Next Page

1000 Statewide Intake (SWI) Contact Center

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Statewide Intake (SWI) is a program within the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). It operates the Texas Abuse Hotline to take reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and route them to the right program for investigation. These reports include allegations of:

  •   Abuse or neglect of children by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare.

  •   Abuse or neglect of children in child-care operations.

  •   Abuse, neglect, or exploitation of:

  •   A person age 65 or older.

  •   An adult with a substantial impairment, or an emancipated minor with a substantial impairment by:

  •   A caretaker.

  •   A family member

  •   An individual who has an ongoing relationship with the person.

  •   Abuse, neglect, and exploitation of individuals receiving services (adults and children) from certain providers as provided for in Human Resources Code §48.251(a)(9) and the Texas Family Code 261.404(a) .

Texas Family Code, Chapter 261

Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 48

SWI is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SWI:

  •   Obtains and assesses the information reported according to definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation for each program.

  •   Enters the information in the case management system (IMPACT).

  •   Routes reports to the appropriate program and field office.

  •   Serves as a referral center when appropriate or when information received does not meet statutory definitions.

1100 Legal Information

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The following subsections provide legal information about:

  •   The requirement to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation

  •   Anonymity

  •   Confidentiality

  •   Immunity

  •   Good faith

  •   False Reporting

  •   Notification to law enforcement

1110 Requirement to Report Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

According to Texas law, anyone who thinks a child, person 65 years or older, an adult with a substantial impairment, or an individual receiving services from a provider is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it. For methods of reporting to DFPS, see 1200 Contact Information.

The requirement to report applies without exception to individuals whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including attorneys, clergy, medical professionals, social workers, mental health professionals, and employees of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services.

The suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation must be reported immediately. Professionals must report the suspected abuse of a child within 48 hours.

Texas Family Code §261.101

Human Resources Code §48.051

40 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 711

1120 Anonymity

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

A reporter may remain anonymous when making a report. If the caller who wishes to remain anonymous reports child abuse or neglect by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare, the report is assigned to the appropriate field office to conduct a preliminary investigation. The purpose of the preliminary investigation is to determine if there is any evidence to corroborate the report.

Unless the preliminary investigation uncovers some evidence to corroborate the report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, DFPS may not conduct a thorough investigation or take any action against the person accused of abuse.

Texas Family Code §261.304

1130 Confidentiality

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The reporter’s name is confidential. DFPS staff must not disclose the reporter’s name to the client, his or her family, or the public. The identity of an individual making a report may be disclosed only:

  •   If waived in writing by the person making the report.

  •   As provided by the Texas Family Code §261.201.

  •   Verbally or in writing to the courts, the district or county attorney, law enforcement agencies conducting a criminal investigation of the report, DFPS staff, and other individuals as specified in 40 TAC §700.203, Access to Confidential Information Maintained by DFPS.

  •   By Provider Investigations in making notifications to entities listed in 26 TAC Sec. 711.402(a), only if the alleged perpetrator is a mental health service provider and the allegation is sexual exploitation in accordance with Chapter 81, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

  •   By Provider Investigations in notifications to law enforcement and HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) under HHSC Rule, 26 TAC § 711.401.

If a reporter requests his or her identity be kept confidential, the specialist tells the reporter the information described above.

1140 Immunity and Good Faith

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The reporter is immune from civil or criminal liability as long as he or she makes a report in good faith, unless the reporter is reporting his or her own conduct or reporting in bad faith or malice.

Texas Family Code, §261.106

Texas Human Resources Code §48.054(a),(b)

1150 False Reporting

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Child Protective Investigations (CPI)

Specialists may inform any reporter that the Texas Family Code §261.107 sets a state jail felony for knowingly or intentionally making a report that is false or without a factual foundation.

If the reporter is a parent who reports the other parent in connection with a pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship, the specialist may inform the reporter that false reports are admissible as evidence in any suit between the parents regarding the terms of conservatorship of a child.

Texas Family Code §153.013

Child Care Investigations (CCI)

A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally makes a report that the person knows is false or lacks factual foundation. The penalty for this offense is at minimum a state jail felony.

Texas Family Code §261.107

Adult Protective Services

A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally reports information that the person knows is false or lacks factual foundation. Such an offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

Texas Human Resources Code, §48.053

1160 Notification to Law Enforcement

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

DFPS is responsible for sending notifications to the local law enforcement agency for all CPI and CCI intakes. In most cases, this notification is made by SWI.

Texas Family Code §261.105(b)

Texas Family Code §261.402

APS and Provider Investigations are responsible for sending a notification to the local law enforcement agency when necessary.

