Texas Family Code

Sec. § 261.301
Investigation of Report


(a)

With assistance from the appropriate state or local law enforcement agency as provided by this section, the department shall make a prompt and thorough investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect allegedly committed by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare. The investigation shall be conducted without regard to any pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

(b)

A state agency shall investigate a report that alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred in a facility operated, licensed, certified, or registered by that agency as provided by Subchapter E. In conducting an investigation for a facility operated, licensed, certified, registered, or listed by the department, the department shall perform the investigation as provided by:

(1)

Subchapter E; and

(2)

the Human Resources Code.

(c)

The department is not required to investigate a report that alleges child abuse, neglect, or exploitation by a person other than a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare. The appropriate state or local law enforcement agency shall investigate that report if the agency determines an investigation should be conducted.

(d)

The executive commissioner shall by rule assign priorities and prescribe investigative procedures for investigations based on the severity and immediacy of the alleged harm to the child. The primary purpose of the investigation shall be the protection of the child. The rules must require the department, subject to the availability of funds, to:

(1)

immediately respond to a report of abuse and neglect that involves circumstances in which the death of the child or substantial bodily harm to the child would result unless the department immediately intervenes;

(2)

respond within 24 hours to a report of abuse and neglect that is assigned the highest priority, other than a report described by Subdivision (1); and

(3)

respond within 72 hours to a report of abuse and neglect that is assigned the second highest priority.

(e)

As necessary to provide for the protection of the child, the department shall determine:

(1)

the nature, extent, and cause of the abuse or neglect;

(2)

the identity of the person responsible for the abuse or neglect;

(3)

the names and conditions of the other children in the home;

(4)

an evaluation of the parents or persons responsible for the care of the child;

(5)

the adequacy of the home environment;

(6)

the relationship of the child to the persons responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of the child; and

(7)

all other pertinent data.

(f)

An investigation of a report to the department that alleges that a child has been or may be the victim of conduct that constitutes a criminal offense that poses an immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse of a child that could result in the death of or serious harm to the child shall be conducted jointly by a peace officer, as defined by Article 2.12 (Who Are Peace Officers), Code of Criminal Procedure, from the appropriate local law enforcement agency and the department or the agency responsible for conducting an investigation under Subchapter E.

(g)

The inability or unwillingness of a local law enforcement agency to conduct a joint investigation under this section does not constitute grounds to prevent or prohibit the department from performing its duties under this subtitle. The department shall document any instance in which a law enforcement agency is unable or unwilling to conduct a joint investigation under this section.

(h)

The department and the appropriate local law enforcement agency shall conduct an investigation, other than an investigation under Subchapter E, as provided by this section and Article 2.27 (Investigation of Certain Reports Alleging Abuse), Code of Criminal Procedure, if the investigation is of a report that alleges that a child has been or may be the victim of conduct that constitutes a criminal offense that poses an immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse of a child that could result in the death of or serious harm to the child. Immediately on receipt of a report described by this subsection, the department shall notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency of the report.

(i)

If at any time during an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect to which the department has assigned the highest priority the department is unable to locate the child who is the subject of the report of abuse or neglect or the child’s family, the department shall notify the Department of Public Safety that the location of the child and the child’s family is unknown. If the Department of Public Safety locates the child and the child’s family, the Department of Public Safety shall notify the department of the location of the child and the child’s family.

(j)

In geographic areas with demonstrated need, the department shall designate employees to serve specifically as investigators and responders for after-hours reports of child abuse or neglect.

(k)

In an investigation of a report of abuse or neglect allegedly committed by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare, the department shall determine whether the person is an active duty member of the United States armed forces or the spouse of a member on active duty. If the department determines the person is an active duty member of the United States armed forces or the spouse of a member on active duty, the department shall notify the United States Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program at the closest active duty military installation of the investigation.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 94, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 943, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 70, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1137, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 867, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Amended by:
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.16(a), eff. September 1, 2005.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 1.129, eff. April 2, 2015.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1056 (H.B. 2053), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 319 (S.B. 11), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2017.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 356 (H.B. 2124), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 822 (H.B. 1549), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2017.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1136 (H.B. 249), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2017.
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 467 (H.B. 4170), Sec. 21.001(13), eff. September 1, 2019.
Source

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Jun. 7, 2021