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Employee Benefits

Can I continue health coverage when I leave employment?

Answer: Your state GBP coverage ends on the last day of the month in which your employment ends. You may be eligible to continue health and/or dental coverage under COBRA for a maximum of 18 months by paying your premiums directly to ERS.

How does leaving state employment change my retirement eligibility?

Answer: This response only applies to an ERS retirement account.

If you were hired before 09/01/2009 and leave state employment and don't withdraw your retirement contributions, you may still qualify for retirement at age 60, but only if you have enough service credit or qualify under the Rule of 80. This applies even if your age and service credit will not total 80 until after you leave state employment. You must retire directly from state employment to use your annual and sick leave.

If you do not retire directly from state employment, you must wait 90 days before your health insurance begins as a retiree if you are eligible for insurance.

When I leave state employment, can I take my retirement account with me?

Answer: You do not have to withdraw your money from your retirement account when you leave state employment. Unless changed by legislation, your money will continue to earn 2% interest per year. If you decide to withdraw your account, you are cancelling your ERS membership and state service credit. By leaving money in a retirement account with ERS, you can continue to earn state service credit if you return to state employment and the new service credit will be added to your previous service credit.

If you withdraw your retirement contributions, you cancel your membership and future retirement benefit with ERS. If you return to state employment, you will be considered a new employee with no ERS service credit. You can have some or all of your withdrawn account paid directly to you or rolled over to a qualified retirement plan. You won't be able to withdraw the full amount, as; 20% will be withheld to pre-pay federal income tax.

What happens to my annual leave when I retire?

Answer: You must retire directly from state employment to use your annual and sick leave towards retirement eligibility.

You may defer all or part of your annual leave lump sum payment into a Texa$aver account, but only if you do so within 2 1/2 months of leaving employment. You won't pay income taxes until you withdraw it. Social Security and Medicare taxes (7.65%) will be deducted.

Tell NGA Benefits or Payroll office if you want to defer your annual leave to Texa$aver.

What happens to my TexFlex Healthcare account after I leave employment?

Answer: When you leave active state employment and you are participating in a Texflex Healthcare account, you are not required to continue paying your TexFlex contribution through the end of the plan year. Any eligible health expenses you have after termination are not reimbursed unless you choose to continue your participation through COBRA. You still have until December 31 of each year to file claims for expenses you had while participating.

If you have a TexFlex debit card, the card is deactivated on the last day of the month in which your employment ends.

Once you terminate, you can choose to continue TexFlex Health Care through COBRA. Keep in mind your contributions are post-tax. You may no longer have the remainder of your contribution taken out pre-tax from your last paycheck or your lump sum annual leave payment.

What happens to my Texa$aver account when I leave employment?

Answer: You can keep your money in the Texa$aver plan, even if you leave state employment. Keeping the money in the plan lets you use the Texa$aver Advisor Service, transfer among investment options, and choose from a variety of distribution options when you are ready to retire.

You pay severe tax consequences if you withdraw your funds. A mandatory 20% of any amount that is not rolled over will be withheld to pre-pay federal income tax. A 10% early withdrawal penalty may apply to distributions made before age 59 1/2 from the 401(k). Please consult with a tax advisor for more information.

If you decide to withdraw your money from the Texa$aver plan, you can get partial withdrawals at regular intervals, a lump sum, or you can roll it over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

What happens to my accumulated HSA funds if I change jobs or switch to another health plan?

Answer: Your HSA belongs to you regardless of your employment. This means you can take your HSA – including the money contributed by the State of Texas – with you when you leave state employment. Then, you can continue to use the funds and any interest or investment earnings you have accumulated. If you are covered by a qualified HDHP in your new job, you can continue to make tax-free contributions to your HSA. (Note: If you leave state employment, you will be responsible for paying the monthly HSA administrative fee on your HSA. The fee will be deducted from your remaining balance each month.)

Can I use my TexFlex Health Care Account after I retire?