See:

APS Handbook, 2270 Referring Cases to Law Enforcement

HHSC Provider Investigations Handbook, 3210 Notifications to Law Enforcement or the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

1200 Contact Information

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Anyone may contact SWI through any of the following options:

  •   By phone

  •   Through the Texas Abuse Hotline website

  •   By mail or fax

  •   As a walk-in

1210 Phone

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

People can call a variety of phone numbers to contact SWI (see the following sections). SWI does not accept collect calls. Callers can use the toll-free hotline to report abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

1211 Toll-Free Hotline

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The primary phone number for reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation to SWI is 800-252-5400. The number is publicly available to callers nationwide.

1212 Law Enforcement Line

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Law enforcement officials are provided with a prioritized toll-free phone number. This line was created specifically for law enforcement agencies to contact SWI. It is not available to the public.

1213 Designated Line for Reports to Provider Investigations

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

This abuse, neglect, and exploitation reporting line is used primarily by people who work for, contract with, reside at, or participate in one or more of the following programs providing services to individuals with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, or pervasive developmental disorders:

  •   State hospitals.

  •   State supported living centers.

  •   State centers.

  •   Intermediate care facility for individuals with an intellectual disability or related condition (ICF/IID).

  •   Community centers, local mental health authorities, local intellectual and developmental disability authorities, and local behavioral health authorities.

  •   Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) group homes whether or not the individual is receiving HSC waiver services.

  •   HCS and Texas Home Living Waiver (TxHmL) services provided in the individual’s own home.

The number for this hotline is 800-647-7418. It is posted at these facilities and is available to the public.

1214 Administrative Line

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Field staff uses the administrative line for a variety of reasons, including: 

  •   Receiving information about a report.

  •   Getting clarification about a report.

  •   Requesting a re-entry.

  •   Requesting help with an on-call schedule.

  •   Notifying SWI of changes to the schedule.

  •   Notifying SWI that a report was routed incorrectly.

  •   Requesting to speak with a supervisor.

  •   Discussing issues that require immediate attention.

SWI support staff usually answer this line. This number is not available to the public.

If field staff calls the administrative line to make a report, SWI support staff explains that they can make a report online or offers to transfer them to the toll-free hotline to report by phone. Transferring to the hotline may result in a delay, depending on the current hold time.

1215 International Calls

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Supervisory approval is required before SWI staff make an international call.

International calls involving an intake can be made from the phone in the office of the assistant commissioner for SWI.

1220 Texas Abuse Hotline Website

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

DFPS provides a secure reporting website, the Texas Abuse Hotline, for anyone to report allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Reporters use this website for situations that are not urgent and do not need to be investigated right away.

If the situation is urgent, then the reporter should call the Texas Abuse Hotline by phone. The reporter should contact local law enforcement or 911 immediately in the event of life-threatening situations or emergencies.

1230 Mail or Fax

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

In addition to hotline calls and internet reports, SWI regularly receives mail and faxes. These may include:

  •   Letters from the public.

  •   Reports from other Texas state agencies.

  •   Reports from other states.

  •   Reports from law enforcement.

  •   Reports from the elder fraud abuse units of financial institutions.

  •   Protective orders.

  •   Protective service alerts.

  •   Additional information regarding an open case.

  •   Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) reports involving a sexually active minor.

The fax number for SWI is 800-647-7410.

The mailing address for Statewide Intake is:

DFPS, Mail Code 019-3

P.O. Box 149030

Austin, TX 78714-9030

When a reporter requests an address for SWI, the mailing address is provided.

1240 Walk-In

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Although rare, people sometimes walk into SWI to make a report. When this happens, they are directed to a phone located in the outer lobby. They may use that phone to call the toll-free hotline and report concerns. Calling is the most efficient manner for SWI to:

  •   Gather and process the information.

  •   Provide the reporter with a report identification number.

  •   Create a recording of the report.

  •   Maintain the security of SWI staff.

If the reporter is insistent about speaking with someone in person, the security staff notifies support staff by phone. Support staff notifies an intake supervisor through instant message to handle the situation.

The intake supervisor also tries to direct the reporter to the phone to make the report. The intake supervisor addresses any of the reporter’s concerns and explains why making a report by phone is preferred. However, if the reporter still does not want to make the report by phone, the intake supervisor takes the report in person.

1300 Communication Assistance Services

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

SWI uses communication assistance services so reporters who do not speak English can still make reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

1310 Interpretation Service for People who Speak Foreign Languages

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

SWI uses language interpretation services for callers who speak many different languages. SWI staff access this service, as needed.

1320 Interpretation Service for People who are Deaf, are Hearing-Impaired, or have Speech Disabilities

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Relay Texas is a service used by people who are deaf, are hearing-impaired, or have speech disabilities. These callers contact SWI using the Relay Texas service. The Relay Texas operator facilitates the conversation or interview between SWI and the caller.

