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3000 Ensuring Child Safety

3100 When a Child Who is With His or Her Family Cannot be Located

CPS August 2017

In the investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), family preservation (FPR), and conservatorship (CVS) stages, the caseworker must take immediate actions to find a family if:

  •   the caseworker cannot contact a child who is with the family, or

  •   the caseworker loses contact with the child and family during the case, and needs to:

  •   investigate a report of alleged child abuse or neglect;

  •   provide protective services to a family receiving family-based safety services; or

  •   provide, in limited circumstances, protective services to the family of a child in the managing conservatorship of DFPS.

If CPS Cannot Find a Child Who is Not in CPS Conservatorship

If CPS staff cannot find the child and family, and the child is not in DFPS conservatorship, the special investigator program director (SIPD) must notify the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and request that the child be placed on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) in the DPS Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC).

If a Child in DFPS Conservatorship is Abducted

If a child in DFPS conservatorship is abducted by his or her biological family or runs away, and the appropriate law enforcement officials decline to file a missing person's report on the child with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the caseworker must immediately notify the supervisor and the SIPD. The SIPD must request that DPS place the child and the family on CSCAL. See 3115 Child in DFPS Conservatorship Goes Missing.

If There is Imminent Danger to a Child

If at any time the caseworker believes that the child is in imminent danger, the caseworker must staff with the supervisor. If the supervisor agrees the child is in imminent danger, the supervisor must staff with the SIPD to submit a referral to DPS to place the child on CSCAL immediately.

If a Child on CSCAL is Located

If a child or family that is listed on CSCAL is located, the staff that found the child or family must notify the SIPD immediately.

3110 Conducting a Diligent Search and Placing the Family on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL)

3111 The Caseworker's Responsibilities

CPS August 2017

In an investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) stage, the caseworker must begin a diligent search immediately after the first unsuccessful attempt to contact the child and family.

3111.1 Time Frames for the Diligent Search

CPS August 2017

The caseworker must conduct the diligent search for the following time periods, beginning with the day of the caseworker's first unsuccessful attempt to contact the child and family.

Stage

Time Frame

Priority 1 investigations

Four days

  • Priority 2 investigations

  • Alternative response stages

  • Family preservation

Ten days

The following exceptions apply.

  •   At any time during the search, if there is a reason to believe the child may be in imminent danger, the caseworker must immediately staff with the supervisor. If the supervisor agrees the child is in imminent danger, the supervisor must staff with the special investigator program director (SIPD) to immediately submit a referral to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to place the child on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL).

  •   If the caseworker has exhausted all available resources to locate the family before the fourth day or the tenth day, respectively, the caseworker, through the supervisor, may refer the case to the SIPD.

3111.2 Required Diligent Search Actions

CPS August 2017

During the diligent search, the caseworker must complete all reasonable actions that would assist in locating the child or family as quickly as possible.

At a minimum, the caseworker must:

  •   attempt to make contact daily for Priority 1 investigations. The allegations and risk factors may require more frequent attempted contacts;

  •   attempt to make five contacts for Priority 2 investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) stages. For Priority 2 investigations, the allegations and risk factors may require more frequent attempted contacts;

  •   attempt to contact the family at reported or suspected addresses at different times of the day, especially before or after regular business hours, such as before 8AM and after 7PM;

  •   request or conduct available on-line searches, to include the DFPS Family Inquiry Network Database Research System (FINDRS) unit (for a quick search) and the Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign Project (TIERS);

  •   attempt to contact all relevant collaterals, including the reporter, neighbors, friends, and relatives;

  •   contact local law enforcement for any locating information on the family; and

  •   take all reasonable actions and use all available resources to locate the child based upon the circumstances of the individual case, as indicated in the Finding Families Resource Guide. For example, contact the school to see if a school-age child is still attending.

3111.3 Actions at the End of the Caseworker's Diligent Search

CPS August 2017

If the family is located or if an exception is met in 3114 Exceptions to the Requirement to Place the Family on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL), the caseworker must staff with the supervisor to determine next steps.

