1100 HHSC Regulation Authority

September 28, 2018

 

Certain provisions in Chapter 531 of the Texas Government Code transferred the regulatory functions of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) on September 1, 2017.  Hence, by default, Chapter 42 of the Texas Human Resources Code now designates HHSC as the agency responsible for protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Texas children by regulating child-care operations that provide assessment, care, training, education, custody, treatment, or supervision:

  • for a child who is not related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the owner of the operation; and
  • for all or part of the 24-hour day.

The same provisions of the Texas Government Code transferred DFPS’s responsibility under Chapter 43 of the Texas Human Resources Code to HHSC. Hence, HHSC is responsible for issuing licenses for child-care and child-placing-agency administrators. This chapter requires HHSC to develop and administer an examination as part of the licensing process for licensed administrators.

HHSC has designated the Child Care Licensing Division (Licensing) for being responsible for carrying out the responsibilities outlined in 42, and 43 of the Texas Human Resources Code.

Texas Government Code §531.02001; §531.02011; §531.02013; and §531.02014

Texas Human Resources Code §42.002; §42.052(c); §43.003; §43.004(2); and §43.008

The Child Care Licensing page of the HHS public website contains information on:

  1. the Child Care Licensing Division;
  2. child-care resources in Texas; and
  3. child-care operations in Texas.

 

1110 Licensing's Regulatory Activities

December 2011

 

Licensing's regulatory activities include:

  1. reviewing applications for permits;
  2. determining whether a child care program is subject to regulation or is exempt;
  3. issuing permits to applicants;
  4. inspecting and investigating operations;
  5. developing and administering licensing examinations for child care and child-placing agency administrators;
  6. seeking to ensure ongoing compliance with the requirements in Texas statutes and rules;
  7. providing technical assistance to operations and licensees;
  8. supporting operations in their efforts to improve their programs; and
  9. taking administrative, corrective, or adverse action on operations and licensees, as appropriate.

 

1120 Legal Support for Policies and Procedures

September 28, 2018

 

This handbook is intended primarily for HHSC Child Care Licensing staff. Licensing staff must follow the handbook's policies and procedures, so that HHSC meets the requirements in the Licensing statutes and rules. State statutes and rules that support the policies and procedures are cited in the handbook.

 

1121 District and Regional Procedures

December 2011

 

District directors and managers may develop procedures for their staff provided that the procedures:

  • support the provisions in this handbook;
  • do not conflict with Licensing statute, rules, and the policies in this handbook; and
  • have been discussed and approved by the Director of Child Day Care Licensing or the Director of Residential Child Care Licensing.

 

1122 Licensing Statutes

September 28, 2018

 

State statutes for Licensing are found in the following:

Human Resources Code

Chapter 40: Although most of the statutes in this chapter relate to DFPS responsibilities, Texas Human Resources Code (HRC) §40.066 governs hearings at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) conducted by HHSC on behalf of Licensing.  Moreover, HRC §40.005 continues to govern confidentiality provisions in 40 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 745, Subchapter K, Division 3.

Chapter 42: Regulation of Certain Facilities, Homes, and Agencies That Provide Child-Care Services — Establishes standards for regulating child-care

Chapter 43: Regulation of Child-Care and Child-Placing Agency Administrators — Establishes standards for regulating the child-care administrators and child-placing agency administrators.

 

1123 Licensing Rules (Texas Administrative Code)

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC drafted the rules that are published in Title 40, Chapter 745, of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) in order to implement the agency's statutory responsibilities. The rules identify and describe the rights and responsibilities of HHSC and the operations HHSC regulates.

HHSC publishes all proposed rules in the Texas Register for a 30-day review and comment period before they are adopted as rules.

Chapter 2001, Texas Government Code (TGC)

Once adopted, rules in the TAC carry the force of law.

 

1123.1 Chapters in the Texas Administrative Code Applicable to Child Care Licensing

September 28, 2018

 

The following chapters in Title 40 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) apply to the rules for Child Care Licensing:

Licensing, Chapter 745

The following chapters in Title 26 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) apply to the rules for Child Care Licensing:

Minimum Standards for Shelter Care, Chapter 743

Minimum Standards for School-Age and Before- or After-School Programs, Chapter 744

Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers, Chapter 746

Minimum Standards for Child-Care Homes, Chapter 747

General Residential Operations, Chapter 748

Child-Placing Agencies, Chapter 749

Independent Foster Homes, Chapter 750

 

1130 Ethics of Regulation

September 28, 2018

 

All state employees are bound by the laws and rules established by the Texas Legislature in the Government Code and the Penal Code. The Texas Ethics Commission interprets these laws.

As a government regulator, Licensing is expected to use its authority in a manner that earns the respect, trust, and confidence of the public and consumers.

Even the appearance of an impropriety must be avoided.

Government Code, §§572.001 and 572.051

Penal Code, Chapter 36 (Bribery and Corrupt Influence) and Chapter 39 (Abuse of Office)

Procedure

In all facets of Licensing responsibilities and activities, staff:

  1. enforce licensing regulations in a fair and equitable manner in accordance with state law and HHSC policy and procedures;
  2. inform regulated entities of their rights and responsibilities throughout the regulatory process;
  3. foster a mutual respect among regulated entities, consumers, and HHSC;
  4. provide child care operations with information and assistance to improve their understanding of state regulations for child care and improve their ability to meet those regulations;
  5. provide information to parents and consumers to assist them in making informed decisions about child care; and
  6. are courteous and professional when conducting regulatory actions.

