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6900 Adoption Preparation and Support Services

6910 Criteria and Types of Service

6911 Criteria for Providing Adoption Services

CPS February 2017

CPS provides adoption services regardless of age, race, or handicap when:

  •  a child in CPS’s managing conservatorship needs to be adopted, or

  •  a district court appoints CPS to complete a social study when a petition is filed to adopt a child.

CPS also provides selected adoption services to children in the managing conservatorship of other states when CPS receives requests for services under the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

See 4520 Placing Children From Another State In Texas.

6912 Types of Service

CPS February 2017

This section covers most, but not all, types of service that CPS provides to support adoption of children in CPS’s managing conservatorship. The following table identifies all major types of CPS adoption services and cross-references the policies and procedures that apply to each.

Type of Service:

CPS Policy:

Assessing and preparing children for adoption

6923 Assessing the Child’s Readiness

6924 Preparing the Child

Selecting an adoptive family

6930 Selecting an Adoptive Family

Presenting and placing children for adoption

6940 Presenting and Placing the Child for Adoption

Supporting adoptive placements

6950 Supporting and Consummating the Adoption

Contracting for postadoption services

8410 Post Adoption Services

Operating the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange

6980 Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE)

Providing financial assistance for adoptive families

1700 Adoption Assistance Program

1760 Medicaid Coverage, The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance, and Adoption Assistance

Producing court-ordered social studies

5860 Social Studies

6920 Planning for a Child’s Adoption

6921 Completing the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) Report

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must complete a health, social, educational, and genetic history (HSEGH) report before placing a child for adoption with anyone other than the child’s stepparent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle by birth, marriage, or prior adoption.

Texas Family Code §162.005(b)

The HSEGH is intended to be a central repository for all known health, social, educational and genetic history of a child for whom CPS is attempting to find an adoptive placement. CPS uses it to provide potential adoptive parents with information about the child’s history and needs.

The child’s caseworker must complete an initial HSEGH report no later than 45 days from the date that all parental rights to the child were terminated.

The caseworker must update the report with new information about the child or the child’s placement needs. At a minimum, the caseworker must update the report:

  •  every 24 months if an adoptive placement has not occurred; and

  •  within three months before the adoptive placement is made.

Texas Family Code §§162.005, 162.006, 162.007, 162.008

6922 Completing the Adoption Readiness Summary (ARS)

CPS February 2017

Form 2647 Adoption Readiness Summary (ARS) is designed to assess the child’s psychological readiness for adoption. It also contains information about the child’s eligibility for adoption assistance.

The caseworker must include a copy of the ARS in the case record.

The caseworker must complete the Adoption Readiness Summary within three months before the adoptive placement is made.

The caseworker’s supervisor must sign and date the completed HSEGH report and the ARS.

Texas Family Code §§162.005, 162.006, 162.008

6923 Assessing the Child’s Readiness

6923.1 Reviewing the Case-Record and Conducting Interviews

CPS February 2017

The first step in planning for a child’s adoption is assessing the child’s readiness to be adopted. To assess the child’s readiness, the child’s caseworker must:

  •  review the child’s case record (which includes the birth family’s record); and

  •  interview;

  •  the child;

  •  the child’s siblings;

  •  the child’s substitute caregiver;

  •  educational, medical, and mental-health professionals who have worked with the child; and

  •  when appropriate, other individuals who have significant relationships with the child.

6923.2 Objectives

CPS February 2017

The objectives of the caseworker’s case-record review and personal interviews are to:

  •  verify that the child is legally free for adoption;

  •  assess the child’s emotional and psychological readiness for adoptive placement;

  •  assess the child’s needs, and determine what parenting characteristics will meet them;

  •  assess the child’s need for placement with his siblings;

  •  support preparation of the HSEGH report (see 6921 Completing the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) Report); and

  •  develop information for recruiting adoptive parents.

6924 Preparing the Child

CPS February 2017

A child’s caseworker must begin preparing the child for adoption at least three months before placing the child with a prospective adoptive family. Ordinarily, the child’s caregiver helps the caseworker prepare the child.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.3341

6924.1 Purposes

CPS February 2017

The purposes of preparing the child for adoption are to:

  •  help the child understand the termination of his parents’ parental rights;

  •  help the child understand and accept adoption;

  •  involve the child in planning for the adoption;

  •  help the child adjust to the adoption; and

  •  reduce disruption of the adoption.

6924.2 Preparation

CPS February 2017

The preparation must be based on the child’s needs. It must include helping the child:

  •  know and understand himself and his history;

  •  understand the difference between biological, foster, and adoptive parents;

  •  express hopes and fears about adoption, including fears of disruption;

  •  separate from people he is close to, and grieve their loss;

  •  form new attachments; and

  •  work on his “life book” in order to address issues of separation and attachment.

6924.3 Documentation

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must document the process of preparing the child in the child’s case record.

6925 Professional Assessments

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must ensure child has received required professional assessments before adoptive placement. The extent of the professional assessment required depends on the age, history, and special needs of the child being considered. The professional assessment must always include a medical examination by a licensed physician.

If the child’s age is 0 to 18 months old, the professional assessment must also include an evaluation by a professional credentialed in the area appropriate to the child’s needs if:

  •  There is history of abuse, neglect, or failure to thrive; or

  •  The child is physically or mentally disabled or developmentally delayed.

If the child’s age is over 18 months old, the assessment must include an evaluation by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or other appropriately licensed or credentialed professional.

Required assessments must be current within:

  •  30 days of placement if the child is less than 18 months old;

  •  three months of placement if the child is 18 months to 4 years old; and

  •  six months of placement if the child is five years old or older.

CPS must provide any testing that an assessment recommends for the child. CPS must document the assessments and results in the child’s record. If professional assessments have been completed since the child was placed in the home, CPS is not required to repeat them.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.3349

6926 Preparing the Child’s Records for Presentation to Prospective Adoptive Parents

CPS August 2017

Texas Law requires that DFPS provide a redacted copy of the case record to the potential adoptive parent before the adoption placement.

Texas Family Code §§162.005, 162.006, 162.008

Case Record Redaction

The caseworker must prepare the child’s case record for redaction, according to Records Management Group (RMG) protocol, once all parental rights are terminated.

The caseworker must:

  •   ensure the file is up to date before redaction; and

  •   ensure all external documents are scanned.

For additional information on redaction policies see the Records Management Group Handbook 3000 Disclosure of DFPS Records, and 3200 Request for Records for the Purpose of Adoption.

6930 Selecting an Adoptive Family

Time Frames for Selecting a Family

Each child’s caseworker must make a concentrated effort to find a prospective adoptive family for the child after the court terminates the parental rights of the child’s parents.

When a child’s caseworker does not find a prospective adoptive family for the child within the first 60 days, the caseworker must register the child on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE). See 6980 Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE).

Regional Recruitment Efforts

CPS uses regional recruitment efforts to target and identify prospective adoptive home matches for a child during the first 60 days following an Order for Termination of Parental Rights (TPR).

See Form 2140 Adoption Best Practice Guide.

Reviewing Home Studies

Designated staff must review each family’s home study within 30 days of receipt. The caseworker must document in the child’s case file all home studies received and reviewed. After the child’s caseworker narrows the pool of families, the supervisor or program director must review the remaining home studies.

Providing Home Studies to a CASA

If a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) is appointed to a child’s case, the child’s caseworker must provide the advocate and the CASA supervisor with an opportunity to review the home studies of the families under consideration for adoption.

The advocate and CASA supervisor follow regional protocol for reading the home studies.

Providing the HSEGH Report

When a child’s caseworker has selected possible families, the child’s caseworker must provide a redacted copy of the child’s HSEGH report to the prospective family and to the family’s child placing agency (CPA). CPS must provide a copy of the HSEGH to the family within 48 hours after the formal selection meeting; however, the family may also request and review the HSEGH before the selection meeting.

6931 Issues to Consider When Selecting an Adoptive Home

6931.1 The Child’s Best Interest

CPS February 2017

The main concern in selecting an adoptive home for a child is the child’s best interest. To that end, CPS bases each placement on an informed evaluation and understanding of the child’s needs and on the adoptive family’s understanding of and potential for meeting those needs.

CPS seeks to address the best interest of children through placements in families with a caregiver who can protect, parent and nurture abused and neglected children. Both married couples and single people are eligible to be foster and adoptive parents and must meet the same requirements for protecting and nurturing children.

