July 8, 2005
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Advisory Council met at the John H. Winters Building, Room 125-E, 701 West 51 st Street, Austin, Texas. Council Members present were Ronald Brandon, Anne C. Crews, Richard S. Hoffman, Faith Johnson, Imogen S. Papadopoulos, and Linda Bell Robinson. A quorum was present. Also present were Commissioner Carey Cockerell and Department staff.
Agenda Item 1 Call to Order
Call to order by Richard Hoffman at 9:15 a.m.
Agenda Item 2 Reading, Correction and Approval of Minutes of May 6, 2005
Ms. Papadopoulos moved to approve the minutes and Ms. Johnson seconded. Approval was unanimous.
Agenda Item 3 Public Testimony
Andrew D. Rivera expressed concern that via an open records request there is no policy
which states that Commissioner Cockerell does not meet with anyone investigated by this agency. He also expressed concern about how the investigation of his family by Carla Rouse was conducted and that he was unable to get information from her concerning that investigation. Mr. Rivera stated that no disciplinary actions have been taken.
Mr. Hoffman stated that they would follow up on this matter.
Agenda Item 4 - Staff Briefing
4.a. Commissioner's Report Commissioner Cockerell
Commissioner Cockerell introduced the new Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Sue Milam, and the new CPS Director of Investigations, Ms. Laura Lindsey. He reported that the staff is continuing its work on the coordination of project renewal.
Commissioner Cockerell discussed plans of hiring the additional 2,500 staff. Ms. Anne Heilegenstein, Deputy Executive Director, and her staff are making presentations around the state. Caseworkers are there also to make presentations on what it means to be a caseworker for the DFPS.
Commissioner Cockerell reported on a presentation he made to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission at their post-legislative conference.
Technology improvements continue to move forward. APS is rolling out the tablet PCs with pilot staff that has been trained. It will be a great tool not only for APS but CPS as well. Right now it is in four units and the complete rollout will be in September. The new client risk assessment tool which is in IMPACT can be accessed by workers off their desktop computers and soon their tablet PCs.
Commissioner Cockerell reported on the DFPS Tomorrow Program, which is designed to enhance leadership skills of the DFPS leaders and supervisors and ensure that DFPS has the workforce it needs to serve clients and families. The DFPS Tomorrow Program plans to create an advocate Council, which would include participants from all regions, representatives of all programs and levels of supervisory staff, as well as community representation. This Council would promote the Tomorrow Program by providing resources, direction and feedback to the program both from a regional and an external perspective.
Commissioner Cockerell requested that a representative from the Department of Family and Protective Services council be appointed to the DFPS Tomorrow Council. The appointee would serve the length of the appointee's term
of the DFPS Council. Mr. Hoffman stated that they would make that appointment.
4.b. Lifeworks Scoops for Youth Program - Jeannie Coale
Lifeworks is an Austin-based nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive network of support services to more than 10,000 youth and families every year. DFPS is one of several funding sources for Lifeworks and has contracted with DFPS since 1998.
Ms. Coale introduced Mr. Jay Shumack, Chief Financial Officer and Enterprise Director for Lifeworks. Mr. Shumack made a presentation about his agency and the Ben and Jerry's Partnershop Program or Scoops for Youth Program. While Lifeworks provides employment readiness training and assistance, many youths still needed additional assistance beyond that.
Ben and Jerry's Partnershop provided the job development and job training.
Lifeworks is an independent franchisee of Ben and Jerry's. There is a sign in the shop that says that the proceeds assist Lifeworks and a brochure that talks about the Partnershop program. Lifeworks mission is to transition youth and families from crisis to safety and success. Their tag-line is Shelter, Safety, Support and Success. Questions by the Council followed his presentation.
Agenda Item 5 New Business
5.a. Recommendation to publish for public comment the Repeal Communities in Schools Chapter 704, Prevention and Early Intervention Services, and in Chapter 702 General Administration Jeannie Coale
Ms. Coale presented for consideration a proposal to repeal the rules related to the Communities in Schools Program. Legislation states that a rule of DFPS related to the Communities in Schools Program continue in effect as a rule of the Commissioner of Education until superceded by the Commissioner of Education. The Texas Education Agency proposed new rules for the Communities in Schools Program in the April 22, 2005 issue of the Texas Register. Ms. Coale recommended that the council recommend to publish for public comment the repeal of the Communities in Schools rules.
Ms. Papadopoulos moved that the council recommend for proposal by the Health and Human Services Commission the repeal of the Communities in Schools Program rules, as reflected in the Council's July 8, 2005 agenda item, Item 5.a. Ms. Johnson seconded.
5.b. Recommendation to publish for public comment revisions to the Rate-Setting Methodology for 24-Hour Residential Child-Care Reimbursement Carolyn Pratt, Health and Human Services Commissioner
Carolyn Pratt from the Health and Human Services Commission presented rules regarding the rate-setting methodology for 24-hour child-care reimbursements. Ms. Pratt was asked by Executive Commission Hawkins to present these rules to the DFPS Council to seek their recommendation to the executive commissioner to publish these rules in the Texas Register.
Commissioner Hawkins requested that these rules be presented to this Council because of the knowledge and experience of this Council and of this agency of these programs and also their understanding of how the rates impact the providers and children they serve.
First, the rates set in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 were based on the six levels of care that were in effect at that time period. The Rules will document the conversion of six levels of care to four service levels and the rates that were established for state fiscal year 2004 and 2005. Finally, an explanation will be included of how rates will be determined for the next biennium, 2006-2007. The rule proposal specifies that rates effective on September 1, 2005, for the next two years will be determined by adjusting current rates by equal percentages (2.78 percent) for all the providers in the foster families. The 2.78 percent is the amount of additional appropriations provided for rate increases for this program.
Anne Crews moved that the Council recommend for proposal by the Health and Human Services Commission the amendment concerning the rate-setting methodology for 24-hour
residential, as reflected in the council's July 8, 2005 agenda item 5.b. and Mr. Johnson seconded. Discussion followed. Motion carried.
Agenda Item 6 Adoption of Council Meeting Schedule
Ms. Johnson moved that the Council Meeting Schedule be adopted. Ms. Crews seconded.
Mr. Brandon asks that the council be given a summary of the public testimony for information purposes.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.