Answer: Unless you participate through COBRA, your TexFlex health care account will be closed on your retirement date or date your employment ends. You will only be able to submit claims for expenses you incurred before your retirement date or date your employment ends.

If you have a TexFlex debit card, the card is deactivated on the last day of the month in which your employment ends.

Can I stay at CPS if I am close to retirement and do not want to leave?

Answer: You are able to seek other vacant positions within the agency. There will also be an opportunity to be put on the transfer list.  This will enable affected employees to have priority for the option to transfer to a same level position. 

For additional information about state benefits, please refer to the Texas Employees Retirement System

CBC Program

Why Community-Based Care (CBC)?

Answer: Non-profit agencies have long been partners in providing child welfare services.  In Texas, most foster care services are currently provided by the private sector.  Foster Care Redesign grew out of a collaboration between DFPS and private providers to identify system changes that included shifting more responsibility for outcomes to the private sector provider in the form of working with families toward permanency.  This coincided with an agency shift toward performance-based contracting where contracts focus less on prescribing service requirements and more on giving providers the flexibility to achieve outcomes and managing contracts toward those performance outcomes.  Community-Based Care increases the scope of services for children and families to include case management and kinship services.

The 85th Texas Legislature directed that the department contract with community based nonprofit and/or local governmental entities that have the ability to provide child welfare services. The services provided by these entities must include direct case management in order to ensure child safety, permanency, and well-being, in accordance with state and federal child welfare goals. SB 11 codified Community-Based Care in Texas Family Code, section 264.151, section B-1 and is available on line. The intent of the legislation is not to change the work done by caseworkers, but to shift from a state-run child welfare system to a community-based system that the state oversees and that has more flexibility to develop services that reflect the local community and its needs.  The change is not a pilot program to test case management privatization. It is a state mandate to change the way the state runs the child welfare system.

What is the implementation process of Community-Based Care?

Answer: Community-Based Care will roll out in stages by expanding to a few designated service areas (Catchment areas) at a time. Within each designated service area, DFPS will implement Community-Based Care in three stages:

In Stage I, the SSCC will develop a network of services and provide foster care placement services. The focus in Stage I is improving the overall safety and well-being of children in paid foster care, keeping them closer to home and connected to their communities and families. The SSCC will be responsible for children new to paid foster care and for children who are currently in paid foster care.

In Stage II, the SSCC will continue Stage I activities and begin providing case management, kinship and reunification services. The focus of Stage II is expanding the continuum of services to include services for all children in DFPS conservatorship (kinship and paid foster care) and families, and to increase permanency outcomes for children.

In Stage III, the SSCC will continue all activities in Stages I and II, and DFPS will begin to hold the SSCC accountable through the use of financial incentives and remedies for the timely achievement of permanency for served children. Progression from Stage II to Stage III will be dependent upon demonstrated readiness, beginning approximately 18 months after case management services have transferred to the SSCC.

It was stated that the current DFPS regions are being broken down into 17 “Catchment Areas.” Is this true and what are the geographic areas?

Answer: DFPS has developed a statewide plan for implementing Community-Based Care. A critical element of the plan is determining the service areas, also known as catchment areas. DFPS continues to use the proposed service areas that it developed with the input of stakeholders and consultants for Foster Care Redesign.

DFPS considers the following criteria as it selects service areas:

  • Minimum of 500 new children entering care per year
  • Proximity to existing service areas
  • Local community support
  • Regional readiness and stability
  • Placements in and out of the service area
  • Challenges with capacity
  • Affordability

DFPS will continue to test these criteria as it implements Community-Based Care in catchment areas across the state, as there may be other factors that directly affect the SSCC and outweigh the need for 500 new entries. 

There are 17 possible options for service areas in the state. The Catchment Area Map does not suggest a particular implementation schedule. It's an opportunity for communities to provide input into how children, youth, and families may best be served in community-based systems. Catchment Area Map

What does “No Eject/No Reject” mean?

