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Sec. 531.055: Memorandum of Understanding on Services for Persons Needing Multiagency Services

(a) The Health and Human Services Commission, the Department of Family and Protective Services, the Department of State Health Services, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department shall enter into a joint memorandum of understanding to promote a system of local-level interagency staffing groups to identify and coordinate services for persons needing multiagency services to be provided in the least restrictive setting appropriate, using residential, institutional, or congregate care settings only as a last resort. The division within the Health and Human Services Commission that coordinates the policy and delivery of mental health services shall oversee the development and implementation of the joint memorandum of understanding.

(b) The memorandum must:

(1) clarify the statutory responsibilities of each agency in relation to persons needing multiagency services, including subcategories for different services such as:

(A) family preservation and strengthening;

(B) physical and behavioral health care;

(C) prevention and early intervention services, including services designed to prevent:

(i) child abuse;

(ii) neglect; or

(iii) delinquency, truancy, or school dropout;

(D) diversion from juvenile or criminal justice involvement;

(E) housing;

(F) aging in place;

(G) emergency shelter;

(H) residential care;

(I) after-care;

(J) information and referral; and

(K) investigation services;

(2) include a functional definition of "persons needing multiagency services";

(3) outline membership, officers, and necessary standing committees of local-level interagency staffing groups;

(4) define procedures aimed at eliminating duplication of services relating to assessment and diagnosis, treatment, residential placement and care, and case management of persons needing multiagency services;

(5) define procedures for addressing disputes between the agencies that relate to the agencies' areas of service responsibilities;

(6) provide that each local-level interagency staffing group includes:

(A) a local representative of each agency;

(B) representatives of local private sector agencies; and

(C) family members or caregivers of persons needing multiagency services or other current or previous consumers of multiagency services acting as general consumer advocates;

(7) provide that the local representative of each agency has authority to contribute agency resources to solving problems identified by the local-level interagency staffing group;

(8) provide that if a person's needs exceed the resources of an agency, the agency may, with the consent of the person's legal guardian, if applicable, submit a referral on behalf of the person to the local-level interagency staffing group for consideration;

(9) provide that a local-level interagency staffing group may be called together by a representative of any member agency;

(10) provide that an agency representative may be excused from attending a meeting if the staffing group determines that the age or needs of the person to be considered are clearly not within the agency's service responsibilities, provided that each agency representative is encouraged to attend all meetings to contribute to the collective ability of the staffing group to solve a person's need for multiagency services;

(11) define the relationship between state-level interagency staffing groups and local-level interagency staffing groups in a manner that defines, supports, and maintains local autonomy;

(12) provide that records that are used or developed by a local-level interagency staffing group or its members that relate to a particular person are confidential and may not be released to any other person or agency except as provided by this section or by other law; and

(13) provide a procedure that permits the agencies to share confidential information while preserving the confidential nature of the information.

(c) The agencies that participate in the formulation of the memorandum of understanding shall consult with and solicit input from advocacy and consumer groups.

(d) Each agency shall adopt the memorandum of understanding and all revisions to the memorandum. The agencies shall develop revisions as necessary to reflect major agency reorganizations or statutory changes affecting the agencies.

(e) The agencies shall ensure that a state-level interagency staffing group provides:

(1) information and guidance to local-level interagency staffing groups regarding:

(A) the availability of programs and resources in the community; and

(B) best practices for addressing the needs of persons with complex needs in the least restrictive setting appropriate; and

(2) a biennial report to the administrative head of each agency, the legislature, and the governor that includes:

(A) the number of persons served through the local-level interagency staffing groups and the outcomes of the services provided;

(B) a description of any barriers identified to the state's ability to provide effective services to persons needing multiagency services; and

(C) any other information relevant to improving the delivery of services to persons needing multiagency services.

(f) In this section, "least restrictive setting" means a service setting for a person that, in comparison to other available service settings:

(1) is most able to meet the identified needs of the person;

(2) prioritizes a home and community-based care setting; and

(3) engages the strengths of the family.


Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 114, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 2.092, eff. April 2, 2015.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1203 (S.B. 1455), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2015.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 507 (H.B. 2904), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.