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6400 Services to Children in Substitute Care

6410 Placement Supervision

CPS February 2017

These policies apply to all children in CPS’s managing conservatorship.

See also:

6413 Services to Children and Caregivers Across Regional Lines

4520 Placing Children From Another State In Texas

6411 Contact With the Child

6411.1 Federal Requirements

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must visit the child, at a minimum, on a monthly basis. The caseworker visits must be well-planned and focused on issues relevant to case planning and service delivery to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of the children. The majority of the visits must occur in the child’s residence.

The requirement that the majority of visits occur at the residence means that there is at least one visit each month at the residence in a majority of the months over the year.

42 USC 622(b); 624(f)

For additional guidelines and information on child contacts and monthly visits, see the Services to Children in Substitute Care Resource Guide.

6411.2 Frequency of Face-to-Face Visits

CPS March 2017

When a child in CPS’s managing conservatorship is in substitute care, the caseworker must:

  •  conduct a face-to-face visit with each child at least once a month; and

  •  conduct the majority of visits in the child’s residence.

For the first three months a child is in care, the caseworker must conduct the monthly visits in the child’s home.

When a child is in a Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) home, the caseworker must:

  •  conduct a face-to-face visit with each child at least twice a month; and

  •  conduct the majority of visits in the child’s HCS home.

Visits must include quality time with the child separate from the caregiver, if the child is verbal. Visits should be conducted with the child alone and in privacy away from the caregiver, such as away from the home or in a separate room.

CPS may determine more frequent face-to-face or other contact (such as by phone) on a case-by-case basis to ensure the child’s safety, permanency, and well-being and to work toward achieving case goals.

6411.3 Contact with Children Placed in IDD GRO, SSLC and ICF Facilities

CPS February 2017

If a child is assessed as having an intellectual or developmental disability, the child may be placed at one of the following, depending on the child’s needs:

  •  Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) General Residential Operation (GRO)

  •  State Supported Living Center (SSLC)

  •  Intermediate Care Facility (ICF)

Staff should only consider placing the child in one of these facilities when no other less restrictive placement is available that can meet the child’s needs.

Texas Family Code §263.306

Regardless of the facility’s location, the caseworker must work with CPS staff and professionals in the child’s placement to secure needed services.

The caseworker must work closely with the developmental disability specialist (DDS). In 4118 Additional Actions for Placing Children with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities, see the subheading Assessing the Need for Facility Placement. The conservatorship (CVS) caseworker and DDS share responsibilities as described below.

6411.31 Responsibilities of the Developmental Disability Specialist

CPS February 2017

The developmental disability specialist (DDS) must:

  •  be assigned secondary caseworker on IMPACT substitute care (SUB) stages;

  •  remain in close contact with the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker;

  •  make monthly face-to-face visits and enter the contacts;

  •  document timely in IMPACT;

  •  place the child on appropriate Medicaid waiver lists;

  •  participate in treatment planning with the facility, to advocate for the child;

  •  provide a copy of the treatment plan to the CVS caseworker;

  •  ensure the child’s safety, permanency and well-being;

  •  be available for court when needed;

  •  participate in Permanency Conferences when needed;

  •  monitor the placement and assess the continued need for placement;

  •  search for a less restrictive placement at all times;

  •  process guardianship referral according to Aging Out policy;

  •  be assigned primary on Aging Out of Care stages;

  •  initiate the appeal process to the conservatorship supervisor for Aging Out of Care Guardianship after being directed to by the conservatorship supervisor;

  •  identify and arrange scheduling of children age 16 years who need a Determination of Intellectual Disability and a Home and Community Based services slot (Aging Out of Care or IDD GRO slot), using data warehouse reports;

  •  update Person Characteristics that reflect the child’s behaviors and disabilities;

  •  ensure the caseworker is completing the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application; and

  •  identify services for parents with an intellectual or developmental disability.

6411.32 Responsibilities of the Primary Caseworker When a Child Has Intellectual or Developmental Disability

CPS February 2017

The primary caseworker must:

  •  be assigned primary caseworker on IMPACT substitute care (SUB) stages;

  •  remain in close contact with the developmental disability specialist (DDS);

  •  complete monthly evaluation documentation;

  •  document any face-to-face contacts with the child on the same day;

  •  document all other contacts and actions timely in IMPACT;

  •  complete the foster care application and reviews;

  •  participate in Permanency Conferences and complete the Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS);

  •  maintain siblings and family case planning and contacts;

  •  complete and file court reports and the CPOS;

  •  ensure the child’s safety, permanency and well-being;

  •  attend all court hearings and arrange for the child to attend;

  •  participate in all of the child’s Permanency Conferences;

  •  monitor the placement and assess the continued need for placement;

  •  complete and update the common application;

  •  complete the referral form for Aging Out of Care;

  •  be assigned secondary on the Aging Out of Care stage;

  •  staff the case with the supervisor to make decisions to appeal Aging Out of Care guardianship rejections;

  •  transport and accompany the child to have a Determination of Disability Assessment, and arrange transportation for pre-placement visits;

  •  update Person Characteristics that reflect the child’s behaviors and disabilities; and

  •  ensure the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application is completed

6411.4 Contacts with Out-of-State Placements

CPS February 2017

For children placed out-of-state, face-to-face contact is conducted through supervision by the agency in the state where the child resides. However, the primary assigned caseworker in Texas must maintain monthly contact with the child by telephone, email or other electronic means. The caseworker must document the contact in IMPACT.

If the receiving state is unwilling to see the child face to face each month, the primary caseworker in Texas must continue to make face-to-face contact with the child monthly.

For contact with children placed out-of-state in a residential treatment center, see 4513.7 Placing a Child in a Residential Treatment Center Outside of Texas.

6411.5 Children with Primary Medical Needs and Special Health Care Needs

CPS October 2017

If a child in DFPS conservatorship has primary medical needs or special healthcare needs, the caseworker must:

  •   develop an understanding of the child’s medical needs and the services recommended by medical professionals;

  •   ensure that the child is receiving the recommended services; and

  •   maintain contact with healthcare providers to ensure that the child’s medical needs are being met.

Throughout the case, the caseworker works with the child’s family, healthcare providers, and collaterals to assess the caregiver’s ability to meet the child’s ongoing medical needs. The caseworker must:

  •   assess the appropriateness of the home environment at each visit to the caregiver’s home;

  •   ensure that the caregiver is trained to meet or proficient in meeting the special needs of the child, including being trained to use or being proficient in using medical equipment, administering prescribed medication, and providing needed supplies;

  •   ensure that the caregiver has access to and uses the medical equipment recommended by medical professionals; and

  •   assess the child’s care during each contact to ensure that the family continues to comply with the recommended medical care (including administering prescribed medication, attending medical appointments, and completing other tasks to meet the child’s needs).

The caseworker can contact the well being specialist or the regional nurse for assistance in understanding any of the child’s medical needs and determining how to assess the caregiver.

For children with primary medical needs, see

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

Primary Medical Needs (PMN) Resource Guide

6412 Responsibility for Contact Across Regional Lines

CPS February 2017

When another CPS unit provides courtesy supervision, the unit providing the supervision must:

  •  maintain the required contacts with the parent and child; and

  •  follow the procedures in 6411 Contact With the Child and its subitems.

See:

6314.1 Coordination Between Primary Caseworker and Courtesy Supervision Caseworker

6314.11 Courtesy Caseworker Responsibilities

6314.12 Primary Caseworker Responsibilities

6320 Conducting Visits with the Family

6413 Services to Children and Caregivers Across Regional Lines

CPS February 2017

When a child, youth or family resides outside of the region that holds legal jurisdiction the requirements for making monthly contact and providing services to child, parent, and caregiver remain the same as detailed in:

6400 Services to Children in Substitute Care

6300 Services to Families

6312 Services to the Parent When Family Reunification Is the Permanency Goal

When a child or youth resides outside of the region that has legal jurisdiction there are two types of supervision CPS can request to maintain contact, provide services, and monitor the child’s or youth’s safety:

  •  courtesy supervision; and

  • Local Permanency supervision.

CPS can request courtesy supervision when a child or youth in conservatorship is placed outside of the region that has legal jurisdiction and is residing with a parent. See 6314 Services to Children and Parents Across Regional Lines.

CPS can request Local Permanency supervision when a child or youth in conservatorship is placed outside of the region that has legal jurisdiction but not with a parent.

If a child is assessed as having an intellectual or developmental disability, and is placed in a facility outside the region, the CVS caseworker must share responsibilities with the developmental disability specialist (DDS), as described in:

6411.32 Responsibilities of the Primary Caseworker When a Child Has Intellectual or Developmental Disability

6411.31 Responsibilities of the Developmental Disability Specialist

6414 Local Permanency Supervision

CPS February 2017

Local Permanency specialists are secondary caseworkers for children and youth placed outside the region that has legal jurisdiction. The Local Permanency specialist acts as an extension of the primary caseworker and aids the primary caseworker in ensuring that the child or youth’s needs for safety and well-being are being met. The Local Permanency specialist also works to ensure that the child or youth achieves permanency.

The roles of Local Permanency are to:

  •  ensure that children and youth in out-of-region placements are seen at least monthly and that a majority of the visits occur in the child’s home;

  •  assess a home or facility’s safety and appropriateness;

  •  increase the child’s sense of support and stability;

  •  allow for a quick response to a child in crisis; and

  •  ensure that case planning activities are communicated to:

  •  the placement;

  •  the child or youth; and

  •  the legal region (the region that holds legal jurisdiction).