Answer: SSCC’s will not use the current LOC (Level of Care) system. DFPS will pay the SSCC a blended daily, per diem foster care rate for each child referred to the SSCC and placed in paid foster care. SSCC’s are expected to place all children in foster care from their catchment area (No Eject) and cannot deny placement for any child (in their catchment area) due to behaviors, mental health, etc. (No Reject)

Is there confidence that this will work?

Answer: DFPS and each SSCC are all very committed to Community-Based Care (CBC) and focused on improving outcomes for children, youth and families. Every current SSCC has been rooted in their respective community for years; some have a history of serving children and families that precedes the creation of Child Protective Services. All SSCC’s in Texas must be non-profits – which is critical to the foundation of successfully implementing CBC. A key role of the SSCC is to maximize the contribution of all community partners toward meeting the needs of local children and families. The SSCCs recognize that this means harnessing the knowledge and experience of individuals who have made a career in child welfare, whether in the public or private sector.

Will privatization go slower in other regions? Can we move there?

Answer: Since this is a big decision for you, we suggest meeting with your leadership and discussing all of the options available to staff in order to make an informed decision when your area is identified. Please just keep in mind, though, that Senate Bill 11 made CBC a law in Texas, which requires DFPS to roll CBC out to the entire state of Texas, not just particular regions. The statewide roll-out schedule is being developed incrementally as resources are allocated. Legislation allows DFPS to identify up to 8 total catchment areas by December 31, 2019. 5 of those areas have been identified to date: Region 3b, 2, 8a, 1, and 8b.

Like each catchment area, the remaining three catchment areas will be identified by DFPS leadership through a data-driven evaluation and the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process to determine the advisability of expansion of CBC and guide the pace of rollout. The CQI process provides continual data and information collection and analysis used for the early identification of lead agency problems and areas of possible contract non-compliance.

Case Management Questions

If I choose to work for the SSCC, can I keep my caseload?

Answer: If you love your current job, then those same face-to-face, social work, family engagement pieces will all be available to staff who choose to work with the SSCC. Based on suggestions and questions by CPS staff, some SSCC’s are exploring how to handle units that desire to transition to the SSCC together and keep their caseloads, etc. It is too early to share details about the transition, but there is open discussion about how that might work.

Who is taking Temporary Managing Conservatorship of the children?

Answer: CPS Investigations and FBSS will continue to work with families and remove children when necessary as they do now. DFPS will continue to be the Conservator of children. The SSCC will act as an agent of DFPS to perform Conservatorship duties.

What if things are getting missed or not done during the transition?

Answer: Much like any new process, change can be challenging. Since 2013, Region 3b has implemented Foster Care Redesign, what we now know as Community-Based Care. Through this process we found things that have worked well and things that needed to be improved. We will continue as a team to work together to strengthen the current model. With Community-Based Care, each SSCC’s will develop a readiness plan, specific to their catchment area, which is approved by DFPS State Office and Regional CPS Leadership. This includes a solid transition plan.

The Department will collaborate with the SSCC’s through quality assurance, contract oversight and technical assistance to ensure safety and services to children and their families are not disrupted during the transition to the new model. We saw great benefit under Foster Care Redesign with involving DFPS staff and community partners in protocol development, which will continue through the transition to Community-Based Care. The SSCC and DFPS will be working closely together over the course of a staged model that allows for a more gradual transition of services as SSCC capacities are established.

How are we going to sustain workloads if people start quitting?

Answer: We do not want people to quit! We have witnessed over the years, time and time again, CPS field staff weathering through the storms of change. In every phase they have shown that the reason they are here is their burning passion for the work at hand. This work is not going away, nor are the children and families we serve. The SSCCs are looking for and will be actively recruiting these workers to transition over to their organization and continue the job at hand.

What happens if an SSCC no longer wants to continue its contract?

Answer: All SSCC’s have contractual requirements with specific time frames for notifying DFPS of any possible changes. If this were to happen, DFPS would execute an emergency contract with an existing SSCC to maintain workforce and conservatorship services temporarily until a new SSCC can be competitively procured.