Licensing staff must:

  1. avoid the appearance as well as the fact of improper, unfair, or self-serving conduct, including unwarranted discrimination or differential treatment;
  2. behave in a manner that earns respect, trust, and confidence and reflects positively on their profession and HHSC;
  3. promptly disclose any personal or financial interest they have or have had that might appear to influence their actions;
  4. avoid the fact or appearance of using their positions to endorse a particular product, licensee, service provider, or group of licensees or providers;
  5. not allow political or religious affiliations to influence decisions made while in the role of a regulator; and
  6. observe the policies published in the HHS Human Resources Manual.

 

1140 Operations and Activities Regulated by Licensing

December 2011

 

Licensing regulates the following:

  1. Child day care — Operations that provide care to children under age 14 less than 24 hours at a time
  2. Residential child care — Operations that provide care to children under 18 years old 24-hours a day
  3. Administrator licensing — Individuals licensed as child-care administrators, child-placing agency administrators, or both

40 TAC §§745.33, 745.35, 745.8901, and 745.8903

 

1141 Types of Child Day Care Operations

September 28, 2018

 

The following table describes the types of child care that Licensing regulates. See also 40 TAC §745.37(2).

Child Day Care Operations Regulated by HHSC Description
Listed family home The primary caregiver:
  • is at least 18 years old;
  • provides regular care in the caregiver's own home, for compensation;
  • serves children whose ages range from birth through age 13;
  • provides care for at least four hours a day, three or more days a week, and for three or more consecutive weeks;
  • serves no more than three children who are unrelated to the caregiver; and
  • serves no more than 12 children, total, including children who are related to the caregiver.
Registered child care home The primary caregiver:
  • is at least 21 years old;
  • provides regular care in the caregiver's own home, for compensation;
  • serves children whose ages range from birth through age 13;
  • provides care for at least four hours a day, three or more days a week, and for three or more consecutive weeks;
  • provides care to no more than six children who are unrelated to the caregiver;
  • provides after-school care to no more than six additional elementary school children; and
  • serves no more than 12 children, total, including children related to the caregiver.
Licensed child care home The primary caregiver:
  • is at least 21 years old;
  • provides regular care in the caregiver's own home, for compensation;
  • serves children whose ages range from birth through age 13; and
  • serves no more than 12 children, total, including the children related to the caregiver.
Child care center The operation:
  • provides care for seven or more children;
  • serves only children younger than age 14;
  • provides fewer than 24 hours of care per day; and
  • is located somewhere other than the permit holder's home.
Small, employer-based child care (A small, employer-based operation employs fewer than 100 full-time employees) A small employer that:
  • provides care for up to 12 children of employees;
  • serves only children younger than age 14;
  • provides fewer than 24 hours of care per day; and
  • is located in the same building where the parents work.
Shelter care The operation:
  • provides care for seven or more children;
  • serves only children younger than age 14;
  • operates for at least four hours a day and three days a week; and
  • is located at a temporary shelter, such as a family violence or homeless shelter.
Before or after school program The operation:
  • provides care before, after, or both before and after the customary school day and during school holidays;
  • operates for at least two hours a day, three days a week; and
  • serves children who attend pre-kindergarten through grade six.
School-age program The operation:
  • provides supervision and recreation, skills instruction, or skills training;
  • operates for at least two hours a day, three days a week;
  • serves children who attend pre-kindergarten through grade six; and
  • may operate before or after the customary school day, school holidays, summer period, or any other time when school is not in session.

 

 

1142 Types of Residential Child Care

September 28, 2018

 

The following table describes the types of residential child care that Licensing regulates. See also 40 TAC §745.37(3).

Residential Child Care Operations Description
Foster family home (Independent) An independent foster family home is a home that is:
  • a single, independent home that is the primary residence of the foster parents; and
  • provides care for six or fewer children up to age 18.
Foster group home (Independent) An independent foster group home is a home that is:
  • a single, independent home licensed after January 1, 2007, that is the primary residence of the foster parents;
  • provides care for seven to 12 children up to the age of 18 years; or
  • a single, independent home licensed before January 1, 2007, that provides care for seven to 12 children up to age 18.
General residential operation (GRO) An operation that provides child care for 13 or more children up to age 18. The care may include treatment and other programmatic services. Residential treatment centers are a type of general residential operation.
Child-placing agency (CPA) An agency, organization, or person (other than a child's parent) that places or plans for the placement of the child in a foster or adoptive home or other residential care setting.
CPA foster family home A home regulated by a child-placing agency that:
  • is the primary residence of the foster parents; and
  • is verified to provide care for six or fewer children up to age 18.
CPA foster group home A home regulated by a child-placing agency that is verified to care for seven to 12 children up to age 18.
Homes verified after January 1, 2007, must be the primary residence of the foster parents.
CPA adoptive home A home approved by a child-placing agency for the purpose of adoption.

