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3000 Ensuring Child Safety

3100 Actions to Take When a Child or Principal Cannot Be Located

CPS February 15, 2015

For investigations

Caseworker Requirements

Special Investigator Requirements

If Child or Principal Still Not Located

For FPR

If a child or principal has moved, cannot be located, or cannot be identified, and it prevents a caseworker from gathering enough information or taking action to ensure child safety, the caseworker must make reasonable efforts to locate the child or principal, and gather information from all available sources. While the caseworker is attempting to locate the child or principal, the caseworker must comply with all required tasks and timelines to the extent possible.

See the Finding Families Resource Guide.

For investigations

Caseworker Requirements

The caseworker must take immediate actions to locate the child or principal. These actions must be ongoing throughout the life of the investigation. After exhausting reasonable efforts, the caseworker must immediately, but no later than 30 calendar days after intake, request that a special investigator (SI) be assigned to the case.

Special Investigator Requirements

Within 10 calendar days after being assigned to the investigation, the SI must complete any actions to locate the child or principal that are appropriate for the case, document the actions, and notify the caseworker about the results.

If the SI locates the child or principal and makes face-to-face contact, the SI must interview the child or principal, and any other children or individuals who are at the location, and gather information about the allegations and child safety. The SI must immediately notify the caseworker and supervisor. If the SI determines that there is danger to a child, the SI must take one of the actions described in 3200 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present.

When the SI makes contact or takes actions related to child safety, the SI must immediately contact the caseworker and supervisor.

If Child or Principal Still Not Located

If, after the SI is assigned to the case, the child or principal is still not located, the supervisor and program director must evaluate the case. If they determine it to be serious, they must staff with the SI to determine whether to place the family on the Texas Crime Information Center's Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL). If they determine to place the family on CSCAL, the SI or SI’s program director must apply for a court order. If the court approves the order, the SI must take the appropriate steps to list the family on CSCAL.

Texas Family Code, §261.3022

For FPR

If, after taking all reasonable actions, the caseworker is still unable to locate the child or principal, the caseworker must staff with the supervisor as to next steps.

To the extent possible, the SI must assist the caseworker in locating the child or principal, if requested.

3200 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present

CPS February 15, 2015

Existing Custody or Visitation Court Orders

Safety Plan

Required Contact

Ending a Safety Plan

Whenever possible, while consistent with child safety, and after staffing with a supervisor, a caseworker must first try to implement a safety plan by taking one or more of these actions:

  •  Require a caregiver to take action to control the danger to a child.

  •  Refer the family for a Family Team Meeting.

  •  Implement a Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP).

  •  Seek one of the following legal actions, after staffing with the attorney representing DFPS:

  •  Remove an alleged or designated perpetrator from the home.

  •  Assist a parent in getting a court order for protection of a child or family member.

  •  Get a temporary restraining order if the caseworker believes that a parent is going to remove a child from the state.

  •  Get a court order that requires a parent to participate in services.

Texas Family Code §§262.1015; 264.203

Existing Custody or Visitation Court Orders

If there is an existing custody or visitation court order regarding the child, and a PCSP or documented Safety Plan (Form 2604-b) affecting a parent’s right to contact with the child is put into place, the caseworker must staff with attorneys representing DFPS within two weeks of learning that there is a court order.

Safety Plan

The caseworker must complete Form 2604-b Safety Plan form whenever the caseworker takes one of the actions described in 3200 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present.

The caseworker must ensure that each individual agreeing to and signing the Safety Plan form understands and agrees to:

  •  his or her responsibilities;

  •  the potential consequences of non-compliance; and

  •  the actions or circumstances needed to eliminate the need for the Safety Plan.

The caseworker must provide a signed copy of the Safety Plan form to all individuals who signed it.

Required Contact

If the safety plan includes a provision requiring an individual to reside with a parent and child, either in the parent’s home or in another home, the caseworker must contact that individual as often as necessary to ensure child safety, but at least once a month.

Ending a Safety Plan

The caseworker must end a Safety Plan when:

  •  it is no longer needed to ensure the safety of the child; or

  •  the stage will be closed with no further CPS involvement.

