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4000 Placing Children in DFPS Conservatorship

CPS December 2016

For placement definitions and types, see the Placement Process Resource GuidePlacement Types and Definitions.

4100 The Placement Process

CPS December 2016

Placement Overview

For an overview of the placement process, see the Placement Process Resource GuideThe Placement Process.

DFPS caseworkers must work to minimize placement moves and find a placement that is the most appropriate for the child or youth.

4110 Actions Required Before a Making a Placement

4111 Identify the Need for Initial or Subsequent Placement

CPS December 2016

DFPS must initiate the child placement process, for an initial or subsequent placement, when:

  •  DFPS initially removes a child or youth from his or her home;

  •  DFPS receives a discharge notice from a caregiver;

  •  DFPS determines the child needs to be moved from the placement due to safety issues or because it is in the child’s best interest;

  •  the kinship caregiver requests a placement change; or

  •  the court orders a placement change.

When the decision is made to move a child, the caseworker must prepare the child, the caregivers, and the parents (if applicable) for the move.

4111.1 Seek Regional Placement Team Assistance If Needed

CPS December 2016

If a contracted residential provider wants a child or youth removed from its facility, the provider must notify the child’s caseworker as well as the state office discharge mailbox.

The caseworker must immediately contact the regional placement team (RPT) upon receiving a discharge notification from a contracted residential provider or a notice from a non-contracted caregiver that a child should be moved from the caregiver’s home. The caseworker and RPT must follow the policies and steps in 4211 Seeking Placement Through the Regional Placement Team.

If the child is moving to a kinship caregiver’s home, the caseworker does not need to notify the RPT.

Contracted caregivers must adhere to the following discharge timelines as outlined in the Residential Child Care Contract:

30 day discharge notice (non-emergency):

It is no longer in the child’s best interest to remain at the contractor’s facility or the contractor cannot meet the needs of the child.

14 day discharge notice (non-emergency):

A psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, physician, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed professional counselor has provided documentation showing that the child consistently exhibits behavior that cannot be managed within licensed programmatic services.

10 day discharge notice (GRO is providing emergency care services):

It is no longer in the child’s best interest to remain at the contractor’s facility or the contractor cannot meet the needs of the child.

24 hour discharge notice (emergency):

The child:

  •  poses a danger to self or others and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital; or

  •  is placed in a jail or juvenile detention facility and the contractor is not willing to accept return of the child upon release from jail or juvenile detention.

4112 Notify the Current Caregiver of the Planned Placement Change

CPS December 2016

At least 30 days before CPS plans to change the child’s or youth’s placement, the caseworker must notify the current caregiver or facility, in writing, that the placement will be changed.

The caseworker must document in IMPACT the justification for the delay when notice cannot be given within 30 days.

4113 Gather Information and Recommendations to Select a Placement

CPS December 2016

Before making a placement, the caseworker must gather and review as much current information as possible about the child, including:

  •  the child’s current permanency goal;

  •  medical, intellectual, and physical functioning;

  •  education information such as the name of the school and school district and the child’s academic needs and extracurricular preferences;

  •  information from assessments conducted on the child; and

  •  other important information in the case record, such as the most recent service plan and common application.

For general information on assessments, see the Placement Process Resource GuideAssessments in General. Unless there are unusual circumstances and specific, documented reasons related to the best interests of an individual child, using race, color, or national origin to select a placement violates federal law. See 4115 Prohibited Considerations Based on Race, Color, or National Origin.

4113.1 Review the Permanency Goal

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must review the child’s current permanency goals (primary and concurrent) and update them if appropriate. The caseworker should select a placement that supports the child’s permanency goals and will help the child achieve them.

4113.2 Check IMPACT Records for Siblings

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must review and search IMPACT records, including closed cases, to identify and locate any of the child’s siblings. The caseworker must document efforts to place siblings together.

4113.3 Consult the Parents

CPS December 2016

At the time of the removal, the caseworker must consult the parents and attempt to gather as much information about the child as possible (for example, feeding habits, sleeping preferences, comfort items, and so forth).

If parental rights are intact or if the parents are involved in case planning, the caseworker must ask the parents for input on the child’s needs and the parents’ preferences for placement.

4113.4 Consult the Child or Youth

CPS December 2016

Before any move, the caseworker must talk to the child or youth to determine his or her thoughts and recommendations about the best placement. The discussion must take place in a developmentally appropriate manner. The caseworker must ensure that the child or youth understands he or she is simply making recommendations and there is no guarantee that the caseworker can fulfill the requests. The discussion must include:

  •  the child’s or youth’s preferences for the placement, including:

  •  desire to remain in current school,

  •  household composition,

  •  rural or urban setting,

  •  number of other children in the home,

  •  animals, and

  •  access to extracurricular activities; and

  •  what the child or youth liked and disliked about previous placements, if applicable.

The caseworker must also consider information gathered about the child or youth throughout the life of the case.

4113.5 Consult the Child’s Attorney Ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, and CASA Representative

CPS December 2016

Before any non-emergency placement change, the caseworker must contact the following people and ask for their recommendations on the subsequent placement:

  •  the attorney ad litem (AAL);

  •  the guardian ad litem (GAL); and

  •  the court appointed special advocate (CASA).

If an emergency placement change does not allow time for the required consultations, the caseworker must notify the AAL, GAL, and CASA as soon as possible, but no more than three working days after the change.

Texas Family Code §264.107

An emergency placement is a situation in which CPS receives notice of the need for a placement change that requires immediate action (24 hours or less notice).

See the Placement Consultation Protocol page on the permanency page in the CPS section of the DFPS Safety Net.

4113.6 Review Additional Information About the Child’s Needs

CPS December 2016

In addition to reviewing information obtained from the child and child’s family at the time of removal, the caseworker must review information from any other principals or collaterals along with any pertinent case file material.

For subsequent placements, the caseworker must also be able summarize what is known about the child from the child’s current or previous caregivers and from what has been obtained from the child’s case record. The caseworker uses this information in determining the child’s needs.

4113.7 Review Information from the Child’s Current Caregiver
4113.71 Caregiver-Initiated Placement Move

CPS December 2016

If a contracted provider initiates a placement change, the provider must complete Form 2109 Residential Child Care Discharge Notice. Within this form, the provider must present:

  •  an explanation of why the discharge is being requested;

  •  the provider’s efforts to prevent placement disruption; and

  •  the provider’s recommendations for the child’s future placement, which may include information about the child’s triggers, type of placement required, level of supervision, or special services.

Contractually, the provider must submit this form before the placement change except in an emergency situation. If the placement change is an emergency one, the provider must submit the notice within 48 hours after the notice of emergency discharge.

The contractor must send the notice to the state office discharge mailbox, the child’s primary caseworker, and the caseworker’s chain of command. If the contractor does not send the notice to the caseworker, the staff operating the discharge mailbox must forward the form to the child’s primary caseworker upon receipt from the contractor.

The caseworker must then forward a copy to the child’s CASA, attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, and Local Permanency specialist.

See 4111 Identify the Need for Initial or Subsequent Placement.

While Form 2109 Residential Child Care Discharge Notice is not required for non-contracted providers, the caseworker must still discuss the topics in the form with a child’s current caregiver. The caseworker must document this discussion in IMPACT.

4113.72 DFPS-Initiated Placement Move

CPS December 2016

If DFPS initiates a placement change, the caseworker must attempt to gather as much information as possible about the child, including:

  •  any behaviors noted and successful or unsuccessful techniques for managing those behaviors;

  •  routines and preferences; and

  •  recommendations regarding future placements.

4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement

CPS December 2016

When making a placement decision, the caseworker must consider the following:

  •  Placement with a noncustodial parent if there are no concerns of abuse or neglect

  •  Placement with siblings

  •  Placement with relatives and other connections

  •  The child’s education needs, including the need to maintain education stability

  •  Placement in the least restrictive setting

  •  Proximity of placement to the child’s home

  •  Child’s individual needs and preferences

  •  Biological parents’ recommendations

  •  Substitute caregiver’s circumstances

For additional guidelines, refer to the Placement Process Resource Guide - Issues to Consider in Placement Decisions.

The safety of the child is the paramount consideration in any placement selection.

4114.1 Preference for Relatives and Other Connections

CPS December 2016

Federal law and guidance, state law, and best practice call for DFPS and courts hearing DFPS cases to prioritize placements with relatives and other individuals with whom a child is connected.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(19)

Texas Family Code §§262.114, 263.306, 263.404, 263.5031

4114.11 Placement With Noncustodial Parents

CPS December 2016

For definitions of parent and noncustodial parent, see the Placement Process Resource GuidePlacement with Noncustodial Parents: Definitions.

Noncustodial parents are generally entitled to have a child placed with them, since they have constitutional protections involving the parent’s relationship with the child. The caseworker must:

  •  contact each noncustodial parent to discuss possible placement; and

  •  assess the safety and appropriateness of placement by conducting CPS and criminal background checks and making a home visit.

A formal or contracted home assessment is not necessary and should not be used to make this determination.

Considering a Noncustodial Parent

When a child’s removal from the home is necessary, DFPS must make every effort to identify and locate a noncustodial parent willing and suitable to care for the child.

See the Placement Process Resource GuideConsidering a Noncustodial Parent.

Assessing the Noncustodial Parent

A noncustodial parent whose rights are not terminated generally has primary entitlement to placement of the child, unless the court determines otherwise. However, CPS must still assess the placement to be certain it is safe for the child before making a recommendation to the court in the child’s case.

A home study is not necessary to determine if a child can be placed with a noncustodial parent. Before recommending that a child be placed with the noncustodial parent, at a minimum the caseworker must perform the following tasks to assess a parent’s suitability:

  •  Conduct an IMPACT search for previous abuse or neglect history.

  •  Conduct a name-based DPS criminal history check.

  •  Inquire whether there is an existing custody order that requires visitation to be monitored.

  •  Interview any other children in the home.

  •  Review the physical safety of the home.

The caseworker must also consider:

  •  the age, wishes, and needs of the child;

  •  any special therapeutic, medical, or other needs the child has;

  •  the nature of the abuse or neglect in the other parent’s home;

  •  the extent to which the noncustodial parent was or should have been aware of the child’s circumstances in the home the child was removed from;

  •  the degree of the noncustodial parent’s existing relationship or history with the child; and

  •  the ability of the two parents to cooperate with respect to parenting and reunification.

Placing With the Noncustodial Parent

If the child is placed with the noncustodial parent, the caseworker addresses follow-up service plan issues with the noncustodial parent in the existing service plan or in a new family service plan in the open family stage.

Supervising Noncustodial Parent Placement Out of Region or State

For instructions on obtaining supervision in an out-of-state or out-of-region noncustodial parent placement, see 4153 Placements Outside the Region or State.

4114.12 Placement With Relatives and Fictive Kin

CPS December 2016

Caseworkers must give priority to a relative or fictive kin who is providing a parental child safety placement if:

  •  the child comes into conservatorship;

  •  a noncustodial parent is unavailable; and

  •  the placement is safe and available.

If there is an approved Parental Child Safety Placement assessment in IMPACT, then a preliminary home assessment is not necessary and the caseworker must request a new home assessment within 48 hours of the child’s removal.

Texas Family Code, §264.906

For financial support for relative and fictive kin placements, see:

Texas Family Code Chapter 264: Subchapter I. Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Placement Program

Texas Family Code Chapter 264: Subchapter K. Permanency Care Assistance Program

4114.13 Placement With Former Foster Parents

CPS December 2016

If a child re-enters conservatorship, the caseworker must give consideration for placement to the child’s previous caregiver, if:

  •  a relative or fictive kin placement cannot be made; and

  •  it is in the child’s best interest.

Texas Family Code §262.114

Refer to the following topics in the Placement Process Resource Guide:

Placement With Former Foster Parents

Placement With Former Foster Parents Who Have Become Inactive

4114.14 Placement With Adoptive Parents of Siblings

CPS December 2016

Adoptive parents of siblings who have been adopted through DFPS or through a private adoption agency may or may not meet the definition of a relative or fictive kin. However, siblings of an adopted child are immediate relatives regardless of adoption status.

If the adoptive family became inactive while in good standing, the family must be considered for placement and given preference as a relative placement regardless of verified status (in other words, active or inactive), even if the adoptive parents are not relatives or fictive kin of the sibling.

Siblings include half-siblings.

4114.15 Continuing Obligation to Make Kinship Placements

CPS December 2016

Until a placement that is identified as intended to be permanent and will result in the child or youth achieving positive permanency is secured, the caseworker must seek all possible kinship placement options for children in DFPS conservatorship.

4114.2 Separating Siblings

CPS December 2016

Under federal law, DFPS must make reasonable efforts to place siblings together unless DFPS documents that such a placement is contrary to the safety or well-being of one of the siblings.

DFPS must also provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction unless it would be contrary to the safety or well-being of one of the siblings.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(31)

See the Placement Process Resource GuideSeparating Siblings.

