6100 Overview of Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

All reports that allege failure to comply with the law, administrative rules, or minimum standards require some degree of investigation, except when specific conditions exist as noted within policy. 

The investigator must complete an investigation of a report alleging possible risk to children promptly and thoroughly to ensure that children who are or will be in care at the operation are protected. This applies to child care operations that HHSC regulates or is responsible for regulating under Chapter 42, Texas Human Resources Code.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)
40 TAC 745.8405

 

6110 Types of Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

There are two types of intake reports:

Reports of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation: The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigates reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that allege a child in care of an operation was or may be harmed because of an act or omission by a person working under the supervision of a child care operation. Such harm must meet the definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, as described in the Texas Family Code and Texas Administrative Code. (DFPS also investigates reports of exploitation that allege a person working under the auspices of an operation engaged in illegal or improper use of a child or used a child’s resources for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.) The operation where the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred may also be violating statutes, administrative rules, or minimum standards.

Within this policy, any investigation that includes an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is a "DFPS investigation."

Reports of Non-Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation: HHSC investigates reports that allege statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards have been or are in violation. No allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is involved.

Within this policy, an investigation that only includes an allegation of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards, with no allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is an “investigation”.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)
Texas Family Code §261.001
40 TAC§§745.8401; 745.8403; 745.8405; 745.8407;

 

6120 Role of the Inspector

September 28, 2018

 

A licensing inspector who conducts an investigation becomes an investigator for purposes of Licensing policies and procedures and:

  1. responds to reports of possible violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards that do not allege abuse, neglect, or exploitation (an investigation);
  2. receives information about possible deficiencies a DFPS investigator noted during an abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation (a DFPS investigation) and cites deficiencies when warranted; and 
  3. follow ups on deficiencies cited during investigations and DFPS investigations and completes entries related to the follow-up in the CLASS automated support system.

 

6130 Role of the Supervisor and the Supervisor’s Designee

September 28, 2018

 

Other staff involved in an investigation may include the licensing supervisor and the supervisor’s designees.

Licensing Supervisor 

The supervisor is responsible for all of the following:

  1. Coordinating the assignment of intakes to investigative staff
  2. Approving the administrative closure of intake reports
  3. Approving a change in priority for an investigation
  4. Approving intensified monitoring or surveillance
  5. Approving a recommended enforcement action 
  6. Approving requests for assistance from other HHSC divisions or government agencies when the expertise of Licensing staff is requested, such as providing guidance regarding when an unregulated entity may be subject to regulation
  7. Ensuring that a safety plan is implemented, when the circumstances call for taking immediate safety measures 
  8. Ensuring that investigators conduct and document investigations according to policies and procedures
  9. Arranging for other HHSC divisions or government agencies to review an investigation, as necessary
  10. Approving extensions of time to complete an investigation, in accordance with policies and procedures
  11. Evaluating the need to upgrade an investigation to a DFPS investigation.

Supervisor’s Designee

A supervisor may assign another supervisor or tenured inspector as a designee for the purposes of acting as a supervisor, including providing required supervisory approvals in the supervisor’s absence.

A supervisor may assign a router or inspector as a designee for the purposes of routing and processing intakes under the supervisor’s guidance.

See:

1220 Assigning a Designee in CLASS

1221 Maximum Number of Designees in CLASS

 

6200 Receiving, Assessing and Processing Intake Reports

September 28, 2018

 

 

6210 Reports Received From the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) 

September 28, 2018

 

The Statewide Intake (SWI) division of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) receives some reports of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards.

The Child Care Licensing (CCL) Investigations division of DFPS receives some reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation from SWI that CCL Investigations determines do not rise to the level of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)
40 TAC §745.8407

Procedure

If a report does not involve an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, but does involve children or staff at a child care operation, DFPS staff:

  • process the report as an Information and Referral (I&R) for an alleged violation of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards in the IMPACT case management system; or
  • downgrade an intake report with allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to a Priority None (PN) in the IMPACT case management system.

In both instances, DFPS staff do not assess whether the information violates the statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards or prioritize the report.  Rather, they just route the report to the appropriate HHSC router.

 

6211 Closing the Report in IMPACT

September 28, 2018

 

Once the I&R or downgraded intake report is routed to the HHSC Licensing office, the report becomes an intake report for Licensing.

Procedure

The I&R remains open in the IMPACT case management system until the supervisor or a designee verifies that the intake report associated with the I&R transferred to CLASS. Upon verification, the supervisor, designee, or router closes the I&R in IMPACT, selecting Closed and Reclassified as the Reason Closed.

DFPS is responsible for closing downgraded intake reports in IMPACT before forwarding the associated CLASS intake report to the HHSC router.

 

6220 Reports Received by Licensing Offices

September 28, 2018

 

A local Licensing office may take an intake report that involves a child day care operation, if the report does not involve abuse, neglect, or exploitation or the death of a child.

 

6221 Entering an Intake Report in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

When a staff at a regional day care Licensing office receives a report regarding violations of the minimum standards, the staff records the information in CLASS by completing all required fields in the Intake Report located under the New Intake tab.

 

6221.1 Information to Obtain When Receiving a Report at a Local Licensing Office

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Staff at the local Licensing office must obtain as much information as possible, including, but not limited to:

  1. the reporter’s name, address, and phone number;
  2. information indicating whether the reporter asked to receive the results of the investigation;
  3. the address of the operation that is the subject of the report, or, if the address is unknown, directions to the operation;
  4. the phone number for the operation, if known to the reporter;
  5. the allegations or a description of the concern being reported;
  6. information regarding how the reporter has obtained knowledge of the allegations;
  7. the following information about each child involved in the report:
    1. whether the child’s parent or guardian has concerns, if known to the reporter;
    2. the child’s name and date of birth or approximate age, if known by the reporter; and
    3. the parent’s or guardian’s information; including phone numbers and address, if known by the reporter;
  8. the caregiver’s information, including name, address, phone number, and age, if known by the reporter;
  9. the names and numbers of collateral sources, if known by the reporter; and
  10. any other information relevant to the allegations that the intake worker considers important.

For information regarding how to document anonymous reports, self-reports, or reports that require special handing, see also: 6270 Special Types of Intake Reports.

 

6221.2 Reports Received by a Licensing Office that Do Not Meet Criteria for Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

When a local office receives a report directly from the operation and the information obtained clearly does not meet the criteria for an investigation, staff document the following in CLASS as a monitoring Chronology:

  • the name and work-related title of the person making the report; and
  • the information received in the report.

If the staff taking the report is unsure whether the information obtained meets the criteria for an investigation, the staff consults with a supervisor to determine whether an intake report is needed.

Staff document a report received from a source other than the operation as an intake report regardless if it meets criteria for investigation. Staff follow policy and procedures in 6231.3 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation (Administrative Closure) for reports that meet the criteria for closure.

 

6221.3 Encouraging a Reporter to Disclose His or Her Identity

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

When receiving a report in a Licensing office, staff must encourage the reporter to disclose his or her identity. Staff should reassure the reporter his/her identity remains confidential. If the reporter chooses to remain anonymous, staff must inform the reporter that:

  1. it may be more difficult to investigate the allegations without knowing the reporter’s identity, because the investigator must be able to determine whether the allegations have a factual basis;
  2. the investigator will not be able to contact the reporter if the investigator needs critical information that only the reporter can provide; and
  3. Licensing will not be able to provide the reporter with the results of the investigation.

 

6221.4 Entering Reports of Illegal Operations

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

When receiving a report of a possible illegal operation, Licensing staff must search to determine whether the operation already exists in CLASS by using the Operation Search to search for open and closed operations. If staff finds that the operation is listed, registered, or licensed, and there are no concerns of violations of minimum standards, staff closes the intake report administratively.

Entering an Intake Report for an Operation with a History of Operating Illegally

If the operation has a history of operating illegally, Licensing staff re-opens the former operation and enters the investigation under the previous operation number. If more than one prior operation exists, Licensing staff re-opens the most recent operation.

 

6221.41 Entering Reports for Illegal Operations Identified by Licensing Staff

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Entering Reporter Information for Illegal Operations Identified by Licensing Staff

Upon finding the operation through a media search, Licensing staff must enter the following information under the Reporter Information section of the Intake Persons page:

  • entering HHSC Identified in the Last Name field; and
  • selecting FPS Staff from the Relationship to the Operation dropdown menu.

Licensing staff does not select the Reporter Results check box for reports identified by Licensing staff.

Documenting the Allegation Narrative for Illegal Operations

In addition to documenting the information outlined in 6222.1 Information to Obtain When Receiving a Report at a Local Licensing Office, Licensing staff entering an intake report for an illegal operation identified by Licensing staff must document the following in the Allegation Narrative in CLASS:

  1. how Licensing staff identified the illegal operation;
  2. a summary of the information obtained through the media search;
  3. which searches in 6531 Conducting Searches, the Licensing staff conducted and the outcome of those searches; and
  4. whether the information in the intake indicates a risk to children.

See also:

6531 Conducting Searches

 

6222 Referring Reports Received in Licensing Offices to Statewide Intake

September 28, 2018

 

The Licensing office must forward the report to Statewide Intake (SWI) for entry in the IMPACT system if the report involves:

  • an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or
  • a residential child care operation, except if the report is created to handle a match on the sex offender report.

Procedure

If the local Licensing office receives a report regarding an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation or a residential operation, staff must encourage reporters to report to Statewide Intake by:

 

6230 Assessing an Intake Report

September 28, 2018

 

All intake reports require an evaluation to determine: 

  1. whether the information involves allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation;
  2. whether the information involves possible violations of the statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards;
  3. the immediate safety of children;
  4. the degree of risk to children;
  5. whether the operation is subject to a Licensing investigation; and
  6. the appropriate priority.

 

6231 Assessing an Intake Report for Type of Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Each intake report must be assessed to determine whether the report should be:

  1. assigned a priority and progressed to an investigation;
  2. referred to DFPS for an abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation; or
  3. closed without conducting an investigation.

 

6231.1 Intake Reports to Be Investigated by Licensing

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing investigates the report if the report does not contain an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation or the death of a child, but does contain an allegation involving: 

  1. a violation of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards;
  2. a person or operation that is subject to regulation providing care to children without the proper permit; 
  3. an operation with a permit is providing care to more children than authorized by the permit; or
  4. an immediate risk of danger to the health or safety of children.

See also:

6240 Assessing an Intake Report for Priority

6250 Assessing an Intake Report for Allegation Types in CLASS

6276 Reports Requiring Special Handling

 

6231.11 Reports Received for Listed Homes

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing investigates a report about a listed home if the allegation involves:

  1. the caregiver administering medication in violation of Texas Human Resources Code §42.065;
  2. the caregiver providing care for more than three unrelated children; or
  3. an immediate risk of danger to the health or safety of a child being cared for in the home.

Human Resources Code §42.065

 

6231.12 Reports Investigated by a Child-Placing Agency

September 28, 2018

 

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

See 6510 Investigations Involving Homes Regulated by a Child-Placing Agency (CPA).

 

6231.2 Intake Reports to Be Investigated by DFPS as Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing does not investigate reports that include allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation or incidents involving a child fatality. The Licensing supervisor or designee refers a report to DFPS if Licensing receives an intake report that contains the following:

  1. an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or
  2. a child fatality.

Texas Family Code §261.001

 

6231.21 Upgrading an Intake Report to an Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation Intake Report

September 28, 2018

 

A report may need to be referred to DFPS for investigation if:

  • the supervisor determines that the information in the intake report constitutes an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or
  • after initiating the investigation, the investigator assigned to investigate the report learns additional information about the incident that constitutes an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Procedure

If a supervisor decides that the information in the report or the information gathered during an investigation constitutes an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the investigator, supervisor, or designee must:

  • notify the appropriate DFPS supervisor that the investigation is being referred to DFPS for investigation;
  • call the worker line for SWI support staff and provide any new information that was obtained during the investigation; and
  • request that SWI enter the information in the IMPACT case management system as an intake report for abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

If the DFPS supervisor disagrees that the intake report should be upgraded to an abuse, neglect, or exploitation report, the Licensing supervisor or designee consults the DFPS Program Administrator or designee for a final decision.

Investigation Has Not Been Initiated

If the investigator has not yet initiated an investigation, the investigator follows the procedures in 6231.32 Administratively Closing an Intake Report in CLASS.

Investigation Has Been Initiated

If the investigator has initiated an investigation before determining that the investigation needs to be referred to DFPS, the investigator:

  1. documents all contacts and marks each minimum standard that the investigator chose to evaluate as Compliant on the Standards Details page in CLASS if an inspection has already been conducted;
  2. deletes the minimum standards if an inspection has not been conducted;
  3. sends the Investigation Letter (Form 2896) to the operation and informs the operation that the investigation is being referred to DFPS for an investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation;
  4. documents the investigation number of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation and the reason for closure in the Explanation of the Disposition box on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS; 
  5. closes the investigation in CLASS after ensuring that the intake report for abuse, neglect, or exploitation has been entered in IMPACT; and
  6. notifies the DFPS investigator of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation of any contacts made as part of the original investigation. 

 

6231.3 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation (Administrative Closure)

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing administratively closes an investigation when the supervisor or designee determines the information in the report:

  1. clearly reflects that there is no violation of law or minimum standards to investigate, including:
    • some types of incidents that operations are required to self-report; and
    • anonymous reports determined not to have any factual basis;
  2. clearly reflects that another HHSC division, another state agency, or law enforcement has investigative jurisdiction;
  3. has already been investigated in a closed investigation (see 6273 Repeated Reports with No New Allegations); or
  4. contains information about an incident that occurred in the past (see 6274 Reports of Incidents that Occurred in the Past).

 

6231.31 Incidents Self-Reported by Operations that May Not Require an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Minimum standards require operations to report certain incidents, even though an investigation may not be required under certain circumstances.

Incidents that must be self-reported, but may not require investigation include:

  1. an employee or child at an operation contracts a communicable disease;
  2. a disaster or emergency causes an operation to close or renders part of the operation unsafe or unsanitary;
  3. a child in care of a residential operation is arrested or indicted for a crime;
  4. a child is absent from a residential operation; and
  5. a child in care is involved in a minor accident.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.063

26 TAC §743.201; 744.305; 746.305; 747.303; 748.303; 749.503

 

6231.32 Administratively Closing an Intake Report in CLASS

September 28, 2018

Procedure

The investigator, supervisor, or designee closes the report in CLASS by entering the following information under the Intake Status section on the Intake Report page:

  1. the date of the administrative closure;
  2. the reason for closure; and
  3. the full name of the supervisor who approved the closure.

