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RULE §707.451What terms and definitions are used in reports, investigations, and assessments of abuse and neglect?

(a) The following terms have the following meanings when used in this subchapter:

  (1) An absent parent or non-custodial parent--a parent who, at the time of the occurrence of the conduct which is the basis for the investigation, does not have actual possession or control of the child and is not primarily responsible for the child's care because of any of the following:

    (A) Divorce;

    (B) Separation;

    (C) Incarceration; or

    (D) Any other reason that results in the parent not having actual possession or control and primary responsibility of the child.

  (2) Accident--an unforeseen, unexpected, or unplanned act or event that occurs unintentionally and causes or threatens physical injury despite exercising the care and diligence that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances to avoid the risk of injury.

  (3) Blatant disregard--the real and significant harm or threat of harm to the child as a result of the person's act(s) or omission(s):

    (A) Would have been obvious to a reasonable person in the same situation; and

    (B) The reasonable person would have known to take precautionary measures to protect the child from the impending harm.

  (4) Child--person under 18 years of age who is not and has not been married or who has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes.

  (5) Child safety--the absence of danger or the presence of protective actions demonstrated over time by a parent or caregiver that mitigates dangers to the child.

  (6) Danger--behaviors or conditions that place a child in imminent danger of serious harm.

  (7) Day--calendar day unless otherwise specified.

  (8) Guardian--anyone named as "guardian of the person of a child" by a probate court order.

  (9) Household--

    (A) A unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, whether or not they are related to each other, when the dwelling consists of:

      (i) The child's family's household, including the households of both parents when the parents reside separately;

      (ii) A household in which the parent has arranged for or authorized placement of the child; or

      (iii) A household in which the child is legally placed by a parent or a court.

    (B) During the receipt and investigation of reports of child abuse and neglect, we treat an unrelated person who resides elsewhere or whose place of residence cannot be determined as a member of the household if the person is at least 10 years old and either:

      (i) Has regular free access to the household; or

      (ii) When in the household dwelling takes care of or assumes responsibility for children in the household.

  (10) Immediate danger to child's physical health or safety--the person's act(s) or omission(s) placed the child in a situation that has resulted in or would have resulted in physical or mental harm to the child.

  (11) Investigations--a program of the Child Protective Investigations division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect by a person responsible for the child's care, custody, or welfare as defined in Texas Family Code §261.001(5)(A)-(C).

  (12) Managing or possessory conservator--a person legally responsible for a child as the result of a court order.

  (13) Parent--the mother, a man presumed to be the biological father or who has been adjudicated to be the biological father by a court of competent jurisdiction, or an adoptive mother or father. The term does not include a parent as to whom the parent-child relationship has been terminated.

  (14) Preponderance of evidence--evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not.

  (15) Protective actions--specific actions that have been taken by an individual or family to directly address the danger of abuse and neglect and are demonstrated over time.

  (16) Reasonable effort to prevent--actions that a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare would have taken to protect a child from abuse the person knew or reasonably should have known was occurring. It is not required for that person to have directly perpetrated the abuse.

  (17) Reporter--an individual who makes a report to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or a duly constituted law enforcement agency alleging the abuse or neglect of a child. If more than one individual makes a report alleging abuse or neglect of the same child, all such individuals shall have the designation of a reporter.

  (18) Risk factors--elements of individual and family functioning that may place a child at risk of abuse or neglect.

  (19) Risk of child abuse or neglect--a reasonable likelihood that in the foreseeable future there will be an occurrence of child abuse or neglect as defined in Texas Family Code (TFC) §261.001. The presence of risk does not constitute abuse or neglect as defined in TFC §261.001 but qualifies children and families to receive protective services as specified in §700.311(a)(1), subchapter C, chapter 700, of this title (relating to Eligible Individuals).

  (20) Strengths--resources and conditions of an individual or the family that increase the likelihood or ability to protect a child from abuse or neglect but do not fully address the danger to the child.

  (21) Substantial harm--real and significant physical injury or damage to a child.

  (22) Substantial risk--a real and significant possibility or likelihood.

(b) Terms not defined in this subchapter have the meaning given in the Texas Family Code, including definitions in Chapter 101 and §261.001, Texas Family Code, and other relevant law, or their ordinary meaning if not defined in law.

Source Note: The provisions of this §707.451 adopted to be effective July 15, 2020, 45 TexReg 4780; amended to be effective September 22, 2022, 47 TexReg 6250

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