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12000 Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

CPS June 2019

The FBSS program serves families who need additional services from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to keep a child safe. Services are provided by:

  •  Community-based organizations

  •  Contractors

  •  Caseworkers

12100 Philosophy and the Role of FBSS Staff

12110 Philosophy

CPS June 2019

The FBSS program is child safety centered and family focused. The safety and health of children is always the paramount concern when providing services that prevent removal of the child from the home. At any point, if staff determine that the safety of the child can no longer be ensured, a plan for the child’s safety must be implemented immediately.

Most families who are struggling to provide a safe and stable environment for their children want help and can change. FBSS staff work in partnership with parents, children, and communities to prevent children from entering into foster care. FBSS services are time-limited, tailored to family needs, culturally sensitive, and focus on the strengths of the family. FBSS staff provides services in a manner that respects the fundamental right of the parents to control the education and upbringing of their children.

12120 The Role of the FBSS Caseworker

CPS June 2019

The most important objective of the FBSS caseworker is to ensure a child’s health and safety. The caseworker uses the Child Protective Services Practice Model to work with children and families and ensure that his or her work is safety-organized, child-centered, family-focused, and collaborative.

The practice model outlines the process that the caseworker uses to help the family achieve desired outcomes by engaging, assessing, teaming, planning, intervening and evaluating. 

12130 The Role of the FBSS Supervisor

CPS June 2019

The FBSS supervisor trains, advises, supports, and evaluates the FBSS caseworker. The supervisor plays an important role in addressing the safety of the child receiving services.

The essential functions of a supervisor include:

  •  Critically thinking through case situations and obtaining all needed information to make sound and safe decisions.

  •  Approving the caseworker’s decisions or providing clear direction for any reasons for changing them.

  •  Approving and reviewing case documentation in a timely manner.

  •  Holding at least 10 monthly conferences per year with each caseworker and using conference notes to document casework practice and decision-making related to each case reviewed.

  •  Periodically accompanying the caseworker on home visits or meetings with a child or family member.

  •  Supporting caseworker development.

  •  Ensuring that appropriate child safety plans are developed.

  •  Ensuring that appropriate plans of service are developed.

  •  Working closely with the caseworker to monitor the safety of the child while the family receives services.

  •  Consulting with caseworkers, CPS management, and legal parties about legal actions necessary to make sure the child is safe, up to and including removal.

12200 Contacts in Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must make regular contact with the following people:

  •  Each child receiving services and the child’s parents or caregivers.

  •  Non-offending or noncustodial parents who are not part of the allegation household.

  •  Parental child safety placement (PCSP) caregivers.

High-risk families have significantly higher rates of subsequent referral and validation of abuse or neglect than low-risk families, and they are more often involved in serious abuse or neglect incidents. These families need a greater level of intervention from FBSS, including more frequent face-to-face contact and engagement.

Noncustodial parents who are not part of the allegation household may be able to support ongoing child safety and may need services to address the parent’s or child’s needs.

Regular contact with PCSP caregivers helps ensure that the living arrangement has continued and that the caseworker is available to address any issues that arise.

12210 Constitutional Requirements for Family-Based Safety Services

CPS June 2019

During all visits in FBSS cases, including the joint visit when the case is being transferred to FBSS, the caseworker must follow the constitutional requirements related to:

  •  Entering a family’s home.

  •  Conducting a visual examination of a child in the home.

  •  Transporting a child.

  •  Removing a child.

Within 24 hours of the visit, the FBSS caseworker documents in IMPACT whether the parent granted or denied consent for any of the actions listed above.

12211 Consent to Enter and Remain in a Family’s Home

CPS June 2019

Before entering a family’s home, the caseworker must do both of the following:

  •  Clearly identify himself or herself as a CPS caseworker.

  •  Explicitly request permission to enter the home.

The caseworker must obtain consent to enter the home, even if:

  •  The caseworker has an ongoing relationship with the family and has been to the home before.

  •  A court ordered the family to participate in FBSS.

If at any time after the caseworker has entered the home the family withdraws the consent to enter, the caseworker must take both of the following actions:

  •  Leave the home.

  •  Consult with the supervisor to determine what action, if any, is appropriate.

12212 Consent to Visually Examine the Child in the Home

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must obtain consent before visually examining any part of a child’s body that is not in plain sight. The caseworker examines the child when the caseworker is concerned or is screening for signs of neglect or physical harm. 