6414.1 Local Permanency Eligibility

CPS February 2017

All children are eligible for Local Permanency courtesy supervision when residing outside of the region that holds legal jurisdiction (the “legal region”), except children who are placed in the following placement types:

  •  pre-consummated adoptive placements and children in need of specialized adoption preparation services;

  •  State Supported Living Centers;

  •  General Residential Operations for children with intellectual disabilities;

  •  Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID);

  •  nursing homes; or

  •  parent’s home.

Direct any questions related to the eligibility of placement types not listed above to the regional Local Permanency liaison.

6414.2 Coordination Between Local Permanency and Primary Caseworker

CPS February 2017

Courtesy supervision by a Local Permanency specialist does not relieve the child or youth’s primary caseworker from his or her responsibilities to the child or youth or to the caregiver.

Before the first visit with the child or youth, the Local Permanency specialist and primary caseworker must have a phone conference to discuss:

  •  the child or youth’s plan of service;

  •  any specific court orders;

  •  family and sibling visitation;

  •  special issues, the permanency plan for the child or youth; and

  •  a communication plan.

The communication plan must address how the primary caseworker and the Local Permanency specialist will share information and documents. The plan must specifically address how they will share information about the development and review of:

  •  court reports;

  •  child plans of service;

  •  appropriateness of placement; and

  •  permanency goals.

The primary caseworker should document the plan in his or her monthly evaluation.

6414.3 Responsibilities of the Local Permanency Specialist

CPS February 2017

The responsibilities of the Local Permanency specialist are the same as those listed in 6411 Contact with the Child.

The Local Permanency specialist must:

  •  visit the child or youth within 15 calendar days of being assigned secondary in IMPACT;

  •  conduct well-planned monthly visits with the child or youth and caregiver to assess the child’s needs and well-being;

  •  discuss the child’s permanency plan with the child or youth and caregiver during every visit, to assess progress being made to achieve that goal;

  •  ensure the placement is meeting the child or youth’s needs and report any unmet need to the primary caseworker;

  •  enter in the substitute care (SUB) stage in IMPACT any face-to-face contacts with the child or youth on the same day as the contact, and complete any narrative regarding the contact within seven days;

  •  document all other contacts for the case in IMPACT timely;

  •  communicate at least monthly, either verbally or via email, with the child or youth’s primary caseworker in order to provide information to assist in completing the child’s service plans and court reports;

  •  participate in and assist the primary caseworker with coordinating Permanency Planning Meetings, visitation between the child or youth and his or her siblings and family, and Permanency Roundtables for children or youth who are assigned a Local Permanency specialist; and

  •  serve as the child or youth’s designated medical consenter when appropriate. See 11113.32 CPS Local Permanency Staff Medical Consenters.

6414.4 Responsibilities of the Primary Caseworker When a Local Permanency Specialist is Assigned to a Child

CPS February 2017

The primary caseworker must:

  •  maintain at least monthly contact with the child or youth and the caregiver by email, telephone contact, or other forms of technology;

  •  maintain at least monthly contact with the Local Permanency specialist to ensure that all of the child’s needs are being met, as outlined in 6400 Services to Children in Substitute Care; and

  •  submit updated court reports to the Local Permanency specialist five days before a court hearing and any court orders to the Local Permanency specialist within five business days after the court hearing, to ensure the child or youth and caregiver are being provided with consistent information.

6414.5 Transitioning from a Local Permanency Specialist to a Courtesy Caseworker When the Out of Region Placement is Identified as the Adoptive Home

CPS February 2017

Local Permanency specialists do not provide adoption preparation services. If a child assigned to Local Permanency needs these services, the legal region caseworker must complete the Universal Referral Form to request a courtesy adoption preparation caseworker.

Once the region providing the courtesy adoption preparation caseworker receives the request, it consults with the legal region caseworker and Local Permanency specialist to determine when to make the transition.

A child is eligible for an adoption preparation caseworker if:

  •  parental rights have been terminated;

  •  the child’s permanency plan is adoption; and

  •  the child’s placement is intended to be the adoptive family.

The Local Permanency specialist must continue to visit the child and caregiver until the transition to a specialized courtesy caseworker can be made.

Exception: If the Adoption Consummation Hearing is scheduled to occur within 30 days from the date of receiving the approved adoptive home screening for the caregiver, the Local Permanency specialist must conduct the monthly face-to-face contact, and a referral for a courtesy caseworker is not necessary.

6414.6 Local Permanency Waiver

CPS February 2017

There are situations when assigning a Local Permanency specialist is not practical or in the best interest of the child or youth. In these situations, the caseworker must request a waiver from the regional conservatorship (CVS) program administrator.

6414.7 Conducting the Monthly Visit

CPS February 2017

The monthly visit must include quality time with the child separate from the caregiver, if the child is verbal.

If the child is nonverbal, the caseworker must:

  •  interact with the child; and

  •  observe the caregiver’s interaction with the child.

If the caseworker is visiting with a sibling group that is placed together, the caseworker must spend time with:

  •  each child individually (separate from the child’s siblings); and

  •  the child and his or her siblings together.

During the visit with the child, the child’s caseworker must ask about and discuss with the child:

  •  what has happened since the last visit;

  •  contacts held with parents, siblings, and others, if contact is approved in the case plan;

  •  the child’s thoughts and feelings about:

  •  living with the caregiver; and

  •  being away from home;

  •  the child’s understanding of why he or she is in care and remains in care;

  •  the child’s interactions with other children in the home;

  •  the child’s participation in normalcy activities;

  •  the child’s progress in school;

  •  the child’s health, growth, and development;

  •  the child’s racial and ethnic identity development;

  •  the services that have been provided;

  •  the status of the case;

  •  the child’s opinion of his or her service plan; and

  •  the youth’s opinion of his or her transition plan, if the youth is 14 years of age or older.

The caseworker must keep the child informed about the child’s overall progress in substitute care and allow the child to express how he or she feels about the situation and what needs the child may have.

The caseworker also must help the child prepare for being:

  •  reunited with his or her family; or

  •  moved to another permanent living situation, if family reunification has been ruled out.

During the monthly visit at the child’s residence, the caseworker must also do a physical walk-through of the child’s residence, including treatment centers and foster or kinship homes and backyards or outdoor areas, to observe the environment in which the child is living. The caseworker must document the walkthrough.

If the caseworker has concerns about the child’s safety, the caseworker must reference the Conservatorship (CVS) Safety Visit Resource Guide for guidance on how to conduct the home visit and review for any safety concerns.

If parental rights have been terminated, the caseworker must review Form 2140 Adoption Best Practice Guide and follow any additional requirements for discussing and preparing the child for adoption according to Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3343.

6414.71 Assessing the Monthly Visit

CPS February 2017

Both during and after a visit with a child or family, the caseworker must assess the child’s:

  •  progress and adjustment to substitute care;

  •  interaction with the caregiver;

  •  home environment safety; and

  •  ability to seek help if necessary.

The caseworker must also assess the caretaker’s ability, willingness, and efforts to care for the child and meet the child’s needs, particularly safety needs.

6414.72 Documenting the Monthly Visit

CPS February 2017

After each monthly visit with a child, the caseworker must document:

  •  his or her observations of and discussions with the child and caretaker; and

  •  any follow-up tasks needed.

6414.73 Following Up on Identified Needs

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must follow through with meeting any identified needs of the child or providing any support services needed for the caregiver.

6414.74 Visits Conducted by an Alternate Caseworker

CPS February 2017

If the primary caseworker is unable to conduct the monthly visit with a child, an alternate caseworker must be assigned to make the monthly visit. When conducting the visit, the alternate caseworker must follow the same requirements as specified in 6414.7 Conducting the Monthly Visit and its subitems.

6414.75 Alternate Caseworker Follow Up

CPS February 2017

The alternate caseworker who conducts the visit must follow through with meeting any identified needs of the child or providing any support services needed for the caregiver, or make arrangements for a coworker to take the steps.

See also 6413 Services To Children and Caregivers Across Regional lines and 6412 Responsibility for Contact Across Regional Lines.

6415 The Right to Regular Contact

CPS February 2017

When a child enters CPS’s managing conservatorship, CPS must ensure that a parent who is otherwise entitled to possession of the child is able to visit the child within five days of the date CPS is named the child’s temporary managing conservator, unless:

  •  CPS determines that visitation is not in the child’s best interest; or

  •  visitation with the parent would conflict with a court order relating to possession of or access to the child.

Texas Family Code §262.115

When a child in CPS’s managing conservatorship is in substitute care, the child and the child’s parents have a right to maintain regular contact with each other at a minimum of twice a month unless:

  •  the court restricts their contacts; or

  •  the parents:

  •  have executed an affidavit of relinquishment (see 5562 Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights); or

  •  had their parental rights terminated by the court.

6415.1 Ending Contact if the Child Is at Risk

CPS February 2017

If the parents’ actions during their contacts with the child increase the risk of child abuse or neglect, the caseworker must ask the court to restrict the parents’ contacts.

6416 Visitation Between Families and Children in Substitute Care

CPS February 2017

See the Visitation Best Practice Guide.

Visitation is essential for a child’s well-being, fundamental to permanency, and vital to a child maintaining family relationships and cultural connections.

Because of the importance of visitation to children and families, staff may not withhold visitation as punishment for a parent’s behavior and should strive to support visitation to the maximum extent feasible, provided that visitation is safe and continues to be in the child’s best interest.

In collaboration with each parent, and considering the following factors, the caseworker must develop a visitation plan for a child whose goal is family reunification. The plan must be complete by the 30th day following CPS being named temporary managing conservator.

In determining the frequency and circumstances of visitation, CPS must consider the:

  •  child’s safety and best interest;

  •  child’s age;

  •  desires of each parent regarding visitation with the child;

  •  location of each parent and the child; and

  •  resources available to CPS. This includes the resources to:

  •  ensure that visitation is properly supervised by CPS employee or an available and willing volunteer CPS determines suitable after conducting a background and criminal history check; and

  •  provide transportation to and from visits.