 

 

1143 Types of Licensed Administrators

December 2011

 

The following table describes the types of licensed administrators that Child Care Licensing (CCL) regulates. See also 40 TAC §§745.8901, and 745.8903.

Licensed Administrators Description
Child Care Administrator A person who:
  • supervises and exercises direct control over a general residential child care operation or a residential treatment center; and
  • is responsible for the operation's programs and personnel, regardless of whether the person has an ownership interest in the operation or shares duties with anyone.
Child-Placing Agency Administrator A person who:
  • supervises and exercises direct control over a child-placing agency, as defined in §745.37(3)(F) (relating to What specific types of operations does Licensing regulate?); and
  • is responsible for the child-placing agency's programs and personnel, regardless of whether the person has an ownership interest in the agency or shares duties with anyone.

See also Section 9000 Licensed Administrators.

 

1200 Application Security for CLASS and IMPACT

September 28, 2018

 

To preserve the integrity of confidential information within the Child Care Licensing Automation Support System (CLASS) and Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas (IMPACT) system, Child Care Licensing employees must follow policy on application security.

 

1210 Assigning Security Roles in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Each HHSC employee who has approval to use the Child Care Licensing Automation Support System (CLASS) is assigned a core security role. The role is based on the employee's job classification and title.

See Appendix 1000-3: Security Roles and Functions in CLASS for:

  1. a list of the core security roles;
  2. the functions performed by employees in those roles; and
  3. the pages in CLASS used to perform the functions associated with the roles.

Requests for roles that require additional security permissions are considered individually, based on the business need.

Examples of tasks that require additional security permissions include:

  1. updating CLASS to reflect changes in the minimum standards;
  2. maintaining information in the Administrators' Licensing System (ALS) in CLASS; and
  3. maintaining the Technical Assistance Library in CLASS.

 

1220 Assigning a Designee in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

An employee may be assigned to perform functions for another employee in the CLASS. Employees assigned designee status are accountable for the responsibilities they are assigned while serving as designees.

If the designee performs casework for another employee, the designee is expected to produce the same quality of work that would be produced if the designee were working on his or her own caseload.

 

1221 Maximum Number of Designees in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Managers and Directors

Managers and directors may assign up to three designees each in CLASS.

Supervisors

Supervisors may assign up to two designees in CLASS.

Inspectors

A Child Care Licensing inspector may assign designee status to another Licensing inspector only for the purposes of:

  • completing a specific task; or
  • temporarily covering a caseload.

Once the specific task is completed, the designee status must be deactivated.

Examples of the tasks appropriate for assignment to a designee include:

  1. conducting courtesy interviews during an investigation;
  2. sharing inspection responsibilities, temporarily, for a vacant caseload; or
  3. completing other specific tasks assigned by a supervisor, manager, or district director.

Designees

A Licensing staff person may be appointed as a designee for up to five people.

 

1222 Time Limitations for Designees in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Child Care Licensing staff may only assign a designee in the CLASS for up to 90 days. 

 

1230 Reassigning Cases, Deactivating Accounts, and Removing Roles in CLASS and IMPACT

September 28, 2018

 

Directors, managers, and supervisors manage and monitor the workloads of Child Care Licensing employees.

When the employment status of a Licensing employee changes, the employee's director, manager, or supervisor submits a Move, Add, or Change form (known as an eMAC) to request a change in the employee's access to systems such as CLASS and IMPACT.

To maintain security, the eMAC form must be submitted in a timely manner.

 

1231 Reassigning Cases in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Before an employee's access to CLASS may be removed, all of the employee's cases must be transferred to other employees.

Procedure

When possible, an employee's cases must be reassigned in CLASS before the employee's position is vacated. This includes the reassigning of operations, agency homes, and investigations.

When cases cannot be reassigned before an employee's position is vacated, the cases must be transferred in CLASS no later than five days after the position is vacated.

 

1232 Removing Rights to CLASS When an Employee Transfers Within HHSC

September 28, 2018

 

When a Child Care Licensing employee transfers to a new position within HHSC, the employee's rights to the CLASS must be removed at the time of the transfer.

Procedure

No later than the day after a Licensing employee transfers to a new position within HHSC, the employee's supervisor submits a Move, Add, or Change form (known as an eMAC) to request that the employee's rights to CLASS be removed.

 

1233 Removing Rights to CLASS When an Employee Voluntarily Leaves HHSC Employment

September 28, 2018

 

When a Child Care Licensing employee voluntarily leaves HHSC employment, all of the employee's rights to the network, including rights to CLASS, must be removed unless the employee is transferring to DFPS and needs to maintain access to CLASS.

Procedure

No later than the day after a Licensing employee voluntarily leaves HHSC employment, the employee's supervisor submits an eMAC (Move, Add, or Change form) to request that the employee's rights to CLASS be removed.

If the employee is transferring to DFPS and needs to maintain access to CLASS as part of the employee's DFPS job duties, the employee's supervisor reviews the employee's assigned security roles and submits an eMAC to request a different security role, if needed.

 

1234 Removing Rights to CLASS and IMPACT When an Employee is Involuntarily Terminated

September 28, 2018

 

When an employee is involuntarily terminated from HHSC employment, all of the employee's rights to the network, including rights to the CLASS and IMPACT systems, must be removed immediately.