Relay Texas uses equipment that allows the operator to read the caller’s signals from the Talk To You (TTY) text phone and forward SWI replies back to the caller.

1400 Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

An automatic call distributor (ACD) handles all SWI hotline calls. When a person calls, the ACD offers recorded information and several options. This includes an option of making a report in English or Spanish. The options the caller selects help route the call to appropriate staff in the shortest possible time.

The ACD distributes calls through the phone network, and routes calls to the next available intake specialist. There is never a busy signal, and all calls are counted to enable constant scheduling improvements. Each call is held within the system until answered or abandoned by the reporter.

English Language Queue

Most SWI calls come through the English language queue. They are answered in the order they are received.

Spanish Language Queue

Spanish-speaking intake specialists staff the Spanish language queue. They also receive calls from the English queue when no Spanish calls are holding.

If a Spanish-speaking intake specialist is not available within a certain amount of time, the caller is transferred to the next available intake specialist regardless of which queue the intake specialist is on.

If a non-Spanish speaking intake specialist receives a report from a Spanish-speaking caller, the intake specialist handles the call through an interpretation service. Intake specialists do not transfer the caller back into the Spanish language queue.

1500 Records

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

SWI uses audio recordings and a case management system to record details of the reports made to the hotline. Statistical data is generated from the case management system data.

1510 IMPACT Case Management System

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas (IMPACT) is the primary system DFPS uses to record case information about the children and adults the agency protects. DFPS uses IMPACT to document all stages of a case, including:

  •   Intake of reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

  •   Investigations of cases.

  •   Stages of service.

The IMPACT system resides on a closed and protected server. Only persons who work with, for, or are contracted by DFPS to perform duties that require them to use this system have access to it. State and Federal security requirements require DFPS to protect sensitive information in the system.

1520 Call Recordings

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

All calls to the hotline are recorded. All recorded calls are stored for at least one year using a call recording system to preserve them as evidence by state law. Recorded calls are accessed through a designated application that is accessible to various staff at SWI with an appropriate business need. Recordings are made available to intake and support staff when necessary for training purposes and performance review.

Texas Family Code §261.310(d)(3)

1530 Contact Center Statistics

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Every contact received by SWI is counted and cataloged. Statistics are reported to the state Legislature regarding the number and type of contacts, the amount of time spent by callers waiting to speak to an intake specialist, and the number of reports (intakes, I&Rs, or CRSR) generated for each DFPS, HHSC Child Care Licensing, or HHSC Provider Investigation program.

1600 Organizational Structure

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

SWI has various staff who support the agency’s mission to protect the unprotected, including:

  •   Intake specialists

  •   E-unit specialists

  •   Intake supervisors

  •   Program administrators

  •   Support staff

  •   Floor managers

  •   Program improvement specialists

  •   Training specialists

1610 Intake Specialists

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Intake specialists are highly trained in interviewing callers. The intake specialist assesses reported information to determine whether the situation meets the legal definition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and, if so, further determines priority, allegation type, and report processing.

Based on the circumstances described by the reporter, the intake specialist exercises judgment to determine whether an intake is warranted and to assign a priority to the report that determines the time frame in which the investigation is initiated in the field. This requires knowledge of family dynamics and the ability to assess risk with little information.

The intake specialist is knowledgeable about all laws, policies, and procedures for all programs and the services they offer so that intakes are directed to the appropriate offices.

The intake specialist is also knowledgeable about community resources and services offered by other state agencies so reporters receive appropriate referrals.

The intake specialist ensures that the report contains complete and accurate information. The report generated is clear and sufficiently detailed to allow field staff to conduct an investigation. Confidentiality of the reporter is maintained.

Reports are subject to subpoena as a court document, and intake specialists bear in mind that they may be required to testify as to the accuracy of each report.

The intake specialist is able to think and act quickly, handle crises, and cope with secondary trauma.

Intake specialists are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

1620 E-Unit Specialists

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

E-Unit specialists are a select group of intake specialists. They are primarily responsible for processing reports submitted through the internet, which are known as E-Reports. E-Unit specialists also:

  •   Process all re-entry requests made through the re-entry queue by field staff.

  •   Process all Out of State (OOS) requests for case history searches.

  •   Complete Texas DPS criminal history checks for CPI staff, on the rare occasion when the requestor cannot access IMPACT and no other CPI staff are available.

1630 Intake Supervisors

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Intake supervisors manage units of between 9 and 12 intake specialists. Each intake supervisor reviews reports of intake specialist activity and provides feedback to staff regarding his or her performance. Each intake supervisor is required to read a percentage of reports generated by intake specialists and monitor calls for quality assurance purposes. Feedback to the specialist is provided for each case or call reviewed.

Intake supervisors are available to intake staff for consultation regarding assessments.

