person Detail Page

6528 Closing the Investigation of a Child's Death

LPPH January 2014

Procedure

Because autopsy results may be delayed, the investigator consults with his or her supervisor to determine whether to close the case. With supervisory approval, the abuse or neglect investigation may be closed before an autopsy report is received.

Once the supervisor has approved the investigation in IMPACT, he or she is required to add a secondary approver who works outside of the supervisor’s district. The secondary approver then has 15 days to review and approve or reject the investigation in IMPACT.

See 6526.2 Completing the Investigation Before the Results of the Autopsy Are Received.

6529 Release of Information of When a Child Dies at a Residential Care Operation

LPPH December 2012

Upon request, Child Care Licensing is required to make public every reported death of a child who was in the care of a residential child care operation that is regulated or alleged to be subject to regulation by DFPS.

Texas Family Code §261.203

6529.1 Completing Form 2058a to Release Information About a Child’s Death

LPPH May 2013

Procedure

When a child dies while in the care at a residential child care operation, regional DFPS staff follow the notification procedures explained in 6523 Notifications of a Child’s Death.

Within five days of the death of a child in care, a designated worker at the DFPS state office:

a.   completes Form 2058a CCL Child Fatality 5-Day Report for Release of Information to the Public;

b.   sends the form to the lead investigation analyst or designee for approval;

c.   uploads the form to the SharePoint site designated as the central repository for the forms used by CPS and CCL for cases related to investigations into the death of a child in care; and

d.   logs information about the death on the tracking log for child fatalities.

When completing Form 2058a, the designated worker includes:

a.   the IMPACT case identification (ID) number;

b.   the gender of the child;

c.   the date of the child’s death;

d.   whether the child was in DFPS conservatorship at the time of death; and

e.   the type of operation the child was living in.

6529.2 Completing Form 2058b When the Finding for a Child’s Death Is Reason to Believe

LPPH December 2012

If the finding for an investigation involving a child in a residential care operation is Reason to Believe, the designated state office staff:

  •  completes Form 2058b CCL Child Fatality Completed Report for Release of Information to the Public; and

  •  sends the completed form to the lead investigation analyst or designee for approval.

The information entered on the form for release to the public includes:

a.   the type of operation the child was living in at the time of death;

b.   the child’s name;

c.   operation name;

d.   any previous history as a foster home, if the investigation involved a foster or group home regulated by a child placing agency;

e.   a listing of all investigations of abuse or neglect within the past five years of the operation or agency home, including:

1.   date of initiation,

2.   type of allegation,

3.   disposition

4.   whether an investigation is pending an appeals of any finding, and

5.   whether the investigation involved the deceased child.

f.    any violations of the minimum standards at the operation or agency home within the last five years;

g.   any violations of the minimum standards related to training requirements in the last five years;

h.   a summary of remedial actions against the operation, CPA, or agency home in the last five years; and

i.    a summary of the training requirements for caregivers and employees.

6530 Investigations Involving Homes Regulated by a Private Child-Placing Agency (CPA)

6531 Investigations of Abuse or Neglect and Minimum Standards Violations in CPA and CPS Homes Conducted by Licensing

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Licensing investigates all allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and all child deaths in agency homes verified or approved by child-placing agencies (CPAs), which includes homes regulated by private CPAs and CPS.

The investigation must include an inspection at the home where the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred.

Texas Family Code §261.401(b)

6531.1 Allegations and Incidents That Must Be Investigated by Licensing

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Licensing staff investigate the following in CPA and CPS homes:

a.   Allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation as defined by the Texas Family Code

b.   The death of a child

c.   A verified foster home with a known history of response by law enforcement to a family violence call at the home

d.   Allegations involving the CPA staff

e.   Any reportable serious incident or any reported violation of a minimum standard involving a child under the age of 6, including:

  •  a minimum standard that is weighted as high, or that presents a high degree of risk; and

  •  any minimum standard regarding discipline, restraints, children’s rights, or supervision, or any combination of these deficiencies.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(2), (3)