3210 Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP)

CPS February 15, 2015

Texas Family Code, Chapter 264, Subchapter L

A Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) is a temporary placement agreement between a parent of a child who is unsafe in their own home and a relative or fictive kin (see 4513 Definition of a Fictive Kin or Other Designated Caregiver).

See the Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) Resource Guide.

3211 Evaluating the Child’s Safety Before Placement

CPS February 15, 2015

FBI Records Checks

Household Members That Previously Lived Outside Texas

Previous Abuse or Neglect History

Collateral Contacts

PCSP Home Resident with Criminal History

Before allowing the child to go into a PCSP, the caseworker must evaluate whether the child will be safe in the PCSP. This evaluation must include:

  •  running CPS history checks on all residents in the PCSP;

  •  running criminal history checks on all residents in the PCSP age 14 and older;

  •  evaluating the safety of the PCSP physical home environment; and

  •  evaluating the ability of the PCSP caregiver to keep the child safe.

If the PCSP caregiver is a principal on an open CPS stage, the caseworker and the supervisor must staff with the caseworker and the supervisor of the open stage.

FBI Records Checks

The caseworker must request an exigent FBI records check for any adult household member of the PCSP household, age 18 and older, if:

  •  the adult household member currently lives outside Texas;

  •  the adult household member has lived out of state within the last three years; OR

  •  the caseworker suspects the adult household member has a criminal history in another state.

Before requesting the exigent FBI records check, the caseworker must ensure that the adult household member provides fingerprints for the fingerprint-based FBI check. The caseworker must inform the parent and proposed PCSP caretaker that CPS cannot allow the placement to be made if the person is not willing or able to provide fingerprints in Texas. If the household member has not been fingerprinted or made arrangements to be fingerprinted within two weeks of the date the PCSP is made, the caseworker must staff with the supervisor, and the program director if necessary, to determine how to proceed.

When the adult household member lives outside of Texas, the caseworker must not agree to allow the person to leave Texas with the child until the person provides fingerprints.

Household Members That Previously Lived Outside of Texas

The caseworker must determine whether any household members age 14 and older lived in other states before living in Texas, and the caseworker must contact those states to determine if the person had CPS, APS, or CCL involvement in the other state. If the caseworker verifies the person’s CPS, APS, or CCL involvement in another state, the caseworker must consult with the supervisor before proceeding with the placement.

Previous Abuse or Neglect History

If a potential PCSP caregiver or principal in the potential PCSP home has prior CPS, CCL, or APS history with a disposition of Reason to Believe (RTB), Valid, or Confirmed, and the family is still being considered after supervisory review of the history, then the program director must review the history.

The caregiver must also be warned that if this case should become a conservatorship case, the caregiver may not be approved as a kinship home, may not be eligible for any financial assistance, and may be barred from ever fostering or adopting.

For any other disposition of Ruled Out / Unable to Determine (RO/UTD), Unable to Complete (UTC), Invalid, or Unconfirmed, the supervisor must review the history and decide whether the issues in the history would affect the safety of the child being placed.

All discussions between the caseworker, supervisor, and program director must consider how any previous history will affect the safety of the child. In all of these circumstances, documentation must state how the child is safe and why this person would not be a continuing threat to the child.

Collateral Contacts

Whenever possible, the caseworker must make collateral contacts to confirm that the PCSP is safe. The caseworker should make contacts before the child goes into the PCSP or, if that is not possible, within 24 hours after the child goes into the PCSP.

PCSP Home Resident with Criminal History

A PCSP cannot be approved if someone who resides in the PCSP home has a disqualifying criminal history.

See Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code, and the attachment Assessing Criminal History Offenses and Convictions for PCSPs, Unverified Kinship and Verified Kinship Foster and Adoptive Homes, for a list of offenses and explanation of their impact to a potential PCSP.

The caseworker must notify the parent or guardian about whether the PCSP has been approved, but must not disclose any criminal or CPS history of the PCSP residents.

