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1000 Introduction and Overview

RMG July 2019

The Records Management Group (RMG) is the division within DFPS designated to:

  •   develop, implement, and monitor records management practices;

  •   capture, store, and destroy records;

  •   produce records for internal and external parties;

  •   manage forms and publications; and

  •   manage the Voluntary Adoption Registry.

DFPS must manage agency records according to requirements in state law. For full details of the agency’s records management responsibilities, see:

Texas Government Code, chapters 441 and 552

Texas Family Code, chapters 162 and 261

Texas Human Resources Code, chapter 48

Texas Administrative Code, title 1, chapter 70

Texas Administrative Code, title 13, chapter 6

Texas Administrative Code, title 40

RMG’s Mission

RMG helps DFPS protect the unprotected by managing case documents quickly and efficiently so that caseworkers, attorneys, and others can easily access them to meet critical needs.

Effective records management means:

  •   A child’s safety is helped by providing to the caseworkers any history the family has on file.

  •   A child is adopted after the redacted record is provided to the potential adoptive family.

  •   A dishonest or violent person is prevented from working with defenseless adults when the case history is reviewed by the caseworker.

The following sections provide policy that RMG follows to fulfill its records management mission and duties. In conjunction with these policies, RMG employees also follow detailed procedures captured in procedural manuals, which are maintained internally and available to RMG staff.

1100 Foundation

RMG September 2016

The 79th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 6, which changed how DFPS manages case records. The bill added the following passage to the Texas Human Resources Code.  

...the department shall maintain in an electronic format a summary of all records related to investigations of reports made under Section 48.051 that includes only critical information with respect to those investigations that will enable the department to research the history of a person’s involvement in the investigated cases.

DFPS created RMG to help the agency meet this requirement. In January 2006, RMG began locating, moving, and consolidating DFPS case records. RMG also began streamlining procedures to keep DFPS records organized and in good condition.

Texas Human Resources Code §48.005

1110 Records Management Officer

RMG September 2016

DFPS must have a records management officer (RMO). The RMO directs the agency’s records management program and the dissemination of information about state laws, administrative rules, and agency policies and procedures relating to the management of DFPS records.

The head of a state agency must either serve as RMO or appoint someone to serve as RMO. At DFPS, the commissioner has appointed the director of the RMG as the RMO.

Texas Government Code, §441.184

1120 Public Access to Records

RMG September 2016

DFPS must release records to outside parties, including the general public and the media, when a right of access is established. See 3000 Disclosure of DFPS Records.

Texas Government Code, §§552.022; 552.023

1130 Records Retention

RMG September 2016

DFPS must develop and maintain a records retention schedule. RMG works with DFPS departments and programs to determine how long certain records must be stored. See 4000 Records Retention and Disposal.

Texas Government Code, §441.180

1200 Definition of a DFPS Record

RMG September 2016

Anything created or received while on DFPS business or while using a DFPS-owned resource (such as a computer or cell phone) is a DFPS record. It is an official state record regardless of format (paper, electronic, voice mail, email, CD, microfilm, text, and so on). 

Texas Government Code, §441.180

A DFPS record is an electronic file or a physical file determined to be the original or official state record. DFPS maintains case records, personnel records, and other records relating to business operations in accordance with the DFPS Records Retention Schedule.

1210 Electronic File

RMG September 2016

The electronic file consists of data and other artifacts that are entered or linked to an application used for managing records.

1220 Physical File

RMG September 2016

The physical file consists of physical documentation and other artifacts that have not been or are unable to be converted into a digital format. Once an artifact is converted into a digital format and stored, it becomes part of the electronic record.

1221 Contents of a Physical File

RMG September 2016

The physical file may contain original documents or official documents.

  •  Original document: the first document created (such as a birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage certificate, signed correspondence, completed DFPS forms, Texas Board of Medical Examiners’ complaint form, facility abuse and neglect report, or personal history statement).

  •  Official document: a duplication of an original document that must be maintained as part of normal course of DFPS business (such as therapy notes, medical records, court-related documents, a copy of a birth certificate, a copy of a Social Security card, a copy of a marriage license, or printouts of emails).

Texas Government Code §441.180, §441.189

13 Texas Administrative Code §1, Chapter 6

1230 Transitory Records

RMG September 2016

A transitory record is a record of temporary usefulness that is not essential to the fulfillment of statutory obligations or to the documentation of agency functions. A transitory file is not an integral part of another record, is not regularly kept in the course of business, and is only required for a limited time. Transitory files include everyday messages, telephone message notifications, internal meeting notices, and similar general information that add nothing of substance to official agency documentation or case records.

For example:

  •  An employee and supervisor exchange multiple messages to specify a time and date for a conference.

  •  Two employees exchange multiple messages to plan a unit function.

  •  A caseworker, case aides, and a supervisor exchange multiple messages to clarify directions to a case-related destination.

1300 Standards for DFPS Records

RMG September 2016

DFPS complies with standards set by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to guarantee the integrity of and access to DFPS records.

Texas Government Code §441.183, §441.190

HHS Imaging Standards

1310 Imaging Standards (Electronic Files)

RMG September 2016

DFPS conducts imaging (scanning) of paper files in accordance with guidelines set by TSLAC and HHSC. DFPS abides by the following quality standards to ensure the preservation of information in imaged records:

  •  Scan documents at a sufficient resolution to ensure type or handwriting is legible.

  •  Scan photos at a sufficient bit depth to ensure the quality of the image.

  •  Use an open standard (universal) format.

  •  Appropriately capture and index metadata.

Texas Government Code §441.190

HHS Imaging Standards

When a paper document is properly imaged, the imaged electronic file becomes the original record. The paper document should be reviewed to ensure quality standards are met and then confidentially destroyed.

Texas Government Code §441.189

DFPS may use a third-party vendor to conduct imaging of agency records, but DFPS retains ownership of all paper and electronic records.

Texas Government Code §441.191

1311 Quality Assurance for Electronic Files

RMG September 2016

DFPS determines quality assurance requirements before converting records from one format to another or transferring records to storage. Quality assurance requirements address the:

  •  number of records to be converted or transferred;

  •  allowable error rate and definition of an error;

  •  retention period for the records being converted or transferred; and

  •  sample size when conducting a quality control review.

When using the services of a third-party vendor, DFPS mandates quality assurance requirements and negotiates provisions for corrections.

DFPS conducts quality control reviews to confirm all quality assurance requirements are met.

HHS Imaging Standards

1312 Quality Control for Electronic Files

RMG September 2016

When paper documents are imaged or electronic files are uploaded to a DFPS application, RMG conducts a quality control review. In accordance with HHS Imaging Standards, a sample of the imaged pages is reviewed for accuracy and quality.

If an imaged record contains more errors than the allowable rate, the record is scanned and reviewed again.

1320 Physical File Standards

RMG September 2016

DFPS employees must handle physical files appropriately to prevent damage and breach of confidentiality. RMG uses a third-party vendor for secure offsite storage that has been approved by HHS Procurement.

1321 Quality Assurance for Physical Files

RMG September 2016

DFPS uses standards established by RMG to determine quality assurance requirements for physical documentation. For example:

  •  Do not include convenience copies in a physical file (such as a printed photograph that has already been stored in IMPACT).

  •  Tape down Post-it Notes but make sure they do not cover up any content.

  •  Use the agency-approved tabs when applicable.

1322 Quality Control for Physical Files

RMG September 2016

DFPS conducts quality control on all inactive physical documents submitted to RMG for imaging or storage. RMG corrects errors and provides feedback to the department or program that submitted the documents to help maintain quality standards.

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