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7000 Foster and Adoptive Home Development

CPS October 2017

Foster and Adoptive Home Development (FAD) staff recruits, trains, approves, and verifies prospective foster and adoptive families.

Foster and adoptive families provide safe homes for children in DFPS substitute care during planned placements and on an emergency basis. Foster families work closely with CPS staff to develop and meet the permanency planning goals established for the children placed in their care.

The Foster and Adoptive Home Development program admits children and youth, of both genders, under the age of 18 years in foster homes for child-care services as defined in Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies §749.61(a).

FAD workers:

  •   guide prospective foster and adoptive families through the verification process;

  •   ensure that the families understand and comply with Licensing's Minimum Standards; and

  •   ensure that the families receive the necessary resources and support to provide for children in substitute care.

Refer to the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide for FAD-related terms.

Race, Color, or National Origin

FAD staff must comply with federal law that prohibits using a child's or prospective foster or adoptive parent's race, color, or national origin ("RCNO") as a factor in a placement decision, with extremely limited exceptions.

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

FAD staff may consult with the regional attorney for further guidance.

See:

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

Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color, and National Origin (RCNO) in Placement Decisions

6931.3 Race, Color, or National Origin

7100 Inquiries and Initial Applications

7110 Responding to Inquiries From Potential Foster Care or Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must respond to inquiries from interested persons:

  •   making a general inquiry about becoming a foster or adoptive parent; or

  •   inquiring about becoming a foster or adoptive parent to a specific child.

The FAD worker must accept inquires:

  •   by phone;

  •   by email;

  •   online through the TARE website; or

  •   in person.

The FAD worker must respond in writing within 10 working days of receiving an inquiry, to provide more information about the process of becoming a foster or adoptive family with DFPS.

To obtain the necessary information about an interested family, the FAD worker must use Form 2169 Inquiry Form for Prospective Foster/Adoptive Families.

See 6980 Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) for more information.

7120 Information Meetings

CPS October 2017

Most prospective and adoptive parents begin the verification and approval process by attending an information meeting to learn about fostering and adoption. The TARE website contains details on information meetings, and FAD staff may inform prospective parents of upcoming information meetings during the follow up to the prospective parents' inquiry.

Regional FAD workers must host a minimum of two information meetings each month. At least one of these meetings must be a "collaborative" meeting held in conjunction with private child-placing agencies (CPAs).

The FAD worker must ensure prospective foster or adoptive families attend an information meeting before they are given an application to foster or adopt.

In rare instances when, despite best efforts, a prospective foster or adoptive parent is unable to attend a public information meeting, the FAD worker may conduct an individual information meeting with the parent.

See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide.

7121 Previously Verified or Approved Applicants

CPS October 2017

Verified foster parents or approved adoptive parents are not required to attend another information meeting if DFPS verified or approved them during the 12 months preceding their attempt to foster or adopt.

In this case the FAD worker must:

  •   discuss changes in services or programs that have occurred since the previous verification or approval; and

  •   ensure that foster or adoptive parents have received DFPS training during the past 12 months on preventing, identifying, treating, and reporting child abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The FAD worker must document this discussion in the foster or adoptive parents' case file in IMPACT.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.833

7122 Topics of Information Meetings

CPS October 2017

All information meetings must provide:

  •   DFPS philosophy, organizational structure, and policies;

  •   a description of the services and programs offered;

  •   demographics of children in the local area who need placement;

  •   general information about the foster and adoption process;

  •   the basic requirements of foster and adoptive parents;

  •   an overview of the applicable rules found in the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies;

  •   an opportunity for prospective foster and adoptive parents and their families to ask questions;

  •   DFPS's goal to recruit foster and adoptive parents for all children in care; and

  •   information about disproportionality and the need for targeted recruitment of foster and adoptive parents for African American children.

The FAD worker must ensure that:

  •   all attendees have signed Form 2171 Information Meeting Sign-In Sheet; and

  •   a copy of this sheet is placed in each foster or adoptive family's case file before the pre-service training starts.

Race, Color, or National Origin

When DFPS conducts a targeted recruitment for foster and adoptive parents for African American children, all interested persons should be encouraged, not only African American individuals. FAD staff must ensure the use of race, color, and national origin (RCNO) in the placement process is prohibited, except in limited, individualized circumstances.

In those rare occasions where the race, color, or national origin (RCNO) of a child or a prospective foster or adoptive family may be considered, the decision to consider this must be consistent with federal law and mutually agreed upon by:

  •   the child's caseworker;

  •   the caseworker's supervisor;

  •   the FAD worker for the family; and

  •   the FAD supervisor.

A program director must approve the final decision.