Intake supervisors conduct routine unit meetings during which they provide ongoing training and policy updates to intake specialists.

1640 Program Administrators

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Each program administrator provides leadership and support to intake specialist units and their supervisors in the performance of intake operations.

Program administrators may be assigned additional projects related to intake operations.

1650 Support Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

SWI has support staff who complete many tasks required to manage the workload. Support staff:

  •   Answer the administrative line.

  •   Manage mail and faxes that SWI receives.

  •   Perform call-outs to field staff after-hours and on holidays.

  •   Check and resolve workload issues to ensure reports were appropriately processed and notify supervisors when their involvement is required.

1660 General Computing Services (GCS) Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Technical support staff, known internally as General Computer Services (GCS), provide computer support and troubleshooting, allowing intake specialists to dedicate their time to taking calls and documenting reports. GCS coordinates with DFPS IT when necessary regarding problem resolution and upgrades to hardware and software.

1670 Workforce Management Staff

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

SWI floor managers monitor and manage contact workloads for intake specialists. They use call center forecasting software, daily absenteeism reports, and other pertinent and critical information to forecast the number of staff needed to handle the call volume in 15-minute intervals.

Floor managers schedule adequate phone coverage to meet changing demands, based on variations in call volume. They balance contact workloads to strive for and achieve standards set forth by the Legislature. Floor managers interpret data to report past actions taken and determine present and future actions to aid in effective workload management.

1680 Program Improvement Specialists

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The Program Improvement (PI) unit coordinates efforts to improve SWI’s effectiveness in providing intake services. The PI unit:

  •   Develops tools for the qualitative evaluation of intake specialists.

  •   Completes random reviews of staff work and uses the results to define trends, determine training needs, ensure consistency, and identify areas for improvement.

  •   Enhances SWI’s performance through handbook development and revisions, policy and procedure clarifications, ongoing training, and complaint resolution.

1690 Training Specialists

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The SWI division of the Center for Learn and Organizational Excellence (CLOE SWI) provides all training for SWI, including:

  •   Basic Skills Development (BSD) for new intake specialists over seven weeks.

  •   Advanced Skills Development (ASD) to all BSD graduates within 12 months of BSD.

CLOE SWI also oversees the certification program for SWI and sponsors or facilitates additional training opportunities open to all SWI staff, which are used for certification or additional professional development. The certification program is similar to that of a teacher, social worker, or other professional certification, except that it is an internal recognition of skills, experience, good performance, and completion of required training by DFPS staff.

CLOE SWI also coordinates or directly provides some service programs to SWI, which aim to promote self-care, professional development, and job satisfaction.

1700 Workforce Management

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

To optimize efficiency, workforce management software allows intake supervisors and management to predict overall staffing needs as well as monitor an individual intake specialist’s adherence to his or her schedule. Continuous focus is on achieving a balance of quality and quantity.

1710 Scheduling Shifts

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

Workforce management staff use forecasting software to schedule adequate phone queue coverage to meet changing demands, based on variations in call volume. Even small variations can affect SWI’s ability to answer the phone and process reports promptly.

This specialized software forecasts the number of staff needed to handle the report volume in 15-minute intervals, based on historical data. The projected volume of reports from the internet, mail, and fax queues is also taken into consideration.

1720 Managing the Workload

SWI Policy and Procedures November 2019

The number of reports SWI receives and the rate at which they are received fluctuates significantly, even during short periods. The time of year, day of the week, and time of day all affect the number of incoming reports. Holidays and the opening or closing of the school year also affect the number of reports received. Additional influences which are less predictable but still significant are:

  •   Weather

  •   Media reports

  •   Political environment

  •   Technical issues

  •   Public awareness campaigns

Workforce management staff monitor the flow of incoming reports and allocate resources to manage the workload best. Supervisors help monitor and manage the workload, when needed.

Balancing the Workload

Workforce management staff monitors the flow of reports into the following queues:

  •   Phone queues (English, Spanish, Law Enforcement, Community, and Administrative)

  •   Internet report queue (e-report queue)

  •   Mail and fax queue

When calls or internet reports have been holding for extended periods, workforce management staff re-assigns intake specialists to other queues as needed to decrease hold times.

When re-assigning staff, factors that are considered are:

  •   How many staff are assigned to the various queues.

  •   How many phone calls are holding and the length of time the call has been on hold.

  •   How many e-reports have been submitted and the length of time the e-report has been waiting to be processed.

  •   How much correspondence has been received and how long the correspondence has been waiting to be processed.

Stacking Calls

In response to extended hold times on the phone queues, workforce management staff may ask intake specialists to take another call from the queue before completing the documentation on his or her current report. This is known as “stacking a call.”

Only intake specialists with one or more years of tenure may stack calls. Intake specialists do not stack calls if they are working on a call that requires immediate processing.

Next Page