6931.2 Selecting an Adoptive Home

CPS February 2017

Selecting an adoptive home for a child begins when CPS staff determines that the permanency goal is adoption.

CPS may place a child with a family that is dual-licensed as both a foster and adoptive home, on a foster care basis, before terminating parental rights. These are known as “legal risk” placements. See 6938 Legal Risk Adoptive Homes.

In legal risk placements, procedures include steps for selecting the prospective family and providing the opportunity for adequate pre-placement visits consistent with good adoption practice. Before CPS signs the actual adoption placement agreement with the prospective foster or adoptive family, staff must have:

  •  completed the child’s health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report;

  •  determined that the child is emotionally prepared for an adoptive placement; and

  •  when necessary, de-identified the child’s case record to share with the prospective adoptive family.

6931.3 Race, Color, National Origin, and Ethnicity

CPS February 2017

CPS cannot consider the race, color, national origin, or ethnicity of a child or of a potential foster or adoptive family in selecting a placement except in rare situations when a child’s individual circumstances make it necessary.

To avoid violating federal and state laws that sharply limit the use of race, color, national origin, and ethnicity in the placement process and carry significant penalties, staff must read and follow the detailed directions in Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color, National Origin, and Ethnicity in Placement Decisions. For further guidance on this complex issue, consult the regional attorney.

Federal law prohibits using race, color, national origin, or ethnicity to delay or deny a child’s placement or to deny applicants the opportunity to adopt.

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

6931.4 Specific Issues to Consider When Selecting an Adoptive Home

CPS February 2017

In addition to 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement, CPS staff selecting an adoptive home for a specific child or siblings must consider all the child’s long-term and short-term needs, as well as all of the issues  in:

6931.41 Continued Contact with Foster Parents

6931.42 Placement with Siblings

6931.43 Child’s or Youth’s Adoptive Home Preference

6931.44 Adoptive Family’s Awareness

6931.45 Other Issues

6931.41 Continued Contact with Foster Parents

CPS February 2017

Staff must consider the appropriateness of continuing the foster parents’ relationship with the child through adoption, when the foster parents have made a request to adopt the child.

For information about assessing the foster parents’ request, see 6933 Adoption by Foster Parents.

6931.42 Placement with Siblings

CPS February 2017

Staff must consider the child’s need for placement with siblings.

In providing adoptive services, CPS is asked to keep siblings together and whenever possible to keep siblings in the same adoptive home.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(31)

See 6416.1 Sibling Visitation.

6931.43 Child’s or Youth’s Adoptive Home Preference

CPS February 2017

Staff must consider the child or youth’s preferences in an adoptive home.

6931.44 Adoptive Family’s Awareness

CPS February 2017

Staff must consider the family’s understanding and awareness of the following issues:

  •  recognition of and sensitivity to any social or adjustment problems a particular child may face, including those related to the child’s culture;

  •  awareness of the kinds of situations that might threaten a child’s self-esteem as he or she grows through different developmental levels; and

  •  the child’s history and beliefs which are different from his or her adoptive family.

6931.45 Other Issues to Consider When Selecting an Adoptive Home

CPS February 2017

Staff must also consider:

  •  the child’s known or predicted needs for special services after the adoptive placement, including therapy or special medical care;

  •  the prospective adoptive family’s ability and willingness to adapt its discipline practices to the child’s needs;

  •  the personalities, temperaments, and life styles of the child and of the adoptive family;

  •  the family’s ability to accept and develop the child’s intellectual and scholastic capabilities;

  •  the family’s ability to accept and provide for the child’s religious beliefs and practices;

  •  the family’s plan for protecting the child’s health if, for religious reasons, the family does not believe in medical care;

  •  the family’s ability and willingness to accept and raise the child; and

  •  the family’s commitment to ensuring that the child has a permanent placement.

Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color, National Origin, and Ethnicity In Placement Decisions.

Refer to these sections in the Adoption Resource Guide:

Information to Consider About the Child When Selecting an Adoptive Family

Information to Consider About the Prospective Adoptive Family When Placing a Child for Adoption

6932 Challenges of a Termination Order by Certain Relatives: 90-Day Period Following Termination

CPS February 2017

When CPS terminates parental rights, relatives that may request managing conservatorship of the child are:

  •  an adult sibling of the child;

  •  a grandparent of the child;

  •  an aunt who is a sister of a parent of the child; or

  •  an uncle who is a brother of a parent of the child.

These relatives have 90 days to file suit, starting from the day the parent-child relationship is terminated. The suit can be an original suit or a suit for modification.

Texas Family Code §102.006(c)

6932.1 Adoption Activities

CPS February 2017

Staff must continue to complete adoption related activities throughout the 90 days following termination of parental rights. However, an adoption cannot be consummated until 90 days following termination of parental rights, to allow all relatives 90 days to file suit.

If the biological parents have filed an appeal of the termination of parental rights, the child is not legally free for adoption. The child cannot be placed in an adoptive placement or have an adoption consummated. In these situations, a legal-risk placement may be appropriate if CPS has selected a prospective adoptive family for a child. See 6938 Legal Risk Adoptive Homes for details about legal-risk placements.

See:

6944 Completing the Placement

6954 Consummating the Adoption

6932.2 Assessing the Relative’s Family After Termination of Parental Rights

CPS February 2017

If, in the 90 day period after termination of parental rights (TPR), one of the eligible relatives comes forward and asks CPS to complete his or her pre-adoptive home screening or files a suit in the case and there has not been a court ruling, staff may (but are not required to unless ordered by the court):

  •  determine if it would be in the child’s best interest to be placed with the relative;

  •  assess if the family would be a safe and appropriate permanent placement for the child; and

  •  complete a pre-adoptive home screening on the relative.

6933 Adoption by Foster Parents

CPS February 2017

It is appropriate for the child’s foster parents to adopt the child if:

  •  the foster home appears to be a good prospective adoptive home for the child, based on the considerations listed in 6931 Issues to Consider When Selecting an Adoptive Home;

  •  the foster parents are qualified and approved for an adoptive placement (see 7515 Foster Home Verification);

  •  the foster parents understand the psychological and legal differences between foster and adoptive parenting, and they want to accept a lifetime commitment as adoptive parents rather than a commitment as foster parents; and

  •  it is in the best interest of the child to continue the child’s relationship with the foster parents through adoption.

When these conditions are satisfied and CPS approves the permanency plan for foster-parent adoption, the conservatorship unit gives the foster parents written notice that the plan has been approved.

For details regarding completing the adoptive placement, see 6932 Challenges of a Termination Order by Certain Relatives and 6944 Completing the Placement.

CPS terminates the foster parents’ eligibility for foster care assistance when they sign Form 2226, Adoptive Placement Agreement.

See 6954 Consummating the Adoption.

6934 Adoptive Homes Located by Private Child-Placing Agencies

CPS February 2017

Before selecting an adoptive home located through a private child-placing agency, the caseworker must ensure that the family has an approved adoption home study with applicable criminal history checks. If there are other persons over age 17 also living in the home, the caseworker must also ensure that they have applicable criminal history checks.

See 7400 Checking Criminal Records and Abuse and Neglect History.

6935 Adoptive Homes in Other States

CPS February 2017

Before selecting an adoptive home in another state, the caseworker must explore whether an appropriate adoptive home is available in Texas. In some instances, recruitment efforts in Texas and in another state should occur concurrently. The caseworker evaluates the circumstances of each child’s case to determine whether concurrent recruitment is appropriate and necessary.

If a child is placed out of state, the caseworker must document in the child’s case record the:

  •  efforts made to place the child in Texas; and

  •  reasons for making the out-of-state placement.

For a child to be placed out of state, the court order must show the court’s determination that the out-of-state placement is appropriate and in the best interest of the child. See also 6945 Making Adoptive Placements in Other Regions and With Private Agency Adoptive Homes.

Out-of-state homes must be approved for adoption by agencies that are licensed or certified to approve adoptive home studies in the state where the home is located.

6936 Considering the Need for an Adoption Subsidy

CPS February 2017

Before placing a child in an adoptive home that needs an adoption subsidy, CPS must try to place the child without a subsidy.

