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RULE §707.505What are the requirements for an administrative 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 §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 found ineligible.

(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, we must:

  (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 the timeframe.

(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.

Source Note: The provisions of this §707.505 adopted to be effective July 15, 2020, 45 TexReg 4780

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