See:

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

Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color, and National Origin (RCNO) in Placement Decisions

6931.3 Race, Color, or National Origin

7123 Distributing and Assisting with Applications

CPS October 2017

Distributing the Application Packet

At the end of each information meeting, the FAD worker must provide a packet with Form 2286 Foster Care and Adoption Parenting Application to attendees interested in pursuing verification to foster or approval to adopt through DFPS. The packet must also include the following:

  •   Form 2286b Additional Household Information

  •   Form 2286c Residence History

  •   Form 4054c Background Check Statement

Assisting with Completing the Application Packet

The FAD worker must encourage prospective foster or adoptive parents to complete the application before leaving the meeting, if they intend to work with DFPS as their child-placing agency. The FAD worker must remain on-site and available to assist prospective applicants as necessary.

The FAD worker must collect completed applications and provide information to the applicants about the next step in the foster or adoption process.

The FAD worker must document the date of the information meeting that the applicants attended, in the space provided at the top of the application.

Prospective Parents Who Are Relatives or Fictive Kin

Prospective parents may want to adopt or become foster parents to a specific child in DFPS managing conservatorship. This might occur if the prospective parents are the child's relatives or fictive kin (that is, they have a longstanding and significant relationship with the child or with the child's family). See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide for definitions of fictive kin.

In this instance, the FAD worker must ask the prospective parents to complete Form 2286r Foster Care and Adoption Kinship Application.

7124 Processing the Application Packet Submitted by Prospective Foster or Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must review Form 2286 Foster Care and Adoption Parenting Application packet for completeness within three business days of receiving the form from a prospective foster or adoptive parent.

If the application packet is complete, the FAD worker must check the application to confirm that the prospective parents are interested in a child in DFPS conservatorship.

Prospective Parents Seek a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

If the prospective parents are interested in fostering or adopting a child in DFPS conservatorship, and they have completed and signed Form 4054c Background Check Statement, the FAD worker must conduct:

  •   a name-based criminal history check with the Texas Department of Public Safety; and

  •   a check in IMPACT to see if there are reports of child abuse and neglect.

If the results of the check are clear, the FAD worker must invite the prospective parents to the next available pre-service training session.

See 7400 Checking Criminal Records and Abuse and Neglect History.

Prospective Parents Do Not Seek a Child in DFPS Conservatorship

If the application shows that the family is not seeking to foster or adopt a child in DFPS conservatorship, the FAD worker must inquire whether the applicants have considered adopting or becoming foster parents to a child in DFPS conservatorship.

If the applicants prefer not to foster or adopt a child in DFPS custody or DFPS conservatorship, the FAD worker must:

  •   refer them to private child-placing agencies; and

  •   close the family's application.

Application is Incomplete

If the application is missing information, the FAD worker must contact the applicants to:

  •   explain what is needed; and

  •   provide a deadline for submission.

If the FAD worker does not receive the missing information by the midpoint before the deadline (for example, after one week, if the deadline is two weeks), the worker must contact the applicants to answer questions or help them complete the form.

If the family does not respond, the FAD worker must make reasonable efforts to contact them, as defined by regional policy. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the FAD worker must:

  •   document the result in IMPACT; and

  •   close the application.

7200 Screening Applicants for Foster Care and Adoption

CPS October 2017

DFPS, as a child-placing agency (CPA), is subject to the same minimum standard rules that govern private CPAs.

DFPS policy for screening foster and adoptive applicants is based on the minimum standard rules for child-placing agencies in the Title 40 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 749, Subchapter S, Division 2, Adoptive Home Screening.

7210 Reasons for Screening Applicants for Foster Care and Adoption

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that every applicant to become a foster or adoptive parent, whether married or single, possesses the qualifications and abilities necessary to protect, care for, and nurture abused or neglected children.

Screening Prospective Foster Parents

The FAD worker must screen prospective foster parents to ensure that they have the ability to:

  •   meet a child's immediate and short-term needs for health, education, and social and emotional development, as identified in the child's service plan;

  •   meet Licensing's Minimum Standards for agency foster family homes; and

  •   become familiar with the DFPS foster care system.

Screening Prospective Adoptive Parents

The FAD worker must screen and evaluate persons applying to become adoptive parents to ensure that they are suitable to adopt a child and can meet not only a child's short-term needs, but also the child's long-term need for a supportive family.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §749.107(5)

7220 Screening Requirements for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that prospective foster and adoptive parents meet the basic screening requirements at the time of application.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1502

Applicants must meet these basic requirements before they can continue for verification as foster parents or approval as adoptive parents.

The FAD worker must not begin the screening process until he or she receives the following information on a prospective foster or adoptive family:

  •   an initial criminal background check (see 7441 Evaluating Criminal History Results); and

  •   a check of IMPACT abuse and neglect history (see 7442 Evaluating DFPS and Out of State Abuse or Neglect History Results).