Otherwise, by the end of the fourth day or tenth day, respectively:

  •   the caseworker and supervisor must staff the case;

  •   the caseworker must document in the Contact Narrative in IMPACT the search activities, results, and information gathered, including specific addresses, phone numbers, and names of people contacted in the search;

  •   the supervisor must request the special investigator program director (SIPD) assign a special investigator (SI); and

  •   the caseworker must assign the SI as secondary on the case.

For Priority 1 investigations, the caseworker must also complete the CSCAL Data Entry Form and the Additional Child or Offender form, when necessary, and send them to the supervisor. The supervisor must attach them to the email requesting that the SIPD assign an SI.

See 3113 The Special Investigator Program Director's Responsibilities

3111.4 Required Casework If Family Is Not Located

CPS August 2017

Even if the family is not located, the caseworker must continue to play an active role in the case by contacting principals who can be located and collaterals in order to perform any work that can be done during the stage of service.

The caseworker is not responsible for continuing to search for the family, but the special investigator (SI) must continue the search. For information about the SI continuing to search for the family, see 3112 The Special Investigator's Responsibilities.

Staff must not close the case solely because the family was placed on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL). The case is only closed once the SI and caseworker's supervisor agree to close the case, according to 3112.5 Family is Not Located – Closing the Case.

Once the special investigator program director (SIPD) decides to place a family on CSCAL, the SIPD sends the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC) an encrypted email with the attached CSCAL form. The SIPD sends a copy of the email and attached form to the caseworker. The caseworker must file the email and attachment in the case record.

3111.5 Immediate Face-to-Face Contact When a Family is Located

CPS August 2017

The caseworker's supervisor must ensure that a face-to-face contact is made immediately if possible, but no later than twenty-four hours after the child is located. The caseworker must make the contact unless the special investigator (SI) located the child in a face-to-face contact.

3111.51 A Special Investigator (SI) Locates the Family

CPS August 2017

As described in 3112 The Special Investigator's Responsibilities, if the special investigator (SI) locates the child or family, determines immediate safety measures are needed, and requests the caseworker's assistance, the caseworker must respond immediately to implement safety measures for a child who needs a safety intervention. See 3200 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present.

The caseworker must end the SI's secondary assignment to the case and complete the investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) services.

3111.52 Law Enforcement Locates the Family

CPS August 2017

When a law enforcement officer locates the family as the result of a match on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL), the officer contacts Statewide Intake.

Statewide Intake Action

In accord with Statewide Intake policy, the intake caseworker must make a call out to the router or on-call worker in the area where the officer located the child or family and inform the router or worker that the officer is requesting an immediate call back, unless the officer has indicated otherwise.

The intake worker must:

  •   complete an Information and Referral (I&R) to an open case if the CSCAL-related case is still open and there are no new allegations; or

  •   complete a Priority 1 intake if the CSCAL-related case has been closed and an investigation (INV) or alternative response (AR) case was closed as Unable to Complete (Family moved/cannot locate) or Unable to locate, respectively. The intake worker must route the intake to the county where the officer located the child or family.

If CPS receives an I&R but feels an intake is warranted, field staff must contact SWI and request a re-entry.

If CPS receives a Priority 1 but there are no new allegations and the CSCAL was entered in the family preservation (FPR) stage, field staff must contact SWI and request the report be re-entered as a case-related special request (CRSR).

See the Statewide intake Handbook, 4413.1 Processing a CSCAL Report From Law Enforcement When a Match is Found.

Caseworker Action

The caseworker must respond immediately to assess the child's safety and take protective action if needed. If a law enforcement officer is with family members and is waiting for CPS to arrive, the caseworker must immediately:

  •   go to the scene to interview the child or family;

  •   assess the child's safety and take protective action if needed; and

  •   obtain valid locating information.

If the caseworker determines there is danger to a child, the caseworker must take one of the actions described in 3200 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present.

