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RULE §700.516Administrative Review of Investigation Findings

(a) The purpose of an Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF) is to provide an informal review process for a person who has been designated as a perpetrator or victim/perpetrator of child abuse or neglect as specified in §700.512(b)(2) or (3) of this title (relating to Conclusions about Roles).

(b) To be eligible, the designated perpetrator must request an ARIF, in writing, within 45 days after receiving notice of the findings of the investigation.

(c) A person is not entitled to an ARIF for a finding of abuse or neglect if a court of competent jurisdiction has already issued a ruling consistent with that specific finding.

(d) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) must within 45 days after the date on which a request for an ARIF is received:

  (1) conduct the ARIF; or

  (2) notify the requestor that the request has been denied because the requestor is not eligible for an ARIF, as specified in this section.

(e) After a designated perpetrator submits a written request for an ARIF, a resolution specialist will contact the requestor to schedule the review. If the resolution specialist is unable to make contact with the requestor and the requestor does not respond to the attempts to make contact within 30 days of the initial attempt, DFPS will not proceed with the review and the requestor waives his or her right to an ARIF. If the requestor subsequently contacts DFPS after the above-specified timeframe, the resolution specialist may reschedule the review if the resolution specialist determines good reason existed for exceeding the timeframe.

(f) DFPS may postpone an ARIF when there is a pending civil or criminal suit or an ongoing criminal investigation relating to the same acts or omissions involved in DFPS's finding of abuse or neglect. If DFPS decides to postpone the ARIF, the resolution specialist will notify the requester in writing within 45 days after the request for an ARIF was received. The notification will indicate the length of time of the delay or specify that the requester may notify DFPS when the court case has been completed or the criminal investigation has been closed, as appropriate. The resolution specialist will review the requester's eligibility for an ARIF after the delay. If the requester is determined eligible for an ARIF, it must be conducted within 45 days from notification of the completion of the suit or criminal investigation that caused the postponement.

(g) The ARIF is conducted by a DFPS employee (the "resolution specialist ") who was not involved in the investigation and did not directly supervise the investigation. The ARIF is an informal review in which the participants may appear, make statements, provide relevant written materials, and ask questions. The requestor has the right to bring a legal representative and a support person to the review. The support person may not participate in the review. If the designated perpetrator is a minor, the parent or guardian may also speak on the minor's behalf during the review. Any witnesses for the requestor must submit their statements in writing to the resolution specialist.

(h) The resolution specialist may review the investigation case record, ask questions, and gather other relevant information. The formal rules of evidence do not apply and the review does not include formal witness testimony. The resolution specialist may consider all allegations relating to the investigation, including allegations that were "reason-to-believe," "unable-to-determine," or "ruled-out" at the conclusion of the investigation, and the evidence gathered during the investigation and the ARIF process. The resolution specialist must confirm that decisions of "reason-to-believe" are supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

(i) After completing the ARIF, the resolution specialist must timely issue a written decision that upholds, reverses, or alters the original investigation findings. The resolution specialist only reviews and issues a written decision on findings pertaining to the requestor. An original finding of "reason-to-believe" for abuse or neglect may be upheld, or may be reversed to a finding of either "unable-to-determine" or "ruled-out." A finding may be altered with respect to the type of abuse or neglect found to have occurred. For example, an original finding of "reason-to-believe" for "physical abuse" of a child may be altered to a finding of "reason-to-believe" for "neglectful supervision" of the child.

(j) If the resolution specialist's decision reverses or alters any of the original investigation findings, DFPS must change its records regarding the outcome of the investigation to reflect the resolution specialist's decision.

(k) Notwithstanding anything in this section, if an individual is entitled to an administrative hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), DFPS may, at its sole discretion, waive the conduct of an ARIF and proceed directly to the SOAH hearing.

Source Note: The provisions of this §700.516 adopted to be effective July 12, 2001, 26 TexReg 5064; amended to be effective April 20, 2017, 42 TexReg 2007

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