Procedure

When an employee is involuntarily terminated, the supervisor immediately takes the following actions:

  • Transfers all of the open cases assigned to the former employee in CLASS to another Licensing employee
  • Submits an eMAC (Move, Add, or Change form) to request that all of the former employee's rights to any HHSC and DFPS systems (including CLASS and IMPACT) be removed
  • Requests the former employee's rights be removed immediately by contacting:
    • CLASS Program Support; and
    • IMPACT Application Security Administrator.

If the employee's cases cannot be transferred to another employee immediately in order to terminate the employee's rights to all systems:

  • the employee's supervisor requests that the employee's access to the CLASS and IMPACT systems be suspended by contacting:
    • CLASS Program Support; and
    • IMPACT Application Security Administrator.

 

1300 Child Care Licensing Records

September 28, 2018

 

The purpose of retaining Child Care Licensing records is to:

  1. document that Licensing staff have followed the policies and procedures required by law, the rules, and the policies in this Licensing handbook;
  2. maintain a chronology of an operation's regulatory history with Licensing; and
  3. maintain a chronology of a licensed administrator's regulatory history with Licensing.

 

1310 Content and Organization of Child Care Licensing Records

September 28, 2018

 

A Child Care Licensing record consists of:

  • a hard copy record; and
  • electronic records maintained in CLASS.

The documentation in Licensing records must be legible, objective, concise, and clear.

Upon receiving an application, inquiry, or report, Licensing staff must establish a record:

  1. for each regulated operation;
  2. for each operation that is exempt from regulation; and
  3. for each individual who applies to become a licensed administrator.

Records for Non-Abuse or Neglect Investigations

For non-abuse or neglect investigations:

  1. hard copy records are maintained separately from other records until the investigation is complete;
  2. the entire file for the investigation becomes part of the hard copy record, after the investigation is completed; and
  3. electronic records are maintained in CLASS.

See 6740 Maintaining an Investigation File.

Procedure

Case records are maintained according to the guidelines in Appendix 1000-2: Organization of Case Records.

 

1320 Custody of Child Care Licensing Records

September 28, 2018

 

The hard copy record is kept in the custody of the Child Care Licensing employee assigned to the operation.

Each Licensing office must establish procedures to track the location of hard copy records. The district director or manager must approve the tracking procedures.

 

1321 Assigning, Reassigning, and Transferring Records

December 2011

 

Electronic records are assigned, reassigned, and transferred in CLASS. See 1200 Application Security for CLASS and IMPACT.

In CLASS, a record is always assigned to the Child Care Licensing employee who is responsible for regulating the operation or administrator, even though different Licensing employees may be assigned to complete an investigation or inspection.

The hard copy record is transferred when the electronic record is assigned or reassigned in CLASS. When a Licensing employee vacates his or her Licensing position, the employee's supervisor ensures continuous custody of the hard copy records until the record is reassigned to another Licensing employee.

 

1330 Records Retention

September 28, 2018

 

Every electronic and hard copy record created in the course of business must be retained for a specific period of time. The amount of time Child Care Licensing records are retained is listed in the DFPS Records Retention Schedule, which is approved by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. No records or documents may be destroyed before the time designated in the retention schedule.

Procedure

Licensing staff follow the:

  • retention schedule for Licensing records in the DFPS Records Retention Schedule; and
  • policy and procedures outlined in the HHS Records Management Operating Policy.

Extending the Record Retention Period

All records and documents must be kept at least as long as the retention period stated in the schedule. If there is a business need to keep a record longer than the time specified in the retention schedule, Licensing staff must receive approval to extend the retention period of that record from:

  1. a district director (or designee);
  2. the director of day care licensing (or designee);
  3. the director of residential child care licensing (or designee);
  4. the associate commissioner of licensing (or designee); or
  5. an HHSC attorney.

The extension may be granted for as long as needed. After receiving approval to extend the retention schedule, Licensing staff document the following in the operation's record in Chronology field in the CLASS system:

  1. The reason for the extension.
  2. The name of the approver.
  3. The date of the approval.

 

1400 State-Issued Equipment, Photographs, and Video

 

 

1410 Use of State-Issued Equipment

September 28, 2018

 

Only authorized Child Care Licensing staff may use state-issued equipment, such as iPhones, tablets, and printers. State-issued equipment may be used only for HHSC business purposes. Using state-issued equipment for personal reasons is prohibited. Purchasing subscriptions or downloading unauthorized data is prohibited.

When taking photographs or video, Licensing staff must use the equipment issued to them. Licensing staff may not use other personal devices, such as cell phone cameras, digital cameras, and disposable cameras.

Before using the state-issued equipment for documentation, Licensing staff must:

  • be instructed in the equipment's use; and
  • become familiar with the equipment to learn its advantages and limitations.

Licensing staff must ensure the security of the equipment both in the office and in the field, according to the HHS Asset Management Guide and Policy.

 

1420 Using Photographs, Video, and Scanned Information as a Regulatory Tool

September 28, 2018

 

Child Care Licensing staff must always notify the operation before taking photographs, video, or scanning copies of records, except when a supervisor has determined that taking photographs or video as part of surveillance is necessary.

