5000 Appealing an Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF)
OCA July 2018
An individual who is identified as a designated perpetrator of abuse or neglect after both a Child Protective Investigations case and an ARIF may be eligible to appeal the findings through the OCA review process (OCA Review).
The individual must use the ARIF process offered by Child Protective Investigations before being eligible for the OCA Review.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.841(a)
5100 Requirements for OCA Review
OCA July 2018
The person requesting the OCA review must submit his or her request in writing. OCA must receive the request within 45 calendar days of the date the designated perpetrator was notified of the decision in the Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF).
The requester may submit his or her request by:
• Fax: (512) 339-5892
• Email: DFPS Office of Consumer Affairs mailbox
• Standard mail:
Office of Consumer Affairs Y-946
Department of Family and Protective Services
Post Office Box 149030
Austin, TX 78714-9030
The request for an OCA Review should include the name, telephone number, and mailing address of the requester, as well as the Child Protective Investigation case number or name and date of birth of the designated victims. Requests may also include other pertinent records, if those records:
• were available during the original investigation and ARIF; and
• were or should have been considered.
Only in extraordinary circumstances, at the discretion of the OCA director or his or her designee, is new information considered.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.847
If the requester is an attorney on behalf of the designated perpetrator, a release of information document on the attorney’s letterhead must be signed by the designated perpetrator and provided to OCA staff. The results of the OCA Review cannot be provided to the attorney until the signed release is provided to OCA.
If the requester has also formally requested or intends to request a copy of DFPS records and would like to review them before the OCA Review, the following must occur for a delay in the initiation of the OCA Review.
• The requester contacts OCA to request an appeal within 45 calendar days of the date the designated perpetrator was notified of the ARIF decision.
• OCA acknowledges receipt of the request.
• Within 45 calendar days after the initial contact with OCA, the requester provides OCA a copy of the email or letter that he or she received from the Records Management Group (RMG) acknowledging the request for DFPS records.
A delay is only granted for DFPS case records.
5200 Denial of OCA Review
OCA July 2018
An OCA Review cannot be completed if a court has issued an order that is consistent with the specific allegation for which the OCA Review has been requested. This includes any of the following:
• A court order specifically finds that the requester committed abuse or neglect in the situation for which he or she requested the OCA Review.
• A court order terminates the parental rights of the requester as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the OCA Review.
• A requester has been convicted of a crime as a result of the incident for which he or she requested the OCA Review.
• A court orders removal of a child for the conduct or occurrence that formed the basis of the abuse or neglect finding.
• The DFPS Office of General Counsel determines that there is another court finding legally sufficient for denying the OCA Review.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.841(b)
If the requester has pending criminal charges that are in direct relation to the allegation, OCA must obtain approval from the local district attorney’s office to complete the OCA Review, even if the Child Protective Investigations resolution specialist received permission before completing the Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF).
An OCA Review may be denied if the requester does not qualify for an OCA Review even if the requester qualified for the ARIF.
An OCA Review will not be completed if there is criminal or civil litigation pending against DFPS by the person requesting the review.
5300 OCA Review Process
OCA July 2018
Upon receiving a request for an OCA Review, the OCA staff assigned to the appeal obtains and reviews the documentation from the Child Protective Investigations (CPI) case and ARIF. OCA staff also review the information from the requester. OCA staff submit the review and recommended finding to the OCA director or his or her designee for consideration.
The OCA Review may recommend that allegations or findings be changed or added. For example: the original allegation is physical neglect; however, if, in reviewing the case information it is determined that a finding of Reason to Believe or Unable to Determine for neglectful supervision is more appropriate, the OCA employee may make this recommendation.
If OCA’s findings sustain the ARIF, the OCA director or designee notifies the requestor in writing of the final disposition of the case.
If OCA does not concur with the ARIF, the following procedures take place:
• OCA forwards the OCA Review, case records, and documentation provided by the requester to the Investigations associate commissioner or his or her designee for review.
• If concurrence is reached, OCA notifies the requester in writing of the findings.
• If OCA and the Investigations assistant commissioner do not agree, the case may be referred to the DFPS general counsel, who reviews the case and makes the decision on the case as the DFPS commissioner’s designee. The OCA director or his or her designee then notifies the requester of the final case disposition.
DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §702.849
The appropriate CPI regional director and the CPI resolution specialist who completed the ARIF are copied on all letters. If a change in the findings has been recommended and approved, it is the CPI resolution specialist’s responsibility to make the appropriate changes in IMPACT and notify the persons who were originally notified of the investigation findings. The CPI resolution specialist does not notify the person who requested the OCA Review; OCA staff will notify him or her.
A copy of the OCA response letter will be sent to the CPI resolution specialist within five business days after the date listed on the OCA notification letter to the requester.
OCA may complete an expedited OCA Review if the designated perpetrator is a DFPS employee.