Will CPS positions just go away and everyone be laid off once CBC comes to their region?

Answer: No - CPS positions will change and CVS program positions in these region will change. New, but fewer positions will be created that will still be under CPS, but the majority of what we define as CVS program positions will be allocated to the SSCC. The SSCC’s models have developed in a way that will require lower caseloads and, in turn, require more staff. Their hope is that CPS staff who want to continue to provide direct services to children and families will want to join their team and work the CBC model together. The SSCC’s have openly shared strong support for CVS program staff and the work they do, and they do not want to lose the training, experience, community insight, commitment, etc. that already exists in our dedicated teams.

Who is going to be sure that siblings aren’t split in placements or through adoption “because it is easier”? If siblings are split who is going to be sure that they see each other?

Answer: Through Community-Based Care, SSCC’s are held accountable for certain contract requirements and performance measures. Keeping siblings placed together is one of the performance measures, and maintaining sibling contact while in care is a contract requirement. Each SSCC is monitored by DFPS on a quarterly basis to ensure contract requirements are being met and performance measures are meeting or exceeding the established baseline. In Stage II CBC, DFPS will add case management oversight to the SSCC quarterly monitoring.

Who is going to be writing the court reports and testifying?

Answer: During Stage I of Community-Based Care (CBC), the CPS caseworker will continue to be responsible for writing the court report, incorporating information received about the child from the SSCC and other providers working with the child, and testifying in court (as the DFPS representative). During CBC Stage II, the SSCC will have full responsibility for writing all court reports and testifying in court (as the DFPS representative).

We haven’t seen any concern expressed about biological parents! Should parents be worried that they will have less help getting their children back? Current SSCC has not worked with parents on getting their children back or placing with relatives. What is their plan to handle this now?

Answer:  Community-Based Care, Stage II, the SSCC is responsible for providing a full continuum of child placement, case management, reunification, and purchased client services to children/youth from the catchment area and their families. Achieving positive permanency for all children and youth in DFPS conservatorship is the overall goal of the State, DFPS and the SSCC. The SSCC will be held financially accountable for the timely achievement of permanency for served children beginning 18 months after case management services have transferred (Stage II CBC).

Prior to each Stage of roll-out, each SSCC will develop a readiness plan, specific to their catchment area, which is approved by DFPS State Office and Regional CPS Leadership. The readiness plan must include a solid transition plan, as well as possessing a workforce and network of service providers who are ready and able to serve the children, youth and families under the SSCC continuum of care. The Department will oversee/monitor the SSCC’s performance through quality assurance reviews/analysis, contract oversight and technical assistance to ensure safety and services to children and their families are not disrupted during the transition to the new model.

No matter what CPA’s say about how they want to work with parents, in the field, we don’t see it at all. How is this going to be remedied?

Answer: The SSCC must maintain their own workforce to provide direct case management services to children, youth and family members. SSCC’s are given the flexibility to manage their provider networks (residential and purchased client services). Because the SSCC’s are held to certain performance measures, the SSCC’s also hold their providers accountable for certain performance measures. While serving parents and family members may be new to some providers, it is the SSCC’s responsibility to ensure all children, youth and family members are provided a full continuum of services.

Position Specific/Hiring Questions

What is Preferential Hiring?

Answer: Texas Family Code §264.155(7) adds requirements for a Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC), including a requirement that "the contractor give preference for employment to employees of the department (A) whose position at the department is impacted by the implementation of community-based care; and (B) who are considered by the department to be in good standing."

How much lead time will be given if/when positions are ending?

Answer: State Office and DFPS Regional Leadership are committed to providing timely notices as well as options to those affected by this change. What does timely mean? It will not be short notice – i.e. you won’t show up and be told you have a week to pack up, etc. Workers will be given time to consider their options and make a decision that is best for them. DFPS Leadership has great respect for how this transition is going to impact workers and are diligently working to make thoughtful and well thought out plans for the transition.

Will I have to interview for the SSCC or will my job just transfer?