 

6231.33 CLASS Options for Closing an Intake Report

September 28, 2018

 

An intake report may be administratively closed without choosing a priority. The chart below outlines the appropriate CLASS options used to close an intake report.

Reasons for Closing an Intake Report in CLASS

Reason Closed: Explanation 
Not subject to investigation The intake report is closed because the information in the intake report does not constitute a possible violation of minimum standards.
Not subject to regulation The intake report is closed because it and the investigation are outside the jurisdiction of Licensing and must be handled either by another authorized entity, such as law enforcement; another state agency or department such as the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) or Long-Term Care Regulatory, or by another state. 
Re-entered as A/N The intake report is closed because the information was reentered as an intake report for an investigation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and the intake report is not able to be linked to the abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation.
Repeated reports The intake report is closed because there is an existing investigation in CLASS with the same allegations that has already been investigated and closed.

See also:

6230 Assessing an Intake Report

6231 Assessing an Intake Report for Type of Investigation

6271.1 Evaluating the Factual Basis of an Anonymous Intake Report

6273 Repeated Reports with No New Allegations

 

6240 Assessing an Intake Report for Priority

September 28, 2018

 

For each intake report that warrants an investigation, the investigator must assess the intake report to determine the correct priority. This assessment must be completed quickly enough to meet requirements for time frames for initiating investigations.

All intake reports are assigned priorities based on:

  1. information available at the time of intake;
  2. the presence of current threats to the child’s immediate safety;
  3. degree of harm the child has sustained or may sustain in the next 12 months; and
  4. the allegation that presents the greatest risk to the child, if multiple allegations are reported.

Prioritizing an Intake Report Involving an Illegal Operation

An intake report involving an operation that is operating without a permit is prioritized according to the same policies as an intake report involving an operation that is operating legally if there are allegations that children are at risk.

 

6241 Classifying the Priority of the Intake Report 

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator, supervisor, or designee must select the correct CLASS priority from the dropdown list under the Priority section in the Intake Report.

The chart below outlines the appropriate CLASS options to prioritize intake reports. Refer to the Definitions of Terms for:

  • Impairment
  • Serious harm
  • Serious incident
  • Serious injury
  • Substantial harm
Intake Priority
CLASS Options
Explanation
Priority 1: Violation of the law or minimum standards that pose an immediate risk to children A report of a violation of a law or minimum standard places children in care at immediate risk of serious of substantial harm.
Priority 2: Injury or serious mistreatment of a child A report that a child in care is disciplined, punished, or physically restrained in a manner that is prohibited by minimum standards, including a report that a child in care sustained a serious injury as a result of discipline, punishment, physical restraint, or other type of mistreatment prohibited by minimum standards. 
 
Priority 2: Serious Accidental Injury A report that a child suffered a serious accidental injury (i.e., a serious injury that is the result of an accident) and the injury may be a result of a violation of minimum standards. 
Priority 2: Serious safety or health hazards

A report of a violation of the minimum standards related to safety or health that may pose a risk of substantial harm to children in care. 
OR
A report that a person who is present at the operation has criminal or Central Registry history that may expose children in care to risk of harm. This includes:

  • a person who has recent arrest history that poses a risk of harm to children and whose arrest has not gone through the justice system;
  • a person who has recent Central Registry history and the person has not gone through due process; and
  • a person on the sexual offender registry whose address is an exact match to the operation’s address.

OR
A report that an alleged illegal operation: 

  • meets any of the criteria above;
  • has a history of operating illegally;
  • was previously listed, licensed, or registered and closed voluntarily or by adverse action; or
  • is caring for more than 12 unrelated and related children.
Priority 2: Serious supervision problems A report of a violation of the minimum standards related to supervision that may pose a risk of substantial harm to children in care. 
Priority 3: Illegal operations with no other allegations (RC only) A report that care is being provided to children by a residential care operation that does not have a permit, may be subject to regulation, and there are no other allegations. 
Priority 3: Minor violation of the law or minimum standards that involve low risk to children

A report of a violation of a law or minimum standard that poses low risk of harm to the health or safety of children in care.
OR
Risk factors exist that indicate children may be at risk of harm. Risk factors include, but are not limited to:

  • minor injuries that are accidental in nature and may indicate supervision problems; and
  • a pattern of incidents that normally do not require an investigation (such as repeated runaways).

OR
A report of a serious injury or medical incident that:

  • contains information in the intake report that the parent or guardian has concerns regarding supervision or safety; and
  • is not a self-report; and 
  • does not indicate the serious injury or medical incident is the result of a minimum standards violation. 
Priority 5: CPA internal investigation A report that is assigned to the child placing agency as an internal investigation. 
Priority 5: Illegal operations with no other allegations (DC only) A report that care is being provided to children by a day care operation that does not have a permit but may be subject to regulation, and there are no other allegations.
Priority 5: Desk review

A self-report of a minor violation of minimum standards that:

  • does not contain information in the intake report that the parent or guardian has concerns regarding supervision or safety; and
  • may be investigated without an inspection. 

OR
A self-report of a serious injury that:

  • does not contain information in the intake report that the parent or guardian has concerns regarding supervision or safety;
  • does not indicate that the serious injury is the result of a minimum standards violation; and
  • may be investigated without an inspection.

 

6242 Changing the Priority of an Investigation in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

If necessary, the CLASS priority can be changed once the report has been progressed to an investigation in CLASS. The supervisor or designee changes the priority by making the following changes in the Priority Change section on the Investigation Main page in CLASS:

  1. entering the date the priority is changed in the Priority Date Change field;
  2. selecting the new priority from the Priority drop-down list; and
  3. documenting the reason for the priority change and the full name of the supervisor who approved the change in the Reason narrative box.

For changing the priority of an investigation assigned a Priority 5, see 6243 Re-Classifying a Priority 5 Investigation, below.

 

6243 Re-Classifying a Priority 5 Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

A Priority 5 investigation is re-classified as a Priority 4 investigation in CLASS when one of the following types of investigations requires an inspection:

  1. an illegal operation with no other allegations (DC only);
  2. a CPA internal investigation; or
  3. a desk review.

 

6250 Assessing an Intake Report for Allegation Types in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator, supervisor, or designee must review each report and select the appropriate allegation types on the Intake Report or Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when staff becomes aware of the allegation.

Procedure

Regardless of the priority or whether an intake report is assigned for investigation, the Allegation Type check boxes must accurately reflect the allegations contained in the intake report. If additional allegations arise during the investigation, Licensing staff check any additional boxes related to those allegations on the Investigation Main page. The chart below outlines the allegations of violations of minimum standards in CLASS:

Allegation Types in CLASS  Explanation
Standard/Law Violation Allegation of a violation of a law, administrative rule, or minimum standard.
Illegal Operation Allegation that care is being provided to children by an operation that does not have a permit and the operation may be subject to regulation.
Suicide Attempt (RC only) Allegation that a child attempted suicide while in care at a residential operation.
Child Death (DFPS only) A child dies while in the care of an operation or an operation that is subject to regulation.
Serious Harm/Injury Any physical injury to a child that requires medical treatment and resulted or may result in impairment to the child's overall health or well-being. 
Critical injury Near fatal injuries (previously known as critical injuries) are a subset of serious injuries in which the child would likely have died as a result of the injury or medical condition if the child did not get medical attention. In most circumstances, medical intervention includes admittance to an intensive care unit.
Child Arrest (RC only) A child in care of a residential operation is arrested.
Illness Requiring Hospitalization A child in care of an operation has an illness requiring hospitalization.
Child Run Away (RC only)  A child in care of a residential operation runs away from the residential operation. 
Caregiver Drug Abuse (RC only)  Allegation that a caregiver in a residential operation is using drugs. 
Domestic Violence (RC only) Report from law enforcement that law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call at a foster home.  
Endangering Person Allegation that a sex offender's address listed in the sex offender database matches a child care operation.
Child Sexual Aggression (DFPS only) Allegation of sexual behavior in which a child takes advantage of a younger or less powerful child through seduction, coercion, or force. Must document the number of children involved.
Child on Child Physical Abuse (DFPS only) Allegation of a child-to-child behavior that results in a child sustaining observable substantial harm requiring medical treatment. Must document the number of children involved.

 

6251 Allegation Involving a Child Under the Age of 6 (Child-Placing Agency Only)

September 28, 2018

 

For an investigation of an agency home, it is required that the investigator, supervisor, or designee indicate whether or not the report involves a child under the age of 6 by selecting the appropriate radio button on the Intake Report or Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Procedure

Staff select Yes if a child is:

  1. in care of the child-placing agency (excluding a biological child);
  2. is directly involved in the incident or allegation being investigated; and
  3. is younger than age 6.

Staff select No in all other instances.

Human Resources Code §42.044

 

6260 Identifying New Reporters During an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

During an investigation, a person is identified as a new reporter if the person provides the investigator with information regarding new allegations that are not being investigated in the current investigation. These new allegations may involve:

  1. abuse or neglect; or
  2. a minimum standard violation unrelated to the allegations currently being investigated.

Procedure

If the investigator identifies a new reporter during the course of an investigation, the investigator:

  1. identifies the person as a reporter in the CLASS investigation, if the allegations are to be investigated in the current investigation; 
  2. refers the information to SWI for entry as a new abuse or neglect intake report, if the allegations are related to abuse or neglect;
  3. refers the information to SWI for entry as an Information and Referral (I&R), if the information does not include allegations of abuse or neglect and is regarding a residential child care operation; or
  4. enters the information as a new Intake Report in CLASS, if the information does not include allegations of abuse or neglect and is regarding a day care operation.

When determining whether to investigate the new allegations in the current investigation or in a new investigation, the investigator consults with the supervisor and considers the following:

  • how closely related the new allegations are to the current allegations; and
  • whether there is enough time remaining in the current investigation to fully investigate the new allegations.

 

6261 Confidentiality of the Reporter’s Identity

September 28, 2018

 

The name of the person who made the report is confidential and may not be revealed. If multiple reporters report the same or similar information, each reporter has the right to confidentiality.

A person who supplies new allegations during an investigation is also a reporter who has the right to confidentiality.

Texas Human Resource Code §40.005

Texas Government Code, Title 5, Ch. 552, Texas Public Information Act

40 TAC §745.8483

 

6262 Responding to Requests for the Reporter’s Identity

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If an operation’s director, administrator, or staff members know or suspect a reporter’s identity, the investigator does not confirm or deny the identity of the reporter. Under law, the reporter’s name and any identifying information about the reporter are protected.

If any employee of an operation requests the identity of the reporter, the investigator refers the employee to the Attorney General’s Opinion, Open Records Decision No. 176 PDF Document.

 

6263 Protecting a Reporter’s Confidentiality During an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

While visiting an operation, an investigator must ensure that individuals who are not employed by HHSC do not have access to any confidential information that is contained on a state-issued cell phone, tablet PC, in the intake report, or in handwritten notes. 

External documentation that identifies a person as a reporter, such as an intake report, may not be taken to the operation.

 

6270 Special Types of Intake Reports

September 28, 2018

 

 

6271 Anonymous Intake Reports

September 28, 2018

 

An intake report is “anonymous” if the reporter does not provide a name or contact information.

 

6271.1 Evaluating the Factual Basis of an Anonymous Intake Report

September 28, 2018

 

If a reporter of an intake report decides to remain anonymous and the intake report does not contain allegations that the health or safety of children is at risk, the investigator evaluates if there is any factual basis to the intake report by:

  • evaluating the operation’s compliance history for similar allegations and deficiencies; and
  • contacting the operation and collateral sources.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

40 TAC §745.8421; 745.8423

Procedure

If the investigator is able to determine that there is no factual basis for the allegations in the intake report, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine the appropriateness of administratively closing the intake report.

See 6231.3 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation (Administrative Closure).

 

6271.2 Processing an Anonymous Intake Report in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

An anonymous intake report may not be published on the CCL website if there are no findings of violations (deficiencies).

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

40 TAC §745.8423

Procedure

Licensing investigators must investigate an anonymous intake report separately from intake reports where a reporter’s identity is known and confidential. Moreover, Licensing staff must not link the anonymous report in CLASS to an intake report in which the reporter’s identity is known and confidential.

To prevent publication online, Licensing staff must check the Anonymous checkbox on both the Intake Persons page in the Intake Report and the Investigation Persons page within the investigation in CLASS.

 

6272 Multiple Intake Reports Received for the Same Operation

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing investigators may investigate multiple intake reports received for the same operation as one investigation by linking the investigations when:

  1. two or more intake reports are about the same incident, unless the second intake report also contains new allegations that cannot be adequately investigated within the required time frames of the first intake report;
    Example 1: Both the operation and the parent report that a child broke his arm, and the reports are received within a day of each other. The two reports must be investigated as one investigation.
    Example 2: The operation reports that a child broke his arm. Twenty days later, the parent reports that the child broke his arm and the playscape he was playing on is in disrepair. The two reports may be investigated as separate investigations if the investigator does not have enough time to adequately address the allegations of broken equipment within the remaining time of the investigation.
  2. two or more intake reports are received before Licensing conducts an inspection on the first intake report and the allegations are related to the same standards, same group of children, or same staff member; 
    Example 1: Two incidents happen on separate days but both involve injuries to children, so the same standards are evaluated.
    Example 2: One report states that the preschool room has too many children and the second states the preschool room is dirty.
    Example 3: One report states that the staff person in the infant room does not change diapers when needed, and the second report states that the same staff person in the infant room leaves the infants in the cribs all day.

Licensing must base the initiation date and other required time frames for the investigation on the intake report with the earliest intake date and time.

Exception

Licensing investigators must always investigate an intake report in which the reporter chooses to remain anonymous separately from an intake report that is received with the reporter known and confidential.

See 6271.2 Processing an Anonymous Intake Report in CLASS.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.042(c)

 

6272.1 Linking Investigations in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Prior to linking two or more intake reports in CLASS, Licensing staff must ensure that:

  1. the intake report with the earliest date and time has been progressed to an investigation in CLASS (considered to be the active investigation); and
  2. all subsequent intake reports involved in the linking must be completed according to policy and remain as an intake report in CLASS.

Procedure

Once these steps have been conducted, Licensing staff links the subsequent intake reports to the active investigation by:

  1. selecting the check box by Intake Complete on the Intake Report;
  2. selecting the check box by Link to Active Investigation on the Intake Report and clicking Save; and
  3. click on the Date Received for the active investigation.