The caseworker must file the visitation plan with the court at least 10 days before the status hearing.

The parents and CPS must agree upon any modification to the visitation plan between the Status Hearing and a subsequent Permanency Hearing, unless a court order prohibits modification.

Texas Family Code §263.107

A CPS employee or a suitable volunteer may supervise visitation. CPS must first perform a background and criminal history check on any individual who volunteers to supervise visitation. Any item found on the checks will bar this individual from supervising visitation, if that item would prohibit a Parental Child Safety Placement with that individual without program director or regional director approval. See 3211.2 Criminal History Checks; and 3211.3 Abuse and Neglect History Checks.

The caseworker must document the visitation plan on the Visitation Plan (Form K-908-2110), which should be attached to the family plan of service.

The caseworker must present the current visitation plan or the court’s review at each permanency hearing.

6416.1 Sibling Visitation

CPS August 2017

DFPS must provide frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between siblings unless:

  •   the court orders otherwise; or

  •   DFPS has determined and documented in the Child’s Plan of Service that frequent visitation or ongoing interaction between siblings would not be in the child’s best interest and the court has not ordered this visitation to occur.

Texas Administrative Code §700.1327

Case Record

Staff must document the following issues in the case record:

  •   any reasons that siblings are not placed together or in close proximity;

  •   all efforts to maintain regular sibling contact and relationships, or why this is not occurring; and

  •   continual assessment and efforts to reunite siblings in placement.

If sibling visitation is not allowed staff must document the reasons for the restriction and reevaluate no less than every 60 days.

Caseworkers must address the following issues in Permanency Planning meetings and the Child’s Plan of Service:

  •   diligent efforts to reunite siblings in placement;

  •   the type and frequency of contact between siblings placed with different caregivers;

  •   the need and type of therapeutic intervention for maintaining sibling relationships; and

  •   specific issues needed to reunite siblings for the purpose of adoption if the permanency goal becomes adoption and siblings are placed separately.

Placement with Siblings

Whenever possible, DFPS places all children removed from a particular home with the same caregiver, unless it is in the best interest of one or more of the children to be placed separately.

When siblings cannot be placed together, the caseworker must ensure that they are placed with caregivers who are committed to helping them stay in regular contact (visits, phone calls, electronic correspondence), unless it is clearly not in the best interest of one or more of the children to stay in touch.

Caseworkers must make ongoing efforts to place siblings together by contacting the Central Placement unit (CPU) or working with child placing agencies (CPAs) to get qualifying waivers or variances as needed.

Differing Permanency Goals for Siblings or Half-Siblings

Siblings or half-siblings who come into care at different times may have different permanency goals than those already in care (such as adoption versus family reunification). Case planning efforts must address what type of sibling contact is possible, given the goals chosen. Caseworkers must document these efforts in the record.

Also see 4114.2 Separating Siblings.

6417 Supervising a Child Placed in Texas From Another State

CPS October 2017

When another state places a child in Texas, and that placement is governed by the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), the other state requests courtesy supervision from DFPS.

If the child is placed with a parent, relative, or fictive kin as a result of a request from the other state’s child welfare agency, the region assigns a courtesy supervision caseworker to supervise the placement while the child is in Texas. See 4523 Notification and Supervision.

If the child is placed with a licensed family through a private child placing agency (CPA), the other state has to contract with a private agency for supervision.

Recording the ICPC Placement in IMPACT

Once the courtesy supervision caseworker is assigned to the placement, he or she must enter the placement in IMPACT within 24 hours, or by 7 p.m. the next business day.

To record the new placement, the courtesy supervision caseworker must:

  •   review information on the Placement Status (100B);

  •   open the Placement page in the child’s Substitute Care or Adoption stage; and

  •   select the resource identification number by choosing the correct resource or person from the directory.

Supervision

To supervise the placement, the caseworker assigned to the case must:

  •   visit the child within 30 days of the Texas Interstate Compact Office receiving the Placement Status (100B);

  •   visit the child in person at least once a month, unless the other state’s agency requests more frequent supervision, as specified in 6411 Contact With the Child; and

  •   prepare a supervisory report on the placement at least once per quarter and submit it to the caseworker’s supervisor.

The supervisor reviews the supervisory report and sends it to the regional coordinator to upload into IMPACT. The Texas Interstate Compact Office processes the supervisory report and sends it to the other state’s ICPC office.

6418 The Supervision Services Expected From Another State

CPS October 2017

When Texas places a child in another state, and that placement is governed by the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), Texas requests that the other state’s agency provide courtesy supervision of the placement. The other state’s agency assigns a courtesy supervision caseworker to supervise the placement while the child is in that state.

Supervisory Reports

The other state’s agency provides monthly face-to-face visits with the child and prepares a supervisory report at least quarterly. The other state’s agency may provide more frequent supervision, if the child’s caseworker has requested it (based on the child’s needs). The Texas caseworker must document the other state’s visits in IMPACT each month.

Ongoing Case Planning

Once the placement is made, the child’s caseworker must obtain the courtesy supervision caseworker’s contact information. The child’s caseworker requests contact information through the regional ICPC coordinator or through the Texas Interstate Compact Office.

After obtaining the courtesy supervision worker’s contact information, the child’s Texas caseworker must:

  •   maintain frequent contact with the receiving agency’s assigned courtesy supervision caseworker; and

  •   continue to perform all case planning activities until the court terminates DFPS’s conservatorship appointment.

See 6200 Case Planning for Positive Permanency.

Contacts

The CPS caseworker must make monthly contact with the child and caregiver by phone. The CPS caseworker must make monthly contact with the other state’s courtesy supervision caseworker.

Documentation

The caseworker must enter the date that the other state’s caseworker made face to face (FTF) contact with the child in IMPACT, as the CVS Monthly Required FTF contact.

Extended Supervision

If a child’s case remains open for more than a year, the receiving agency may reduce the frequency of the supervisory reports to once every six months. However, the CPS caseworker must continue to see the child once a month. If necessary, the caseworker must travel to the other state to see the child.

6420 Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care

CPS October 2017

CPS staff must provide Form 2530 CPS Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care to all children and youth in CPS foster care.

Social Security Act, Section 475A(b) (42 U.S.C. §675A(b))

Texas Family Code §263.008

CPS staff must review Form 2530 with the child and the caregiver no later than 72 hours from the date when:

  •   the child comes into foster care; or

  •   a placement change is made.

For additional guidelines and information, see the Services to Children in Substitute Care Resource Guide.

Depending on the age of the child or youth, staff must review Form 2530 with the child or youth at a language level that the child or youth can understand.

Upon completing the review, the child or youth, caregiver, and staff must each sign on the appropriate signature lines. If the child is too young or otherwise not able to sign the document, the caseworker must note this on the child’s signature line.

Staff must attach a copy of the signed document to the Initial Child’s Plan of Service and all Child’s Plan of Service Reviews.

Staff must provide a copy of the signed document to the:

  •   child or youth being placed; and

  •   caregiver.

Staff must keep a copy in the child’s or youth’s file.

While Form 2530 contains content similar to that in Child Care Licensing’s Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, §749.1003, the two publications are different. CPS provides certain rights that are not included in the minimum standards.

6421 Texas Foster Care Handbook

CPS October 2017

CPS staff must provide a copy of the Texas Foster Care Handbook to children or youth who are age 10 and older when they enter foster care or who turn age 10 while they are in foster care. CPS staff must document in a contact that a foster care handbook was given to the child or youth.

6422 Discipline

CPS October 2017

Children must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. The primary purpose of discipline must be to encourage safe and appropriate behavior, not to punish the child.

Discipline must suit the particular child’s needs and circumstances and must take into account the child’s age, developmental level, specific misbehavior, previous reaction to discipline, and history, including any history of physical or emotional abuse.

No child in DFPS’s managing conservatorship may be deprived of basic necessities or subjected to cruel, harsh, unusual, or unnecessary punishment.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1331

CPS requires foster caregivers, kinship caregivers, and pre-consummated adoptive parents to comply with:

  •   the discipline requirements in DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1331;

  •   applicable Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, including those in 40 TAC §749.1951 and 40 TAC §749.1957; and

  •   requirements described in Form 2279 Placement Summary.

See Appendix 6000-2: DFPS Discipline Policy

6422.1 Corporal Punishment is Not Permitted

CPS October 2017

Corporal punishment is defined as the infliction of physical pain on any part of a child’s body as means of controlling or managing the child’s behavior. It includes:

  •   hitting or spanking a child with a hand or instrument; or

  •   forcing or requiring the child to do any of the following as a method of managing or controlling behavior:

  •   Performing any form of physical exercise, such as running laps or doing sit ups or push-ups.

  •   Holding a physical position, such as kneeling or squatting.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.1953

  •   Doing any form of “unproductive work,” defined as work that serves no purpose except to demean the child. Examples include moving rocks or logs from one pile to another or digging a hole and then filling it in.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.1955

6422.2 Addressing Behavior Management and Discipline Issues

CPS October 2017

The child’s caregiver is expected to follow the discipline policies described in Form 2279 Placement Summary and in DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.1953 through §749.1961.

If the caseworker discovers any instances of apparent noncompliance with the policies, the caseworker must discuss the noncompliance with the caregiver and report the noncompliance to the foster and adoption home development or kinship development caseworker.

The caseworker must immediately discuss any instance of noncompliance with the conservatorship supervisor. The caseworker and supervisor must determine CPS’s response to the violation and assess the individual family circumstances by:

  •   the seriousness of the incident;

  •   the threat to child safety;

  •   child vulnerability; and

  •   caregiver protective capacity.