After meeting with the child or family, the caseworker must:

  •   inform the supervisor, special investigator (SI), and special investigator program director (SIPD) that the child has been located;

  •   document the circumstances under which the family was located;

  •   complete and send the CSCAL Clearing Form to the SIPD;

  •   end the SI's secondary assignment to the case; and

  •   complete the INV, AR, or FPR services.

3111.6 Family is Not Located – Closing the Case

CPS August 2017

A case with a family on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) must not be closed until the special investigator (SI) and the caseworker's supervisor agree to close the case, based on whichever of the following occurs first:

  •   all avenues for searching for the family have been exhausted; or

  •   thirty days have passed since the CSCAL was filed.

The caseworker's supervisor must notify the caseworker once the decision is made to close the case.

Investigations

Caseworker

If the CSCAL was filed in an Investigation case, the caseworker must complete all documentation, and make the SI primary on the case for the purpose of closing it. The caseworker's responsibility for the case ends once these tasks are completed.

Supervisor

The supervisor must review the caseworker's documentation and document approval for all caseworker's case activities. Once the contact is entered, the supervisor must notify the SI that the caseworker's actions have been approved.

Alternative Response or Family Preservation

If the CSCAL was filed in an alternative response (AR) or family preservation (FPR) case, the caseworker must end the SI's secondary assignment to the case and close the case using the following Closure Codes:

  •   AR – "Unable to Locate"

  •   FPR – "Family moved/unable to locate"

3112 The Special Investigator's Responsibilities

CPS August 2017

3112.1 Diligent Search

CPS August 2017

After being assigned to complete a diligent search for the family, the special investigator (SI) must begin the search within 24 hours and conduct a 10-day diligent search for the family.

During the diligent search, the SI must complete all reasonable actions and use all available resources to locate the child and family, based upon the circumstances of the case, as indicated in the Finding Families Resource Guide. The SI may use available law enforcement personnel to assist with the diligent search.

At any time during the search, if there is a reason to believe the child may be in imminent danger, the SI must immediately refer the case to the special investigator program director (SIPD) to place the child onto the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) at that time. The SI must then continue the diligent search.

3112.2 Actions At the End of the Diligent Search in a Priority 2 INV, AR, or FPR Stage

CPS August 2017

If the special investigator (SI) has not located the family by the nineteenth day of the diligent search for the child in a Priority 2 investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) stage, the SI must:

  •   document the search activities, results, and information gathered, including specific addresses, phone numbers, and names of people contacted in the search in the Contact Narrative; and

  •   complete the CSCAL Main form, and the Additional Child or Offender form when necessary, and send them to the special investigator program director (SIPD).

3112.3 After the Child and Family Are Placed on the CSCAL

CPS August 2017

Staff must not close the case solely because the family was placed on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL).

As long as the case is open, the special investigator (SI) must continue searching diligently to locate and make contact with the family in a:

  •   Priority 1 investigation;

  •   Priority 2 investigation;

  •   alternative response (AR) stage; or

  •   family preservation (FPR) stage.

3112.4 Special Investigator Locates a Child on CSCAL

CPS August 2017

When the special investigator (SI) locates the child on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL), the SI must immediately notify the special investigator program director (SIPD) and the caseworker, or the caseworker's supervisor.

The SI must:

  •   interview the child or family member face-to-face;

  •   interview as necessary any other children or individuals who are at the location;

  •   assess child safety; and

  •   complete the safety assessment in IMPACT.

The SI must ensure child safety is secured and may request caseworker assistance from the supervisor if needed.

If the SI locates the family by phone or text and the family agrees to face-to-face interviews, the SI may request caseworker assistance from the supervisor if needed.

The SI must:

  •   document his or her work on the case and the circumstances under which the family was located;

  •   complete the CSCAL Clearing Form; and

  •   send the completed form to the SIPD.

The SIPD must follow the steps in 3113 The Special Investigator's Program Director's Responsibilities to arrange for the child and family to be cleared from the CSCAL.

The SI's responsibility for the case ends after she or he completes the above actions.