The priority of the active investigation should reflect the greatest risk in each of the linked intake reports.

 

6273 Repeated Reports with No New Allegations

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing does not investigate repeated reports. A repeated report is an intake report that:

  • contains allegations that have previously been investigated; and
  • does not contain new allegations that have not previously been reported or investigated.

Procedure

If Licensing receives a repeated report, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine whether to take one of the following actions:

  • If the reporter is the same as the original reporter, the investigator contacts the reporter to obtain information regarding his or her previous report and explores the reporter’s reason for calling again.
  • If the reporter did not previously report the allegation, the investigator contacts the reporter and explains that the allegation has previously been reported and investigated.

If the investigator determines that there is no basis for an investigation, the investigator:

  • consults with the supervisor to obtain approval to administratively close the intake report with no investigation; and
  • documents the supervisory approval and reason for closure in the CLASS system according to the policies and procedures in 6231.32 Administratively Closing an Intake Report in CLASS.

Notifying the Reporter of the Results

If the investigator obtains supervisory approval to close the intake report without investigation and the reporter has requested to be notified about the outcome of the report, the investigator:

  • notifies the reporter that because the allegations have already been investigated, another investigation will not be conducted; and
  • refers the reporter to the previous investigation on the CCL website.

 

6274 Report of Incidents that Occurred in the Past 

September 28, 2018

 

If an investigator receives information about an incident that happened in the past, the investigator gathers as much information as possible to assess the need for investigation.

Procedure

In deciding whether to investigate, the investigator considers the following questions:

  1. How long ago did the incident occur?
  2. What motivated the reporter to report now?
  3. Are current staff at the operation the same staff who were present at the time of the incident?
  4. Is the child who was involved in the incident still being cared for at the operation?
  5. Did other persons witness the incident?
  6. Is other information or evidence (such as photographs) available to help determine whether the violation occurred?
  7. Is there a current risk to other children in care?
  8. Were there any subsequent problems?

The investigator must consult with a supervisor to determine whether an investigation is required. All consultation with the supervisor must be documented in CLASS.

If it is determined that an investigation is not required, the intake report is closed without an investigation.

See also: 6231.3 Intake Reports to Be Closed Without an Investigation (Administrative Closure

 

6275 Incidents Reported by an Operation, Known as Self-Reports

September 28, 2018

 

An intake report is identified as a Self Report if the director, administrator, or other representative of the operation reports an incident that occurred at the operation.

The Licensing staff who processes the intake report must identify the report as a Self Report in CLASS to ensure that the intake report is identified as a Self Report on the Child Care Licensing website.

Procedure

In CLASS, the staff identifies an intake report as a self-report by checking the Self Report check box on:

  • the Intake Report page; and
  • the Investigation Main page.

 

6276 Reports Requiring Special Handling

September 28, 2018

 

The following check boxes must be selected either in the intake report or in the investigation in CLASS, as appropriate:

  1. Sensitive
  2. Media Attention
  3. Disaster Relief
  4. H1N1

 

6276.1 Processing Sensitive Intake Reports

September 28, 2018

 

An intake report or investigation is considered sensitive when:

  1. The situation involves a high profile individual such as a judge, legislator, or district attorney;
  2. The situation has significant media interest or coverage; or
  3. A DFPS or HHSC employee is a principal in the situation.

Processing Sensitive Intake Reports in IMPACT

Procedure

SWI staff is responsible for identifying a report (an I&R) in IMPACT as containing sensitive information by selecting the Sensitive Case check box in the I&R.

Processing Sensitive Intake Reports in CLASS

Procedure

A report of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards may be identified as containing sensitive allegations in CLASS.

If the SWI staff selects the Sensitive Case check box in the intake report or I&R in IMPACT, the Sensitive check box is automatically checked in the Intake Report in CLASS.

If the SWI staff did not select the Sensitive Case check box in IMPACT, the investigator may identify the report in CLASS as sensitive by selecting the Sensitive check box in the Intake Report or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware of the sensitive information.

 

6276.2 Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention

September 28, 2018

 

The Media Attention check box is used to indicate when an investigation has received or may receive attention from the media.

Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention in IMPACT

Procedure

SWI staff is responsible for identifying a report (an I&R) in IMPACT as receiving media attention by selecting the Sensitive Case check box in the I&R.

Processing Intake Reports Receiving Media Attention in CLASS

Procedure

A report of may be identified as containing allegations receiving media attention in CLASS by selecting the Media Attention check box on the Intake Report or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware of the media attention.

 

6276.3 Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief

September 28, 2018

 

The Disaster Relief indicators are used to identify intake reports or investigations involving a disaster, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief in IMPACT

Procedure

SWI staff is responsible for identifying a report (an I&R) in IMPACT as involving a disaster by selecting the appropriate Disaster Relief option in the I&R.

Processing Intake Reports Involving Disaster Relief in CLASS

Procedure

A report may be identified as involving a disaster in CLASS by completing the following fields on either the Intake Report page or the Investigation Main page in CLASS depending on when the investigator becomes aware that the report involves a disaster:

  1. Disaster Relief check box
  2. Disaster Type drop-down box
  3. Disaster Name field

 

6276.4 Processing Intake Reports Involving H1N1

September 28, 2018

 

The H1N1 check box is used to indicate when an intake report contains information that either an employee of, or a child in care of, a child care operation has contracted the H1N1 virus. 

Procedure

The Licensing staff may identify that the intake report involves the H1N1 virus by selecting the H1N1 check box on the Intake Report page or on the Investigation Main page in CLASS, depending on when the investigator becomes aware that the report involves the H1N1 virus.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.063

 

6280 Referring a Report of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation for Investigation When New Allegations are Received During an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

A Licensing investigator must immediately refer allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation or death of a child to the DFPS Statewide Intake (SWI) division or to another responsible agency when the investigator becomes aware of the allegations, and determines that the allegations have not previously been reported.

The allegations must be reported regardless of if the child is in care of a regulated operation and if the alleged perpetrator is under the auspices of an operation.

Texas Family Code §261.001

15 TAC §351.503(g)

40 TAC §700.479

Procedure

A Licensing investigator may become aware of new allegations of abuse or neglect of a child through:

  1. an inspection of the operation; 
  2. an investigation of a violation of minimum standards;
  3. a media outlet; or
  4. a call to the Licensing office.

The following chart shows which investigating agency to refer a report of abuse or neglect of a child, depending on the relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child. 

If the person alleged to have abused or neglected the child is: Refer to:
A person working under the auspices of an operation, including a foster parent who is providing care to a related child in care;
A person who does not have a familial relationship, but lives in the same household as the child;
A caregiver related to the child through either a biological or adoptive relationship, according to HRC 42.002(16); or
A person employed by a school, including a school located on the same campus as a regulated operation.
SWI (DFPS)
A person who does not work under the auspices of an operation, does not live in the same household as the child, does not have a familial relationship with the child, and is not an employee of a school. Law enforcement
A person employed by a hospital or nursing home, including an acute unit located on the same campus as a regulated operation. HHSC Long-Term Care
A person employed at a home or operation regulated by another state agency. The state agency which regulates the operation

Texas Human Resources Code §42.002(16)

 

6300 Preparing for the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

 

6310 Preparing the Investigation in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Investigators must complete certain tasks in CLASS in preparation of initiating the investigation.

 

6311 Progressing an Intake Report to an Investigation in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator progresses an intake report to an investigation in CLASS once the investigator or supervisor determines that the information in the intake report is subject to investigation.

 

6312 Reviewing the Intake Report Narrative and Determining the Allegations

September 28, 2018

 

After being assigned an investigation, the investigator must review the Allegation Narrative in the Intake Report in CLASS. The investigator reviews the narrative to identify each allegation of a violation of law, administrative rule, or minimum standard.

Following the review of the Allegation Narrative, the investigator enters the following information in CLASS:

  • a summary of the allegations; and
  • the specific statutes, administrative rules, and minimum standards to evaluate during the investigation. 

Procedure

The investigator must review the Allegation Narrative before initiating the investigation and complete the CLASS entries before linking the investigation to an inspection form in CLASS. The summary of the allegations and the laws, rules, and minimum standards being evaluated is automatically entered on CLASS Form 2936 Child-Care Facility Inspection once the investigator links the investigation to an inspection.

 

6312.1 Writing the Allegation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator documents a concise summary describing each allegation that the investigator must investigate under the Allegations section on the Investigation Main page in CLASS.

Procedure

When writing an allegation, the investigator avoids:

  1. including first and last names of children or adults;
  2. including other identifying information of children, including, but not limited to, specific age or gender;
  3. using abbreviations of words or phrases;
  4. using internal jargon, such as “victim”; and
  5. using inflammatory or prejudicial words or phrases.

When writing an allegation, the investigator must:

  • use good grammar and proper spelling; and
  • be concise, yet descriptive.

Examples:

Incorrect: It is alleged that a child was left alone by his caregiver and was crying and afraid.

Incorrect: It is alleged that a 2-year-old male was abandoned and terrified in his classroom by an inattentive teacher.

Acceptable: It is alleged that a caregiver left a young child unattended in a classroom.

 

6312.2 Determining Which Minimum Standards to Evaluate

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must evaluate an operation’s compliance with applicable statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards during each investigation.

Procedure

To evaluate applicable statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards, the investigator adds the laws, rules, or minimum standards to the Add/View Allegation page in the CLASS investigation. The laws, rules, and minimum standards that the investigator chooses to evaluate are based on:

  • the alleged violations in the narrative of the intake report; and
  • other laws, rules, or minimum standards related to the allegations.

The investigator may not delete a law, administrative rule, or minimum standard from the Add/View Allegation page once the investigation has been linked to an inspection; however, investigators may add laws, rules, or minimum standards to the investigation if the investigator obtains new information about possible violations during the course of an investigation.

 

6320 Contacting the Reporter

September 28, 2018

 

If necessary, the investigator contacts the reporter before the initiation of the investigation to:

  1. clarify the details of the intake report;
  2. obtain additional information that the reporter may have; and
  3. determine the location of the children involved in the report, if the intake report does not contain this information.

Procedure

It may not be necessary to contact the reporter if the reporter:

  1. is an employee of the operation;
  2. has no direct knowledge of the incident being reported; and
  3. is reporting the incident to fulfill professional reporting obligations.

Contact with the reporter may not be considered to be the initiation of an investigation unless:

  • the investigation is prioritized as a P5: Desk Review and the reporter (i.e. operation) provides new information;
  • the reporter is a representative of a child-placing agency and the investigation is prioritized as a P5: Internal Investigation; or
  • the district director or program administrator gives approval. 

See 6413.1 Initiating an Investigation Assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3, 6413.2 Initiating an Investigation Assigned a Priority 1 or 2 Involving an Allegation of a Child with a Serious Injury, and 6413.3 Initiating an Investigation Assigned a Priority 5.

 

6330 Assessing the Immediate Safety of Children

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must assess both:

  • the immediate safety of children involved in the investigation; and
  • the safety of other children being cared for by the operation.

If the investigator identifies a threat to the safety of any child in care, the investigator must take steps to ensure the child’s safety by requesting the operation implement a safety plan.

The investigator continues to evaluate the safety of children in care throughout the investigation. The investigator takes steps to ensure children’s safety if the investigator determines a child is not safe at any point during the investigation. 

 

6331 Evaluating the Need for a Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator identifies possible threats to children’s safety by:

  1. reviewing the information in the intake report;
  2. considering any additional information gathered before the initiation; and
  3. considering additional information gathered during the course of the investigation.

If, at any point during the investigation, the investigator determines that a child in care of the operation is not safe, the investigator may determine that:

  • a safety plan is necessary; or 
  • an existing safety plan must be amended.

 

6331.1 Defining Child Safety

September 28, 2018

 

Safety refers to the threat of harm presented to a child at the current time.

A child is considered safe when:

  • there is no immediate threat of harm to the child; or
  • there was immediate threat of harm to the child, but the operation or caregiver has demonstrated sufficient protective capacity to keep the child from being harmed.

A child is considered unsafe when:

  • there is an immediate threat of harm to the child; and
  • the caregiver or operation does not demonstrate sufficient protective capacities to keep the child from being harmed.

 

6331.2 Determining Safety

September 28, 2018

 

To determine whether a child is safe or unsafe, the investigator must evaluate:

  1. the immediacy and severity of the threat;
  2. the child’s vulnerability; and
  3. the caregiver or operation’s capacity to protect the child.

Procedure

Before the initiation and throughout the investigation, the investigator considers the following questions:

Immediate Safety Threat

  • Does the information in the intake report indicate that a safety threat poses an immediate threat of harm to a child without intervention?
  • Does the caregiver involved in the allegation have unsupervised access to children?  Does the caregiver’s access to children pose a safety threat?

Protective Capacities

  • Has the caregiver or operation failed to protect the child since the alleged incident occurred?

Child Vulnerability

  • Do the allegations involve children under the age of 6?
  • Are there multiple children involved in the allegation?
  • Do the allegations involve children with special needs or who are otherwise vulnerable?

If the investigator answers yes to any of the questions, a safety plan is likely warranted.

 

6332 Requesting a Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

Upon identifying a child is unsafe, the investigator must:

  • immediately notify the operation about the nature of the threat to child safety; and
  • request that the operation implement a safety plan to minimize the threat to child safety. 

 

6332.1 Requesting a Safety Plan Outside of an Inspection

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If an investigator identifies a child is unsafe before initiation or at some other point outside of an inspection, the investigator must:

  1. contact the operation immediately;
  2. explain to the operation the nature of the safety threat; and
  3. request that the operation develops and implements a safety plan to minimize the threat to the child or children in care.

The investigator requests that the operation submit a written safety plan (an electronic copy is sufficient). A copy of the signed safety plan must be filed in the operation’s file. 

If the investigator’s first contact with the operation is to request a safety plan, the investigator must also follow the procedures outlined in 6340 Notifying the Operation of an Investigation.

 

6332.2 Requesting a Safety Plan During an Inspection

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

When an investigator identifies a child is unsafe during an inspection, the investigator must address the threat with the person in charge at the time of the inspection.

If the person in charge, or their designee, states the safety plan to the investigator during the inspection, the investigator requests the operation submit a written summary outlining the plan that both parties agreed to during the inspection.

 

6332.3 Operation Requests Assistance with Developing Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If the operation requests assistance with developing a safety plan, the investigator:

  1. consults with the supervisor, as necessary, and the operation to develop a safety plan;
  2. ensures that the operation understands the conditions of the safety plan; and
  3. provides a copy of the safety plan to the operation.

