6000 Substitute-Care Services; 6100 Overview of Substitute Care; 6110 Before Removing a Child and Placing the Child in Substitute Care; 6120 Providing Substitute Care After a Child Is Removed; 6121 Removing a Child; 6122 Consulting With Staff After a Child Is Removed; 6123 Locating Relatives and Providing Notice of Removal; 6124 Providing Substitute Care Immediately After a Child Is Removed

<<Previous Page

Next Page>>

6000 Substitute-Care Services

6100 Overview of Substitute Care

CPS December 2009

Substitute care is provided from the time a child is removed from his or her home and placed in DFPS conservatorship until the child returns home safely or is placed in another living arrangement that does not require DFPS supervision.

Specifically, substitute care consists of:

  •  the residential care and support provided to the child; and

  •  the supportive and therapeutic services provided to the child, the child's parents, and the child's substitute caregiver.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1301(a)

Assumption of Parental Responsibility

When a child is removed from the home and placed in DFPS conservatorship, DFPS legally assumes parental responsibility for the child.

When DFPS places the child in substitute care, the child's substitute caregiver works with DFPS to help the department meet its parental responsibility. The department's parental responsibility for the child does not end until the child leaves DFPS conservatorship.

For operational definitions, see 1124 Definition of Stages of Service.

Goals of Substitute Care

The goals of substitute care are to ensure that a child receives:

  •  protection from abuse and neglect; and

  •  care that is consistent with his or her needs for permanency and belonging.

Objectives of Substitute Care

The objectives of substitute care are to:

  •  provide temporary, planned placements for a child at risk of abuse or neglect;

  •  provide or arrange for social and remedial services appropriate to the child's needs; and

  •  make reasonable efforts to reunite the child with his or her family.

Reasonable efforts to reunite a child with his or her family include:

  •  assessing each child's and family's situation;

  •  developing and implementing a time-limited service plan to change the conditions that have placed the child at risk and prepare the child and family for the child's return; and

  •  finding a permanent placement for the child, if the child cannot be safely reunited with his or her family.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1301(c)(d)

Legal and Practical Bases

CPS policies and procedures for substitute care services are based on the following:

  •  Applicable state laws, including the:

  •  Texas Family Code, and

  •  Human Resources Code

  •  Applicable federal laws, including the Social Security Act, especially:

  •  Title IV-B, Child and Family Services; and

  •  Title IV-E, Federal Payments for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance

      (For more detailed information about the legal basis for substitute care services, see 1200 Legal Base for Child Protective Services.)

  •  The Child Care Licensing Division's Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies

  •  The sound standards of professional case practice

  •  An outcomes-oriented model for allocating limited resources

  •  The decisions of the management representing the DFPS state office and regional offices

6110 Before Removing a Child and Placing the Child in Substitute Care

CPS December 2009

Before a caseworker removes a child from his or her home, the caseworker must take the steps explained below.

Make Reasonable Efforts to Reduce Risk

DFPS places children in substitute care only as a last resort. Before removing a child from his or her home, the caseworker must make reasonable efforts to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect without removing the child.

For detailed information about the efforts DFPS must make to reduce the risk without removing the child, see:

2315.1 Controlling Safety Threats

2315.2 Assessing the Family’s Response to Child-Safety Issues

3100 Overview (of In-Home Safety Services (I-HSS))

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

Also see 2500 Removing a Child From the Home.

Obtain a Court Order

The decision to place a child in substitute care must be supported by a court order authorizing DFPS to take possession of the child and manage his or her care. Whether or not there are exigent circumstances, the child's safety and risk of abuse neglect must be considered in making this decision. See 1221 Constitutional Protections.

For detailed information about securing a court order and meeting other legal requirements at the time of a child's removal, see 5410 Types of Court Orders and the Process for Obtaining a Court Order for Removal of a Child.

See also:

2520 Determine the Basis of Authority for Removing a Child

2521 Types of Court Orders

6120 Providing Substitute Care After a Child Is Removed

6121 Removing a Child

CPS May 2010

For information about providing a child’s medication between removal and placement in substitute care, see Appendix 2600: Administration of Medications by DFPS Staff.