6531.2 Allegations and Incidents That May Be Investigated by Licensing

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Licensing staff may investigate the following in CPA and CPS homes:

a.   Incidents of restraint in which a child receives an injury that requires medical attention

b.   A pattern of repeated deficiencies in a home or number of homes that the CPA has not been able to correct

c.   Discipline that is considered cruel, harsh, or unusual, even if it does not meet the statutory definition for abuse

d.   Child-to-child behavior that results in harm to a child when one or all of the following occur:

1.   The foster or adoptive parents did not take steps to prevent the harm or they encouraged it.

2.   There is a significant difference in the sizes or developmental levels of the children.

3.   Force or coercion is used.

6531.3 History of Family Violence Calls

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

When Licensing staff receive a report regarding a verified foster home with a known history of response by law enforcement to a family violence call at the home, in addition to a review of the foster home record and background checks, the investigator reviews the forms below, if the incident occurred before the home’s verification:

  •  Form 2954 Disclosure of Any Family Violence Calls to a Prospective Foster Home Applicant’s Place of Residence

  •  Form 2946 Local Law Enforcement Background Check Results for Prospective Foster Parents

Texas Human Resources Code §42.0448

6532 Investigations of Minimum Standards Violations Conducted by CPAs or CPS

LPPH December 2012

Policy

At Licensing’s request, the child-placing agency (CPA) investigates reports of violations of minimum standards in the CPA’s homes.

While the allegations of the report reflect possible violations of minimum standards by the home, the report also reflects possible violations of minimum standards by the CPA; therefore, the CPA investigates the allegations concerning the home, and Licensing staff conduct the investigation regarding allegations involving the CPA.

The investigation by the CPA must be completed, approved, and submitted by the CPA’s child placement management staff (CPMS) within 30 days of being assigned the investigation. The CPA must submit the report of the CPA’s investigation activities and findings to Licensing for review, follow-up (if appropriate), and closure.

  •  Private CPAs send the report to the inspector.

  •  CPS documents the report in the IMPACT system and places an approval task in the To-Do list in the inspector’s workload. The inspector reviews and approves the report in IMPACT and enters the information into the CLASS system.

Any false information concerning the investigation may be reason for imposing corrective or adverse action on the CPA.

6532.1 Receiving and Assigning the Report

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

Within five days of receiving an intake report that is to be assigned to a CPA for an internal investigation, the inspector contacts the CPA to notify the CPA of the assignment. The inspector may suggest the use of Form 2906 CPA Internal Investigation Report, also available on the forms page in the Child Care Licensing section of the DFPS Internet.

6532.2 CPA Responsibilities

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The investigation is the responsibility of the child-placing agency.

The CPA’s child placement management staff (CPMS) must:

  •  conduct or review and sign-off on investigations completed by the CPA; and

  •  submit an investigation report to the inspector within 30 days of being notified of the investigation.

DFPS Rules, TAC 40 §749.101

6532.3 Licensing Responsibilities

LPPH December 2012

Procedure

The inspector:

a.   reviews the report for compliance with minimum standards;

b.   cites the CPA for any deficiencies regarding the handling of the investigation, any deficiencies specific to the incident, and any pattern of violations found in the CPA’s homes;

c.   evaluates whether the CPA should receive citations. If the CPA cites deficiencies in the home, the CPA is not necessarily deficient in those same minimum standards;

d.   returns the investigation to the CPA if the investigator determines the investigation is not thorough and includes specific instructions for completing with a specific time frame to return. The investigator documents all details of this action in CLASS;

e.   documents in CLASS:

1.   the timeliness of the investigation conducted by the CPA;

2.   the thoroughness of the investigation conducted by the CPA; and

3.   the risk to children found as a result of the CPA’s investigation;

f.    notifies the CPA about the results of the investigation using the CLASS Investigation Letter (see 6700 Documenting an Investigation); and

g.   determines whether any remedial action should be taken against the CPA.

Any false information concerning the investigation provided by the CPA may be reason for imposing remedial action on the child-placing agency.

6533 Agencies Responsible for Investigations in CPA and CPS Homes

LPPH December 2012

Policy

Reports alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation in child-placing agencies or agency homes are handled according to the chart below.