 

6332.4 Requesting that an Operation Cease Operating (Day Care Homes Only)

September 28, 2018

 

An investigator or supervisor may request that a child day care home (either a permitted home or an illegal operation) cease operating if the investigator or supervisor have concerns about children’s safety, including when the permit holder or primary caregiver of an illegal operation refuses or is unable to remove a person whose background check resulted in a match that prohibits the person from being present while children are in care.

Procedure

If the investigator determines a child day care home should cease operating, the investigator must: 

  1. Receive supervisory approval before notifying the provider; and
  2. Notify the provider as soon as possible during the investigation, either outside of or during an inspection. 

An agreement from the child day care home provider to cease operating is considered a safety plan.

 

6332.5 Operation Refuses to Develop a Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

If the operation refuses to develop a safety plan, the investigator must notify his or her supervisor. This includes situations in which:

  • an operation continues to allow a person to have contact with children when Licensing has made the determination that the person’s continued contact with children poses a safety threat; or
  • a child day care home provider refuses to cease operating despite Licensing’s determination that the provider’s continued operation poses a safety threat to children.

Procedure

If the operation or provider refuses to develop a safety plan, the supervisor: 

  1. considers citing relevant deficiencies and taking enforcement action;
  2. notifies the district director or program administrator; and 
  3. works with the Licensing attorney to consider immediate legal action, including an emergency suspension and closure as described in Human Resources Code §42.073 or any other appropriate action.

See 7200 Handling Immediate Danger to Children.

 

6333 Approving the Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must evaluate the safety plan to ensure the plan includes all of the following:

  1. The actions the operation has agreed to take to ensure the safety of children; 
  2. The date the safety plan is to be implemented; and
  3. The person at the operation responsible for implementing the safety plan.

Procedure

The investigator approves the safety plan when the operation:

  1. has agreed to implement measures to ensure the safety to children;
  2. specifies a date the operation must implement the plan; and
  3. specifies a person responsible for implementing the safety plan.

All tasks in the plan must relate directly to the children’s immediate safety and must not contradict existing court orders.

 

6333.1 Plan Does Not Minimize Safety Threat

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If at any point during the investigation the plan that the operation submits does not adequately minimize the threat, the investigator informs the operation and:

  • requests that the operation develop additional safety measures to minimize the threat; or
  • makes additional recommendations to ensure that the safety plan minimizes the threat. 

If the investigator is unable to approve the safety plan and the operation is not responsive to the investigator’s request to enhance the plan, the investigator follows the steps in 6332.5 Operation Refuses to Develop a Safety Plan. 

 

6334 Documenting the Safety Plan in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

If the operation implements a safety plan, a summary of the safety plan must be documented in the CLASS investigation.

Procedure

The investigator documents that a safety plan is in effect on the Risk Factors page or as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS investigation. The investigator documents a summary of the safety plan, including:

  1. the actions the operation has agreed to take, including any additional safety measures if added to the plan during the course of the investigation;
  2. the dates the plan is in effect; and
  3. the person responsible for ensuring the operation implements the plan. 

A copy of the safety plan is filed in the operation’s file.

 

6335 Ongoing Evaluation of the Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the safety plan throughout the course of the investigation to ensure the plan is effectively minimizing the threat to children in care.

Procedure

If the plan does not adequately minimize the immediate safety threat, the investigator must follow the steps in 6333.1 Plan Does Not Minimize Threat.

If the operation does not comply with the safety plan, the investigator must follow the steps in 6332.5 Operation Refuses to Develop a Safety Plan.

 

6336 Ending the Safety Plan

September 28, 2018

 

A safety plan ends when:

  1. the investigator determines that the safety threat has been sufficiently minimized;
  2. another safety plan is implemented that overrides the existing safety plan; 
  3. legal action such as emergency suspension or closure has taken place; or
  4. the investigation is completed.

Procedure

When a safety plan ends before the completion of the investigation, the investigator:

  • notifies the operation that the plan is no longer needed; and
  • documents the reason the plan is no longer needed. 

 

6340 Notifying the Operation of an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must notify the applicant, permit holder, director, or person in charge at the operation when an investigation is being conducted.

40 TAC §745.8441

Procedure

During the first contact the investigator has with the operation, the investigator must inform the administrator or director:

  1. about the purpose of the investigation and nature of the allegations;
  2. whether a safety plan is needed; and
  3. that the operation must not conduct any interview about the alleged incident with staff, children, or witnesses at the operation who may have knowledge of the incident.

 

6340.1 Methods of Notifying the Operation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator may notify the operation via phone, email, inspection, or inspection form depending on the circumstances.

Notifying the Operation Outside of an Inspection

Procedure

The investigator may notify the applicant, permit holder, director, or administrator of the operation of the investigation outside of an inspection if the investigator needs to contact the operation to request additional information or request a safety plan before conducting an inspection.

40 TAC §745.8443

Notifying the Operation by Inspection or Inspection Form

Procedure

The investigator notifies the director or administrator of the operation of the nature of the investigation in person if the director or administrator is present at the time of the inspection.

If the director or administrator is not present at the time of the inspection, the investigator may leave a copy of CLASS Form 2936 Child-Care Facility Inspection at the operation. The investigator may use the Inspection Form to notify the operation in lieu of another type of contact as long as the inspection form contains a written description of the allegations being investigated and the minimum standards being evaluated for compliance. See 6312 Reviewing the Intake Report Narrative and Determining the Allegations.

The investigator follows up with the director or administrator, if the investigator determines that the operation should develop a safety plan.

 

6340.2 Exceptions to Notifying the Operation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator may delay notifying the director or administrator of the operation about the nature of the investigation if:

  • the allegations are against the director or administrator; or
  • the investigator has reason to believe that the notification may compromise the investigation.

40 TAC §§745.8441; 745.8443

Procedure

If the investigator determines that the notification to the operation should be delayed, the investigator must:

  1. obtain supervisory approval;
  2. document the decision and the supervisory approval as a contact in CLASS; and
  3. notify the director or administrator of the operation as soon as the investigator determines the investigation will no longer be compromised.

 

6400 Conducting the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

 

6410 Initiating the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

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

  • collect additional information regarding the child’s safety; and
  • guide the next steps of the investigation.

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

  1. the immediacy of the risk;
  2. severity of the possible harm to the child; and
  3. extent to which the method protects the integrity of the investigation.

 

6411 Defining What Constitutes an Initiation

September 28, 2018

 

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

Initiation is not necessarily the first contact the investigator makes. To qualify as the initiation of the investigation, the contact must result in the investigator obtaining new or pertinent information.

 

6412 Time Frames for Initiation

September 28, 2018

 

The time frame for initiating an investigation varies, depending on the priority of the investigation.

The time frame for initiating a Priority 1 investigation is based upon the time that Statewide Intake or the Licensing office received the intake report. The time frame for initiating all other investigations is based upon the date that SWI or the Licensing office received the intake report.

See Appendix 6000-1 Time Frames for Investigations.

 

6412.1 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 1 (P1) Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must initiate a Priority 1 investigation as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the time that SWI or the Licensing office received the intake report.

 

6412.2 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 2 (P2) Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must initiate a Priority 2 investigation as soon as possible, but no later than five days after the day that SWI or the Licensing office received the intake report.

 

6412.3 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 3 (P3) Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

An investigator must initiate a Priority 3 investigation as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the day that SWI or the Licensing office the intake report.

 

6412.4 Time Frame for Initiating a Priority 5 Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

An investigator must initiate a Priority 5 investigation as soon as possible, but no later than five days after the day that SWI or the Licensing office received the intake report.

 

6413 Methods of Initiation

September 28, 2018

 

 

6413.1 Initiating an Investigation Assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3 

September 28, 2018

 

For a Priority 1, 2, or 3 investigation, the investigator may initiate the investigation by making:

  1. face-to-face contact with a child involved in the allegation (required for P1 and P2 investigations if the child is alleged to have a serious injury);
  2. face-to-face contact with an adult involved in the allegation;
  3. face-to-face contact with a significant collateral source; or
  4. an unannounced inspection.

The investigator must receive supervisory approval to initiate the investigation by any other manner. The approved method of initiation must be documented in the investigation.

See 6414 Documenting the Initiation

 

6413.2 Initiating an Investigation Assigned a Priority 1 or 2 Involving an Allegation of a Child with a Serious Injury

September 28, 2018

 

If a Priority 1 or Priority 2 intake report alleges that a child involved in the allegation has a serious injury, the investigator initiates the investigation by making a face-to-face contact with the child, adhering to the appropriate initiation time frame so that the child’s injuries (or lack of injuries) can be photographed in a timely fashion.

If the investigator is unable to photograph the injuries in a timely manner, the investigator: 

  1. notifies the supervisor; and
  2. documents the reason the injuries could not be photographed in a timely fashion as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

 

6413.3 Initiating an Investigation Assigned a Priority 5

September 28, 2018

 

For investigations assigned a Priority 5: Desk Review, the investigator may initiate the investigation with a phone call or email to the operation.

For investigations assigned a Priority 5: CPA Internal Investigation, the investigator initiates the investigation according to the procedures in 6511.1 Receiving and Assigning the Report.

For investigations assigned a Priority 5: Illegal Operations with no other allegations (day care only), the investigator initiates the investigation according to the procedures in 6533 Initiating the Investigation of an Illegal Operation.

 

6414 Documenting the Initiation

September 28, 2018

 

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

Procedure

The investigator enters the following information in the Initiation of Investigation section on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS:

  1. The date of the initiation in the Date Initiated field;
  2. The method of initiation in the Initiation Type field; and
  3. The role of the person with whom the initiation contact was made in the To/With field.

The investigator documents the following in the Narrative Summary of Information Obtained field:

  • The name of the person, operation, or entity with whom the initiation contact was made; and
  • A summary of the information relevant to the investigation that was obtained during the initiation, including the new and pertinent information that was learned.

If the investigator initiated the investigation using a method that requires consultation and approval from a supervisor, district director, or program administrator, the investigator also documents in the Initiation of the Investigation section:

  1. the reason why the method of initiation was used;
  2. name of the approver; and
  3. date the approval was obtained.

 

6420 Conducting Interviews

September 28, 2018

 

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

A principal includes:

  1. anyone directly involved in the incident being investigated; and
  2. all household members of an agency foster home

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

  1. the incident being investigated;
  2. children and adults who were involved in the incident; or
  3. type of care and supervision provided at the operation.

Procedure

The investigator must document a summary of each interview or attempted interview as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. If the investigator cannot locate any principal or collateral, the investigator must document attempts to locate the person.

The investigator must document the contact as soon as possible, but no later than the day following the date of the interview or attempted contact.

 

6421 Observing and Interviewing Children

September 28, 2018

 

Whenever possible, the investigator must observe and interview all children directly involved in the incident in person.

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

 

6421.1 Interview Takes Place Before Receipt of Intake Report

September 28, 2018

 

If conducting a joint investigation along with another governmental agency and another professional, such as an investigator from the Department of Family and Protective Services, a worker from a children’s advocacy center, or a law enforcement officer, has already interviewed a child about the same allegations by the time the investigator receives the intake report, the investigator:

  1. requests a copy of the recording, a transcript, or detailed documentation of the interview;
  2. reviews the interview recording or notes to assess whether all of the allegations were addressed in the interview; and
  3. documents a contact in CLASS, including a summary of the interview and a statement explaining who conducted the interview.

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

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

 

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

September 28, 2018

 

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

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

 

6421.21 Obtaining a Child Care Provider’s Consent Before Interviewing a Child

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If the child care provider is present during an inspection or investigation, the investigator must obtain written consent to interview any biological or adopted children of the provider who are in care at the operation. The investigator:

  1. obtains consent using Form 2898 Consent to Interview Children of Providers; and
  2. files the completed Form 2898 Consent to Interview Children of Providers in the operation’s file.

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

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

If a provider instructs the investigator to stop interviewing the provider’s child, the investigator must comply. 

The provider may withdraw consent for interviews and inspections at any time, and the investigator must comply with any withdrawn consent. 

The investigator documents whether consent was granted, refused, or withdrawn as a contact in CLASS.

 

6421.22 Determining Whether to Seek a Court Order to Interview a Child of a Child Care Provider

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

  • a provider refuses to allow his or her biological or adopted child to be interviewed; and 
  • the child’s information could be necessary to determine the outcome of an investigation.

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

 

6421.23 Obtaining Separate Consent When Conducting Investigations with Other Entities

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

The investigator identifies himself or herself separately by:

  • presenting an HHSC-issued ID badge; and  
  • stating his or her specific role in the investigation.

If the parent or provider grants consent to DFPS or law enforcement, but does not grant consent to Licensing, the investigator must not interview the child and continue conducting other investigation activities.

 

6421.3 Notifying a Parent of a Child Interviewed During an Investigation (Day Care Only)

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

An investigator must notify a child’s parent, guardian, or managing conservator that the investigator interviewed the child during an investigation. The investigator notifies the parent by:

  1. mailing a notification letter (Form 2866) to the parent’s residential address;
  2. leaving a notification letter (Form 2866) for the parent at the operation;
  3. providing verbal notification to the parent via phone call, face-to-face contact, or by leaving a message on a voice mail service; or
  4. providing notification via email to the child’s CPS conservatorship (CVS) caseworker, if the child is in DFPS substitute care.

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

 

6421.4 Age and Ability Requirements for Observing and Interviewing Children

September 28, 2018

 

Observing Children with No Verbal Ability

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

  • chronological age; or
  • developmental level.

The investigator should observe children who are collateral contacts and who have no verbal ability as necessary to assess the care that the operation is providing to other children in care of the operation.

Procedure

The investigator must document observations of each child as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. The contact must include a brief statement describing the investigator’s observation of the child.

Interviewing Children with Limited Verbal Ability

Investigators must attempt to interview each identified principal and collateral contact if the child:

  • is at least 3 years of age; and
  • has some verbal ability.

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

Procedure

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

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

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

 

6422 Interviewing Adults

September 28, 2018

 

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

  1. all adults directly involved in the incident;
  2. other adults who may have witnessed the incident;
  3. other adults who may have knowledge of the incident;
  4. other adults who may be able to provide information regarding the type of care and supervision provided at the operation; and
  5. other adults who may be able to provide information regarding the behaviors, level of functioning, and emotional state of any children involved in the investigation.

 

6422.1 Interviewing Adults Who are Principal and Collateral Sources

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must interview all adults who were directly involved in the incident being investigated as well as other adults (collateral sources) who may have knowledge of the incident or of the children involved.