4114.21 Separating Siblings in Paid Foster Care

CPS December 2016

If siblings cannot be placed together because of placement availability, a program director must give approval for sibling separation. The decision to separate siblings is a CPS program decision and cannot be made by a placement.

Before approving sibling separation, the program director must review efforts made to locate placements that would have accommodated the sibling group to ensure efforts were exhaustive and sufficient. The program director must also ensure there is a plan for sibling contact before approving the sibling separation.

When siblings are not placed together:

  •  the regional placement team must continue searching for a placement for all siblings until one is located or until the conservatorship program determines that efforts are no longer necessary because it is not in the children’s best interest;

  •  staff must revisit the decision to place siblings together at every permanency conference and prior to each court hearing;

  •  staff must maintain regular and frequent sibling contact, including:

  •  face-to-face visits between the siblings in addition to visits with the parent;

  •  telephone communication; and

  •  email or other electronic of communication such as Skype, Face Time, and so forth; and

  •  the Child’s Plan of Service must reflect efforts made to reunite siblings and plan for regular contact.

The Appropriateness of Placement section of the Placement Detail page in IMPACT must address the separation and the plan for ongoing contact between the siblings.

Staff must document in IMPACT the decision to separate siblings and decisions about ongoing efforts to find placements that might reunite siblings.

4114.22 Separating Siblings for Safety Purposes

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must address and document, in IMPACT as a staffing and in the Child’s Plan of Service for each child, the approval for the separation of siblings. If separation is based on concerns for the child’s safety, the caseworker must:

  •  identify the threat to the child’s safety; and

  •  describe how one of the siblings is vulnerable to the threat and why the placement cannot control the safety threat.

The Child’s Plan of Service must also discuss the strategies being used to address the safety threats so the children can be reunited.

The program director must approve separation of siblings.

4114.23 Siblings in Extended Foster Care

CPS December 2016

For youth who have aged out of care but have chosen to participate in Extended Foster Care or to return to care, the caseworker must consider placements that allow siblings to remain together whenever possible.

Whether the emancipated youth remains in DFPS placement or lives independently, the caseworker must ensure regular and frequent contact between siblings.

4114.3 Ensuring Educational Stability

CPS December 2016

Federal law requires DFPS to have a plan to ensure educational stability for a child in substitute care. In any placement, DFPS must consider whether the child’s educational setting is appropriate and how close the placement is to the school the child is enrolled in at the time of the placement or placement change. DFPS must coordinate with local schools and school districts to ensure that the child remains in the same school the child was attending at the time of the initial placement or any subsequent placement change, unless it is not in the child’s best interests to remain in that school.

42 U.S.C. §675

For more information about education services for children in substitute care, see 15000 Education for Children.

See the Placement Process Resource GuideEnsuring Educational Stability.

4114.31 Placement Considerations

CPS December 2016

Any placement into foster care (initial or subsequent) must take into account how the proposed placement will affect the child’s educational stability. CPS staff must try to keep a child in his or her school of origin upon coming into care and try to avoid educational moves once the child has come into care.

A child enrolled in primary or secondary public school and placed outside the school attendance zone or outside the school district can continue to attend the school the child was enrolled in at the time of the original placement, or any subsequent placements, unless it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the same school. The student may attend the school without payment of tuition until he or she completes the highest grade the school offered at the time of the student’s enrollment. The student can continue to attend the school even if the student leaves DFPS conservatorship.

Texas Education Code §25.001(g) and (g-1)

The caseworker must always inquire about the possibility of keeping a child in the school of origin even if the new placement is in a different school district, unless it is not in the best interests of the child to remain in the same school.

The caseworker must seek the assistance of the regional education specialist or the school district liaison for issues with enrollment and transfer of children in foster care.

4114.32 When Placement in a New School is Necessary

CPS December 2016

If remaining in the child’s current school is not in the best interest of the child, the child must be enrolled immediately but no later than two days in an appropriate school in the same school district, if possible, or in the school most able to meet the child’s needs.

Schools are required to enroll a child in DFPS conservatorship even if the required documentation is not initially provided; however, the caseworker or educational decision maker must ensure that the required enrollment documents and records from the previous school are provided to the new school as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from enrollment.

Texas Education Code §25.002(g)

NOTE: While law requires that CPS ensure the child’s records are provided to the new school within 30 days of enrollment, the law requires the school to ensure the child’s school records are transferred to the new school within 10 working days after enrollment.

Texas Education Code §25.007(b)(1)

The caseworker must document in the child’s record why it is not in the child’s best interest to continue in his or her current school. CPS must try to maintain stability in educational services and extracurricular activities to the greatest extent possible.

4114.4 Preference for the Least Restrictive Setting

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must place the child in the least restrictive, most family-like setting available, consistent with the child’s best interest and special needs.

Social Security Act, Title IV-E, §475(5)(A)

Level of Restrictiveness

Type of DFPS Placement

Least restrictive

Relative home, including the home of a noncustodial parent

Moderately restrictive

Foster family home, adoptive home, or cottage-style general residential operation (GRO)

Most restrictive

Child care institution, including any other GRO, such as emergency shelters or RTCs and facilities regulated by other state agencies

The child’s caseworker must document the reasons the placement was chosen in the Placement Detail page in IMPACT under least restrictive setting. If a relative, foster family home, or cottage-style GRO is not chosen, the caseworker must explain why a less restrictive setting was not appropriate for the individual child. DFPS’s rules allow placement into a setting other than a relative, foster family, adoptive home, or cottage-style GRO when:

  •   the child needs treatment services or additional programmatic services, other than child care services, that are not available or cannot be provided to the child in a foster home or cottage-style GRO;

  •   the child is placed with a sibling or a parent who needs treatment services or additional programmatic services, and placement of the child with the sibling or parent in a foster group home or general residential operation is deemed to be in the child’s best interest;

  •   the child is temporarily placed in a foster group home or general residential operation because it is close to the child’s home or school of origin, and such placement is deemed to be in the child’s best interest;

  •   there is no foster home or cottage-style GRO immediately available for the child to be placed in; or

  •   the court orders the placement.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1311(a)

4114.5 Placing the Child Close to the Child’s Home

CPS December 2016

When the child’s permanency goal is reunification, the caseworker must generally place the child in close proximity to the parent’s home.

Social Security Act, Title IV-E, §475(5)(A)

45 C.F.R. §1356.21(g)

To meet this requirement, the placement must be within the same county (or within 50 miles of the parent’s home if the home is near the county boundary line) unless an exception is justified. For a list of exceptions, see the Placement Process Resource Guide - Placing the Child Close to the Child’s Home.

The caseworker must document such exceptions in the narrative under Issues in the Placement Detail page in IMPACT.

If a child cannot be placed in the same county or within a 50-mile radius of the parent’s home if the home is near the county boundary line, the child must be placed within the region, unless an appropriate exception exists.

4114.6 Substitute Caregiver’s Circumstances

CPS December 2016

When making a placement decision, the caseworker must consider the substitute caregiver’s:

  •  capabilities and needs to promote the child’s:

  •  permanency goal, and

  •  normalcy;

  •  ability to meet the child’s immediate and long-term needs, including:

  •  any special needs identified in the child’s service plan, if developed (see 6241.1 Basic Description of the Child’s Service Plan), and

  •  heightened vulnerability and special needs because the child has primary medical needs (see 4117 Specific Placement Considerations for Children Who Have Primary Medical Needs); and

  •  willingness to support the child’s connections, including visitation with:

  •  siblings;

  •  parents;

  •  friends; and

  •  other family members.

4115 Prohibited Considerations Based on Race, Color, or National Origin

CPS December 2016

Federal law prohibits the use of race, color, or national origin (RCNO) as a factor in selecting a placement, with extremely limited exceptions. The RCNO of a child or of a potential foster or adoptive family should not be a factor in selecting a placement except in rare situations when staff can document compelling individualized circumstances that make this necessary. Texas law mandates compliance with this federal law. If a biological parent requests selection of a child’s placement based on RCNO, CPS staff must explain that this is prohibited by federal law.

42 U.S.C. §1996b, the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996

Texas Family Code §262.114 Evaluation of Identified Relatives and other Designated Individuals; Placement

To avoid violating these laws, staff must read and follow the detailed directions in Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color and Nation Origin in Placement Decisions. In those rare circumstances when RCNO is considered as a factor, the placement decision must be made in a four-way collaboration (between the caseworker, supervisor, FAD worker or case manager, and supervisor), and a program director must approve the final decision.

For further guidance on this complex issue, staff may consult the regional attorney.

4116 Additional Requirements Based on Specific Placement Type

CPS December 2016

Depending on the type of placement selected, the caseworker must follow the specific requirements and procedures in the corresponding handbook sections listed in the table below.

Type of Placement

Policy

Noncustodial parents

4114.11 Placement With Noncustodial Parents

Placements in foster homes and residential facilities

4200 Foster and Licensed Facility Placements

Placements regulated and administered by other state agencies

4200 Foster and Licensed Facility Placements

Placements for youth and young adults

4300 Independent Living Arrangements

10460 Supervised Independent Living (SIL) (for 18 to 21 year olds)

For general information about Extended Foster Care, in which SIL settings are one placement type, see 10400 Extending Foster Care for Youth Who Are Age 18 or Older.

Placements of a Texas child in another state or a child from another state being placed in Texas

9000 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)

Placements that are not in the child’s county, unit, or region

4153 Placements Outside the Region or State

4117 Specific Placement Considerations for Children Who Have Primary Medical Needs

CPS December 2016

For the definition of primary medical needs, see the Placement Process Resource Guide - Specific Placement Considerations for Children Who Have Primary Medical Needs.

4117.1 Placement Considerations for Primary Medical Needs Children

CPS December 2016

In addition to the other factors detailed in 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement and its sub-items, the caseworker must consider the following factors when choosing a placement for children with primary medical needs (PMN):

  •  Whether the home is contracted and verified to provide primary medical needs services

  •  The individual capabilities of the foster family that meet the specific needs of the particular child to be placed

  •  The number of children in the home and how many of those children are also receiving primary medical needs services

  •  Whether the caregiver treats the child like a patient or a family member and includes children in daily activities and family activities (for example, daily meals, family outings, and recreational activities)

  •  Whether the foster parent will be the caretaker of the child during day time hours and night time hours

  •  Whether the foster parent acts as the caretaker for the children currently placed in the foster home

4117.2 Required Meetings

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must request a PMN staffing for all initial or subsequent placements involving a child or youth with PMN. The caseworker contacts the regional well-being specialist to request the PMN staffing.

The purpose of the PMN staffing is to develop a plan to address the medical services, equipment, and other needs during a placement transition.

1.   A PMN staffing must occur after the placement has been identified but before any placement moves, unless an emergency situation occurs after hours. PMN staffings must occur for:

  •  moves to or from a licensed or unlicensed placement, and moves out of state;

  •  a child or youth with PMN going into respite care;

  •  new removals;

  •  placement with a kinship or relative caregiver;

  •  reunification with parents;

  •  discharges from a hospital; and

  •  children without placement.

2.   The child’s primary caseworker must notify the well-being specialist to request a PMN staffing for the child:

  •  within 24 hours of the initial removal of a child with PMN;

  •  within 24 hours of a request for a new placement to the Child Placement Unit or a residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC), for a planned or unplanned move;

  •  within 24 hours of the decision to make a planned reunification or relative or kinship placement; and

  •  within 24 hours of the decision to make an out-of-state placement.

3.   An emergency placement must still be staffed after placement to ensure all equipment and services transition with the child.

The well-being specialist will set up a conference call and facilitate the staffing. The well-being specialist must invite the:

  •  child’s CPS caseworker;

  •  caseworker’s supervisor;

  •  program director;

  •  Local Permanency specialist, if applicable;

  •  RTPC and/or CPU staff;

  •  regional nurse consultant;

  •  developmental disability specialist, if applicable;

  •  education specialist;

  •  medical, hospital, or nursing staff;

  •  STAR Health staff;

  •  CASA or guardian;

  •  attorney ad-litem;

  •  current CPA and caregiver, when appropriate;

  •  new or proposed CPA and caregiver; and

  •  other key parties involved in the child’s case.

If the new caregiver needs to participate in any training to care for the child, the caseworker must follow up with the doctor or doctor’s office to ensure the training occurred and to discuss any concerns the doctor may have.

If the doctor or the doctor’s staff indicates any concerns about the caregiver’s ability to care for the child, the caseworker must not proceed with the placement until staffing the case with the program director for approval.

See:

4113.5 Consult the Child’s Attorney Ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, and CASA Representative.

4125 Actions Required to Support Placement of Children With Primary Medical Needs.

Primary Medical Needs (PMN) Resource Guide

4118 Additional Actions for Placing Children with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must take additional steps before placing a child with an intellectual or developmental disability or a related condition in any of the following types of facilities:

  •  General residential operation (GRO) that serves primarily children with an intellectual or developmental disability

  •  Home and Community-based Services (HCS) group home

  •  Intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or related conditions, including state supported living centers

  •  Nursing facility

The associate commissioner of CPS or his or her designee must approve placement of a child in any of the above facilities.