If the parent defies a court order that requires that the child be made available to the caseworker at the home or any other location, the caseworker consults with his or her supervisor to determine the next step.

12213 Consent to Transport the Child

CPS June 2019

If the child is required to receive services outside the home, the caseworker must first attempt to have the parent take the child or arrange for someone else to take the child to the appointment for services. Parental consent is required and must be documented in a case narrative if the caseworker or another DFPS employee will take the child.

The parent must participate to the extent possible and may ride with the caseworker and the child, if necessary.

12214 Meeting Federal Requirements

CPS June 2019

A caseworker’s visits with a child must meet federal requirements.

Federal requirements for face-to-face visits include the following:

  •  Maintaining children safely in the home, whenever possible.

  •  Enhancing a family’s capacity to meet the children’s needs by:

  •  Supporting the parents in meeting their educational, physical, and mental health needs.

  •  Conducting a quality visit with the child and the parent or caregiver.

These requirements measure whether the frequency and quality of the caseworker’s visits with the child and family are of sufficient quality to:

  •  Ensure the child’s safety and permanency.

  •  Ensure the well-being of the child and family.

  •  Help achieve the goals set for the case.

12215 Assessing Communication Needs

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must assess communication needs for each child and adult to determine if any accommodations need to be made for the child or adult while participating in services or contacts. If the caseworker believes that the child or adult may have a communication disability or other disability, such as deafness, hearing loss, or autism spectrum disorder, which causes the child or adult to not communicate effectively, the caseworker must make appropriate accommodations in order to ensure effective service delivery.

See the Parents with Disabilities Resource Guide.

12220 Initial Contact

CPS June 2019

As soon as possible, but within 10 calendar days after the FBSS case is opened, the caseworker must make an initial face-to-face contact with all of the following people:

  •  Each principal child who will receive services.

  •  Each parent whose location is known.

  •  At least one parental child safety placement (PCSP) caregiver for each child, if applicable.

12230 Contacts When the Child Is Not in a PCSP

CPS June 2019

If the child is not in a PCSP, the caseworker uses the risk level of the most recent Risk Assessment or Risk Reassessment tool to determine the minimum number of face-to-face contacts to make each month:

  •  Very High Risk or High Risk: At least three contacts per month with a parent or caregiver and two with each child.

  •  Moderate Risk: At least two contacts per month with a parent or caregiver and two with each child.

  •  Low Risk: At least one contact per month with each parent or caregiver and one with each child.

The caseworker must complete at least one face-to-face contact with each parent or caregiver each month. For example, in a very high risk case, the caseworker could make two face-to-face contacts with one parent and one with the other, but not three contacts with one parent and none with the other.

Contacts with verbal children must be conducted in private at least once a month.

The caseworker must make the majority of face-to-face visits in the family’s home.

The supervisor may approve a change in the frequency of face-to-face contacts with the family due to a short-term change with the family (for example, if the parent is incarcerated for 30 days, the caseworker may only need to see the parent once during that time). This short-term approved change in contact must be documented in IMPACT.

If the caseworker believes that the risk level within the family has changed, the caseworker must complete and submit a Risk Reassessment tool in IMPACT. This Risk Reassessment tool must be approved in IMPACT by a supervisor and include the reasons why risk has been reduced or increased. Upon the risk level changing on a Risk Reassessment tool, the frequency of contact would change accordingly.

If the family does not already have a safety network, the caseworker must help the family develop one. Safety network members who are willing and able to team with the caseworker and family can make contacts with the family to support ongoing child safety. However, the caseworker must still make all of the required contacts per month with the family.

12240 Contacts When the Child Is in a PCSP

CPS June 2019

If the child is in a parental child safety placement (PCSP), the caseworker must follow PCSP policy for required contacts with the parents, child, and PCSP caregivers.

See 3214 Required Contacts.

12250 Notifying a Supervisor When Unable to Meet the Time Frames for Face-to-Face Contact

CPS June 2019

If there becomes a pattern of unsuccessful attempts to make initial or subsequent face-to-face contact with the child or family, the supervisor and caseworker must develop a plan to ensure that the child is safe.

The assigned caseworker must notify his or her supervisor within one work day in either of the following situations:

  •  The caseworker cannot meet the standards for initial face-to-face contact consistent with CPS policy.

  •  The caseworker has made three unsuccessful attempts to make face-to-face contact in any month.