While child safety is paramount, CPS’s response should be the least intrusive to control safety. Responses may range from developing a safety plan with the caregiver to making a placement change.

6423 Respect for Religious Practices

CPS October 2017

When a child or youth comes into substitute care, the caseworker must accommodate the child’s and family’s wishes with respect to religious practices to the greatest extent possible.

For additional guidelines and information, see the Services to Children in Substitute Care Resource Guide.

6430 Initial Assessment and Plan

CPS February 2017

Within 45 days after a child’s placement in substitute care, CPS must develop a written plan for services to the child.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1319

6431 Initial Assessment Services

CPS August 2017

The initial assessment services provided during the first 45 days a child is in care must include the following:

  •   a Texas Health Steps medical checkup. The checkups are available to all children through both STAR Health and traditional Medicaid and must be completed within 30 days;

  •   for children newborn through age 3, a STAR Health provider will make a referral to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), if appropriate. If a suspected disability or developmental delay requires intervention before an initial Texas Health Steps exam, the caseworker, after consultation with the supervisor:

  •   makes a referral to ECI within two business days of the need being identified; and

  •   submits a referral to the regional Developmental Disability Specialist (DDS) for evaluation of and referral to Developmental Disability Services;

  •   a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) for all children ages 3-17 must be completed within 30 days. For information about the CANS see the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide and section 6431.1 Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment and Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA);

  •   an initial dental exam for all children six months of age or older, known as a Texas Health Steps dental checkup. This must be scheduled within 30 days and must be completed within 90 days;

  •   an assessment of the child’s immediate and extended family, taking into consideration the family’s racial, ethnic, and cultural identity;

  •   the caseworker’s determination of the child’s basic health, social, developmental, cultural, educational, therapeutic, and behavioral strengths and needs, and his or her need for transitional living services, including preparation for adult living (PAL) needs (if appropriate). The caseworker may recommend further assessment services and testing, based on information obtained from the family and child, the school, the substitute caregiver, medical staff, and other professionals that may be involved with the family and child;

  •   for placement purposes, the caseworker’s determination of a basic service level for a child or the caseworker’s referral to the third party reviewer to determine a higher service level for a child (see 4410 Service Level Determinations and Reauthorizations); and

  •   any additional assessments that are needed and can be arranged during the initial 45-day time period.

6431.1 Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment and Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA)

CPS August 2017

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS)

All youth ages 3-17 who enter DFPS conservatorship on or after September 1, 2016, must receive the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment within the first 30 days of entering care. The information from the CANS assessment is used to develop the Child Service Plan.

STAR Health completes a CANS assessment for children ages 3-17, unless the child is excluded from STAR Health. See Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide under Special Circumstances.

If a child is excluded from STAR Health, the caseworker must send an email to CANS@dfps.state.tx.us within seven days of the child’s removal.

Texas Family Code §266.012

Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA)

The Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) is important for developing the CANS assessment and the Family Plan of Service for each child. In order to ensure the caseworker has information available from the FSNA and CANS to use in service planning, refer to the Structured Decision-Making (SDM) Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) Resource Guide for directions. Follow the process outlined in the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide.

The CVS caseworker must complete the FSNA for each child entering DFPS conservatorship, and submit it to the Health Passport, within 21 days after the child’s removal.

6431.11 Timeline for CANS and FSNA

CPS August 2017

To ensure the caseworker has information available from both the FSNA and the CANS to use in service planning, staff must complete the following activities according to the timelines stated below.

Within 24 Hours of Removal

The removal caseworker must enter the placement information into IMPACT within 24 hours of removal, or no later than 7:00 p.m. the next day. IMPACT triggers a notification to STAR Health that a new member has been enrolled. STAR Health will call the medical consenter to complete a general health screening including an offer to schedule a CANS assessment.

Within 48 Hours of Removal

  •   A conservatorship (CVS) caseworker must be assigned as secondary on the family substitute care (FSU) and substitute care (SUB) stages in IMPACT.

  •   The CVS caseworker must begin gathering case information for the FSNA.

Within 14 Days of Removal

1.   The caseworker must contact the caregiver to confirm that the CANS assessment has been scheduled. If an appointment has not been scheduled the caseworker should assist in scheduling one by contacting Star Health for assistance in locating a CANS assessor.

2.   The caseworker must document the contact in IMPACT.

Within 21 Days of Removal

1.   The CVS caseworker must complete the FSNA assessment.

2.   The caseworker must fax the FSNA to Superior Health Plan, which will upload it into Health Passport (see the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide under Timeline and Procedures for specific instructions).

3.   The caseworker must complete one designated Health Passport fax coversheet for each child identified on the FSNA. The coversheet can be located at Superior (FSNA) Fax Cover Sheet. The caseworker must follow the directions provided on the coversheet and mark only the designated areas, or the fax will be rejected.

In rare situations (for instance aggravated circumstances, a baby Moses case, or if the parent’s location cannot be found), the caseworker cannot complete the FSNA. In these instances, the CVS caseworker must still fax the designated coversheet to STAR Health. The CVS caseworker must check the box on the coversheet that says “No FSNA” and fax only the completed coversheet for each sibling in a family. This action tells the clinician to complete the CANS tool without the FSNA.

If the CVS caseworker is contacted to resubmit the FSNA, the CVS caseworker must respond to the request within one business day.

Within 30-35 Days of Removal

1.   The CVS caseworker must access the Assessments tab in Health Passport within 30 to 35 days, to view the CANS report.

2.   If the CANS report is not present in Health Passport, the CVS caseworker must:

a.   verify with the caregiver that a CANS was completed;

b.   if the caregiver verifies that a CANS was completed, the caseworker must contact the STAR Health clinician to ensure that the CANS was completed in e-CANS;

c.   if the STAR Health clinician verifies that the CANS was completed in e-CANS, the CVS caseworker must send an email notification to the CANS mailbox with the child’s name, person identification number (PID), and a brief description of the issue; and

d.   upon receipt, a CANS subject matter expert (SME) researches the issue and provides further instruction to the CVS caseworker within two business days.

3.   The CVS caseworker must review the CANS report in order to complete the Child’s Plan of Service. The CVS caseworker must take a copy of the CANS summary report to any Permanency Conference or Family Group Conference.

Placement Changes Within the First 30 Days

If a child’s placement changes within the first 30 days and the child remains in DFPS conservatorship, the CVS caseworker must take the following steps to coordinate with STAR Health and the caregiver to obtain the status of the CANS assessment:

1.   The CVS caseworker must determine whether an appointment has been scheduled by requesting the time, date and location of any scheduled CANS appointment from the prior placement.

2.   If the child’s new placement is within 30 miles of the identified provider, the CVS caseworker must ensure that the existing appointment is kept by informing the new caregiver of the existing scheduled appointment.

3.   If the child’s new placement is farther than 30 miles from the identified provider, the CVS caseworker must take the following steps:

  •   Assist the new caregiver with rescheduling the appointment immediately, but no later than two business days following the placement change.

  •   Contact the clinician originally scheduled to complete the CANS assessment or contact STAR Health Member Services at 1-866-912-6283 to cancel the appointment.

6431.12 Using the CANS Assessment for Service Planning

CPS February 2017

The CANS summary report in the Health Passport contains:

  •  raw scores;

  •  clinical impression;

  •  therapist recommendations for prioritization; and

  •  service recommendations.

The conservatorship (CVS) caseworker must consider each of these components when developing the service plan. In reviewing the raw scores, note that a needs score of 2 or 3 indicates a need for action and must be considered for inclusion in the child’s plan of service. A strengths score of 0 or 1 identifies a centerpiece strength and must also be considered for strengths-building activities in the child’s plan of service.

The CANS summary report also includes three narrative fields which the CVS caseworker should focus on when developing the Child Service Plan. (See the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide for detailed explanation of these fields.)

For additional support in developing a child service plan, the caseworker contacts the regional super skilled user or emails CANS@dfps.state.tx.us.

6431.13 The STAR Health Healthcare Service Plan

CPS February 2017

The conservatorship (CVS) caseworker enters in IMPACT that a child qualifies for service management. Within 45 days, STAR Health completes a healthcare service plan for the child. The healthcare service plan incorporates the recommendations listed in the Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) report. Once complete, this document is available to view and print in the Assessments tab of the Health Passport.

See 11240 Using the Health Passport

If a CANS summary report’s service recommendations indicate that a child receiving service management needs a service that has not yet been coordinated, the caregiver or CVS caseworker may receive a call from STAR Health to arrange this service. The CVS caseworker must be responsive anytime STAR Health calls, to ensure the child is able to receive all appropriate recommended services.

If a CANS summary report’s service recommendations do not indicate enrollment in service management, the CVS caseworker can still request service management enrollment if the CVS caseworker:

  •  notices service recommendations that may not already be in place; or

  •  otherwise feels that service management could support that child.

The CVS caseworker can request service management enrollment at any time by calling STAR Health at 1-866-912-6283.

For additional support the caseworker contacts the regional super skilled user or emails the CANS subject matter experts (SMEs) at CANS@dfps.state.tx.us.

6431.14 Annually Updating CANS

CPS February 2017

All youth ages 3-17 who enter care on or after September 1, 2016 are able to receive an annual update to their initial Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessments. STAR Health member services mail a reminder letter to the child or youth’s medical consenter when the annual update to the CANS is due. Medical consenters can call STAR Health member services for assistance in scheduling an annual CANS appointment or finding a CANS-certified STAR Health clinician.

The conservatorship (CVS) caseworker must take the following steps to complete the annual CANS assessment:

1.   FAX the most recently completed Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) to Health Passport using the steps provided in 6431.11 Timeline for CANS and FSNA under the subheading Within 21 days of Removal.

