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5000 DFPS Volunteer Policy

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer is a person, group, or organization that performs a service with, for, or on behalf of DFPS without financial compensation. Reimbursement of travel and out-of-pocket expenses are not considered payment for services. Only a volunteer who has had his or her background checked is covered by DFPS volunteer insurance.

A volunteer may have direct access to clients, including:

  • Direct physical access to a DFPS client.
  • Direct communication in any manner with a DFPS client.
  • Access to the home or living quarters of a DFPS client.
  • Access to confidential or sensitive data or information.

A volunteer who may come into contact with clients or have access to confidential information must pass the required background checks and sign Form 0251 Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement before beginning any volunteer duties. See 7000 Background Check Procedures

A volunteer with no direct access to confidential client information does not need to pass a criminal background check; however, he or she must sign Form 0251 Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement. A volunteer with no direct client contact or access to confidential client information still must be supervised by at least one DFPS employee in charge of that volunteer position.

A volunteer may work directly for DFPS or through a cooperative agreement with DFPS.

Paid and non-paid student interns, while sometimes bearing additional responsibilities through the agreed position, are, for the purposes of this policy, considered volunteers.

A DFPS employee also may be a volunteer, if the services he or she provides are performed outside his or her assigned responsibilities and work hours and are strictly voluntary.

Types of volunteers include the following:

5100 Direct Service Volunteers

FBCE August 2022

A direct service volunteer interacts one-on-one with older adults, children, and people with disabilities in one of the following ways:

  • Acting as a companion to an elderly person.
  • Assisting with transportation (see 5800 Approving Volunteers to Transport Clients).
  • Delivering medication to a homebound adult.
  • Acting as a sitter for a child in the hospital.
  • Other volunteer opportunities as approved and requested by DFPS executive leadership.

5110 Requirements and Training

FBCE August 2022

A direct service volunteer must be 18 years or older, clear required background checks (see 7000 Background Check Procedures), and complete online training before performing any volunteer activities.

Links to the online training are on the DFPS Volunteer Trainings webpage. Upon completion of the required online training, a direct service volunteer signs Form 0249 Acknowledgement of Completion of Training and emails the form to the local FBCE specialist.

5200 Volunteer Groups

FBCE August 2022

Community-based groups such as a civic club, advocacy, student, or church group are valued community resources. They often volunteer as a group to perform specific activities or assigned tasks, such as charity drives or holiday events, for DFPS clients.

Under certain circumstances, it is not necessary to process each member of a group separately on individual volunteer application forms.

Volunteers are processed as a group if any of the following are true:

  • The volunteer activity is a one-time event ( does not re-occur on a regular basis or only occurs annually).
  • Staff-to-client ratio at the event is 1:1.
  • Access to clients or confidential information is minimal (gift drive or partner-sponsored fundraiser).

A designated DFPS employee must always supervise the group or activity. The group must designate a lead volunteer for liaison and coordination purposes. Safety and confidentiality of the client are paramount when selecting appropriate activities.

When submitting a group project, the following rules apply:

  • Group involvement must be captured in DFPS’ volunteer management hub (VOMO).
  • Hours contributed by a group must be recorded in the volunteer management hub.

A volunteer processed with a volunteer group is not considered a fully registered volunteer by DFPS’s insurance carrier and is not covered by DFPS’s volunteer insurance policy. Group applicants may choose to arrange private insurance coverage or to be processed individually (see 8530 Insurance and Accident Reporting).

5210 Ongoing Collaborative Group Efforts

FBCE August 2022

Ongoing collaborative efforts with groups that may have repeated exposure to clients or confidential information will not be eligible to be processed as a volunteer group.

Additionally, each person is required to comply with all DFPS background check procedures (see 7000 Background Check Procedures) unless otherwise statutorily authorized (for example, Big Brothers/Big Sisters).

An FBCE employee must assign a DFPS employee as a liaison to the group to assist in event planning and completion of necessary paperwork.

5300 Types of Services Performed by Volunteers

FBCE August 2022

Service opportunities for volunteers are not limited to the following examples. A volunteer working directly for DFPS may do any of the following:

  • Serve as a board, committee, or task force member.
  • Develop and implement special projects related to administrative and program functions and service delivery.
  • Serve as an interpreter, community resource development coordinator, resource locator, public speaker, information and referral provider, and community mobilizer on behalf of DFPS or clients.
  • Perform direct or indirect services for clients within the policies and standards of a specific program area.

