The following definitions of abuse and neglect apply to in-home investigations:
For more information, please see the Texas Administrative Code §705.1001 et seq. and the DFPS In-Home Handbook.
For legal definitions of Substantial Impairment, please refer to the DFPS Handbook. Below, you'll find explanation of Substantial Impairment based on definitions found in the TAC.
- The person is consistently or frequently unable to perform basic activities to function well in day-to-day adult life.
- The person has a poor prognosis and is not expected to improve.
Some examples of basic daily activities are:
- Using the bathroom.
- Personal hygiene.
- Managing money.
- Taking medications.
- Obtaining support services.
A person is not considered substantially impaired if he or she:
- Is capable of protecting themselves from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
- Can consistently manage activities and get any services needed to function well in day-to-day adult life.
- Has a good prognosis and is expected to improve.
Caretaker: A guardian, representative payee, or other person who by act, words, or course of conduct has acted so as to cause a reasonable person to conclude that he has accepted the responsibility for protection, food, shelter, or care for an alleged victim.
Please refer to the Texas Administrative Code §705.103 for the legal definition of Physical Abuse.
Physical abuse is the negligent or willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or cruel punishment with resulting physical or emotional harm or pain to the client.
The following terms are integral to defining physical abuse:
Unreasonable Confinement: An act that results in a forced isolation from the people one would normally associate with, including friends, family, neighbors, and professionals. It is also the act of inappropriate restriction of movement, or the use of any inappropriate restraint.
Physical Harm: Physical pain, injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
Emotional Harm: A highly unpleasant mental reaction with obvious signs of distress, such as anguish, grief, fright, humiliation, or fury.
Intimidation: Behavior by actions or words creating fear of physical injury, death, or abandonment.
Types of Abuse
Emotional or Verbal Abuse (EMAB): Any act or use of verbal or other communication, including intimidation, that causes physical or emotional harm or pain. This includes any act or communication that would cause a reasonable person in a similar situation physical or emotional harm or pain.
Physical Abuse (PHAB): The negligent or willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, or cruel punishment with resulting physical or emotional harm or pain.
Sexual Abuse (SXAB): Any involuntary or non-consensual sexual conduct that would constitute an offense under Texas Penal Code, Section 21.08 (Indecent Exposure)or Texas Penal Code, Chapter 22 (Assaultive Offenses).
There is no consent when any of the following applies:
- The alleged perpetrator knew or should have known that the client is incapable of consenting because of impairment in judgment due to mental or emotional disease or defect.
- Consent was induced by force or threat against any person.
- The alleged victim was unconscious or physically unable to resist.
- The alleged perpetrator intentionally impaired the alleged victim by administering any substance without the alleged victim’s knowledge.
- Consent was coerced due to fear of retribution or hardship, or by exploiting the emotional dependency of the alleged victim on the alleged perpetrator.
Please refer to the Texas Administrative Code §705.105 for the legal definition of neglect.
Neglect is the failure to provide for oneself the goods or services, including medical services, which are necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm or pain of the failure of a caretaker to provide such goods or services.
Types of Neglect
Physical Neglect (PHNG): The failure to adequately provide goods or services to avoid emotional harm or physical injury.
Medical Neglect (MDNG): The failure to adequately provide for or obtain medical treatment necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm, or pain.
For more information please see the Texas Administrative Code §705.1001 et seq. and the DFPS In-Home Handbook.
Please refer to the Texas Administrative Code §705.1011 for the legal definition of financial exploitation.
Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of another person’s money or property for personal profit or gain.
Financial exploitation of adults, who are elderly or with disabilities, includes using another person's social security number or other identifying information, for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain without the informed consent of the adult.