Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Family Violence Program Shelter Center Provider Manual
Effective: September 1, 2008
7100 Shelter Center Services
- §379.701 is based on Chapter 51, of the HRC. To reference the code, go to http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/hr.toc.htm.
- For more notes and suggested practices on each service listed in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), §379.701, refer to individual rules and manual sections in this chapter.
- Services are also defined in §379.1 and in Appendix II, Integrated Tracking System (ITS) Definitions. See Item 7110, Data Collection, for more information.
When providing services, shelter center staff and volunteers should respect the culture and beliefs of each victim of family violence.
7110 Data Collection
§379.702 Data Collection
- The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) tracks services provided and numbers of victims served through the HHSC ITS.
- For definitions and detailed interpretations of the ITS requirements, see Appendix II, Integrated Tracking System (ITS) Definitions.
7120 Program Standards for 24-Hour-a-Day Shelter
7130 Cooperative Living
§379.703 Promoting Cooperative Living in the Shelter
HHSC does not require the shelter center to have house rules.
If the shelter center chooses to implement house rules, it is recommended that the rules be based on the Family Violence Program goals and beliefs as stated in the handbook. Introduction should be limited to issues of safety and security and should encourage mutual respect, privacy, shared living responsibilities and respect for diversity in communal living arrangements.
7200 Crisis Call Hotline
- §379.704 Crisis Call Hotline
- §379.705 Subcontracting the Crisis Call Hotline
- §379.1(6)(A)-(D) Crisis Call Hotline
- §379.701(2) Shelter Center Services
- If the shelter center receives advance permission from the resident, nonresident or victim to unblock her or his phone number, the permission may be obtained through intake, telephone contact, in person or in writing.
- When providing hotline services for persons with hearing impairments, the shelter center can use a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) or contact Texas Relay.
- The shelter center must be able to provide meaningful access to hotline services to callers with limited English proficiency. Recruiting staff or volunteers to act as interpreters or by contacting telephone companies for language line services may meet this requirement. See §379.608 for more information about serving victims with limited English proficiency.
- If the shelter center uses the hotline to determine eligibility for services, the shelter center must follow all federal and state laws, HHSC rules, and should not ask questions regarding:
- physical or mental health, including questions about medications; or
- age except to determine legal status for services.
See §379.604 for more information regarding eligibility.
It is recommended that the shelter center:
- attempt to offer appropriate information and referral to battering intervention services, if violent family members call the hotline;
- document permission from the resident, nonresident or victim to unblock her or his telephone number;
- not use cordless or cellular telephones for hotline calls, since other listeners may easily trace conversations; and
- consult with technology experts to create a technical safety plan and to identify communication devices that maintain confidentiality of calls.
7300 Medical Care
7310 Emergency and Nonemergency Care
The shelter center is not required to pay for emergency or nonemergency medical care.
7320 Residents' Medications
§379.707 Residents’ Medications
- Safekeeping of drugs and medications is intended to prevent accidental use by children and abuse by residents or staff. Safekeeping can be obtained by a variety of methods and should be reasonable for each situation.
- The shelter center can provide immediate access to medication by developing an individual plan for medications that are required for relief of critical symptoms.
- The shelter center is responsible only for the safekeeping of residents’ medications and is not responsible for administering or monitoring medication taken by residents.
It is recommended that the shelter center develop procedures that comply with local ordinances or the Department of State Health Services protocol for disposing of unclaimed controlled drugs and/or medications.
7400 Intervention Services
- HHSC does not require the shelter center to provide therapeutic or ongoing counseling to victims of family violence. HHSC allows for intervention services to be provided by whomever the shelter center decides is most qualified. Therefore, the shelter center is not required to employ licensed staff to provide intervention services. The Licensed Professional Counselor Act and the Texas Professional Social Work Act provide exemptions for unlicensed individuals.
- As stated in the introduction to this handbook, victims of family violence must be able to choose which shelter center services to access. Therefore, if providing clinical counseling services, the shelter center must clearly differentiate these services from non-clinical intervention services and not require residents and nonresidents to access clinical counseling services.