Texas Government Code §531.159

More information on each of these facility types, including child eligibility and specific admission criteria, is available in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Process Resource Guide.

The policies described under the following subheadings do not apply to:

  •  placements in a general residential operation, such as a residential treatment center, that does not specialize in serving children with intellectual or developmental disabilities; and

  •  placements for youth 18 years of age or older.

4118.1 Assessing the Need for Facility Placement

CPS December 2016

Children with disabilities must be placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting that meets their needs. The preferred and least restrictive placement for most children with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) is a family (birth, relative, foster, or adoptive) home.

Staff should consider a specialized placement in a facility only after all possible family-like living environments have been ruled out and when both the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) and residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) have exhausted all other options. The CPU or RTPC must provide a list of all placement attempts to the child’s primary caseworker.

If the placement search is unable to locate a family setting for a child with an IDD, the caseworker must contact the regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) to discuss a specialized placement in a facility. The caseworker must complete the Checklist for Children with Disabilities and take all actions required on the checklist to ensure that the placement is the least restrictive environment and that the child’s needs will be met.

If facility placement is necessary, the regional DDS must attempt to find a DFPS-licensed GRO that serves children with IDD. If an appropriate DFPS-licensed facility is not available, the regional DDS must determine if a child may be appropriate for an HCS home or intermediate care facility operated by DADS. Placement in a state supported living center should only be made if no other placement can be found.

Placement in a nursing facility should not be considered unless the child’s need for specialized, ongoing nursing services prevents the child from being placed in any other setting.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1315

While the regional DDS is searching for and facilitating placement in a facility, CPU and RTPC must use all available resources to find a less restrictive placement.

Regardless of where a child with intellectual disabilities or related conditions is placed, DFPS must immediately seek to place the child on all Medicaid Waiver lists for which the child is eligible.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1313(c)

4118.2 Home and Community-Based Services (HCS)

CPS September 2017

Staff can request Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) slots for youth aging out of care or for children who reside in a General Residential Operation (GRO) for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Individuals gain access to the HCS waiver program through the HCS interest list or by being a member of one of the several targeted groups identified by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Children and youth in DFPS conservatorship are one of the identified targeted groups.

The caseworker must contact the regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) for guidance on determining the child’s eligibility and appropriateness for an HCS waiver.

See the HCS Resource Guide for information on HCS eligibility.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI covers the room and board for the HCS placement. Once the caseworker, supervisor, and developmental disability specialist agree to place the child with an HCS provider, the regional DDS must immediately contact the SSI coordinator, and copy the caseworker, to determine if the youth has active SSI benefits. See 10341.2 Ensuring Funding and Eligibility for Services.

Accepting or Declining an HCS Waiver Slot

The regional DDS then requests an HCS waiver slot through the state office DDS.

Once an HCS slot is released to a child, the Local Authority sends a Verification of Freedom of Choice form to the DDS and caseworker. Staff uses this form to accept or decline the waiver slot and grant permission to begin the enrollment process.

The caseworker must contact the regional developmental disability specialist within two business days, before making the decision to accept or decline the slot. The caseworker MAY NOT decline an HCS slot without first consulting the regional developmental disability specialist. Once the caseworker decides to accept or decline the HCS slot, the regional developmental disability specialist must notify the state office developmental disability specialist of the caseworker’s decision within two business days.

Conservatorship (CVS) staff or the regional developmental disability specialist must sign and return the Verification of Freedom of Choice form to the Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority, indicating if the slot was accepted or declined.

Selecting an HCS Provider

The caseworker must consult with the regional developmental disability specialist for guidance in selecting an HCS provider.

See the HCS Resource Guide for more information.

Before considering a pre-placement or placement in HCS, CPS staff must:

  •   conduct appropriate background checks;

  •   conduct an inspection of the HCS home; and

  •   schedule a pre-placement visit.

Background Checks

Before having a pre-placement visit or making placement in an HCS home the caseworker must conduct the following background checks on all staff working in the home and any individual in the home over the age of 14 (this includes other HCS residents in the home):

  •   DFPS History

  •   DPS Name-Based Criminal History Check

The HCS program administrator and/or home staff can facilitate obtaining this information.

If the HCS agency fails to provide the information necessary to conduct background checks, DFPS must not allow placement.

The caseworker must staff with regional leadership if there are concerns with results of background checks. The regional developmental disability specialist must be included, to facilitate conversation with the HCS agency about staffing issues.

Home Inspections

Before pre-placement, a developmental disability specialist must conduct a home inspection of an HCS home being considered. The developmental disability specialist must provide his or her findings and recommendations to the region for consideration.

Pre-Placement Visit

Once the caseworker has selected and vetted the HCS provider, the regional developmental disability specialist or caseworker must schedule a pre-placement visit for the child. This pre-placement visit allows both the youth and the agency to become familiar with each other. Pre-placement visits generally last anywhere from one to six days.

Transferring the Child to a New HCS Provider

If it becomes necessary to move the child to a new HCS provider agency, the caseworker must contact the regional developmental disability specialist to assist in setting up a transfer meeting with the Local Authority and new provider agency.

Health and Human Services (HHS) requires an individual’s transfer to be planned in order for the receiving provider to be knowledgeable about the individual’s needs and to be prepared to deliver necessary services. Therefore, the transfer effective date must be a future date to allow for adequate planning. DFPS may make an exception for an emergency transfer.

4118.3 Obtaining CPS Associate Commissioner Approval to Place a Child in a Facility

CPS December 2016

Once CPS finds a facility that will take the child, the regional DDS and the caseworker must submit a state office memo, approved by the regional program administrator, to the CPS associate commissioner requesting placement of the child in the facility. The state office DDS will seek written approval from the associate commissioner or designee and notify the region when the placement is approved. For information about emergency placement approvals, see Emergency Placement Approval Process below.

The caseworker must document in the child’s record that state office approved the placement.

For more information on the state office memo and approval process, consult the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide - CPS Associate Commissioner Approval Process.

4118.4 Emergency Placement Approval Process

CPS December 2016

If an emergency placement in a facility is needed, the region must call the state office DDS to discuss the situation and obtain a verbal approval from the director of placement.

Following this approval, a written request to the CPS associate commissioner or designee must be approved using the process described in Obtaining CPS Associate Commissioner Approval to Place a Child in a Facility above.

4118.5 Requirement to Continue Seeking Less Restrictive Setting

CPS December 2016

The conservatorship caseworker will re-evaluate the child’s placement every six months in consultation with the RTPC and regional DDS to determine if a more home-like setting is available and appropriate for the child.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1313(d), §700.1315(d)

The state office DDS must be notified when a child under the age of 18 is planning to move out of a facility and into an alternate placement.

See:

6237 Permanency Planning for Children with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities in Institutional Settings

Texas Government Code §531.159, Monitoring of Permanency Planning Efforts

4118.6 Additional Requirements for Specific Facilities

CPS December 2016

In addition to the steps above for placements in all facilities that serve primarily children with IDD, each type of institution may have its own enrollment process or requirements. Consult the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Process Resource Guide for specific information for each type of facility.

 

GRO for Children with IDD Placement

The regional DDS must:

  •  be named as the secondary worker;

  •  make face-to-face contact at least once a month with a youth in a GRO that serves primarily children with IDD; and

  •  document in IMPACT observations and discussions with the child and caregiver.

HCS Group Home Placement

The caseworker must re-evaluate the child’s placement in the four-bed HCS group home at the time the Child’s Plan of Service is developed to determine if placement in a three-person HCS home is available and appropriate for the child.

The caseworker or a Local Permanency specialist must:

  •  make face-to-face contact with a child placed in an HCS group home at least two times per month; and

  •  document in IMPACT observations and discussions with the child and caregiver.

ICF-IDD, ICF-RC, and SSLCs

The regional DDS and the caseworker must contact the SSI coordinator to verify SSI benefits for a youth before considering placement in an intermediate care facility (ICF). SSI benefits are not needed for placement in a state supported living center (SSLC). The regional DDS will coordinate with the ICF provider and the local authority to ensure an appropriate placement for a child in an ICF.

The regional DDS must:

  •  be named as the secondary worker;

  •  make face-to-face contact at least once a month with a youth in an ICF or SSLC; and

  •  document in IMPACT observations and discussions with the child and caregiver.

4119 Get Approvals Within the Required Time Frame

CPS December 2016

The caseworker’s supervisor must approve initial and subsequent placements in IMPACT.

An individual with child placement management staff qualifications must also approve placements into a foster or adoptive home.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.675

Authorized staff must approve a placement in advance unless it is an emergency.

Authorized staff must verbally approve an emergency placement before the placement is made. Staff must document the approval in IMPACT as soon as possible, but no later than seven days after the placement takes place.

4120 Actions Required After Selecting a Placement

4121 Prepare the Child and Caregivers for the Move

4121.1 Prepare the Child for the Move

CPS December 2016

In preparing the child for the move, the caseworker’s role is to minimize the child’s anxiety and make the transition as smooth as possible. For guidance, see the Placement Process Resource GuideBest Practice Tips to Support a Placement Move.

4121.2 Prepare the Current and New Caregivers for the Move

CPS December 2016

When a placement change is initiated, the caseworker must explain the reasons for the move to the current caregiver at the time the decision is made. The current caregiver should be as involved as possible in preparing the child for the move.

If safe and appropriate, the caseworker must provide the current caregiver with information about where the child will be moved, what the living situation will be, and other information that may help the current caregiver to ease the child’s anxiety about the impending move.

The child’s caseworker must:

  •  provide the new caregiver with information on Form 2279 Placement Summary;

  •  conduct a pre-placement visit; and

  •  encourage communication between the current and subsequent caregivers.

4121.3 Complete the Placement Summary Form

CPS December 2016

Before moving the child or youth from the current caregiver, the caseworker must review the completed Form 2279 Placement Summary. The purpose of this form is to enhance continuity of care for the child by documenting what the current caregiver knows about the child.

If the child is leaving a contracted placement, the caregiver must complete the form before the child’s discharge.

If the child is leaving a kinship caregiver home, the caseworker should ask the kinship caregiver to complete the form; however, if the kinship caregiver does not complete the form, then the caseworker must complete it.

The caseworker must:

  •  discuss the content of Form 2279 Placement Summary with the current caregiver and the child or youth;

  •  document the information discussed in the form; and

  •  get the signatures of the child or youth and the current caregiver.

4121.4 Update the Child’s Medical and Educational Information in IMPACT

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must update the child’s medical and educational information in IMPACT before making copies for the new caregiver. While other parts of the child’s case record may contain related information, the information the caseworker enters into IMPACT is unique in that it:

  •  presents the child’s history; and

  •  conveys the type of information any managing conservator or caregiver should know about a child who is the responsibility of DFPS.

On the Medical/Developmental History page, the caseworker must include milestones, history of illness, and other critical information pertinent to the child’s health and development.

On the Education page, the caseworker must list schools the child previously attended, the child’s current school, and any services the child is receiving in the school. If the child will be changing schools, the caseworker must ensure that IMPACT correctly reflects the date of the child’s withdrawal from the current school.

In the case of an emergency placement, the caseworker must:

  •  share the information verbally with the caregiver;

  •  update the information in IMPACT at the earliest opportunity but no later than 72 hours after the placement is made; and

  •  provide a copy of the revised information to the caregiver.

4122 Schedule and Conduct a Pre-Placement Visit

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must arrange for the child to visit the substitute caregiver’s home or facility at least once before placing the child. The pre-placement visit must occur before the placement and be scheduled at a time that minimizes disruption to the child.

Unless DFPS waives the requirement because of a prior relationship and the fact that the caregiver has cared for the child in the preceding 12 months, the pre-placement visit is required, regardless of whether the placement is a kinship or contracted placement.

Texas Family Code §264.7541(a)

4122.1 Establish a Meaningful Interval between the Pre-Placement Visit and the Placement

CPS December 2016

For a non-emergency placement, there must be a meaningful interval between the pre-placement visit and the placement. The interval must be at least sufficient to allow a child and foster parents to have privacy, an opportunity to discuss and consider placement, and to have their questions, opinions, and concerns addressed.

This meaningful interval is important to any placement because it:

  •  allows the child to determine if he or she feels that the placement is a good fit;

  •  gives the child time to process the change; and

  •  gives the caseworker an opportunity to discover and address any immediate concerns raised by the caregiver or the child after their first encounter.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.1251

4122.2 Before the Pre-Placement Visit

CPS December 2016

To prepare the child for the visit, the caseworker must tell the child about the placement, such as where it is located, what type of placement it is, who lives there, and any other information the child desires to feel less apprehensive about the move.

4122.3 During the Pre-Placement Visit

CPS December 2016

During the visit, the caseworker must help the child and caregiver get to know one another and encourage them to ask and answer questions.