12260 Locating, Contacting, and Assessing Absent or Noncustodial Parents

CPS June 2019

If a child in an FBSS case has an absent or noncustodial parent, it is important to identify and engage (as appropriate) that parent. The involvement of an absent or noncustodial parent can:

  •  Provide support to the child.

  •  Help build the family’s safety network.

  •  Enhance alternative placement options, if needed.

12261 Locating Absent or Noncustodial Parents

CPS June 2019

FBSS caseworkers must exercise due diligence in order to locate the absent or noncustodial parent, including:

  •  Contacting the following:

  •  Collaterals.

  •  Adult children of the absent or noncustodial parent.

  •  Other family members, including but not limited to the parents and siblings of the absent or noncustodial parent, if known.

  •  Any other individual that the caseworker believes has information about the absent or noncustodial parent’s whereabouts.

  •  Having a discussion with each child involved in the FBSS case about his or her contact and involvement with the absent or noncustodial parent. The caseworker follows up if there is reason to believe that the child may have additional information.

  •  Running a DFPS history search.

  •  Requesting a FINDRS search.

Due diligence is further defined in 5233 Exercising Due Diligence to Locate Missing Parents and Other Relatives.

FBSS caseworkers must make ongoing efforts to identify and locate absent or noncustodial parents and document what efforts were made.

12262 Contacting and Assessing Absent or Noncustodial Parents

CPS June 2019

Upon obtaining locating information for the absent or noncustodial parent, the caseworker must make attempts to contact the parent, including but not limited to attempting face-to-face contact, or by phone, email, letter, or other means.

Upon contacting the absent or noncustodial parent, the FBSS caseworker must notify the parent of the FBSS case and make efforts to assess and engage the parent in the case. Depending on the circumstances of the family and specific facts of the case, this may include:  

  •  Informing the parent of the services that involve the child.

  •  Ascertaining the parent’s desired level of involvement with the child.

  •  Conducting an assessment with the parent, which may include completing a Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) within 21 days.

  •  Based on the assessment and the parent’s desired level of involvement, offering services that will enhance the absent or noncustodial parent’s ability to safely parent the child and increase his or her protective capacities if the child is removed from the primary parent.

  •  Completing a Family Plan of Service.  

  •  Maintaining monthly contact with the parent unless the parent has informed the FBSS caseworker that he or she does not want to be involved in the case.

When determining the appropriate steps to take to engage the absent or noncustodial parent, the caseworker must consider all of the following:

  •  Any child safety issues.

  •  Whether there are any existing court orders that limit the parent’s contact with the child.

  •  The parent’s current relationship with the child and primary parent, as appropriate.

  •  The parent’s desire to be involved.

12270 FBSS Actions When a Child or Principal Cannot Be Located

CPS June 2019

Regular contact with families is essential to engaging parents in services and assessing child safety.

If the caseworker cannot locate the family or determines the family may be missing, the caseworker must conduct a diligent search for 10 days beginning with the day of the caseworker’s first unsuccessful attempt to contact the child and family. For specific guidance on conducting a diligent search, see 3100 When a Child Who is With His or Her Family Cannot be Located.

At any time during the search, if there is a reason to believe the child may be in imminent danger, the caseworker must immediately consult with the supervisor. If the supervisor agrees the child is in imminent danger, the supervisor must meet with the Special Investigations program director to immediately submit a referral to the Department of Public Safety to place the child on the Child Safety Check Alert List.

12300 Transferring a Case in Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

12310 Transferring a Case from Alternative Response or Investigation to FBSS

CPS June 2019

Families are referred to FBSS by Child Protective Investigations or Alternative Response. The referral process is to be completed within two weeks, meaning that from the date the referral to FBSS is made to the date the FBSS case is opened, no longer than two weeks passes. This is to ensure initial assessment of the family and timely services are provided. The time frame includes the dispute resolution process when there is a difference of opinion about case transfer.

See 2400 Transferring a Case from Investigation to Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS).

12320 Transferring FBSS Cases between Counties and Regions

CPS June 2019

Families sometimes relocate while receiving services from FBSS. When a family moves to another county or region, it is important that the family continues receiving services in the new location. When a case is being transferred between counties or regions, the caseworker in the transferring county or region is responsible for the case until the transfer is completed.

12321 Transfer Process

CPS June 2019

Step 1: As soon as the need for case transfer is identified, the transferring FBSS supervisor emails the receiving regional FBSS Case Transfer Mailbox to set up the case transfer. The transfer request email must include Form 7102 Courtesy or Case Transfer Request as well as any additional pertinent information related to the case and case transfer. See FBSS Courtesy and Transfer List.