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

  1. employees of the operation;
  2. household members;
  3. director, administrator, case manager, or other representative of the operation;
  4. neighbors;
  5. school personnel, medical personnel, law enforcement, first responders, therapists, or other professionals; and
  6. parents, guardians, or managing conservators of the victims or the children interviewed.

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

 

6423 Recording Interviews

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing staff are not required to digitally record interviews during an investigation. If the investigator chooses to record a person interviewed face-to-face, the investigator must inform the person that the interview is being recorded at the beginning of the interview.

The recording of the interview must be accurate, unaltered, and without interruption.

The investigator documents a summary of the interview, as well as that the interview was recorded as a contact in the investigation.

 

6423.1 Testing the Recording Equipment

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

 

6423.2 Authenticating the Recording

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

  1. investigator’s first name, last name, and job title;
  2. month, day, year, and time of the interview;
  3. CLASS investigation number;
  4. location of the interview;
  5. first and last name and the role of any other person present during the interview; and
  6. a statement that the interview is being recorded.

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

  • first and last name;
  • identifying information, such as age or date of birth, depending on the age and ability of the person being interviewed.

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

 

6423.3 Storing Audio Files on Digital Storage

September 2019

 

Procedure

All audio recordings must be uploaded to the CCL Digital Storage site in the same manner as described in 1432 Digital Storage of Photographs, Video, and Scanned Information for Inspections or Investigations.

When uploading audio files to the Digital Storage site, the investigator must identify the investigation number and interviewee by naming each audio file according to the following convention:

  1. CLASS investigation number;
  2. first letter of first name; and
  3. full last name.

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

Example:

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

The investigator labels the audio file and stores the file within the inspection or investigation folder for the operation.

The investigator may store audio files in the same folder as digital photographs or videos.

 

6424 Requesting a Courtesy Interview

 

September 28, 2018

 

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

Procedure

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

  1. advises the secondary investigator of what information and questions to address in the courtesy interview;
  2. requests detailed information about the interview, including any recordings or interview notes after the courtesy interview has taken place;
  3. maintains contact with the secondary investigator until all information regarding the courtesy interview is received; and
  4. documents the interview as a contact in CLASS, including a statement of who conducted the interview.

The secondary investigator:

  • documents the interview in an email to the primary investigator who made the request; and
  • adheres to all required time frames for conducting the interview.

 

6425 Interviewing Persons with Limited English Proficiency

September 28, 2018

 

A person is identified as having limited English proficiency (LEP) if the person cannot read, write, speak, or understand English without assistive language services because the person:

  • does not speak English as their primary language; or
  • has a speech or hearing impairment.

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

Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI

Procedure

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

  • is able to communicate his or her knowledge of or role in the incident being investigated;
  • has the information necessary for the person to be able to understand the investigation process, the outcome, and due process rights, if applicable.

 

6425.1 Using an Interpreter to Conduct an Interview

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

An investigator who is unable to communicate with a person with LEP must:

  • make arrangements for an interpreter to be present during the scheduled interview; or
  • contact an approved interpreter service available through HHSC Communication Services.

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

  • professionally trained as an interpreter; or
  • an HHSC staff person who is fluent in the person’s primary language.

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

 

6425.2 Documenting the Use of Interpretation Services

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

  1. any offer the investigator made to provide an interpreter;
  2. acceptance or refusal of interpreter services by person with LEP;
  3. use of an interpreter;
  4. interpreter’s name;
  5. interpreter’s relationship (if any) to the person;
  6. interpreter’s professional affiliation;
  7. use of communication aids (such as a communication board and pictures); and 
  8. investigator’s ability to communicate in the person’s primary language.

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

 

6430 Conducting Inspections

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must conduct an unannounced inspection for all investigations assigned a Priority 1, 2, 3, or 4.

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

40 TAC §§745.8401; 745.8403745.8407

 

6431 Requirements for Conducting Unannounced Inspections

September 28, 2018

 

 

6431.1 Inspection Time Frame Priority 1 or Priority 2 Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

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

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

 

6431.2 Inspection Time Frame for Priority 3 Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

For investigations assigned a Priority 3, the investigator must conduct an unannounced inspection at the operation that is the subject of the investigation as soon as possible and no later than 30 days following the date that SWI or the Licensing office received  the intake report.

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

 

6431.3 Inspection Time Frame for Priority 4 Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

CPA Internal Investigations Reassigned to a Priority 4

For all investigations involving an agency home that are re-assigned to a Priority 4, the investigator must conduct an unannounced inspection at the operation that is the subject of the investigation as soon as possible and no later than 45 days following the date that SWI or the Licensing office received the initial intake report. 

Illegal Operations and Desk Review Investigations Reassigned to a Priority 4

For all other investigations that are re-assigned to a Priority 4, the investigator must conduct an unannounced inspection as soon as possible and no later than 30 days following the date that SWI or the Licensing office received the initial intake report.

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

 

6431.4 Inspection Not Required for Priority 5 Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

For all investigations assigned a Priority 5, the investigator does not conduct an inspection at the operation that is the subject of the investigation. 

If the investigator determines that an inspection is necessary, the investigator changes the priority to a Priority 4 as soon as possible during the investigation. 

See:

6511.4 Reclassifying an Investigation of an Agency Home as Priority 4

6534.2 Conducting an Investigation of an Illegal Operation Assigned a Priority 5 (DC Only)

6540.2 Reclassifying a Desk Review Investigation as a Priority 4

 

6432 Documenting the Observations Made During the Inspection

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

For every inspection conducted during the investigation, the documentation in the narrative box must include:

  1. the date the inspection was conducted;
  2. whether the inspection was announced or unannounced; and
  3. specific observations of the operation and specific area in which the incident being investigated occurred; 

 

6440 Collecting Evidence

September 28, 2018

 

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

The collection of evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  1. interviews with principal and collateral sources;
  2. digital audio or video recordings of interviews;
  3. written statements;
  4. original and computer generated notes;
  5. photographs;
  6. medical records;
  7. law enforcement records; 
  8. operation records; and
  9. any other physical evidence or document relevant to the allegation.

Procedure

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

 

6441 Collecting Evidence Related to Interviews

September 28, 2018

 

 

6441.1 Obtaining Written Statements

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator or supervisor may request a written statement in conjunction with an interview of any principal or collateral source. 

Procedure

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

  • compares the written statement to the information provided during the interview for consistency; and
  • asks additional questions or conducts a follow-up interview to address any inconsistencies that the investigator has found.

The investigator files the written statement in the operation’s file and:

  • documents that a written statement was obtained as a contact in the investigation; and
  • includes a summary of the written statement in the narrative.

 

6441.2 Maintaining Investigation Notes

September 28, 2018

 

Investigation notes, whether handwritten notes that the investigator originally recorded on paper or on a computer or state issued iPhone, include:

  1. interview notes;
  2. drawings, diagrams, or timelines;
  3. notes written on any document related to the investigation, such as a staffing form or intake report.

Notes for an investigation may be destroyed, except when a subpoena or any other legal directive requiring the retention of the notes is received before the notes are destroyed.

Procedure

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

 

6442 Taking Photographs as Evidence 

September 28, 2018

 

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

 

6443 Obtaining Written Documents as Evidence

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator reviews or obtains written documentation if this information is necessary to make a decision regarding the outcome of the investigation, including, but not limited to:

  1. Medical records
  2. Law enforcement reports
  3. DFPS records
  4. Records from the operation
  5. Correspondence

 

6443.1 Obtaining Medical Records

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Depending on the allegations that are the subject of the investigation, the investigator may request a parent or managing conservator release the following types of medical records if they are necessary for the investigator to make a decision regarding the outcome of the investigation:

  1. Records from emergency medical services (EMS)
  2. Emergency room and other hospital records
  3. Records from the child’s primary care physician
  4. Records from a specialist who provides care or treatment to a child
  5. Star Health records

 

6443.2 Obtaining Reports From Law Enforcement as Evidence

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator may request documentation from law enforcement during any investigation in which law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation of the allegations.

Procedure

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

  1. Police report
  2. Photographs taken by law enforcement
  3. Recording or transcript of interview
  4. 911 call
  5. Any other document related to a criminal investigation

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

 

6443.3 Reviewing Documents From DFPS

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

  • the investigation involves a child in conservatorship of CPS; or
  • the investigator is conducting a joint or concurrent investigation with DFPS.

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

  1. Person Detail information
  2. Contact narratives
  3. Legal Actions
  4. Child’s Service Plan
  5. Placement information 
  6. Common Application
  7. Family Tree

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

 

6443.4 Obtaining Documents From the Operation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

  1. a child’s record, including the service plan;
  2. an employee’s record; 
  3. a foster home’s record, including the home screening and Form 2954 Child Care Licensing Family Violence Calls Disclosure;
  4. training curriculum; 
  5. operational policy;  
  6. incident reports; and
  7. video surveillance. 

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

40 TAC §745.8419

 

6443.5 Maintaining Records of Correspondence

September 28, 2018

 

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

 

6443.51 Documenting and Maintaining Email Correspondence

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

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

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

 

6443.52 Documenting and Maintaining Written Correspondence

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator may generate written correspondence in CLASS or outside of CLASS. The investigator may also receive written correspondence during the course of an investigation.

The investigator handles written correspondence in the following manner:

  • The investigator does not print any written correspondence that is generated or stored in CLASS and does not need to file the correspondence in the external record.
  • For all written correspondence located outside of CLASS, the investigator:
    1. documents a summary of the correspondence in a contact narrative on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS; and
    2. files a copy of the correspondence in the operation’s file.

 

6443.53 Documenting and Maintaining Voicemails and Texts

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

  1. originator and receiver;
  2. date and time of the communication; 
  3. type of message (text or voicemail); and
  4. a brief summary of the message to document the transaction.

 

6450 Conducting Surveillance (Day Care Only)

September 28, 2018

 

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

  1. a program or caregiver is subject to regulation;
  2. an operation is complying with a safety plan that requires the operation to cease operating;
  3. an operation is providing care to more children than the permit allows; or 
  4. allegations of violations of minimum standards have a factual basis.

Procedure

An investigator must receive supervisory approval to conduct surveillance. The investigator must document all decisions regarding conducting surveillance as a contact on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

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

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

 

6460 Handling Obstruction of an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

 

6461 Obstruction by the Operation

Revision 18-1; Effective August 2018

 

Procedure

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

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

40 TAC §§745.8401; 745.8415; 745.8417

Human Resources Code §42.04412

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

40 TAC §745.8425

 

6462 Obstruction by Regulated Operations

Revision 18-1; Effective August 2018

 

Procedure

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

 

6463 Obstruction by Unregulated Operations

September 28, 2018

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

  1. any evidence of violation of the Human Resources Code or Texas Administrative Code;
  2. any observed hazards to children or situations that would be a violation of standards if the operations were registered or licensed; and
  3. any child care practice that puts children at risk.

See:

6530 Investigations of Illegal Operations

6539 Documentation of Investigations of Illegal Operations

 

6500 Special Considerations for Certain Types of Reports

September 28, 2018

 

 

6510 Investigations Involving Homes Regulated by a Child-Placing Agency (CPA)

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing investigates certain allegations of minimum standards violations in agency homes verified or approved by child-placing agencies (CPAs), which includes homes regulated by private CPAs and the Department of Family and Protective Services’ Child Protective Services (CPS) division.

 

6510.1 Allegations and Incidents that Licensing Must Investigate

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Licensing staff must investigate the following in CPA offices, verified foster homes, and approved adoptive homes:

  1. A verified foster home with a known history of response by law enforcement to a family violence call at the home;
  2. Allegations involving the CPA staff; and
  3. Any reportable serious incident or any reported violation of a minimum standard involving a child under the age of 6, including:
    • a minimum standard that is weighted as high, or that presents a high degree of risk; and
    • any minimum standard regarding discipline, restraints, children’s rights, or supervision, or any combination of these deficiencies.

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

 

6510.2 Allegations and Incidents that Licensing May Investigate

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Licensing staff may investigate the following in verified foster homes and approved adoptive homes:

  1. Incidents of restraint in which a child receives a serious injury;
  2. A pattern of repeated deficiencies in a home or number of homes that the CPA has not been able to correct;
  3. Discipline that may be considered cruel, harsh, or unusual, if it does not meet the statutory definition of “abuse” or “neglect”; and
  4. Child-to-child behavior that does not meet the statutory definition for abuse or neglect, but resulted or may have resulted in harm to a child.

 

6511 Investigations of Minimum Standards Violations Conducted by CPAs

September 28, 2018

 

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

While the allegations of the report reflect possible violations of minimum standards by the home, the report also reflects possible violations of minimum standards by the CPA; therefore, the CPA investigates the allegations concerning the home, and Licensing investigators conduct the investigation regarding allegations involving the CPA. See 6241 Classifying the Priority of the Intake Report.

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

See: 7110 Circumstances That May Call for Enforcement Action

 

6511.1 Receiving and Assigning the Report

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Within five days of receiving an intake report that is to be assigned to a CPA for an internal investigation, the Licensing investigator initiates the investigation by contacting the CPA to notify the CPA of the assignment. The investigator may suggest the CPA use Form 2906 Child Placing Agency Internal Investigation Report.

 

6511.2 CPA Responsibilities

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

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

  • conduct or review and sign-off on investigations completed by the CPA; and 
  • submit an investigation report to the inspector within 30 days of being notified of the investigation. 

When an investigation is conducted by CPS, CPS documents the report in the IMPACT system and places an approval task in the To-Do list in the Licensing investigator’s workload. The Licensing investigator reviews and approves the report in IMPACT and enters the information into CLASS.

TAC 26 §749.101

 

6511.3 Licensing Responsibilities

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator reviews the report for compliance with minimum standards and makes one of the following decisions:

  1. Accepts the report as complete;
  2. Returns the investigation to the CPA if the inspector determines that the investigation is not thorough and includes specific instructions and timelines for the CPA to complete the documentation and return the report; or
  3. Seeks supervisory approval to reclassify the investigation as a Priority 4 (see 6511.4 Reclassifying an Investigation of an Agency Home as a Priority 4).

If the report is accepted, the investigator also:

  1. cites the CPA if the CPA overlooked a deficiency, failed to address a complaint in the investigation, or identifies patterns of violations in the home;
  2. documents the investigation in CLASS according to the policies outlined in 6511.5 Documentation of Investigations by Child-Placing Agencies;
  3. notifies the CPA about the results of the investigation using the CLASS Investigation Letter (see 6700 Documenting the Investigation); and
  4. recommends to his or her supervisor if an enforcement action should be taken against the CPA.

