|(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 §707.497(b)(2) or (3)
of this subchapter (relating to What roles can we assign to persons
involved in a case after the investigation is complete?).
(b) To be eligible, you must request an ARIF, in writing,
within 45 days after receiving notice of the findings of the investigation.
If you are 18 years of age or older and are requesting an ARIF to
challenge a reason-to-believe finding made against you when you were
a minor, your request will be considered timely and we will grant
your request if you have not previously had an ARIF and are not otherwise
(c) You will not be 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,
within 45 days after the date we receive your request for an ARIF,
(1) Conduct the ARIF; or
(2) Notify you that your request has been denied because
you are not eligible for an ARIF, as specified in this section.
(e) After you submit a written request for an ARIF,
we will contact you to schedule the review. If we are unable to make
contact with you and you do not respond to the attempts to make contact
within 30 days of the initial attempt, we will not proceed with the
review and you will waive your right to an ARIF. If you subsequently
contact us after the above-specified timeframe, we may reschedule
the review if we determine that you had a good reason for exceeding
(f) We 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 the finding of abuse or
neglect or we find that there is other good cause for extending the
deadline. If we decide to postpone the ARIF, we will notify you in
writing within 45 days after receiving your request for an ARIF. If
the ARIF is postponed due to a pending civil or criminal suit or ongoing
criminal investigation, the notification will indicate the length
of time of the delay or specify that you must notify us when the court
case has been completed or the criminal investigation has been closed,
as appropriate. We will review your eligibility for an ARIF after
the delay. If you are determined eligible for an ARIF, we must conduct
it 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. You have the right to bring
a legal representative and a support person to the review. The support
person may not participate in the review. If you are a minor, your
parent or guardian may also speak on your behalf during the review.
Any witnesses that you have 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 you.
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, we must change
our records regarding the outcome of the investigation to reflect
the resolution specialist's decision.
(k) Notwithstanding anything in this section, if you
are entitled to an administrative hearing before the State Office
of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), we may waive the ARIF and proceed
directly to the SOAH hearing.