Step 2: Within two business days, the receiving FBSS supervisor emails the transferring FBSS supervisor to identify the FBSS caseworker assigned to the case.

Step 3: The receiving FBSS caseworker must contact the family to confirm the family’s residence in the area before the FBSS staffing (see Step 5).

Step 4: The transferring FBSS caseworker must complete the case transfer summary in full and include all of the following:

  •  A detailed assessment of the progress of services.

  •  Ongoing needs to address child safety and the family’s protective capacities.

  •  Any parental child safety placement and safety plan that is in place.

Step 5: The transferring FBSS caseworker makes sure:

  •  The Person Detail page is up to date.

  •  There is a current Family Plan of Service or Family Plan Evaluation.

Step 6: The FBSS staffing (meeting) must be held within 10 calendar days from the date that the transfer request is sent. The transferring FBSS unit and the receiving FBSS unit must participate in the FBSS staffing.

If principals in a case are actually or are believed to be located in more than one county or region, FBSS staff in both locations must cooperate to:

  •  Take any immediate actions needed to ensure child safety.

  •  Determine in which area the family will be best served.

12322 Resolving Disagreements Regarding Case Transfers

CPS June 2019

The receiving FBSS supervisor must accept the referral for case transfer.

If the transferring FBSS supervisor and the receiving FBSS supervisor disagree about the responsibilities of their respective units, their program directors must resolve the disagreement.

If the program directors cannot resolve the disagreement, the program administrators make the final decision.

Child safety must be the paramount consideration in the decision-making process.

12400 Documentation and Case Reviews in FBSS

12410 Documentation and Contact Entry

CPS June 2019

Accurate and timely documentation about child safety and parental engagement is a critical function of casework. The caseworker must document the following activities in IMPACT within 24 hours of their occurrence:

  •  Contacts made with case principals, children, and caregivers.

  •  Any attempted contact with any child.

The caseworker must select in the Contact Detail page all children seen during the contact. If the caseworker saw at least one child, the caseworker must not select Attempted. If there were children that the caseworker did not see during the contact, the caseworker must create a separate Contact Detail listing those children and indicating an attempted contact.

Within three calendar days of making the contact, the caseworker must fully document all other contacts in IMPACT, including:

  •  Collateral contacts.

  •  Contacts with service providers.

12420 Caseworker Monthly Evaluation of Progress

CPS June 2019

Every month while an FBSS case is open, the FBSS caseworker must do the following:

  •  Make reasonable efforts to contact any provider who is providing services as part of the Family Plan of Service and get information about the family’s progress. If the caseworker is unable to get information, the caseworker must document his or her efforts to do so.

  •  Gather any other information or documentation from collaterals, related to child safety and the Family Plan of Service.

  •  Evaluate all information gathered.

  •  Document the following:

  •  Whether FBSS is still needed to ensure child safety.

  •  Whether any changes are needed to the Family Plan of Service, an existing Safety Plan, or an existing parental child safety placement (PCSP). The caseworker must document reasons for any changes.

12430 Submitting Monthly Evaluations

CPS June 2019

No later than the sixth calendar day of each month, the caseworker must complete, save, and submit the monthly evaluation for the previous month to the supervisor.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.704(e)

12440 Supervisor Monthly Review

CPS June 2019

Supervisory review of monthly evaluations is critical to ensuring that quality casework and services are being provided to families.

The supervisor must review and approve the monthly evaluation no later than the last calendar day of the month that follows the reporting period. This includes the rejection and approval process.

12450 Risk Reassessment

CPS June 2019

The purpose of the Risk Reassessment tool is to help caseworkers and supervisors assess whether the risk to child safety has decreased enough for CPS to close a case.

The caseworker completes the Risk Reassessment tool in IMPACT at the following times:

  •  90 days after completion of the initial Family Plan of Service, and every 90 days after that.

  •  No more than 30 days before submitting the case for closure.

  •  At any time when there are new circumstances or information that may affect risk.

Each time the caseworker completes the Risk Reassessment tool, he or she submits it to his or her supervisor for approval.

However, a Risk Reassessment tool is not required if any of the following exceptions apply:

  •  CPS has removed all children from the home, and they are in substitute care.

  •  CPS cannot locate the family after making diligent efforts to do so.