6121.1 Creating FSU and SUB Stages in IMPACT

CPS July 2010

Most children who are removed from their homes are removed during an open investigation (INV stage); however, removals may also take place during the following open post-investigation stages:

  •   In-Home Family Based Safety Service (FPR stage)

  •   Family Reunification (FRE stage)

  •   Family Substitute Care (FSU stage)

  •   Adoption (ADO stage)

If DFPS determines that a child must be removed from his or her home during a post-investigation stage, when DFPS is providing services to the family, the caseworker assigned to the open case must follow the policies outlined in 2500 Removing a Child From the Home.

If the removal is completed in conjunction with a new investigation, both the caseworker assigned to the open case and the newly assigned investigative caseworker work jointly to ensure that the policies outlined in 2500 Removing a Child From the Home are followed. This includes recording the case as a Conservatorship Removal in the IMPACT system. Recording the case in this way automatically creates both an FSU stage and a Substitute Care (SUB) stage for the child involved.

6121.2 Assigning a Conservatorship (CVS) Caseworker

CPS December 2009

Substitute care casework is part of conservatorship (CVS) casework; therefore, when a child is placed in substitute care from a stage of service other than Family Substitute Care, a CVS caseworker must be assigned to the case.

To assign a CVS caseworker:

  •  the supervisor of the caseworker for the primary stage that is open contacts, according to regional protocols, the CVS supervisor whose unit will receive the case; and

  •  the CVS supervisor assigns a CVS caseworker to the case.

6121.3 Handling Initial CVS Caseworker Activities

CPS December 2009

Once assigned to a Substitute Care case, the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker:

  •  reviews any information provided by the CVS supervisor;

  •  reviews the case in the IMPACT system;

  •  contacts the caseworkers assigned to the open stages of the case to:

  •  offer assistance, and

  •  obtain information about the child, the family, and the child’s placement;

  •  begins attending scheduled meetings with the child and family, and

  •  attends court hearings, if possible.

6122 Consulting With Staff After a Child Is Removed

CPS December 2009

Scheduling a Transfer Staffing

No later than 10 days after a child is removed from his or her home, the CPS supervisors for the stages involved schedule a transfer staffing meeting with the relevant caseworkers to discuss the child's removal.

Scheduling a Transfer Visit

During the staffing meeting, a visit with the family is arranged to transfer the case from the worker who removed the child to the conservatorship (CVS) worker who will manage the case and to introduce everyone involved.

The transfer visit is attended by:

  •  the removing caseworker;

  •  the CVS caseworker;

the child;

  •  the parents; and

  •  the child's family members (if they are involved).

Transferring the Case Record

After the transfer staffing meeting, according to regional protocol, the supervisor of the removing unit:

  •  transfers in the IMPACT system the Family Substitute Care (FSU) and Substitute Care (SUB) stages to the CVS Unit assigned to the case; and

  •  sends the paper file to the CVS supervisor.

6123 Locating Relatives and Providing Notice of Removal

CPS January 2012

Coordinating With the Removal Worker

When a case is assigned to the CPS Conservatorship (CVS) Unit, the CVS worker:

  •   contacts the removal worker; and

  •   asks what actions have been taken to meet the notification requirements explained in 2540 Notification to Relatives Following a Removal and its subitems.

Any required actions that the removal worker has not taken by the date of the adversary hearing, or other date agreed on during the post-removal transfer staffing, become the responsibility of the CVS worker. (See also 2563 Conferring Through a Post-Removal Staffing and 5410 Types of Court Orders and the Process for Obtaining a Court Order for Removal of a Child.)

Timely coordination between the CVS and removal workers is important because, as noted in 2540 Notification to Relatives Following a Removal, DFPS must exercise due diligence to:

  •   identify and locate a child's relatives and fictive kin (that is, persons who are considered relatives, even though they are not related to the child); and

  •   notify about the removal those who are entitled to such notice within 30 days of the date DFPS files suit for conservatorship.

Persons entitled to such notice include:

  •   all paternal and maternal relatives of the child who are related to the child within the third degree of consanguinity;

  •   all persons designated by the parent as a potential caregiver on Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource; and

  •   all adult relatives of the alleged father that DFPS determines to be the most likely biological father of the child, if the child does not have a legal father.

Example

For example, if the removal worker has notified the paternal grandparents, but not the maternal grandparents, about the child's removal, the CVS worker exercises due diligence by:

  •   notifying the maternal grandparents within 30 days about the removal; or

  •   documenting why notifying the maternal grandparents within 30 days is not possible despite the exercise of due diligence.