Additional Screening for Prospective Adoptive Families

For families who wish to adopt, the FAD worker must also conduct an adoptive home screening. The FAD worker must only begin a screening on a family that plans to live in the community long enough for the screening to be completed and for a placement to be made.

See 7512 Home Screenings.

7221 Household Members

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must evaluate the relationships of all persons living with a prospective foster or adoptive parent, regardless of age, during the foster or pre-adoptive home screening. The FAD worker must assess each person's role with respect to a foster or adoptive child.

7222 Age and Finances

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure all foster and adoptive parent applicants are:

  •   21 years old or older; and

  •   financially stable.

Although there are no specific income requirements, the FAD worker must ensure applicants:

  •   have enough income to meet a child's basic material needs before reimbursement; and

  •   are able to manage their income.

The FAD worker must evaluate income based on the applicant's ability to:

  •   manage money, past and present;

  •   meet the family's financial needs; and

  •   meet the foster or adoptive child's additional financial needs.

7223 Relationship Status

7223.1 Relationship Status of Prospective Foster Parents

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must evaluate prospective foster parents' relationship status according to DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1502.

If a couple lives together, only one person is required to apply and become verified as a foster parent. However, the FAD worker must assess and verify both persons during the home screening process.

There is no minimum amount of time that a couple must be married or living together for the couple to be verified. However, during the couple's home screening, the FAD worker must:

  •   assess the stability of the couple's relationship; and

  •   discuss how fostering could affect the dynamics of the couple's relationship.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1502

7223.2 Relationship Status of Prospective Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

Although there is no minimum amount of time that a couple must be married to become approved as an adoptive parent, the FAD worker must assess:

  •   the stability of the couple's relationship; and

  •   the couple's reason for wanting to adopt.

Parents Who Wish to Adopt a Specific Child

The FAD worker's assessment must include a review of the prospective parent's relationship with the child, if any, whether that relationship is familial or fictive, past or present. See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide for definitions of fictive kin.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3623

7223.21 The Divorce Requirement for Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

If a prospective adoptive parent is separated from a spouse, he or she must not be approved as an adoptive parent until the divorce is final.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1502(2)(B)(ii)(II)

7223.22 Requesting a Waiver of the Divorce Requirement for Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

The assistant commissioner or designee may grant a waiver allowing an adoption by a prospective parent whose divorce is not final, if the adoption is in the child's best interest and two or more of the following conditions are met:

  •   The applicant has a pre-existing relationship with the child.

  •   The applicant has a pre-existing relationship with the child's birth family.

  •   Placement with the applicant would allow the child to maintain a familial relationship with a sibling.

  •   The applicant can meet the child's particular needs (current and long-term).

See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide for the process of obtaining a waiver.

7223.3 Single Applicants as Prospective Foster or Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

DFPS may place a child with an unmarried person based on the child's specific needs.

DFPS must evaluate single persons who apply to become foster care or adoptive parents based on the DFPS rule requirements published in the Texas Administrative Code, §700.1502.

7224 Physical and Mental Health

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must evaluate prospective foster and adoptive parents' physical and mental health during the home screening.

See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide.

7225 Criminal History

CPS October 2017

Before an applicant can be verified or approved as a foster or adoptive parent, the FAD worker must complete a criminal history background check on:

  •   the applicants; and

  •   any member of the applicant's household who is age 14 or older and is not under DFPS conservatorship.

See the FAD Background Check Resource Guide.

See 7400 Checking Criminal Records and Abuse and Neglect History.

7226 Citizenship

CPS October 2017

DFPS may only approve U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other qualified aliens as foster or adoptive parents. For exceptions to this policy, see 7226.2 The Citizenship Requirement for Adoptive Parents.

For the definition of "Qualified Alien", see 8 U.S.C. §1641(b)

7226.1 The Citizenship Requirement for Foster Parents

CPS October 2017

DFPS must verify that foster parents are:

  •   U.S. citizens;

  •   permanent residents; or

  •   other qualified aliens (see 8 U.S.C. §1641(b))

DFPS does not verify prospective foster parents who do not have, or cannot provide proof of, the required citizenship or immigration status.

In the case of a married couple, DFPS must verify that both applicants meet the citizenship requirement.

Waivers for Foster Parents Prohibited

DFPS cannot provide waivers or exemptions for prospective foster parents who do not have, or cannot provide proof of, the required citizenship or immigration status. DFPS cannot provide waivers or exemptions for prospective foster parents who are married, but only one person holds the required citizenship or immigration status.

7226.2 The Citizenship Requirement for Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

DFPS must verify that adoptive parents are:

  •   U.S. citizens;

  •   permanent residents; or

  •   other qualified aliens.

Waivers for Adoptive Parents

The DFPS state office may grant a waiver for certain individuals who do not have the required residency status and who are seeking to adopt.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1502

See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide, under Waiving the Citizenship Requirement for Adoptive Parents.

