CPS October 2020
Documentation and Contact Entry in IMPACT
Staff members use IMPACT to document case information, including the location of documents that are in the external record.
A caseworker enters on the Contact Detail page in IMPACT, on the same day as the contact, any face-to-face contact or attempted contact with a child.
Case documentation is entered in IMPACT according to the policy that applies to the stage of service.
Staff members make sure that the case record contains all required and current information.
CPS October 2020
Other sections in this handbook provide details of case documentation requirements for the different CPS and CPI stages.
CPS March 2005
Other sections and items in this handbook provide details of case recording requirements for the different child protective services. See the following references for services indicated:
• Intake, Investigation, and Assessment — Section 2000.
• Family-Based Safety Services — Section 3000
• CPS Legal Functions — Section 5000
• Foster and Adoptive Home Development — Section 7000
CPS September 2011
A Family Tree is a view of family relationships within the case record in the IMPACT system. Family Tree allows users to track, view, and update family relationships, making it easier to identify relatives and fictive kin based on the selection of a single person. Family Tree relationships can be viewed at a case or stage or global (all relationships in IMPACT) level to facilitate history searches. The Family Tree tab in IMPACT is meant to capture personal relationships regardless of role or involvement (such as reporter and alleged perpetrator) in a stage or case.
IMPACT Family Tree functionality can be used to:
• identify and understand family composition and fictive kin relationships;
• conduct research to find a person to relate and find case history; and
• assist in preparation for parental child safety placements, kinship placements, permanency care assistance agreements, and legal proceedings; and
• identify relatives and fictive kin who can support children and youth during their involvement with CPS (such as visiting with the child or youth, helping to prepare the youth for transition to adulthood, and so on).
CPS September 2011
Using Rel/Int to Establish Relationships
Rel/Int stands for relationship or interest, and describes one person’s relationship or interest to the oldest victim or primary child for the stage.
IMPACT uses Rel/Int values to systematically suggest relationships in Family Tree. Before establishing Family Tree relationships, the caseworker must review the Rel/Int values on the Person List in IMPACT for accuracy. Once IMPACT suggests relationships in Family Tree, the caseworker must exercise independent judgment to determine if the suggested relationships are accurate.
If the values are not correct, the caseworker needs to modify the Rel/Int values before establishing Family Tree relationships. This is an important step because with incorrect information that suggests a child has relatives or kinship connections that do not exist (and actual relationships that are overlooked), permanency for a child may be delayed. Also, with correct information, the system will yield more accurate suggested relationships and save time when establishing relationships.
While the Rel/Int value is stage specific, Family Tree relationships exist outside of a DFPS case, stage, or program, and should be representative of familial or fictive kin relationships.
Viewing and Establishing Relationships Using Family Tree
Relationships are established between two people within a stage. Family Tree allows caseworkers to select anyone from the Person List within the stage to be the Context Person. This is the person from whose point of view the report is being shown. The Family Tree Relationship page in IMPACT displays relationships with regard to the selected Context Person. The Context Person can be changed as needed through the course of Family Tree documentation.
Once a Context Person is selected, the next step is to determine the second person in the relationship. The second person, labeled the Associated Person, can be chosen from:
• a dropdown list containing all the people on the current Person List; or
• a Person Search in IMPACT.
The process to search for and identify an associated person in IMPACT from the Family Tree tab is similar to searching and relating a person into a stage.
When documenting relationships in Family Tree, a Comments textbox is available so that notes about the relationship can be documented. Comments are used to explain the source of the information. For example: Mother indicated this person is the father of both of her children. Father also stated he was the father of the children. The caseworker’s opinions or subjective comments do not belong here. If there are documents that corroborate the reported relationship, such as a birth certificate or paternity test results, that information is also included.
In addition to viewing Family Tree relationships in relation to a specific Context Person, caseworkers may use the All Direct Relationships display to see all relationships tied to all the people who are on the stage Person List in the case. The All Direct Relationships display might reveal relationships established with persons outside of the case and can therefore be extremely beneficial during case history research and when trying to identify additional individuals who may be pertinent to the case.
