6900, HHSC Responsibilities in DFPS Investigations

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

October 2020

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

  1. Participating in risk assessments with DFPS;
  2. Discussing with DFPS information that DFPS shares about the operation that relates to HHSC’s regulatory responsibilities;
  3. Evaluating the information DFPS provides to determine whether to cite violations of laws, rules, or minimum standards, and/or whether enforcement actions are necessary;
  4. Indicating whether an injury the DFPS investigator confirmed is related to a minimum standards violation;
  5. Notifying the operation and Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU), when applicable, of the results;
  6. Conducting follow-up inspections for deficiencies;
  7. Seeking injunctions for unregulated operations that refuse to cease operating;
  8. Sending notifications to, and closing operations that, DFPS determines are not subject to regulation; and
  9. Closing the investigation in CLASS.

See 6730 Updating the Person Detail Page

6960 Notifications for a DFPS Investigation

 

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

May 2021

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.

For residential child care operations, the risk assessment also includes reviewing compliance history for the current operation and from all prior operation numbers identified in the Issuance History section on the Operation Main page in CLASS.

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

  1. ensure the continuity in regulatory decisions between DFPS investigative and HHSC CCR monitoring activities;
  2. ensure that appropriate regulatory 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

December 2019

HHSC investigators evaluate information collected during DFPS investigations and cite deficiencies by inspection, Monitoring assessment, or directly within the DFPS Investigation, as appropriate.

 

6940.1 Possible High Risk Deficiencies Identified During the DFPS Investigation

December 2019

Procedure

If the DFPS investigator observes possible high risk, plain sight, physical plant, or records/administrative violations during the investigation, including during the DFPS investigator’s visit to the operation, the DFPS investigator communicates the information 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, discusses any related questions or issues with the DFPS investigator and determines whether to:

  1. cite as a Monitoring violation;
  2. cite as an Investigation violation;
  3. conduct a follow-up inspection to verify the violations in person; or
  4. not cite any violations (the HHSC investigator obtains and documents supervisor approval within the DFPS investigation prior to closure).

The determination is made 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.

 

6940.12 When to Cite the Operation for a Monitoring Violation

December 2019

Monitoring (MON) violation is a deficiency of a plain sight, physical plant or administrative/records minimum standard, rule or law that:

  1. the DFPS investigator observes while present at the operation; and
  2. is not related to the allegations being investigated.

If the HHSC investigator determines there is enough evidence to support a Monitoring violation, the HHSC investigator follows 4200 Citing Deficiencies with an Assessment.  

 

6940.13 When to Cite the Operation for an Investigation Violation

December 2019

An Investigation (INV) violation is a deficiency of any minimum standard, rule or law that is related to the allegation being investigated. The DFPS investigator may observe or verify the deficiency at any point during the investigation.

If the HHSC investigator determines there is enough evidence to support an Investigation violation, the HHSC investigator:

  1. adds the appropriate minimum standard, rule or statute on the Add/View Allegation page within the DFPS investigation in CLASS; and
  2. generates and mails or emails CLASS Form 2890 Interim Investigation Letter (located on the Investigation Main page) to the operation.

See also 6312.2 Determining Which Minimum Standard to Evaluate.

 

6940.2 Possible Deficiencies Identified at the End of the DFPS Investigation

December 2019

Procedure

Upon closing the investigation in IMPACT, the DFPS investigator:

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

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

  1. follows up with the DFPS investigator regarding any questions or issues related to the information DFPS provided:
  2. conducts an inspection to confirm the violations, if needed;
  3. 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
  4. notifies the operation of the results of the investigation (see 6960 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

December 2019

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

  • the operation; and
  • the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU) inspector in the case of a Reason to Believe (RTB) disposition.

Procedure

Once the HHSC investigator makes decisions about violations and, if applicable, documents citations on the Add/View Allegation page within the DFPS investigation in CLASS, the HHSC investigator notifies the operation of the results of the investigation by sending CLASS Investigation Letter 2896 from the Investigation Main page to the operation.

Note: The CLASS Investigation Letter 2896 is a cumulative record of all violations cited throughout the investigation, including violations the operation previously received notification of via the CLASS Interim Investigation Letter 2890.

Notifying CBCU of an RTB Disposition

Within three days of receiving notification of an RTB finding from the DFPS investigator, the HHSC investigator sends the information about the RTB to the CBCU inspector assigned to the operation. The monitoring inspector documents the contact with the CBCU inspector as a contact in the DFPS investigation. CBCU determines the need for an emergency release.  

See also:

6632 Completing the Investigation Letter or Inspection Form
6725 Notification Dates
7723 Emergency Release

 

6970 Actions Following a DFPS Investigation

May 2020

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.

 

6971 Reviewing a Citation for Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation When a DFPS Finding is Overturned

December 2020

Within 30 days of receiving notification that that a finding of abuse, neglect or exploitation has been overturned by DFPS through an administrative review of investigation findings (ARIF) or by HHSC Legal through a due process hearing (SOAH), CCR staff evaluate whether the operation’s citation for abuse, neglect or exploitation is still appropriate.   

Procedure

After CCR staff receive notification that DFPS overturned a finding of abuse, neglect or exploitation, the CCR inspector and supervisor review the citation for abuse, neglect or exploitation.  

If CCR has overturned the citation, no further action is needed.

If CCR has not overturned the citation, the inspector or supervisor requests that the program administrator (PA) or regional director (RD) complete a review to determine if the citation should be overturned or upheld. This review is conducted regardless of whether an administrative review of the citation has been requested or previously held.   

If the review results in a decision that the citation is:

  • no longer appropriate, the PA or RD follows the steps in Overturning the Citation.
  • appropriate, the PA or RD documents the decision in a Chronology and takes no further action.

Overturning the Citation

To document a decision to overturn the citation after DFPS overturns the finding through an ARIF, the PA or RD completes the following steps, which are based on the administrative review status in CLASS for the citation at the time CCR staff were notified that the RTB was overturned.

If the administrative review status for the citation is Waived, the PA or RD:

  1. changes the status from Waived to Requested;
  2. documents the notification of the overturned investigation finding in the Due Process Documentation or may continue documentation in a Chronology;
  3. changes the status from Requested to Overturned; and
  4. sends notification to the operation as required.

If the administrative review status is Upheld, the PA or RD:

  • changes the status from Upheld to Overturned;
  • adds the notification of the overturned investigation finding to the Due Process Documentation or may continue documentation in a Chronology; and
  • sends notification to the operation as required.

See 7717.1 Notifying the Operation of the Outcome of the Administrative Review

 

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 Unregulated Operations

October 2020

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; and
  2. conducting a follow-up inspection at the operation to ensure the operation has ceased operating, when applicable.

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

  1. conducting any follow-up actions based on identified risk factors;
  2. notifying the operation of the investigation results; and
  3. closing the operation in CLASS.

See 6538.1 Follow-Up Action Based on Identified Risk Factors

 

6991 Citing an Operation for Operating Without a Permit

December 2019

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 for operating without a permit within 10 days of receiving the notification from DFPS.

See 6940.13 When to Cite the Operation for an Investigation Violation.

 

6992 Seeking an Injunction During an Unregulated Operation Investigation

December 2019

HHSC Licensing staff is responsible for seeking an injunction if an unregulated operation provider is subject to regulation and refuses to cease operating during a DFPS investigation. Licensing staff refer injunction requests from DFPS to the Unregulated Operations Unit.

See also 7742 Injunction.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.074

 

6993 Notifications for DFPS Unregulated Operation Investigations

December 2019

The HHSC investigator is responsible for notifying the operation of the DFPS investigation results as outlined in 6960 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.