Cross-Reporting Among Agencies That Respond to Child Abuse and Neglect - Texas

Date: February 2021

Cross-Reporting Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement

Citation: Fam. Code § 261.105

All reports received by a local or State law enforcement agency that allege abuse or neglect by a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare shall be referred immediately to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). DFPS immediately shall notify the appropriate State or local law enforcement agency of any report it receives that concerns the suspected abuse or neglect of a child or death of a child from abuse or neglect.

In addition to notifying a law enforcement agency, if the report relates to a child in a facility operated, licensed, certified, or registered by a State agency, DFPS shall refer the report to the agency for investigation. If, however, a report under this section relates to a child with an intellectual disability receiving services in a State-supported living center, DFPS shall proceed with the investigation of the report.

If DFPS initiates an investigation and determines that the abuse or neglect does not involve a person responsible for the child's care, custody, or welfare, DFPS shall refer the report to a law enforcement agency for further investigation. If DFPS determines that the abuse or neglect involves an employee of a public or private primary or secondary school, and that the child is a student at the school, DFPS shall orally notify the superintendent of the school district, the director of the open-enrollment charter school, or the chief executive officer of the private school in which the employee is employed about the investigation.

In cooperation with DFPS, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department by rule shall adopt guidelines for identifying a report made to the Juvenile Justice Department that are appropriate to refer to DFPS or a law enforcement agency for investigation. Guidelines adopted under this subsection must require the Juvenile Justice Department to consider the severity and immediacy of the alleged abuse or neglect of the child victim.

Other Reporting Requirements

Citation: Fam. Code § 261.1055

A district attorney may inform DFPS or designated agency that the district attorney wishes to receive notification of some or all reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children who were in the county at the time the report was made or who were in the county at the time of the alleged abuse or neglect.

If the district attorney makes the notification under this section, DFPS or designated agency, on receipt of a report of suspected abuse or neglect, immediately shall notify the district attorney as requested, and DFPS or designated agency shall forward a copy of the reports to the district attorney on request.