 

6511.4 Reclassifying an Investigation of an Agency Home as a Priority 4

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator may seek supervisory approval to reject the CPA’s report and change a Priority 5: CPA Internal Investigation to a Priority 4: CPA Internal Investigation to complete the investigation and conduct an inspection under the following circumstances:

  1. The investigator determines that the report received is incomplete or unsatisfactory;
  2. The information in the report indicates there is elevated risk; or
  3. CPA fails to provide the report within 30 days of being notified of the investigation.

Before changing the priority from a Priority 5 to a Priority 4, the investigator must complete the fields in the Report/Response Action section on the Investigation Conclusion page as described in 6511.5 Documentation of Investigations Conducted by Child-Placing Agencies.

The investigator then completes an investigation assigned a Priority 4 according to the policy and procedures outlined elsewhere in policy.

See:

6242 Changing the Priority of an Investigation in CLASS

6431.3 Inspection Time Frame for Priority 4 Investigations

 

6511.5 Documentation of Investigations by Child-Placing Agencies

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator documents the following information in CLASS for an investigation assigned to a child-placing agency (CPA) to complete, whether the investigation is completed by the CPA or is completed by the Licensing investigator as a Priority 4 investigation:

  1. Initiation information is documented in the Initiation of Investigation section on the Investigation Conclusion page as follows:
  • The date the CPA was notified of the investigation is documented in the Date Initiated field. 
  • The 30-day due date the CPA has to send the completed investigation report is documented in the narrative box. 
  1. All communication with the CPA or other persons involved in the investigation are documented on the Contact List.
  2. After receiving the CPA’s report, the investigator documents a summary of the CPA’s investigation, including any deficiencies the CPA cited on the home, as a contact on the Contact List.
  3. The investigator documents information about the CPA’s report in the Report/Response Action section on the Investigation Conclusion page as follows:
    1. The investigator documents date the report the investigator received the report in the Report/Response Received field.
    2. The investigator selects Accepted or Rejected from the Final Action dropdown menu.
    3. The investigator documents the date of the action in the Action Date field.
  4. The investigator documents information about the conclusion of the investigation, including the following information, in the Investigation Findings section:
    1. Explanation of the Disposition Based on Preponderance
    2. Recommended Action
    3. Notifications dates
    4. Completion and closure dates 

The investigator documents the following in the Explanation of the Disposition Based on Preponderance statement:

  1. timeliness of the investigation conducted by the CPA; 
  2. thoroughness of the investigation conducted by the CPA; 
  3. the risk to children found as a result of the CPA’s investigation; and
  4. any citations issued as a result of the investigation.

For investigation procedures, see 6510 Investigations Involving Homes Regulated by a Child-Placing Agency (CPA).

 

6520 Investigations of Matches to the Database of Sex Offenders

September 28, 2018

 

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

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

The exception to these procedures is when a child in care is a registered sex offender. Licensing does not conduct an investigation under these circumstances. 

 

6521 Investigating the Match When the Sex Offender’s Offense is Against a Child

September 28, 2018

 

When the batch report review reveals that a person on the report has an address that matches the address of an operation or home and the victim was a child, Licensing staff refer the incident to Statewide Intake (SWI) for investigation by DFPS as Priority 2 (P2) abuse or neglect.

Procedure

Licensing staff must:

  1. call the worker line for SWI support staff;
  2. request that SWI enter the information in the IMPACT case management system as an intake report for abuse or neglect; and
  3. request that SWI enter the report as neglectful supervision by the caregiver (alleged perpetrator).

 

6522 Investigating the Match When the Sex Offender’s Offense is Against an Adult

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

When the batch report review reveals that a person on the report has an address that matches the address of an operation or home and their victim was an adult, Licensing staff must enter an intake report and investigate the information as a Priority 2 (P2) investigation as follows: 

  1. create an intake report in CLASS;
  2. select the Reporter Anonymous checkbox on the Reporter Information page (no other reporter information may be entered for reports based on the sex offender batch report);
  3. prioritize the intake report as a Priority 2 – Serious safety or health hazard;
  4. select the Endangering Person allegation type; and
  5. follow procedures for a Priority 2 investigation.

If the investigator confirms that a listed sex offender resides in the operation, has a relationship with the provider, or otherwise may have contact with children in care, then the permit holder must:

  • have the sex offender relocate to a new address; and
  • ensure the sex offender has no contact with the operation while children are in care.

If the permit holder is unable or unwilling to remove the sex offender from the operation, Licensing must revoke or deny the operation’s permit.

See 7600 Adverse Actions.

See also:

6241 Classifying the Priority of an Intake Report

6400 Conducting the Investigation

 

6530 Investigations of Illegal Operations

September 28, 2018

 

 

6531 Conducting Searches

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Upon receiving information of a possible illegal operation, and before assigning a priority (including a report received through SWI regarding an alleged illegal operation), the investigator searches the following databases in the order listed and by using a variety of parameters, including name, address, and telephone number:

  1. CLASS, to determine whether the operation has a permit or has previously been reported to be operating illegally, or if anyone associated with the operation has a background check.
  2. IMPACT, to determine whether any person associated with the operation is a designated or sustained perpetrator.
  3. The DPS sex offender registry, to determine whether the operation’s address is an exact match to an address listed on the registry or whether any person associated with the operation is listed in the registry.

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

For illegal day care operations, the investigator initiates an Accurint search in accordance with district procedures if no information is available through use of the search methods listed above.

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

See 6221.4 Entering Reports of Illegal Operations.

 

6532 Prioritizing Investigations of Illegal Operations

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing staff must classify reports (including self-reports) of illegal operations using the most appropriate priority description outlined in 6241 Classifying the Priority of the Intake Report. 

 

6533 Initiating the Investigation of an Illegal Operation

September 28, 2018

 

Initiating an Investigation of an Alleged Illegal Operation Assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3

For all investigations of alleged illegal operations assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3, the investigator must initiate the investigation according to the policies outlined in 6410 Initiating the Investigation.

Initiating an Investigation of an Alleged Illegal Operation Assigned a Priority 5

For all investigations assigned a Priority 5: Illegal Operation with No Other Allegations (DC only), the investigator initiates an investigation within five days of the receipt of the intake report. 

If the address or email address of the operation is known, the investigator initiates the investigation by mailing or emailing CLASS Form 2826 Illegal Operations Notification Letter to the operation requesting that the provider contact the investigator by the date listed on the letter (eight days from the date the letter is generated).

If only a telephone number is known, the investigator initiates the investigation by attempting to contact the provider by phone.

 

6534 Conducting the Investigation of an Illegal Operation

September 28, 2018

 

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

 

6534.1 Conducting an Investigation of an Illegal Operation Assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3

September 28, 2018

 

For all investigations of alleged illegal operations assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3, the investigator must conduct the investigation according the policies outlined in 6400 Conducting the Investigation, including conducting an inspection according to the time frames in 6430 Conducting the Inspection.

Procedure

If the investigator determines that the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator follows procedures in 6537 Procedures When an Illegal Operation Is Determined to Be Not Subject to Regulation.

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

  1. assesses the safety of children in care. If any child appears to be at immediate risk of harm at any point in the investigation, the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine the appropriate course of action to ensure the safety of the children. This may include closure of the operation;
  2. advises the operation of the legal requirements for licensing and requests that the provider submit the appropriate application or exemption request form, as applicable, within five days of the date of inspection; and
  3. conducts a follow-up inspection within 15 days of the date the application was provided if the provider has not submitted the application in order to ensure that the operation is either closed or an application is obtained. Staff must obtain supervisory approval if no follow-up inspection is conducted.

 

6534.2 Conducting an Investigation of an Illegal Operation Assigned a Priority 5 (DC Only)

September 28, 2018

 

For all investigations of alleged illegal operations assigned a Priority 5, the investigator attempts to gain sufficient information to determine if the provider is subject to regulation without conducting an inspection.

 

6534.21 Conducting the Investigation of an Illegal Operation When an Address is Known

September 28, 2018

 

Provider Fails to Contact Investigator Within the Required Time Frame (Priority 5 Investigations)

Procedure

When the investigator initiates the investigation by mailing the notification letter to the provider, and the provider fails to contact the investigator by the date listed on the letter, the investigator:

  1. changes the priority to a Priority 4;
  2. conducts an inspection of the operation as soon as possible but no later than 30 days after receipt of intake; and
  3. advises the operation of the legal requirements for licensing and determines whether the operation is subject to regulation.

If the investigator determines that the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator follows procedures in 6537 Procedures When an Illegal Operation is Determined to be Not Subject to Regulation.

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

  1. provides the appropriate application to the operation;
  2. requests that the provider submit the appropriate application or exemption request form, as applicable, within five days of the date of inspection; and
  3. conducts a follow-up inspection within 15 days of the date the investigator provided the operation with the application, if the operation has not submitted the application by that time, in order to ensure that the operation is either closed or applying for a permit.

Provider Contacts the Investigator Within the Required Time Frame (Priority 5 Investigations)

Procedure

If the operation contacts the investigator within the time frame listed on the notification letter, the investigator advises the operation of the legal requirements for licensing and determines if the operation is subject to regulation.

If the investigator determines that the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator follows procedures in 6537 Procedures When an Illegal Operation is Determined to be Not Subject to Regulation.

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

  1. mails the operation Form 2865 Illegal Operation Application Cover Letter with the application attached, or provides the link for electronic submission of an application;
  2. advises the operation it must submit the application or exemption request form within five days of receipt of the application or electronically within five days from the date of contact;
  3. if there is no response to the letter, changes the priority to a Priority 4 and inspects the operation as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the date of the intake;
  4. requests that the provider submit the appropriate application or exemption request form, as applicable, within five days of the date of inspection; and
  5. conducts a follow-up inspection within 15 days after providing the operation with an application form if the operation has not submitted an application, in order to ensure that the operation is either closed or applying for a permit. 

 

6534.22 Conducting Investigations of an Illegal Operation When Only a Phone Number or Email is Known

September 28, 2018

 

When Only a Phone Number is Known

Procedure

When the investigator initiates the investigation by attempting to contact the provider by phone, the investigator conducts the investigation in the following manner:

  1. If the investigator is unable to make contact with the provider, the investigator must attempt at least two more phone contacts during varying times and days within the first 15 days of receipt of the intake. If the investigator is unable to make contact after three attempts, the investigator consults with the supervisor for further instructions.
  2. If the phone number is not in service, the investigation is closed.
  3. When phone contact is successful, the investigator takes the following actions:
    1. If possible, the investigator obtains the address and name of the provider.
    2. If the provider is not cooperative in providing information, the investigator consults with the supervisor for further instructions. 
    3. The investigator determines whether the operation is subject to regulation based upon information from the provider.

When Only an Email Address is Known 

Procedure

When the investigator initiates the investigation by emailing the provider, the investigator conducts the investigation in the following manner:

  1. The investigator copies Form 2826 Illegal Operation Notification Letter into the body of an email and sends it to the operation. 
  2. The investigator closes the investigation if the email is returned as undeliverable. 
  3. The investigator attempts to contact the operation three times within 15 days of the intake. If there is no response after that time, the investigator consults with the supervisor for further instructions. 
  4. When email contact is successful, the investigator takes the following actions:
    1. If possible, the investigator obtains the address and name of the provider. 
    2. If the provider is not cooperative in providing information, the investigator consults with the supervisor for further instructions.
    3. The investigator determines whether the operation is subject to regulation based upon information from the provider.

Determining if Subject to Regulation

Procedure

If the phone or email contact is not successful or the investigator otherwise determines that the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator follows procedures in 6537 Procedures When an Illegal Operation is Determined to be Not Subject to Regulation.

If the investigator determines that the operation is subject to regulation and the investigator knows either the mailing address or email address, the investigator:

  1. mails or emails the operation Form 2865 Illegal Operation Application Cover Letter with the application attached, or provides the link for electronic submission of an application;
  2. advises the operation that it must submit the application or exemption request form within five days of receipt of the application or electronically within five days from the date of contact;
  3. if there is no response to the letter, but the investigator knows the provider’s physical location, the investigator:
    1. changes the priority to a Priority 4 and inspects the operation as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the date of the intake; 
    2. requests that the provider submit the appropriate application or exemption request form, as applicable, within five days of the date of inspection; and
    3. conducts a follow-up inspection within 15 days after providing the operation with an application form if the operation has not submitted an application, in order to ensure that the operation is either closed or applying for a permit.
  4. if there is no response to the letter and the investigator does not know the provider’s physical location, the investigator closes the investigation.

 

6535 Obtaining Consent to Enter an Illegal Operation

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing staff must receive consent to enter from a person legally authorized to grant it before entering an establishment to investigate allegations that it is operating illegally.

Procedure

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

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

If the provider refuses to allow the investigator to enter, the investigator continues with other investigation activities to gain as much information as possible to determine if the operation is subject to regulation. This includes:

  1. observing the outside environment of the establishment; 
  2. conducting surveillance of the establishment;
  3. talking to parents who may be dropping off or picking up children; 
  4. interviewing neighbors; and
  5. interviewing other collateral contacts that may have information. 

 

6535.1 Obtaining a Court Order to Gain Access

September 28, 2018

 

Seeking a court order may be necessary to gain physical access to the operation if the investigator discovers information that indicates children are at risk of harm.

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

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

 

6536 Requesting an Illegal Operation to Cease Operating

September 28, 2018

 

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

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

  1. The number and ages of children in care exceeds the abilities of the provider to provide appropriate care and supervision;
  2. The physical environment poses a risk to the health or safety of children; 
  3. The provider or household member has a criminal, central registry, or sex offender match;
  4. There are allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or
  5. The operation has indicated it is unwilling to submit an application for a childcare permit.

Procedure

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

 

6537 Procedures When an Alleged Illegal Operation is Determined to be Not Subject to Regulation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

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

The investigator: 

  1. documents the reason for closure in the Explanation of the Disposition box on the Investigation Conclusion page; 
  2. documents all contacts and marks each minimum standard that the investigator chose to evaluate as Compliant on the Standards Details page;
  3. documents the recommended action as No action; and
    • completes the risk-factor survey as outlined in 6538 Risk Based Follow-Up Actions for Illegal Operations (DC only); or
    • closes the operation (RC only).

 

6538 Risk Based Follow-Up Actions for Illegal Operation Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

After a Licensing investigator or a DPFS investigator completes an investigation to determine if a provider was operating illegally as a day care operation, but before the Licensing investigator closes the operation in CLASS, the Licensing investigator must complete the risk-factor survey to determine whether to take any follow-up actions based on risk factors found during the investigation.