5310 Types of Services Not Appropriate for Volunteers

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer may not perform duties such as case analysis, decisions regarding case disposition, or appropriateness of treatment plans. These duties are specifically the responsibility of DFPS employees.

A hospital sitter volunteer is not permitted to volunteer in psychiatric hospitals.


A retired DFPS caseworker offers to serve as a volunteer case reviewer. This is not an appropriate volunteer job (regardless of the volunteer’s experience or training), because a case reviewer makes a determination as to the appropriateness of case plans. A volunteer could, however, check facts or gather other information to assist the case reviewer.

5320 Court-Ordered Community Service Volunteers

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer supervisor must use good judgment in assigning tasks to court-mandated community service volunteers. A supervisor must know what crime the volunteer was convicted of committing in order to place the volunteer in a position where DFPS employees, clients, and other volunteers are protected. It is possible that the nature of a crime will render a volunteer inappropriate for any DFPS programs. DFPS reserves the right to reject a volunteer with certain types of convictions.

A volunteer supervisor should keep the following information in mind:

  • Questions regarding court-mandated community service volunteers must be directed to state office Faith-Based and Community Engagement (FBCE) employees.
  • Court-mandated community service volunteers are not covered under the volunteer insurance policy.

5400 Arranging Interviews for Suitable Candidates

FBCE August 2022

If a potential volunteer appears to be interested, the faith-based and community engagement specialist must do the following:

  • Explain the screening process, including the criminal history, central registry, and driver record check (if applicable).
  • Set up the interview or get in touch with the employee who will interview the caller.
  • Ask the volunteer to complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application before the interview.
  • Forward, if appropriate, a descriptive DFPS brochure, current newsletter, or DFPS annual report with highlighted sections relevant to the volunteer’s interest.

5410 Information to Be Provided to the Volunteer During the Interview

FBCE August 2022

The topics listed below must be covered during the initial interview:

  • Brief overview of DFPS, including how the volunteer’s work would relate to the program and DFPS.
  • Volunteer job description.
  • Confidentiality requirements.
  • References, criminal history, central registry, and driver record check requirements.
  • Specific information about time requirements and length of assignment.
  • Expectations.
  • Role of the FBCE specialist and the volunteer’s assigned supervisor.
  • Training requirements.
  • Level of authority the volunteer will be granted.
  • Support systems available to the volunteer.

5500 Processing Volunteer Paperwork

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer must complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application in its entirety before placement will be considered. Partially completed forms will not be accepted.

For specific activities, the volunteer must complete additional paperwork as indicated below.

Direct Contact with Client or Confidential Information

A volunteer requesting placement where he or she may either communicate with or come into contact with a client, or have access to any confidential information, must complete Form 0250 Volunteer Application, authorizing a background check. The volunteer then will be considered for registration in accordance with the provisions of 7400 Confidential and Sensitive Information.

Transporting Clients

A volunteer who transports clients also must complete Form 0250c Volunteer Transportation Acknowledgment as well as meet the requirements in 5800 Approving Volunteers to Transport Clients.

Access to Computers

A volunteer who is granted computer access must be processed as described in 5700 Granting Computer Access to Volunteers after satisfactory background check results have been received.

Youth Volunteers

A youth volunteer requires parental permission. See 6200 Youth Volunteers.

Processing Paperwork

All volunteer forms are on the Volunteer Donation Forms page. The Form 0250 Volunteer Application contains a checklist to ensure compliance with all applicable policies and procedures when processing a volunteer for placement.

A DFPS employee is required to keep personal information about volunteers confidential, including any information obtained through application or background checks.

Though individual members of groups participating in one-time events or ongoing collaborative projects are not required to become registered individual DFPS volunteers (See 5200 Volunteer Groups), DFPS has the statutory authority to require background checks on group participants at its discretion.

The procedures mentioned in this section may not be used to process any of the following:

  • Ride-along
  • A temporary worker.
  • A contractor volunteer.
  • A volunteer for external partners who applies through the external partner. (for example, CASA and Big Brothers Big Sisters).

5600 Volunteer Training

FBCE August 2022

When first placed, a volunteer must receive job-specific training, whether formal or on the job. When available, a volunteer is eligible to receive all the same formal training as an employee performing the same function, depending on availability of funds and training opportunities.

Volunteer training is most effective when it takes place within a climate of mutual respect. Supportive leadership is most conducive to learning. Training may be conducted by any of the following people:

  • The FBCE employee or volunteer supervisor.
  • A trainer or qualified employee.
  • An experienced volunteer approved by regional or  district management.

5700 Granting Computer Access to Volunteers

FBCE August 2022

At times, a volunteer’s duties may require computer access. The decision to allow computer access is a serious one.