Procedure

Regardless of who conducts this investigation, residential care staff must obtain a copy of the investigation report and determine what, if any, violations should be cited and what, if any, remedial action should be taken against the child-placing agency.

In the chart below, the term adopt refers to a child whose adoption is not consummated.

If the alleged victim is:

And the alleged perpetrator is:

Refer to:

A child who is not in care

A foster or adoptive parent living in the foster or adoptive home

  •  CPS, if the alleged victim is a minor who is a relative;

  •  law enforcement, if the alleged victim is another adult; or

  •  APS, if the alleged victim is an adult age 65 or older or an adult with a disability.

Licensing investigates possible standards violations and assesses the risk to children in care.

A child in care

A foster or adoptive parent

Licensing

A child in care

Someone living outside the foster or adoptive home (such as a neighbor)

Law enforcement

A child in care

An adult living in the foster or adoptive home other than the foster or adoptive parent

Licensing

A child who is not in care

An adult living in the foster or adoptive home other than the foster or adoptive parent

  •  CPS investigates the allegations and law enforcement is notified.

  •  Licensing investigates possible standards violations and assesses the risk to the children in care.

A child in care

A foster or adoptive parent who is related to that foster or adoptive child

Licensing

6540 Investigations of Matches to the Database of Sex Offenders

LPPH January 2014

Policy

Each director or manager develops a plan to ensure that the sex offender batch report (located under the CLASS Tools tab) that runs every Tuesday and Thursday is checked at least weekly to determine if there are sex offenders identified as a Match Level 1 or Match Level 2 in his or her region.

A Match Level 1 is considered an exact match; that is, the sex offender’s address matches the address of a regulated operation. A Match Level 2 is considered a proximity match; that is, a sex offender lives within close proximity of a regulated operation.

When the weekly batch report review reveals that a person who is on the database of sex offenders has a home address listed that is the same as a child care operation or within proximity of a child care operation, the person reviewing the report initiates an investigation in CLASS to determine the risk to the children in care at the operation.

The exception to these procedures is when a child in care is a registered sex offender. No investigation is conducted under these circumstances.

Procedures

Sex Offender Resides at Operation or Home (Match Level 1)

When the batch report review reveals that a person on the sex offender database has an address that matches the address of an operation or home, Licensing staff:

a.   create an intake report in CLASS;

b.   select the Reporter Anonymous checkbox on the Reporter Information page (no other reporter information may be entered for reports based on the sex offender batch report);

c.   prioritize the intake report as a Priority 2 – serious safety or health hazard;

d.   select the Endangering Person allegation type; and

e.   follow procedures for a Priority 2 investigation.

If a listed sex offender resides in the operation or has a relationship with the provider and lists the operation’s address as a home address, then:

  •  the permit holder may choose to have the sex offender relocate to a new address and ensure the sex offender has no contact with the operation while children in care; or

  •  the permit of the operation must be revoked or denied. See 7600 Adverse Actions.

See:

6222.2 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 2 (P2) Investigation

6400 Conducting the Investigation

Sex Offender Resides in Proximity to the Operation or Home (Match Level 2)

When the batch report review reveals that a person on the sex offender database has an address that is in the proximity of an operation or home, Licensing staff:

a.   create an intake on a Priority 3 minimum standards violation for possible risk factor with the allegation type of endangering person;

b.   select the Reporter Anonymous checkbox on the Reporter Information page (no other reporter information may be entered for reports based on the sex offender batch report);

c.   generate and send the Sex Offender Proximity Letter 2868 via email or regular mail to the operation and include the name and address of the sex offender

     If the sex offender lives within proximity of an agency home, the notification to the child-placing agency includes the following statement:

     The attached letter identifies registered sex offenders in proximity of foster home verified by your agency. It is your responsibility to ensure the foster homes are notified of the sex offenders in their area and provide adequate supervision to ensure the safety of children in care.

d.   contact the operation by phone for a correct address and re-send if the email or letter is returned due to an incorrect address;

e.   finalize the investigation; and

f.    send the Investigation Letter 2896.

Exception to Conducting an Investigation of Match Level 2

If an operation is within proximity of a prison, halfway house, or other type of facility that temporarily houses registered sex offenders, an investigation may be conducted as described above once every six months.

