TEX HS. CODE ANN. § 242.126 : Texas Statutes - Section 242.126: INVESTIGATION AND REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OR DESIGNATED AGENCY

Search TEX HS. CODE ANN. § 242.126 : Texas Statutes - Section 242.126: INVESTIGATION AND REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OR DESIGNATED AGENCY

(a) The department or the designated agency shall make a thorough investigation after receiving an oral or written report of abuse or neglect under Section 242.122 or another complaint alleging abuse or neglect.

(b) The primary purpose of the investigation is the protection of the resident.

(c) The agency shall begin the investigation:

(1) within 24 hours of receipt of the report or other allegation, if the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint alleges that:

(A) a resident's health or safety is in imminent danger;

(B) a resident has recently died because of conduct alleged in the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint;

(C) a resident has been hospitalized or been treated in an emergency room because of conduct alleged in the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint;

(D) a resident has been a victim of any act or attempted act described by Section 21.02, 21.11, 22.011, or 22.021, Penal Code; or

(E) a resident has suffered bodily injury, as that term is defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, because of conduct alleged in the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint; or

(2) before the end of the next working day after the date of receipt of the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint, if the report or complaint alleges the existence of circumstances that could result in abuse or neglect and that could place a resident's health or safety in imminent danger.

(d) The department shall adopt rules governing the conduct of investigations, including procedures to ensure that the complainant and the resident, the resident's next of kin, and any person designated to receive information concerning the resident receive periodic information regarding the investigation.

(e) In investigating the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint, the investigator for the investigating agency shall:

(1) make an unannounced visit to the institution to determine the nature and cause of the alleged abuse or neglect of the resident;

(2) interview each available witness, including the resident that suffered the alleged abuse or neglect if the resident is able to communicate or another resident or other witness identified by any source as having personal knowledge relevant to the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint;

(3) personally inspect any physical circumstance that is relevant and material to the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint and that may be objectively observed;

(4) make a photographic record of any injury to a resident, subject to Subsection (n); and

(5) write an investigation report that includes:

(A) the investigator's personal observations;

(B) a review of relevant documents and records;

(C) a summary of each witness statement, including the statement of the resident that suffered the alleged abuse or neglect and any other resident interviewed in the investigation; and

(D) a statement of the factual basis for the findings for each incident or problem alleged in the report or other allegation.

(f) An investigator for an investigating agency shall conduct an interview under Subsection (e)(2) in private unless the witness expressly requests that the interview not be private.

(g) Not later than the 30th day after the date the investigation is complete, the investigator shall prepare the written report required by Subsection (e). The department shall make the investigation report available to the public on request after the date the department's letter of determination is complete. The department shall delete from any copy made available to the public:

(1) the name of:

(A) any resident, unless the department receives written authorization from a resident or the resident's legal representative requesting the resident's name be left in the report;

(B) the person making the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint; and

(C) an individual interviewed in the investigation; and

(2) photographs of any injury to the resident.

(h) In the investigation, the department or the designated agency 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 residents;

(4) an evaluation of the persons responsible for the care of the residents;

(5) the adequacy of the institution environment; and

(6) any other information required by the department.

(i) If the department attempts to carry out an on-site investigation and it is shown that admission to the institution, or any place where the resident is located, cannot be obtained, a probate or county court shall order the person responsible for the care of the resident or the person in charge of a place where the resident is located to allow entrance for the interview and investigation.

(j) Before the completion of the investigation the department shall file a petition for temporary care and protection of the resident if the department determines that immediate removal is necessary to protect the resident from further abuse or neglect.

(k) The department or the designated agency shall make a complete final written report of the investigation and submit the report and its recommendations to the district attorney and, if a law enforcement agency has not investigated the report of abuse or neglect or other complaint, to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

(l) Within 24 hours of receipt of a report of abuse or neglect or other complaint described by Subsection (c)(1), the department or designated agency shall report the report or complaint to the law enforcement agency described by Section 242.135(a). The department or designated agency shall cooperate with that law enforcement agency in the investigation of the report or complaint as described by Section 242.135.

(m) The inability or unwillingness of a local law enforcement agency to conduct a joint investigation under Section 242.135 does not constitute grounds to prevent or prohibit the department from performing its duties under this chapter. The department shall document any instance in which a law enforcement agency is unable or unwilling to conduct a joint investigation under Section 242.135.

(n) If the department determines that, before a photographic record of an injury to a resident may be made under Subsection (e), consent is required under state or federal law, the investigator:

(1) shall seek to obtain any required consent; and

(2) may not make the photographic record unless the consent is obtained.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 815, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 8.090, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1159, Sec. 1.23, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1210, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. <a target="new" href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80R/billtext/html/HB00008F.HTM">593</a>, Sec. 3.43, eff. September 1, 2007.