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3000 Family Based Safety Services

3100 Overview

3110 Philosophy, Goals, and Objectives

CPS 1999-5

Philosophy

Management Policy

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Child Protective Services (CPS) Family Based Safety Services (FBSS) Program is child safety centered, family focused, and home-based. At all times, the safety and health of children shall be of paramount concern when providing services. At any point, if staff determine that the safety of a child can no longer be ensured, a plan for the child’s safety shall be implemented immediately. The plan may require a child’s removal from the home and/or CPS initiated court related activities when necessary.

3331 Immediate or Short-Term Protection During an FBSS Case

Section 5000 CPS Legal Functions

Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), Title I, Section 101(a); Title IV-B, Subpart 2, Section 431(1)

Most families when experiencing difficulties which impact their ability to provide a safe and stable environment for their children want help and can change. CPS FBSS staff strive to work in partnership with parents, children, and communities to promote safe and stable families. FBSS services are time-limited, tailored to family needs, culturally sensitive, and focus on the strengths of the family. At all times, services are provided in a manner which respect the fundamental right of the parents to control the education and upbringing of their children.

ASFA, Title IV-B, Subpart 2, Section 431(1)

Texas Human Resources Code §40.002(b)(2)

Goal Description and Objectives

1. To Ensure Child Health and Safety

Objectives:

  •  Ongoing assessment of factors that impact child health and safety

  •  Services target issues that impact family violence

  •  Ongoing assessment and provision of basic needs

2. To Provide Family Focused Services

Objectives:

  •  Strengths based assessment and services

  •  Respect and work in partnership with families

  •  Culturally sensitive

  •  Meet the family’s unique needs

  •  Impact the family system

3. To Strengthen Families Through Home and Community Based Services

Objectives:

  •  Primarily provide services in the home, when possible

  •  Link families with formal and informal community resources

  •  Increase family support systems

  •  Increase family stability and self-sufficiency

4. To Establish Permanency for Children

Objectives:

  •  When safety can be ensured:

  •  Keep children with their families

  •  Reunite children with parents

  •  When families are not willing or able to ensure the safety of their children:

  •  Work towards other planned living arrangements for children

3111 The Role of the FBSS Caseworker

CPS June 2011

The most important objective of the caseworker in an FBSS case is to ensure a child’s health and safety.

The caseworker also provides ongoing assessment, service planning, and case management to meet the objectives outlined in 3110 Philosophy, Goals, and Objectives.

Equally important is the caseworker’s ability to obtain the family’s trust and to work with the family members as partners. Some families do not want family-based safety services when they are first referred. To engage these families, the caseworker applies an array of assessment and interpersonal skills. As a general rule, most families are receptive to caseworkers who are respectful and genuine.

Throughout the casework process, the caseworker:

  •  assesses the factors that impact the child’s health and safety;

  •  conducts interviews;

  •  identifies the family’s strengths and resources;

  •  identifies safety issues in the family’s home;

  •  identifies the changes needed to keep the child safe (the tasks assigned to the family for that purpose and the services to be obtained);

  •  completes an FBSS Family Assessment, the service plan, and all related documentation; and

  •  authorizes services.

Roles and Duties

Examples of the FBSS caseworker’s roles and duties are provided below.

Advocacy

Examples of advocacy work include helping family members:

  •  communicate effectively with teachers, school administrators, doctors, police officers, and officers of the court; and

  •  find and use the resources offered in their community.

Assessment

Examples of assessment include:

  •  evaluating the family’s need to develop a thorough family service plan;

  •  reviewing the factors that impact the child and family members; and

  •  developing safety plans, when appropriate, to ensure a child’s safety.

Case Management

Examples of case management include:

  •  arranging for the family to receive a combination of services that address the family’s unique needs; and

  •  leading discussions about the family’s case at service-planning meetings.

Counseling

Examples of counseling include:

  •  helping parents understand the issues that place their children at risk;

  •  highlighting the family’s strengths, protective capacities, and resources; and

  •  reframing family’s problems to help the family develop solutions.

