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1140 Relationship to Other Agencies and Entities

CPS 96-8

The Protective Services for Families and Children Program uses the resources and services of public and private agencies and county governments either on a referral basis or by agreements and contracts with these entities. Agreements and contracts extend to public and private agencies in other states. If DFPS does not offer the services directly, DFPS signs purchase of service contracts with state and local agencies. The availability of purchased services is subject to DFPS funding and the existence of local providers.

Cross-reference: See Section 8000, Purchased Protective Services, for more information.

1141 Federal and State Agencies

CPS 96-8

Several federal and state agencies provide services to clients who also receive services from the CPS. Staff must be familiar with and use services of these agencies (see Appendix 1132, Federal and State Agencies).

1142 County Governments

CPS 96-8

Law

Human Resources Code, Chapter 41, specifies that the state and counties are responsible for providing child welfare services. The state and a county may arrange to provide these services jointly through a child welfare contract.

In counties without a child welfare contract, DFPS works with county officials to carry out the respective legal responsibilities for the protection of children.

Texas Human Resources Code Ch. 41

1142.1 Child Welfare Contracts

CPS 96-8

Management Policy

Child welfare contracts between DFPS and a county provide for a county-wide, jointly financed, and state administered program of child protection. The contracted program may not include either a probation or a general relief program. Local DFPS offices administer these contracted programs.

1142.2 Development of Child Welfare Contracts

CPS 96-8

In developing child welfare contracts, Protective Services for Families and Children branch and regional child protective services staff have the following responsibilities:

State Office

  •  Approves changes to Part A of the contract outline,

  •  Prepares the official copies of the contract, and

  •  Provides consultation to the region about the child welfare contract.

Regional staff

  •  Negotiates the contract outline with county officials (see Appendix 1132.2(a), Steps in Developing a Child Welfare Contract, and Appendix 1132.2(b), Contract Outline).

  •  Approves any changes to Part B of the contract outline;

  •  Manages the completed contract;

  •  Provides orientation to child welfare board members;

  •  Meets regularly with the child welfare board; and

  •  Provides Child Protective Services with information about the chairman of the child welfare board (including name, address, and tenure).

Approval

Child Protective Services must approve any exceptions to Part A of the contract outline.

The region resolves with the county any differences with Part B of the contract outline.

After a child welfare contract is executed, the county, with input from DFPS staff, establishes a child welfare board. The child welfare board is a link between the county commissioners court and DFPS.

(See Appendix 1132.2 (c), Responsibilities of DFPS, Child Welfare Board, and County, for more information.)

1143 Statewide Parent Collaboration Group and Local Parent Support Group

1143.1 Statewide Parent Collaboration Group

CPS November 2011

The statewide Parent Collaboration Group (PCG) is a partnership between the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and parents who have been recipients of CPS services. The PCG is a venue for gathering and incorporating parental feedback to enhance CPS policy and practice.

The PCG provides:

  •  information to staff regarding what parents experience as recipients of CPS services; and

  •  recommendations for improvement.

See the PCG Mission Statement.

1143.2 Local Parent Support Groups

CPS November 2011

The local Parent Support Groups (PSGs) are informational support groups for parents receiving family-based safety services (FBSS) or conservatorship (CVS) services. These groups are led by a parent who has successfully navigated the CPS system and a CPS staff person.

Local PSG meetings are held at least once a month in communities around the state, and provide:

  •  information about the CPS system;

  •  hope and support;

  •  empowerment and encouragement, including the personal story of the parent leading the group;

  •  a short question and answer session; and

  •  information about various community services.

PSGs do not:

  •  discuss details about open cases; or

  •  provide advice on cases.

The PSGs:

  •  attempt to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to children; and

  •  reunite families, when possible.

PSGs are in every region, but not in every community. Parents interested in getting a group started contact the regional CPS liaison.

For information about who the CPS liaisons are in each region and their contact information see Local Parent Support Groups & CPS Liaisons.

Other resources include:

Local Parent Support Group Protocol

Parent Support Group Agenda

Profile of a CPS Liaison to PCG

1143.21 Eligibility for CPS Staff Liaison

CPS November 2011

Liaisons are CPS staff who are identified as intermediaries with the PCG or supporters of the PSGs. CPS liaisons must:

  •  have at least two years experience with CPS;

  •  be able to represent regional issues;

  •  be able to handle criticism and confrontation;

  •  show commitment;

  •  be at supervisor level or above.

