Investigations

CPS investigates referrals on labor or sex trafficking involving a parent or person traditionally responsible for a child's care, custody or welfare.  See CPS Handbook Definitions.   When the investigation leads to the discovery of labor or sex trafficking perpetrated by someone other than a parent or person traditionally responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare, a referral is made to local law enforcement and to the Joint Crime Information Center.

For more information about CPS Investigations, click here.  

Family Preservation Services

Family Preservation (FPR) services are designed to maintain children safely in their homes by strengthening the family's ability to protect their child and reduce danger to their child's safety.

FPR may receive cases from Investigations in which child trafficking is suspected or confirmed. Also, during the course of working a FPR case, a caseworker may suspect that a child is or is at risk of being a victim of trafficking (e.g. a child who has returned home from running away).

If child trafficking is suspected in FPR but was not suspected in Investigations, the FPR caseworker must interview the child to determine:

  • Danger indicators; and
  • Who the alleged trafficker is

When a child has been identified in FPR as a victim of trafficking, the caseworker must:

  • Immediately, or no later than 24 hours, make a new intake to SWI and report the situation to local law enforcement when the alleged trafficker is a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare.
  • Immediately, or no later than 24 hours, report the situation to local law enforcement and to the Joint Crimes Information Center (JCIC) at TXJCIC@dps.texas.gov when the alleged trafficker is NOT a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare.

When a child in a FPR case has been identified (in Investigations or FPR) as a victim of trafficking or at risk of becoming a victim of trafficking, the caseworker must assess whether community resources are available to help the child and make referrals as appropriate.

For more information about the CPS Family Preservation program, click here.

Conservatorship

Caseworkers work with children in DFPS legal custody (conservatorship, shortened to CVS), their parents, involved kinship families and foster caregivers about safety concerns and how to keep children safe while pursuing reunification and other permanency goals and addressing well-being needs.

CVS may receive cases from Investigations or FPR in which child trafficking is suspected or confirmed. Also, during the course of working a CVS case, a caseworker may suspect that a child is or is at risk of being a victim of trafficking (e.g. a child who has returned to foster care following a runaway episode) . If child trafficking is suspected in CVS but was not suspected in Investigations or FPR, the CVS caseworker must interview the child to determine:

  • Danger indicators; and
  • Who the alleged trafficker is

When a child has been identified in CVS as a victim of trafficking, the caseworker must:

  • Immediately, or no later than 24 hours, make a new intake to SWI and report the situation to local law enforcement when the alleged trafficker is a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare.
  • Immediately, or no later than 24 hours, report the situation to local law enforcement and to the Joint Crimes Information Center (JCIC) at TXJCIC@dps.texas.gov when the alleged trafficker is NOT a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare.

When a child in a CVS case has been identified as a victim of trafficking or at risk of becoming a victim of trafficking, the caseworker must assess whether community resources are available to help the child and make referrals as appropriate. This may include making arrangements for a forensic interview at athe local child advocacy center or with law enforcement. 

When a child cannot be located

If the child has been abducted by a parent or legally responsible adult, the caseworker follows the instructions in 3100 When a Child Who is With His or Her Family Cannot be Located.

If the worker believes that a child has unwillingly left the substitute care placement or has been removed by an unauthorized person, the worker requests that the child be placed on the Amber Alert System when making the report to law enforcement. The local law enforcement officials will work with the Texas Department of Public Safety to decide if Amber Alert criteria are met, and will activate the Amber Alert Network, if appropriate.

The Amber Alert Network was developed as a statewide emergency response system for abducted children. The network is designed to be activated in instances involving true child abductions.

If the child runs away from care, the caseworker follows the instructions in 6314 When a Child or Youth is Missing From Care
The CVS caseworker files a missing person or runaway report with the CPS supervisor and with the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for the location from which the child is missing. The caseworker must then notify the special investigator program director so that a special investigator will be assigned as a secondary worker on the case. The special investigator will partner with the caseworker in efforts to locate the child and take an active role until the child is found.

No later than the next business day after being assigned to the case, the special investigator must follow up with the National Center for Missing Children at the 24-hour call center: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

The special investigator must remain in contact with law enforcement and National Center for Missing Children (if applicable) on a weekly basis until the child is located.

The caseworker must continue ongoing efforts to locate the child, and the special investigator must actively assist the caseworker in searching for the child until the child is found.

When the child is found, the child is interviewed about the factors that lead to the child's being absent from foster care (and to the extent possible address those factors in subsequent placement), determine the child's experiences while absent from care, including whether the child is a sex trafficking victim, Notifications are made and appropriate services and resources are arranged for the child.

More information on this process can be found in the: Locating Missing Children in CPS Conservatorship Resource Guide.  

Vulnerable Youth

Youth coming out of the foster care system are especially vulnerable to traffickers who lure them with the promise of food, warmth, and even false love. Once youth are lured they can get caught in a horrible cycle of exploitation and abuse. They are sold for the highest price, and their dignity and sense of self are destroyed. The three main issues of human trafficking are: forced labor, sexual exploitation, and prostitution.

For more information about the CPS Conservatorship/Permanency program, click here.