As part of the commissioner’s ten-point plan, CPS continued to boost its faith-based effort and relationships by hiring a state faith manager and reorganizing so that all the faith specialists report to one manager. Over 183 new churches joined Care Portal in FY 2017. Care Portal is an online clearinghouse that connects churches with children and families involved with CPS to help meet their needs. CPS has 866 active church partnerships, adding over 500 of those in FY 17. CPS also started a new effort called “Clergy in the Court” in Harris, El Paso, Williamson, and Bell counties, which gives faith groups opportunities to attend court hearings to support youth and families.
CPS published the first Foster Care Needs Assessment in January 2017. It was posted on the DFPS website and shared through the DFPS Facebook page. The assessment allows CPS to more strategically build Texas’ foster care capacity by analyzing historical trends and forecasting for FY 17-18. CPS also hired a capacity-building specialist who works with providers around the state to identify barriers to capacity and expansion, negotiate additional capacity, and follow up with providers that do not have a current DFPS contract. In FY 2017, CPS also contacted providers in neighboring states and contracted with facilities in Arizona and Oklahoma.