To this end, the caseworker must

1.   register the child on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange unless the child is being adopted by his foster parents or other persons whom the child knows;

      See 6980 Texas Adoption Resource Exchange

2.   document in the child’s record the child’s need for a subsidy and the caseworker’s efforts to place the child without a subsidy;

3.   discuss with the prospective adoptive parents their:

  •  legal responsibility, as parents, to provide for the adopted child;

  •  need for an adoption subsidy; and

  •  immediate and long-term plans for supporting a child if a subsidy is not available.

For detailed information about adoption subsidies, see 1700 Adoption Subsidy.

6937 Adoption by Military Families Both In the United States and Outside the United States

CPS February 2017

In a suit for adoption, the court, or any person performing a social study or home screening, may not consider the fact that a petitioner is a member of the armed forces of the United States, a member of the Texas National Guard or the National Guard of another state, or a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States, as a negative factor in determining whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child or whether the petitioner would be a suitable parent.

Texas Family Code §162.0025

CPS supports adoptive placement of children with military families when the family can meet the child’s needs. Military families often have access to services that support an adoptive placement. They include comprehensive health care, child development programs, family advocacy, and other social service programs. The military community often serves as an extended family to its members. The military community offers structure and often a culturally diverse population.

When considering a military family, whether in the United States or not, for adoption of a child, the caseworker and supervisor must consider the following situations and their impact on the child and prospective family:

  •  the possibility of a transfer from the family’s current station or base before consummating the adoption;

  •  the likelihood of an assignment where one parent is assigned to a duty station and the remaining family remains behind, that is, the parent is deployed to a battle zone and the family remains behind;

  •  the availability of services for the child and family, especially if the family moves or lives overseas;

  •  if the family is stationed overseas, whether there are sufficient supports to help the family meet the child’s needs;

  •  plans to meet the child’s medical needs before consummation, as Medicaid coverage is not available outside the United States;

  •  the impact of any family relocation on the child’s need to maintain contact with biological siblings or other family members; and

  •  plans for the child’s return to care if the adoption disrupts.

For additional information on making out-of-country placements, see 6947 Making Placements in Other Countries.

6938 Legal Risk Adoptive Homes

CPS February 2017

Each region must maintain a list of dual-licensed adoptive homes willing to accept children who are in foster care and have a high likelihood of becoming available for adoption. This type of placement is considered a legal risk adoptive placement.

Only families and children who meet the guidelines in the following items qualify for a legal risk adoptive placement. See:

6938.1 Requirements for Parents

6938.2 Requirements for Children

6938.3 Requirements for the Match

6938.1 Requirements for Parents

CPS February 2017

The parents must meet all requirements for foster and adoptive parents (such as home study, Minimum Standards requirements, mutual assessment process, and so on).

CPS does not consider military service in a negative light when preparing an adoption home study or a social study.

The parents must be willing to sign the foster care agreement, which specifies that CPS may remove the child from the home if CPS determines it is in the best interest of the child.

CPS must have made an assessment of the age, sex, and special needs of the sort of child the family is best able to parent.

6938.2 Requirements for Children

CPS February 2017

To qualify for a legal risk adoption, the child must meet the following requirements:

  •  CPS has determined that the plan for the child is adoption.

  •  A staff person of program director level and an attorney have reviewed the child’s case and determined that termination is more than 75 percent likely to occur based on the facts in the case.

  •  The Legal division agrees that the child is appropriate for a legal risk placement.

6938.3 Requirements for the Match

CPS February 2017

To match a family with a child for a legal risk adoption, the caseworker:

  •  assesses families in the Central Registry regarding their ability to parent a child of the age, sex, and special needs of the child being placed; and

  •  selects up to the first five families; .

  •  reviews the cases to determine if there are factors that make a particular family more qualified to take a child than the other families, ranking the families according to the factors listed in 6931 Issues to Consider When Selecting an Adoptive Home; and

  •  chooses a family.

If the caseworker determines that more than one family is qualified to parent the child or children being considered for placement the caseworker chooses the family best qualified according to 6931 Issues to Consider When Selecting an Adoptive Home.

6939 Presentation Staffing

CPS February 2017

After reviewing the home studies of the prospective adoptive families, the child’s caseworker must arrange a meeting, known as a presentation staffing, to discuss the results with:

  •  CPS staff;

  •  the child’s court-appointed special advocate (CASA); and

  •  persons outside of CPS, such as foster parents and therapists.

Foster parents, therapists, and others not employed by CPS often have first-hand knowledge of a child’s needs and the skills required by a family to best meet those needs. CPS staff must therefore consider including persons not employed by CPS in the child’s adoption staffing team.

6939.1 Conducting Separate Meetings to Discuss the Child and the Potential Adoptive Families

CPS February 2017

To protect the confidentiality and privacy of prospective adoptive families, CPS must conduct separate meetings, or separate parts of a meeting, to discuss issues related to the child and adoptive families.

6939.2 Confidentiality

CPS February 2017

During the meeting or part of the meeting that discusses issues related to the child, participants must not discuss information about specific families when persons not employed by CPS are present. This is to ensure the privacy of potential adoptive families.

To protect the confidentiality and privacy of prospective adoptive families, only the following may be present during the meeting or part of the meeting that discusses issues related to the adoptive families:

  •  the child’s caseworker;

  •  the caseworker’s supervisor;

  •  the adoption caseworker;

  •  the supervisor of the adoption caseworker;

  •  adoption professionals from private child-placing agencies who represent potential adoptive families;

  •  the CASA volunteer; and

  •  the CASA’s supervisor.

6939.3 Meeting to Discuss the Child

CPS February 2017

The purpose of the first meeting, or first part of the meeting, held after reviewing the home studies of prospective adoptive families, is to discuss:

  •  the child’s needs; and

  •  the strengths required by a potential adoptive family to meet the child’s needs.

When possible, the following persons attend:

  •  CPS staff;

  •  the foster parents;

  •  the child’s therapist;

  •  the court-appointed special advocate (CASA);

  •  the CASA’s supervisor; and

  •  others who are not CPS employees.

6939.4 Meeting to Discuss the Potential Adoptive Families

CPS February 2017

The second meeting, or second part of the meeting, is held to discuss the various adoptive families who are under consideration.

Participants either:

  •  select and approve one family as an appropriate adoptive family for the child; or

  •  determine that none of the available families appear able to meet the child’s long-term needs.

When possible, the following persons attend:

  •  the child’s caseworker;

  •  the caseworker’s supervisor;

  •  the adoption caseworker;

  •  the supervisor of the adoption caseworker;

  •  adoption professionals from private child-placing agencies who represent potential adoptive families;

  •  the CASA volunteer; and

  •  the CASA’s supervisor.

6939.5 Confirming Approval of a Prospective Adoptive Family

CPS February 2017

Both the child’s and family’s caseworkers and supervisors must approve a prospective adoptive family.

6939.6 When No Prospective Adoptive Family Is Available

CPS February 2017

When a staffing meeting determines that none of the available families are able to meet the child’s long-term needs, the child’s caseworker must:

  •  register the child on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE);

  •  continue regional recruitment efforts; and

  •  continue to confer with the adoption services unit whenever the unit forwards new home studies for consideration by the adoption caseworker.

6940 Presenting and Placing the Child for Adoption

CPS February 2017

Staff must ensure that each child’s placement is approved and meets the requirements for adoptive placement contained in the Child-Care Licensing division’s Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 749, Subchapter Q

6941 Presenting Information About the Child

CPS February 2017

Texas Family Code §162.0062

Before introducing a child to prospective adoptive parents, the caseworker gives the parents information about the child to help them assess their willingness and ability to parent the child and decide whether to proceed with the placement.

6941.1 Sharing the HSEGH Report With the Prospective Adoptive Family

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must present the redacted copy of the health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report to the prospective adoptive parents either before a selection meeting is held or within 48 hours after the selection meeting.

Texas Family Code §162.006

6941.2 Documenting That Prospective Adoptive Parents Have Received the HSEGH Report

CPS February 2017

To document that the prospective adoptive parents have received the redacted health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report and discussed its contents with the caseworker, the caseworker must:

  •  have them initial each page of the report; and;

  •  sign and date the last page of a CPS copy of the report when they receive it.

Both the original HSEGH report and the redacted copy that the prospective adoptive parents signed and initialed must be kept in the child’s case record. The caseworker must write a specific description of how the HSEGH report was shared and what was discussed.

6941.3 Sharing Other CPS Records With the Prospective Adoptive Parents

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must inform the prospective adoptive parents of their right to examine redacted copies of records and other information relating to the history of the child before they decide to proceed with placement.

