6500, Special Considerations for Certain Types of Reports

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. 
  2. All communication with the CPA or other persons involved in the investigation are documented on the Contact List.
  3. 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.
  4. The investigator documents information about the CPA’s report in the Report/Response Action section on the Investigation Conclusion page as follows:
    • The investigator documents date the report the investigator received the report in the Report/Response Received field.
    • The investigator selects Accepted or Rejected from the Final Action dropdown menu.
    • The investigator documents the date of the action in the Action Date field.
  5. The investigator documents information about the conclusion of the investigation, including the following information, in the Investigation Findings section:
    • Explanation of the Disposition Based on Preponderance
    • Recommended Action
    • Notifications dates
    • 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 Unregulated Operations

February 2020

 

6531 Conducting Due Diligence Searches

February 2020

Procedure

Upon receiving information of a possible unregulated operation, and before assigning a priority (including a report received through SWI regarding an alleged unregulated 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 without a permit, 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.

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 Unregulated Operations.

 

6532 Prioritizing Investigations of Unregulated Operations

February 2020

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

 

6533 Initiating the Investigation of an Unregulated Operation

February 2020

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

For all investigations of alleged unregulated 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 Unregulated 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 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 a telephone number is known, the investigator may initiate the investigation by attempting to contact the provider by phone.

Licensing staff uses the date they made contact with the operation as the date of the initiation, even if this date is prior to the date the investigation is opened in CLASS.

 

6534 Conducting the Investigation of an Unregulated Operation

February 2020

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 Unregulated Operation Assigned a Priority 1, 2, or 3

February 2020

For all investigations of alleged unregulated 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 Unregulated 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 Unregulated Operation Assigned a Priority 5 (DC Only)

February 2020

For all investigations of alleged unregulated 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 Provider Fails to Contact Investigator Within the Required Time Frame (Priority 5 Investigations)

February 2020

Procedure

When the investigator initiates the investigation by mailing or emailing 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 Unregulated 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.

 

6534.22 Provider Contacts the Investigator Within the Required Time Frame (Priority 5 Investigations)

October 2020

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 having a permit in order to provide regulated child care 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 Unregulated Operation is Determined to be Not Subject to Regulation.

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

  1. mails or emails the operation Form 2865 Unregulated Operation Application Cover Letter (located on the CCR SharePoint site) 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. 

 

6534.3 Referring Investigations to the Unregulated Operations Unit

February 2020

Elevating Investigations to the Unregulated Operations Unit

After progressing an intake report to investigation, Licensing staff elevate the following investigations to the Unregulated Operations Unit:

  1. Investigations assigned a Priority 1;
  2. Investigations of operations that have been investigated for operating without a permit on three or more occasions (including the current investigation); and
  3. When a court order is necessary to gain physical access to the operation.  

See:
6535.1  Obtaining a Court Order to Gain Access

Procedure

If Licensing staff determine the information in an intake report or the information gathered during an investigation meets criteria to be elevated to the Unregulated Operations Unit, the following actions are taken:

  • Licensing staff notifies the supervisor; and
  • The supervisor contacts the supervisor of the Unregulated Operations Unit assigned to the region to determine whether to transfer the investigation.

If the information obtained indicates allegations of abuse or neglect, Licensing staff refer the information to DFPS, as outlined in 6231.21 Upgrading an Intake Report to an Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation Intake Report.

 

6535 Obtaining Consent to Enter an Unregulated Operation

February 2020

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 without a permit.

Procedure

The investigator must obtain consent to enter the operation in writing using Form 2895 Consent to Enter Unregulated Operation located on the CCL Forms SharePoint site.

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

February 2020

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. Investigations requiring a court order to gain access must be referred to the Unregulated Operations Unit.

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 also:
6421.2 Observing and Interviewing a Child Related to a Child Care Provider
6534.3 Referring Investigations to the Unregulated Operations Unit

 

6536 Requesting an Unregulated Operation to Cease Operating

February 2020

If the investigator determines that the unregulated 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 unregulated 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. The operation is currently being investigated due to allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or
  5. The operation has indicated it is unwilling to submit an application for a child care permit.

Procedure

If the determination is made that an unregulated 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 Unregulated Operation is Determined to be Not Subject to Regulation

October 2020

Procedure

If after conducting investigative actions, the investigator determines that the operation is not subject to regulation, the investigator 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 Unregulated Operation Risk Factor Identified section on the Risk Factor page in CLASS as outlined in 6538 Identifying Risk Factors for Unregulated Operation Investigations (DC only); or
    • closes the operation (RC only).

 

6538 Identifying Risk Factors for Unregulated Operation Investigations

October 2020

Prior to completing an investigation to determine if a provider is operating as a day care operation without a permit, the investigator must complete the Unregulated Operation Risk Identified section on the Risk Factor page in CLASS. When completing this section, the investigator indicates whether a risk factor is identified by selecting “Yes” or “No.”

 

6538.1 Follow-Up Actions Based on Identified Risk Factors

October 2020

No Follow-Up Action Required

If the investigator does not select any risk factors in the Unregulated Operation Risk Factor section in CLASS, the investigator closes the investigation in CLASS.

Risk Factors That Require a Follow-Up Inspection

The investigator completes a follow-up inspection three months after the completion of the investigation when at least one risk factor is selected from the Unregulated Operation Risk Factor Identified.

The investigator completes an additional follow-up inspection six months after the completion of the investigation if the operation was previously cited or investigated for operating without a permit.

 

6538.2 Action to Take After the Follow-Up Inspection

October 2020

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

If CCR staff … Then CCR 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 without a permit 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.

 

6539 Documentation of Investigations of Unregulated Operations

February 2020

Procedure

The investigator documents the following information in CLASS for an investigation of an unregulated 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.
    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 6540 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