3112.5 Family is Not Located – Closing the Case

CPS August 2017

The special investigator (SI) must continue to search diligently for the family until the child is found or the SI and the caseworker's supervisor agree to close the case.

A case with a family on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) must not be closed until the SI and the caseworker's supervisor agree to close the case, based on whichever of the following occurs first:

  •   all avenues for searching for the family have been exhausted; or

  •   thirty days have passed since the CSCAL was filed.

Investigations

For Investigation cases, the SI must inform the special investigator program director (SIPD) when the SI assignment moves from secondary to primary.

The SI must document his or her actions in the case, selecting the disposition of Unable to Complete and the Recommended Action of Close-Fam moved/cannot locate. See 2281.4 Unable to Complete. The SI must submit the case to the SIPD. For cases with a child under age 3, once the SIPD provides approval, the SIPD must submit the case to the child safety specialist (CSS) for secondary approval to close.

Alternative Response or Family Preservation

For alternative response and family preservation cases, the SI's responsibilities for the case end once the decision is made to close the case.

3113 The Special Investigator Program Director's (SIPD) Responsibilities

CPS August 2017

3113.1 Assigning the Special Investigator (SI) to Conduct a Diligent Search

CPS August 2017

The special investigator program director (SIPD) must assign a special investigator (SI) to conduct a diligent search within 24 hours after the SIPD receives a request from the investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) supervisor for a case that meets Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) criteria.

See:

3100 When a Child Who is With His or Her Family Cannot be Located

3114 Exceptions to the Requirement to Place the Family on the CSCAL

3113.2 Arranging for the Child and Family to be Placed on the CSCAL

CPS August 2017

When Time Frames Have Been Exceeded but the Diligent Search Has Not Begun or Finished

From the date of the first attempted contact with the family, a diligent search must be begun or completed according to the time frames in the table below. If the diligent search has not begun or been completed within these time frames, the special investigator program director (SIPD) must arrange for the family to be placed on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) immediately.

Stage

Time Frame

Priority 1 investigations

Four days

  • Priority 2 investigations

  • Alternative response investigations

  • Family preservation

  • Ten days for the caseworker

  • Ten days for the special investigator (SI)

Total 20 days

The caseworker and the special investigator (SI) must begin the diligent search immediately after the family has been placed on the CSCAL.

After the Diligent Search Has Been Completed

Within 24 hours of being notified that a diligent search in an investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) case did not locate the child or family, the SIPD must notify the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and request that the child and family be placed on CSCAL if the case meets CSCAL criteria. The SIPD must:

  •   send an encrypted email with the completed CSCAL Form to the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC), without including identifying information on the family in the email's Subject line;

  •   document in the Contact Narrative in IMPACT the request to DPS to enter the family on the CSCAL;

  •   select the CSCAL checkbox on the Case Summary page in IMPACT; and

  •   send a copy of the email and attachment to the caseworker.

The caseworker must file a copy of the email and attachment in the case record.

3113.3 Arranging for Child and Family to be Taken Off the CSCAL

CPS August 2017

Within 24 hours of being notified that a child who was placed on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) in an investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) stage has been located, the special investigator program director (SIPD) must notify the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and request that the child and family be removed (cleared) from the CSCAL. The SIPD must:

  •   send an encrypted email with the completed CSCAL Form to the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC), without including identifying information on the family in the email's Subject line;

  •   document in the Contact Narrative in IMPACT the request to DPS to clear the family from the CSCAL;

  •   deselect the CSCAL checkbox on the Case Summary page in IMPACT; and

  •   send a copy of the email and attachment to the caseworker.

The caseworker must file a copy of the email and attachment in the case record.

3114 Exceptions to the Requirement to Place the Family on the CSCAL

CPS August 2017

3114.1 Uncooperative Family Whose Location is Known

CPS August 2017

The caseworker must not apply diligent search requirements or place on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) families who can be located but do not cooperate during the investigation (INV), alternative response (AR), or family preservation (FPR) stage. For INV or FPR cases the caseworker must staff with legal to seek to obtain access to the children. AR cases may be progressed to INV. See 2281.4 Unable to Complete.