Answer: The SSCC’s will interview for all positions to give you the chance to meet them, as well as identify what position you may fit in best. Their goal is to develop a modified hiring process for current CPS staff (who are in good standing as a DFPS employee) in order to expedite the process. The SSCC’s recognize that current CPS staff will come to them with established work experience and valuable knowledge! They want to develop a more specific and timely hiring process for any currently employed CPS staff who may want to try to join their team.

If I am in CPU unit will that be the first to go [as resource transfer to SSCC]? How will that work?

Answer: In CBC Stages I and II, DFPS will transfer resources commiserate with the duties performed by the SSCC. In Stage I, the SSCC is responsible for placement and services for children who need paid foster care placements. Therefore, some CPS placement and CVS program positions will transfer to the SSCC. Once regional leadership gets notice of what position(s) are affected, he/she will work directly with that staff member to plan for their transition. The SSCC will interview and hire positions on their end to fulfill their contract responsibilities (i.e. child placement).

Is FAD a program that is being replaced in this initiative? And what happens to current FAD workers when it rolls out in an area?

Answer: In Stage I of Community-Based Care (CBC) roll-out, some placement and CVS program positions will change; FAD staff roles will change as well. In Stage II, new, but fewer positions will be created that will still be under CPS, but the majority of what we define as CVS program positions will be allocated to the SSCC (Single Source Continuum Contractor) who operates CBC in a catchment area.

Are CVS caseworkers being laid off when CBC starts in a region? How many have been laid off?

Answer: To date, there has not been any CVS caseworkers laid off because of CBC implementation. However, this will not be the case in the future as we expand CBC into more areas across the state and areas move into Stage II CBC implementation. As CBC is implemented across the state, our commitment to you includes:

  • Doing everything we can to make sure you have a job. It may look a little different than the job you have today, but we hope you will find your role in the new system to be just as meaningful and rewarding as you do today.
  • Supporting and including you as part of the process, whenever possible.
  • Providing you ample notice if your job will be affected so that you will have plenty of time to make an informed and thoughtful decision about your job.

Being transparent and responsive to your questions. Do you have questions or suggestions? Please contact email the Community-Based Care mailbox.

Are there going to be new FBSS and INV units to create more positions for CVS to transfer to?

Answer: No, this is a rumor. FBSS and INV stages of service are not included in the CBC model. However, DFPS Leadership is carefully monitoring vacant positions across DFPS and has great respect for how this transition is going to impact workers. They are diligently working to make thoughtful and well thought out decisions as it relates to staff transition when needed.

Can CPS staff that move to SSCC keep their units?

Answer: This decision will be the SSCC’s to make; however, there are many creative plans being developed to help in the transition.

Administrative Tech’s and Human Resource Tech’s – How will CBC affect us?

Answer: In Stage I of Community-Based Care (CBC) roll-out, some placement and CVS program positions will change. In Stage II, new, but fewer positions will be created that will still be under CPS, but the majority of what we define as CVS program positions, including CVS administrative and human services technicians, will be allocated to the SSCC (Single Source Continuum Contractor) who operates CBC in a catchment area.

What will happen to my Stipend and the IV-E Stipend Program?

Answer: DFPS has determined that current IV-E Stipend Participants may work for a private provider, such as a SSCC, in an IV-E eligible position and still repay their stipends through this work.  Thus, DFPS can waive repayment requirements and terminate stipend agreements for current DFPS employee Participants, whose job description/functional title has been entirely transferred to a SSCC and:

  • who are not selected for employment by the SSCC in a IV-E eligible position; or
  • who DFPS cannot locate another IV-E eligible position for.

If a SSCC employs a Participant in an IV-E eligible position, or if DFPS locates another IV-E eligible position, then the Participant is expected to continue with repayment in the stipend program.  DFPS will not waive the repayment costs of a Participant who turns down an offered IV-E eligible position by the SSCC or DFPS.