Role modeling

Examples of role modeling include demonstrating skills in:

  •  communication;

  •  parenting; and

  •  stress management.

Support

Examples of support include:

  •  empathizing with family members;

  •  encouraging them to perform the tasks identified in the family service plan; and

  •  celebrating their successes;

  •  reassuring them when they experience setbacks.

Teaching

Examples of teaching include:

  •  teaching communication, parenting, and household-management skills; and

  •  explaining techniques for managing stress.

Separating Investigation From Service Delivery

To the extent feasible, an FBSS caseworker:

  •  is not assigned to investigation cases; and

  •  does not both provide FBSS to and investigate the same family.

Working Cooperatively

Although FBSS and investigation caseworkers maintain distinct roles and duties, those who work with the same family are expected to cooperatively exchange relevant case information with each other to ensure the safety and health of the children in the home.

An FBSS caseworker constantly assesses risk and safety throughout the FBSS case. If the allegations of child abuse or neglect that were previously addressed in an investigation continue or worsen, the FBSS caseworker addresses that as part of the FBSS case.

If new allegations of child abuse or neglect are reported about a family that is the subject of an open FBSS case, the investigator completes a separate investigation on the open FBSS case.

For detailed procedures on conducting assessments, holding staffing meetings, and transferring a case from investigations to FBSS, see:

3200 Transferring a Case From Investigation to FBSS

3121 Regular Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

3122 Moderate Family-Based Safety Services (M-FBSS)

3123 Intensive Family-Based Safety Services (I-FBSS)

3112 The Role of the FBSS Supervisor

CPS January 2013

The supervisor in a Family-Based Safety Service (FBSS) case trains, advises, supports, and evaluates the FBSS caseworker. Of particular importance is the role the supervisor plays in addressing the safety of the child in FBSS.

The essential functions of a supervisor include:

  •  approving the caseworker’s decisions or documenting the reasons for changing them;

  •  approving the FBSS Family Assessment and family service plan;

  •  reviewing on a regular basis the caseworker’s caseload through conferences with the caseworker and through casework documentation, such as the caseworker’s monthly evaluations;

  •  accompanying the caseworker, periodically, on home visits or meetings with a child or family member;

  •  ensuring that appropriate child safety plans are developed;

  •  ensuring that the appropriate steps are taken to keep a child safe when new injuries are reported;

  •  working closely with the caseworker to monitor the safety of the child while family-based safety services are offered to the family; and

  •  consulting with caseworkers, CPS management, and the courts regarding a child’s removal.

3113 General Criteria for Providing FBSS

CPS June 2011

Purpose

Family-based safety services are provided to families and children to:

  •  protect children from abuse and neglect;

  •  help families reduce the risk of abuse or neglect; and

  •  either:

  •  prevent the removal of children from their home (the optional means of protecting them from abuse or neglect), or

  •  make it possible for children to return home and live there safely, after the CPS caseworker has removed them and placed them in substitute care (see 5410 Types of Court Orders and the Process for Obtaining a Court Order for Removal of a Child and 6000 Substitute-Care Services).

Criteria for Providing FBSS

CPS provides family based safety services when all of the following criteria are met:

  •  A child in the family is at risk of abuse or neglect.

  •  The family cannot reduce the risk of abuse or neglect without CPS assistance.

  •  CPS is able to provide or arrange for services that:

  •  protect the child in the home or return the child to the home,

  •  reduce the risk to the child, and

  •  enable the family to function effectively without CPS assistance in the future.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.701(a)-(b)

3114 Constitutional Requirements for Family Based Safety Services and Family Reunification Cases

CPS January 2013

During the initial assessment or follow-up visits of family reunification cases and family-based safety services cases, the caseworker must follow the constitutional requirements related to:

  •  entering a family’s home;

  •  conducting a visual examination of a child in the home;

  •  transporting a child; and

  •  removing a child.

See 3500 Family Reunification Services (FRS).