7226.3 Verifying a Prospective Parent's Citizenship or Immigration Status

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must verify an applicant's citizenship or immigration status before approving the applicant as a foster or adoptive parent.

The FAD worker must document proof of an applicant's citizenship or immigration status by obtaining a copy of:

  •   a U.S. certificate of birth;

  •   a data match from the Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS);

  •   a naturalization certificate (UCSIS Form N-550 or N-570);

  •   a certificate of citizenship (UCSIS Form N-560 or N-561);

  •   a valid or expired U.S. passport; or

  •   a permanent resident card (UCSIS Form I-551), also known as an alien registration receipt card or green card.

The FAD worker must:

  •   copy any qualifying documents provided by an applicant (copying both the front and back, if applicable); and

  •   keep the copies in the family's case file.

If an applicant cannot provide any of the documents listed above, the FAD worker may allow the person to prove citizenship status through other means. See Appendix 1000-2: Additional Acceptable U.S. Citizenship Verification Documents.

If there are no qualifying documents available to prove U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, the FAD worker determines, with assistance from a DFPS regional attorney, whether the applicant qualifies under another type of alien status, such as persons admitted as refugees or granted asylum.

If the FAD worker cannot determine whether an applicant qualifies under another type of alien status, the applicant must provide some other form of immigration-related documentation to verify his or her citizenship or immigration status.

7226.4 Requesting a Citizenship Waiver for Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

DFPS may only grant a waiver to the citizenship requirement to a relative or fictive kin of a child in DFPS conservatorship, who seeks to adopt that child but does not hold the required citizenship or immigration status or cannot provide proof of his or her status.

To waive the citizenship requirement for a prospective adoptive parent, FAD staff must follow the process outlined in the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide, under Requirements for Requesting a Citizenship Waiver for Adoptive Parents.

7227 Fertility

CPS October 2017

During the adoptive home screening process, the FAD worker must consider the applicant's fertility (either a couple or a single parent).

If the couple or parent is infertile, the FAD worker must assess the couple's or parent's:

  •   feelings about being infertile; and

  •   ability to be a parent to a child that is not the couple's or parent's biologically.

DFPS may require applicants to participate in a fertility assessment before adopting, if DFPS believes the applicants need to know more about their fertility before receiving approval.

7228 Physical Discipline

CPS October 2017

Physical discipline must not be used on any child in DFPS conservatorship.

The FAD worker must evaluate prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their willingness and ability to:

  •   recognize and respect differences in children, especially those who have been abused or neglected;

  •   employ methods of discipline that suit each child's particular needs and circumstances; and

  •   employ methods of discipline that conform to the policies in DFPS Licensing's minimum standard rules for child-placing agencies. See 40 TAC, Chapter 749, Subchapter K, Division 6, and §749.3623.

See 40 TAC §700.1331 for additional DFPS rules on discipline.

See Appendix 6000-2: DFPS Discipline Policy.

7229 Religion

CPS October 2017

There are no specific religious requirements for prospective foster and adoptive parents; however, the FAD worker must evaluate foster and adoptive applicants' willingness to:

  •   respect and encourage a child's own religious affiliation;

  •   provide a child with the opportunity for religious, spiritual, and ethical development, if the child desires it; and

  •   protect a child's health, even if the parents' religious beliefs prohibit certain medical treatment.

DFPS makes every effort to accommodate the child and the birth family's wishes about religious practices, within the limits of the foster parent's situation, resources, and abilities.

A child is not required to participate in the foster parent's particular religious practices or activities.

7300 Training Foster and Adoptive Applicants

7310 Pre-Service Training of Foster and Adoptive Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that all caregivers, except individuals designated as kinship caregivers, complete at least 35 hours of competency-based pre-service training before becoming verified to foster or approved to adopt. The Parent Resource for Information Development Education (PRIDE) curriculum is the prescribed training used for DFPS foster and adoptive home applicants. This curriculum is a competency-based training program that meets a portion of the pre-service training requirements specified in the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.863

7311 Pre-Service Training Sessions

CPS October 2017

Preferably, a team consisting of a FAD worker and a foster or adoptive parent present the PRIDE training to foster and adoptive home applicants, either in a group setting or one-on-one.

Pre-service training provides families with a base of knowledge on caring for children under DFPS managing conservatorship, and must:

  •   meet all pre-service training requirements as specified in the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 749, Subchapter F, Training and Professional Development; and

  •   include information about the prospective adoptive parents' potential eligibility for a federal adoption tax credit.

7312 If Prospective Parents Complete Training and Then Withdraw

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must assess whether a prospective foster or adoptive parent must retake the pre-service training, if the prospective parent:

  •   attends pre-service training (see 7311 Pre-Service Training Sessions),

  •   withdraws from the verification or approval process, and

  •   returns within 12 months requesting verification or approval.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.867

7313 If Prospective Parents Complete Training, Are Approved, and Then Withdraw

CPS October 2017

If the prospective foster or adoptive parent is verified or approved but has withdrawn from foster care or adoption for more than 12 months, the FAD worker must assess whether the prospective foster or adoptive parent must retake the pre-service training.

