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RULE §700.211Internet Application for Court-Appointed Volunteer Advocates

(a) The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) shall develop an Internet application that allows a court-appointed volunteer advocate representing a child in DFPS' managing conservatorship to:

  (1) access the child's case file, as further specified in subsection (b) of this section and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into pursuant thereto; and

  (2) add the volunteer advocate's findings and reports to the child's case file.

(b) DFPS shall enter into a MOU with the statewide organization representing court-appointed volunteer advocates in order to set forth the portions of a child's case file to which an appointed volunteer advocate shall have access. The MOU shall at a minimum:

  (1) grant access to the following as it relates to the current conservatorship case of the child for whom the advocate has been appointed:

    (A) demographic, locating, and contact information for principal and collateral participants;

    (B) information regarding the child's current placement and any prior placements during the same conservatorship episode;

    (C) information regarding the child's authorized service level, including supporting documentation in the current Common Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care;

    (D) the case plan as that term is defined in §700.1319 of this title (relating to What is a case plan?), including the child service plan and any family service plan then in effect;

    (E) information related to the child's permanency plan, including documentation related to permanency planning meetings held on the child's behalf;

    (F) the temporary visitation schedule or visitation plan in effect for the case;

    (G) list of all legal actions and statuses in the case;

    (H) educational status information;

    (I) information regarding the child's medical care, including the identity of the child's medical consenter, a listing of the child's medical and mental health assessments, and the child's medical and developmental history page; and

    (J) a listing of the external documents associated with the case.

  (2) provide that the types of information to which a volunteer advocate may gain access through the Internet application will be expanded upon the mutual agreement of the parties as technological enhancements are made to the Internet application and to DFPS' Information Management Protecting Adults and Children of Texas (IMPACT) case management system;

  (3) set forth minimum security protocols CASA organizations and their volunteers must adhere to in order to minimize the unauthorized redisclosure of the information contained in the Internet application;

  (4) detail the consequences for breaches of security or the unauthorized redisclosure of information accessed through the Internet application; and

  (5) clarify the responsibilities of each party to the MOU, including any responsibilities for volunteer advocates in registering for the application and conditions of continued access to the system.

(c) Information available to court-appointed volunteer advocates through the Internet application remains confidential, and nothing in this rule shall be construed as a waiver of the confidentiality of the information transmitted by the application.

(d) For purposes of this rule, the term "volunteer advocate" includes any staff of the volunteer advocate organization with authority to access the records of a child in DFPS' managing conservatorship.

Source Note: The provisions of this §700.211 adopted to be effective September 1, 2014, 39 TexReg 6227

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