Before allowing a volunteer access to a computer, the volunteer’s supervisor must consider the following:

  • The length of the volunteer’s service commitment.
  • The volunteer’s attendance record.
  • The volunteer’s demonstrated skill in performing standardized procedures, such as data entry.

A volunteer must complete and clear a background check before he or she is considered for any type of computer access. Next, the volunteer supervisor conducts a screening interview specifically for computer access.

During the screening interview, a volunteer supervisor should emphasize the following to the applicant:

  • The confidentiality of the information available through a DFPS computer.
  • The strict prohibition against using DFPS computer equipment for purposes unrelated to DFPS.

A supervisor should do the following:

  • Require a review of the DFPS security policy with the applicant.
  • Obtain a copy of Form 4047 Non-DFPS Staff Computer Security Agreement, completed and signed by the applicant to acknowledge his or her understanding of the information, with specific attention to the policies described in the following sections.

5710 Move, Add, Change and Remove Request

FBCE August 2022

The Move, Add, Change, and Remove (eMAC) Request for a volunteer must be approved by the volunteer’s supervisor to obtain computer access.

The eMAC request form to grant access must not be submitted until satisfactory background check results have been returned.

It is important to create a new eMAC request form to delete access immediately when a volunteer leaves or no longer needs computer access. Choose the option marked “Remove an existing person” and complete as usual.

5720 Use of IMPACT by Volunteers

FBCE August 2022

Access to IMPACT may be granted only when it is essential to the performance of a volunteer’s duties and when approved by a supervisor. As with all employees, a supervisor must discuss with the volunteer his or her range of responsibility and the fact that information in IMPACT may be accessed on a need-to-know basis only.

A volunteer must not access information regarding any cases to which he or she is not assigned or for which he or she does not have a specific assignment-related need. A volunteer must not search for information indiscriminately, even as a training exercise.

A supervisor must inform volunteers that audit trails may be used when inappropriate access of information is suspected. The disclosure of confidential information may be considered a violation of law subject to criminal penalty under both the Texas Open Records Act, §552.352 Government Code and §40.005(e) Human Resources Code.

5800 Approving Volunteers to Transport Clients

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer may be approved to transport clients on behalf of DFPS only when transporting clients is an essential function of the volunteer position, as described in the DFPS standard volunteer job description.

A Child Care Investigation volunteer cannot transport clients.

DFPS offers excess auto liability insurance for a listed volunteer.

A volunteer providing transportation is subject to the same policies and procedures as DFPS employees.

5810 Prerequisites to Transporting Clients on Behalf of DFPS

FBCE August 2022

A volunteer may not drive on behalf of DFPS until the requirements below have been completed and the faith-based and community engagement employee has confirmation that the volunteer has appropriate insurance coverage.

A volunteer transporting clients on behalf of DFPS must complete the following forms: Form 0250 Volunteer Application; Form 0251 Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement; Form 0250c Volunteer Transportation Acknowledgment.

A volunteer transporting clients must also meet the following requirements:

  • The volunteer must have a valid driver license and be properly insured for personal liability and property damage.
  • Any vehicle used on behalf of DFPS must have a valid license plate, a valid inspection sticker, and seat belts.

A volunteer may not transport a child younger than 18 years old, with the following exceptions:

  • A volunteer may transport a child placed in a kinship or fictive kin placement, if the caregiver approves the transportation and the caregiver accompanies the child.
  • A volunteer may transport a child when the child’s parent is in a monitor-and-return situation, approves the transportation, and accompanies the child.
  • A volunteer may transport a child when the volunteer is with an organization operating under a memorandum of understanding with DFPS that allows the organization’s staff and volunteers to transport children, and the child’s caseworker approved the transportation plan in writing.

5820 Driver Record Checks

FBCE August 2022

A transportation volunteer follows the same requirements for driving a motor vehicle as an employee does according to the Human Resources Manual Chapter 1, Selection (B. Agency Employment Requirements; Driver License and Driver Record Requirements).

The process is as follows:

  • The faith-based and community engagement employee sends the driving record check request to the Faith-Based and Community Engagement (FBCE) State Office volunteer coordinator.
  • This coordinator sends the information to DFPS Human Resources (HR).
  • HR will run the check and send the results to the FBCE State Office volunteer coordinator.
  • The FBCE State Office volunteer coordinator will send the driving record check results to the appropriate FBCE employee.
  • A transportation volunteer may not assist with transporting clients until the driving record check is completed and the clearance is received.

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