7314 Exception to the Requirement That Prospective Foster Parents Attend Pre-Service Training

CPS October 2017

If a prospective foster family has a longstanding relationship with or is related to a child in DFPS conservatorship, the FAD worker must determine whether to offer the family an abbreviated pre-service training. Regional FAD workers or a DFPS contractor must provide the training.

7320 Training in CPR and First Aid

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that all foster parents are certified in the following, before being the only caregiver responsible for a child in DFPS conservatorship:

  •   cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for infants, children, and adults; and

  •   first aid, including training on rescue breathing and choking.

A caregiver must obtain first aid or CPR certification only through the providers specified in Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies §749.985(a).

After the foster parent completes training, the FAD worker must obtain proof of certification from the foster parent.

The FAD worker may accept proof in the form of:

  •   a certificate, letter, or a statement of successful completion, signed and dated by the training source; or

  •   a photocopy of the CPR and first aid card, front and back.

The FAD worker must ensure each foster parent renews his or her first aid or CPR training, as required to maintain a current certification.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, Chapter 749, Subchapter F, Division 7

7400 Checking Criminal Records and Abuse and Neglect History

7410 Determine Need for Background Check

7411 General Requirements for Background Checks

CPS October 2017

Federal law and DFPS and Licensing rules require that, before receiving verification to foster or approval to adopt, certain persons must submit to a name-based check of their:

  •   criminal history; and

  •   DFPS abuse or neglect history.

These persons may also be required to submit to:

  •   fingerprint-based criminal history checks;

  •   checks of another state's abuse and neglect registry (see 7413 Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Abuse or Neglect History Checks); or

  •   checks of local law enforcement records.

The FAD worker must consult the tables in 7411.1 Required Background Check Tables to determine which individuals living or present in the home are subject to background checks, and which type of check an individual is subject to.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(20)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.615

7411.1 Required Background Check Tables

CPS October 2017

The tables below:

  •   exclude clients in care, including young adults in extended foster care, who are not required to undergo background checks in order to be present in the operation;

  •   exclude employees of the operation. If an operation has an employee, consult relevant Minimum Standards and, if necessary, FAD state office; and

  •   are specific to FAD.

DPS Name-Based Criminal History

FBI Fingerprint

DFPS History Check

Out-of-State Abuse/Neglect Registry

DPS Name-Based Criminal History

Category:

Background Check Requirements:

CATEGORY 1

Applicant, current foster parent, or current adoptive parent

Required

CATEGORY 2

Household members 14 or older (persons who reside/will reside in the home)

Required

CATEGORY 3

Person 14 or older, acting as caregiver or given unsupervised access

Required if:

  •   acting as caregiver (acting as babysitter or counted in child-to-caregiver ratio); or

  •   has unsupervised access to children in care.

In determining whether a person has unsupervised access, FAD staff must consider whether the child is otherwise unsupervised based on Minimum Standards, 40 TAC §749.2593, in particular subsection (b).

There are several factors to consider when deciding what constitutes "supervision" in relation to a specific child or situation. Minimum Standards, §749.2593(b) states the caregiver must take into account:

  •   the child's age;

  •   the child's individual differences and abilities;

  •   the home's indoor and outdoor layout;

  •   surrounding circumstances, hazards, and risks; and

  •   the child's physical, mental, emotional, and social needs.

CATEGORY 4

Youth 14-17, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

Required if the youth:

  •   1) meets one of the following criteria:

  • visits or plans to visit 3 or more times in a 30-day period;

  • visits or plans to visit for more than 7 days at a time;

  • visits or plans to visit for more than 48-hours at a time, at least twice a year; or

  • visits or plans to visit on a scheduled basis;

      AND

  •   2) meets one of the following criteria:

  • the child is responsible for the care of foster or adopt children;

  • the child is related to the foster or adoptive parent; or

  • there is a reason to believe that the child has criminal or abuse or neglect history.

CATEGORY 5

Person 18 or older, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

Required if the person:

  •   1) meets one of the following criteria:

  • visits or plans to visit 3 or more times in a 30-day period;

  • visits or plans to visit for more than 7 days at a time;

  • visits or plans to visit for more than 48-hours at a time, at least twice a year; or

  • visits or plans to visit on a scheduled basis;

      AND

  •   2) meets one of the following criteria:

  • the person has unsupervised access to children;

  • the person is related to the foster or adoptive parent; or

  • there is a reason to believe that the person has criminal or abuse/neglect history.