2.   Coordinate with the child’s caregiver to schedule the annual CANS with the child’s current clinician, if CANS certified. If the current clinician is not CANS certified, another clinician must be used to conduct the assessment. Contact STAR Health Member Services at 1-866-912-6283 to find a CANS-certified clinician.

3.   Follow the instructions in the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide under CANS and Service Planning, to update the Child’s Plan of Service with the new recommendations.

6431.15 Court Order to Obtain a CANS Assessment

CPS February 2017

DFPS will use existing processes to obtain a Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) assessment that has been court ordered. When a court orders a healthcare service, treatment, or testing for a child in CPS conservatorship, the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker must take the following steps within one business day:

1.   Notify the regional well-being specialist of the order, and provide a copy of the written order when it is received.

2.   Email a copy of the written court order to MedQuestions@Cenpatico.com.

3.   Follow all processes stated in 6431.11 Timeline for CANS/FSNA and in the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) 2.0 Resource Guide.

If No FSNA Exists

If the court order is for a child involved in a case opened before September 1, 2016, a Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) will not have been completed. The caseworker must still fax an FSNA coversheet and check the box that states “No Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA)”.

When a Child Turns 3 After Entering Conservatorship

When a child turns 3 after entering care, he or she will be eligible for a CANS assessment on or after his or her third birthday.

The CVS caseworker must coordinate with the child’s caregiver to schedule and obtain a CANS assessment within 30 days following the child’s third birthday.

The CVS caseworker must ensure the most recent FSNA is available in the child’s Health Passport record.

6431.16 Child in Inpatient Hospitalization

CPS February 2017

If a child is hospitalized during the timeframe in which a Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) should be scheduled or administered, the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker must contact STAR Health within one business day of the child’s admission. In most cases, STAR Health will attempt to arrange for a CANS assessment to be completed while the child is admitted to the hospital, if necessary.

This requirement applies to both medical and psychiatric hospitalization.

6431.2 Assess for Developmental or Intellectual Disability

CPS February 2017

DFPS must assess whether a child who comes into care has an intellectual or developmental disability as soon as possible.

Texas Family Code §264.1075

For the initial placement, the caseworker must provide any relevant information in Form 6589 Post-Removal Staffing. For a subsequent placement and as the child remains in care, the caseworker must ensure a child receives an assessment as needed. The assessment follows regional protocols and may occur:

  •  on a formal basis, such as a referral to a local mental health authority; or

  •  on an informal basis, such as when a caregiver suspects a developmental delay and the developmental disability specialist considers whether additional referrals are necessary, or when the child’s treating physician notes a possible disability.

If the child is assessed as having an intellectual or developmental disability, the caseworker must work with DFPS staff and professionals in the child’s placement to secure needed services.

6440 When a Youth in Substitute Care is Pregnant or Parenting

CPS October 2017

See Form 2450 Procedures for IMPACT Data Entry Associated with Youth Parents in DFPS Conservatorship.

6441 When a Youth in Substitute Care is Pregnant

CPS October 2017

See 11741 If a Youth is Pregnant.

6442 When a Youth in Substitute Care is Parenting

CPS October 2017

The baby’s and youth’s safety are always paramount and must be assessed and documented at every visit with the youth.

The following sections address a minor in DFPS’s managing conservatorship who has a baby while in care or enters into care with a baby.

The term baby refers to any youth parent’s child regardless of the child’s age.

When DFPS Has Conservatorship of the Baby

When DFPS has conservatorship of both the baby and the youth parent, the caseworker must follow the policies related to children in conservatorship. Regardless of whether the baby and youth parent are placed in the same placement, their cases must be handled individually. The caseworker must:

  •   complete Child and Family Plans of Service according to 6241 The Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS), and 6242 The Family Plan of Service (FPOS);

  •   enter into IMPACT a medical consenter and backup medical consenter, according to 11100 Medical Consent; and

  •   contact the regional foster care eligibility specialist for verification, if the baby is eligible for STAR Health.

See Form 2450 Procedures for IMPACT Data Entry Associated with Youth Parents in DFPS Conservatorship.

When DFPS Does Not Have Conservatorship of the Baby

When DFPS does not have conservatorship of the baby, the baby may be placed in the same placement as the youth parent. This placement could be either paid by DFPS or unpaid.

If DFPS does not have conservatorship of the baby, a child’s service plan is not needed for the baby. The caseworker should address in the youth’s own Plan of Service the youth’s parenting issues, including any past concerns of abuse or neglect by the parent, and any needs of the baby.

During monthly contacts, the caseworker must:

  •   if possible, attempt to meet with the youth when the youth’s baby is present, to ensure the baby’s needs are being met; and

  •   discuss the youth’s and baby’s needs with the caregiver.

The caseworker must document in the youth’s monthly contact:

  •   whether the caseworker was able to see the baby;

  •   observations; and

  •   any needs of the baby.

The caseworker must staff with his or her supervisor any time there is a concern that the baby’s needs are not being met.

Baby Is in a Placement Paid by DFPS

When DFPS is paying for the placement for a baby who is not in DFPS conservatorship, the caseworker must:

  •   enter the youth parent as a primary medical consenter in IMPACT and enter no backup medical consenter. See 11100 Medical Consent; and

  •   contact the regional foster care eligibility specialist for verification, if the baby may be eligible for STAR Health, newborn, or traditional Medicaid.

See Form 2450 Procedures for IMPACT Data Entry Associated with Youth Parents in DFPS Conservatorship.

Baby Is in a Non-Paid DFPS Placement

When DFPS is not paying for the placement for a baby who is not in DFPS conservatorship, the caseworker must:

  •   not enter a medical consenter into IMPACT;

  •   if appropriate, add the non-custodial parent on the youth parent’s Child’s Plan of Service or a family service plan completed in the Family Substitute Care (FSU) stage. See 6241 The Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS), and 6242 The Family Plan of Service (FPOS); and

  •   assist the youth parent in applying for benefits through the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), if the baby may be eligible for STAR Health, newborn, or traditional Medicaid.

Closing Stages in IMPACT

When the Youth Parent and Baby Leave Paid Foster Care

Close the baby’s Subcare Case Related Special Request - Public Service (SUB C-PB) stage when the youth parent and the baby leave a paid foster care setting (such as an independent living setting, return to the youth parent’s home, or a move to a non-licensed kinship placement). If the case has progressed to a family reunification (FRE) stage, there should not be an open SUB C-PB stage regarding the baby of a youth parent in conservatorship (CVS).

When the Baby’s Placement in DFPS-Paid Foster Care Ends

Close the SUB C-PB stage on the baby when the baby’s placement in DFPS paid foster care ends.

When the youth parent leaves a DFPS-paid foster care placement with the baby, the youth parent can seek Medicaid for the baby through HHSC if the baby does not already have medical insurance coverage.

When the Youth Parent Is a Runaway

Pregnant Youth Gave Birth While on Runaway Status

If a pregnant youth on runaway status gives birth, do not create a SUB C-PB stage for the baby, unless the youth and baby enter a DFPS-paid foster care placement and DFPS pays for the baby’s placement.

Runaways and Unauthorized Placements

If the baby is in a paid foster care placement with the youth parent and the youth parent leaves the placement without permission and takes the baby, the caseworker must enter a Placement Type of Unauthorized Placement for the baby in the SUB C-PB stage

For additional direction on the youth parent’s placement see 1537 Foster Care Payments During Absences From Foster Care Placements.

6450 Additional Services

6451 Hunting

CPS October 2017

When a caseworker receives a request to hunt from a youth, or from a facility or caregiver on behalf of a youth, the caseworker must send the supervisor and program director a memorandum that includes:

  •   the recommendations of the youth’s caseworker, attorney ad litem, therapist (if there is one), and parents (if CPS conservatorship is temporary); and

  •   signature lines for the supervisor and program director.

If all parties and the supervisor and program director agree that the youth should be granted the use of firearms for hunting, then staff must notify the facility, caregiver, and youth of the approval.

The caseworker must:

  •   file the memorandum in the youth’s case record; and

  •   send a copy to the youth’s attorney ad litem.

If the youth lives in a residential facility that requires its own permission form, the regional attorney must review the form before the caseworker signs it.

If any party disagrees, the caseworker does not approve the request, unless the court directs otherwise.

For additional requirements and information, see the Services to Children in Substitute Care Resource Guide, under Hunting.

42 U.S.C. §675

6452 Personal Documents Provided to Youth

CPS October 2017

Youth in DFPS conservatorship must be provided certified copies or originals of personal documents to assist them in gaining employment, enrolling in school, leasing an apartment, opening a bank account, setting up utility services, getting a driver license, and accessing other resources.

42 U.S.C. §675(5)(H)&(I)

Texas Family Code §264.121

DFPS staff must ensure a youth possesses these personal documents when the youth turns 16 and again right before the youth turns 18 and exits conservatorship. DFPS staff can provide documents directly to the youth, or during Circles of Support or Transition Planning Meetings. DFPS staff may also provide the documents to the caregiver to hold for the youth.

See the Accessing Personal Documents for Youth Resource Guide.

6452.1 Personal Documents Provided to Youth at Age 16

CPS October 2017

Youth who are in DFPS conservatorship when they turn age 16 must be provided with a copy and a certified copy of the youth’s:

  •   birth certificate;

  •   Social Security card or replacement Social Security card, as appropriate; and

  •   personal identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The youth’s caseworker, local permanency specialist, or other designated staff member must have the youth sign Form 2527 Personal Documents Checklist – Age 16, confirming that these documents were received. The youth’s caregiver or guardian must sign the form if he or she was requested to hold and secure the documents for the youth.

