Sunset Review and CPS Transformation
The Texas Legislature passed two Sunset Advisory Commission laws in FY 2015 that will have a major effect on DFPS:
- Senate Bill 200 takes a phased approach to reorganizing the Texas Health and Human Services System and will eventually move the Child Care Licensing program from DFPS to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). It also will consolidate HHSC's Texas Home Visiting program with prevention programs at DFPS.
- Senate Bill 206 did away with a number of requirements to give CPS caseworkers the flexibility to spend more time with clients. It also requires CPS to produce an annual business plan to focus its efforts and resources on its mission.
Even before these laws, DFPS was making major improvements based on the recommendations of the Sunset Report, the CPS Operational Review, and a review of foster care in Harris County by Casey Family Services. The CPS Transformation initiative brought together all three sets of recommendations, and frontline field staff led much of the effort to put these changes into place. CPS Transformation improvements in fiscal year 2015 include:
- New training and mentoring programs for CPS caseworkers.
- A new CPS case practice model.
- Putting more structure into the decision-making of caseworkers.
- Streamlining policy so caseworkers better understand what they need to do to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children.
Transformation also changed the way the agency as a whole recruits and hires caseworkers. DFPS:
- Added an assessment to help learn if applicants have the temperament for casework.
- Created new APS and CPS job preview videos to give applicants a realistic look at casework.
- Sharply increased the number of job fairs at colleges and military bases.
- Expanded recruiting to target a broader range of academic backgrounds.
You will find more on CPS Transformation later in the CPS section of this report and in the CPS Transformation section of the DFPS website.