Procedure

The primary use of photographs, video, and scanned information is to document conditions that exist at the time an inspection or investigation is conducted. Over time, photographs, video, and scanned information also can assist Licensing in documenting patterns in an operation's compliance history.

Digital photos may be useful in various circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  1. when a written description alone cannot provide a clear picture of what was observed;
  2. documenting evidence of a deficiency discovered during an application inspection, monitoring inspection, or follow-up inspection;
  3. documenting repeated deficiencies;
  4. documenting activities at an illegal operation;
  5. supporting or refuting an allegation of a deficiency during an investigation;
  6. documenting a good practice at an operation;
  7. documenting evidence to support an action that will be taken against an operation;
  8. when a photo would be helpful during due process; or
  9. when a consultation with a supervisor or the Legal division is needed before making a determination about a deficiency.

Video may be useful in various circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • capturing a 360-degree view; or
  • walking the path the child took and show hazards, such as traffic conditions.

Staff may use the ScanToPDF mobile application on the state-issued iPhone to scan documents such as the operation's records. Scanning records may be useful in various circumstances, including but not limited to:

  • capturing a pattern of violations;
  • capturing evidence of part of an investigation (relevant incident reports, training records, service plans, and so on); or
  • capturing evidence of falsification of records.

 

1421 Using Audio as a Regulatory Tool

September 28, 2018

 

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

Procedure

The primary use of audio recording is to record an accurate account of what was discussed during the inspection.

Audio recording an inspection may be useful in various circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • recording interviews of individuals to determine whether or not a violation occurred; or
  • documenting to uphold a finding.

 

1422 Photographs and Video of Children

June 2015

 

Photos and videos that include children should be taken only when there is a necessary business purpose. Photographs and videos that include children are confidential.

Instances when taking photos of children may be useful include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Documenting the particular physical condition of the child;
  2. Documenting a child's reach;
  3. Documenting scale of an object or area in relation to a child;
  4. Occasions when it is necessary to photograph the child to document a deficiency;
  5. Occasions when moving the child or group of children to not be in the photo would disturb their activities;
  6. Occasions when delaying taking the photo until a time when children are not present would delay Licensing's ability to accurately document conditions or items being photographed; and
  7. Documenting an injury or the lack of injury when an injury is alleged.

Instances when taking video of children may be useful include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Obtaining a more accurate picture of marks or bruises when a photo alone is not clear;
  2. Recording when children are out of control and the caregiver's response to them; and
  3. Recording children outside without supervision.

See 8230 Confidential Information Not for Release to the Public.

Procedure

When photographing a child to document an injury or the particular physical condition of the child, Licensing staff do as follows:

  1. Take all photographs against a neutral, uncluttered background.
  2. Attend to the lighting, focus, and the distance from the child to obtain clear photographs. A camera flash that is used too close to an injury may bleach the injury out of the photograph.
  3. Start by taking an identifying photograph of the child.
  4. Continue by taking photographs that identify the child and pinpoint the location of the child's injury or particular physical condition.
  5. Follow with close-up shots of the particular injury.

 

1422.1 Taking Sensitive Photographs

December 2014

 

If an alleged victim's injury or alleged injury is in a private area of the body, the investigator must assess whether taking a photograph is appropriate and necessary. The investigator takes into consideration:

  • the age and maturity of the child;
  • any objections by the child or parent; and
  • whether any other evidence exists to verify the existence or extent of the injury that might make the photograph unnecessary.

If photographs are taken, a witness must be present when clothing is removed and the investigator photographs the child.

If there is other evidence, such as medical reports or pictures taken by law enforcement or a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) that documents the extent of the injuries to a child's private area, then taking pictures is not necessary.

Procedure

The investigator includes the witness's name and job title in the documentation.

If evidence other than photographs is used to document the extent of a child's injury in a sensitive area, the investigator documents that the evidence was sufficient and that photographs were not necessary.

 

1423 Photographs of a Facility, House, Room, or Outdoor Area

March 2014

 

Procedure

It is impossible for one photograph to depict an entire room without distortion.

When taking a photograph of a facility, house, room, or outdoor area, Child Care Licensing staff follow these guidelines:

  1. Plan the photographs carefully and take them from a good vantage point.
  2. Take a series of three or four photos in a clockwise sequence, covering the entire area.
  3. Take photographs from eye level to achieve the proper perspective.
  4. Photograph the general area, first, to identify a particular area that must be shown in a detailed close-up.

As an alternative, Licensing staff may take video depicting a 360-degree view of the room or outdoor area.

 

1424 Inappropriate Use of Photographs or Video

June 2015

 

It is not appropriate to use photos or video to document an operation's:

  1. violation of the child-caregiver ratio;
  2. violation of the group size; or
  3. deficiencies in record keeping.

Such violations are best documented with:

  • clear, concise descriptions; and
  • copies of relevant records, when appropriate.

 

1425 Taking Photographs That Present Better Evidence

September 28, 2018

 

To be used as evidence in an administrative review or a court hearing, a photograph must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. The subject of the photograph must be shown from a normal perspective. Photographs must be taken from a normal eye-level viewpoint and under the same lighting conditions that existed at the time of the incident, if possible.