Editing or Updating Relationships in Family Tree
Once a relationship is established in the Family Tree, assigned caseworkers can edit, update, end, or invalidate the relationship as needed. It is important to update relationships as new information is discovered or disclosed to ensure the Family Tree graph (a graphical view of the Family Tree) yields clear and accurate information and decisions are made based on the most current information. Situations where updates would be necessary include, but are not limited to, the following:
• To augment the relationship description (for example, the relationship was previously recorded as Grandfather and it is later determined that the relationship is Biological Maternal Grandfather)
• To indicate a legal status change such as a marriage, divorce, adoption, or termination of parental rights
• To clarify that a relationship has ended (for example, a paramour relationship was concluded)
• To clarify that a relationship previously documented was never valid and was recorded in error
Determining Who Can Be Added to a Family Tree
Any person with a familial or fictive kin relationship may be added to a Family Tree. This includes biological, adoptive, step and half relationships. A person is never added to a Family Tree based solely on their role or involvement (such as the reporter or the alleged perpetrator) in a case or stage.
When to Use Family Tree to Establish Relationships
Caseworkers must use Family Tree in IMPACT to establish relationships in the following CPS stages of service:
• Investigations (INV) (only required for cases going to conservatorship)
• Family preservation (FPR)
• Substitute care (SUB)
• Family substitute care (FSU)
• Family reunification (FRE)
• Adoption (ADO) (only when child is exiting care to adoption)
Although there are specific requirements for caseworkers to establish relationships in Family Tree in the INV, FPR, SUB, FSU, FRE, and ADO stages, establishing relationships in Family Tree is permitted whenever the caseworker deems appropriate.
For details about caseworker responsibilities and requirements of establishing relationships in cases involved in investigations, family-based safety services (including family reunification), conservatorship (substitute care and family substitute care), and adoptions, see:
Establishing relationships in Family Tree is not required or available in the following CPS stages of service:
• Intake (INT)
• Kinship (KIN)
• Foster/Adopt (FAD)
While relationships in Family Tree cannot be established in the INT, KIN, or FAD stages of service, caseworkers are able to view relationships in Family Tree from these stages.
Types of Relationships to Establish in Family Tree
Relationships must be established for Principals and Collaterals that are the parent, sibling of any type (including adult siblings), grandparent, great-grandparent, and aunt or uncle of each principal child on the Person List. Caseworkers are encouraged to establish all relative or fictive kin relationships identified during casework. Establishing relationships in Family Tree is the duty of the primary caseworker.
Anytime pertinent relationship information is discovered during the case, the primary caseworker updates Family Tree with the information, even if they have minimal information about the relative. It is not necessary know where a relative physically resides to add that person to a Family Tree. If a relative or fictive kin relationship is reported, document the relationship on the Family Tree Relationship page.
See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, under Definitions
CPS September 2011
If a staff record displays on the Family Tree Relationship List page or in search results on the Person Search page, then a diamond symbol (♦) appears at the end of the person’s name. The diamond indicator does not display on Family Tree graphs.
The indicator that relationships exist (a check mark in the Fam column) for a given person in the search results on the Person Search page does not display for staff, even if relationships exist in IMPACT for the staff person.
If a person on the Person List has a diamond symbol (♦) after their name, casework staff follow policy to mark the case as sensitive, if they have not already done so.
CPS September 2011
There may be times when caseworkers encounter some exceptional scenarios while establishing relationships in Family Tree. For the purposes of Family Tree documentation in IMPACT, caseworkers perform the following tasks:
• Document people joined in an informal or common law marriage as Married.
An informal marriage requires either an agreement to be married, followed by a man and woman living together and representing to others that they are married, or a signed declaration of informal marriage. Persons under age 18 cannot be informally married.
See Texas Family Code §2.401.
• If a parent reports that the parent and his or her paramour have been living together, but their relationship does not meet the definition of informal marriage above, record their relationship as Paramour.
• If a person reports multiple current spouses, record the first spouse as Spouse and any additional spouses as Paramour.
If a mother names more than one man as a possible father for her child, add each man to the Person List with parent as the Rel/Int value. Wait to establish relationships in Family Tree until the type (biological, step, or adoptive) of father can be reasonably assured.
• In situations involving multiple relationships and multiple biological relationships between two people, record all relationships reported by the family members.
In these situations Warning messages appear in Family Tree notifying the caseworker of the multiple relationships. However, the caseworker may proceed with entering the multiple relationships in Family Tree to ensure the accuracy of the family composition.
For example, if a child is adopted by his or her biological aunt, establish two relationships: one to indicate the biological relationship and one to indicate the adoptive relationship. If a family member reports that his or her father is also the grandfather, record both biological relationships.
CPS September 2011
Family Tree graphs are available for viewing within IMPACT. If a caseworker can view the Family Tree graph he or she also has the ability to print reports corresponding to that graph.
The Family Tree graph can be viewed in one of three ways:
• The stage view is helpful to understand familial relationships between the people on the stage Person List.
• The case view is helpful to understand familial relationships established for all the people who have been associated with the case.