  •  The only child has died.

See the Structured Decision Making (SDM) Risk Reassessment Procedure and Reference Manual.

12451 Risk Scores

CPS June 2019

IMPACT uses the information that the caseworker has entered in the Risk Reassessment tool to calculate a risk score. There are four possible risk scores, as follows:

  •  Low

  •  Moderate

  •  High

  •  Very High

The caseworker reads the results of the Risk Reassessment tool, including the risk score.

If the risk score is higher than the risk score from the family’s previous Risk Assessment tool or Risk Reassessment tool, the caseworker completes the following:

  •  Family Strengths and Needs Assessment.

  •  Family Plan of Service Evaluation.

The caseworker completes these within 21 days after his or her supervisor approves the Risk Reassessment tool.

12452 Risk Score Overrides

CPS June 2019

There are two types of overrides for the Risk Reassessment tool: Policy Override and Discretionary Override.

12453 Policy Override

CPS June 2019

A Policy Override is required if any of the following circumstances apply in the case:

  •  Parent/Caregiver’s inaction or action resulted in non-accidental injury to a child under age 3.

  •  Sexual abuse case AND the perpetrator is likely to have access to the child.

  •  Parent/Caregiver’s inaction or action resulted in severe non-accidental injury to any child younger than age 16.

  •  Parent/Caregiver’s action or inaction resulted in death of a child due to abuse or neglect (previous or current).

If the caseworker uses a Policy Override, IMPACT automatically changes the risk score to Very High, and the caseworker cannot change the risk score.

12454 Discretionary Override

CPS June 2019

If the caseworker believes that the risk score does not accurately reflect the family’s risk level, he or she uses a Discretionary Override.

The caseworker may increase or decrease the risk score by one level. For example, if the Risk Reassessment tool gives a risk score of Moderate, he or she may change it to Low or High, but not to Very High.

12455 Recommended Action and Planned Action

CPS June 2019

After the caseworker has responded to all items in the Risk Reassessment tool and has addressed overrides, IMPACT automatically shows the following two possible actions:

  •  Continue services

  •  Close

The caseworker chooses the radio button for the planned action, which is what CPS plans to do.

If the planned action is Continue services, the caseworker must do the following:

  •  Consult with the supervisor to determine whether CPS needs to use different strategies to engage the family and to help them lower the risk.

  •  Collaborate with the family to determine what action steps are next.

If the planned action does not match IMPACT’s recommended action, the caseworker types an explanation in the appropriate field.

12500 Providing Services in FBSS

CPS June 2019

It is important to remember that each family has different strengths and needs. The caseworker should pay special attention to providing services that address the family’s specific circumstances. Accurately assessing families and providing timely and appropriate services is critical.

The caseworker must take both of the following actions:

  •  Use the Family Strengths and Needs Assessment to evaluate what the family needs to ensure child safety.

  •  Initiate services as soon as possible but no later than 21 calendar days after an FBSS case was opened.

The caseworker may also consider the use of a Family Group Conference to help create the Family Plan of Service. See 1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM).

12510 Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA)

CPS June 2019

The Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) helps identify and create agreements about what the Family Plan of Service (FPOS) should address and determines strengths that may help with child safety. The FBSS caseworker must complete the FSNA collaboratively with the family in order to develop the initial FPOS and Family Plan Evaluations. The supervisor may approve an exception to completing the FSNA if the family cannot be located, court-ordered services are being pursued, or another reason for an exception exists based on the circumstances of the case.

The caseworker must complete the FSNA:

  •  With the parents or caregivers and children receiving services.

  •  Within 21 calendar days after opening the FBSS stage.

The caseworker may also complete an FSNA with each noncustodial parent.

See the Family Strengths and Needs Assessment Resource Guide.

12520 Participation in the Family Plan of Service

CPS June 2019

It is important for the family to participate in the development of the Family Plan of Service (FPOS).

In developing the FPOS, the FBSS caseworker must make reasonable efforts to obtain the participation and input of all of the following people:

  •  The parents of each child who will receive services.

  •  Each child who will receive services (as appropriate for each child’s age and development).

  •  All other principals in the child’s home.

If the caseworker cannot obtain participation from any parent, child, or other principal in the child’s home, the caseworker must document the efforts made to obtain participation.

The caseworker must ensure that each person signing the FPOS or Family Plan Evaluation understands and agrees to all of the following:

  •  His or her responsibilities.