Obtaining Consent to Enter and Remain in a Family’s Home

Before entering a family’s home, the caseworker must:

  •  clearly identify himself or herself as a CPS caseworker; and

  •  explicitly request permission to enter the home.

The caseworker must obtain consent to enter the home, even if:

  •  the caseworker has an ongoing relationship with the family and has been to the home before; or

  •  the family has been ordered by the court to participate in family-based safety services.

If the parents defy a court order to make the children available to a CPS caseworker at the home or any other location, the caseworker consults with his or her supervisor to determine the next appropriate step.

If at any time after the caseworker has entered the home the family withdraws the consent to enter, the caseworker must

  •  leave the home; and

  •  consult with the supervisor to determine what action, if any, is appropriate.

See 2350 Visits to the Home.

Consent to Visually Examine the Child in the Home

If the caseworker needs to visually examine the child for signs of neglect or physical harm and the injuries are not in plain sight, such as the neck or forearms, the caseworker must first obtain consent to examine the child.

See 2373 Visual Examinations.

Consent to Transport the Child

If as a part of family-based safety services the child is required to receive services outside the home, the caseworker must first attempt to have the parent take the child or make arrangements to take the child to the appointment for services.

The parent must participate to the extent possible and may ride with the caseworker and the child, if necessary.

Circumstance

Parental Consent to Transport

The caseworker must transport the child without the parent.

Consent is required, even if the parent has previously agreed to allow a CPS caseworker to transport the child.

The court order for family-based safety services specifically gives the CPS caseworker the authority to transport the child for services.

Consent is not required, but the caseworker must confirm that the court order has not expired.

DFPS has conservatorship of the child.

Consent is not required, but if the case is in the reunification stage and the child is living with the parents again, the best practice is to obtain consent to transport from the parent or caretaker.

Removing the Child

Family-Based Safety Services

If the caseworker determines the child needs to be removed during a family-based safety services case, the caseworker must follow the procedures explained in:

2432 When a Removal Is More Appropriate Than a PCSP

2500 Removing a Child From the Home

3710 Closing an FBSS Stage When the Case Transfers to Substitute Care

Family Reunification

If the caseworker determines that the child needs to be placed back into substitute care during a family reunification case, the caseworker follows the protocol in 3590 Removing a Child From the Home After Reunification.

3120 Types of Family-Based Safety Services

CPS January 2013

Three levels of family-based safety services (FBSS) and three levels of family reunification services (FRE) are offered to families, based on the family’s level of need, as assessed by CPS staff.

Family-Based Safety Services

Family-based safety services provide protective services to families whose children are not in the managing conservatorship of DFPS.

CPS may provide family-based safety services to any family who needs CPS assistance to reduce the likelihood that a child in the family will be abused or neglected in the foreseeable future.

The three levels of family-based safety services are:

  •  regular;

  •  moderate; and

  •  intensive.

The level of service a family receives is determined by the degree of risk to the child based on the identified safety threats, the child’s vulnerability to those safety threats, and the sufficiency of parental protective capacities.

Any family-based safety service may be provided by CPS, directly, or through service providers under contract with CPS.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.702

Family Reunification Services

CPS provides reunification services to families whose children are returning home from substitute care.

The purpose of family reunification services is to support the family and the child during the child’s transition from living in substitute care to living at home.

The three levels of family reunification services are:

  •  regular;

  •  intensive early; and

  •  intensive.

The level of service a family receives is determined by the degree of risk in the home.

Any reunification services may be provided by CPS, directly, or through service providers under contract with CPS.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.703

Reunification services do not include the services CPS provides to families over the general course of a child’s stay in substitute care, even though those services are usually directed toward family reunification.

Additional Information

For detailed information about each of these types of service, see:

Appendix 3120: Types of Family-Based Safety Services

3121 Regular Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

3122 Moderate Family-Based Safety Services (M-FBSS)

3123 Intensive Family-Based Safety Services (I-FBSS)

3500 Family Reunification Services (FRS)

3520 Regular Family Reunification Services (R-FRS)

3530 Moderate In-Home Safety Services in the Reunification Safety Services Stage

3540 Intensive Early Family Reunification Services (IE-FRS)

3550 Intensive Family Reunification Services (I-FRS)

3121 Regular Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

CPS January 2013

Definition

Regular family-based safety services are protective services provided to any family that needs CPS assistance to reduce the likelihood that a child in the family will be abused or neglected in the foreseeable future. For regular FBSS cases, services are likely to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to a child within 180 to 270 days.