3114.2 Family Cannot be Located When Case Closure is Begun

CPS August 2017

The caseworker may not be able to locate the family to close the case as required in:

  •   the investigation (INV) stage (see 2271 Time Frames for Completing a Safety Assessment or Reassessment);

  •   the alternative response (AR) stage (see 2650 Case Closure); or

  •   the family preservation (FPR) stage (see 2560 Closing a Family Preservation Stage).

When this happens, the caseworker and special investigator (SI) must conduct a diligent search and request the family be put on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL). These actions must be taken unless all of the following criteria are met:

  •   the evidence supports a ruled out disposition in an investigation, or the work with the family has essentially been successfully ended in an AR or FPR stage;

  •   the structured decision-making (SDM) risk level in the case is low or moderate; for AR, one of the following closure codes is appropriate:

  •   No significant safety factors/CPS Decision;

  •   Services Completed; or

  •   Family declined services/No safety threat;

  •   the family was located earlier during the stage of service;

  •   the caseworker or SI assigned as primary on the case contacts reliable collaterals who state they have no current safety concerns about the care of the children; and

  •   the supervisor of the caseworker or SI assigned as primary on the case approves the family not being put on CSCAL.

3114.3 Other Exceptions

CPS August 2017

Staff must not request to put on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) a family that cannot be located if:

  •   there is too little identifying information on the parents to meet standards for entering the family in CSCAL;

  •   the child has been located but not the family; or

  •   the family and child have moved out of state. The caseworker must request CPS in the other state to interview the child, or request local law enforcement in the other state to conduct a welfare check, to ensure the child is safe.

In any stage, staff must not put on CSCAL absent parents who do not have possession of a child involved with DFPS.

Staff must not put on CSCAL children in DFPS conservatorship who are abducted by their parents or are runaways and are entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as missing persons.

3114.4 Length of Time the Case on the CSCAL if the Child is Not Located

CPS August 2017

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) keeps the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL) listing for a child and family in the DPS Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC) for one year, unless they are located before that time.

3115 Child in DFPS Conservatorship Goes Missing

CPS August 2017

If a child in DFPS conservatorship is abducted by his or her biological family, or runs away, the caseworker must report the child as missing to the appropriate law enforcement officials, for placement onto the National Crime Information Center Database (NCIC) as a missing person.

If the law enforcement officials decline to enter the child as a missing person on NCIC, the caseworker must, within 24 hours of learning of law enforcement's decision not to enter the child as a missing person:

  •   notify the supervisor;

  •   complete the CSCAL Data Entry Form, stating the name of the law enforcement agency contacted, complete the Additional Child or Offender form if necessary, and send them to the special investigator program director (SIPD) for referral to the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL); and

  •   continue searching for the child.

The caseworker and special investigator (SI) must continue searching for the child in DFPS conservatorship until the child is found or a court dismisses conservatorship of the child.

The SIPD must, within 24 hours of receiving the Child Safety Check Alert List Data Entry Forms, take actions in 3113 The Special Investigator Program Director Responsibilities.

If the child on the CSCAL is located, see 3111 The Caseworker's Responsibilities and 3112 The Special Investigator's Responsibilities.

See 6460 When a Child or Youth is Missing from CPS Conservatorship.

3200 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present

CPS April 2017

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

A PCSP or documented safety plan must not contradict existing court orders or require a person to take actions contrary to an existing court order. For example, if one parent has court-ordered visitation with a child, the safety plan cannot require the other parent to deny visitation. However, the caseworker can ask if a parent might voluntarily waive or limit his or her own visitation rights for a specified time while the child's safety is being assessed.

Safety Plan

The caseworker must complete Form 2604-b Safety Plan whenever the caseworker takes one of the actions described in the list above.