If the prospective adoptive parents initially decide to proceed with the placement after review of the health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report and any other information that CPS has provided, the caseworker must then give the adoptive parents an opportunity to review CPS records of the child’s history. The caseworker must provide the prospective adoptive parents 10 calendar days to review the records. This review must take place before the child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents.

Families review redacted versions of the following sections of the case record:

  •  The Child’s Section

  •  The Family Section

  •  The Sibling Section, but only sibling medical information regarding siblings included in the same legal case

  •  Legal

  •  Case Narratives

  •  Previous investigations, including any investigations conducted by Child Care Licensing in which the child to be adopted was an alleged or designated perpetrator or victim

CPS does not give the prospective adoptive parents a copy of these records to keep until the adoption is consummated. See 6954 Consummating the Adoption.

The caseworker must document the prospective adoptive parents’ review of CPS’s records of the child’s history in the child’s case record. The caseworker must write a specific description of how the record was shared and what was discussed.

Once the caseworker completes the Adoption Readiness Summary, the caseworker must provide the family with a copy for review.

6941.4 Refusal to Review the Child’s Records

CPS February 2017

If the prospective adoptive parents refuse to review the child’s records, the caseworker must confer with the supervisor to discuss their capacity to meet the child’s needs. The caseworker must document this discussion in the case record.

If the caseworker and supervisor agree to proceed with the placement, the prospective adoptive parents must sign a statement documenting their refusal to review the child’s records. However, if prospective adoptive parents refuse to review the child’s record, the caseworker must still provide a copy of the redacted record to the adoptive family at the time of consummation.

6942 Deciding Not to Proceed with a Placement

CPS February 2017

If either party (the parents or CPS) decides not to proceed with the placement, the child’s caseworker must document it in the child’s case record.

6943 Preparing the Family and the Child for the Placement

CPS February 2017

If the prospective adoptive family and CPS decide to proceed with the placement after the family has received the HSEGH report and reviewed CPS records of the child’s history, the child’s caseworker and the family’s caseworker must take the following actions:

  •  if the child has a disability or is receiving therapeutic treatment, encourage the prospective adoptive parents to talk with the child’s physician or therapist in order to understand the implications of the child’s disability or need for treatment. A caseworker must:

  •  attend the adoptive parents’ meeting with the physician or therapist; and

  •  document the information shared in the meeting in the case records of both the child and the adoptive family;

  •  discuss the college tuition waiver (if the child will be eligible). Refer the adoptive family to 10310 College Tuition and Fee Exemption Information for further details;

  •  discuss how the prospective adoptive parents plan to deal with any behavioral, functional, or medical problems that the child may develop in the future. The caseworkers must document this discussion in both the child’s and the adoptive family’s records;

  •  discuss with the family the services the child and family may receive after placement to ensure the placement’s success. (See 6951 Supporting the Adoptive Placement);

  •  discuss the frequency and nature of postplacement contacts between CPS and the family. (See 6951 Supporting the Adoptive Placement);

  •  arrange for the child and family to meet each other if they have not already done so;

  •  schedule as many preplacement visits as necessary. At least one of the visits must take place overnight in the adoptive family’s home, unless the program director approves an exception;

  •  help the child resolve his or her fears and concerns about the placement;

  •  help the prospective adoptive family resolve its fears and concerns about the child, the child’s background, the placement, and the parents’ ability to raise the child;

  •  help the child separate from people he or she is close to; and

  •  tell the adoptive family how to apply for financial assistance to support the adoption, and document the discussion in the case record. For detailed information about getting financial assistance to support the adoption, see 1700 Adoption Assistance Program.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.3343

See Form 2140 Adoption Best Practice Guide.

6944 Completing the Placement

CPS February 2017

The caseworker who places the child must carry out the following tasks with the adoptive family at the time of the child’s placement.

6944.1 Providing Continuing Access to the Child’s Records

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must advise the adoptive parents in writing that CPS will give them continuing access to a complete, edited copy of the child’s history records. Those records include the child’s own case record and those parts of family and sibling case records that pertain to the child’s history or are significant to his or her health and development.

After the prospective adoptive parents’ initial review of those records, CPS restricts subsequent access to times and frequencies that are reasonable for both CPS staff and the family. Like the initial review, subsequent reviews must take place in supervised settings with qualified staff available to answer questions.

CPS gives the prospective adoptive parents continuing access to edited copies of the child’s records in order to help them develop a deeper understanding of the child’s history after the child has been placed with them. CPS also encourages the parents to confer with the caseworker about the child’s history after the child has been placed with them.

The caseworker must document in the case record all of the information discussed with the family regarding the child’s history, needs, problems, and potential.

6944.2 Providing Written Consent to Secure Medical Services for the Child

CPS February 2017

The caseworker transfers medical consent to the adoptive parents by completing Form 2085B Designation of Medical Consenter, and having the family sign it.

6944.3 Providing Information about Using the Child’s New Adoptive Name and Its Possible Impact on Medicaid

CPS February 2017

Before discussing with the adoptive family use of the child’s new adoptive name and Its possible impact on Medicaid, the caseworker must confirm whether the child is receiving social security benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefits. The eligibility specialist, billing coordinator or adoption subsidy negotiator should be able to make this information available. The caseworker must document the discussions with the other staff in the Contacts page in IMPACT.

6944.31 If the Child Is Not Receiving Social Security Benefits

CPS February 2017

If the child is not receiving social security benefits, then at the time of the adoptive placement, the caseworker explains to the adoptive family that they can begin using the child’s new adoptive name. However, due to Medicaid processing issues, it may take several weeks or up to 60 days for the Medicaid card to reflect the new name.

6944.32 If the Child Is Receiving Social Security Benefits

CPS February 2017

If the child is receiving social security benefits, the caseworker explains to the adoptive family that, to avoid problems with the child’s Medicaid eligibility, the child’s Medicaid card continues to show the child’s biological name until after the adoption is consummated, From the time of the adoptive placement, and until the adoption is consummated, they can use the child’s adoptive name only for non-Medicaid purposes.

6944.4 Informing the Adoptive Family of the Availability of Continuing Services

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must inform the adoptive parents of the services available to support the adoption, including counseling services and support groups.

See DFPS Adoption Support Programs.

6944.5 Providing the Child’s Personal Documents

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must provide the adoptive parents photographs of the child and personal documents such as life books, pictures, and memorabilia that may help the child understand his past and adjust to the adoption.

The caseworker must not give the adoptive parents photographs that were taken to document the child’s abuse or neglect.

6944.6 Discussing the Adoptive Placement Agreement

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must discuss each item on Form 2226 Adoptive Placement Agreement with the adoptive parents, and have them sign it.

6944.7 Arranging to Forward the Child’s Income

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must arrange for any income CPS receives for the child to be forwarded to the adoptive parents.

Providing Edited Records to Professionals and School

The caseworker must arrange for edited copies of the child’s medical, therapeutic, and educational records to be provided to the adoptive family’s doctor, therapist, and school.

6944.8 Updating Records

CPS February 2017

Immediately after placing the child, the caseworker must take the following actions to update CPS’s records and to notify adoption exchanges of the child’s placement.

  •  Within two workdays, notify the foster care eligibility caseworker that the child has been placed for adoption.

  •  If the child or family is registered on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange, notify the exchange of the child’s placement with the family by completing and forwarding Form 2229 Removal of Child or Family from Adoption Resource Exchange.

  •  If the child or family is registered on any other adoption resource exchanges, notify them about the placement.

  •  Combine the child’s and the adoptive family’s case records.

6944.9 Procedures for Canceled Placement

CPS February 2017

If the placement is subsequently canceled or disrupted, the adoption caseworker must make reasonable efforts to have the adoptive parents return their copy of the health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report to CPS. The adoptive parents must also return all other written information that CPS has released to them regarding the child’s history.

Texas Family Code §§162.006; 261.201

6945 Making Adoptive Placements in Other Regions and With Private Agency Adoptive Homes

6945.1 When CPS Places a Child Outside the Region

CPS February 2017

When a CPS caseworker places a child in an adoptive home that is outside of the region that has conservatorship, the caseworker or supervisor follows the procedures in 6314 Services to Children and Parents Across Regional Lines.