  •  The potential consequences of not complying with the FPOS.

  •  The actions and behavioral changes needed to complete the FPOS and close the FBSS stage with no further involvement by CPS.

The caseworker must provide a signed copy of the FPOS or Family Plan Evaluation, and any revision to it, to all principals who signed it.

12530 Creating the Initial Family Plan of Service

CPS June 2019

The Family Plan of Service (FPOS) is designed to help parents do both of the following:

  •  Access help from sources other than CPS.

  •  Develop sufficient capacity to protect their children from abuse or neglect.

The FBSS caseworker must develop the FPOS and submit it to his or her supervisor within 21 calendar days after an FBSS stage is opened. The FBSS caseworker must document the FPOS on the Family Service Plan form in IMPACT.

The supervisor may approve an exception if the family cannot be located, court-ordered services are being pursued, or another reason for an exception exists based on the circumstances of the case.

If the supervisor approves an exception to the initial FPOS, the caseworker must still complete the designation of foster care candidacy for each child.

12540 Family Plan of Service Evaluations

CPS June 2019

The FBSS caseworker must complete and submit a Family Plan Evaluation for supervisor approval according to the appropriate time frame below:

  •  Within 6 months after completing the initial FPOS.

  •  Within 6 months after completing a previous Family Plan Evaluation.

  •  Within 21 days after the supervisor approves a Risk Reassessment that has a higher risk level than the previous Risk Assessment or Risk Reassessment.

  •  If the caseworker initially determines the child is not eligible for Foster Care Candidacy (FCC) on the initial FPOS but the child later becomes eligible.

The caseworker must complete a new Family Strengths and Needs Assessment (FSNA) before completing a Family Plan Evaluation.

The supervisor may approve an exception to completing a Family Plan Evaluation in any of the following circumstances:

  •  The family cannot be located.

  •  Court-ordered services are being pursued.

  •  Any other reason an exception exists based on case circumstances.

If the supervisor approves an exception to the Family Plan Evaluation, the caseworker must still complete the designation of foster care candidacy for each child.

12550 Foster Care Candidacy (FCC) Determination for FBSS

CPS June 2019

The FBSS caseworker designates a child as a foster care candidate:

  •  At any time a child is the subject of a safety plan and absent preventive services the plan is removal.

  •  A child is not the subject of a safety plan but is at high or very high risk of abuse or neglect, and absent preventive services the plan is removal.

The caseworker evaluates Foster Care Candidacy (FCC) when completing any of the following:

  •  Initial Family Plan of Service (FPOS).

  •  Family Plan Evaluation.

  •  An exception to an initial FPOS or Family Plan Evaluation.

If the FBSS caseworker determines the child is not eligible for FCC on the initial FPOS, but the child later becomes eligible, the caseworker must take the following steps:

  •  Complete a Family Plan Evaluation.

  •  Record the FCC eligibility.

  •  Submit the Family Plan Evaluation for approval.

12560 Drug Testing in FBSS

CPS June 2019

Working with families with substance abuse requires regular, timely evaluations to assess a parent’s progress in maintaining sobriety.

The caseworker must ask the parent to participate in unannounced or random drug tests throughout the case, including a urinalysis (UA) or hair strand test prior to case closure, if the parent meets both of the following conditions:

  •  Has alleged or suspected drug use, or a history of drug use.

  •  Did not test positive for drugs during the investigation, and the reason for ongoing services is not specifically related to drug abuse.

If drug use is the reason or a contributing factor for ongoing services:

  •  The caseworker must ask the parent to participate in at least one unannounced UA per month if there is a drug testing site within 30 miles of the parent’s home.

      Lab-confirmed oral swabs can be used as supplemental testing but not in place of UAs.

  •  If the parent lives more than 30 miles from a drug testing site, the caseworker must ask the parent to participate in a hair strand test every three months with regular, periodic swabs in between.

  •  The caseworker must ask the parent to participate in a drug test (UA or hair strand) prior to case closure.

Within 24 hours of learning the parent’s drug test results are positive, the caseworker and supervisor must consult with the program director to determine next steps.

It is important that the caseworker be familiar with drug testing tools, as well as their strengths and limitations, in order to make appropriate assessments around child safety. 

The following information is a guide to help determine which type of testing to use:

  •  Instant oral swabs: These tests are not admissible in court and are not confirmed by a lab. The detection period is 24–36 hours after drug use.

