TEXAS CUSTODY-SWITCH BILL, “S.B. 423,” NUNC PRO TUNC MANDATES SEXUAL ABUSE BY CPS


S.B. No. 423
S.B. No. 423
AN ACT
relating to the flexible response system for investigations of
child abuse or neglect reports by the Department of Family and
Protective Services.
       BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
       SECTION 1.  Section 261.3015, Family Code, is amended to
read as follows:
       Sec. 261.3015.  FLEXIBLE RESPONSE SYSTEM. (a)  In assigning
priorities and prescribing investigative procedures based on the
severity and immediacy of the alleged harm to a child under Section
261.301(d), the department shall establish a flexible response
system to allow the department to make the most effective use of
resources to investigate and respond to reported [by investigating
serious] cases of abuse and neglect.
       (b)  Notwithstanding Section 261.301, the department may, in
accordance with this section and department rules, conduct an
alternative response to a report of abuse or neglect if the report
does not:
             (1)  allege sexual abuse of a child;
             (2)  allege abuse or neglect that caused the death of a
child; or
             (3)  indicate a risk of serious physical injury or
immediate serious harm to a child.
       (c)  The department may administratively close a reported
case of abuse or neglect without completing the investigation or
alternative response and without providing services or making a
referral to another entity for assistance [and by screening out
less serious cases of abuse and neglect] if the department
determines, after contacting a professional or other credible
source, that the child’s safety can be assured without further
investigation, response, services, or assistance.
       (d)  In determining how to classify a reported case of abuse
or neglect under the flexible response system, the child’s safety
is the primary concern [The department may administratively close
the less serious cases without providing services or making a
referral to another entity for assistance.
       [(a-1)     For purposes of Subsection (a), a case is considered
to be a less serious case of abuse or neglect if the circumstances
of the case do not indicate an immediate risk of abuse or neglect
that could result in the death of or serious harm to the child who is
the subject of the case].
       [(b)]  The classification [under the flexible response
system] of a case may be changed as warranted by the circumstances.
       (e)  An alternative response to a report of abuse or neglect
must include:
             (1)  a safety assessment of the child who is the subject
of the report;
             (2)  an assessment of the child’s family; and
             (3)  in collaboration with the child’s family,
identification of any necessary and appropriate service or support
to reduce the risk of future harm to the child.
       (f)  An alternative response to a report of abuse or neglect
may not include a formal determination of whether the alleged abuse
or neglect occurred.
       (g) [(c)]  The department may implement the alternative
[flexible] response in one or more of the department’s
administrative regions before implementing the system statewide
[system by establishing a pilot program in a single department
service region]. The department shall study the results of the
system in the regions where the system has been implemented
[region] in determining the method by which to implement the system
statewide.
       SECTION 2.  Not later than December 1, 2013, the executive
commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall
adopt the rules necessary to implement Section 261.3015, Family
Code, as amended by this Act.
       SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.
______________________________ ______________________________
   President of the Senate Speaker of the House
       I hereby certify that S.B. No. 423 passed the Senate on
April 4, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 0.
______________________________
Secretary of the Senate
       I hereby certify that S.B. No. 423 passed the House on
May 15, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 145, Nays 0, two
present not voting.
______________________________
Chief Clerk of the House
Approved:
______________________________
            Date
______________________________
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