6945.2 Documenting Contacts in IMPACT

CPS February 2017

CPS staff must document monthly face-to-face contacts, including the location of the contacts, upon receiving the information from the contract provider.

6945.3 Closing Adoption Cases That Cross Regional Lines

CPS February 2017

When a child has been placed in an adoptive home across regional lines and it is appropriate to close the case, the caseworker receiving the child for placement and the caseworker sending the child for placement take the following steps:

  •  the receiving caseworker must provide the sending caseworker with copies of any external documents in the adoptive family’s record that the sending caseworker does not already possess;

  •  the sending caseworker must attach the adoptive family’s external record to the child’s external record and close the child’s case. See 1476 Retention of Consummated Adoption Case Records;

  •  the sending caseworker must follow the procedures for closing a case in the ADO (Adoption) stage in IMPACT;

  •  the sending caseworker must document the location of the adoptive family’s original external record in the ADO stage;

  •  the sending caseworker must follow procedures for closing a case in the FAD (Foster or Adoption) stage in IMPACT; and

  •  the receiving caseworker must document the location of the child’s original external record in the FAD stage.

6946 Making Placements in Other States

CPS February 2017

Before placing a child for adoption in another state, the caseworker or supervisor must:

  •  obtain written approval for the out-of-state travel, from the regional director (or regional director’s designee) and the Deputy Director for Field Operations;

  •  verify that the home has an approved home study in compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and that criminal record checks have been completed before the child’s placement;

  •  obtain, from the court with jurisdiction over the child, approval to place the child for adoption out of state;

      Note: Whenever possible, the caseworker must secure the court’s approval in writing. If the judge approves an out-of-state placement verbally, the caseworker or supervisor must:

  •  draft a letter to document CPS’ that the court has approved placing the child out of state (contingent upon an approved ICPC home study);

  •  send the original of the letter to the court; and

  •  keep a copy in the child’s case record; and

  •  obtain the approval of the Interstate Compact authority. To do so, the caseworker follows the procedures in the ICPC Resource Guide. To prevent delays, the caseworker initiates those procedures when CPS first begins to consider an out-of-state placement.

If the placement is made through a private child-placing agency, the regional contract manager must execute the contract before the pre-placement visits begin.

6947 Making Placements in Other Countries

CPS February 2017

A child should not be placed in an adoptive placement outside of the United States unless there is a prior relationship between the child and family. Making placements out of the country has implications for a child’s eligibility for state and federal support services.

When considering a family who is either living out of the country or who will be moving out of the country during the supervision period, the caseworker or supervisor must determine the extent of the prior relationship with the prospective adoptive family.

If the caseworker or supervisor determines that the child has a significant relationship with the prospective adoptive family and it is in the best interest of the child to continue that relationship with the adoptive family, then the caseworker:

  •  informs the prospective adoptive parents of the limitations for medical assistance and other support services to the child and determines how the child’s medical needs will be met when the child moves;

  •  requires the family to arrange for supervision of the adoption (such as with a military social caseworker if the family lives on a base);

  •  obtains information regarding the country where the family will be living and services available to the child and family to meet the child’s short and long term needs; and

  •  requests written approval from the deputy director for Protective Services for Families and Children. If this approval is obtained, the caseworker:

  •  obtains written approval from the court with jurisdiction over the child; and

  •  informs Interstate Compact staff of the child’s move out of the country.

6950 Supporting and Consummating the Adoption

6951 Supporting the Adoptive Placement

CPS February 2017

CPS’s Continuing Legal Responsibility

When a child in CPS’s managing conservatorship is placed for adoption, CPS remains legally responsible for the child until the adoption is consummated.

6951.1 Developing an Adoption Services Plan

CPS February 2017

Once a child is placed in an adoptive placement, the caseworker must provide the services identified on the Adoption Services Plan.

6951.11 Objectives of an Adoption Services Plan

CPS February 2017

CPS provides services under the adoption services plan to help the:

  •  adoptive family and the child adjust to the adoption;

  •  child understand his or her personal background and the reason for the adoption; and

  •  adoptive parents and their attorney consummate the adoption. (See 6954 Consummating the Adoption.)

The adoption plan helps the family adjust by giving the adoptive parents an opportunity to:

  •  identify and express any doubts or concerns they have about raising the child;

  •  identify and obtain the support services they may need to raise the child;

  •  identify and obtain services that the child needs; and

  •  develop and formally establish appropriate methods of discipline.

The plan also allows the caseworker to note any changes in the adoptive family’s health, financial condition, or composition that may affect the child’s well-being.

6951.12 Establishing the Adoption Services Plan

CPS February 2017

The adoption caseworker must establish an adoption services plan no more than 30 days after placing the child for adoption.

The caseworker develops the plan with input from the:

  •  adoptive family;

  •  child, if the child can understand and participate; and

  •  child’s conservatorship caseworker.

The adoption services plan must identify the:

  •  services needed by the child and family;

  •  possible resources for securing the services; and

  •  methods of discipline suited to the child’s needs.

The caseworker must maintain the adoption plan in IMPACT. In the Child Plan Guide Topics section of the Child Plan Detail page, the caseworker must:

  •  review and record information about service planning (including the progress made in addressing a child’s needs, any newly identified needs, and the plans made to address the newly identified needs); and

  •  ensure that the information recorded addresses the specific issues identified by the prompts for each guide topic.

The caseworker must also ensure that the services plan complies with applicable program standards and federal law. See 6240 Case Planning.

Although it is the adoptive family’s caseworker who is usually responsible for providing the services required by the adoption services plan, sometimes the child’s caseworker is responsible. In either case, until the adoption is consummated, the unit that manages the child’s case and maintains the child’s case record is responsible for the child’s well-being and service-planning.

6952 Resolving Problems in an Adoptive Placement

CPS February 2017

Options

When an adoptive placement is not proceeding satisfactorily, the adoption caseworker and supervisor must confer with the conservatorship unit. After conferring with the conservatorship unit, the adoption caseworker and supervisor must attempt to establish a new adoption service plan that:

  •  extends the placement;

  •  addresses the problems; and

  •  provides for monthly face-to-face contacts with the adoptive family.

If the adoption caseworker and supervisor are unable to establish a new plan to extend the placement, they must work with the adoptive parents and the child to establish a new service plan for terminating the placement by:

  •  removing the child from the adoptive home; and

  •  returning the child to substitute care.

Terminating the placement

To terminate an adoptive placement, the adoption caseworker must:

  •  record in the case record all information leading to and supporting the decision to remove the child from the adoptive home;

  •  obtain the supervisor’s approval to remove the child;

  •  help the family and the child adjust to the termination with as little emotional damage as possible;

  •  explain to the child the reasons for terminating the placement and discuss future placement plans with him; and

  •  revise and update the child’s service plan.

6953 Contact with the Child and Adoptive Family

CPS February 2017

When CPS staff provides post-placement services directly, the caseworker must follow the contact policy in 6411 Contact With the Child, 6953.1 Conducting Visits With the Child and Adoptive Family, and documentation policy in 6133.2 Documenting Contacts in Substitute Care.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.3425

The caseworker must also take the following actions for the adoptive placement:

  •  The caseworker must make a home visit within two weeks after the child’s placement.

  •  The caseworker must make monthly face-to-face contact with the child and adoptive family until the adoption is consummated.

  •  At least one monthly face-to-face contact must take place at the residence each month in a majority of the months in a year. See 6411 Contact with the Child and 6133.2 Documenting Contacts in Substitute Care for additional requirements.

  •  At least two of the monthly contacts during the first six months must include all family members living in the home.

The visits must be well-planned and focused on issues pertinent to case planning and service delivery to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child. These visits should focus on the child’s bonding and adjustment to the new adoptive family, the needs of the adoptive family in caring for the child, and the issues identified in the adoptive service plan.

Generally, when a child is first placed in an adoptive home, more frequent contact is needed. The amount and type of contacts will depend on the child and family’s needs.

Constitutional Requirements

When visiting a family’s home, CPS caseworkers must always ensure that the caseworker has proper consent to enter a family’s residence as provided for in the 4th Amendment.

6953.1 Conducting Visits With the Child and Adoptive Family

CPS February 2017

Staff follows the policies in 6411 Contact With the Child.

6953.11 Preparing for the Visit

CPS February 2017

For the service plan, the caseworker refers to the adoptive service plan.