The caseworker must ensure that each individual agreeing to and signing Form 2604-b Safety Plan 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 Form 2604-b Safety Plan 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 July 2016

A Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) is a temporary, short-term placement that should last no longer than 60 days. A PCSP is made by a parent. A caseworker must only consider a PCSP as an option if, after assessing dangers in the child’s home, protective factors, and household strengths, the caseworker determines:

  •  the child cannot safely stay with a parent; or

  •  the placement is needed to protect a victim from a sibling perpetrator.

A PCSP should only be considered when all other options to keep the child safe in his or her own home, or with a parent, have been explored.

Texas Family Code, Chapter 264, Subchapter L

See:

Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) Resource Guide

PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool

PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool (Spanish)

3211 Evaluating the Child’s Safety Before Placement

3211.1 Assessing and Documenting Placement in a PCSP

CPS July 2016

Before allowing the child to go into a PCSP, the caseworker must:

  •  evaluate the potential caregiver and household to determine whether the child will be safe in the PCSP;

  •  obtain approval from a supervisor and program director;

  •  complete the PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool and provide the parent and caregiver a paper or electronic version of the completed and signed PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool;

  •  create the PCSP in IMPACT by completing and submitting the PCSP section defining the caregiver, children, and household members and the PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool; and

  •  document in the Safety Plan:

  •  the conditions under which a parent can have access to the child;

  •  the respective duties of the caregiver, parent, and DFPS to ensure the child’s safety; and

  •  the PCSP end date.

If any elements of the Safety Plan change during later contacts, the caseworker must update the Safety Plan accordingly. See 3214.1 Required Contact with Child and PCSP Caregiver.

3211.2 Criminal History Checks
3211.21 DPS Criminal History Check

CPS July 2016

Before placing a child in a PCSP, the caseworker must conduct a DPS Criminal History check on every adult or emancipated minor, age 14 and older, who is a member of the PCSP household.

To verify the criminal history check, the caseworker must obtain a driver’s license number.

If a person does not have a driver’s license, a state or federal identification card from either the United States or another country is acceptable if it includes the person’s photograph and contains enough information to obtain a criminal history. If a person does not have an acceptable form of identification, staff must not make the placement.

3211.22 FBI Exigent and Fingerprint Checks

CPS July 2016

The caseworker must request an FBI exigent check for any adult or emancipated minor, age 14 and older, who is a member of the PCSP household if:

  •  the household member currently lives outside Texas;

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

  •  the caseworker learns the household member may have a criminal history in another state.

Within seven days of the exigent check, the caseworker must ensure that the individual also submits to an FBI fingerprint check. The caseworker must inform the parent and proposed PCSP caregiver 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 seven days of the date the PCSP is made, the caseworker must staff with the program director to determine if the child needs to be removed from the PCSP.

When the household member lives outside of Texas, the caseworker must not agree to allow the person to leave Texas with the child until the caseworker obtains the results of the FBI fingerprint check and determines that there is no bar to placement.

For information on CBCU requirements and procedures for requesting background checks, see the PCSP Resource Guide.

3211.23 PCSP Household Member with Criminal History

CPS July 2016

A PCSP cannot be approved if a PCSP household member has a disqualifying criminal history. Arrests without convictions are not an absolute bar, but must be evaluated.

An absolute bar to placement is any of the following:

  •  A conviction or deferred adjudication for any felony listed in Appendix 4525

  •  A conviction or deferred adjudication for any felony not listed in Appendix 4525, but which has occurred in the last five years

Staff must evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, any criminal history that is not an absolute bar to placement and decide whether the history would pose a danger to the child being placed or impact permanency for the child. If staff cannot obtain the information needed to make this determination before placing the child, the PCSP cannot be approved.

3211.3 Abuse and Neglect History Checks

CPS July 2016

Before placement, the caseworker must conduct a DFPS History Check on all residents in the PCSP.

3211.31 Household Members That Previously Lived Outside of Texas

CPS July 2016

Before placing the child, the caseworker must determine whether any household members age 14 and older lived in other states before living in Texas. If a household member lived out of state, the caseworker must conduct an Out-of-State Abuse and Neglect History Check with 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.