• The view of all direct relationships that displays all relationships for the Context Person is helpful during case history research and to identify additional people who may be pertinent to the case.
When one of the above views is selected, the following graphs may be generated:
A basic stage view only displays the relationships documented between the Context Person and the people in the current stage.
An extended stage view displays the relationships documented between the Context Person and the people in the current stage along with the direct relationships for the people in the current stage.
A basic case view only displays the relationships documented between the Context Person and the people in the current case, as well as the relationships between those people.
An extended case view displays the relationships documented between the Context Person and the people in the current case, along with the direct relationships for the people in the current case.
A basic view of all direct relationships that displays all of the Context Person’s relationships, as well as the relationships between those people.
An extended view of all direct relationships that displays all of the Context Person’s relationships and all of those peoples’ direct relationships.
The extended graph is helpful to discover people who are several relationships removed from the Context Person.
CPS September 2011
When viewing the Family Tree graph there are three reports available for printing.
When a Family Tree Report is printed it becomes part of the external case record. The caseworker documents the inclusion of the report in the External Documentation section in IMPACT.
Family Tree Basic Report
The report is designed to give the caseworker a graphical overview of relationships. The report shows a graphical representation of all relationships displayed in the Family Tree Relationship results. The report does not show a line for every distinct relationship, but does show a diagram that helps caseworkers understand the relationships.
The Context Person, who is the person from whose point of view the report is being shown, is bolded. Any person who is a relative or fictive kin (has an applicable REL/INT value) but does not have a relationship established in Family Tree is shown in the diagram with no lines connecting them to any other person.
Family Tree Detailed Report
The report is designed to give the caseworker a graphical overview of relationships along with identifying person information for each person on the graph. The report shows the same graphical representation of relationships displayed on the Family Tree Basic Report along with:
• a table of demographic information; and
• a table of relationship descriptions for all persons represented on the graph.
Family Tree Legend
This guide explains the symbols used on the Family Tree graphs.
CPS September 2011
Caseworkers may also launch a Family Tree Contact Information Report from the Family Tree tab much like they launched the Family Tree graph.
This report contains all the valid relationships for the Context Person. The report shows the phone number, e-mail address, and physical address for all the associated people. The Context Person is obtained from the Family Tree Relationship page. This report is designed to assist caseworkers to locate contact information for people who have relevant relationships to a given person.
CPS September 2011
Like all DFPS records that are developed in the course of an abuse or neglect investigation or in providing services as a result of an investigation, Family Tree Reports are confidential and may only be released to certain individuals. For more information regarding confidentiality, see 40 TAC §700.201 through §700.209 and 1450 Confidentiality of Information and its subitems.
Family Tree information may only be accessed to accomplish assigned job responsibilities. DFPS staff with a business need may view, print, or use a Family Tree report for departmental purposes.
When to Share Internally
The Family Tree Detailed Report and the Family Tree Contact Information Report are typically for internal use only. A ‘For internal use only’ message displays on the Family Tree Detailed Report and the Family Tree Contact Information Report. These reports are subject to external release guidelines as set out in 1450 Confidentiality of Information.
When to Share Externally
The Family Tree Basic Report is the report typically shared with individuals outside of DFPS, and is shared consistent with policy set out in 1450 Confidentiality of Information.
When sharing the Family Tree Basic Report with individuals outside of DFPS, caseworkers must:
• gain supervisor approval to release the report;
• ensure the report is accompanied by the Family Tree Legend;
• ensure no handwritten notes indicating case role or placement information are noted on the report; and
• be aware of the date the report was printed and ensure the most current information is being represented.
If the Family Tree Basic Report will be included in a Court Report or any other document filed with the court, the caseworker must verify with the attorney representing DFPS that the report is consistent with the DFPS pleadings filed in the case.
CPS August 2022
The supervisor is responsible for approving certain case actions in IMPACT. Examples of case actions requiring supervisory approval in IMPACT include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Completed investigations.
- Monthly summary narratives.
- Service authorizations.
- Child and family service plans.
- Child placements.
- CPI extension requests.
- Stage or case closures (see 1461 Closing Cases in IMPACT).
When a caseworker submits a case action for approval in IMPACT, the supervisor accesses the case action through the Staff To Do List. The supervisor reviews the case action and takes one of the three actions in the following table:
Supervisory Approval Action
Additional Action of Supervisor
Approve the case action.
Modify the case action, then Approve it.
Notify the caseworker of any substantive changes the supervisor made. A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature or scope of the case action. Corrections to spelling or grammar are not substantive.
Reject the case action.
Request that the caseworker complete the identified changes and resubmit the case action for approval.