The caseworker must accompany the child while the child views the home or facility and his or her bedroom.

Before the child is placed with the caregiver, the caseworker must ensure that the receiving caregiver has been trained by any appropriate professional providers on the:

  •  correct administration of any medication;

  •  proper use of any medical equipment; and

  •  special health care needs of the child.

4122.4 After the Pre-Placement Visit

CPS December 2016

When the visit is done, the caseworker must speak with each verbal child away from the substitute caregiver’s home or facility.

This conversation must include only the caseworker and the child, and no one else, so that the child can freely express his or her thoughts and feelings and discuss any problems that he or she might have with the placement.

The caseworker must do his or her best to address the child’s feelings and, whenever possible, resolve any problems with the placement. The caseworker must ask the child if he or she felt safe at the placement.

If the child reports that he or she does not feel safe at the placement, the caseworker must immediately contact the supervisor to discuss the next steps, including the decision to seek an alternative placement. At no time should a caseworker leave a child in a home where the child reports feeling unsafe.

See the Placement Process Resource GuideDiscussion Topics for a Child Whose Placement Is Changing.

4122.5 Resolving Issues

CPS December 2016

When it is not possible to immediately resolve problems with the placement, the caseworker must contact his or her supervisor to determine the appropriate course of action. The caseworker must also consider whether additional action is needed because of concerns with the placement.

See 4155 Safety and Related Concerns for Placements.

4123 Complete Authorization Forms Provided at Time of Placement

CPS December 2016

Whenever possible, the caseworker must complete in advance any paperwork that must be signed at the time of placement. The placement paperwork must be provided to the caregiver at the time of placement regardless of when it was completed.

4123.1 Complete the Placement Authorization Form

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must complete the appropriate placement authorization form based on the placement type, as shown in the following table.

Type of Placement

Placement Authorization Form

Kinship placement

Form 2085KO Placement Authorization – Kinship or Other Non-Foster Caregiver

Foster home (other than a kinship foster home) or general residential operation

Form 2085FC Placement Authorization – Foster Care/Residential Care

Home and Community-Based Services setting

Form 2085HCS Placement Authorization – Home and Community-Based Services (HCS)

Legal risk placement

Form 2085LR Placement Authorization – Legal Risk

Supervised Independent Living setting

Form 2085SIL Placement Authorization – Supervised Independent Living

The caseworker must complete as much of the form as possible and bring copies to the placement for signature.

If the child is being placed with a parent, the caseworker does not need to complete the placement paperwork; however, the placement must still be entered into the IMPACT system.

4123.2 Complete the Medical Consenter Form

CPS December 2016

Form 2085-B Designation of Medical Consenter is a required part of the placement packet. If the child will be placed in a staffed facility, the caseworker serves as the child’s medical consenter.

See 11111 Selecting Medical Consenter and Backup Medical Consenter.

If the caseworker will be the child’s consenter, the caseworker must complete the designation form and list himself or herself as the consenter.

If the caseworker will be designating the caregiver as the child’s medical consenter and the caseworker has the caregiver’s information before placement, the caseworker must complete the Designation of Medical Consenter form in IMPACT and generate the Medical Consenter Form(s) from IMPACT. If the proposed consenter is unknown, or the caseworker does not have access to IMPACT and a printer, the caseworker must bring copies of blank forms with as much of the child’s information as possible filled out in advance.

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must verify that the caregiver has completed the required medical consenter training. If the child is being placed with a kinship caregiver who has not completed the training, the caseworker must walk through the online or paper training with the kinship provider before designating the caregiver as the child’s medical consenter.

If the caseworker cannot verify completion of the training, or is otherwise unable to complete the required steps to designate a caregiver as a medical consenter, the caseworker must designate himself or herself as the consenter. The caseworker must remain the designee until the required actions are completed and the caregiver is designated as the child’s consenter.

If the child is being placed with a parent, the caseworker does not need to complete the medical consenter paperwork; however, the placement must still be entered into the IMPACT system.

4123.3 Complete the Education Decision-Maker Form

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must complete as many fields as possible in Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker, using information from IMPACT or other portions of the case record that reliably indicate the child’s identifying and other information.

The caseworker must make copies of the form completed to the extent possible and bring them to the placement for completion and signature.

If the child is being placed with a parent, the caseworker does need to complete the education decision maker paperwork.

4124 Provide Advance Notice to AAL, GAL, and CASA

CPS December 2016

If CPS is making a placement selection that either was not known or not finalized during the required placement consultation, CPS must provide written notice at least 48 hours in advance to the child’s attorney ad litem (AAL), guardian ad litem (GAL), and court appointed special advocate (CASA).

See 4113.5 Consult the Child’s Attorney Ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, and CASA Representative.

4125 Actions Required to Support Placement of Children with Primary Medical Needs

CPS December 2016

Once a placement has been selected for a child with primary medical needs (PMN), the child’s primary caseworker must request a PMN meeting through the regional well-being specialist. The purpose of the PMN meeting is to develop a plan to address the medical services, equipment, and other needs during transition for a child with PMN once placement for the child has been secured.

See 11400 Special Health Care Needs.

4130 Actions Required During a Placement Change

4131 Gather the Child’s Personal Belongings and Important Documents

CPS December 2016

Whether the child is being removed initially or discharged from a placement in preparation for admission into a new placement, the caseworker must gather important items from where the child is living at the time, including:

  •  Form 2279 Placement Summary and all accompanying documents such as school ID, Social Security card, birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, and so forth;

  •  the child’s education portfolio and information on the child’s academic progress and status;

  •  sentimental items, including comfort items such as favorite toys, blankets, pillows, books, photos of family and current caregiver, and lifebook;

  •  any personal items attained while in the placement, including gifts, toys, clothing, and so forth; and

  •  prescribed medications and medical devices, glasses or contacts, orthodontic devices, and over-the-counter medications needed immediately.

If the caseworker is unable to obtain required items at the time of the placement change, the caseworker must attempt to obtain them after the placement change.

The caseworker may accomplish this by returning to the placement. If the placement move was contentious, it may be necessary to work through another individual who may have greater success, such as a residential contract manager for a contracted placement, the kinship worker, a relative, or CASA.

If the caseworker was unable to secure the child’s medications, the caseworker must work with the receiving caregiver to contact STAR Health to request refills.

4131.1 Durable Medical Equipment

CPS December 2016

Durable medical equipment (DME) funded through Medicaid is considered the property of the child and must follow the child.

If a parent or caregiver will not send DME with the child, the caseworker must immediately consult with the attorney representing DFPS or the regional attorney.

For a child with primary medical needs, a placement meeting as well as a PMN meeting must already have occurred. See:

4117 Specific Placement Considerations for Children Who Have Primary Medical Needs (under Required Meetings)

4125 Actions Required to Support Placement of Children with Primary Medical Needs.

Acquiring Withheld Durable Medical Equipment

If the caseworker is unable to obtain required items at the time of the placement change, the caseworker must attempt to obtain them after the placement change.

The caseworker may accomplish this by returning to the placement. If the placement move was contentious, it may be necessary to work through another individual who may have greater success, such as a residential contract manager for a contracted placement, a relative, or CASA.

4132 Transport the Child to the Placement

CPS December 2016

The primary caseworker or secondary caseworker assigned to the child’s case must transport the child to any initial or subsequent placement, or accompany the child if the child needs medical or other specialized transportation. The trauma of a placement change is heightened if the caseworker is not the one who helps the child make the transition.

If the caseworker is unable to transport the child, the caseworker’s supervisor may approve another caseworker to do so.

When a child in DFPS custody is placed with a residential child care contractor (such as a private child-placing agency or residential group care facility), the DFPS caseworker must transport the child to the placement. It is not appropriate for a contracted provider to transport the child to the new placement or the discharged child to the DFPS office. As a child moves from placement to placement, the presence of the DFPS caseworker provides a vital connection.

If an emergency occurs on a night, weekend, or holiday, the DFPS supervisor on call may assign appropriate DFPS staff to arrange placement. However, this is done only after contacting or attempting to contact the DFPS caseworker or supervisor assigned to the case.

4133 Provide and Discuss the Placement Summary (Form 2279)

CPS December 2016

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must provide continuity of care by discussing with the new caregiver the information provided by the previous caregiver on Form 2279 Placement Summary. This discussion occurs regardless of whether the caregiver is verified or unverified.

At the initial placement, at a minimum the caseworker must discuss the child’s immediate and special needs for the first 72 hours. Within the first 72 hours of the placement, the caseworker must complete the remainder of Form 2279, compile any attachments not provided, and provide the form and attachments to the new caregiver. For all subsequent placements, the caseworker must provide a completed Form 2279 and all required attachments.

The new caregiver and the caseworker must sign the form to acknowledge that they have discussed the information.

The caseworker then must:

  •  provide the new caregiver with a copy of the form; and

  •  place the original form in the case record.

4134 Complete the Placement Authorization and Consent Forms

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must complete as much of the appropriate placement authorization, medical consent, and education decision-maker forms as possible before making the placement. See 4123 Complete Authorization Forms Provided at Time of Placement and its sub-items.

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must obtain required signatures and, if possible, immediately provide a copy of the required forms to the caregiver.

Confirm Medical Consent Training

If a caregiver will serve as the child’s medical consenter, the caseworker must verify that the caregiver completed the required medical consent training.

If the caregiver who will serve as the child’s medical consenter is a kinship caregiver, the caseworker must assist the caregiver in completing the required medical consent training.

4135 Provide the Service Plan and Discuss Services

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must provide and discuss the child’s current service plan with the new caregiver, if it has been completed.

The caseworker must provide the new caregiver with a copy of the service plan from the previous caregiver, if applicable.

For either initial or subsequent placements, the caseworker must discuss with the new caregiver the services to be provided.

4136 Provide Additional Documentation

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must provide the following additional documents and information to the new caregiver at the time of placement or within 72 hours:

  •  Form 2530 CPS Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care (CPS Rights)

  •  Medicaid card, STAR Health ID card, and other medical documents

  •  Education portfolio

  •  The child’s background information, including notes from the past 60 days, if applicable

  •  Assessments and evaluations that have been performed on the child, including the child’s diagnostic assessment, educational assessment, neurological assessment, and psychiatric or psychological evaluation

  •  Information about any juvenile or adult criminal issues regarding the child

  •  An updated medical and developmental history

See the Placement Consultation Protocol page in the CPS section of the DFPS Safety Net.

4137 Provide Critical Documents to the Kinship Caregiver

CPS December 2016

At the time of placement, the caseworker must provide the kinship caregiver with the Kinship Caregiver Manual and get the kinship caregiver’s signature on the Kinship Caregiver Agreement.

4140 Actions Required After a Placement Change

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must follow up on providing any documentation that was not available earlier, such as:

  •  attachments required for Form 2279 Placement Summary; and

  •  updated medical and developmental history information from IMPACT.

4141 Make a Referral to the Kinship Development Worker

CPS September 2017

Within two business days after placing a child with a kinship caregiver, the child’s caseworker must complete the Universal Referral Form and forward it to the regional mailbox (see form instructions) where the child is placed.

4142 Enter the Placement Change Information in IMPACT

CPS December 2016

After the child is placed, the caseworker must enter information about the placement into IMPACT on the day of the placement or by 7 p.m. on the next calendar day. The placement is updated in the SUB stage of any child in the case who changed placements.

The placement date is the date of actual placement, not the date the placement is planned to take place.

The caseworker must ensure that the correct placement discharge reason is selected by choosing one of the following.

Caregiver/Agency Requested

The caseworker must select this reason only when the placement entity has contacted CPS and provided written notification of discharge.

The documentation provided by the caregiver and the CPS documentation must support the subtype selected.

If the reason given for discharge by the child placement entity is not clearly documented in the written request, the caseworker must contact the caregiver for clarification. The caregiver must provide clarification in writing.

The caseworker can also select Caregiver/Agency requested when a child is discharged from a non-contracted placement (relative or fictive kin with no child placing agency contract). The caseworker selects this reason only when the caregiver has contacted CPS and requested discharge. The CPS documentation must support the subtype selected, but caregiver documentation is not required.

Caseworkers must contact their regional placement team for guidance prior to selecting any of the following subtypes:

  •  Change of Verification or License Type

  •  Not Verified/Licensed to Serve

CPS Initiated

The caseworker must select this reason only when CPS or the court has decided to move a child or youth.

The CPS documentation must be consistent with the subtype selected.

Caseworkers must contact their regional placement team for guidance prior to selecting any of the following subtypes:

  •  Change of Verification/License Type

  •  Facility under Adverse Action

  •  Not Verified/Licensed to Serve

  •  Facility Home Closed/Inactive

Updates to the Placement Detail page must address issues of appropriateness, proximity, restrictiveness, and so forth, but if the child changes placement type (for example, moving from a foster home to kinship home or GRO), an update to the service plan may be required.