See:

6222.3 Classifying an Intake Report as a Priority 3 (P3) Investigation

6400 Conducting the Investigation

6550 Investigations of Illegal Operations

6551 Conducting Searches

LPPH December 2013

Upon receiving information of a possible illegal operation and before assigning a priority, search the following databases in the order listed using a variety of parameters, including name, address, and telephone number:

a.   CLASS, to determine whether the operation has a permit or has previously been reported to be operating illegally, or if anyone associated with the operation has a background check

b.   IMPACT, to determine whether any person associated with the operation is a designated or sustained perpetrator

c.   The DPS sex offender registry, to determine whether the operation’s address is an exact match to an address listed on the registry or whether any person associated with the operation is listed in the registry

If only a phone number is known, staff should first conduct a reverse telephone number search on a free, publicly available website to obtain further identifying information.

For illegal daycare operations, initiate an Accurint search in accordance with district procedures if no information is available through use of the search methods listed above. Additionally, with approval by the director or manager, the Family Inquiry Network / Database Search System (FINDRS) may be accessed to obtain additional information on a limited basis.

Exception: Staff are not required to complete all searches before assigning a priority if it would interfere with initiation time frame requirements.

See 6251.2 Entering Reports of Illegal Operations.

6552 Prioritizing Investigations of Illegal Operations

LPPH October 2013

Policy

Licensing staff must classify reports (including self-reports) of illegal operations as Priority 3 when there are:

  •  no allegations that children are unsafe or at a risk of being harmed; and

  •  no allegations or indications of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Licensing staff must classify reports (including self-reports) of illegal operations as Priority 2 when there is:

a.   an allegation that children are unsafe or at risk of being harmed;

b.   a criminal history result on a household member that requires a risk assessment or for that household member to be barred from the operation;

c.   a household member is a designated or sustained perpetrator of abuse or neglect of a child;

d.   a search of the sex offender registry indicates an exact match; or

e.   the home has previous history of operating illegally.

Licensing staff must classify reports (including self-reports) of illegal operations as Priority 1 if the report concerns an immediate threat to the health or safety of a child in care.

A non abuse or neglect intake report that is classified as a P1 includes, but is not limited to, reports concerning:

  •  structural damage to the home or operation that makes the home or operation uninhabitable; or

  •  the presence of unsafe or hazardous equipment or materials.

If there are allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, or a child dies, see 6222 Assessing an Intake Report for Priority.

6553 Initiating the Investigation

LPPH December 2013

Procedure

To initiate an investigation assigned a Priority 3 (P3), the investigator notifies the alleged provider that the operation may be subject to regulation by:

a.   calling the provider;

b.   sending Form 2864 Illegal Operations Notification Letter, located in the electronic forms system, via regular mail or email (if only the email address is known); or

c.   conducting an inspection.

If there is no response to a phone call, letter, or email, Licensing staff must inspect the location within the required 30-day inspection time frame.

Initiate an investigation assigned a Priority 2 (P2) by conducting an inspection unless:

  •  a director or manager approves initiating the investigation by another method; or

  •  only a telephone number or email address is available.

See 6431 Requirements for Conducting Unannounced Inspections.

6554 Conducting the Investigation of an Illegal Operation

LPPH October 2013

Policy

The purpose of the investigation is to obtain information to determine whether the operation is subject to regulation and determines whether any obvious hazards are present.

If the investigator determines the operation is subject to regulation, the investigator:

a.   assesses the safety of children in care. If any child appears to be at immediate risk of harm at any point in the investigation, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine the appropriate course of action to ensure the safety of the children. This may include closure of the operation;

b.   provides the appropriate application to the operation if the operation wishes to continue operating; and

c.   conducts an inspection to ensure closure of the operation if the provider fails to submit the application within the required time frame. Staff must obtain supervisory approval if no inspection is conducted.

If the investigator believes that the operation may be exempt from regulation, the investigator may ask the operation to complete an Exemption Request Form (see 2200 Types of Child Care and Multiple Operations). This form should be submitted to Licensing no later than seven days after the investigation inspection.