Efforts to notify a child's relatives must be documented by the CVS or removal worker in:

  •   the IMPACT case management system; and

  •   the report filed with the court for the 60-day status hearing (see 5510 The 60-Day Status Hearing).

An Ongoing Effort

Because removal workers and CVS workers are at times unable, despite the exercise of due diligence, to notify all parties entitled to notification within 30 days of removal, the CVS worker's ongoing duty throughout the life of the case is to:

  •   search for the child's relatives; and

  •   notify them about the child's removal and their options to support the child while the child is in placement.

See 4500 Placing a Child With Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers.

6123.1 When Relatives Have Been Contacted and Have Responded

CPS September 2011

Step 1: Meet With the Child’s Relative

The conservatorship (CVS) caseworker meets with the relatives of the child who has been removed from his or her home to determine the relative’s level of interest in caring for the child.

Step 2: Check the Relative’s Background

If a relative indicates a desire to have contact with the child, the CVS caseworker completes the following checks on the relative:

  •   A DFPS history check

  •   A DPS criminal background check

The caseworker must initiate the checks before the relative has contact with the child; specifically:

  •   no later than three business days after the caseworker and relative meet (see Step 1, above), if they meet within 30 days of the child’s removal; or

  •   no later than five business days after the caseworker and relative meet, if they meet more than 30 days after the child’s removal.

The caseworker enters on the Person List in the IMPACT system all relatives and fictive kin (such as close family friends) who have been made known. See:

2812.8 Add, Relate, or Delete Persons in the Investigation Stage of IMPACT

3230 Person Search in the Statewide Intake Handbook 

3250 Relate Procedures in the Statewide Intake Handbook

If the history and criminal background checks indicate that the relative responding to the notification letter is a perpetrator of family or domestic violence, the caseworker assesses the overall safety issues involved with allowing the child to either be placed or have unsupervised contact with the relative.

See:

2540 Notification to Relatives Following a Removal

4500 Placing a Child With Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers

Step 3: Referring a Relative Who Is Interested in Caregiving

If the relative is interested in becoming a temporary caregiver for the child, the CVS caseworker initiates appropriate steps for kinship assessment. See 4500 Placing a Child With Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers.

If the relative is interested in becoming a foster parent for the child, the CVS caseworker refers the relative to the foster/adoption (FAD) unit. See 7200 Training and Study Process for Foster and Adoptive Homes.

Step 4: Referring Relatives Who Are Willing to Help in Other Ways

If the relative is not interested or able to be a caregiver for the child, but wishes to support the child in another manner, the CVS caseworker includes the relative in the child’s service planning as a meaningful connection or caring adult.

Step 5: Updating Family Tree in IMPACT

Caseworkers review and update the child’s relationships to their relatives or fictive kin in Family Tree in IMPACT. See 1432 Family Tree.

6124 Providing Substitute Care Immediately After a Child Is Removed

6124.1 Substitute Care Services to the Parents

CPS December 2009

When a child is placed with a substitute caregiver, the child's conservatorship (CVS) caseworker takes the following steps to provide services to the child's family.

Step 1: Identify the Family's Needs and Services

The CVS worker must coordinate with the investigation worker to identify:

  •  the needs the family will have during the period immediately following the child's removal through the completion of the family's service plan; and

  •  the services required to meet those needs.

This may include completing any tasks outlined in 2533 Gather Information About Child and Family that are as yet uncompleted.

Step 2: Complete an Assessment and a Family Service Plan

The worker responsible for developing the family's service plan begins working with the child and the child's family, either at the time of the child's removal or as soon as possible after the removal.

To conduct the family assessment and complete the initial service plan, the worker follows the same basic procedures that staff follow when working with families whose children have not been removed from the home.

For detailed information about those procedures, see:

3000 Family-Based Safety Services

6252 The Family's Service Plan

6273.1 Family Group Conferences

6410 Services to the Child's Family When the Child Is in Substitute Care

6124.2 Substitute Care Services to the Child

CPS December 2009

When a child is placed with a substitute caregiver, the child's conservatorship (CVS) worker takes the following steps to provide services to the child.

