In assigning priorities and prescribing investigative procedures based on the severity and immediacy of the alleged harm to a child under Section 261.301 (Investigation of Report)(d), the department shall establish an alternative response system to allow the department to make the most effective use of resources to investigate and respond to reported cases of abuse and neglect.
Notwithstanding Section 261.301 (Investigation of Report), the department may, in accordance with this section and department rules, conduct an alternative response to a report of abuse or neglect if the report does not:
allege sexual abuse of a child;
allege abuse or neglect that caused the death of a child; or
indicate a risk of serious physical injury or immediate serious harm to a child.
The department may administratively close a reported case of abuse or neglect without completing the investigation or alternative response and without providing services or making a referral to another entity for assistance if the department determines, after contacting a professional or other credible source, that the child’s safety can be assured without further investigation, response, services, or assistance.
In determining how to classify a reported case of abuse or neglect under the alternative response system, the child’s safety is the primary concern. The classification of a case may be changed as warranted by the circumstances.
An alternative response to a report of abuse or neglect must include:
a safety assessment of the child who is the subject of the report;
an assessment of the child’s family; and
in collaboration with the child’s family, identification of any necessary and appropriate service or support to reduce the risk of future harm to the child.
An alternative response to a report of abuse or neglect may not include a formal determination of whether the alleged abuse or neglect occurred.
The department may implement the alternative response in one or more of the department’s administrative regions before implementing the system statewide. The department shall study the results of the system in the regions where the system has been implemented in determining the method by which to implement the system statewide.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 71, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.Amended by:Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.19(a), eff. September 1, 2005.Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 420 (S.B. 423), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 1.130, eff. April 2, 2015.Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 1.131, eff. April 2, 2015.