Avoid the distortion caused by:

  • wide-angle lenses; and
  • shooting from odd vantage points.
  1. The object of the photograph must be material to the case and must not incite prejudice.
  2. At least one photograph taken during the inspection or investigation must contain proof of the identity of the operation in which the photograph is being taken, such as:
  • a sign bearing the operation's name; or
  • the presence of the director or owner in the photograph.
  1. The Licensing staff person taking the photographs must attest to the accuracy of the photographs.
  2. Photographs of injuries or alleged injuries must be taken in a timely fashion. Photographs must not be altered in any manner. The photograph must show a true and accurate account of the subject of the photograph. If enhancements are needed for clarity (such as enlarging, cropping, or brightening), Licensing staff must obtain photographic services outside of HHSC. See 1450 Printing and Destroying Digital Photographs.

 

1426 Overcoming an Operation's Resistance to Being Photographed

March 2014

 

Child Care Licensing staff have the authority to:

  • inspect an operation; and
  • document the inspection of an operation.

Human Resources Code §42.044

Procedure

If the operation objects to having photographs taken of the operation or the children in care, Licensing staff:

  1. explain that Chapter 42 of the Human Resources Code allows Licensing to inspect the operation and document the inspection;
  2. explain that it can be to the operation's advantage for Licensing to take photographs that document the situation; and
  3. explain, as appropriate, the purpose of the photographs, such as to:
  1. document deficiencies when their validity may be questioned by a supervisor;
  2. enable adequate consultation with a supervisor; or
  3. document that deficiencies do not exist.

If the operation is still resistant to having photographs taken of the operation or the children in care, Licensing staff consult with the supervisor.

For policy regarding allowing review of photos or audio or video recordings, see 8230 Confidential Information Not for Release to the Public.

 

1430 Documenting and Storing Digital Photographs, Video, Scanned Information, and Audio from Inspections or Investigations

September 2019

 

Digital photographs, video, audio, and scanned information do not replace written documentation in the case record in CLASS; they only supplement the narrative description.

Photographs and video for inspections and investigations are usually taken by Licensing staff; however, Licensing sometimes receives photographs and video from persons outside of HHSC as part of the inspection or investigation.

All photographs and video from such inspections or investigations, regardless of who takes the photograph and video, must be:

  • documented in the CLASS system; and
  • stored on the CCL Digital Storage SharePoint site.

See also:

6423 Recording Interviews

 

1431 Documenting Photographs, Video, and Scanned Information from Inspections or Investigations

September 2019

 

Procedure

Photographs, video, and scanned information from an inspection or investigation taken by Licensing staff or received from sources outside of HHSC should be documented as follows:

  1. Document photographs, video, and scanned information from an investigation in the Contact field of the CLASS Investigation Conclusion page; or
  2. Include a statement that photographs, video, or scanned documentation was taken during the inspection in the text box in CLASS Form 2936 (operation inspections) or CLASS Form 2979 (foster home random-sampling inspections).

If the individual taking the photograph, video, or scanned information is someone other than the inspector or investigator assigned to complete the task in CLASS, the statement should also include the name of the individual who took the photograph, video, or scanned the information.

 

1432 Digital Storage of Photographs, Video, and Scanned Information for Inspections or Investigations

September 2019

 

Procedure

As soon as possible, but no later than the next business day from the date that Licensing staff takes or receives photographs, video, or scanned information, staff uploads the photographs, video or scanned information to the appropriate folder on the CCL Digital Storage site. All digital content must be saved to a folder that identifies the:

  1. Program (DC or RC);
  2. Region number;
  3. Operation name and number; and
  4. Inspection or investigation number.

For additional details, see the CCL Digital Storage Job Aid located on the CCL SharePoint site.

 

1433 Documenting and Storing Printed Photographs Received From an Outside Source

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If Licensing receives a printed photograph for an inspection or investigation from an outside source, Licensing staff files the printed image in the hard copy file.

For information on handling printed photographs that were taken by Licensing staff, see 1450 Printing and Destroying Digital Photographs.

 

1440 Printing and Destroying Digital Photographs

September 2019

 

Procedure

Child Care Licensing (CCL) staff print digital photographs:

  • only as needed; and
  • when permission is granted by a district director, a manager, the Licensing division at the CCL state office, or an HHSC attorney.

When printing photographs, Licensing staff must preserve the original digital image and save the image as Read Only. Staff must label the prints with:

  1. the name and number of the operation,
  2. the inspection number, the investigation number, or both, and
  3. a brief description of the photograph.

Photographs that are taken and printed by Licensing staff are not required to be stored in the operation's hard copy record, since the photographs are stored on the CCL Digital Storage site.

When and How to Destroy Photos

If the printed photographs are not stored in the hard copy record, Licensing staff must destroy the photographs.

Acceptable methods of destruction include:

  1. shredding;
  2. tearing;
  3. burning; and
  4. pulping.

 

1500 Conducting a Search in CLASS

 

 

1510 Types of Searches in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

There are four primary searches available in CLASS:

  1. Operation Search
  2. Background Check – Results Search
  3. Controlling Person Search
  4. Global Person Search

 

1520 When to Conduct Searches in CLASS

 

 

1521 When to Conduct an Operation Search in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

Licensing staff conduct an Operation Search:

  1. to verify whether a provider is operating with or without a permit or to determine whether the provider has a history of operating illegally;
  2. to search for the operation for the purposes of linking an intake, investigation, or e-application to the operation; and
  3. to review an operation’s compliance history.