Step 1: Identify the Child's Needs and Services

The CVS worker must coordinate with the investigation worker to identify:

  •  the needs the child and family will have during the period immediately following the child's removal through the completion of the child's service plan; and

  •  the services required to meet those needs.

This may include completing any tasks outlined in the following that are as yet uncompleted:

  •  2531 Provide Notice and Gather Information Following a Removal;

  •  2552 Information Provided to the Child After a Removal; and

  •  2553 Information Provided to the Caregiver at the Time of Placement.

Step 2: Complete an Assessment and a Child's Service Plan

The worker responsible for developing the child’s service plan begins working with the child, the child's caregiver, and the child's family, either at the time of the child's removal or as soon as possible after the removal.

To conduct the family assessment and complete the initial service plan, the worker follows the same basic procedures that staff follow when working with families whose children have not been removed from the home.

For detailed information about those procedures, see:

3000 Family-Based Safety Services

6200 Permanency Planning in Substitute Care and its subitems

4000 Placement Actions in Substitute Care

6251 Child’s Service Plan

6300 Services to Children in Substitute Care

6400 Services to Families and Caregivers

6124.3 Substitute Care Services to the Caregiver

CPS December 2009

When a child is placed with a substitute caregiver, the child's conservatorship (CVS) caseworker takes the following steps to provide services to the child's caregiver.

Step 1: Identify the Caregiver's Needs and Services

The CVS worker must coordinate with the investigation worker to identify:

  •  the needs the caregiver will have during the period immediately following the child's removal through the completion of the child's service plan; and

  •  the services required to meet those needs.

This may include completing any tasks outlined in 2553 Information Provided to the Caregiver at the Time of Removal that are as yet uncompleted.

Step 2: Complete an Assessment and a Child's Service Plan

The worker responsible for developing the child’s service plan begins working with the child, the child's caregiver, and the child's family, either at the time of the child's removal or as soon as possible after the removal.

To complete the child's initial service plan, the worker follows the same basic procedures that staff follow when working with families whose children have not been removed from the home.

For detailed information about those procedures, see:

3000 Family-Based Safety Services

6200 Permanency Planning in Substitute Care and its subitems

4000 Placement Actions in Substitute Care

6251 The Child’s Service Plan

6300 Services to Children in Substitute Care

6400 Services to Families and Caregivers

Step 3: Provide a Copy of the Service Plan

The worker must give the substitute caregiver a copy of the child's service plan.

If the plan is not complete at the time of the child's placement, the worker specifies:

  •  the date by which the plan will be completed; and

  •  invites the caregiver to participate in its development.

For detailed information about those procedures, see:

6251 The Child's Service Plan

6240 Case Planning and its subitems

6420 Services to the Substitute Caregiver

6124.4 Substitute Care Services to Grandparents or Other Relatives

CPS December 2009

Unless a relative who has indicated an interest in the child is determined to be inappropriate as a caregiver or as a person who may have ongoing contact with the child, the relative must be included in the child's service planning. See 6123.1 When Relatives Have Been Contacted and Have Responded.

Step 1: Identify Needs and Services of the Grandparents or Other Relatives

The conservatorship (CVS) worker must coordinate with the investigation worker to identify:

  •  the needs the grandparents and other relatives will have during the period immediately following the child's removal through the completion of the child's service plan; and

  •  the services required to meet those needs.

This may include completing any tasks outlined in 2533 Gather Information About Child and Family that are as yet uncompleted.

Step 2: Complete an Assessment and a Child's Service Plan

The worker responsible for developing the child’s service plan begins working with the child and relatives, either at the time of the child's removal or as soon as possible after the removal.

To complete the child's initial service plan, the worker follows the same basic procedures that staff follow when working with families whose children have not been removed from the home.

For detailed information about those procedures, see:

3000 Family-Based Safety Services

6200 Permanency Planning in Substitute Care and its subitems

4000 Placement Actions in Substitute Care

6251 The Child’s Service Plan

6300 Services to Children in Substitute Care

6400 Services to Families and Caregivers

Step 3: Provide a Copy of the Child's Service Plan

The worker must give the grandparent or other relative a copy of the child's service plan.

For detailed information about those procedures, see:

6251 The Child's Service Plan

6240 Case Planning and its subitems

6420 Services to the Substitute Caregiver

<<Previous Page

Next Page>>