The CPS liaison:

  •  attends statewide PCG meetings;

  •  attends local PSG meetings and explains the CPS process;

  •  coordinates with other CPS staff who have expertise in the program under discussion;

  •  provides input to regional administration regarding the parent perspective on CPS policies and procedures;

  •  conducts presentations in their regions to provide information about the PCG and local PSGs to garner support for continued referrals to the local PSGs;

  •  conducts presentations to community groups; and

  •  submits completed volunteer application packets to the community initiative specialist (CIS).

1143.22 Regional Parent Liaison

CPS November 2011

Parent liaisons are parents who serve as members of the PCG or who support the local PSGs. A parent acting as a parent liaison must:

  •  be a birth parent with a closed CPS case;

  •  make a commitment to attending PCG and believe in the PCG mission;

  •  be referred by a caseworker and approved by the regional director;

  •  complete the volunteer application process, including background check requirements; and

  •  be a Texas resident for at least one year.

It is recommended that parents in recovery have one year sobriety, although the length of time may be lessened on a case-by-case basis. The CPS liaison and the parent program specialist in state office assess a parent who wants to be a regional parent liaison.

The expectations of regional parent liaisons are that they:

  •  attend statewide PCG meetings;

  •  provide input on statewide policy and practices;

  •  conduct presentations in state conferences, community groups, or meetings as requested; and

  •  facilitate local PSG meetings.

See Profile of a Parent Liaison to PCG.

For more information about their roles specific to the PSG see Parent Liaison in 1143.3 Roles of Local Parent Support Group.

1143.3 Roles of Local Parent Support Group
1143.31 Parent Liaison

CPS November 2011

The parent liaison serves as the lead in facilitating local parent support groups. Responsibilities are to:

  •  attend local meetings on a consistent basis;

  •  develop activities that will facilitate open communication;

  •  identify ways to gather information from other parents to share with CPS;

  •  recruit new parents for the support group; and

  •  represent the voice of the local PSG in regional meetings and in communities in the region.

1143.32 Regional CPS Liaison

CPS November 2011

The goal is that each region will establish at least one or more Parent Support Groups (PSGs). Caseworkers and supervisors identify parents who receive family-based safety services or conservatorship services through CPS and refer them to their local PSG. Regional fliers may be used as advertisement or a direct invitation to parents.

Regional CPS liaisons may promote PSG by presenting information about PSG at meetings, trainings, or conferences for:

  •  supervisors;

  •  program directors;

  •  regional caseworkers and other staff;

  •  units;

  •  other agencies or groups who serve CPS families; and

  •  foster parents.

See Local Parent Support Groups & CPS Liaisons.

1143.33 Joint CPS Liaison and Parent Liaison Responsibilities

CPS November 2011

Setting Guidelines for Meetings

The regional CPS liaison and the regional parent liaison:

  •  identify meeting dates, times, and locations;

  •  determine how often meetings occur;

  •  organize materials and other resources for meetings.

For more information see Local Parent Support Group Protocol (Form 1796)

Providing Documents

The following documents are provided at each PSG meeting:

Parent Support Group Agenda (Form 1782)

Parent Support Group Sign-in Sheet (Form 1780)

Parent Collaboration Group Confidentiality Pledge (Form 1791)

Parent Support Group Certificate (Form 1781)

Parent Support Group Feedback (Form 1783)

Overview of the Process of the CPS System

The CPS staff liaison addresses the various functions of CPS from intake to the closing of a case.

Providing Child Care

The regional CPS liaison is responsible for working with the community initiative staff (CIS) to coordinate planning for volunteers to provide child care for Parent Support Group meetings as needed.

The CIS processes requests for volunteers to assist with child care and notifies the CPS regional staff liaison when volunteers have been assigned.

Child care should include group activities and be provided within the same facility as the PSG meetings.

Providing Community Resources

It is important to contact the regional community initiative specialist (CIS) or designee who can assist with other resources.

Examples of information about community resources that can be provided at the PSGs include:

  •  counseling for grief, anger management, substance abuse, and so on;

  •  shelters;

  •  programs for assistance with nutritional, financial, medical, and other needs;

  •  support groups; and

  •  providers for assessments.

See CPS Community Engagement Staff for names and contact information for the community initiative specialists and regional external relations specialists.

1143.4 Statewide Parent Collaboration Group
1143.41 Background Check Procedures

CPS November 2011

Every individual who wishes to serve as a parent liaison to the statewide Parent Collaboration Group (PCG) must submit to a background check. Procedures for submitting the parent liaison applicant’s background check are as follows:

The volunteer:

  •  completes Form 0250 Volunteer Application; and

  •  authorizes the check by completing and signing DFPS Form 0250b Background Check Authorization.

Both forms must be completed in their entirety and given to the CPS liaison. Failure to submit completed forms will result in delayed results or returned forms.