6953.12 Conducting the Visit

CPS February 2017

The caseworker talks with the child and parent separately and together. The caseworker observes the interaction of the child and the adoptive parents. The separate conversations are important as they allow the child or parents to bring up concerns that they might not share in front of others. If the child is nonverbal, the caseworker should have some interaction with the nonverbal child.

During the visits in the home the child’s caseworker discusses with the child and parents the progress since the last visit. The caseworker asks them about what has gone well, what are the problems or difficulties, and how they have tried to handle these. The caseworker asks them about their thoughts and feelings about the adoptive placement. The caseworker asks them about their use of family and community supports and resources, as needed.

During the visit with the child, the caseworker also asks about and discusses:

  •  the child’s thoughts and feelings about living with the adoptive family, and the child’s interactions with other children in the home;

  •  various Life Book issues; and

  •  the Transition Plan, if youth is 16 years of age or older (this is important, even in an adoptive placement).

6953.13 Assessing the Visit

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must assess the adoptive parent’s ability, willingness and efforts to:

  •  care for the child; and

  •  meet the child’s needs, particularly those of safety.

The caseworker must assess the child’s progress in the home, bonding with the family, and ability to protect him or herself. The caseworker must assess the quality of the interaction of the child and the adoptive parents.

6953.14 Documenting the Visit

CPS February 2017

After each contact, the caseworker must documents observations of and discussions with the child and family and any follow-up tasks that are needed. See Contact Narrative in 6133.2 Documenting Contacts in Substitute Care.

6953.15 Following Up

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must take steps to ensure that any identified needs for the child or support services needed for the family are addressed. This may include such actions as revising the service plan, setting up additional testing or evaluations, assisting the adoptive parents in setting up appointments with specialists to see the child, or setting up an appointment at the child’s school.

6954 Consummating the Adoption

CPS February 2017

Six months after the initial placement, the caseworker and family must assess the family’s and the child’s readiness to consummate the adoption.

After the child has lived in the family’s home for six months, the court may hear a petition to adopt the child (filed by the family’s adoption attorney) and order the adoption; however, the court may waive the six-month residence requirement.

The petition to adopt is filed in the county:

  •  in which the child resides;

  •  in which the prospective adoptive family resides; or

  •  where the authorized agency is located, if the child is placed by an authorized agency.

When the adoption is consummated, the child has the same legal status and inheritance rights in the adoptive home as a child born to the adoptive parents.

Texas Family Code §§162.017; 162.009; 103.001

6954.1 Time Frames for Consummating the Adoption

CPS February 2017

There are restrictions regarding when adoptions can be consummated because certain relatives of a child have 90 days after termination of parental rights to request managing conservatorship. Consequently, the adoption consummation should occur at least 90 days after the termination of parental rights.

If one of the eligible relatives files for managing conservatorship during the 90 days following the termination of parental rights, then the prospective adoptive family must wait until the suit has been resolved before the adoption can be consummated. (See 6932 Challenges of a Termination Order by Certain Relatives: 90-Day Period Following Termination.)

However, there may be situations in which the court:

  •  determines that it is in the best interest of the child to consummate the adoption in a shorter time frame; and

  •  orders the adoption.

In these situations, CPS must follow the orders of the court.

6954.2 CPS Caseworker Tasks After the Adoption Petition Is Filed
6954.21 Preparing a Social Study

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must prepare and submit a social study on the child and the adoptive home to the court.

6954.22 Filing the Health, Social, Education, and Genetic History (HSEGH) Report

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must file a copy of the health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report with the court for its record of the suit to adopt the child. The adoptive parents must sign the copy filed with the court.

Texas Family Code §162.008

6954.23 Securing the Court’s Consent to Adopt

CPS February 2017

The caseworker helps the family’s attorney secure consent to the adoption from the judge of the court that terminated the parent-child relationship, if another court is hearing the petition.

6954.24 Providing the Child’s History to the Adoptive Parents

CPS February 2017

At the time the adoption is consummated, the caseworker must provide the adoptive parents with a complete redacted copy of CPS’s records pertaining to the child.

Fees for More Than One Copy

CPS does not require adoptive parents to pay a fee for a single redacted copy of records pertaining to a child’s history. If the adoptive parents ask for more than one copy, CPS charges them for each additional copy at CPS’s standard rates for copying requested records. Contact the Records Management Group (RMG) to obtain the current rate

6954.25 Providing Information to the Family’s Attorney

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must give the attorney a copy of the termination order and of the child’s birth certificate so that the attorney can complete the application to amend the child’s birth certificate.

6954.26 Providing Advice on Obtaining Post Adoption Services

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must inform the adoptive family how to request post adoption services. See 6960 Postadoption Services.

6954.27 Documenting the Adoption Decree

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must file a copy of the adoption decree in the child’s case record and document all actions described in this section in IMPACT.

6954.3 Additional Tasks
6954.31 Providing Advice on Applying for a New Social Security Number or Card

CPS February 2017

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not automatically assign a new Social Security number for a child who has a Social Security number after the child is adopted, nor does the SSA automatically change the child’s name on the Social Security card to the child’s new adoptive name.

In addition, even if requested, the SSA will not assign a new Social Security number for the child if the child:

  •  knows he or she is adopted;

  •  receives Social Security benefits or SSI payments;

  •  has worked; or

  •  is adopted by a step-parent or other relative.

If any of the above conditions exist, the SSA updates the child’s record with the new identifying information and issues a corrected card with the child’s new name under the same number. Parents should contact the local SSA office for instructions on how to obtain a corrected card.

If none of the above conditions exist, the parents can obtain a new Social Security number for the child with the child’s adoptive name. The caseworker advises the adoptive parents to follow the steps outlined on the Social Security website in the publication Social Security Numbers for Children.

The caseworker must file the old Social Security card in the child’s case record.

If the child is receiving Social Security benefits, the adoptive parent sends a copy of the new Social Security card with the new name or SSN, or both, to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist so that the correct name can be entered into IMPACT. This generates a referral to the Medicaid system. However, it may take up to several weeks for the child’s Medicaid card to reflect the new name.

6954.32 Transferring Income, Benefits, and Assets

CPS February 2017

When the adoption is consummated, the accounting staff must arrange for any income, benefits, and assets accruing to the child to be returned to the appropriate issuing entity. In most cases, accounting staff contact the SSI coordinator who coordinates the return of these funds and also notifies the caseworker that these funds have been returned. The caseworker notifies the adoptive parents to go to Social Security Administration (SSA) and become the representative payee, if applicable. Any non-SSA funds are handled on a case-by-case basis.

6954.33 Providing Additional Medical, Psychological, or Psychiatric Information to the Adoptive Family

CPS February 2017

Any CPS staff obtaining supplemental medical, psychological, or psychiatric information regarding a child who is in the managing conservatorship of CPS and was subsequently placed into adoption is required by law to provide the information to the adoptive parents.

Texas Family Code §162.005(f)

The caseworker must submit the information for redaction of confidential information, using regional protocol. The appropriate department provides the redacted information to the adoption supervisor for the county that has jurisdiction of the child. The county adoption supervisor forwards the information to the adoptive parents and works with the regional attorney to file the supplemental medical, psychological, or psychiatric information with the court that consummated the adoption.

CPS staff must submit the supplemental information in redacted form to the post-adoption contractor if appropriate.

The Records Management Group (RMG) includes the original, un-redacted supplemental information in the closed adoption record for retention.

6954.34 Releasing the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) Report and ARS to Other Parties on Request

CPS February 2017

The Texas Family Code requires CPS to release the health, social, education, and genetic history (HSEGH) report to certain other parties on request. These parties are:

  •  an adoptive parent of the adopted child;

  •  the managing conservator, guardian of the person, or legal custodian of the adopted child;

  •  the adopted child, after the child is an adult;

  •  the surviving spouse of the adopted child if the adopted child is dead and the spouse is the parent or guardian of a child of the deceased adopted child; or

  •  a progeny of the adopted child if the adopted child is dead and the progeny is an adult.

Texas Family Code §162.006(b)

Responding to Requests

When CPS staff receives a request for a copy of the HSEGH report and ARS from one of the parties specified above, staff must refer the requester to the Records Management Group (RMG). RMG determines whether the requester is entitled to the information and provides a redacted copy of the records to those entitled to receive the records.

6954.4 Termination of CPS’s Managing Conservatorship

CPS February 2017

When the adoption is consummated the court terminates CPS’s managing conservatorship, and CPS’s responsibility for the child ends.

