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8000 Responsibilities of Volunteers and Volunteer Supervisors

FBCE August 2022

All people who complete a DFPS volunteer application and are given an assignment by the designated volunteer supervisor must receive appropriate orientation and training. Often, particularly in rural areas, the volunteer supervisor conducts this training.

An orientation session should be held as soon as possible and cover the following topics:

  • Job basics.
  • How to create and enter in volunteer hours in the volunteer hub (VOMO).
  • Types of available training, including computer use (if applicable).
  • Safety.
  • Attendance.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Personal use of state property.
  • Rights of volunteers.
  • Procedure for acceptance of donated funds.
  • Transportation issues, such as insurance and accident reporting.
  • Reimbursement of expenses if applicable.
  • Legal protection, liability, and immunity.
  • The volunteer performance appraisal system, including a copy of the Volunteer Performance Evaluation.

8100 Dispute Resolution

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer who experiences a volunteer-related problem that cannot be resolved informally with the volunteer supervisor should contact the local FBCE specialist, or if that employee is their supervisor, contact the local FBCE regional administrator. State Office volunteers should contact the deputy director of FBCE.

8200 Attendance Policy

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer supervisor should communicate to volunteers that the supervisor values the volunteers’ work and depends on them to be at work at the scheduled time. Failure to keep the scheduled work hours may have an adverse effect on clients, staff, and other volunteers, and diminish the quality of the contribution the volunteer is making to DFPS. A volunteer must be instructed to notify his or her supervisor as soon as possible whenever the volunteer knows he or she will be absent or late.

8300 Personal Use of State Property

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer supervisor is responsible for informing volunteers that using state-owned property, such as files, computers, equipment, and supplies, for personal business violates state law. Brief, local telephone calls are allowed, but personal long-distance calls at state expense are not permitted.

8400 Reimbursement of Expenses

FBCE August 2022

If funds are available, DFPS may reimburse a volunteer for expenses according to approved state limits and local program budgets. Expenses that may be reimbursed include the following:

  • Travel.
  • Per diem.
  • Out-of-town meals.
  • Training or conference fees.
  • Parking fees.

Mechanical repairs or the cost of replacement parts for personal vehicles are not reimbursed.

8410 Reimbursement Procedures

FBCE August 2022

For a volunteer to be reimbursed for specific expenses, the following procedures must be followed:

The volunteer’s supervisor completes Form 74-157 Payee Change Request to update address or other information provided on Form AP-152 Application for Texas Identification Number.

8500 Liability, DFPS Responsibility, and Immunity

FBCE August 2022

The coverage described in this section is available only to a volunteer who has completed the volunteer application and has had his or her background check.

8510 Liability and DFPS Responsibility

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer is not a paid state employee and is not entitled to compensation and attorney general representation in the event of a job-related lawsuit (Chapter 104, Civil Practice and Remedies Code). Consequently, an employee should be especially careful to screen, train, and supervise volunteers. Special attention should be given to volunteers who do the following:

  • Provide direct services to clients.
  • Are exposed to hazardous conditions.
  • Have access to confidential information.

8520 Immunity from Civil Liability for Good Faith Actions

FBCE August 2022

According to Chapter 84, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a volunteer serving in charitable organizations is immune from civil liability for good faith actions taken in the course and scope of his or her service. Although DFPS is not included as a charitable organization under this law, volunteer organizations furnishing volunteers to DFPS may qualify. A volunteer whom these volunteer organizations provide may be immune from civil liability.

However, in the event of a lawsuit, such a volunteer is still responsible for arranging his or her own legal representation.

8530 Insurance and Accident Reporting

FBCE August 2022

DFPS provides volunteer insurance and, if appropriate, excess auto insurance to its volunteers. Some examples of exclusions include uninsured motorists and court-mandated community service volunteers, and volunteers processed under Form 0256 Volunteer Group Project Agreement.

8540 Reporting Accidents

FBCE August 2022

When a volunteer, who is directly supervised by a DFPS employee, is injured while performing volunteer-related duties, the following must occur:

  • Whoever is available to help should call for medical assistance, if needed, and notify the volunteer’s supervisor immediately.
  • A DFPS employee who has the most direct knowledge of the accident or injury must notify a manager who can log on to CAPPS’s Manager’s Center to complete an accident report for the volunteer.
  • Instructions for completing an accident or incident report for a non-employee can be found through the CAPPS Help menu under CAPPS Help for Managers.

When the form is complete, click Save to register the report with the HHS risk manager. A hard copy of the accident report is placed in the volunteer’s personnel file, and a copy is sent to the faith-based and community engagement specialist.

8541 Notification of Intent to Sue

FBCE August 2022

If someone notifies a volunteer of intent to sue because of injury to a person or damage to property, the following process is followed:

  • Volunteer must immediately notify his or her volunteer supervisor and the FBCE employee.
  • The volunteer supervisor or FBCE employee notifies the regional or district attorney and the Policy and Program Support Unit in the DFPS Office of the General Counsel.

8600 Driving

FBCE August 2022

If the volunteer will be driving, the FBCE employees do the following:

A supervisor must not request that a volunteer use the volunteer’s vehicle for driving duties unrelated to a DFPS client, unless designated in the DFPS standard job description as an essential function of the volunteer’s position.

8700 Handguns

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer licensed to carry a handgun under Chapter 411, Texas Government Code may carry his or her concealed or openly holstered handgun on any premises owned, leased, or operated by DFPS. The volunteer must comply with all legal requirements associated with carrying a handgun.

A volunteer who violates this policy will be removed from the DFPS volunteer program.

A handgun is considered to be openly holstered if it is inside a holster, regardless of whether it is partially or wholly visible on or about the license holder’s body.

Other Prohibited Weapons

A volunteer is prohibited from carrying other weapons on agency premises or in agency-owned or leased vehicles. Prohibited weapons include the following:

  • Handguns carried by volunteers who do not hold a handgun license.
  • Explosives.
  • Location-restricted knives.
  • Any other item that could be used to hurt or threaten another person, as defined under Chapter 46, Texas Penal Code.

Where Handguns Are Not Permitted

A volunteer licensed to carry a handgun is prohibited from carrying his or her handgun (concealed or openly) in the following circumstances:

  • In areas prohibited by state or federal law or as otherwise posted.
  • During home visits.
  • During visits to licensed facilities, child advocacy centers, contracted providers’ sites, private residences, or family violence shelters.

Where Handguns Are Permitted

A volunteer licensed to carry a handgun may carry handguns on his or her person or in a personal vehicle while traveling to and from activities in the course and scope of volunteer activities away from agency premises.

Upon arrival, a volunteer, including those licensed to carry a handgun, must abide by posted notices concerning handguns and otherwise comply with the legal requirements associated with carrying a handgun.

A DFPS volunteer licensed to carry a handgun may carry handguns in his or her personal vehicle, but must ensure the handguns are not accessible to clients.

Reporting Violations

If a volunteer has seen or has received a credible report about any violation of the handgun and other weapons policy, the volunteer has a duty to report the violation to a an FBCE employee.

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