6554.1 Conducting the Investigation When An Address Is Known

LPPH December 2013

Procedure

If the address of the operation is known the investigator initiates the investigation based upon the priority as outlined in 6553 Initiating the Investigation.

If the investigation is prioritized as a Priority 3 (P3), the investigator may initiate the investigation by mailing Form 2864 Illegal Operations Notification Letter, located in the electronic forms system, to the operation within five days of receipt of intake requesting that the provider contact the investigator within five days.

Provider Fails to Contact Investigator Within Five Days

If the provider fails to contact the investigator within five days, the investigator:

a.   conducts an inspection of the operation as soon as possible but no later than 30 days after receipt of intake to determine whether the operation is subject to regulation;

b.   provides the appropriate application to the operation if the provider wishes to continue operating, if the operation is determined to be subject to regulation;

c.   requests that the provider submit the appropriate application within five days of the date of inspection; and

d.   follows up within 15 days of the date the application was provided if the application has not been submitted to ensure closure of the operation or to obtain the application.

Provider Contacts the Investigator Within Five Days

If the operation does contact the investigator within five days as requested the investigator advises the operation of the legal requirements for licensing and determines if the operation is subject to regulation.

If the investigator determines the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator closes the investigation and the illegal operation with a finding of compliance for the allegation.

If the investigator determines the operation is subject to regulation, the investigator:

a.   mails the operation Form 2865 Illegal Operation Application Cover Letter, located in the electronic forms system, with the application attached, or provides the link for electronic submission of an application;

b.   advises the operation that the application must be submitted within five days of receipt of the application or submitted electronically within five days from the date of contact;

c.   inspects the operation as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the date of the intake if there is no response to the letter,

d.   obtains the application or ensures the operation has ceased operating.

The investigator documents all contacts according the policies listed under 6723 Contact List.

6554.2 Conducting Investigations When Only a Phone Number Is Known

LPPH December 2013

Procedure

When a search conducted under 6551 Conducting Searches reveals only a telephone number for an alleged illegal operation, the investigator initiates the investigation by attempting to contact the provider by phone within five days of receipt of intake and conducts the investigation in the following manner:

a.   If the investigator is unable to make contact with the provider, the investigator must attempt at least two more phone contacts during varying times and days within the first 15 days of receipt of the intake. If the investigator is unable to make contact after three attempts, the investigation should be closed.

b.   If the phone number is not in service, the investigation should be closed.

c.   When phone contact is successful, the investigator takes the following actions:

1.   If possible, the investigator obtains the address and name of the provider.

2.   The investigator staffs with the supervisor if the provider is not cooperative in providing information.

3.   The investigator makes a determination, based upon information from the provider, whether the operation is subject to regulation.

4.   If the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator closes the investigation and operation in CLASS.

5.   If the operation is subject to regulation, the investigator sends the operation Form 2865 Illegal Operation Application Cover Letter, located in the electronic forms system, with the application attached, and advises the provider to return the application within five days.

6.   If the application or written notification of closure is not submitted, the investigator inspects the operation as soon as possible but no later than 30 days after the date of intake. During the inspection the investigator either obtains the application or ensures closure of the operation.

The investigator documents all contacts and attempted contacts in the investigation chronology according the policies listed under 6723 Contact List.

See 6557 Procedures When an Illegal Operation Is Determined to Be Not Subject to Regulation.

6554.3 Conducting Investigations When Only an Email Address Is Known

LPPH December 2013

When a search conducted under 6551 Conducting Searches reveals only an e-mail address for an alleged illegal operation, the investigator initiates the investigation by emailing the provider within five days of receipt of intake and conducts the investigation in the following manner:

a.   The investigator sends an email by copying and pasting Form 2864 Illegal Operation Notification Letter, located in the electronic forms system, into the body of the email.

b.   If the email is returned as undeliverable then the investigation is closed.

c.   The investigator attempts to contact the operation three times within 15 days of the intake. If there is no response after that time, the investigator consults with the supervisor for further instructions.

d.   When email contact is successful, the investigator takes the following actions:

1.   If possible, the investigator obtains the address and name of the provider.

2.   The investigator staffs with the supervisor if the provider is not cooperative in providing information.

3.   The investigator makes a determination, based upon information from the provider, whether the operation is subject to regulation.