It is recommended that:
- licensed professional counselors contact the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors concerning their licensing requirements and procedures;
- staff and volunteer titles not imply that they are practicing social work if they are not licensed social workers;
- licensed social workers contact the state or National Association of Social Workers for their licensing requirements and procedures;
- intervention services do not include probing for weakness, diagnosing or labeling;
- the shelter center networks with local mental health providers to encourage reduced-rate and/or donated services for victims of family violence who need clinical or long-term counseling or mental health treatment; and
- intervention services include:
- addressing needs as identified by the victim;
- the dynamics of family violence;
- advocacy, including explaining the victim’s rights and options; and
- how to access the services to which she or he is entitled.
7410 Client Orientation
For additional information about the requirements for orientations, see:
- cooperative living agreements in §379.703;
- length of stay in §379.627;
- termination in §379.607 and §379.612;
- residents’ rights in §379.628;
- nondiscrimination statement in §379.604;
- safety and security procedures in §379.503, §379.504, §379.509, §379.510 and §379.715; and
- confidentiality in §379.613, §379.614 and §379.618.
If the shelter center provides services to unaccompanied minors, the center should consider the minor as an adult in terms of orientation requirements and ITS documentation.
The shelter center should keep original waivers of liability and a one-page statement, signed by the resident or nonresident, acknowledging receipt of items listed in orientation rules.
7420 Service Plan
§379.710 Service Plan
It is recommended that the service plan be developed with the resident or nonresident and reflect the resident’s or nonresident’s particular needs.
7430 Group Intervention
§379.711 Group Intervention
For additional guidance on providing counseling services, go to Section 7400, Intervention Services.
It is recommended that adult support groups cover such topics as:
- the dynamics of family violence and that:
- the victims are responsible for their own life decisions; and
- batterers are responsible for the violent behavior.
- information and education that includes:
- how batterers maintain control and dominance over victims; and
- the role of society in the perpetuation of violence against women through the use of:
- racism; and
- the need to hold batterers accountable for their actions; and
- the social change necessary to eliminate violence within the family.
7440 Religion and Intervention Services
§379.712 Religion and Intervention Services
- The distribution of religious literature is not legally prohibited; however, the potential discrimination liability should be considered when distributing materials from any one religion.
- Except as provided by federal law, HHSC will not require a charitable or religious organization to alter its form of internal governance or remove religious art, icons, scripture or other symbols.
7450 Delivery of Children’s Direct Services
§379.713 Delivery of Children’s Direct Services
It is recommended:
- that children’s support groups include:
- expressing feelings, particularly dealing with anger;
- learning basic information about the shelter;
- understanding that children are not responsible for batterer’s violence;
- discussing safety skills and safety plans; and
- exploring possible social support systems using art or play therapy.
- that the shelter centers provide support and recreational and social groups to nonresident children whose parent also is receiving nonresident services. When it is possible to provide these services, it is recommended that the shelter center provide quality child care during adult support groups.
- an atmosphere be created that supports the empowerment, self-determination and dignity of each child resident.
- individual intervention services be provided to nonresident children by trained children’s staff or volunteers.
- children be assisted in adapting to the emergency shelter by having new or gently used, age-appropriate toys ready to give to each child and infant.
- the shelter center encourage all staff and volunteers to listen to and talk with the children.
- children’s television watching be limited and fun daily activities be provided instead.
- Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) minimum standards for day care centers be met, particularly adult-child ratios, when taking children on field trips or when supervising infants or toddlers.
- to update the shelter center when remodeling by meeting the minimum indoor activity and outdoor play space standards. To access the standards, go to www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/Child_Care_Standards_and_Regulations/default.asp.
- that the shelter center ensure all new child residents have face-to-face contact with the designated children’s staff within 72 hours of the resident’s admission to determine the services needed. If the child is not developmentally able to be involved in this process, it is recommended that the needs assessment be done with the parent resident.
- that if the child is not developmentally able to be involved in the intervention services, the parent resident is provided information regarding the effects of family violence on children.