Upon receipt, the CPS liaison:

  •  identifies the applicant as a prospective parent liaison by checking the PCG box on Form 0250b. This identifies the parent as a PCG applicant or appointee, preventing him or her from being accidentally barred from volunteering because of the CPS history; and

  •  sends the form to the community initiatives specialist (CIS).

The CIS:

  •  completes the Return Results section and includes his or her phone number, mail code, unit, and location; and

  •  submits Form 0250b to the regionally assigned Centralized Background Check Unit staff.

Centralized Background Check Unit staff make every effort to return results within two weeks or sooner. Failure to properly complete the volunteer application delays the results of the volunteer’s background check.

Approval to become a parent liaison will not occur until the background check has been completed and satisfactory results returned. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Allow adequate time (two weeks) for the background check to be completed.

Background checks results are returned only to the CIS for review. This ensures the confidentiality of each volunteer’s results.

1143.42 Background Check Results

CPS November 2011

DFPS volunteer policy mirrors DFPS employee policy. The policy prohibits placing persons with certain convictions in contact with clients or confidential information. See HR-1113 Criminal Background Checks for DFPS Applicants and Employees, section 2.3 Bars to Employment.

  •  If a background check reveals criminal history, the CIS sends the background check results to the parent program specialist in state office. The parent program specialist may review the criminal history and DFPS history with the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement and the Legal Division in state office.

  •  The parent program specialist then notifies the CPS liaison that the applicant has been approved or not approved to volunteer.

1143.43 Self-Reporting Requirement for Regional Parent Liaison

CPS November 2011

Regional parent liaisons who are active members of the statewide Parent Collaboration Group or are parents who facilitate local Parent Support Groups must immediately (within five business days) report the occurrence or existence any of following to their CPS liaison:

  •  Arrest

  •  Indictment

  •  Adjudication of guilt or no contest plea

  •  Assessment of probation

  •  Pretrial diversion or community supervision

  •  Deferred adjudication of any criminal offense

  •  New DFPS involvement of the regional parent liaison or his or her family with APS, CCL, or CPS

Regional CPS liaisons must notify the parent program specialist in state office as soon as they are apprised of any arrest, conviction, other criminal activity, or new CPS involvement of a regional parent liaison.

Consequences of an Arrest for a New Criminal Charge or New DFPS Investigation

A regional parent liaison who self-reports an arrest for a new criminal charge or whose criminal background check reveals an arrest or offense not previously disclosed to a CPS liaison may be dismissed or may, depending on the circumstances, remain as a member of the statewide PCG or be dismissed.

If a regional parent liaison is arrested for a new criminal charge, he or she may be:

  •  allowed to continue volunteering depending on the severity of the charge;

  •  required to become inactive until the charge is disposed and resume volunteering if the disposition is favorable; or

  •  dismissed from volunteering with DFPS.

A regional parent liaison or alternate parent liaison volunteer who has a new DFPS investigation must stop volunteering until the case is closed. Once the case is closed, the regional parent liaison may be able to resume volunteering depending on the outcome of the case, the severity of the allegations, or both.

CPS Procedures

Once informed about the arrest, criminal offense, or new DFPS investigation, the regional CPS liaison must:

  •  consult with the parent program specialist; and

  •  have the regional parent liaison complete Form 0250b Background Check Authorization, which authorizes DFPS to conduct a new background check.

The parent program specialist then consults with the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement (OVCE) and the Legal Division in state office.

1143.5 Local Parent Support Groups
1143.51 Whom to Refer to the Local Parent Support Groups

CPS November 2011

Any parent receiving family-based safety services (FBSS) or conservatorship services (CVS) may benefit from the local PSG.

1143.52 Procedures for the Local Parent Support Group Background Check

CPS November 2011

If a DFPS staff member has identified a parent with a closed CPS case who is interested in serving as a facilitator and fits the characteristics described in Form 1795 Profile of a Parent Liaison to a PCG, the DFPS staff member provides the regional CPS liaison with the parent’s contact information.

If the identified parent is interested in becoming a facilitator for the local Parent Support Group (PSG), the parent must meet the parent liaison eligibility requirements listed in 1143 Statewide Parent Collaboration Group and Local Parent Support Group. The background check must be successfully completed before the parent facilitates a PSG meeting.

Conducting Background Checks on Regional Parent Liaisons to the Local PSG

The parent completes Form 0250 Volunteer Application and Form 2050b Background Check Authorization.

The regional CPS liaison then:

  •  reviews the volunteer application and background check form (Form 2050 Volunteer Application and Form 2050b Background Check Authorization) completed by the parent.

  •  checks the PCG box. This identifies the parent as a PCG applicant or appointee, preventing him or her from being accidentally barred from volunteering because of the CPS history; and

  •  submits the forms to the regional community initiative specialist (CIS) for processing.