For guidance on completing an out-of-state PCSP, consult the PCSP Resource Guide.

3211.32 PCSP Household Member with Abuse or Neglect History

CPS July 2016

A PCSP cannot be approved if a PCSP household member has any of these allegation dispositions in a CPS, RCCL, or CCL case:

  •  Reason to Believe (RTB)

  •  Unable to Determine (UTD)

  •  Unable to Complete (UTC)

Staff must evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, APS (including Adult Foster Care – AFC) and other CPS, RCCL, and CCL dispositions, and decide whether the history would pose a danger to the child being placed. If staff cannot obtain the information needed to make this determination before placing the child, the PCSP cannot be approved.

3211.4 Collateral Contacts

CPS July 2016

The caseworker must document the collateral contacts he or she performed to confirm that the PCSP is safe before the child went into the PCSP. If it was not possible to perform collateral contacts before the placement, the caseworker must document the collateral contacts performed within 24 hours after the child went into the PCSP.

3211.5 Staffing with Regional Attorney

CPS July 2016

The caseworker must immediately staff with the program director and the DFPS regional attorney if:

  •  a court orders placement with a PCSP caregiver who is barred under policy or who has been evaluated and denied placement; or

  •  the caseworker seeks removal that is denied by an attorney or the court and the only options are to:

  •  return the child to the home; or

  •  place the child with a PCSP caregiver who is barred under policy or who has been evaluated and denied placement.

3211.6 New Children Placed into an Existing PCSP

CPS July 2016

Before a new child is placed into an existing PCSP where children from the same case are already placed, the caseworker must:

  •  evaluate the potential caregiver and household to determine whether the child will be safe in the PCSP;

  •  complete the PCSP Addendum in IMPACT; and

  •  provide the parent and caregiver with a paper or electronic version of the completed and signed PCSP Assessment and Agreement Addendum.

Before placing a new child into an existing PCSP where children from a different case are already placed, the caseworker must:

  •  contact the supervisor on the other case and obtain any relevant information regarding the PCSP; and

  •  follow the steps in 3213 Program Director Documentation in Approving PCSPs.

3212 Notifying Parent or Guardian of PCSP Approval or Denial

CPS July 2016

The caseworker must notify the parent or guardian whether the PCSP has been approved or denied, but must not disclose any criminal or DFPS history of the PCSP household members.

Texas Family Code §264.903(c)

3213 Program Director Documentation in Approving PCSPs

CPS July 2016

The program director (PD) who makes the initial decision to approve or deny a PCSP must document his or her decision within 24 hours.

Within five days of a child’s placement in a PCSP, the PD for the primary caseworker who will be investigating or providing services must:

  •  review all the case history and all documentation or information relating to the PCSP;

  •  complete the 5-day PCSP Assessment Tool;

  •  submit the 5-day PCSP Assessment Tool to the program administrator within two working days of completion;

  •  place a copy of the completed 5-day PCSP Assessment Tool in the case file; and

  •  document that the tool has been completed and a copy placed in the case file.

If any member of the PCSP household has criminal or abuse or neglect history that must be evaluated, both the 24-hour and 5-day documentation must include:

  •  the nature of abuse or neglect or criminal history;

  •  the reasons for the decision, including a description of:

  •  specific sources of information used to make the determination that the problem that led to the criminal offense is no longer a problem;

  •  how circumstances have or have not changed since the last incident, or an explanation about how the abuse, neglect, or criminal history is or is not related to current child safety.

See the PCSP Resource Guide.

3214 Required Contacts

3214.1 Required Contact with Child and PCSP Caregiver

CPS July 2016

While the child is in a Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP), the caseworker must make face-to-face contact with the child and the PCSP caregiver, at the PCSP residence, within 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 remains safe and whether the plans to meet the child’s needs are still appropriate. For the placement to continue, the caseworker must confirm that the caregiver is willing and able to continue the placement. CPS must ensure the child does not remain in the PCSP household if the PCSP caregiver is no longer willing or able to safely care for the child.