For more information on Risk-Based Follow-Up Actions for Illegal Operations, see FAQs for Risk Based Follow-Up Actions for Illegal Operations.

 

6538.1 Completing the Risk Factor Survey

September 28, 2018

 

Procedures

The investigator completes the risk-factor survey five days after completing the investigation or five days after the DFPS investigator notifies the Licensing investigator of completion of an investigation to allow time for the operation to submit an application. In the risk-factor survey, the investigator indicates whether any of the following risk factors were identified during the investigation:

  1. Licensing staff had previously cited the operation for operating without a permit.
  2. The DFPS investigator determined that the operation abused, neglected, or exploited a child in the current or a previous investigation.
  3. Licensing staff or the DFPS investigator identified safe-sleep concerns.
  4. The operation was caring for more children than allowed for the type of permit that the operation would require, including any restrictions related to capacity that Licensing placed on the permit.
  5. The operation did not submit an application or follow through with obtaining a permit.
  6. The operation was providing care, but not long enough to be considered subject to regulation. 

If the Licensing investigator determines one or more risk factors are present, the investigator leaves the operation open in CLASS until he or she conducts an appropriate follow-up action.

If the Licensing investigator does not identify any risk factors in the survey, the investigator may close the operation in CLASS. 

 

6538.2 Follow-Up Actions

September 28, 2018

 

Risk Factors That Require a Follow-Up Inspection

If the investigator identified any risk factor during the investigation, he or she creates a manual To-Do in CLASS to conduct a follow-up inspection within three months after the date the investigation was completed. 

If the investigator determines that Licensing has previously cited the operation for operating illegally, he or she also creates a manual To-Do to conduct a second follow-up inspection within six months after the date the investigator completed the investigation.

 

6538.3 Action to Take After the Follow-Up

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing staff takes appropriate action, based on what he or she finds during the follow-up inspection:

If Licensing staff … Then Licensing staff …
Determines that the operation is no longer providing care that is subject to regulation or advertising child care services Closes the operation in CLASS
Determines that the operation is providing care that is subject to regulation Opens a new investigation with an assigned Priority 2: Serious safety or health hazard and cites the operation for operating illegally in the new investigation 
Cannot determine if the operation is providing care that is subject to regulation Opens a new investigation with an assigned Priority 2: Serious safety or health hazard and determines whether to cite the operation for operating illegally in the new investigation 
Determines that the operation is exceeding the capacity allowed on the permit Cites the operation for exceeding capacity and discusses further follow-up actions with a supervisor 

 

6539 Documentation of Investigations of Illegal Operations

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator documents the following information in CLASS for an investigation of an illegal operation:

  1. Initiation information is documented in the Initiation of Investigation section on the Investigation Conclusion page.
  2. All communications with the operation or other persons involved in the investigation are documented on the Contact List.
  3. For all P5 investigations, information about the operation’s response is documented in the Report/Response Action section on the Investigation Conclusion page as follows:
    1. The date the operation’s response to a phone call, email, or letter was received is documented in the Report/Response Received field.
    2. Adequate or Not Adequate is selected from the Final Action dropdown menu.
      • A response is Adequate if the operation:
        • responded with sufficient information for the investigator to determine that the operation is not subject to regulation; or
        • submitted an application to be regulated, and there is no reason to conduct an investigation inspection. 
      • A response is Not Adequate if the operation does not respond with sufficient information to determine whether the operation is subject to regulation.
        For operations with a known address, a Not Adequate response will require a change in priority from a Priority 5 to a Priority 4 and an investigation inspection. 
    3. The date the action is taken is documented in the Action Date field.
  4. Information about the conclusion of the investigation, including the following information, is documented in the Investigation Findings section:
    1. Explanation of the Disposition Based on Preponderance
    2. Recommended Action
    3. Notifications dates
    4. Completion and closure dates

 

6540 Investigations Conducted as Desk Reviews

September 28, 2018

 

With supervisory approval, an investigation is prioritized as a Priority 5: Desk Review when there is a self-report concerning allegations of minor minimum standard violations, and there is no information in the intake report that the parent or guardian has concerns regarding supervision or safety.  

A desk review may include:

  1. making phone calls;
  2. sending or receiving electronic communication; and/or 
  3. requesting documentation via electronic delivery.

The investigator must contact the operation during the investigation and may contact additional collateral sources, if applicable.

 

6540.1 Licensing Responsibilities

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator reviews the information obtained during the investigation and takes one of the following actions:

  1. accepts the response provided by the operation concerning the allegations; or
  2. seeks supervisory approval to reclassify the investigation as a Priority 4 according to procedures in 6540.2 Reclassifying a Desk Review Investigation as a Priority 4.

If the response is accepted, the inspector also:

  1. evaluates whether the operation should receive citations;
  2. documents the investigation in CLASS according to the policies outlined in 6542.5 Documentation of Investigations Conducted as a Desk Review;
  3. notifies the operation about the results of the investigation using the CLASS Investigation Letter (see 6700 Documenting the Investigation).

 

6540.2 Reclassifying a Desk Review Investigation as a Priority 4

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator may seek supervisory approval to change a Priority 5 – Desk Review to a Priority 4 – Desk Review requiring inspection to complete the investigation and conduct an inspection under the following circumstances: 

  • The investigator determines that the response from the operation is unsatisfactory; or
  • The information obtained during the investigation indicates there is elevated risk to children in care and an inspection is needed.

The investigator completes an investigation assigned a Priority 4 according the policy and procedures outlined elsewhere in policy.

See also:

6243 Re-Classifying a Priority 5 Investigation 

6431.3 Inspection Time Frame for Priority 4 Investigations

 

6600 Completing the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigation is complete when the investigator has:

  1. made all necessary contacts;
  2. ensured the safety of the children at the operation; and
  3. determined findings (compliance with or violations of statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards).

See 6400 Conducting the Investigation.

 

6610 Time Frames for Completion of the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Time frames for completing the investigation are based upon the priority assigned to the investigation:

Action Priority 1 Priority 2 Priority 3 Priority 4 Priority 5
Complete investigation 30 days 30 days 60 days 60 days 60 days

See Appendix 6000-1 Time Frames for Investigations

 

6611 Extending Time Frames for Completing an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must obtain supervisory approval for an extension of the time frames for completion.

 

6611.1 Criteria for Requesting Additional Time to Complete the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

A supervisor may approve an extension only when the investigator cannot complete the investigation because of circumstances beyond the investigator’s control, such as unavoidable delays in obtaining crucial information. A supervisor may extend the time frame by 30 days if:

  1. the investigator still needs medical information;
  2. the investigator has not received law enforcement reports; 
  3. an interview with a principal source involved in the investigation has been delayed; or
  4. the investigator is waiting for information from another state agency.

Before approving an extension, the supervisor reviews the investigation and ensures the reason for the extension request meets one of these criteria.

To receive an approval for an extension for reasons other than those listed above, staff obtains approval from the district director or program administrator.

An extension should not be approved for the following reasons:

  • The absence of an investigator
  • A staff shortage

Investigation Activities During the Extension Period

During the extension period, the investigator must attempt to obtain the necessary information for completing the investigation at least once a week and document what efforts the investigator made to obtain the information, unless the entity from whom the investigator is awaiting information requests less frequent contact or has provided an estimated timeframe for being able to provide the requested information.

 

6611.2 Documenting an Extension 

September 28, 2018

 

Following the staffing, the supervisor documents the approval of an extension by completing the required information in the Supervisor Extension Approval field. The narrative box must include the:

  • reason for the extension; and
  • date the extension expires. 

 

6611.3 Obtaining an Additional Extension

September 28, 2018

 

A supervisor may extend the first 30-day extension for the same reasons stated in 6611.1 Criteria for Requesting Additional Time to Complete the Investigation. The new extension should not exceed 30 days. To document approval of a second extension the supervisor enters a contact with the following information:

  1. the date of the staffing with the investigator;
  2. reason for the extension; and
  3. the expiration date of the extension.

During the extension period, the investigator must attempt to obtain the necessary information for completing the investigation at least once a week and document what efforts the investigator made to obtain the information, unless the entity from whom the investigator is awaiting information requests less frequent contact or has provided an estimated timeframe for being able to provide the requested information.

If the investigator needs an extension beyond the second 30-day period, the supervisor must consult with the district director or program administrator to obtain approval for the extension.

 

6620 Determining the Findings

September 28, 2018

 

At the end of the investigation, the investigator determines:

  • whether violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards have occurred; and
  • whether further action is needed.

The investigator may, but is not required to, staff the finding(s) with the supervisor.

 

6630 Notifying the Operation of the Results of an Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

 

6631 Time Frames for Notifying the Operation 

May 17, 2019

 

The investigator notifies the operation of the results of an investigation:

  • within five days after completing an investigation assigned a Priority 1 or 2; or
  • within 60 days of receiving the intake report for an investigation assigned a Priority 3, 4 or 5. 

See Appendix 6000-1 Time Frames for Investigations. 

 

6632 Completing the Investigation Letter or Inspection Form

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must notify the following persons in writing about the results of the investigation: 

  1. the person in charge at the operation; 
  2. the applicant, permit holder, or designee; and 
  3. those as required by Appendix 3000-2: Notifying the Operation. 

Procedure

The Investigation Letter (Form 2896) or the Child Care Facility Inspection (Form 2936) is generated in CLASS and provides the operation with information about the investigation, the findings, confidentiality protections, and next steps for the operation. 

The investigator sends the inspection form in lieu of the investigation letter only when the investigator is able to completely evaluate and make a determination regarding all standards under review at the time of the investigation inspection. In all other circumstances the investigator sends the investigation letter.

The letter or inspection form must include: 

  1. the purpose and date of the investigation; 
  2. evaluation of compliance with applicable statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards; 
  3. citations of violations of statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards; 
  4. corrections needed, if any, and time limit set for corrections, unless the investigation findings may result in revocation, suspension, or denial; 
  5. the requirement for posting the investigation results for child day care (see 4173 Posting the Day Care Inspection Form or Assessment Form); 
  6. a statement explaining the operation’s right to an administrative review and an explanation of the procedures for requesting one; and
  7. the name of the Licensing staff conducting the investigation. 

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(c)

40 TAC §§745.8445; 745.8447

 

6633 Notifying the Reporter of Investigation Results

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator sends notification of the findings to the reporter upon completion of the investigation unless: 

  1. The reporter has indicated that he or she does not want to be notified;
  2. There is a reasonable likelihood that notifying the reporter will jeopardize the reporter's safety; 
  3. The reporter is the person in charge, director, administrator, applicant, permit holder, head of governing body, or designee and will receive notice in another capacity; or
  4. The reporter is anonymous.

See Appendix 3000-2 Notifying the Operation

40 TAC §745.8445

Procedure

The investigator generates Conclusion to Reporter Letter Form 2814 from the Investigation Conclusion page in the CLASS system and sends the letter to the reporter via regular mail.

 

6700 Documenting the Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Investigation records must include the investigation activities and conclusions related to findings with statute, administrative rules, or minimum standards. The investigator must document all activities related to investigations in CLASS.

The investigator must document investigation contacts in CLASS on the same date as the contact or by the next day. 

Procedure

The amount of documentation needed is determined by the complexity of the investigation. Documentation may be brief and succinct, but must adequately describe or explain the investigative activities and evidence collected. 

 

6710 Documentation in the CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Investigators document the following information in the Child Care Licensing Automation Support (CLASS): 

  1. Allegations in the intake report by selecting the correct Allegation Type check boxes; 
  2. A description of the allegation; 
  3. Statute, administrative rules, and minimum standards evaluated as part of the investigation; 
  4. The identity of the agency home that is the subject of the investigation, if the investigation is of an agency foster or group home;
  5. Location of external documentation, including photographs, audio files or video files;
  6. Information about a safety plan on the Risk Factors page or as a contact in the investigation, if applicable;
  7. Victim information, including if the child has been injured;
  8. Staffings and all other consultations; 
  9. All contacts made during the course of an investigation;
  10. An explanation of how the evidence supports the findings; and  
  11. All compliances, deficiencies, findings, and notification dates. 

See:

6250 Assessing an Intake Report for Allegation Types in CLASS

6312.1 Writing the Allegation

6312.2 Determining Which Minimum Standards to Evaluate

6334 Documenting the Safety Plan in CLASS

6724 Investigation Findings

6730 Updating the Person Detail Page

 

6720 Documentation on the Investigation Conclusion Page in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator must document all of the information the investigator used to determine a finding in an investigation in CLASS on the Investigation Conclusion page.

 

6721 Initiation of Investigation Field

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator must complete all pertinent information in the Initiation of Investigation section. See 6414 Documenting the Initiation.

 

6722 Observation Made During Inspection Field

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator documents observations made during an investigation inspection according to the procedures in 6432 Documenting Observations Made During the Inspection.

 

6723 Contact List

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator enters a contact by selecting Add New under the Contact List section of the Investigation Conclusion page. Details of the following types of contacts are entered on the Add/View Contacts page:

  1. Face-to-face contacts;
  2. Telephone conversations and attempted telephone calls;
  3. Correspondence, whether sent or received;
  4. All staffings or consultations; 
  5. Any approvals received from management regarding the investigation; and
  6. Any additional communication, whether verbal or written, pertaining to the investigation.

Face-to-Face Contacts

During the course of an investigation, the investigator should document all face-to-face contacts (including face-to-face interviews conducted or attempted at the operation during the course of an inspection) in the following manner on the Add/View Contacts page in CLASS:

  1. If a face-to-face contact is conducted, choose Face-to-Face from the Contact Type drop-down box.
  2. If a face-to-face contact is attempted but not conducted, the investigator chooses Other from the drop-down box and notes that it was an attempted face to face interview in the subject line of the contact.

For a recorded interview, the investigator enters a summary of the interview in the contact and documents the location of the recording. Documentation regarding children should include the first name and last initial of the child only.

See:

6420 Conducting Interviews

6440 Collecting Evidence

 

6724 Investigation Findings

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator completes the Investigations Findings section on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS for all investigations. 

 

6724.1 Explanation of Disposition Based on Preponderance

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

This documentation explains how the investigator evaluated the evidence and determined whether the operation was in compliance with the relevant standards. The documentation must include a summary of how the specific evidence collected supported or refuted the allegations.