6452.2 Personal Documents Provided to Youth by Age 18

CPS October 2017

If a youth is discharged from DFPS conservatorship, becomes legally emancipated, or ages out at age 18, DFPS must ensure that the youth has the following documents at least 30 days before the date the youth leaves DFPS conservatorship:

  •   An original birth certificate or a certified copy (see 1520 Obtaining Certified Birth Certificates and Screen-Printing Birth Records).

  •   A Social Security card or a replacement Social Security card.

  •   A driver license or personal identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

  •   Immunization records.

  •   Information contained in the youth’s health passport.

  •   Proof of Medicaid enrollment.

Texas Family Code §264.121(e-1)

42 U.S.C. §675(5)(I)

If the youth has already been provided with an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, Social Security card, and personal identification card, and these are physically accessible to the youth, DFPS does not have to provide these documents again. The youth may request that DFPS provide copies.

If the youth does not already have these documents, the caseworker must obtain and provide them to the youth before the deadline.

The caseworker must also provide Form 2559A and Form 2559B, related to medical power of attorney, to the youth 90 days before the date the youth leaves DFPS conservatorship.

42 U.S.C. §675(5)(H)

The caseworker may also provide, if available:

  •   a passport; or

  •   citizenship records.

Documentation Requirements

Staff must have the youth and his or her caregiver, if appropriate, sign for the personal documents using either Form 2527 Personal Documents Checklist – Age 16 or Form 2528 Personal Documents Checklist – Age 18, whichever is appropriate. The youth and caregiver must initial on these forms that originals or copies of the birth certificate, the state identification card, and the social security card were received.

The caseworker must document in the IMPACT Contact Narrative:

  •   that the youth or caregiver received all of the documents; and

  •   any efforts to obtain documents if they were not provided.

Staff must file copies of all required documents and forms in the youth’s external case file with the youth’s other personal information. Staff must file other documents in the external case file, such as the youth’s passport or citizenship records, if available.

PAL Staff Role

If the caseworker is unable to locate or access personal documents in a timely manner, the regional PAL staff may assist in obtaining original or replacement documents or provide information on how to obtain the documents. The caseworker must provide a reason to request the PAL staff’s assistance. The caseworker must describe all attempts to secure the documents to avoid any duplication of efforts.

6453 Consumer Credit Reports

6453.1 Credit Reports for Youth 14 Through 17

CPS October 2017

Every youth in DFPS conservatorship age 14 through age 17 qualifies for a free annual consumer credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. DFPS requests these credit reports annually on the youth’s behalf until the youth is discharged from DFPS conservatorship.

Social Security Act, Section 475(5)(I) (42 U.S.C. §675)

Administration for Children and Families, Information Memorandum PI-11-09

Administration for Children and Families – Program Instructions PI-12-07.pdf

Administration for Children and Families – Information Memorandum IM 14-03.pdf

See the Accessing Personal Documents for Youth Resource Guide, under Credit Reports.

Annually, the DFPS state office liaison requests credit reports on all youth in DFPS conservatorship age 14 through age 17. Each credit reporting agency provides credit report information in a different format. The state office liaison sends these files to each region, with instructions on how caseworkers can access the files.

If the caseworker’s review of the files finds no record of a credit report for the youth, the caseworker must document this in IMPACT and provide the date each credit reporting agency generated the file.

If the caseworker’s review of the files finds that a credit report exists for the youth, the caseworker must document that a credit report existed and the efforts being made by the state office liaison and the caseworker to address the credit report information.

Case Plan Documentation

The caseworker must inform a youth of his or her right to an annual credit report beginning at age 14. The caseworker must document that the youth was given this information in the youth’s case plan.

Credit Reports with Discrepancies

If discrepancies exist in a credit report or credit history, the caseworker receives an email from the DFPS state office liaison, containing instructions on how to access the credit report. The caseworker must ensure that any documents the state office liaison requests, in order to resolve the discrepancy, are provided.

The caseworker must review the report face-to-face with the youth, and discuss the efforts CPS staff is making to resolve the issues. The caseworker must document these discussions in IMPACT.

Requesting Individual Credit Reports

A caseworker may request individual credit reports if:

  •   there are suspicions or proof that a youth’s Social Security number has been used to open a business account, or for fraudulent purposes;

  •   a youth age 17 or older recently came into the conservatorship of DFPS; or

  •   there is a court order requiring DFPS to request a credit report.

Before requesting a credit report, the caseworker must check the most current annual file to ensure a credit report does not already exist on the youth.

To request a credit report, the caseworker must submit the youth’s full name, person identifier number, and the current address. The caseworker sends credit report inquiries to CPSCreditReports@dfps.state.tx.us.

Note that each credit reporting agency only provides one credit report per youth in a 12 month period.

Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze

If there is evidence of identity theft or fraudulent debts on a youth’s credit report, the state office liaison requests that the credit reporting agency place an initial fraud alert on the account or a credit freeze. The state office liaison may consult with the caseworker on these decisions.

The caseworker must notify the youth that a fraud alert or credit freeze has been placed on the youth’s credit report account. Upon turning age 18, the young adult can lift fraud alerts or credit freezes by contacting each credit reporting agency.

6453.2 Credit Reports for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

Each year the caseworker must help a young adult enrolled in the Extended Foster Care program to obtain his or her own credit reports. According to the agreements with the three credit reporting agencies, DFPS may not conduct credit checks with young adults age 18 and older.

To assist the young adult, the caseworker refers the young adult to the Annual Credit Report website to request and obtain his or her credit report. This is the only website authorized to provide a free credit report.

If a credit report exists, the caseworker must review and explain how the young adult can dispute any inaccuracies, and document the discussion in the case record.

If the young adult refuses to request a credit report, the caseworker must document in the case file all efforts made to encourage the young adult to request a report.

6454 Driver Licenses

CPS October 2017

Eligible youth and young adults in DFPS foster care must comply with state laws and requirements, including maintaining current automobile insurance (if the youth owns a vehicle), when applying for and continuing to possess a driver license. DPS compiled a fact sheet specifically for DFPS caregivers, providers, CPS staff, and foster youth. See DPS’s Driver License General Information Foster Youth Fact Sheet. The fact sheet includes information for:

  •   All Original Driver License (DL) Applicants;

  •   Foster Youth Under 18 Years of Age; and

  •   Foster Youth 18 to 21 Years of Age.

For more information about obtaining a Texas driver license, see the DPS website.

6454.1 Driver License Assessment

CPS October 2017

A youth under age 18 in DFPS conservatorship may request to take driver education courses or apply for a driver license at any time. The youth’s caregiver may make the request on the behalf of the youth.

The caseworker must assess the youth’s readiness to take a driver education course and obtain appropriate approvals.

The Driver License Resource Guide provides a complete outline of what is required and how to assist with obtaining a driver license.

The caseworker must document the assessment and any consultation with third parties in the Narrative section of the Contact Detail page in IMPACT.

6454.11 Approval Process

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must inform the supervisor of the assessment results. The supervisor reviews the results and determines if the youth can obtain a driver license. The caseworker must inform the youth and caregiver of the determination, and must document the approval or denial in the youth’s case record.

Insurance Coverage

The youth’s primary caseworker must inform the youth that he or she must not drive a vehicle at any time without having the proper insurance. If the youth does drive without insurance, DFPS will cancel the license. The caseworker must document the discussion with the youth in the Narrative section of the Contact Detail page in IMPACT.

6454.12 Reassessing a Youth Before or After Receipt of a Driver License

CPS October 2017

Once the youth completes all DPS requirements to apply for a driver license, the youth’s caseworker may only reassess the youth if circumstances change. If, based on a reassessment, the caseworker determines that the license should be cancelled or withdrawn, the caseworker must submit a request following policies in 6454.5 Canceling or Withdrawing a Driver License.

6454.2 Eligible Youth Applying for a Driver License

CPS October 2017

Once an eligible youth has completed the DPS driver license requirements and is ready to apply for a driver license, the caseworker, or other DFPS staff at a caseworker level or above, must:

  •   verify that the youth has completed the DPS driver license requirements;

  •   verify that the supervisor has approved the youth obtaining a driver license (for youth under age 18);

  •   sign (primary caseworker or other DFPS staff only) the Parental Authorization section on DPS Form DL-14A Application for Texas Driver License or Identification Card (applies only to youth under age 18);

  •   ensure that DPS Form DL-5 Texas Residency Affidavit is filled out and signed by both the driver license applicant and a representative such as a foster parent, kinship caregiver, or residential child care provider;

  •   sign the DFPS Conservatorship or Placement Affidavit section (as applicable) on Form 2042 DFPS Foster Youth Driver License Fee Waiver Letter; and

  •   issue Form 2042 DFPS Foster Youth Driver License Fee Waiver Letter to the youth or young adult.

6454.3 Affidavit Requirements

CPS October 2017

Form 2042 DFPS Foster Youth Driver License Fee Waiver Letter is valid for 30 days from the date of the letter.

Conservatorship Affidavit – Under Age 18

For all applicants under age 18, the primary caseworker or other DFPS staff at a caseworker level or above must sign and date this section on the letter, to affirm conservatorship status.

DFPS Placement Affidavit – Ages 18 to 21

For all applicants ages 18 to 21, the primary caseworker or other DFPS staff at a caseworker level or above must sign and date this section on the letter, to affirm DFPS-paid foster care placement status.

6454.4 Documenting the Issuance of a Driver License Fee Waiver Letter

CPS October 2017

The youth’s primary caseworker or other authorized staff must document information related to issuing a driver license in the Narrative section of the Contact Detail page in IMPACT and in the youth’s Transition Plan. The caseworker must place a copy of Form 2042 DFPS Foster Youth Driver License Fee Waiver Letter in the youth’s or young adult’s case file.