Texas Family Code §264.903(c)

3212 Program Director Approval

CPS February 15, 2015

The caseworker must get program director approval before the child is allowed to go into a PCSP.

3213 Agreement for PCSP

CPS February 15, 2015

If the PCSP is approved, the caseworker must complete the Agreement for PCSP with the PCSP caregiver and a parent, ensuring that the PCSP caregiver and parent each understands and agrees to:

  •  his or her responsibilities;

  •  the potential consequences of non-compliance; and

  •  the actions or circumstances needed to safely return the child home.

The parent and PCSP caregiver must both sign the Agreement for PCSP and the caseworker must provide them both with a signed copy.

The caseworker must provide the PCSP caregiver with the Voluntary Caregiver Manual.

3214 Option to Enter Into Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Relative

CPS February 15, 2015

The caseworker must inform the parent and PCSP caregiver about the option to enter into an Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Relative, to ensure the PCSP caregiver may consent to necessary decisions in the child’s life.

Texas Family Code, Chapter 34

3215 Required Contacts

CPS June 2015

Required Contact with Child and PCSP Caregiver

Required Parent Contact

Required Contact with Child and PCSP Caregiver

While the child is in a PCSP, the caseworker must make face-to-face contact with the child and the PCSP caregiver within the first 10 calendar days of placing the child in the PCSP and at least once a month thereafter.

At each contact, the caseworker must assess whether the PCSP placement remains safe and appropriate. If the placement is to continue, the caseworker must confirm that the caregiver is willing and able to continue the placement.

At each contact, the caseworker must determine whether there are changes to the members of the PCSP household or previously unidentified frequent visitors. The caseworker must run CPS and criminal background checks on any new member or frequent visitor to the PCSP household age 14 and older.

The PCSP caregiver must agree to notify the caseworker of any changes to who is living in or is a frequent visitor to the PCSP home, and any changes in alternative caregivers. The caseworker must run both DFPS and criminal history checks on these individuals and assess how the new circumstances would affect the child's safety.

Required Parent Contact

The caseworker must contact all parents who agreed to the PCSP every 10 calendar days.

3216 Extending a PCSP

CPS February 15, 2015

The caseworker must get approval from a program director for a PCSP to exceed 90 calendar days.

3217 Closing a PCSP

CPS February 15, 2015

Closing a Case with the Child Remaining in a PCSP

The caseworker must close a PCSP when:

  •  the child can safely return home; or

  •  the child cannot safely return home but the caseworker determines:

  •  the child can safely reside with another person who is legally entitled to possession;

  •  the child can safely reside with the PCSP caregiver without further CPS involvement (with program director approval); or

  •  it is necessary to remove the child and seek legal custody to ensure the child’s safety.

Texas Family Code §§264.904; 264.905

Closing a Case with the Child Remaining in a PCSP

If CPS determines that the case must be closed with a child remaining in a PCSP, and CPS is not seeking temporary managing conservatorship (TMC), the caseworker must:

  •  document the basis for determining that the child can safely remain with the caregiver;

   •  ensure that the caregiver is willing to continue the PCSP without CPS involvement;

  •  ensure there is a workable plan for making sure the child’s needs are met after CPS is no longer in the case;

  •  ensure the child is aware of the plan to close the case and that the caregiver’s, parent’s and child’s questions have been answered;

  •  complete Form 0266 Voluntary Caregiver’s Case Closure with the caregiver and, if possible, the parent.

Program director approval is required for the case closure. Upon approval, the caseworker and supervisor sign Form 2066 Voluntary Case Closure Form. The program director must either sign the form or the caseworker must document the program director's verbal approval. The caseworker must provide the form to the caregiver for his or her signature. The caseworker must give a copy to the parent, if available, and must maintain a copy in the case record.