7451 Safety Policy and Procedures for Delivering Services to Children
§379.715 Safety Policies and Procedures for Delivering Services to Children
For information about requirements for transporting children, see Section 7500, Transportation.
When taking children on outings, it is recommended that:
- the resident/nonresident parent be informed where the outing will be and asked if the batterer works in or frequents that area.
- staff have in their possession a signed medical release for each child and a first aid kit.
7452 Child Care Licensing
- §379.716 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' (DFPS) Child Care Licensing Regulation
- Human Resources Codes (HRC) Title 2, Chapter 42
- Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Title 40, Part 19, Chapter 745
- The regulations that apply to DFPS child care licensing can be referenced in Chapter 42 of the HRC. The rules that cover DFPS child care licensing are in TAC Title 40, Part 19, Chapter 745.
- To reference Chapter 42 of the HRC, go to http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/HR/content/pdf/hr.002.00.000042.00.pdf.
- To reference TAC Chapter 745, go to http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=40&pt=19&ch=745.
- To reference the DFPS Child Care Standards and Regulations, go to www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/Child_Care_Standards_and_Regulations/default.asp.
- HRC, Chapter 42, defines the conditions and exemptions of child care licensing and charges DFPS with regulating 24-hour residential child care facilities (such as foster homes, treatment facilities and children’s homes) and nonresidential child care facilities (such as day care centers, drop-in child care facilities and registered family homes). TAC Title 40, Part 19, Chapter 745 outlines the rules applicable to child care licensing.
- DFPS regulates day care centers, drop-in child care facilities and registered family home providers for children up to age 14 where care is provided on a regular basis in a place other than the child’s own home.
- Exemptions for shelter services:
- The family violence shelter is a temporary residence for victims and their children. Emergency residential shelter services provided to resident families are not subject to DFPS day care licensing because the children are living at the shelter with their parent and the services are provided in their temporary home.
- However, a shelter providing residential child care services for children up to age 17 must be licensed as a residential child care facility by DFPS, unless all persons under 18 years of age admitted are:
- in the shelter with a parent or legal guardian;
- legally emancipated;
- married or have been married; or
- eligible as defined by the Family Code, §32.201 and §32.202.
- Exemptions for nonresidential services:
- The shelter center providing services to children who do not live in the shelter (for example, nonresidential services at an outreach office or at a transitional housing program) may be subject to DFPS day care licensing. To be exempt, the program must meet one of the following:
- The parent is on or nearby the premises and children are cared for during a short time period. "On the premises" means in the same building or center and "nearby" means a person is in the same building, across the street from or in the same city block as the operation. Facility staff must be able to contact parents at all times. A child may be in care for no more than four and one-half hours per day or 12 hours per week. This exemption does not apply when the parent is employed by the organization or enrolled as a student with the facility.
- The program consists of classes designed primarily to teach skills rather than provide child care. If the classes are sequential and continuous (meaning back-to-back and ongoing all day for the same children), they become child care arrangements and are subject to regulation. When classes are operated in connection with a day care facility, they are subject to regulation, and facilities providing after school child care are subject to regulation.
- The program operates for two or fewer days per week and is not part of a facility subject to regulation.
- For more information regarding exemptions, see TAC Title 40, Part 19, Chapter 745 at http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=40&pt=19&ch=745&sch=C.
- Many shelters have developed extensive children's programs and are able to offer children a variety of services. If the shelter center is providing services to nonresident children and does not meet the DFPS exemptions noted above, there are three options:
- become licensed;
- contract the services to a licensed day care facility; or
- restructure the children's program to meet the exemption requirements.
- Even if the center’s children’s program is exempt from DFPS’ licensing requirements, the center is still legally liable for children’s safety. The organization is encouraged to meet or exceed minimum standards appropriate to the program. For example, to ensure children’s safety on shelter center-sponsored field trips, the shelter center’s programs should meet or exceed DFPS minimum staff-to-child ratios.
- When remodeling a facility, the shelter center is encouraged to update the facility by meeting DFPS' minimum indoor activity and outdoor play space standards.
