About the Parent Collaboration Group

The Parent Collaboration Group (PCG) provides a mechanism to include biological parents in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the CPS program. This initiative encourages collaboration with clients who are affected by the CPS service delivery system and provides a unique perspective on how to improve services to families and children.

Overview

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services launched the Parent Collaboration Group (PCG) in September 2002 to provide a venue for gathering and incorporating parental feedback to enhance child protective services.

The PCG is a partnership between DFPS' Child Protective Services division and parents who are or have been recipients of services from CPS.

The mission of the PCG is to provide:
  • Provide parent input to the agency regarding policy development.
  • Provide recommendations to the agency regarding how services may be improved for children and families.
  • Provide training opportunities to workers regarding the parent perspective.
  • Provide support to parents and function as a means to link parents and the agency in a partnership.

The objectives of the PCG include the following:

  • Increase the number of parent liaisons in FY11 to include more fathers.
  • Develop a structure for CPS-Parent partnerships in policy and practice components that will become a vital element of local regional and state operations.
  • Expand the Parent Collaboration Group advisory model throughout the state.
  • Improve the skills, qualifications, and availability of individuals providing services to children and families.
  • Distribute the message to staff and parents regarding the value of a family voice.
  • Support the Disproportionality efforts at the regional and state level.

The goals of the Parent Collaboration Group include:

  • Identify gaps in services to families and childre.
  • Identify what services are working and should continue.
  • Identify areas of policy that need improvement.
  • Identify ways parents can be instrumental in improving a caseworker’s skills in relating to parents.
  • Facilitate parent volunteer participation in at least three statewide meetings by removing barriers associated with travel, per diem and childcare expenses.
  • Provide resources, direction and guidance to the regional meetings to effectively expand and sustain regional Parent Support Groups.
  • Support the disproportionality efforts at the regional and state level.
  • Improve policy and practices related to engagement of fathers and younger parents.

Approach

The Parent Collaboration Group (PCG) model is one in which local DFPS staff partner with local Parent Liaisons to enhance services and communication between the agency and families who are being provided CPS services in local communities. The PCG model provides for co-leadership at the state level by a staff person from DFPS state office and a parent who is a former recipient of CPS services. Local leadership for the group includes DFPS Regional Liaisons and Regional Parent Liaisons. DFPS Regional Liaisons are selected by regional management staff and include CPS direct service staff.

Regional DFPS staff or current Parent Liaisons nominate future Parent Liaisons.

Parent Volunteers must comply with all the policy requirements for a Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) volunteer.

Participants will engage in discussions of practices relevant to the state's child protective services system. Focus will be placed on the investigative process, family-based safety services, and foster care. During each session a specific area of agency practice will be discussed allowing service recipients to identify those practices that work effectively and those that are problematic and to develop recommendations for enhancement of the current service delivery system.

The core activities of the PCG provide an avenue to obtain stakeholder input and feedback, and to develop support and liaison roles between the agency and parents.

Expected Outcomes

Cooperation and collaboration statewide will be improved between parents and the agency. CPS workers' ability to work with families effectively will be enhanced because they will have a better understanding of the parents' needs. It is hoped that policy changes recommended by the PCG will result in more efficient and improved services. These improved services will better meet the needs of the parents, resulting in decreased repeat involvement, fewer removals, and safe children.

Progress and Accomplishments of the Parent Collaboration Group include:

  • Development of brochures to parents, informing them of CPS and Early Childhood Intervention Services.
  • Creation and revision of  a PCG video/DVD of Parent Liaisons and Regional Liaisons that is shown statewide to CPS staff and is part of BSD curriculum.
  • Multiple policy enhancements.
  • Parents and CPS Liaisons to the PCG have provided many training opportunities for CPS staff.
  • A clear message, sent to staff and parents, regarding the value of the parent voice.
  • Provision of information on the CPS system to parents.
  • Development of a good parent representative profile.
  • Hiring of a fulltime Parent Program Specialist.
  • Development of who makes a good CPS Liaison profile.
  • Increased father participation on the PCG.
  • Development of a protocol for parent and CPS Liaison to assist with leading the local Parent Support Group (PSG) Meetings.
  • Establishment in all 11 regions or   Parent Support Groups to assist parents with open CPS cases in understanding the CPS system, provide a supportive setting for parents to hear from a parent who has successfully navigated the CPS system, and provide a forum in which to ask questions.
  • A Parent Liaison is participating on “Trauma Informed Care” workgroup.
  • The First Annual Parent Conference held in El Paso, Texas sponsored by Region 10.

Regional Parent Collaboration Groups

Each region now has at least one Parent Support Group. The purpose of these support groups are to:

  • information about the CPS system.
  • hope and support.
  • empowerment and encouragement.
  • parent facilitator sharing their personal story.
  • short question and answer session.
  • provision of information about various community services.