Exceptions: CPS continues to have limited responsibilities for the child when the child receives adoption assistance or post adoption services as specified in:

1700 Adoption Assistance Program

1714.7 Reimbursement of Nonrecurring Expenses of Adoption

6960 Postadoption Services

6954.5 Adoption Reporting Requirements

CPS February 2017

The Texas Family Code sets forth adoption reporting requirements which affect Child Protective Services. The Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS), is the agency responsible for maintaining these records in a central adoption file.

The Certificate of Adoption is used to register each adoption and record statistics on adoptions. This form is used to report all adoptions, request a new birth certificate resulting from an adoption, and provide information for the bureau’s adoption database.

Staff must ensure all CPS adoptions are registered in order for state statistics to be accurate. While staff does not complete the form, staff must direct the family to Form VS-160, Certificate of Adoption. The adoption attorney uses this form to report this information.

6960 Postadoption Services

CPS February 2017

To help adopted children and adoptive parents adjust to their adoptions CPS operates a program of postadoption services. Most of these services are provided by contracted providers. For detailed information about providing postadoption services through contracted providers, see 8410 Postadoption Services.

CPS can also provide postadoption services directly (rather than providing them through contracted providers) when an adoptive family needs to receive them directly. The adoption services supervisor must approve the decision to provide postadoption services. Before approving the decision, the supervisor must ensure that CPS has enough resources to provide direct services and that providing the services will not impede the delivery of other services of a higher priority.

6961 Postadoption Substitute Care Services

CPS February 2017

In limited circumstances CPS provides a service to families who have adopted children directly from CPS custody and reside in the state of Texas. This service provides out-of-home placement of the adoptive child when the child’s:

  •  therapeutic or behavioral needs cannot be met in a family setting or

  •  behaviors are too dangerous to others in the home for the child to live in the home.

To be eligible for this service the adoptive family must:

  •  be residents of Texas;

  •  have adopted a child directly from CPS custody;

  •  have followed through with all tasks addressed on the service plan developed with the postadoption service provider, to the extent the provider determines appropriate ( service plan tasks may include family, group, or individual therapy for the parents or the child); and

  •  have exhausted all community resources, their insurance benefits, and available postadoption services.

6961.1 Circumstances Requiring Postadoption Substitute Care Services

CPS February 2017

To qualify for postadoption substitute care services, the therapeutic and behavioral issues of the child should be:

  •  a result of trauma he or she endured before adoptive placement; or

  •  unpredictable genetic issues.

CPS offers this service because the children that CPS places for adoption come into care with various needs. Some needs are obvious before and at the time of placement, some occur after placement, and others at new developmental stages.

There is no way to predict every need a child might have in adoptive placement, because CPS does not know every trauma the child has experienced or the complete genetic history of every child. Additionally, CPS cannot predict the long-term effects these variables will have on each child.

Examples of the types of behaviors these children might exhibit include:

  •  being sexually or physically abusive toward others in the home;

  •  exhibiting severe conduct disorder that presents physical safety issues to the family, siblings, or the adoptee;

  •  being unable to function within the structure and supervision provided in a family setting; or

  •  being unable to attach over several years’ time, so that the family setting is unable to meet the child’s emotional needs and the child’s overall functionality digresses.

6961.2 Procedures for Obtaining Postadoption Substitute Care Services

CPS February 2017

When an adoptive family contacts CPS to request placement for their adopted child, and they are not currently working with postadoption services, staff refers the family to the postadoption services for appropriate services.

When postadoption services are nearly exhausted the adoptive family and CPS can mutually agree to have CPS granted temporary conservatorship of the child, and the child is placed into substitute care with the adoptive family’s ongoing involvement.

The postadoption service provider and the adoption supervisor must find that it is in the child’s best interest for the adopted child to:

  •  re-enter substitute care; or

  •  to remain in out-of-home care if the child is already placed out of the home, and use post-adoption services, transferring temporary conservatorship to CPS.

CPS file for temporary managing conservatorship of the adopted child. The child and family must be residing in Texas. This must be a requirement for the Department to fund residential treatment services for the child.

6961.3 How Postadoption Substitute Care Services Affect the Permanency Plan

CPS February 2017

The permanency plan would most often be reunification. However, other permanency plans may be developed.

CPS must hold a staffing to determine if:

  •  all possible community resources, insurance benefits and post-adoption contract services have been exhausted; and

  •  the child’s needs cannot be met in a family setting or the child represents a serious threat to others in the home.

This staffing should include the following participants:

  •  the postadoption service provider;

  •  the adoptive parents;

  •  the CPS program director responsible for the county in which the family resides;

  •  the adoption program director;

  •  adoption staff who may have knowledge of the family;

  •  CPS staff who may be assigned to the case; and

  •  the therapist.

Other appropriate participants can be included as necessary, such as the caseworker or supervisor who will be completing the investigation, and staff responsible for the adoption subsidy.

CPS offers this service when the family and CPS mutually agree to have CPS granted temporary conservatorship of the child, and the child is placed into substitute care with the adoptive family’s on-going involvement. The post-adoption service provider and the adoption supervisor must find that it is in the child’s best interest for the adopted child to re-enter substitute care, or when the child is already placed out of the home through post-adopt services, to remain in out-of-home care; transferring temporary conservatorship to CPS. As a result of this staffing, if CPS determines that the adoptive child and family need this service, CPS must follow all minimum standards regarding non-emergency placements.

6961.4 Postadoption Substitute Care IMPACT Procedures

CPS February 2017

The adoptive parent(s) would not be documented as perpetrators of abuse/neglect unless actual incidents of abuse/neglect have taken place.

If abuse or neglect of the adoptive child is suspected, CPS completes a thorough investigation and does not use this process. If abuse/neglect is not present and the presenting problems are the therapeutic issues of the child from before the adoptive placement, then CPS uses this process

Documentation in IMPACT

The caseworker makes a referral to Statewide Intake alleging refusal to accept parental responsibility. CPS conducts an investigation, though an abbreviated investigation may be conducted since CPS already knows there is no abuse or neglect. See 2200 Basic Investigation Process for information on how to complete the investigation.

When CPS obtains custody of the child the caseworker opens the substitute care (SUB) stage and family substitute care stage (FSU) stage using the Conservatorship Removal page. The caseworker closes the investigation with a disposition of Ruled Out.

6961.5 Legal Documentation of Postadoption Substitute Care

CPS February 2017

The caseworker enters the Original Petition, Affidavit, and Court Orders, as in any other conservatorship case.

CPS can be given temporary managing conservatorship for the purpose of protective foster care. The adoptive family can be named joint temporary managing conservators if desired.

After temporary managing conservatorship is granted to CPS, CPS manages the case as any other conservatorship case, with all the same time frames and expectations.

Staff should understand the different issues associated between the child and adoptive family that are unique to that type of parent-child relationship and different from birth parent histories and issues.

6961.6 Transitioning from Postadoption Services to Postadoption Substitute Care Services

CPS February 2017

CPS terminates postadoption services to the adoptive family and child when CPS is named temporary managing conservator of the child, unless there are other adoptive children remaining in the home, in which case the adoptive family and children continue to receive postadoption services as needed. Substitute care services provide therapeutic services related to the child in care.

It may become clear that the adopted child receiving postadoption services will not be returning to the adoptive home because the child’s needs cannot be met within the scope of the postadoption services program. In these circumstances it may be prudent not to exhaust limited postadoption services placement funds and proceed directly into postadoption substitute care services.

Refer to 8412.6 Residential Therapeutic Care for information on post-adoptive services residential treatment placement.

6961.7 Adoption Subsidy Assistance

CPS February 2017

CPS terminates adoption subsidy assistance for the child coming into postadoption substitute care as soon as CPS is named temporary managing conservator of the child. CPS staff must ensure this change has been reported to the staff responsible for the subsidy.

Refer to the Texas Family Code §264.101 for payment issues. The child’s eligibility will generally be State Paid Foster Care since there is not a finding of abuse or neglect.

6970 Subsequent Placements in the Same Home

CPS February 2017

Before placing another child for adoption in an adoptive home that has already adopted a child who was in CPS’s managing conservatorship, the adoption caseworker must update the family’s adoptive home study. The new home study must meet the requirements for subsequent placements in the Child-Care Licensing division’s Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

For detailed guidelines on completing home studies, see Guidelines for Foster and Adoptive Home Studies on the Adoption website.

