Adult Protective Services (APS)
- APS collaborated with the Texas Elder Abuse Mistreatment (TEAM) Institute in Houston to launch a series of thirteen training courses for 700 members of the Houston Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team.
- In Dallas, APS worked with the city's police academy to help establish the Silver Shadow program for elderly victims of crime.
- In the Beaumont area, APS partnered with MHMR and law enforcement agencies to create a task force to help move persons with mental illness from the criminal justice system to the mental health system.
- APS implemented a program to train employees of financial institutions on how to recognize, report, and prevent financial exploitation through the use of a training manual and video. By March 2004, over 600 bank employees, executives, and board members had been trained at branches of financial institutions.
- APS coordinated statewide disability awareness training for Domestic Violence Centers throughout Texas to increase the awareness and participation of persons with disabilities in available domestic violence services.
- APS implemented a policy requiring caseworkers to provide victims of family violence with written information about community resources and develop a family violence plan to promote the safety of the victim.
Child Protective Services (CPS)
- Texas completed the federal Child and Family Service Review. When compliance results on federal outcomes, data indicators, and systemic factors are combined, only Delaware exceeded the substantial conformity rate of Texas.
- The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) conducted a Title IV-E eligibility review of DFPS foster care program cases to determine if Texas was in compliance with federal regulations. ACF found DFPS to be in substantial compliance, with no errors found.
- A single point of contact for brokering placements of children into residential treatment centers was created. The Residential Treatment Placement Coordinators maintain regular communication with facilities to enhance placement practices and to maintain information on current vacancies within residential treatment facilities across the state.
- Findings from a Risk Director Intervention Evaluation indicated children are safer as a result of having Risk Directors review high-risk cases and provide consultation and training to field staff.
- During FY 2004, the Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) initiative, which began in December 2003, conducted 378 family group conferences, 248 of which were held within the first 30 days a child came into state foster care. Preliminary findings indicated the majority of the conferences resulted in the child's placement with relatives or family-identified caregivers. The FGDM initiative is operating in 22 sites.
- CPS began a kinship care pilot in south Texas that assists in the use of relative placements, with services designed to help permanently sustain these placements. This initiative is known as SERAPE (Supporting and Educating Relatives as Placements).
- CPS began the CHILD initiative (Congregations Helping In Love and Dedication), a unique collaboration between Texas' faith-based communities and CPS to recruit and license as foster parents at least 2 families from each participating congregation, with the congregation developing supportive services for their foster families.
- DFPS implemented the first major revision to the level of care system since 1989 by converting six levels of care to four service levels, pursuant to DFPS Rider 21, 78th Legislature, that required DFPS to consolidate levels of care by October 1, 2003 in order to attain greater efficiencies in classifying of foster care children and to reduce costs.
- The Advancing Residential Childcare project developed a comprehensive quality assurance system to evaluate the overall progress of foster children and the performance of providers. A variety of stakeholders helped the agency identify six child outcomes that will be measured on an ongoing basis for each child in foster care.
Child Care Licensing (CCL)
- Minimum standards rules for day care centers and homes were revised and implemented in September 2003. The new standards consolidated six sets of standards into two, eliminated duplication and conflicts, and were written in plain language with a question and answer format to make them easier to understand and to promote more consistent compliance.
- In conjunction with other agency programs, CCL implemented a public awareness campaign, "Look Before You Leave", that focused on the dangers of leaving children in cars, especially during hot summer months.
- Improvements and enhancements to the Child Care Licensing Automation Support system were implemented that provide efficiencies and streamlining features for agency system users and the public and provider website users.
Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI)
- Output and outcome measures for PEI service contracts were revised to improve contractor accountability and improve the agency's ability to measure the impact that prevention services have on families and children.
- During FY 2004,staff and volunteers at the Runaway and Youth Hotlines answered 35,197 calls and provided troubled youths and families with 10,560 referrals to shelters, counseling programs, law enforcement and other youth related organizations. More than 180,000 program materials were prepared and distributed to schools, PEI contractors, CPS workers, law enforcement agencies, and other youth related organizations.
- DFPS successfully migrated from the Child and Adult Protective System (CAPS), the existing case management and automation tool, to the Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas (IMPACT) system, a web architecture application.
- DFPS was a finalist in the CIO Magazine Government category of its CIO Enterprise Value Awards contest and was the winner of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications (TASSCC) Excellence Award for Innovative Use of Technology for its successful migration to IMPACT.
- The foster care eligibility determination process was automated in IMPACT.
- The development and implementation of an automated person merge program in the IMPACT database was completed. The effect of this effort is to improve child safety through providing caseworkers more accurate case history information.
- A new reporting software was implemented that aids the planning, forecasting, scheduling, and analysis of staff time and incoming calls for the Statewide Intake call center.
- A public report abuse web site for all citizens to use to report abuse, neglect and exploitation was created and implemented.
- An automated interface with the HHSC Texas 211 referral system was developed so that information about child care providers could be shared.
- Developed the ability for child care providers to use the DFPS public site to submit and receive results of background checks on-line.