FBI Fingerprint

Category:

Background Check Requirements:

CATEGORY 1

Applicant, current foster parent, or current adoptive parent

Required

CATEGORY 2

Household members 14 or older (persons who reside/will reside in home)

Required

CATEGORY 3

Person 14 or older, acting as caregiver or given unsupervised access

Required if:

  •   acting as caregiver (acting as babysitter or counted in child-to-caregiver ratio); or

  •   has unsupervised access to children in care.

In determining whether a person has unsupervised access, FAD staff must consider whether the child is otherwise unsupervised based on Minimum Standards, 40 TAC §749.2593, in particular subsection (b).

There are several factors to consider when deciding what constitutes "supervision" in a specific child or situation. Minimum Standards, §749.2593(b) states the caregiver must take into account:

  •   the child's age;

  •   the child's individual differences and abilities;

  •   the home's indoor and outdoor layout;

  •   surrounding circumstances, hazards, and risks; and

  •   the child's physical, mental, emotional, and social needs.

CATEGORY 4

Youth 14-17, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

Not required, even if frequently or regularly present, unless:

  •   the youth has lived out of state at any time in the 5 years before the youth's initial background check;

  •   the youth moved out of state at any time between the previous check and the renewal check; or

  •   there is reason to believe the youth has a criminal history in another state.

CATEGORY 5

Person 18 or older, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

Not required, even if frequently or regularly present, unless:

  •   the person has lived out of state at any time in the 5 years before the person's initial background check;

  •   the person moved out of state at any time between the previous check and the renewal check; or

  •   there is reason to believe the person has a criminal history in another state.

DFPS History Check

Category:

Background Check Requirements:

CATEGORY 1

Applicant, current foster parent, or current adoptive parent

Required

CATEGORY 2

Household members 14 or older (persons who reside/will reside in home)

Required

CATEGORY 3

Person 14 or older, acting as caregiver or given unsupervised access

Required

CATEGORY 4

Youth 14-17, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

Required

CATEGORY 5

Person 18 or older, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

Required

Out-of-State Abuse/Neglect Registry

Category:

Background Check Requirements:

CATEGORY 1

Applicant, current foster parent, or current adoptive parent

Required for each state or locality where applicant has lived since age 18.

FAD policy goes beyond Minimum Standards, which only requires checks for applicants and adult household members if the adult has lived outside Texas at any time in the five years before the application.

CATEGORY 2

Household members 14 or older (persons who reside/will reside in home)

Required for adults in each state or locality where household member has lived since age 18.

FAD policy goes beyond Minimum Standards, which only requires checks for applicants and adult household members if the adult has lived outside Texas at any time in the five years before the application.

CATEGORY 3

Person 14 or older, acting as caregiver or given unsupervised access

NOT required

CATEGORY 4

Youth 14-17, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

NOT required

CATEGORY 5

Person 18 or older, frequently staying or working in home while children are in care (aka regular or frequent visitors)

NOT required

7412 Background Check Statement Form 4054

CPS October 2017

Before conducting any of the background checks, the FAD worker must obtain a completed and signed Form 4054c Background Check Statement from each subject of a background check.

Immediately upon receiving the signed and completed Background Check Statement, the FAD worker must ensure that all available information on each person submitting the form is documented in IMPACT. After verifying that all available information is accurately documented, the FAD worker must request:

  •   criminal history record information (CHRI) from DPS or the FBI; and

  •   DFPS abuse and neglect history information from IMPACT.

7413 Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Abuse or Neglect History Checks

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must check local abuse and neglect records in all states that the following have lived in since age 18:

  •   prospective foster parents;

  •   prospective adoptive parents; or

  •   any other adult household member who has resided outside of Texas preceding an application to foster and adopt.

The FAD worker is not required to check abuse and neglect records in foreign countries. However, the FAD worker must request a check of abuse and neglect registries in the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

If a child welfare agency in another state or U.S. territory does not have an abuse and neglect registry, or if it refuses to release the information, the FAD worker works with the applicant to have the individual obtain his or her own results. If the other state has no abuse and neglect registry, the FAD worker must file a letter from that state in the case record, saying the state has no such registry, before verifying or approving the individual.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.615

7420 Submitting Checks

7421 Ensuring Checks Are Submitted Timely

7421.1 Time Frames for Initial Checks

CPS October 2017

A person's initial background check must be submitted and received according to specific time frames. See the table in the FAD Background Check Resource Guide, under Time Frames for Initial Checks.

7421.2 Relying on a Previously Conducted Fingerprint Check for an Initial Check

CPS October 2017

In certain situations, the FAD worker may satisfy the fingerprint-based criminal history check requirement for a person by using fingerprint-based criminal history record checks the person previously submitted through DFPS or TEA (Texas Education Agency).