6980 Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE)

CPS February 2017

The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) website is the leading recruitment tool for prospective adoptive homes for CPS.

The TARE Manual includes guidelines, basic procedures, best practices, and step-by-step instructions on how to use the TARE application.

6981 Community Agencies That Support Child-Specific Recruitment

CPS February 2017

Community agencies often support CPS in recruitment efforts to find a home for a particular child. However, all children must be published on TARE before any community agency is brought in to facilitate national child-specific recruitment activities.

If CPS suspends recruitment on TARE, CPS must ensure that the community agency or program also suspends their recruitment efforts. Suspending recruitment efforts includes, but is not limited to, removing children’s photos, profiles, and videos from websites or exhibits until CPS decides to reinstate recruitment efforts.

6982 TARE Adoption Recruitment Efforts

6982.1 Pre-TARE Regional Recruitment Efforts

CPS February 2017

CPS uses regional recruitment efforts to target and identify prospective adoptive home matches for a child during the first 60 days following an Order for Termination of Parental Rights (TPR).

6982.11 Pre-Recruitment Discussion With the Current Foster Parents

CPS February 2017

Before initiating regional recruitment efforts, the child’s caseworker must talk with the current foster parents. The purpose of this discussion is to inform the foster parents that CPS intends to begin active recruitment efforts to identify potential adoptive placements and to determine whether the current foster parents are interested in adopting the child.

The caseworker must have this conversation even if there have been previous discussions with the foster parents about adopting the child and even if the foster parents have declined to proceed with adoption. The caseworker must document a summary of this conversation and the foster parents’ decision in IMPACT.

6982.12 Examples of Regional Recruitment Efforts

CPS February 2017

Regional recruitment efforts must include but are not limited to:

  •  regional radio broadcasts;

  •  local television, such as Wednesday’s Child and Forever Families segments and videos on television station websites;

  •  discussions with private child-placing agencies;

  •  discussions with regional foster and adoption home development staff;

  •  regional match parties and other events;

  •  statewide (Texas only) radio broadcasts.

6982.2 National Recruitment Efforts

CPS February 2017

If an adoptive family is not identified through regional recruitment efforts by the 60th day after termination of parental rights, the child’s caseworker must initiate national recruitment efforts unless a court orders otherwise. The child must be registered on TARE before any other national recruitment efforts can begin.

National recruitment efforts can include but are not limited to:

  •  TARE email broadcasts;

  •  outreach to adoption coalitions and postings on their websites;

  •  posting on the Heart Gallery websites;

  •  outreach and other websites that partner with TARE.

6983 Time Frames for Registering Children on TARE

CPS February 2017

Caseworkers must register children on TARE by the 60th day following an Order for Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) when:

  •  the child’s approved primary or concurrent permanency goal is adoption; and

  •  an adoptive home has not been identified.

CPS uses regional recruitment efforts to identify prospective adoptive homes for a child during the first 60 days following TPR.

CPS must keep each child’s TARE registration current until the child is placed for adoption or CPS changes the child’s permanency plan. See 6985 Maintaining TARE Registrations.

The TARE coordinator must edit and enter complete registrations in TARE within five business days of receipt of Form 2228 TARE Child Registration.

The TARE program specialist must edit, approve, and publish complete registrations on TARE within three business days of receipt.

6984 Court Orders Related to Adoption Recruitment

6984.1 Court-Ordered Recruitment for a Legal Risk Placement

CPS February 2017

If a court orders the TARE registration of a child or sibling group without an order for termination of parental rights (TPR), or in instances where an appeal of TPR is ongoing, the caseworker must forward a copy of the court order to the TARE mailbox.

The subject line of the email must read: Court Order.

TARE staff complies with the court order while CPS legal representatives address the ongoing issue of TPR. Any registrations made during this time result in the child being listed as a legal risk adoptive placement. See 6938 Legal Risk Adoptive Homes.

The caseworker must complete Form 2228, TARE Registration.

The first sentence of the Child Profile section of the form must read: PLACEMENT FOR THIS CHILD IS CONSIDERED A LEGAL RISK.

The caseworker must include the:

  •  name of the judge who ordered the TARE registration; and

  •  date of the court order.

See 6985 Maintaining TARE Registrations.

6984.2 Court Orders to Cease or Suspend Recruitment Efforts

CPS February 2017

If the court orders CPS not to initiate recruitment efforts, or to suspend existing recruitment efforts for a child or sibling group, the caseworker must forward a copy of the court order to the TARE mailbox. When there is an existing TARE registration, the Child Profile section in Form 2228 must display the:

  •  name of the judge who ordered suspension of recruitment efforts, and

  •  date of the court order.

6984.3 Court Orders for Placement Only in Texas

CPS February 2017

CPS’s standard practice is to conduct national recruitment efforts for any given child, unless it is detrimental to the child or sibling group for whom these efforts are being made and a court orders adoptive placement only in Texas.

If a court orders an adoptive placement only in Texas for a child or sibling group, the caseworker must forward a copy of the court order to the TARE mailbox.

TARE staff complies with the court order while the CPS legal representative, the regional caseworker, and the regional chain of command address the legal issues related to the court’s actions.

In Form 2228, the first sentence of the Child Profile must read: TEXAS PLACEMENT ONLY.

The caseworker must also enter the:

  •  name of the judge who ordered the registration; and

  •  date of the court order.

If CPS Staff Prefers Placement in Texas

If the caseworker and the supervisor believe it is in the best interest of a child or sibling group to limit adoptive placement to Texas, but national recruitment is not necessarily detrimental to the child or sibling group, they must request approval from the program director to limit recruitment efforts.

6984.4 Challenge of Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)

CPS February 2017

If termination of parental rights (TPR) is appealed or a relative files a petition within 90 days after the termination requesting appointment as permanent managing conservator (PMC) of a child or sibling group registered on TARE, the caseworker must notify TARE. CPS must immediately suspend recruitment efforts on TARE until CPS receives a court order to continue recruitment on TARE. If the court does not order continued recruitment, CPS suspends recruitment on TARE until the appeal is resolved.

6985 Maintaining TARE Registrations

6985.1 Child’s Caseworker Responsibilities

CPS February 2017

The child’s caseworker must keep each child’s TARE registration current until the child is placed for adoption or CPS changes the child’s permanency plan.

The caseworker must update a child’s registration:

  •  annually in order to keep the posting current;

  •  quarterly when TARE has not received sufficient or appropriate inquiries on the child. The TARE coordinator may notify caseworkers, and caseworkers also have access to TARE to make that determination. The child’s caseworker must also send an updated photo in addition to Form 2228 when requested by the TARE state office staff;

  •  any time there are changes in the child’s circumstances that affect recruitment. The caseworker must notify the TARE coordinator within 14 business days when such a change occurs. Examples include changes to a child’s health, behavioral or emotional characteristics, or changes in the type of placement needed; and

  •  if an adoptive match or placement disrupts, the child’s caseworker must renew the child’s TARE registration by filling out a new Form 2228 and providing an updated photo if the previous TARE photo is more than a year old.

The TARE coordinator must enter and edit the TARE adoption status and reasons for the change in status within five business days of receipt from the caseworker for updates and renewals.

The TARE program specialist rejects or approves TARE adoption status updates and renewals within three business days of receipt.

The TARE program specialist publishes the child’s listing on partner websites.

6985.2 Discontinuing TARE Registrations

CPS February 2017

To close a TARE registration, the child’s caseworker must complete Form 2229 TARE Removal of Child From the DFPS public website. The child’s caseworker must also notify the TARE coordinator when the child is no longer available for adoption and provide the reason why within three business days.

The TARE coordinator must enter and edit TARE adoption status and reasons within one business day of receipt from the caseworker for removals.

The TARE program specialist rejects or approves TARE adoption statuses within three business days of receipt for removals.

Upon approval, the TARE program specialist removes the child’s listing from partner websites.

6986 TARE Inquiries

CPS February 2017

Foster and adoption home development (FAD) recruiters must respond to general inquiries within three business days of receipt.

The TARE coordinator must respond to a child-specific inquiry within three business days of receipt.

6986.1 Families That Inquire Outside of the TARE System

CPS February 2017

Procedures for inquiries received outside of the TARE system are included in the TARE Manual.

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