3220 Removing a Child

3221 Initiating a Removal

CPS February 15, 2015

Required Approvals

Explaining the Process to Parents and Caregivers

Gathering Information From Parents and Caregivers

Documents That Must Be Provided to Parents in Exigent Circumstances

Explaining the Removal to the Child

Texas Family Code §262, Subchapter B

The caseworker must remove a child from the home if there is danger to a child, and there is no other reasonable way to ensure the child’s safety. The caseworker must refer the family for a Family Team Meeting before removing the child, or document in IMPACT the reason such a referral was not possible.

Texas Family Code §§262.101; 262.102; 262.104; 262.113

Required Approvals

Before removing the child, the caseworker must have supervisor and program director approval and, according to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a court order or exigent circumstances.

The caseworker must consult with the attorney representing DFPS if the caseworker needs a court order for removal.

The caseworker must immediately consult with the attorney representing DFPS after a removal based on exigent circumstances.

Explaining the Process to Parents and Caregivers

At the time of removal, the caseworker must inform the parent of the reasons for the removal, and provide the brochure While Your Child is in Care.

Texas Family Code §262.109(c)

Gathering Information From Parents and Caregivers

The caseworker must gather any available information needed to complete the Form 2279 Placement Summary and Form 2626 Family Information, and information on relatives or fictive kin that could potentially become caregivers for the child. The caseworker must provide the parents with Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource and, to the extent possible, assist the parents in completing the form. The caseworker must begin the evaluation process of any identified potential caregivers as soon as possible.

Texas Family Code §262.114

Documents That Must be Provided to Parents in Exigent Circumstances

If the removal is based on exigent circumstances, the caseworker must provide a completed Form 2231(es) Notice of Removal to all parents at the time of removal, or no later than the first working day following removal. This is not required if the court orders otherwise, or for a Baby Moses case.

Texas Family Code §262.109

Explaining the Removal to the Child

The caseworker must have an age-appropriate conversation with the child about why the removal is necessary.

3222 Making a Placement in Substitute Care

CPS February 15, 2015

Before placing the child in substitute care, the caseworker must provide a pre-placement visit and address any concerns the child may have about the placement. To the extent possible, the caseworker must place the child with a relative who is willing and able to safely care for the child. The caseworker must document the child’s placement in IMPACT as soon as possible or by close of the next day.

3223 Discussion of Child’s Needs

CPS February 15, 2015

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must discuss the child’s needs with the substitute caregiver, provide the caregiver with any necessary documentation and arrange for a medical consenter and an educational decision maker for the child.

3224 Notification

CPS February 15, 2015

Within 30 calendar days after removal, the caseworker must ensure that notice is provided to the following individuals, if their names and addresses are known:

  •  all maternal grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and sibling relatives of the child;

  •  all adult grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and sibling relatives of the child’s legal father or, if there is no legal father, the alleged father that DFPS determines is the most likely biological father;

  •  all relatives and fictive kin identified as potential caregivers on the Child Caregiver Resource form;

  •  any legal custodians of the child’s siblings; and

  •  any other relative or fictive kin the caseworker determines should receive notice.

Notice is not required for persons served with citation by the court, or determined ineligible for notice based on criminal or family violence history.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(29)

Texas Family Code §262.1095

3225 Court Filings

CPS February 15, 2015

The caseworker must file this information with the court prior to the Adversary Hearing:

  •  a copy of each Child Caregiver Resource Form;

  •  any completed home assessment on a child’s relatives or fictive kin;

  •  if a child was placed with an identified relative or fictive kin before the full adversary hearing, the name of the relative or fictive kin;

  •  if the child was not placed with an identified relative or fictive kin before the full adversary hearing, the caseworker must identify the reasons why and actions taken, if any, to place the child with a relative or fictive kin.

In all information filed, Social Security Numbers must be redacted.

Texas Family Code §262.114(a-1)

3226 Conservatorship Caseworker Assignment

CPS February 15, 2015

A conservatorship caseworker must be assigned as soon as possible after opening a substitute care stage. The conservatorship caseworker and the caseworker initiating the removal must cooperate in completing and filing all required legal forms and documents, attending court hearings, and ensuring that all required visits take place.

After the adversary hearing, the conservatorship caseworker has primary responsibility for taking any other actions needed to meet the child’s needs.

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