 

1522 When to Conduct a Background Check Results Search in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

Licensing staff may conduct a Background Check – Results Search to review an individual’s background check records in CLASS. A Global Person Search may also be conducted in this circumstance.

Residential Licensing inspectors must conduct a Background Check – Results Search when a child-placing agency (CPA) or general residential operation (GRO) designates a new administrator. The search is conducted so that any criminal history matches for the new administrator may be evaluated. See 10311 Determining Appropriate Actions Based on Criminal History.

 

1523 When to Conduct a Controlling Person Search in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

A Controlling Person Search is conducted in CLASS when:

  • an operation submits the name of a new controlling person; or
  • Licensing staff need to review an individual’s record as a controlling person in CLASS.

See 5430 Processing and Reviewing the Information on Controlling Persons Submitted by an Operation.

 

1524 When to Conduct a Global Person Search in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing staff must conduct a Global Person Search in the CLASS under these circumstances:

  1. When an application is submitted – To determine whether the applicant is eligible to receive a permit. (See 3222 How to Determine Whether the Applicant Is Eligible to Apply.
  2. When an operation submits the name of a new controlling person – To determine whether the person is eligible to serve in the role of a controlling person. (See 5430 Processing and Reviewing the Information on Controlling Persons Submitted by an Operation.
  3. When an operation submits the name of a new director – To determine whether the director is serving as a director at another operation.
  4. When an applicant for an administrator’s license submits an application – To determine whether the applicant is a sustained controlling person and to review other relevant history in CLASS.

 

1530 How to Conduct a Search in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

To obtain the most accurate search results, it may be necessary to conduct multiple searches using a variety of approaches, including the following:

Phonetic Searches

Conduct a phonetic search when searching by an operation’s name, a person’s name, or an address. A phonetic search involves using exact spelling but selecting the Phonetic option so that the results include phonetic similarities. See 1531 Conducting a Search in CLASS That Yields Phonetic Search Results.

Narrowed Searches

To narrow the results of a search:

  • Begin searching by entering fewer search criteria in the fields on the search page; and
  • Narrow the results by entering additional search criteria or different combinations of search criteria.

Social Security and Driver License Searches

When searching by a Social Security number (SSN) or driver license number (DLN), conduct follow-up searches using additional criteria to find records in which the SSN or DLN are incorrect or blank.

 

1531 Conducting a Search in CLASS That Yields Phonetic Search Results

October 1, 2013

 

The phonetic search feature is the default search option in CLASS.

When conducting a CLASS search using the phonetic search feature, Licensing staff receive a broader set of results. A phonetic search captures more results by searching for words or names that sound similar to or are spelled slightly differently than the search criteria and words or names that contain typographical (data entry) errors that are common to the search criteria.

Before conducting a phonetic search, Licensing staff must ensure that the Phonetic check box is selected.

Before searching by Operation Number, Licensing staff must uncheck the Phonetic check box.

Procedure

With the exception of the operation number, Licensing staff can enter any search criteria when conducting a phonetic search.

Certain search criteria are treated as an exact filter (explained in more detail below). An exact filter filters out, or removes, any search result that does not exactly match the search criteria that are treated as exact filters.

Operation Search

Licensing may conduct a phonetic search on the Operation Search page by entering any of the search criteria, except for the operation number.

When a phonetic search is performed, the following fields are treated as exact filters:

  1. County
  2. Operation Type
  3. Care Type

Background Check Results Search

Licensing may conduct a phonetic search on the Background Check Results Search page by entering any of the search criteria.

When a phonetic search is performed, the following fields are treated as exact filters:

  1. Operation Number
  2. Batch Number
  3. Licensing Representative ID
  4. Employee ID
  5. Region
  6. Batch Date
  7. Status

Controlling Persons Search

Licensing may conduct a phonetic search on the Controlling Persons Search page by entering any of the search criteria.

When a phonetic search is performed, the following fields are treated as exact filters:

  1. State
  2. Phone Number

Global Person Search

Licensing may conduct a phonetic search on the Global Person Search page by entering any of the search criteria. When a phonetic search is performed, only Date of Birth is treated as an exact filter.

All Searches

When conducting a phonetic search, the best results are obtained by entering the operation’s full name, the person’s full name, or the full street name.

To search by entering partial information, see 1532 Conducting a Search in CLASS That Yields Exact Search Results.

 

1532 Conducting a Search in CLASS That Yields Exact Search Results

October 1, 2013

 

The purpose of conducting a search that yields exact results, or an exact search, is to identify a smaller set of results that exactly or partially match the search criteria that were entered.

Before conducting an exact search, Licensing staff must uncheck the Phonetic check box.

Procedure

Licensing staff must conduct an exact search when searching by the operation number. Licensing staff are able, but not required, to conduct an exact search on any other search criteria.

 

1533 Conducting a Global Person Search in CLASS to Obtain All Records on an Individual

October 1, 2013

 

The purpose of conducting a Global Person Search is to identify each record related to an individual in CLASS. See 1520 When to Conduct Searches in CLASS.