- § 379.701(5) Shelter Center Services
- § 379.1(9)(A)-(B) Emergency Transportation
- Transportation Code, §545.412(a) and (c), Child Passenger Safety Seat Systems
- A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than age 5 and less than 36 inches in height, and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.
- It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was transporting the child in an emergency or for a law enforcement purpose.
- Texas Occupant Restraint Laws, §545.412
To reference this code, go to http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/TN/content/htm/tn.007.00.000545.00.htm.
According to Texas Occupant Restraint Laws, §545.412, child safety seats are required in passenger vehicles (passenger car, light truck, sport utility vehicle, truck or truck tractor); however, they are not required in vehicles for hire (that is, taxis, buses, etc.). For more information on restraint law, see www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_information/seatbelt.htm.
When providing non-emergency transportation, it is recommended that the shelter center:
- Ensure that the victim is transported from a safe place. A safe place is a location that is mutually agreed upon by the victim and the shelter center. The shelter center may arrange with taxis, law enforcement, another agency or volunteers to provide emergency transportation, and should consider the victim's safety concerns when determining emergency transportation. A particular victim might not feel safe using law enforcement for transportation, but should not be denied services based on inability or unwillingness to use the shelter center's prearranged transportation method.
- Provide or assist residents in accessing transportation to medical appointments, job training and interviews, work sites and training sites after employment or training is secured and until the residents can make their own arrangements.
- Provide or assist nonresidents in accessing transportation to legal and criminal justice appointments whenever possible.
7600 Legal Assistance Services
- §379.717 Legal Assistance Services
- §379.701(6) Shelter Center Services
- §379.1(12)(A)-(E) Legal Assistance
It is recommended that when the shelter center provides legal assistance to children, the designated children's staff and the designated legal advocate coordinate to develop a plan that best meets the child's needs.
7700 Educational Arrangements for Children
- §379.718 Educational Services for Children of Adult Residents
- §379.1(7) Education Arrangements for Children
- §379.701(7) Shelter Center Services
- In general, the term educational services can include enrollment in a public school, a private or parochial school, home schooling or enrollment in a high school equivalency examination preparation program for certain children.
- The shelter center may contract with the school district or another educational entity to provide educational services at the 24-hour-a-day shelter.
- Children currently being home schooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirements of the state of Texas. For more information about this and other home schooling issues, go to www.tea.state.tx.us/home.school.
7800 Training and Employment Services
- §379.719 Training and Employment Services
- §379.1(23) Training and Employment Information
- §379.701(8) Shelter Center Services
The shelter center may provide these services either directly or through formal arrangements with other agencies.
The shelter center is encouraged to:
- seek non-traditional job training programs, possibly in coordination with local government. Non-traditional jobs often offer higher salaries and benefits.
- network with local educational institutions to provide on-site General Educational Development tests, training, tutoring, etc.
7900 Information and Referral System to Existing Community Services
- §379.1(17)(A)-(H) Referral System to Existing Community Services
- §379.701(9) Shelter Center Services
It is recommended that:
- the shelter center's referral list include the eligibility criteria, restrictions, fee schedule, contact persons, hours of operation and location for each resource.
- the shelter center establish cooperative relationships with community resources and attempt to obtain feedback from residents and nonresidents regarding the appropriateness and helpfulness of the referrals made.
- in the interest of consolidating efforts between other human services organizations, the shelter center might consider:
- collaborating with other agencies and organizations that provide food, clothing, emergency shelter and medical care to ensure access to those services for victims, especially in outlying counties;
- evaluating whether an agency or organization is appropriate and accessible for family violence victims and whether additional family violence training is necessary;
- joining with other social service agencies and community groups to advocate for affordable housing in the community;
- identifying, creating and supporting alternatives to law enforcement as the sole or main source of transportation for victims of family violence, such as local efforts to provide transportation for victims;
- joining with other social service agencies and community groups to advocate for improved public transportation in rural and urban areas;
- providing outreach and training with local attorneys and leaders in the legal community;
- providing access to job readiness training and job training with placement assistance, including working with local workforce development boards; and
- focusing job placement assistance on jobs that provide a living wage and health insurance.