Objectives

The objectives of family-based safety services are to:

  •  help the parents build on family strengths and resources to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect, and

  •  enable the family to function without CPS assistance after the case is closed.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.702(1)

The safety and well-being of the child are of paramount importance when providing FBSS.

3141 Determining Caseload Size for Regular FBSS

3320 Face-to-Face Contacts in an FBSS Case

3122 Moderate Family-Based Safety Services (M-FBSS)

CPS January 2013

Definition

Moderate family-based safety services:

  •  are more intensive than regular family-based safety services; and

  •  are provided to families that need assistance to protect a child from abuse or neglect in the foreseeable future.

Families receiving moderate services have higher risk for abuse or neglect than families receiving regular services. For moderate FBSS cases, services are likely to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to a child within 90 to 180 days.

The alternative to providing moderate services may be to obtain a court order to remove the child from the home.

Objectives

The objectives of moderate family-based safety services are to:

  •  protect the child from an immediate or short-term danger of abuse or neglect;

  •  help the parents build on family strengths and resources to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect; and

  •  enable the family to ensure the child’s safety without CPS assistance after the case is closed.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.702(2)(A)-(B)

See:

3142 Determining Caseload Size for Moderate FBSS

3320 Face-to-Face Contacts in an FBSS Case

3123 Intensive Family-Based Safety Services (I-FBSS)

CPS January 2013

Definition

CPS provides intensive family-based safety services to families that need the most assistance to protect a child from abuse or neglect in the immediate or short-term future. Services are likely to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to a child within 60 to 120 days.

The alternative to providing intensive services is to obtain a court order to remove the child from the home.

Objectives

The objectives of intensive family-based safety services are to:

  •  protect the child from an immediate or short-term danger of abuse or neglect;

  •  help the parents build on family strengths and resources to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect; and

  •  enable the family to ensure the child’s safety without CPS assistance after the case is closed.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.702(3)(A)-(B)

See:

3143 Determining Caseload Size for Intensive FBSS

3320 Face-to-Face Contacts in an FBSS Case

3124 Identifying the Correct IMPACT Stage and Stage Type

CPS June 2011

When completing the required documentation in IMPACT, the Family Based Safety Services (FBSS) worker must ensure that the entries accurately reflect the type of family based safety services being provided.

IMPACT Stages

The IMPACT stages are:

  •  FPR (Family Based Safety Services); and

  •  FRE (Family Reunification Services).

IMPACT Stage Types

The IMPACT stage types for FBSS are:

  •  REG (regular services);

  •  MOD (moderate services);

  •  INT(intensive services);

  •  CON (contracted services);

  •  MCON (contracted moderate services); and

  •  CINT (contracted intensive services).

IMPACT Stage Types (FRE)

The IMPACT stage types for FRE are:

  •  R-FRE (regular services);

  •  MOD-FRE (moderate services);

  •  IE-FRE (intensive early services); and

  •  I-FRE (intensive services).

3130 Criteria for FBSS Cases

CPS January 2013

Before a caseworker may open a case for family based safety services (FBSS) all of the following criteria must be satisfied:

  •  At least one child is at risk of abuse or neglect in the foreseeable future or may be at risk of removal from the home, as evidenced by the investigation Risk Assessment Summary of Risk Indicated.

  •  Services are likely to provide a safe alternative to DFPS conservatorship.

  •  A written, time-limited, realistic safety plan is in place.

  •  Services are likely to protect the family’s children from abuse or neglect in the immediate or short-term future.

