The Texas Family First (TFF) pilot program is designed to prevent children from entering foster care by providing court-ordered services to families to alleviate safety concerns. The new program falls under the umbrella of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) and is currently being offered in two Community-Based Care service areas:
Note: In the Panhandle, only counties highlighted in the illustration are part of the pilot.
As directed by HB 3041, 87th Texas Legislature (2021), DFPS is piloting TFF under the federal Family First Transition Act in certain areas of the state and will report back to lawmakers upon the one-year anniversary of implementation. DFPS also is partnering with community-based providers to stand up evidence-based preservation services in the pilot areas.
How the Program Changes CPI Investigations
There are four possible dispositions in a traditional Child Protective Investigations (CPI) case: (1) close the case, (2) close the case with community resources, (3) refer the case to the CPS Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS) program, or (4) place the child in foster care or other forms of state conservatorship. See the illustration of the traditional CPI investigation process below.
The TFF program offers a fifth option for cases where the situation is too risky for FBSS, but the child could be kept safely at home with court oversight and evidence-based services. DFPS petitions the court requesting a court order for a case to be referred into TFF services. A judge then decides if TFF services are an appropriate option and, if so, requires the family to participate. DFPS and Community-Based Care service providers are working with the courts to build the new pathway to these family preservation services.
Here is a basic outline of how the process works:
- DFPS Statewide Intake receives a report of child abuse or neglect.
- CPI conducts the investigation, including safety and risk assessments.
- CPI identifies families that are candidates for TFF services and petitions the court.
- If the court approves, the court appoints an attorney for the family and orders the family to participate in TFF services.
- Family begins TFF services.
For More Information
Send questions to DFPS FFPSA Prevention.