The FAD worker may use checks previously conducted by DFPS if:

  •   DFPS still has access to the results of the previously conducted check; and

  •   no more than 24 months have passed since the last name-based criminal history check was submitted.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.630(a)(1)

The FAD worker may use checks previously conducted by TEA if:

  •   the results of the previously conducted check are stored in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Clearinghouse and are accessible to DFPS; and

  •   no more than 24 months have passed since TEA received the results of that fingerprint based criminal history check.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.630(a)(2)

7421.3 Time Frames for Recurring Checks

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must run recurring background checks for each individual subject to an initial background check, as long as that individual remains in a role that requires background checks. For instance, if an elderly relative stops visiting because of poor health, checks would not be required unless the relative plans to resume visits.

The FAD worker must re-run and update background checks no later than once every 24 months from the date of the most recently submitted background check. A new fingerprint based FBI check is not required if the name-based check is kept current within 24 months, unless:

  •   DFPS previously conducted a fingerprint-based FBI check for the person or waived the requirement based on a previously submitted check that another entity completed, and the person failed to undergo a name-based check at least every two years since the most recent fingerprint-based FBI check;

  •   the person moved out-of-state after DFPS or another entity completed the most recent fingerprint-based check; or

  •   there is reason to suspect that the person has out-of-state criminal history since DFPS or another entity completed the most recent fingerprint-based check.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.615, 745.625 and 745.630

7421.4 Time Frames for Checks Required Before Consummating an Adoption

CPS October 2017

While Child-Care Licensing rules require recurring checks to be conducted every 24 months, criminal history record checks for adoptive parents must be current within 12 months of a petition for adoption.

Texas Family Code §162.0085, Criminal History Report Required

DFPS May Provide Documentation

The court may accept DFPS documentation instead of ordering the adoptive parents to personally obtain and provide copies of their criminal history record checks. If this is the case, CPS staff must provide the court with a copy of the criminal history record check received directly from DPS, local law enforcement, or FBI.

See Records Management Group Handbook, 2540 Handling Criminal History Record Information.

7430 Requesting Information from Law Enforcement

7431 Service Call Information from Law Enforcement

CPS October 2017

Minimum Standards and state law regarding foster home screenings require that DFPS obtain service call information from the appropriate law enforcement agency for the prospective foster parent's addresses for the past two years.

Texas Human Resources Code §§42.0449, 42.0561

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2445(d), 749.2447(7)

Though the Minimum Standards apply this requirement only to foster home screenings, FAD policy applies it to both foster and adoptive home screenings.

The FAD worker must:

  •   have the foster or adoptive applicants complete Form 2954 Family Violence Calls Disclosure for Foster and Adoptive Applicants;

  •   regardless of whether results are found or whether the applicant discloses any calls or incidents on Form 2954, ask the foster or adoptive applicants whether any law enforcement agency has responded to any of their residences in the past two years. If so:

  •   request background information from each law enforcement agency that responded, and

  •   discuss with the applicants each incident and any additional background information;

  •   obtain service call information for the foster or adoptive applicant's addresses for the past two years and discuss with the applicants any results and the facts surrounding the incident;

  •   address and document information obtained from law enforcement and any discussion with the applicants in the foster or adoptive home screening;

  •   document results in the home record; and

  •   consider whether to move forward with the application in accordance with 7440 Evaluating Background Check Results and Service Call Information.

Reporting Service Call Information to CCL

Even if the application will not move forward and the home screening will not be completed, the FAD worker must report any domestic violence information to Child-Care Licensing.

7440 Evaluating Background Check Results and Service Call Information

CPS October 2017

Background check results are not printed; exceptions are provided in Records Management Group Handbook, 2540 Handling Criminal History Record Information. However, the FAD worker must document the results in the home screening. See the FAD Background Check Resource Guide.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§749.2447(7); 749.3623(5)

The FAD worker must document all criminal history check results in IMPACT on the Criminal History Results page, for each completed check.

If no matches are received on any individuals in a prospective foster or adoptive home, the FAD worker continues with the verification or approval process.

If matches are received on any individuals in a prospective foster or adoptive home, the FAD worker must follow the processes described in the FAD Background Check Resource Guide, depending on whether the results involve criminal history or DFPS abuse or neglect history.

If FAD receives new background check information about a person connected to a home already verified or approved (including arrests, convictions that have not yet been evaluated, abuse or neglect investigations, and so forth) the FAD worker must follow 7443 New Background Check Results on a Verified or Approved Home.

7441 Evaluating Criminal History Results

CPS October 2017

Once the FAD worker has the results of a person's criminal history checks, the worker must evaluate the criminal history results as outlined in the FAD Background Check Resource Guide, under Criminal History.

7442 Evaluating DFPS and Out of State Abuse or Neglect History Results

CPS October 2017

Once the FAD worker has the results of a person's DFPS abuse or neglect history checks or out-of-state abuse or neglect history checks (if required), the FAD worker must evaluate the results as outlined in the FAD Background Check Resource Guide, under Abuse and Neglect History Checks.