 

6725 Notification Dates

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The following dates are entered:

Notification to Provider – the date CLASS form 2936 or investigation letter was sent to the provider notifying them of the outcome of the investigation and any citations issued. This date must be the same as or later than the Investigation Complete Date.  If the investigation involved an illegal operation with no address, this field is left blank;

Notification to Reporter – the date the notification letter to the reporter was sent. This date must be the same as or later than the Investigation Complete Date. If no notification is required this field is left blank;

Investigation Complete – the date all actions in the investigation were taken and a determination was made. This date must match the Documentation Complete date. 

Documentation Complete – the date that all documentation pertaining to the investigation has been completed. This date must match the Investigation Complete date.

Investigation Closed – the date the investigation is closed in CLASS and no further action regarding this investigation is needed including due process actions for the operation. 

 

6725.1 Extension Approval

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The investigator must enter all pertinent information in the Extension Approval any time an extension has been approved for an investigation. See 6611.2 Documenting an Extension.

 

6730 Updating the Person Detail Page

September 28, 2018

 

By the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator must ensure that identifying information and certain other information has been obtained and updated for all children identified as principals in the investigation. 

Any child identified as a principal in the investigation is listed as a victim on the Investigation Persons list in CLASS.

Procedure

For every principal child identified in the investigation, the investigator enters all Victim/Parent Information on the Investigation Persons Details page in CLASS.  In the Injury Data for Residential and Day Care section, the investigator indicates whether each identified child sustained an injury. If the child sustained an injury, the investigator also documents:

  1. The type of injury
  2. The cause of injury, if known
  3. What the injury was related to, if known
  4. The incident location (whether the child was in care at or away from operation)
  5. Whether the injury was related to abuse or neglect (HHSC staff select “No”)
  6. Whether the injury was determined to be serious or non-serious

See also: 6420 Conducting Interviews

 

6740 Maintaining an Investigation File 

September 28, 2018

 

During investigations, an investigation file is kept separate from the operation record. The investigation file is confidential and may be disclosed only in special situations. 

See: 

8100 Information for General Release

8230 Confidential Information Not for Release to the Public

Texas Government Code, Title 5, Ch. 552, Texas Public Information Act

Procedure

The investigator develops a confidential investigation file that includes notes and documents obtained during the investigation. The materials used in and obtained during the investigation are kept separate from the operation’s case record until after completion of the investigation. Information that is included in CLASS does not have to be included in the investigation file unless it is an item that requires an original signature.

After completion of the investigation, all of the information in the investigation file becomes part of the operation record and is subject to open records requests with confidential information redacted.

 

6800 Recommending Action as a Result of Investigation Findings 

September 28, 2018

 

After a Licensing investigator completes an investigation, the investigator must decide what action to recommend. 

 

6810 Issues to Consider Before Recommending an Action

September 28, 2018

 

Before making a recommendation, the investigator reviews the:

  1. findings of the investigation; 
  2. level of risk to children in care; and 
  3. operation’s compliance history.

If the investigator consults with the supervisor to determine what action to take, the investigator documents the staffing on the Contact List on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS. 

See also Appendix 7000-1: Assessing the Need for Enforcement Action.

 

6820 Actions to Take Following the Investigation of a Regulated Operation

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing may do the following after completing an investigation of a regulated operation:

  1. Take adverse action;
  2. Take corrective action;
  3. Take no action;
  4. Re-evaluate monitoring frequency; or
  5. Do routine monitoring. 

If corrective or adverse action is implemented, Licensing staff follows the policies and procedures outlined in 7400 Corrective Action or 7600 Adverse Actions. 

 

6830 Actions to Take Following an Investigation of an Unregulated Operation

September 28, 2018

 

Licensing may do the following after completing an investigation of an unregulated operation:

  1. If the investigator did not identify risk to children, set time limits for the operation to submit an application; or 
  2. If the investigator identified risk to children, ensure the operation has ceased providing care to children.

As appropriate, the investigator must: 

  1. Follow-up to ensure that the operation has submitted an application or ceased providing care subject to regulation; and
  2. Refer the operation for legal action if the operation continues to care for children and does not submit a timely application. 

See also:

6538 Risk based Follow-Up Actions for Illegal Operation Investigations 

Appendix 7000-1: Assessing the Need for Enforcement Action

Texas Human Resources Code §42.074(a)(2)

 

6840 Documentation in CLASS 

September 28, 2018

 

The investigator documents the recommendation by choosing the correct option from the Recommended Action drop-down field on the Investigation Conclusion page. 

 

6900 HHSC Responsibilities in DFPS Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

6910 Responsibilities of HHSC Licensing Staff

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC Licensing staff work in conjunction with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) child care investigators to complete the regulatory tasks associated with DFPS investigations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in child care facilities regulated by HHSC.

 

6911 HHSC Investigator Responsibilities

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC investigators are responsible for the following activities related to a DFPS investigation, including:

  1. Participating in risk assessments with DFPS;
  2. Evaluating the information DFPS provides to determine whether to cite violations of laws, rules, or minimum standards, and/or whether enforcement actions are necessary;
  3. Notifying the operation and the reporter of the results;
  4. Conducting follow-up inspections for deficiencies;
  5. Seeking injunctions for illegal operations that refuse to cease operating;
  6. Completing the risk factor survey for illegal operations;
  7. Sending notifications to, and closing operations that, DFPS determines are not subject to regulation; and
  8. Closing the investigation in CLASS.

 

6912 HHSC Supervisor and Supervisor Designee Responsibilities

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC supervisors or their designees are responsible for all of the following:

  1. Consulting with DFPS supervisors regarding the downgrade of a DFPS investigation; and
  2. Ensuring that HHSC investigators adhere to responsibilities pertaining to DFPS investigations according to policies and procedures.

 

6920 Reclassifying Intake Reports

September 28, 2018

 

DFPS may determine that the allegations in an intake report do not meet the definition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and downgrade the intake report.

 

6921 Receiving an Intake Report that Has Been Downgraded

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC Licensing staff may receive an intake report that DFPS downgraded if a DFPS supervisor or designee determines the information in the intake report does not indicate a child was abused, neglected or exploited.

Procedure

A DFPS supervisor contacts an HHSC supervisor to discuss the recommendation to downgrade an intake report to a “no priority” (PN). If the HHSC supervisor agrees with the recommendation, DFPS downgrades and closes the report in IMPACT and routes the CLASS intake report to the HHSC router for assignment.

If the HHSC supervisor disagrees with the recommendation to downgrade the intake report, DFPS staff consult the DFPS program administrator or designee for a final decision.

See also 6211 Closing the Report in IMPACT.

 

6930 Risk Assessments for DFPS Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

A risk assessment is a staffing between the HHSC investigator and the DFPS investigator to review the operation’s:

  1. characteristics;
  2. compliance history; and
  3. investigation history.

The purpose of a risk assessment during a DFPS investigation is to:

  1. ensure the continuity in regulatory decisions between DFPS investigative and HHSC Licensing monitoring activities;
  2. ensure that appropriate licensing action is taken to protect children; and
  3. determine the overall safety of children and likelihood of future abuse, neglect or exploitation in the home or operation.

 

6931 Receiving a Request for a Risk Assessment

September 28, 2018

 

The HHSC investigator must respond to a DFPS investigator’s request for a risk assessment within two business days of receiving the request. The HHSC investigator must provide the DFPS investigator all requested information to complete a risk assessment for any operation that is the subject of a DFPS investigation.

The risk assessment may be conducted via face-to-face, phone, or email contact.

 

6940 Citing Deficiencies for a DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC investigators evaluate information collected during DFPS investigations and cite deficiencies as appropriate.

 

6940.1 Possible High Risk Deficiencies Identified During the DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

The DFPS investigator communicates information about possible high risk, plain sight, physical plant, or records/administrative violations to the HHSC investigator.

The HHSC investigator reviews any evidence the DFPS investigator provides to support the possible violations, such as photographs or copies of records, and makes a determination whether to:

  1. Cite by assessment;
  2. Conduct a follow-up inspection to verify the violations in-person; or
  3. Not cite any violations.

The time frame to cite by assessment or conduct an inspection to verify violations is based on the level of risk the possible violations pose to children in care, but must occur no later than 10 days following the date the DFPS investigator notified the HHSC investigator of the possible violation.

If the DFPS investigator provides information about possible violations to HHSC, and the HHSC investigator determines not to cite the operation, the HHSC investigator must obtain supervisory approval and document the basis for that decision as a contact in the investigation prior to closing the investigation.

See also 4200 Citing Deficiencies with an Assessment.

 

6940.2 Possible Deficiencies Identified at the End of the DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

Upon closing the investigation in IMPACT, the DFPS investigator:

  1. transfers the investigation to the HHSC investigator in CLASS;
  2. notifies the HHSC investigator of the disposition; and
  3. communicates information about possible violations to the HHSC investigator.

Within 10 days of the notification, the HHSC investigator evaluates the evidence and:

  1. conducts an inspection to confirm the violations, if needed;
  2. documents compliance information on the Add/View Allegation page in CLASS as follows:
    1. adds the minimum standard regarding the prohibition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child and marks as compliant or deficient, as appropriate;
    2. cites any other violation of minimum standards, rules, or law and provides technical assistance, as appropriate; and
  3. notifies the operation and the reporter of the results of the investigation (see 6970 Notification for a DFPS Investigation).

Citing for Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation in a Listed Family Home

If the DFPS investigator makes a finding of Reason to Believe for abuse, neglect, or exploitation in a listed family home, the HHSC investigator cites Texas Family Code §§261.001(1), 261.001(3), or 261.001(4), as appropriate.

 

6950 Documenting During a DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

If the HHSC investigator made any contact with the operation or another source to evaluate the operation's compliance with minimum standards, rules, or law, the HHSC investigator must document the contact in the DFPS investigation in CLASS.

Procedure

The HHSC investigator notes his or her full first and last name in each contact documented in the CLASS investigation.

See also 6700 Documenting the Investigation.

 

6960 Notifications for a DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

The HHSC investigator is responsible for notifying the following persons of the results of the DFPS investigation:

  • the operation; and
  • the reporter, unless an exception outlined in 6633 Notifying the Reporter of Investigation Results exists.

Procedure

Once the HHSC investigator makes decisions about violations and, if applicable, documents citations in the CLASS investigation, the HHSC investigator notifies the reporter and the operation of the results of the investigation by sending:

  • the CLASS Investigation Letter 2896 from the Investigation Main page to the operation; and
  • the Conclusion to Reporter Letter Form 2814 from the Investigation Conclusion page to the reporter.

The HHSC investigator enters the date the investigator sent the notifications in the Notification to Provider and Notification to Reporter fields on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

See also:

6632 Completing the Investigation Letter or Inspection Form

6633 Notifying the Reporter of Investigation Results

6725 Notification Dates

 

6970 Recommending Actions Following a DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If there are any safety concerns at the conclusion of the DFPS investigation, the HHSC investigator and supervisor meet to:

  • evaluate the safety concerns; and
  • determine what actions to take to ensure there is no immediate threat to the safety of children in care.

 

6970.1 Documenting the Recommended Actions

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If HHSC Licensing staff recommend an action based on safety concerns, the HHSC investigator documents the recommendation as a contact in the investigation. The documentation must include:

  1. an explanation of the recommended action;
  2. the time frame to implement the recommended action; and
  3. the person responsible for implementing the recommended action.

The HHSC investigator selects the appropriate option from the Recommended Action drop-down field on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS.

 

6980 Closing the DFPS Investigation in CLASS

September 28, 2018

 

The HHSC investigator is responsible for closing the DFPS investigation in CLASS.

Procedure

The HHSC investigator closes the investigation by entering the Investigation Closed date on the Investigation Conclusion page in CLASS at the time the operation is notified, if no deficiencies were cited, or when all follow up and due process for deficiencies have been resolved.

 

6990 Special Consideration for DFPS Investigations of Alleged Illegal Operations

September 28, 2018

 

When DFPS determines that an operation that is subject to regulation is operating without a permit, the HHSC investigator is responsible for:

  1. citing the operation for operating without a permit;
  2. conducting a follow-up inspection at the operation to ensure the operation has ceased operating, when applicable; and
  3. completing the risk factor survey.

When DFPS determines that an operation is not subject to regulation, the HHSC investigator is responsible for:

  1. completing the risk factor survey;
  2. notifying the operation and reporter of the investigation results; and
  3. closing the operation in class.

 

6991 Citing an Operation for Operating Without a Permit

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

If a DFPS investigator determines during the course of a DFPS investigation that an operation does not have a permit but is subject to regulation, the HHSC investigator cites the operation by assessment for operating illegally within 10 days of receiving the notification from DFPS.

 

6991.1 Citing an Illegal Operation at the End of a DFPS Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

Procedure

In addition to following procedures in 6940.2 Possible Deficiencies Identified at the End of the DFPS Investigation, the HHSC investigator adds Human Resources Code (HRC) §42.052(c) or §42.052(d), as appropriate, to the Add/View Allegation page in CLASS.

HHSC Previously Cited the Operation for Operating Illegally

If the HHSC investigator previously cited the rule regarding operating illegally via assessment, the HHSC investigator marks the rule as compliant and documents in the narrative that the rule was previously cited.

HHSC Did Not Previously Cite the Operation for Operating Illegally

If the HHSC investigator has not previously cited the operation for operating illegally but determines the operation is subject to regulation, the HHSC investigator cites the rules on the Add/View Allegation page.

 

6992 Seeking an Injunction During an Illegal Operation Investigation

September 28, 2018

 

HHSC Licensing staff is responsible for seeking an injunction if an illegal operation provider is subject to regulation and refuses to cease operating during a DFPS investigation.

See also 7742 Injunction.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.074

 

6993 Completing the Risk Factor Survey

September 28, 2018

 

The HHSC investigator completes the risk-factor survey within five days after the DFPS investigator notifies the HHSC investigator of the completion of any investigation involving an alleged illegal child day care operation.

In the risk-factor survey, the HHSC investigator indicates whether either of the following risk factors were identified during the investigation:

  1. HHSC staff had previously cited the operation for operating without a permit; or
  2. The operation was providing care, but not long enough to be considered subject to regulation.

If either risk factor exists, the HHSC investigator follows the remaining policies and procedures outlined in 6538.1 Completing the Risk Factor Survey, 6538.2 Follow-Up Actions, and 6538.3 Action to Take After the Follow-Up.

 

6994 Notifications for DFPS Illegal Operation Investigations

September 28, 2018

 

The HHSC investigator is responsible for notifying the operation and the reporter of the DFPS investigation results as outlined in 6970 Notifications for a DFPS Investigation. If the operation is not subject to regulation, the HHSC investigator follows the same notification procedures and closes the operation in CLASS.