4.   If the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator closes the investigation and operation in CLASS.

5.   If the operation is subject to regulation, the investigator sends the operation Form 2865 Illegal Operation Application Cover Letter, located in the electronic forms system, with the application attached, and advises the provider to return the application within five days.

6.   If the application or written notification of closure is not submitted, the investigator inspects the operation as soon as possible but no later than 30 days after the date of intake. During the inspection the investigator either obtains the application or ensures closure of the operation.

The investigator documents all contacts according the policies listed under 6723 Contact List.

See 6557 Procedures When an Illegal Operation Is Determined to Be Not Subject to Regulation.

6555 Obtaining Consent to Enter an Illegal Operation

LPPH December 2013

Policy

Licensing staff must receive consent to enter from a person legally authorized to grant it before entering an establishment to investigate allegations of:

  •  the existence of an illegal operation; or

  •  abuse or neglect in an illegal setting.

Procedure

The investigator must obtain consent to enter the operation in writing using Form 2895 Consent to Enter Illegal Operation.

If a provider refuses to allow an inspection or investigation of an operation that is subject to regulation, the investigator reminds the provider that a citation may be issued for failure to follow statute or administrative rules.

If the provider refuses to allow the investigator to enter, the investigator continues with other investigation activities to gain as much information as possible to determine the status of the illegal operation. This includes:

a.   observing the outside environment of the establishment;

b.   conducting surveillance of the establishment;

c.   talking to parents who may be dropping off or picking up children;

d.   interviewing neighbors; and

e.   interviewing other collateral contacts that may have information, such as law enforcement.

6555.1 Obtaining a Court Order to Gain Access

LPPH October 2013

Seeking a court order may be necessary to gain physical access to the operation.

Licensing may need to seek a court order to gain entry if other information discovered indicates that children are at risk for harm.

Licensing staff work with the Licensing attorney in DFPS Legal Services when a court order is necessary to interview a child or to gain access to an operation. Licensing staff also include the local district attorney’s office in this process.

See 6421.2 Observing and Interviewing a Child Related to a Child Care Provider.

6556 Requesting an Illegal Operation to Cease Operating

LPPH December 2013

Policy

If the investigator determines that the illegal operation poses an immediate risk to the health or safety of children, the investigator must ask the operation to cease operating immediately until the operation can obtain the appropriate permit. If the operation agrees to cease operating, the investigator contacts the parents or has the provider contact the parents to pick up the children immediately.

Circumstances that may require an illegal operation to cease operating include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.   The number and ages of children in care exceeds the abilities of the provider to provide appropriate care and supervision

b.   The physical environment poses a risk to the health or safety of children

c.   The provider or household member has a criminal, central registry, or sex offender match

d.   There are allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation

e.   The operation has indicated it is unwilling to submit an application for a childcare permit

Procedure

If the determination is made that an illegal operation should cease operating, the investigator follows the procedure outlined in 6332.4 Requesting That an Operation Cease Operating (Day Care Only).

6557 Procedures When an Illegal Operation Is Determined to Be Not Subject to Regulation

LPPH October 2013

Procedure

If a report is received regarding an alleged illegal operation, the investigator first determines whether the operation is subject to regulation. See 2200 Types of Child Care Permits and Multiple Operations.

If the operation is subject to regulation, the investigator continues the investigation. See 6400 Conducting the Investigation.

If after conducting investigative actions, the investigator determines that the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator notifies law enforcement, CPS, or other state agency with regulatory responsibility and administratively closes the investigation in the IMPACT and CLASS systems.

In IMPACT, the investigator:

  •  enters Administrative Closure for each allegation; and

  •  submits the investigation to the supervisor for closure.

In CLASS, the investigator:

a.   documents the reason for closure in the Explanation of the Disposition box on the Investigation Conclusion page;

b.   documents all contacts and marks each minimum standard that the investigator chose to evaluate as Compliant on the Standards Details page;

c.   documents the recommended action as No action; and

d.   closes the investigation.

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