6454.41 Address Changes

CPS October 2017

DFPS staff and caregivers must inform the youth or young adult that, if he or she has a placement change or is discharged from DFPS conservatorship, he or she must notify DPS of an address change within 30 days.

6454.5 Canceling or Withdrawing a Driver License

CPS October 2017

For youth under age 18, DPS allows the adult that signed the Parental Authorization section of DPS Form DL-14A Application for Texas Driver License to cancel a youth’s driver license. The DFPS regional director has the final authority to approve the cancellation of a youth’s driver license. Only DFPS staff may sign the Parental Authorization section or may cancel the license, not the caregiver.

The youth’s primary caseworker must discuss, with the youth and the youth’s caregiver, the issues that led up to a driver license cancellation or withdrawal. The caseworker must document reasons for this action in the Narrative section of the Contact Detail page in IMPACT. The caseworker must fill out, sign, and submit the DPS Form DL-163 Withdrawal/Restoration of Authorization for Minor’s License to the DPS office to request cancellation of a youth’s driver license.

No Insurance

The youth’s primary caseworker or DFPS supervisor must immediately fill out the DPS form DL-163 and submit it to the DPS office, to request cancellation of the youth’s driver license, if the caseworker becomes aware that:

  •   there is a citation for no automobile insurance involving the youth; or

  •   the youth is driving and not covered on an insurance policy.

Youth on Runaway Status

For a youth under age 18 who has a driver license that was obtained with DFPS staff as the parental signatory and who is on runaway status, the youth’s primary caseworker or the DFPS supervisor must fill out DPS Form DL-163 immediately and submit it to the DPS office to request cancellation of the youth’s driver license.

Youth Who Are Under Age 18 and Leaving DFPS

DFPS must notify a youth that DFPS can no longer remain as the signatory for the driver license when:

  •   the youth is under age 18;

  •   the youth’s conservatorship case is being dismissed; and

  •   the youth has a driver license that was obtained with DFPS staff as the parental signatory.

DFPS must notify the youth before dismissal.

The youth’s primary caseworker or the supervisor must fill out the DPS Form DL-163 and submit it to the DPS office immediately after the case is dismissed. 

6455 Youth Enlisting in the Military

CPS October 2017

When a youth under the age of 18 in the conservatorship of DFPS wishes to enlist in the military, approval must be given by the following:

  •   Parents, unless parental rights have been terminated

  •   Guardian ad-litem

  •   Attorney ad-litem

  •   Regional director

  •   Court

The youth must have a complete medical assessment by the youth’s primary care physician before seeking approval to join the military.

Approvals must be in writing and a copy placed in the youth’s record.

6456 Marriage of Youth in Conservatorship

CPS October 2017

Youth who are 16 or 17 years old may not marry unless they have:

  •   the consent of a parent or other person designated by a court; or

  •   a court order authorizing the marriage.

A parent loses the right to consent to marriage when parental rights are terminated or when a court grants the right to consent to another person or entity.

When DFPS is appointed as the sole temporary or permanent managing conservator, DFPS automatically has the right to consent to the marriage unless the order granting DFPS managing conservatorship specifically:

  •   denies DFPS the right to consent; or

  •   grants the right to another person.

If consent is not obtained for a 16- or 17-year old youth, as described above, or the youth is under the age of 16, a court order is required before the youth can marry.

Texas Family Code §§2.101-103 and §153.371

If a 16- or 17-year-old youth who is in DFPS conservatorship asks to marry, the caseworker must consult with legal and notify the court. 

The youth’s caseworker must review the court order granting managing conservatorship to DFPS to determine if there is anything in the order that limits DFPS’s right to consent to marriage on behalf of the youth (this would be uncommon).

If the court has not denied DFPS the right to consent or the court has not specifically granted the right to someone else, the youth’s caseworker must determine:

  •   whether the marriage is in the best interest of the youth; and

  •   if there is any possible impediment to the marriage (such as if the youth is already married to someone else).

If the caseworker concludes that the marriage is in the best interest of the youth and that there is no impediment to the marriage, the caseworker must inform the court of DFPS’s intent to consent before the marriage takes place.

If the caseworker concludes that it is not in the youth’s best interests for DFPS to consent to the marriage, the caseworker must inform the court of DFPS’s intent to withhold consent. The court may issue an order authorizing the youth to marry without DFPS consent.

If the youth obtains consent to marry from DFPS or from the court, the youth’s caseworker must encourage the youth’s parents and caregivers to be supportive of the marriage and participate in the planning of the wedding.

Exception: The caseworker does not ask a youth’s parent to participate if:

  •   the parent cannot be found;

  •   parental rights have been terminated;

  •   the parent has executed an affidavit of relinquishment, as specified in 5562 Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights; or

  •   the youth objects to the participation of the parent in the youth’s wedding.

Staff contact the regional attorney if there are questions regarding:

  •   annulment of a prior marriage or divorce; or

  •   DFPS’s right to consent to marriage, such as when:

  •   multiple conservators have been appointed, or

  •   DFPS has been appointed as possessory, rather than managing, conservator.

6460 When a Child or Youth is Missing from CPS Conservatorship

CPS February 2017

See the Locating Missing Children in CPS Conservatorship Resource Guide.

6461 Child or Youth Missing from Substitute Care Placement

6461.1 Notification Requirements When a Child Runs Away or is Missing

CPS August 2017

If a child in DFPS’s managing conservatorship runs away, is discovered to be missing, or is suspected to have been abducted from a substitute care placement, and the child’s whereabouts are unknown, the caseworker must notify the:

  •   supervisor;

  •   appropriate law enforcement officials in the jurisdiction where the child went missing;

  •   National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at the web portal for child welfare reports or the 24-hour call center: 1-800-THE LOST (1-800-843-5678); and

  •   the special investigator program director and regional director assistant, after the caseworker files a missing person or runaway report with NCMEC and with the law enforcement agency (LE) with jurisdiction for the location from which the child went missing.

The caseworker must provide these notifications immediately and no later than 24 hours after learning the child is missing.

The caseworker must provide notice that the child is missing or has run away to all parties as described in 6151.3 Notification Requirements and Schedule.

42 U.S.C §671(a)(35)(B)

Texas Family Code §264.123

Youths Ages 18-20 Missing from Extended Foster Care or Independent living Placement

If a youth in an Extended Foster Care or Independent Living Placement is discovered to be missing or suspected to have been abducted and the youth’s whereabouts are unknown, the caseworker must notify:

  •   the appropriate law enforcement officials in the jurisdiction where the youth went missing; and

  •   the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at the web portal for child welfare reports or the 24-hour call center: 1-800-THE LOST (1-800-843-5678).

The caseworker must provide notification immediately and no later than 24 hours of learning the youth’s whereabouts are unknown.

Victims of Labor or Sex Trafficking

The caseworker must inform local law enforcement immediately or no later than 24 hours once the caseworker identifies or suspects that a child or youth aged 0 – 20 has become a victim of labor or sex trafficking.

6461.2 Other Initial Actions

CPS August 2017

If the caseworker believes that a child has unwillingly left the substitute care placement or has been removed by an unauthorized person, the caseworker requests that the child be placed on the Amber Alert System when making the report to law enforcement. The local law enforcement officials will work with the Texas Department of Public Safety to decide if Amber Alert criteria are met, and will activate the Amber Alert Network, if appropriate.

The Amber Alert Network was developed as a statewide emergency response system for abducted children. The network is designed to be activated in instances involving true child abductions.

If a child in DFPS conservatorship runs away or is abducted by his or her biological family and the appropriate law enforcement officials decline to file a missing person report on the child with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the caseworker must immediately notify the supervisor and the special investigator program director (SIPD). The SIPD must request that DPS place the child and the family on the Child Safety Check Alert List (CSCAL).

For CSCAL procedures see 3100 When a Child Who is With His or Her Family Cannot be Located

The special investigator (SI) is assigned as secondary to the SUB stage after notification from the SIPD.

No later than the next business day after being assigned to the case, the SI must follow up with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at the 24-hour call center: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

6461.3 Ongoing Efforts to Locate

CPS August 2017

The caseworker must continue ongoing efforts to locate the child, and the assigned special investigator (SI) must actively assist the caseworker in searching for the child until the child is found or the court dismisses conservatorship of the child.

The SI must remain in contact with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), if applicable, on a weekly basis until the child is located.

6461.31 Documentation and Review

CPS August 2017

Until the child is located, the caseworker and assigned special investigator (SI) must document in IMPACT all efforts to locate the child.

The caseworker must include efforts to locate in the Contacts Performed and in the Contact Evaluation portions of the record, which are reviewed monthly by the supervisor. The case must be staffed at least quarterly with the program director to determine whether sufficient efforts have been made to locate the child and whether other actions are needed.

6461.4 When a Child is Located

CPS August 2017

When DFPS receives information about a missing child’s possible location, the caseworker or special investigator must staff the case with the supervisor immediately. The supervisor determines the most appropriate course of action to assess the child’s safety and the level of involvement of the special investigator (SI) assigned to the case. If the caseworker is notified before the SI, the caseworker must inform the SI that the child has been located. The child’s location must be reported to the regional director assistant.

If the child is on the Child Safety Check Alert List when located, the special investigator program director (SIPD) must be informed immediately.

Unless the child is being detained by law enforcement, the caseworker must make arrangements to place the child.

6461.5 Caseworker Actions When a Missing Child Returns to Care

CPS August 2017

If a child in DFPS’s managing conservatorship returns to substitute care after being reported to law enforcement as a runaway or missing person, the child’s caseworker must provide notice as described in 6151.3 Notification Requirements and Schedule.