At each contact, the caseworker must determine whether there are changes to the residents of the PCSP household. The caseworker must run CPS background checks on any new PCSP residents and criminal background checks for those age 14 and older.

The caseworker must document any changes to a parent’s access to the child, the plan to safely meet the child’s needs, or the PCSP expected end date in a revised Form 2604 Safety Plan as set forth in this section.

3214.2 Required Parent Contact

CPS July 2016

The caseworker must contact all parents who agreed to the PCSP every 10 calendar days. At each contact, the caseworker must assess whether the child can safely return to the physical custody of a parent.

3215 Reevaluating the PCSP

CPS July 2016

Whenever a supervisor or program director reviews or staffs a case with a child in a PCSP, the supervisor or program director must determine whether the child can safely return to a parent. If the child cannot safely return to a parent, the supervisor or program director must determine whether:

  •  conditions have changed in the PCSP home, and if so, what steps are being taken to ensure child safety;

  •  the caregiver is seeking or is willing to seek legal custody; and

  •  the caseworker has sought legal intervention and the current status of the request for legal intervention. If legal intervention has not been sought, the supervisor or program director must determine whether the dangers necessitating the PCSP will likely be resolved within 60 days of the child’s initial placement in a PCSP.

If a caregiver is willing to seek legal custody, the caseworker must provide information and direct them to the appropriate resources.

At a minimum, there must be a review and staffing with the attorney representing DFPS on whether to seek legal intervention within 60 days after the child’s initial placement in a PCSP. The caseworker must document the results of this review and staffing.

See the PCSP Resource Guide for information about legal resources that may be available for caregivers.

3216 Extending a PCSP Past 60 Days

CPS July 2016

If the PCSP continues past 60 days, the caseworker must request and get approval from his or her program director to continue the placement. The program director must document the approval in IMPACT along with the reason for approval.

3217 Ending a PCSP

CPS July 2016

The caseworker must end a PCSP when:

  •  the child can safely return to a parent;

  •  the child is living with an individual who is entitled to legal custody;

  •  the child moves to another PCSP household;

  •  DFPS is granted legal custody of the child; or

  •  the case is closed with the child in the PCSP.

Texas Family Code §§264.904; 264.905

3218 Closing a Case or Stage When the Child Remains in a PCSP with a Caregiver Who Does Not Have Legal Custody

CPS July 2016

Before closing a case with the child remaining in the home of the PCSP caregiver who does not have legal custody, the caseworker must document that:

  •  the child can safely live with a parent but the parent has chosen to have the child live with the PCSP caregiver; or

  •  the child cannot safely live with a parent and:

  •  no parent is cooperating with DFPS, continuing to work services, or complying with the Family Plan and/or Safety Plan;

  •  the current PCSP caregiver is unable or unwilling to seek legal custody; and

  •  an attorney representing DFPS has determined that no legal intervention is available or sought legal intervention that was denied. If the attorney for DFPS is external and legal intervention has been denied, the caseworker must also staff with a DFPS regional attorney, before closure, to ensure no further action or information is required.

If the child cannot safely live with a parent, the caseworker must:

  •  complete and sign the Voluntary Caregiver’s Case Closure (see Appendix 2 of the PCSP Resource Guide) and get signatures from the caregiver, a supervisor, and, if possible, the parents. The caseworker must give a signed paper or electronic copy of the Voluntary Caregiver’s Case Closure (see Appendix 2 of the PCSP Resource Guide) to the caregiver and parent; and

  •  get program director approval after he or she has reviewed the case and determined that case closure is appropriate and all requirements have been completed. The program director must document his or her approval in a contact narrative.

3220 Removing a Child

3221 Initiating a Removal

CPS March 2016

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 Form 2279 Placement Summary. 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 of Children 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 September 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;

  •  the child’s alleged father, if DFPS has a reasonable basis to believe the alleged father is the child’s 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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