SSCC Specific Questions for Stage 1

What type of salaries/benefits/retirement packages/holiday schedules, etc. will be offered by the contractor Stage I CBC?

Answer: The information below is reflective of Stage I CBC only. Each SSCC will have their own specific salaries/benefits to offer to potential employees based on the stage of CBC implementation. Please see below for region specific information.

Region 2: SSCC- 2INgage

Region 3b: SSCC- ACH Child and Family Services (Our Community Our Kids: OCOK)

Region 8a (Bexar): SSCC- Family Tapestry

Placement And Provider Questions

How will foster families find out all this information?

Answer: DFPS will reach out to them, as well as the SSCC’s. Provider fairs have been successful in spreading the word and communicating what Community-Based Care is all about and how it will affect them.

As an Independent Contract Provider for Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) services how is this change going to affect me?

Answer: E&T providers are not affected during CBC Stage I. However, once an area moves into Stage II, then the SSCC that is operating the CBC model in a catchment area must build a network of family service providers (via subcontracts) inside and outside of the catchment area. Providers are encouraged to contact the new SSCC in their catchment area in order to plan for future family service sub-contracts in their specific catchment area.

Kinship/Foster Caregivers Questions

How will this impact the services of a child in my care?

Answer: Our goal is to continue providing consistent services to children in the area.

A child I’m caring for sees a counselor regularly. After the transition, will they be able to see the same counselor?

Answer: Yes, the providers you utilize will remain in the network.

How will this affect medical coverage of children and youth in my care?

Answer: Children and youth will retain healthcare coverage provided by Superior Healthcare.

Who will my caseworker be after the transition?

Answer: The goal of Community-Based Care would be to transition as many DFPS staff as possible to Our Community Our Kids so that the only changes you will see will be the employer of your caseworker.

Who can I call to make a complaint in the future?

Answer: The DFPS Office of Consumer Relations will continue to take complaints.

To make a complaint directly a SSCC, please see the list of contacts below:

Biological Parents Questions

How will this transition affect my case?

Answer: DFPS is working with the SSCC to ensure a transition that is as seamless as possible, with most CPS staff transitioning to the SSCC on day one. Before transition can occur, the SSCC must provide a readiness plan that specifies how services will be provided. This will help your case to stay on track.

I have already been working on my case services for several months. Will this transition delay my case?

Answer: DFPS is working with the SSCC to ensure a transition that is as seamless as possible, with most CPS staff transitioning to the SSCC on day one. This will help your case to stay on track. The SSCC will also be financially responsible for children achieving permanency beginning 18 months after the transition to help ensure that parents who are working toward reunification will have children returned timely.

Who can assist me with arranging visits in the future?

Answer: Contact your caseworker to arrange visits.

Foster Children and Youth Questions

Who do I call for help in the future?

Answer: Your caseworker will always be a phone call away and will visit you on a regular basis. They will have a new job title (Permanency Specialist) and a different employer, but the level of service you receive will be the same. In addition, you can contact the Abuse & Neglect Hotline to make a report. You can contact the Foster Care Ombudsman to make a complaint about your case, ask questions, help understand your rights, and help you with the resources to be successful when you leave foster care.

How can I report abuse or neglect in the future?

Answer: Contact the Texas Abuse Hotline to report Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation at 1-800-252-5400 or make a report online.

How do I make a complaint in the future?

Answer: Contact the Foster Care Ombudsman to make a complaint about your case, ask questions, help understand your rights, and help you with the resources to be successful when you leave foster care

Who will be my caseworker?

Answer: Your caseworker is not expected to change, however there may be situations where that occurs. If so, we will ensure you have the name and contact information for your new caseworker. They will have a new job title (Permanency Specialist) and a different employer, but the level of service you receive will be the same.

Who do I talk to about visits with my parents and siblings?

Answer: Your caseworker will arrange visits for you.

Are any of the rules where I live changing?

Answer: No, the rules for where you currently live are not expected to change.

Who can I call if I have questions?

Answer: Your caseworker is always a phone call away.