SWI Policy and Procedures April 2015
Reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation about a child, a person with a disability, or a person age 65 or older are made through:
• the toll-free hotline (1-800-252-5400);
• the DFPS online reporting system;
• fax (512-339-5900) or mail (P.O. Box 149030 Austin, TX 78714-9030 Mail Code 0193); or
• walking into the facility to make a report, in some rare instances.
Persons who walk into the facility to make a report are directed to a telephone located in the outer lobby. They may use that phone to call the toll-free hotline and report concerns.
If a reporter walks into the building, efforts should be made to direct the reporter to the telephone in the lobby of the building. This is the most efficient manner for SWI to:
• gather and process the information;
• provide the reporter with a call identification number;
• create a recording of the report; and
• maintain the security of SWI staff.
If the reporter is insistent about speaking with someone in person, the security staff notifies support staff by telephone. Support staff sends a request through the instant message conference system to the “Supervisor Floor Support” room. One of the supervisors assigned to Floor Support duty reports to the security desk. The intake supervisor uses professional judgment to determine whether there is a need to conduct an intake interview in person. If not, the intake supervisor:
• addresses any general concerns;
• explains the process; and
• directs the reporter to the telephone to make a report.
Once information has been received, it is assessed and processed through normal procedures.
Supporting Materials and Documentation
Reporters may indicate that they have materials such as Internet links, pictures, emails, videos, letters, social media posts, and so on, that he or she would like to include with the report. SWI cannot accept any kind of supporting materials or documentation. If the reporter indicates that this material is available, the intake specialist advises the reporter to provide the materials to the investigator, if and when one contacts them.
The intake specialist documents in Person Notes that the reporter has supporting materials or documentation for the investigator.
The use of a speaker phone by a reporter is permissible. Intake specialists should not request that the reporter discontinue the use of a speaker phone unless the quality of the connection is so poor that it impedes the exchange of information.
SWI Policy and Procedures July 2015
Because the majority of reports received by SWI are called into the Hotline, an intake specialist must know how to obtain the necessary information from the reporter and provide him or her with appropriate information.
Providing Intake Specialist Identification
The intake specialist provides his or her first name and identification number (phone extension) to reporters. The identification number may be done at the beginning or the end of a call. If the reporter asks why the intake specialist is not required to give his or her last name, the specialist explains that the extension number is specific to the intake specialist. However, when the reporter is a professional (including law enforcement) who requests the intake specialist last name, the intake specialist may provide it.
Obtaining Reporter’s Identification and Other Information
On all calls, intake specialists ask the reporter for his or her name, address and phone number. The reporter’s information is documented on the Call Information page.
Obtaining the Reporter’s Name
It is important for intake specialists to ask for the reporter’s name.
If the reporter expresses concern about disclosing his or her name, the intake specialist encourages the reporter to provide his or her name by explaining that:
• when reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the identity of the reporter is kept confidential;
• if the reporter declines to disclose his or her identity, SWI cannot provide a Call ID, making it difficult for the reporter to call back with additional information on the situation; and
• field staff may need critical information that only the reporter can provide, and not knowing the reporter’s identity can adversely affect the investigation.
Reporters are asked to provide the county from which they are calling for statistical purposes, even if he or she declined to disclose his or her name or locating information.