Bill Text: TX HB1098 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to reports of child abuse or neglect and certain preliminary investigations of those reports.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-04 - Referred to Human Services [HB1098 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB1098-Introduced.html
  87R1807 MCK-D
 
  By: Gates H.B. No. 1098
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to reports of child abuse or neglect and certain
  preliminary investigations of those reports.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 261.104, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 261.104.  CONTENTS OF REPORT; NOTICE. (a) The person
  making a report shall identify, if known:
               (1)  the name and address of the child;
               (2)  the name and address of the person responsible for
  the care, custody, or welfare of the child; [and]
               (3)  the facts that caused the person to believe the
  child has been abused or neglected and the source of the
  information; 
               (4)  the person's name and telephone number;
               (5)  the person's:
                     (A)  home address; or
                     (B)  if the person is a professional as defined by
  Section 261.101(b), the person's business address and profession;
  and
               (6)  any other pertinent information concerning the
  alleged or suspected abuse or neglect.
         (b)  If the person making a report of child abuse or neglect
  uses the toll-free telephone number operated by the department for
  reporting child abuse or neglect and the person is unwilling to
  provide the information described by Subsection (a)(4), the
  department representative receiving the report shall notify the
  person that:
               (1)  the department is not authorized to accept an
  anonymous report of abuse or neglect; and
               (2)  the person may report the abuse or neglect by
  calling 9-1-1 or making a report to any local or state law
  enforcement agency. 
         (c)  The department representative or other person receiving
  a report of child abuse or neglect shall use the person's best
  efforts to obtain the information described by Subsection (a).
         (d)  If a report of abuse or neglect is made orally, the
  department representative or other person receiving the report
  shall:
               (1)  notify the person making the report that:
                     (A)  the report is being recorded; and 
                     (B)  making a false report is a criminal offense
  under Section 261.107 punishable as a state jail felony or a third
  degree felony; and
               (2)  make an audio recording of the report.
         SECTION 2.  Section 261.304, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 261.304.  PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF ANONYMOUS
  REPORT. (a) If an individual makes [the department receives] an
  anonymous report of child abuse or neglect by a person responsible
  for a child's care, custody, or welfare to a 9-1-1 service or a
  local or state law enforcement agency and the service or agency
  refers the report to the department, the department shall conduct a
  preliminary investigation to determine whether there is any
  evidence to corroborate the report. A law enforcement officer may
  not accompany the department representative on a visit to the
  child's home during any preliminary investigation conducted under
  this section.
         (b)  A preliminary [An] investigation conducted under this
  section may include:
               (1)  a visit to the child's home, unless the alleged
  abuse or neglect is [can be] confirmed or clearly ruled out without
  a home visit;
               (2)  [,] an interview with and examination of the
  child;
               (3)  [, and] an interview with the child's parents; and
               (4)  an [. In addition, the department may] interview
  with any other person the department believes may have relevant
  information, if the person voluntarily consents to the interview
  without any coercion or undue influence.
         (b-1)  When conducting a preliminary investigation under
  this section, the department representative may not:
               (1)  enter the child's home without the homeowner's
  consent;
               (2)  interview the child or the child's parents or
  examine the child unless the representative obtains written consent
  for the interview or examination from the child's parents; or
               (3)  threaten or coerce a parent to consent to an
  interview or examination under this section, including by notifying
  the parents that law enforcement will be called if the parents fail
  to cooperate with the investigation. 
         (b-2)  When interviewing or examining a child under this
  section, the department representative may not separate the child
  from the child's parents. An examination of a child under this
  section may only be visual. The representative may not touch or
  disrobe the child when conducting the examination. 
         (c)  Unless the department determines that there is
  sufficient [some] evidence to corroborate the report of abuse, the
  department may not conduct the thorough investigation required by
  this chapter or take any action against the person accused of abuse.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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