Procedure

A Global Person Search in CLASS, may pull up records for the following roles:

  1. Background Check
  2. CEO
  3. Designee
  4. Director
  5. Second Director
  6. Program Director
  7. Site Director
  8. Partner
  9. Perpetrator (Intake or Investigation)
  10. Controlling Person
  11. Administrator

Handling Errors in Data

When conducting a Global Person Search, Licensing staff may detect errors in data entry in an individual’s various records in CLASS.

When staff detect variations in an individual’s records, such as inconsistent Social Security numbers, staff attempt to verify and correct the records in CLASS only if correcting the records is within the staff person’s responsibility.

Licensing staff do not submit a formal request to correct data or ask other Licensing staff to correct data that is outside of the staff person’s responsibility.

 

1600 Validating an Address in CLASS

 

 

1610 When and How to Validate an Address in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

Licensing staff complete the address validation process in CLASS to ensure that addresses entered into CLASS conform to the standards of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Except for addresses entered as part of an intake or investigation, Licensing staff must attempt to validate all location and mailing addresses stored in CLASS, including the addresses found on the following pages:

  1. Main page for all operations
  2. Application page for all operations
  3. Exemption Requests & Background Check Only Entities
  4. Illegal Operation
  5. Controlling Person Details
  6. Governing Body Designation
  7. Administrator Details
  8. Background Check – Person Details
  9. Agency Home

Procedure

Licensing staff must select Validate Location Address or Validate Mailing Address each time a location address or mailing address is entered for the first time or is updated in CLASS.

After selecting the appropriate validation button, Licensing staff are given the following options:

  • Accept the USPS standardized format, if one is found.
  • Correct the address and re-validate.

Use the address which was originally entered and explain the reason the address is not validated in the text box Reason Location Address Not Validated or in the text box Reason Mailing Address Not Validated.

If a USPS standardized address is found, CLASS displays a Validated status for the address.

If a USPS standardized address is not found, CLASS displays a Not Validated status for the address.

 

1620 Addresses That Are Not Validated

October 1, 2013

 

In some cases, the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not return a valid address when Validate Location Address or Validate Mailing Address is selected.

The reasons that a validated address may not be returned include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The location address is an area of new construction.
  2. The location address is in a rural are
  3. USPS cannot determine in which county the address is located.
  4. The address that was entered is incomplete or otherwise incorrect.

 

1621 When a Validation Check in CLASS Does Not Return a Valid Address

October 1, 2013

 

Procedure

If, after entering an address in CLASS and selecting Validate Location Address or Validate Mailing Address, a validation check does not return a validated address, Licensing staff contact the applicant or operation to determine whether the address is correct.

If the address is not correct, Licensing staff:

  1. obtain the correct address;
  2. enter the correct address in CLASS; and
  3. attempt to validate the address again.

If the address is correct, Licensing staff:

  1. attempt to determine why the address may not be recognized as correct;
  2. accept the address in CLASS, even though it is not validated; and
  3. enter in the text box Reason Location Address Not Validated or the text box Reason Mailing Address Not Validated the reason that the address may not be recognized as correct and the date the reason was entered.

See 1630 How to Enter a Valid Address.

 

1622 When an Address that is Not Validated is Submitted Through the Child Care Licensing Account Website

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If a provider submits an address with a Not Validated status through the Child Care Licensing Account website, Licensing staff contact the applicant or operation if:

  1. the reason that is entered in the text box Reason Location Address Not Validated or the text box Reason Mailing Address Not Validated is not clear; or
  2. the address appears to be obviously incorrect.

If the address is not correct, Licensing staff:

  1. obtain the correct address;
  2. enter the correct address in CLASS; and
  3. attempt to validate the address again.

If the address is correct, Licensing staff:

  1. attempt to determine why the address may not be recognized as correct;
  2. accept the address in CLASS, even though it is not validated; and
  3. enter in the text box Reason Location Address Not Validated or the text box Reason Mailing Address Not Validated the reason that the address may not be recognized as correct and the date that the reason was entered.

See 1630 How to Enter a Valid Address.

 

1623 Routinely Attempting to Validate Addresses Not Validated in CLASS

October 1, 2013

 

Because the USPS system is routinely updated with new addresses, a Licensing inspector must attempt to validate an operation’s location or mailing address at each monitoring inspection, if either address has a status of Not Validate. See 4171 Discussing the Results of an Inspection.

 

1630 How to Enter a Valid Address

October 1, 2013

 

Licensing staff must enter only valid addresses in the Location Address and Mailing Address fields in CLASS.

The address fields must not contain the following types of information:

  1. Phone numbers
  2. Directions
  3. More than one address

Procedure

Licensing staff do as follows when entering an address:

  1. Spell out uncommon abbreviations.

Examples of abbreviations that must be spelled out include the following:

  • Any variation of County Road (such as CR, CNTY RD, VZCR, CO RD, ACR)
  • State Highway (ST HWY)
  • Private Road (PR)
  1. Enter only street numbers, street names, and P.O. boxes on the first address line.
  2. Enter only apartment, lot, suite, building, and trailer numbers on the second address line.

If an address does not validate, re-enter it as explained in this item and attempt to validate the address again.