3131 Cases That May Not Need FBSS

CPS January 2013

The investigation caseworker must be familiar with resources in the community, in the event that families can be served by referrals to such services. Families may already be involved with appropriate service providers or court-ordered programs, such as juvenile probation, or may be stabilized by referral.

Examples of cases with factors that may not need the Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS) program include the following:

  •  A conflict exists between a parent and child, and the child is a teenager without disabilities.

  •  The local juvenile probation office is providing services to meet the family’s needs.

  •  The Local Authorities for mental health or intellectual disabilities is providing services to meet the needs of the family;

  •  Excessive discipline, that does not rise to the level of physical abuse, is being used on a child older than age 5 who has no disabilities.

  •  A viable, safe parent or relative has been caring for the child when the parent whose issues brought the family to CPS’s attention is not providing care, the viable parent or relative takes the CPS intervention seriously, and the relative did not become a caregiver through a placement facilitated by CPS.

3132 Assigning Moderate or Intensive FBSS

CPS January 2013

Assuming that the basic criteria for Family Based Safety Services (FBSS) have been met (see 3130 Criteria for FBSS Cases), the addition of one or more case factors may warrant a moderate or intensive level of FBSS.

Factors Warranting Moderate or Intensive FBSS

Examples of factors that warrant moderate or intensive FBSS are as follows:

  •  A parent or caretaker has moderate intellectual or developmental disabilities.

  •  A child under the age of 5 or a child with a disability has been abused or neglected.

  •  A parent is a teenager.

  •  The parent or caretaker is an active alcohol or substance abuser, and

  •  the alcohol or substance abuse places the child at risk; and

  •  the parent or caretaker is actively seeking help for the problem or has been ordered by the court to receive treatment.

  •  A former foster child is now a parent and has no appropriate means of support or no appropriate support services.

  •  There is a history of sexual abuse, and:

  •  the alleged perpetrator is another child who remains in the home, and

  •  there are protective caretakers in the home.

  •  The nonabusive parent in a domestic violence case is actively seeking to protect the child.

  •  The parent-child bonding is impaired.

3140 Determining Caseload Size

3141 Determining Caseload Size for Regular FBSS

CPS January 2013

When determining how many regular family-based safety services (R-FBSS) cases to assign to a caseworker, the supervisor tries to limit the caseworker’s caseload to a size that gives the caseworker enough time to address each family’s needs.

On average, counting all casework activities, an R-FBSS caseworker spends two to four hours per month on each family’s case.

At least once a month, the visits must address issues regarding needed medical, social, educational, and other services.

3142 Determining Caseload Size for Moderate FBSS

CPS January 2013

A moderate family-based safety services (M-FBSS) caseworker may not carry more than 15 cases at a time. Most M-FBSS caseworkers carry between 10 and 15 cases.

An M-FBSS caseworker may work regular family-based safety services (R-FBSS) cases, but 50 percent of the caseload must consist of M-FBSS cases. Two R-FBSS cases count as one M-FBSS case.

For example, an M-FBSS caseworker may carry 10 M-FBSS cases and four R-FBSS cases; however, the caseworker may not carry 10 R-FBSS cases and four M-FBSS cases, because 50 percent of the caseload would not be M-FBSS cases.

M-FBSS caseworkers should not be assigned other types of cases except as specified above.

3143 Determining Caseload Size for Intensive FBSS

CPS January 2013

An intensive family-based safety services (I-FBSS) caseworker specializes in providing intensive services.

An I-FBSS caseworker may not carry more than 10 cases at a time. An average caseload ranges from eight to 10.

The caseworker may carry regular family-based safety services (R-FBSS) and moderate family-based safety services (M-FBSS) cases, but 50 percent of the caseload must consist of I-FBSS cases. Three R-FBSS cases count as one I-FBSS case. Two M-FBSS cases count as one I-FBSS cases.

For example, an I-FBSS caseworker may carry five I-FBSS cases, two M-FBSS cases, and three R-FBSS cases. In this scenario, half of the caseload is I-FBSS cases and half is other types of cases.

I-FBSS caseworkers must not be assigned other types of cases, except as specified above.

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