The CIS receives the results from the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU) and forwards the results to the regional CPS liaison.

Absolute Bar or Contraindication

If any absolute bar or likely contraindication is discovered during the background check process the regional CPS liaison must review the background result with the parent program specialist in state office.

The parent program specialist in state office may review bars and likely contraindications with the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement and the Legal Division in state office when needed to determine a final decision.

In the Volunteer and Community Engagement Policy Handbook, see 6400 Background Checks.

1143.53 Travel Reimbursement for Parents Facilitating Parent Support Groups

CPS November 2011

The CPS regional staff liaison is responsible for obtaining approval for travel for parents facilitating PSGs from the regional director or their designee before travel. Travel reimbursement for parent volunteers comes out of the local budget using the regional program activity code (PAC).

Reimbursable Expenses

Mileage (such as driving a personal vehicle)

Parking (original receipt)

Procedures for Requesting Reimbursement

The parent facilitating a parent support group completes:

  •  Form 4104 (Travel Voucher), to document and submit requests for travel reimbursement to events such as local Parent Support Group meetings, supervisory meetings, presentations about PCG, BSD presentations; and

  •  Form 4116 State of Texas Purchase Voucher.

After applicable reimbursement forms have been completed by the parent, the CPS regional staff liaison submits the forms to the regional budget analyst for reimbursement.

In the Volunteer and Community Engagement Policy Handbook, see 7600 Reimbursement of Expenses.

1143.54 Encouraging Parent Participation in the Local Parent Support Groups

CPS November 2011

There are various ways for CPS staff to encourage parent participation in the local parent support groups (PSGs).

  •  Let parents know that the PSG is a parent meeting for the support of parents.

  •  Tell parents that knowledge is power and that they will receive information about CPS, as well as available resources.

  •  Let parents know that they may find other people in their community who are experiencing the same things they are.

  •  Tell parents that there is hope and that they may feel motivated when they hear and learn from parents who have successfully navigated the child welfare system.

  •  Tell parents that reunification and other permanency goals can be achieved faster when they have a better understanding of the system from a parent’s perspective.

The following are some examples of face-to-face opportunities in which CPS staff can talk to parents about the PSG:

  •  Family Assessments

  •  Family Group Conferences

  •  Family Team Meetings

  •  Family Service Plan discussions

  •  Home visits

1143.55 Referrals to Parent Support Groups

CPS November 2011

It is the caseworker’s responsibility to ensure that parents being served by CPS are aware of the local PSGs in their area. Regional fliers and information are available from regional CPS liaisons.

1143.56 When Attorneys Have Questions About the PSG – Guidelines for Staff

CPS November 2011

As a general rule, CPS liaisons need to be clear with regional parent liaisons that they may be subpoenaed to court at any time. In addition, if parent liaisons receive requests from attorneys about a parent who attended a PSG, the parent liaison may talk to the attorney if he or she chooses as long as he or she makes it clear that:

  •  parent volunteers are not paid to facilitate Parent Support Group meetings;

  •  PSG is not a contracted service. It is a support group where one parent offers hope and support to other parents;

  •  case specifics are not discussed during PSG meetings;

  •  parent volunteers are not paid and are not employees of Child Protective Services (CPS); and

  •  parents do not receive special training from CPS.

If an attorney requests to sit in on a PSG, the CPS liaison or parent liaison may allow it as long as all the parents attending agree.

1144 Criminal Records Check for Authorized Volunteer Organizations

CPS October 2005

The Human Resources Code (HRC) and Government Code authorize DFPS to obtain criminal history information on volunteers or persons applying as volunteers with:

  •  organizations that provide court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children;

  •  Texas affiliates of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America;

  •  the "I Have a Dream/Houston" program;

  •  Texas chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America; and

  •  local affiliates of Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, as well as their employees and members of the governing boards.

The local contact person for DFPS provides Form 2970da, Request for Child Abuse/Neglect Central Registry and DPS Criminal History Check, to the agencies authorized to request criminal history background information on volunteers or volunteer applicants. The volunteer agency must ensure that the volunteer or applicant has provided written consent to disclose that information to the agency. Any fees that are charged are paid to the DFPS representative who then coordinates the processing of the request.

DFPS discloses the criminal background checks received from DPS to the volunteer agency that requested it by giving them a copy of the material returned by DPS. DFPS retains the criminal background check only until the volunteer agency has received the information, at which point DFPS deletes or destroys the information.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.105

1145 Bookkeeping and External Entities

CPS August 2002

DFPS staff are not allowed to perform bookkeeping functions for funds belonging to an external entity.

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