7443 New Background Check Results on a Verified or Approved Home

CPS October 2017

If a home is already verified or approved and the FAD worker receives new information about criminal or abuse and neglect history, the FAD worker must consult with the program administrator (PA) or designee and take the following actions, as applicable:

  •   If the person is arrested or charged with a crime, the FAD worker must report the information to Child Care Licensing (CCL).

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.699

  •   If the offense for which the person is arrested or charged would be a bar to being present in the home, either permanently or temporarily pending the outcome of a risk evaluation, the person cannot be present where children are in care unless the charge has been dismissed, the prosecutor rejects the charge, the person has been acquitted, etc. or a risk evaluation is completed permitting the person to be present.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.701

  •   If the FAD worker becomes aware of a criminal conviction or finding of abuse or neglect that was not previously considered, the FAD worker must report the information to CCL. The person with the finding may be barred from being present in the home or CCL may place conditions on the person's presence.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.703

  •   If a person in the home who is required to undergo background checks becomes the subject of an abuse or neglect investigation, the FAD worker must notify CCL immediately. The person may remain present unless CCL determines that the person poses an immediate threat or danger to the children's health or safety.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.705

CCL, through the head of the Centralized Background Check Unit or designee, makes the ultimate decision about the person's presence or conditions on the person's presence.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.707

7450 Risk Evaluations

CPS October 2017

When requesting a risk evaluation, the FAD worker must complete Form 2974c CPS Request for Risk Evaluation Based on Past Criminal History or Central Registry Findings for Foster or adoptive Homes. The FAD worker must complete the form according to the form instructions, and attach all required documentation.

7451 Contact With Children During Risk Evaluations

CPS October 2017

DFPS may or may not prohibit individuals with a criminal history or a history of abuse or neglect from being present in a home while children are in care, pending the outcome of a risk evaluation.

For further guidance, see DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, Chapter 745, Subchapter F, or contact the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU).

7452 When a Risk Evaluation is Not Required

CPS October 2017

A risk evaluation is not necessary for criminal history or abuse and neglect history at the time of a later background check if all of the following conditions are met:

  •   A risk evaluation was previously requested for the same finding of abuse or neglect or criminal conviction and DFPS approved the risk evaluation.

  •   A more recent criminal history check or DFPS abuse or neglect history check does not reveal a new finding or criminal conviction.

  •   The circumstances of the person's contact with children in the home are the same as when the previous risk evaluation was completed.

7460 Information Related to Specific Types of Checks

7461 Rejected Fingerprints

CPS October 2017

DPS and the FBI may reject fingerprint submissions because of poor quality. If fingerprints are rejected, the FAD worker must ensure that the subject of the fingerprint check is immediately notified and informed that he or she must re-submit fingerprints. The subject is not required to pay an additional fee for submitting new fingerprints.

If the fingerprints are rejected a second time, the subject is required to submit to a name-based search through the FBI search unit. To submit the name-based search, the FAD worker must complete Form 2967 CJIS Name Search Request, and mail or fax it to the address or number indicated on the form.

The FBI search unit must receive this form no more than 90 days from the date that the second set of fingerprints was rejected. If the FBI does not receive the form within this time frame, the individual must start the fingerprint process again from the very beginning. In this instance, the subject would be required to pay for the cost of fingerprints necessary to re-start the process.

7462 Incorrect Criminal History Information

CPS October 2017

Accuracy of an individual's criminal history record information is vital to the foster and adoption application processes. DFPS assumes that information returned during the course of a fingerprint-based or name-based check is correct.

If the subject of the criminal history record check believes that information contained in his or her criminal history record is incomplete or inaccurate; he or she may contest the results with the appropriate federal or state criminal justice agency.

Because criminal history record information is confidential, only the subject of the criminal history may contest the results. To the extent possible, the FAD worker assists the individual through the process of contesting inaccurate or incomplete criminal history results.

7462.1 Texas Department of Public Safety

CPS October 2017

The Texas Department of Public Safety's Error Resolution Unit is responsible for updating and evaluating possible errors in criminal history records. The process for contacting the Error Resolution Unit is located on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.

7462.2 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

CPS October 2017

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducts either name- or fingerprint-based checks of their National Crime Database. These checks compile information submitted to the FBI by various federal and state criminal justice agencies. If an individual believes that the information contained in his or her name or fingerprint based check is incomplete or inaccurate, the individual may contest the results by either:

  •   contacting the criminal justice agency that reported the information to the FBI; or

  •   submitting a written request to:

FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division

Attention: Crime History Analysis Team 1

1000 Custer Hollow Road

Clarksburg, WV 26306

Additional information about this process is located on the FBI website.

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