After updating IMPACT, the caseworker must save and submit for supervisor approval. The supervisor must approve the placement within seven days. For foster and adoptive homes, child-placing management staff must also approve the placement.

See 4119 Get Approvals Within the Required Time Frame.

4143 Provide Required Notifications

4143.1 Notify the Child’s Parents

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must notify the child’s parents about the initial placement or change in placement as provided in 6151.3 Notification Requirements and Schedule.

Caution and Consideration of Child and Caregiver Safety

If giving the parents information that could be used to find the caregiver is likely to compromise the child’s or caregiver’s safety, the caseworker must ensure that the notification excludes:

  •  the caregiver’s address; and

  •  any other information that would reasonably lead the parent to be able to locate the child at:

  •  the caregiver’s residence, or

  •  another location not arranged or approved by DFPS.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1317(b)

4143.2 Notify the AAL, GAL, and CASA of an Emergency Placement

CPS December 2016

In an emergency placement, CPS must notify the child’s attorney ad litem (AAL), guardian ad litem (GAL), and court appointed special advocate (CASA).

CPS must notify them within three working days after the move.

4143.3 Notify Secondary and Ancillary Workers of a Subsequent Placement

CPS December 2016

If the child has a Local Permanency specialist, kinship development worker, developmental disability specialist, or other worker involved in his or her case, that worker must be informed whenever a discharge notice is received. Those workers must be notified immediately.

4144 Request Day Care for the Placement

CPS December 2016

If the child’s caregivers work outside the home full-time and are eligible for and need day care services through DFPS, the caseworker must begin the authorization process as soon as possible.

See 8235 Child Day Care Services.

4145 Request an Initial Service Level or Service Level Change if Needed

CPS December 2016

If the child needs services at the moderate level or higher, the caseworker must complete a referral packet for the third-party contractor responsible for authorizing service levels.

See:

4421 Common Application

Texas Service Levels System Resource GuideDefinitions of Service Levels

Texas Service Levels System Resource GuideService Level Standards for Foster Caregivers

4146 Discuss Medical and Dental Appointments With the Caregiver

CPS December 2016

For an initial placement, the medical and dental check-up must be completed within specified time frames.

For subsequent placements, the caseworker must inform the caregiver of the time frame for the next check-ups, to ensure that the caregiver can schedule the child’s check-ups at the appropriate time.

The caseworker must inform the caregiver of any appointments that have already been scheduled or need to be scheduled for the child.

See 11210 Meeting the Requirements for Medical and Dental Services.

4147 Follow Up on Education-Related Issues

CPS December 2016

If the child changed schools, the caseworker must follow up to be certain that the child has been withdrawn from the school he or she was attending before the placement change. If the child remained in the same school, the caseworker must advise the new caregiver to contact the school to notify them of the change in education decision maker, if applicable, and to provide the school with the Education Decision Maker Form 2085E.

If the child is in a contracted setting, the date of withdrawal is the date of the discharge from the prior placement. If the child is moving to another contracted setting, the new contracted caregiver must enroll the child in the school within two school days.

If a child is moving from a kinship placement, the withdrawal date is the date of the placement move, and the caseworker must withdraw the child from the prior school. The caseworker must follow up to be certain that the child has been withdrawn from the prior school and that the new school has received records within 10 days.

If the caseworker encounters resistance or difficulty, the caseworker must contact the district’s foster care liaison, who should be listed on the Texas Education Agency website under Foster Care & Student Success – Texas School Foster Care Liaisons.

4150 Special Circumstances Affecting Placements

4151 Court-Ordered Placements in Unapproved Facilities

CPS December 2016

If a judge orders a placement into an unapproved facility, the caseworker must:

  •  follow the requirements of 5310 The Requirement for Staff to Elevate Certain Court Orders and its sub-items; and

  •  immediately notify state office placement and the regional attorney of the court order.

Following the order’s issuance, staff must carry out the judge’s order by:

  •  making the placement;

  •  conducting any required activities to prepare the child;

  •  conducting any required activities to prepare the caregiver or facility to receive the child;

  •  providing any required notifications of the placement change; and

  •  taking all other steps ordinarily taken during a placement change.

The caseworker and supervisor also consider whether any additional steps are necessary, such as:

  •  providing training for the caregiver;

  •  asking the court to order training for the caregiver;

  •  increasing the number of visits by the caseworker to the placement; or

  •  addressing any needs identified for the child.

4152 Involving State Office in a Placement Search

CPS December 2016

When staff cannot find a placement, the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) or residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) must elevate the issue to CPS state office and include, at a minimum, the following information:

  •  A recently updated Common Application

  •  A current Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (if applicable)

  •  A current psychological assessment (if available)

  •  The child’s service level authorization

  •  The placement attempts, reasons for denial, and dates contacted

  •  The contact with the behavioral health service manager (if appropriate)

CPS state office staff must review the information and provide guidance, suggestions, and feedback to help the CPU and RTPCs secure an appropriate placement.

If staff cannot secure an appropriate placement for the child, the regional director or designee must approve overnight plans for the child.

Until a placement can be secured, the caseworker must notify his or her chain of command, including the regional director, each day a child is in a temporary alternative placement. The caseworker must complete Form 2915 Child Without Placement and email the completed form to the:

  •  state office Placement Division Child Without Placement mailbox;

  •  CPU;

  •  RTPC involved in the search; and

  •  regional director or designee.

The caseworker does not need to complete a new form for consecutive overnight stays; however, the caseworker must send an email each day to the region’s central point of contact to provide an update.

Regional placement staff must continue searching for a placement that meets the needs of the child until a placement is secured. Regional placement staff must discuss placement options with the state office Placement Division frequently until a placement is secured.

4152.1 Plans for Children When Placement Is Unavailable

CPS December 2016

If a child in DFPS conservatorship does not have a placement, the child must, as a last resort:

  •  stay in a hotel or other location supervised by CPS staff; or

  •  remain in a CPS office overnight.

Before making this arrangement, the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) or residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) must make a diligent effort to secure an appropriate placement for the child with a licensed and contracted provider. The caseworker should consider temporary placement with family members or fictive kinship in this limited circumstance. 

If the CPU or RTPC is unable to secure placement in the child’s region, he or she must contact counterparts in the other regions and request assistance in securing a placement.

If the CPU or RTPC is unable to secure a placement for a child after contacting the other regions, he or she must elevate the issue to the regional director, state office division administrator for placement, and director for placement services.

4152.2 Meeting a Child’s Needs Until a Placement Is Secured

CPS December 2016

Each region must have individualized plans, which include sleeping and bathing arrangements, when the child has no overnight placement. Examples of appropriate sleeping and bathing arrangements may include facilities at a CPS office, hotel room, or a foster home or emergency shelter that has agreed to shelter the child on a temporary basis if CPS staff provides supervision.

Regional plans include the following, at the minimum:

Food

The region must arrange for:

  •  the child to have three meals and at least one snack a day;

  •  intervals between snacks and meals that never exceed four hours during daytime hours and 14 hours during nighttime hours; and

  •  any special diet prescribed by a health care provider.

Medication

The region must follow the medication policy as outlined in 11300 Medication. This policy:

  •  outlines procedures for the administration, storage, and destruction of medications; and

  •  contains links to required medication logs and other forms.

Toiletries, Linen, and Bedding

Each child must have his or her own bed or sleeping space. For stays in CPS offices, the region must arrange for the child to have his or her own sleeping space, clean sheets, towels, blankets, bedspreads, pillows, toiletries, and other furnishings necessary to meet the child’s needs.

If staff does not locate a placement within 24 hours, the caseworker must make arrangements for a child to have a shower.

Supervision

When a child stays with CPS staff overnight, supervision must be a priority for the protection of the child and staff. To provide proper supervision, CPS staff must follow these guidelines:

  •  A child must be supervised at all times by at least two adults, one of whom is a CPS caseworker or above.

  •  One adult providing supervision of the child must be of the same gender as the child, except for children under 3 years of age.

  •  Supervising adults must remain awake, be ready to meet the needs of the child if the environment becomes unsafe, and be prepared to maintain the safety of the other children.

  •  The furnishings to accommodate sleeping arrangements must be stored when not in use.

  •  Staff must ensure areas are free from potential hazards.

Education

Regions must ensure that when a child is without placement and is staying in an alternate location, the CPS caseworker enrolls the child in school no later than the second school day of the temporary alternative placement.

The caseworker must make every effort to allow the child to remain in the school the child was attending before the placement disruption. If the child cannot attend the same school, the caseworker must make every effort to allow the child to remain in the same school district.

The caseworker should contact the regional education specialist for assistance in this circumstance.

Entertainment and Recreational Activities

Regions must ensure that children are provided with sufficient recreational activities. This may include, but is not limited to, television, board games, and outdoor recreational time. Staff must remember that the inability to find placement is not a consequence for a child’s actions and the child may not receive consequences for this.

Additional Support and Services

The region must ensure that any additional supports and services that may be required to meet the child’s needs are available to the child. Such services may include, but are not limited to:

  •  nursing services for children with medical needs that require routine medical expertise;

  •  regional nurse and well-being specialist consultation; and

  •  STAR Health Service Management for medical or behavioral health care needs. Contact the STAR Health Manager (1-800-218-7453).

4153 Placements Outside the Region or State

4153.1 Out-of-State Placements

CPS December 2016

For placement of children out of state, see 9000 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

4153.2 Out-of-Region Placements

CPS December 2016

DFPS decides to place a child or youth outside of the region that has legal jurisdiction after weighing all the required factors in accordance with 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement.

When DFPS places a child or youth outside the region that has legal jurisdiction, the region where the child or youth is placed must provide the supervision and case management services. These services are offered as Local Permanency supervision.

Local Permanency staff provides Local Permanency supervision when a child or youth is placed outside of the region that has legal jurisdiction but not with a parent. The caseworker must request services through a Local Permanency specialist within 7 days of the placement. The caseworker must complete and submit the Universal Referral Form.

4154 Placements and Child Safety

CPS December 2016

A child’s safety in a placement is the foremost concern. Child safety is evaluated throughout the placement process.

  •  At the time of placement selection, the caseworker must assess each child’s particular vulnerabilities and the ability and willingness of each potential caregiver to protect the child.

  •  After the placement has been selected and the caseworker is conducting pre-placement activities or actually placing the child, the caseworker must look again for indications the caregiver will be protective of the child to be placed.

  •  While the child is in the placement, the caseworker must monitor for safety during face-to-face visits and in any other contact the caseworker or DFPS staff has with the child. For a child with primary medical needs, the caseworker must refer to Questions for CPS Staff to Ask When Visiting in the Home with a Child with Primary Medical Needs, located in Appendix 3 of the Placement Process Resource Guide. The caseworker may also find in the guide additional points of discussion for children who do not have primary medical needs.

4155 Safety and Related Concerns for Placements

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must take responsive action if there are concerns with a child’s placement:

Type of Concern

Responsive Actions (as appropriate)

Safety concerns

   •  Immediate removal of a child for immediate safety concerns

  •  Report to Statewide Intake or other appropriate state agency for alleged abuse or neglect

  •  If the caseworker is concerned about the child’s safety at the new placement, the caseworker must contact the supervisor to discuss the situation and next steps. A caseworker must never leave a home where there are concerns about child safety or where a child verbalizes that he or she is scared before discussing the matter with the supervisor and developing a plan.

General concerns

  •  Discussion with the caseworker’s supervisor and chain of command

  •  For pervasive concerns with a foster home, caseworker and chain of command may consider disallowing placements in accordance with 4222.1 Disallowing Placements Into Foster Homes

  •  Discussion with the child-placing agency (CPA) or management of the general residential operation (GRO)

  •  Discussion with the residential contract manager for the CPA or GRO

  •  Closure of a home if a foster or adoptive home

Concerns about compliance with Minimum Standards

  •  Referral to Residential Child Care Licensing

4200 Foster and Licensed Facility Placements

CPS December 2016

After every effort has been made to find an appropriate noncustodial parent, relative, or kinship placement, the caseworker must make a referral to the regional placement team. Each of the three branches of the regional placement team specializes in specific types of placements.

4210 The Regional Placement Team

CPS December 2016

For more information on the regional placement team and its components, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideThe Regional Placement Team.

4211 Seeking Placement Through the Regional Placement Team

4211.1 Caseworker Notifies Regional Placement Team

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must notify the regional placement team that a placement is needed:

  •  the day the caseworker is notified of an impending non-emergency removal in which there is no relative or kinship placement;

  •  the same business day the caseworker receives notice of an emergency initial removal; or

  •  the same business day a provider gives notice requesting that a child be discharged from placement (such discharge notices must be delivered to the caseworker immediately upon receipt).