The caseworker and/or the special investigator, whoever made first contact with the child, must interview the child to determine:

  •   the reasons the child ran away or was absent from care; and

  •   the child’s experiences while absent, including screening to determine if the child was a sex or labor trafficking victim.

If the interview identifies the child as a victim of trafficking, the caseworker must immediately, or no later than 24 hours after the identification, report the situation to local law enforcement.

The interviewer must contact the regional director assistant for further guidance. If the caseworker completes the interview, the caseworker must share the information with the SI, and if the SI completes the interview, the SI must share the information with the caseworker.

If the reasons the child ran away or was absent from care are revealed during the interview, the caseworker must, to the extent possible, address those factors in the child’s current and future placements.

42 U.S.C §671(a)(35)(B)

6470 When a Child Travels

CPS February 2017

The table in 6471.1 In-State Travel Approval summarizes CPS policy and procedure on traveling with a child in CPS conservatorship.

6471 Approvals Required for Travel

6471.1 In-State Travel Approval

CPS August 2017

Type of Travel

Approval Required

CPS Staff Must

  •  Routine

  •  Fewer than 48 hours away from facility or home

No

Not take action

More than 72 hours with the caregiver, away from facility or home

Written approval by the caseworker or the caseworker’s supervisor

  •  Determine the appropriateness of the travel

  •  Provide written documentation, if the travel is approved

More than 48 hours with a person who is not a caregiver or relative

Written approval by the caseworker or the caseworker’s supervisor

  •  Determine the appropriateness of the travel

  •  Provide written documentation, if the travel is approved

6471.2 Out-of-State Travel Approval

CPS August 2017

Type of Travel

Approval Required

CPS Staff Must

Outside of Texas: Bordering States

  •   If less than 72 hours, caregiver is not required to obtain caseworker approval. Caregiver must notify the caseworker of the travel by text, phone or email

     This allows for participation in normalcy activities with school, caregivers, and other extracurricular activities

  •   If more than 72 hours, caseworker or supervisor approval required

Document travel in case file

Outside of Texas

  •   Caseworker or supervisor approval

  •   Notice to the court, or the courts written approval if the court that has jurisdiction over the case requires it, or both

  •   Determine the appropriateness of the travel

  •   Notify the court about the plans to travel, or request court approval, as appropriate

Outside of the U.S.

  •   CPS State Office approval review

  •   Court approval

Follow steps outlined in 6474.1 Requesting Court Approval

6472 Transporting Children by Vehicle

CPS February 2017

When the caseworker transports children by vehicle, each child must be properly secured by a seat belt, according to Texas law governing passenger safety for children. Before using a car seat, the caseworker must ensure that the car seat is in good condition and is properly installed in the vehicle.

See:

§545.412, Texas Transportation Code

Safe Riders Traffic Safety Program, Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

6473 Transporting Children by Airplane

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must complete Form 4186-a Airline/Bus Travel Authorization for Child in DFPS Conservatorship. The supervisor and program director or designee must sign the form.

Each child must have his or her own ticket.

Car seats must be used on a plane for children who are younger than two years old. The child must remain in the car seat during takeoff, during landing, and at any other time when the airline requires passengers to fasten their seat belts.

See the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) guidelines on flying with children.

6474 When a Child Travels Outside of the U.S.

CPS February 2017

When a caregiver wants to travel internationally (outside the U.S.) with a child in CPS conservatorship, a court must approve the travel and both the caregiver and CPS staff must follow the specific steps described in 6474.1 Requesting Court Approval.

Domestic-bound cruises use international waterways and require the same steps for those traveling to international destinations.

6474.1 Requesting Court Approval

CPS February 2017

Before traveling outside of the U.S. with a child who is in CPS conservatorship, CPS must file a motion with the court to request approval.

Texas Family Code, §264.122

Caseworker Responsibilities

When the caseworker receives a completed Form 2069 Caregiver Declaration Regarding Out-of-Country Travel Form from the caregiver, the caseworker must:

1.   use the U.S. Department of State website to research the specific destination for conditions abroad that may affect safety and security. The caseworker must pay special attention to:

  •  travel alerts,

  •  travel warnings,

  •  recent embassy notices,

  •  threats to safety and security, and

  •  medical facilities and health information;

2.   asks the DFPS Travel Department whether CPS has any restrictions for travel to the specific country (or countries). If so, the caseworker checks with CPS state office to see if this applies to children in CPS conservatorship;

3.   considers the child’s health issues, if any;

4.   consults with the regional immigration attorney if the child is not a U.S. citizen, to assess the impact of the travel on the child’s immigration status;

5.   determines if there a risk for an international custody dispute given the parent’s and child’s circumstances. If so, the caseworker must staff the travel request with the regional attorney before submitting a motion to the court;

6.   reviews the request to travel out-of-country with the supervisor to determine whether CPS recommends:

  •  approval of the proposed trip, or

  •  denial of the proposed trip;

7.   submits, through regional management, a DFPS action memo packet to the CPS assistant commissioner for approval. The DFPS action memo for out-of-country travel includes:

  •  the purpose of the trip,

  •  a background or summary,

  •  discussion on the research conducted for the planned destination and if there are safety, immigration or health concerns for the individual child, and

  •  CPS staff’s recommendation for the assistant commissioner’s approval;

8.   completes, upon receiving the assistant commissioner’s action memo response, the DFPS statement at the bottom of the Form 2069 Caregiver Declaration Regarding Out-of-Country Travel, and indicates whether CPS supports or opposes the proposed travel; and

9.   coordinates with the attorney representing CPS to submit the request for court approval before the child travels, whether CPS supports or opposes the proposed travel.

For additional guidelines and information, see the When a Child or Youth in CPS Conservatorship Travels Resource Guide.

6480 Email, Internet, and Social Media Use by Children and Youth in Foster Care

6481 Online Privacy Expectations of Children and Youth in Foster Care

CPS February 2017

The caseworker should inform the caregiver and the foster child, youth, or young adult that information posted or shared with others on the Internet or through email is not private. Even with privacy settings, other people may be able to view this information. The caseworker should explain that the individual should take caution when providing any personal information via email or on the Internet or social networking sites.

6490 If a Child Dies While in Substitute Care

6491 Immediate Notification Requirements When a Child Dies

CPS February 2017

When a child dies while in substitute care, the conservatorship caseworker must notify all parties as described in 6151.3 Notification Requirements and Schedule.

6492 Making Funeral Arrangements

CPS February 2017

CPS will arrange a funeral for:

  •  any child or youth who dies while in CPS managing conservatorship; or

  •  any young adult, age 18 or older, who dies in extended foster care.

Funeral arrangements include burial or cremation as specified in 8512 Funeral and Burial Services for Children in DFPS Conservatorship. Children or youth placed with relatives or in the birth home at the time of death are eligible for financial assistance for funeral arrangements if CPS was the managing conservator.

To ensure proper arrangements are made, the caseworker must complete the following steps in the order outlined:

6492.1 Inquire About Children’s Funds

6492.2 Involve Biological Parents

6492.3 Involve Foster Parents and Other Significant Individuals

6492.4 Involve Community Partners

6492.5 Access CPS Funding

6492.1 Inquire About Children’s Funds

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must check with the regional Supplemental Security Income (SSI) coordinator to determine whether CPS is holding any funds for the child in a savings account, dedicated account or trust account. The caseworker must follow the necessary procedures to access these funds.

See 1562.4 Handling Deceased Child’s Income.

If the child has funds in the Statewide Trust for Children, the caseworker must contact the SSI program specialist in state office to determine the proper procedure for accessing those funds.

6492.2 Involve Biological Parents

CPS February 2017

The caseworker should involve the child’s biological parents in the funeral arrangements to the maximum extent possible, even if parental rights have been terminated, if the caseworker determines doing so is appropriate. For example, parental involvement:

  •  may not be appropriate if rights have been terminated and the child was in a pre-consummated adoptive placement; or

  •  could be appropriate if a parent has remained in contact and the child was in a placement not intended to be permanent.

Regardless of legal status, a parent may wish to help with arrangements, express preferences, and contribute resources to cover the costs of a child’s funeral. The caseworker may not ask the biological parents to pay for all or some of the funeral expenses. However, parents may contribute directly to the funeral home if they so choose.

The caseworker must document in the child’s case record the:

  •  date the caseworker spoke with the parents;

  •  content of the discussions;

  •  outcome; and

  •  date the parents responded.

6492.3 Involve Foster Parents and Other Significant Individuals

CPS February 2017

The caseworker should also invite foster parents and other individuals significant to the child’s life to participate in planning the child’s funeral arrangements. The caseworker does not solicit contributions from foster parents and other significant individuals. However, if they voluntarily indicate that they wish to contribute to some of the funeral expenses, they may do so by paying the funeral home or other vendor directly.

6492.4 Involve Community Partners

CPS February 2017

The external community is often a key partner in securing funeral arrangements for a child who died while in CPS conservatorship. When a community partner expresses a desire to assist with funeral arrangements, CPS coordinates with those partners. CPS is legally authorized to accept donations, gifts, or in-kind contributions to cover funeral expenses.

6492.5 Access CPS Funding

CPS February 2017

If resources are not available to fully fund the cost of a funeral for a child who died while in conservatorship, the caseworker may authorize up to $4,500 per child for reasonable and necessary burial or cremation expenses. The caseworker must contact the regional burial liaison, who is usually a contract manager, to make the request for funds. If the caseworker determines funding in addition to the $4,500 is needed for the child’s funeral, the CPS region must seek approval for additional funding from the CPS Assistant Commissioner. Additional funds may be expended to cover the funeral costs as described in 8512 Funeral and Burial Services for Children in DFPS Conservatorship.

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