The caseworker must notify the placement team by emailing the regional placement team mailbox. The caseworker must provide regional placement staff with the most current information, including:

  •  the appropriate common application:

  •  Form 2087ex Alternative Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care for initial placements only for 30 days or less (in other words, emergency shelter placements), or

  •  Form 2087 Common Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care for subsequent placements;

  •  psychological or psychiatric assessment;

  •  the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment;

  •  the child’s service level;

  •  information from any provider discharge notice; and

  •  all other available information regarding each child in the referral form, including:

  •  discharge notices for review of appropriateness,

  •  information regarding juvenile arrests,

  •  psychiatric hospital admissions,

  •  removal affidavits (for the first 45 days the child is in care), and

  •  any other documents that could assist in an appropriate search for placement.

4211.2 Regional Placement Team Searches for Placement Options

CPS December 2016

Child Placement Vacancy Database

The regional placement team must use the Child Placement Vacancy (CPV) database to conduct a search of licensed providers, based on the child’s needs and characteristics, to ensure the most appropriate placement.

See 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement.

IMPACT and CLASS History Checks

Regional placement team coordinators must complete a Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) investigation history check of all potential placements using CLASS to consider compliance history. Coordinators also check IMPACT for any pertinent abuse or neglect history.

The regional placement team must review and confer with the caseworker or supervisor if the history checks return results such as:

  •  pending licensing investigations;

  •  investigations that were closed as reason to believe or unable to determine, or any patterns in the investigation history that cause concern; and

  •  history of licensing violations.

The regional placement team must confer with state office staff to determine if the provider has an active contract and if there is a placement hold or suspension.

DFPS must not place a child in a general residential operation that has been placed on probation by RCCL, unless the associate commissioner of CPS approves the placement or a court orders it. See 4151 Court-Ordered Placements in Unapproved Facilities.

DFPS must not place a child in a foster home or foster group home if the child placing agency that verifies the home has placed its verification on inactive status.

DFPS Rules, 40 T.A.C. §700.1311(c)

4211.3 Regional Placement Team Confers With Providers and Communicates Options to Caseworker

CPS December 2016

Once the regional placement team identifies options, it must communicate with potential providers to determine whether the provider can meet the needs of the child. The regional placement team must provide these options to the caseworker and supervisor for placement.

4211.4 Caseworker and Supervisor Make Placement Selection

CPS December 2016

The final decision for placement is made by:

  •  the CPS caseworker;

  •  the supervisor (and other CPS management staff as necessary); and

  •  legal parties, if required by local court orders or local court expectations.

4211.5 CPU or RTPC Provide Confirmation of Selected Placement

CPS December 2016

Once the child’s caseworker and supervisor make the final placement selection, the Centralized Placement Unit or residential treatment placement coordinator must complete and provide the caseworker with Form 2105 Placement Confirmation.

4220 Placements into DFPS-Regulated Facilities

CPS December 2016

For information on types of DFPS-regulated facilities and the types of services they provide, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuidePlacements into DFPS-Regulated Facilities.

4221 Abuse and Neglect Investigations of DFPS-Regulated Placements

4221.1 RCCL Notifying CPS of Alleged Abuse or Neglect

CPS December 2016

When Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) staff receives a report of abuse or neglect of a child in a foster home, RCCL must notify within 24 hours the primary CPS caseworker assigned to the child who is the alleged victim in IMPACT. RCCL must also notify the caseworkers for the other children who are placed in the foster home.

See the Licensing Policy and Procedures Handbook, 6353 Notifying the CPS Caseworker for a Child in the Conservatorship of DFPS (Abuse or Neglect Only).

If a report involves alleged child-on-child victimization, the caseworker must follow the protocols in Appendix 4623: Protocol for RCCL or CPS Investigations Involving Child on Child Victimization in Foster Care.

4221.2 Using Intermittent Alternate Care and Respite During an Abuse and Neglect Investigation by the Child-Placing Agency

CPS December 2016

CPS must provide prior approval if the child is placed in respite care or intermittent alternate care (IAC). The child-placing agency (CPA) must notify CPS as required by the residential child care contract and Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies. The progress and outcome of the investigation and the child’s safety and well-being determine the duration of IAC or respite care. CPS retains the decision-making authority regarding the child’s placement and any changes.

4221.3 CPS Responsibility and Procedure

CPS December 2016

When the CPS caseworker receives a notification from RCCL regarding a report of child abuse or neglect in a foster home, the CPS caseworker must:

  •  notify the supervisor immediately;

  •  consult with the program director about the circumstances surrounding RCCL’s investigation no later than the next business day;

  •  document the notification and consultation with the supervisor and the program director in the monthly contacts of the case;

  •  contact the RCCL investigator for additional information; and

  •  review the abuse or neglect report in IMPACT, CLASS, or both.

The CPS caseworker must document in IMPACT a summary and the disposition of RCCL’s investigation. RCCL must document in CLASS or IMPACT the details of the investigation.

4221.4 CPS Protocol During an RCCL Investigation Involving a Child in Conservatorship

CPS December 2016

CPS staff must ensure the safety and well-being of the child in DFPS custody. CPS staff should not presume that the existence of an RCCL safety plan means there is no additional casework to be performed as the child’s managing conservator.

The caseworker, along with the supervisor and other appropriate members of the management chain, must consider any remaining casework appropriate to the situation, such as interviewing the child about his or her well-being, additional supportive services in response to any incident, or a placement change.

If the caseworker needs to make contact with the child:

  •  the caseworker must not ask questions specific to the RCCL investigation;

  •  the caseworker must not interview the child about the abuse or neglect allegations, as this is the role of the RCCL investigator. RCCL will conduct the abuse or neglect investigation.

  •  the caseworker (or other CPS staff with knowledge of the investigation) may not disclose details of the allegations to the caregiver under investigation by RCCL, as this is the responsibility of RCCL. The RCCL investigation is a separate record that RCCL maintains; however, the CPS caseworker must print and file a copy of the completed investigation in the victim child’s case file upon the conclusion of the RCCL investigation.

4221.5 How CPS Conducts Safety Checks or Other Safety Measures

CPS December 2016

If CPS believes additional action such as safety checks on the child must be taken, the state office Placement Division must initiate those actions and coordinate with regional leadership. Each regional director designates staff to conduct safety checks.

If CPS believes additional action such as a placement change must be taken based on the child’s individual needs:

  •  the program director must approve all actions in consultation with the state office Placement Division administrator;

  •  staff must follow CPS policy when determining placement actions. Placement changes do not occur unless it is in the child’s best interest; and

  •  the program director must approve any placement change associated with an RCCL investigation.

4221.6 CPS Actions When Abuse or Neglect Is Alleged to Have Occurred in a Foster Home

CPS December 2016

When a child in DFPS conservatorship is the alleged victim of an abuse or neglect investigation in a foster home, the caseworker must provide the appropriate notice, as soon as possible but no later than 10 days, to:

  •  the child’s parent whose rights have not been terminated;

  •  the parents’ attorney;

  •  an attorney ad litem appointed for the child;

  •  a guardian ad litem appointed for the child;

  •  a volunteer advocate appointed for the child (CASA);

  •  the licensed administrator of the child-placing agency (CPA) responsible for placing the child or the licensed administrator’s designee;

  •  the caregiver, prospective adoptive parent, or director of the group home or general residential operation where the child is residing (child’s placement); and

  •  any other person determined by a court to have an interest in the child’s welfare.

4222 Foster Homes

CPS December 2016

For more information on Foster Homes and Foster Group Homes, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideFoster Homes.

4222.1 Disallowing Placements into Foster Homes

CPS December 2016

If a caseworker has a serious concern and is considering disallowing new placements with a particular foster family verified by a private CPA, the caseworker must:

  •  thoroughly document the reasons to consider disallowing new placements; and

  •  submit this documentation to his or her direct supervisor.

The request goes up the chain of command for consideration and approval. For specific steps in this process, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideDisallowing Placement.

4222.2 Re-Allowing Placement

CPS December 2016

If the caseworker learns of a detailed justification for changing the status of and considering placements in a foster family that is on Disallowed Placement status, the caseworker must elevate this consideration through the regional chain of command to the regional director.

The caseworker must thoroughly document the reasons to consider re-allowing new placements and submit this documentation to his or her direct supervisor.

The regional director and other staff review the documentation and determine whether to re-allow placements. For the steps in this process, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideRe-allowing Placement.

4223 General Residential Operations

CPS December 2016

For more information on general residential operations, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideGeneral Residential Operations.

4223.1 Restrictions on the Length of Stay in GROs Providing Emergency Care Services

CPS December 2016

There are several restrictions on how long a child or youth may stay in a general residential operation (GRO) providing emergency care services. For a child in CPS conservatorship, the restrictions are summarized as follows:

Child’s Age

Maximum Length of Stay

Less than 12 months

4 days (96 hours) – unless the infant is in the shelter with a minor parent, in which case the maximum length of stay is 30 days

Over age 1 but under age 5

5 workdays – unless the child is in the shelter with a sibling who is 5 years old or older, or a minor parent, in which case the maximum length of stay is 30 days

Age 5 or older

30 days

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§700.1311, 748.4205, 748.4207

Regardless of the maximum length of the child’s stay, the CPS caseworker must provide written notice of extension to the emergency shelter three days before the 15th day of the child’s placement. If further extensions are required, the CPS caseworker must again provide written notice three days before the 15th day of each extension.

Centralized Placement Unit staff must continuously search to seek placement for children placed in shelters until a more appropriate placement is secured.

Intermittent alternate care is defined as periodic planned child-care services provided on a short-term basis by an alternate caregiver. Emergency shelters may not be used to provide intermittent alternate care.

4230 Facilities Under the Authority of Other State Agencies

4231 Facilities Under the Authority of Other State Agencies in General

CPS December 2016

When appropriate, DFPS may place a child who is in DFPS’s managing conservatorship into a facility operated or regulated by the:

  •  Texas Juvenile Justice Department;

  •  Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;

  •  Texas Department of State Health Services;

  •  Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services;

  •  Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; or

  •  Texas School for the Deaf.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1307

4231.1 DFPS’s Continuing Responsibilities When a Child in Conservatorship is Placed in a Facility Regulated by Another State Agency

CPS December 2016

While a child in DFPS managing conservatorship is placed in a facility operated or regulated by another state agency, DFPS must continue to meet the obligations of a managing conservator. See:

6240 Case Planning

6410 Placement Supervision

4231.2 Additional Responsibilities Before Placement

CPS December 2016

Before placement, the conservatorship worker must submit a state office memo requesting placement in particular facilities, including state supported living centers, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Home and Community-based Services (HCS) group homes, and nursing facilities.

4231.3 Reporting Problems to Other State Agencies

CPS December 2016

If a DFPS caseworker is concerned about problems or deficiencies in the care provided to a child in a facility that is operated or regulated by another state agency, the caseworker must report his or her concerns to that agency. If the caseworker suspects that the child (or any other child in the facility) is being abused or neglected, the caseworker must report the possibility of child abuse or neglect to:

  •  the agency responsible for operating or regulating the facility where the abuse or neglect may have occurred;

  •  the caseworker’s own supervisor; and

  •  Statewide Intake.

4232 TJJD and JPD Facilities

CPS December 2016

DFPS remains the managing conservator of a child in DFPS conservatorship who is:

  •  committed to the custody of or under the placement and care responsibility of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD); or

  •  under the placement and care of a juvenile probation department (JPD).

As managing conservator, DFPS must continue to monitor the child’s placement and maintain the required monthly face-to-face contact with the child.

DFPS must resume its responsibilities for the child’s placement and service planning as soon as the child is released from the placement and care responsibility of TJJD or a JPD.

For more information, see 6820 CPS Youth and Juvenile Justice.

4240 The Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program: Short-Term Therapeutic Placement

CPS December 2016

The DFPS Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program (IPTP) is a short-term program intended to transition a child or youth out of a psychiatric hospital and should last no longer than 60 days. For more information on IPTP, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideThe IPTP Program: Short-Term Therapeutic Placement.

4241 IPTP 60- to 120-Day Limit

CPS December 2016

All placements in IPTP must be limited to 60 days, unless the associate commissioner of CPS grants a one-time, child-specific waiver for an additional 60 days. No placement may exceed 120 days.

DFPS Rule, 40 TAC §§700.2381; 700.2385

4242 Eligibility for IPTP Placement

CPS December 2016

For eligibility requirements, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideEligibility for IPTP Placement.

4243 Referring a Child for IPTP Placement

4243.1 Required Documentation

CPS December 2016

In preparation for requesting short-term therapeutic placement of a child through IPTP, the child’s caseworker must:

  •  complete Form 2245 IPTP Referral;

  •  update the Common Application for Residential Care in the child’s Subcare stage in IMPACT;

  •  obtain the results of a psychological evaluation of the child, completed within the preceding 14 months; and

  •  obtain the paperwork for all discharges made from psychiatric hospitals within the preceding 12 months.

4243.2 Referral Process

CPS December 2016

If at any point a child is not approved for IPTP placement, the residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) and regional placement staff must search for an appropriate placement:

  1. The child’s caseworker must complete Form 2245 IPTP Referral and forward the form to the RTPC, along with a complete placement packet.

  2. The RTPC must review the referral form for accuracy and send it within 24 hours to the CPS state office Placement Division program specialist.

  3. If the program specialist approves the referral, he or she must forward it within one working day to the division administrator of placement for approval.

  4. The program specialist must send the referral form and complete placement packet to the IPTP provider.

  5. The IPTP provider must respond with an admission determination to the IPTP program specialist as soon as possible but no later than two business days from receipt of the referral. The state office Placement Division program specialist must ensure that the provider complies with this requirement.

  6. If the IPTP provider accepts the child for admission, the IPTP program specialist must notify the RTPC and the CPS caseworker about the decision within one working day.

4244 Planning for Discharge from IPTP Placement

CPS December 2016

Before discharging a child from IPTP, it is important to prepare the child for the transition into a less-restrictive environment. Since the program only lasts for 60 days, discharge planning must begin at the time of placement.

4244.1 Submitting the Child’s Service Level Request

CPS December 2016

No later than the 45th day, the IPTP provider sends the child’s complete clinical record to a third-party contractor that reviews and assigns service levels. For information, see 4400 Texas Service Levels System.

A complete clinical record must include:

  •  Form 2089 Level of Care Authorization Request, in IMPACT;

  •  progress notes, daily logs, case management notes, and incident reports from the child’s previous 30 days in care;

  •  assessments and evaluations made within the previous 30 days, including the child’s admission assessment, diagnostic assessment, educational assessment, psychiatric or psychological evaluation, and medical or dental documentation;

  •  the child’s current treatment or stabilization plan;

  •  the child’s current education documentation;

  •  a list of the child’s current medications, including the dosage, the frequency taken, and the reason that the medication was prescribed;

  •  treatment records for a physical condition that is in progress and requires continuing or follow-up medical care; and

  •  therapy notes from the previous 30 days.

4244.2 Discharge from IPTP Placement

CPS December 2016

After determining the service level:

  •  the placement program specialist must notify the caseworker of the IPTP end date; and

  •  the caseworker must update the placement in IMPACT.

4245 Requesting Extension of an IPTP Placement

CPS December 2016

The DFPS Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program (IPTP) is a short-term program intended to last no longer than 60 days. If the child has not stabilized within 60 days, the caseworker can request up to an additional 60 days. No IPTP placement may exceed 120 days.

To request an extension, the following steps must be completed at least 10 working days before the child’s discharge date:

  •  The placement program specialist consults the child’s treatment team and the caseworker to determine whether the child requires additional time to stabilize.

  •  If staff determines that the child is not ready to be discharged, the caseworker completes a waiver requesting an extension of up to 60 days to allow the child additional time to stabilize.

To request a waiver, the caseworker must:

  •  write a memorandum using Form 2246 Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program Waiver Request;

  •  address the memorandum to the associate commissioner of CPS; and

  •  forward the request to the program director for approval.

When the program director receives the request, he or she forwards it to state office.

  •  If the state office program specialist approves the waiver request, the specialist must forward it within one working day to the division administrator of placement for approval.

  •  If the division administrator of placement approves the waiver request, the administrator must forward the approved request to the director of placement within one working day.

4245.1 Extension Granted

CPS December 2016

If an extension of the IPTP placement is granted, the caseworker, in anticipation of the child’s discharge at the end of the additional 60 days, must follow the guidance on discharge planning provided in 4244 Planning for Discharge From IPTP Placement.

4245.2 Extension Not Granted

CPS December 2016

If an extension is not granted, the caseworker must update the placement in IMPACT to reflect the IPTP end date. If it is decided to seek a new placement for the child, the caseworker must follow the placement process in 4100 The Placement Process.

4250 Intense Foster Family Care Services

CPS December 2016

For more information on Intense Foster Family Care Services, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideIntense Foster Family Care Services.

4251 Requesting Intense Foster Family Care Placement

CPS December 2016

A caseworker may place a child who has an Intense service level and has an emotional disorder (ED), pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), or intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) in a foster family home verified to serve children with Intense needs. The caseworker must work with the CPS placement program specialist, who must approve if the placement may be made.

The child’s caseworker must make a referral to place a child with Intense service level needs, following the steps in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideRequesting Intense Foster Family Care Placement.

4260 Placements and Living Arrangements for Youth and Young Adults

CPS December 2016

For more information on placements and living arrangements for youth and young adults, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuidePlacements and Living Arrangements for Youth and Young Adults.

4270 Temporary Absence from Paid Placement

CPS December 2016

A temporary absence from placement is the foreseen or unforeseen absence of any child in DFPS conservatorship from a licensed placement. Examples of such absences are:

  •  hospital stays;

  •  psychiatric emergency hospitalizations;

  •  detention; and

  •  runaway.

See Texas Administrative Code §700.323 for the legal basis for DFPS policy on payments to providers and caregivers during absences from placement.

4271 Length of Absence

CPS December 2016

Temporary absence is the time a child is away from a licensed, paid placement for seven or more days. The following placements are considered licensed, paid placements:

  •  Foster family home

  •  Foster group home

  •  Residential group care facility

See 4276.1 Exception to 14-Day Rule: an Emergency Shelter or Assessment Center.

To hold a placement during absences, the caseworker must follow the procedures described in 4272 through 4276.2.

Under certain circumstances, DFPS must continue to make foster care payments to a provider on behalf of a child who is no longer in that provider’s care to reserve space (bed hold) for the child’s anticipated return to that provider in the near future.

4272 Criteria for Paying for Foster Care During a Child’s Absence

CPS December 2016

Payments to a provider for foster care during a child’s absence must only be made if each of the following conditions is met:

  •  DFPS plans to return the child to the provider at the end of the absence.

  •  The provider agrees to reserve space for the child’s return for as long as payments are made in the child’s absence.

  •  DFPS is not making foster care payments on behalf of this same child to any other provider during the child’s absence.

4273 Payment Time Frames

4273.1 Emergency Care

CPS December 2016

If a child is temporarily absent from an emergency shelter or other provider contracted to provide emergency care, DFPS may continue to pay the provider for not more than five additional days during the child’s absence.

4273.2 Foster Care

CPS December 2016

If DFPS authorized a child’s temporary absence from non-emergency foster care, DFPS may continue to pay the foster care provider for not more than 30 days during the child’s absence, unless the CPS program administrator approves a greater period of payment. DFPS may not pay for more than 90 days of care during a child’s authorized absence.

4274 The Plan or Intent for the Child to Return

CPS December 2016

If a child is away from his or her licensed paid placement for seven days, the caseworker, with supervisory approval, must address the plan or intent for the child to return to the caregiver or provider following the temporary absence. If staff does not intend to return the child to the placement, staff must inform the provider or caregiver of the decision.

4275 When the Caregiver or Provider Does Not Agree for the Child to Return

CPS December 2016

If the caregiver or provider does not agree for the child to return, he or she must provide written discharge notice as stipulated in the contract. Once it is determined a child is not returning and the discharge notice is received, the caseworker must submit a referral to the regional placement team to begin placement searches. The caseworker must notify the eligibility specialist no later than the following business day.

4276 When a Child Is Absent 14 Days

CPS December 2016

If a child is absent from placement for 14 days and the intent is to return, the child’s caseworker and supervisor must notify the program director, who must approve or deny the bed hold. The supervisor must notify regional eligibility specialists of an approved bed hold no later than the following business day.

At the 14th day a child is absent from placement, the program director and program administrator must both approve the continuance for a bed hold. The program director and program administrator must notify the regional eligibility specialist by the following business day of the approved hold. The regional director (or his or her designee) notifies the division administrator for eligibility and division administrator for placement.

4276.1 Exception to 14-Day Rule: an Emergency Shelter or Assessment Center

CPS December 2016

DFPS may pay an emergency shelter or other provider contracted to provide emergency care for not more than five additional days during a child’s temporary absence.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.323(c)

4276.2 Request to Hold a Placement Over 30 Days

CPS December 2016

The regional director and director of placement must approve requests to continue to hold a placement exceeding 30 days and notify the division administrator of placement and eligibility.

4300 Independent Living Arrangements

CPS December 2016

For more information, refer to the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideIndependent Living Arrangements.

4310 Unauthorized Arrangements By Youth in DFPS Conservatorship

CPS December 2016

When a youth in DFPS’s managing conservatorship begins living in an unauthorized living arrangement, the youth’s caseworker must:

  •  try to persuade the youth to return to substitute care;

  •  notify the parties as outlined in 6150 Notifications;

  •  assess the risk of abuse and neglect in the unauthorized living arrangement;

  •  assess the appropriateness of the placement; and

  •  assess and document in the case record:

  •  who made and who implemented the unauthorized living arrangement,

  •  whether the youth is related to the caregiver, and

  •  the youth’s options if the unauthorized living arrangement does not work out.

For additional information about responding to unauthorized independent living arrangements, see 6460 When a Child or Youth is Missing from CPS Conservatorship.

4400 Texas Service Levels System

CPS December 2016

For a detailed explanation of the Texas service levels system, see the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideDefinitions of Service Levels.

4410 Service Level Determinations and Reauthorizations

CPS December 2016

When a child comes into care, the child’s caseworker must assess the child’s service needs. The caseworker consults with the child’s caregivers, parents, teachers, or other appropriate sources to make the determination.

4411 Authorizing Service Levels

4411.1 Basic Service Level

CPS December 2016

DFPS caseworkers and supervisors may authorize the Basic service level when placing a child in a facility:

  •  if they determine that the child has basic needs; or

  •  to provide foster care payment at the Basic service level when a child does not have an authorized service level (ASL) from the third party contractor.

The DFPS eligibility specialist must enter into IMPACT a Basic ASL effective 12 months for children not requiring an ASL higher than Basic. The end date of the Basic ASL is the first day of the month that follows the 12th month after the start date of the ASL. If the child continues in care past this date and does not have a current ASL authorized by the third party contractor, the eligibility specialist must record a new Basic ASL for another 12-month period.

When initially placing a child in a facility before a third party contractor has authorized service, an eligibility specialist must enter the Basic service level into IMPACT as the ASL and billing service level (BSL) for the system to pay the facility. If the facility is only contracted to provide higher than Basic level services the eligibility specialist makes no ASL or BSL entries.

If the child’s needs increase, a higher service level is requested from the third party contractor. A child for whom it is appropriate to authorize a Basic service level is expected to function at an age appropriate level educationally, socially, physically, medically, developmentally, and emotionally. See the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideDefinitions of Service Levels.

4411.2 Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus Service Levels

CPS September 2017

Only the third party contractor can authorize Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus service levels. The third party contractor determines the child’s authorized service level at the Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus service level initially and at subsequent utilization reviews, based on the child’s needs documented in the facility’s clinical record.

The Moderate service level is valid for 12 months and the Specialized, Intense, and Intense Plus service levels are valid for three months. See Appendix 4320: DFPS Guidelines for Service Authorizations for time frames on requesting and authorizing service levels and utilization reviews.

4411.3 Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program (IPTP) Service Level

CPS December 2016

This service level is not determined by the third party contractor. It is determined by the eligibility criteria in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideEligibility for IPTP Placement.

4420 Caseworker Responsibility for Timely Determinations

CPS September 2017

Responsibility at Child’s Entry Into Care

When a child comes into care, the child’s caseworker must assess the child’s service needs and, within 1 day of the removal:

  •   request in IMPACT that the regional eligibility staff enter a Basic service level; or

  •   request in IMPACT a service level and submit the request and a complete clinical record to Youth for Tomorrow.

The caseworker consults with the child’s caregivers, parents, teachers, or other appropriate sources to make the determination.

Ongoing Responsibility for Service Level Determinations

CPS caseworkers must:

  •   ensure that a child receives a timely initial authorized service level (ASL) when the child comes into care;

  •   request non-scheduled ASLs, if the needs of the child change;

  •   request subsequent ASLs as part of the scheduled review process before the ASL expires;

  •   provide a copy of the ASL to the placement when placing a child;

  •   coordinate and submit all required documentation to the third party contractor to ensure accurate evaluation of the ASL;

  •   coordinate with the facility to ensure that the ASL is reviewed in a timely manner; and

  •   assess the child’s service needs by gathering information from the child’s caregivers, parents, teachers, and other people who know the child.

Additionally, the caseworker must work with the placement to ensure that the service level does not expire. The Moderate service level is valid for 12 months, and the Specialized, Intense, and Intense Plus service levels are valid for only 3 months.

For a chart on time frames for ASLs, see Appendix 4320: DFPS Guidelines for Service Authorizations.

The third party contractor authorizes Moderate, Specialized, Intense, and Intense Plus service levels for children in DFPS conservatorship.

CPS staff may not guarantee a caregiver a service level above Basic or contrary to the ASL in IMPACT when placing a child.

4421 Common Application

CPS December 2016

The Common Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care is known as the full common application (IMPACT path: Child’s subcare stage, select placement tab, select common application tab). The Alternative Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care is known as the shortened common application.

The CPS caseworker must provide the full common application to the facility before or at the time a child is placed with Moderate, Specialized, or Intense service needs.

When a child is placed on an emergency basis or has a Basic ASL, the caseworker must provide the either the full or shortened common application at the time of the placement. If the caseworker provides the shortened common application at the time of placement, he or she must provide the full common application within 30 days of the placement.

While the facility has the option to complete the common application, the CPS caseworker must ensure that the common application is completed.

4422 Obtaining an Initial Authorized Service Level (ASL)

CPS December 2016

The DFPS caseworker must request the ASL above a Basic service level for children placed in DFPS foster homes.

The DFPS caseworker must work with the facility to obtain appropriate paperwork to submit a child’s information to the third party contractor for an initial service level.

When a child is leaving a hospital, the CPS supervisor may request that the third party reviewer complete an initial authorized service level within one working day or 24 hours of the discharge.

The provider’s request must contain certain forms and documentation. See the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideObtaining an Initial Service Level Authorization (ASL).

4422.1 Submitting Information to the Third Party Contractor (Youth for Tomorrow)

CPS December 2016

The caseworker must submit information to Youth for Tomorrow:

  •  via fax at 817-633-4602;

  •  via email at help@yft.org; or

  •  via mail at 624 Six Flags Drive, #126, Arlington, Texas 76011.

Youth for Tomorrow may be reached by calling 817-633-1900.

Once the caseworker submits the initial service level request:

  •  Youth for Tomorrow will assign the initial service level within two working days;

  •  the caseworker must check the IMPACT system to obtain the service level determination. This is posted the same day that Youth for Tomorrow completes the initial authorization; and

  •  the caseworker must print out the service level authorization form and provide it to the contracted provider where the child is placed.

4423 Obtaining a Scheduled or Nonscheduled Review of a Service Level

4423.1 Requesting a Review of a Service Level (Scheduled or Nonscheduled) by Preparing a Complete Clinical Record

CPS December 2016

To request a review of a child’s authorized service level, whether scheduled or nonscheduled, the caseworker must:

  •  forward a complete clinical record for the previous 30 days to the third-party contractor; and

  •  coordinate the submission of all other required documentation to the third-party contractor.

The complete clinical record includes:

  •  IMPACT Form 2089 Service Level Authorization Request (for nonscheduled reviews only);

  •  information on any medical problems experienced or disabilities existing within the previous 30 days;

  •  for children with primary medical needs, an evaluation from a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner, with the diagnosis and the prescribed services;

  •  progress and therapy notes (individual therapy, speech, occupational, or physical therapy) and school records for the previous 30 days;

  •  serious incident reports and seclusion reports for the previous 30 days; and

  •  all relevant up-to-date items from the case file from within the previous 30 days, including the narrative from the monthly summary in the IMPACT case management system.

A caseworker may request a nonscheduled review of a service level when:

  •  an authorized service level will expire within 14 calendar days and the third-party contractor is not scheduled to conduct a utilization review within the next 30 days;

  •  an authorized service level has expired; or

  •  the caseworker determines that the child’s needs have changed.

4423.2 If a Complete Clinical Record Is Not Available When Requesting a Review of a Service Level

CPS December 2016

A complete clinical record for the previous 30 days may not be available because the child or youth:

  •  has run away or is living in an unauthorized placement;

  •  lives in a kinship placement;

  •  is in juvenile detention;

  •  is in the hospital; or

  •  is living independently, on a trial basis.

In these circumstances, the CPS caseworker must submit to the third-party contractor:

  •  a sufficiently updated common application; or

  •  a narrative report of the child’s circumstances and any available supporting documentation.

The effective date for the service level is the date that the third-party contractor reads the request for a review and the common application or narrative.

If a case meets the criteria for submitting a narrative or common application instead of a clinical record, the narrative or application must include certain details. See the table below.

For information on the types of service levels, their time frames, and the common application, see 4410 Service Level Determinations and Reauthorizations.

If the child or youth was or is…

the narrative or common application must include the following:

a runaway or living in an unauthorized placement …

  •  The length of time the youth has been living in that status

  •  Where the youth has been living while in that status

  •  Where the youth is living now

  •  The youth’s behavior since the youth returned, including any behavior that placed the youth or others at risk

  •  Any available supporting documentation, such as any law enforcement incident reports

living in a family or kinship placement …

  •  The length of time the child has been in the placement

  •  The reason the placement was disrupted

  •  The child’s behavior while in placement, including any behavior that placed the child or others at risk

  •  Any available supporting documentation, such as school documents and therapy notes

in juvenile detention …

  •  The length of time the youth has been in detention

  •  The current charges against the youth and the reason the youth was detained

  •  A list of any prior juvenile history

  •  The youth’s behavior, including any behavior that placed the youth or others at risk

  •  Any available supporting documentation, such as law enforcement incident reports and detention-related documents

in the hospital …

  •  The location where the child was living before he or she was admitted to a hospital

  •  The length of time the child has been in the hospital

  •  The reason the child was hospitalized

  •  The last incident of the following, since hospitalization:

  •  Aggression or assault

  •  Self-harm

  •  Restraint

  •  The use of pro re nata (PRN) medications (that is, medications used as the need arises)

  •  Any new medication prescribed and whether the medication will be discontinued upon discharge

  •  Any significant risk behaviors placing the child or others in danger

  •  The medical condition and services needed to manage it, for a child or youth with a primary medical need (PMN)

  •  Any available supporting documentation, such as discharge documents

living independently, on a trial basis …

  •  The length of time the youth has been living independently, on trial basis

  •  The reasons the youth wishes to return to extended foster care

  •  Where the youth has been living since leaving care

  •  Any behaviors that placed the youth or others at risk

  •  The youth’s present educational, medical, and emotional needs

4423.3 Submitting the Clinical Record (or Narrative and Application) to Request a Review of a Service Level (Scheduled or Nonscheduled)

CPS December 2016

The caseworker may request a scheduled or nonscheduled review of a service level from the third-party contractor by fax, email, or mail.

For a scheduled review, the caseworker must submit the clinical record and required documentation at least 15 days before the expiration of the authorized service level.

4423.4 After Submitting the Clinical Record (or Narrative and Application) to Request a Review of a Service Level (Scheduled or Nonscheduled)

CPS December 2016

Once the caseworker submits a request for a scheduled or nonscheduled review of a service level, the third-party contractor makes a determination and assigns the service level within 10 working days.

The caseworker must check the IMPACT case management system to obtain the service level determination.

For scheduled reviews, the caseworker must enter the requested service level in IMPACT within 10 working days of the request being read by the third-party contractor.

For nonscheduled reviews, the caseworker must enter the requested service level in IMPACT the day that the service level is read by the third-party contractor.

After the third-party contractor’s determination of the authorized service level, the caseworker must:

  •   print IMPACT Form 2089 Service Level Authorization; and

  •   provide the form to the contracted provider with whom the child is placed.

4424 Guidelines for Expired Service Level Authorization

CPS December 2016

Under the following conditions, the third party contractor is permitted to authorize a service level:

  •  The previous authorized service level and the new authorized service level are the same and there is a time gap of 90 days or less. The third party contractor may make the effective date the day after the last expiration date for the same authorized service level. The adjustment is made on the current utilization review (UR) report.

  •  The previous authorized service level is higher than the new adjusted authorized service level and there is a time gap in authorization of 90 days or less. The third party contractor may make the effective date the day after the last expiration date for the new adjusted authorized service level. The adjustment is made on the current UR report.

  •  The previous authorized service level is lower than the new adjusted authorized service level and there is a time gap of 30 days or less. The third party contractor may make the effective date the day after the last expiration date for the higher new adjusted authorized service level, as supported by the clinical record during the 30-day stabilization period. The adjustment is made on the current UR report.

If the lapse in authorization of service is greater than 90 days, the effective date for the new authorized service level is the day of the review. An eligibility specialist or foster care billing staff must contact a state office service level program specialist to review and correct these unusual situations that cause a lapse in the authorized service level.

4425 Retroactive Service Level Authorization

CPS December 2016

Child placing agencies (CPAs) and DFPS foster homes requesting an initial authorized service level within the first 45 days of admitting a child may be paid the new initial service level rate up to 60 days in the past when all of the following conditions are met:

  •  The retroactive initial service level must be submitted for authorization to the third party contractor within 45 days of admitting a child who has never had an initial authorized service level determined by the third party reviewer.

  •  Upon admission to the CPA, the child must remain in the same foster home or have been in intermittent alternate care (such as respite care) within the same CPA that is requesting the initial authorized service level.

  •  The child:

  •  remained less than 30 days in a general residential operation providing emergency care services (such as an emergency shelter) placement immediately prior to placement with a CPA; or

  •  was placed in any other setting.

4425.1 Obtaining a Retroactive Service Level

CPS December 2016

To start an initial service level authorization, the CPA or the DFPS caseworker must submit a complete packet within the first 45 days of admitting the child to the foster home. The request for an initial service level authorization must be postmarked on or before the 45th day after a CPA admits a child who does not have an initial authorized service level.

To enable the third party contractor to process the initial service level, the CPA must submit certain documentation. For a list of required documents, see the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideObtaining a Retroactive Service Level.

4430 When Authorized Service Levels and Billing Service Levels Are Not the Same

4431 Requesting a BSL That Is Lower Than the ASL

CPS December 2016

A supervisor must approve a caseworker’s request for a billing service level (BSL) that is lower than the authorized service level (ASL) for any child.

A CPS regional director (or designee) must approve, and document the approval of, a caseworker’s request for a BSL that is two or more service levels lower than the ASL.

Some examples of when lowering a child’s BSL may be appropriate are when:

  •  the child is receiving specialized medical care and a move will disrupt the treatment; or

  •  the child needs to finish a semester of school, graduate, or stay in close proximity to his or her family or siblings.

Staff must document in the child’s case record any special needs requiring this type of placement.

In addition, the caseworker must complete Form 2086 Service Level Approval and submit it with the approved BSL to an eligibility specialist. If a child who has an ASL of Specialized or Intense is placed at a lower BSL, the utilization review will still be required within three months or before the expiration date of the ASL.

4432 Requesting a BSL That Is Higher Than the ASL

CPS September 2017

Occasionally it is in a child’s best interest not to be moved, but the third party contractor’s utilization review lowers the authorized service level (ASL) below the lowest billing service level (BSL) in a provider’s contract. The service level program specialist in state office must discuss the move with the caseworker and determine whether to approve increasing the BSL to a level higher than the ASL. This is not applicable to Intense Plus.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following situations:

  •   The youth will graduate in 60 days or fewer.

  •   The youth requires continuity of medical treatment, excluding psychological services, not to exceed 60 days.

  •   The youth will age out of care in 60 days or fewer.

  •   The school year will end in 60 days or fewer.

4433 End Dates for an ASL at the Basic Service Level

CPS December 2016

The DFPS eligibility specialist must enter in IMPACT a Basic authorized service level (ASL), effective for 12 months, for children not requiring an ASL higher than Basic. The end date of the Basic ASL is the first day of the month that follows the 12th month after the start date of the ASL. If the child continues in care past this date and does not have a current ASL authorized by the third party contractor, the eligibility specialist must record a new Basic ASL for another 12-month period.

4434 State Office Eligibility Program Specialist Role and Responsibilities

CPS December 2016

The state office eligibility program specialist must enter into IMPACT under the service level tab the following information:

  •  Authorized service levels (ASLs) from utilization reviews (URs) that are not captured by the automated third party contractor’s interface with IMPACT

  •  Service levels approved through the process described in 4432 Requesting a BSL That Is Higher Than the ASL

4435 Appealing Disagreements With ASLs

CPS December 2016

If a residential child care provider or DFPS caseworker disagrees with the service level determination by the third party contractor and chooses to appeal the determination, the residential child care provider or DFPS caseworker must use the administrative and peer review processes through the third party contractor. These processes are outlined on the third party contractor’s website.

Refer to the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideAppealing Disagreements with ASLs.

DFPS Caseworker Appeals

The appeals process is the same for a DFPS caseworker that disagrees with the third party contractor’s authorized service level (ASL), except that the DFPS supervisor, not the DFPS caseworker, must initiate the appeal. The appeal must follow the same appeal process outlined in the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideAppealing Disagreements with ASLs.

If the CPS supervisor or residential child care provider disagrees with this administrative review by the service level monitor, the person originating the appeal may submit a written request to the service level monitor for a review by the Peer Review Committee. This request must be postmarked or faxed within five working days of the service level monitor’s notification.

4435.1 Service Level Peer Review Committee

CPS December 2016

The Service Level Peer Review Committee reviews the clinical record that the third party contractor reviewed during the utilization review. The committee makes a written recommendation on the appropriate authorized service level (ASL) to the associate commissioner for CPS. The associate commissioner makes the final determination on the appropriate ASL.

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