  •  Lab-confirmed oral swabs: These tests can be admissible in court. The detection period is 24–36 hours after drug use.

  •  Urinalysis (UA) – This test is admissible in court and confirmed by a lab. The detection time is 3–5 days for most drugs. Marijuana is present in urine for 21–45 days, depending on frequency of use.

  •  Hair strand tests – These tests are admissible in court and confirmed by a lab. They detect historical drug use within the past 3 months.

There are also specialty drug tests that capture other substances not included in the standard drug testing panel. Separate, stand-alone tests are available for K2/Spice and bath salts. Additionally, D/L isomer testing can confirm disputed methamphetamine positive results.

12570 Referral to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Services

CPS June 2019

All children under age 3 who are confirmed victims of abuse or neglect must be referred to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) within 10 days of investigation case transfer to FBSS.

The FBSS caseworker must ensure a referral to ECI has been made when the investigation includes all of the following:

  •  The disposition is Reason to Believe (RTB).

  •  The victim is under age 3.

  •  The case is referred to FBSS.

Within 10 business days of the case being transferred to the FBSS unit with a finding of Abuse or neglect substantiated (Reason to Believe), the FBSS caseworker must refer all designated victims under 3 years of age to ECI for screening.

If the FBSS caseworker or family suspects a child who is not a designated victim has a disability or developmental delay during the course of the FBSS case, the caseworker must refer the child to ECI within two days of identifying the need.

Exception: The FBSS caseworker does not refer the child to ECI if the Child Protective Investigations caseworker already referred the child to ECI during the Investigation stage.

12580 Child Trafficking (Sex and Labor Trafficking)

CPS September 2015

If a child in an open FBSS case is suspected of being a victim of trafficking or is at risk of becoming a victim of trafficking, the caseworker must interview the child to determine:

  •  child safety; and

  •  whom the alleged trafficker is.

Informing Law Enforcement of Sex or Labor Trafficking

When The Alleged Trafficker is a Person Responsible for a Child’s Care, Custody, or Welfare

The caseworker must immediately, or no later than 24 hours, call in a new intake to SWI and report the situation to local law enforcement.

When the Alleged Trafficker is NOT a Person Responsible for a Child’s Care, Custody, or Welfare

The caseworker must immediately, or no later than 24 hours, report the situation to local law enforcement and to the Joint Crimes Information Center (JCIC).

Determining Appropriate Services for Victims of Sex Trafficking

When a child in an open FBSS case has been identified as a victim of trafficking or is at risk of becoming a victim of trafficking, the FBSS caseworker must assess whether community resources are available to help the child and make referrals as appropriate. The FBSS caseworker must document any referrals for services in the Family Plan of Service.

The FBSS caseworker must document his or her efforts to identify and address child trafficking situations in case narratives

12590 Family’s Lack of Participation

CPS June 2019

If a parent fails to participate in services for two consecutive months, and there are danger indicators impacting child safety, then during the following month the caseworker and supervisor must consult with the program director to determine whether to request a court order for services or removal.

If the caseworker, supervisor, and program director decide to pursue legal intervention and the parent’s whereabouts are known, the caseworker and supervisor should consult with the attorney representing DFPS.

The caseworker and supervisor may also use the family group decision-making process to assist with engaging families. See 1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM).

12591 Documenting Court-Ordered Participation

CPS June 2019

When a court orders a legal action, such as a family’s participation in FBSS, the caseworker must document the order in the Legal Actions tab in IMPACT within seven calendar days of the order, or within seven calendar days of the FBSS case opening. See 5251 Entering a Change in Legal Status or Legal Action Into IMPACT.

12600 Safety in FBSS

12610 Safety Assessment

CPS June 2019

FBSS caseworkers assess child safety throughout the FBSS stage.

The purpose of the Safety Assessment tool is to:

  •  Assess whether any child is likely in immediate danger of serious harm or maltreatment, which requires a safety intervention.

  •  Determine what safety interventions should be initiated or maintained to provide appropriate protection.

The FBSS caseworker must complete a Safety Assessment tool in any of the following situations:

  •  When circumstances suggest that the child’s safety may be jeopardized.

  •  When changing safety interventions on an existing safety plan.

  •  Before closing an FBSS case with at least one child in the home.

  •  When considering changing parental contacts with a child from supervised to unsupervised.

  •  Before returning a child from a parental child safety placement (PCSP).

  •  When closing the case when the child is living in a PCSP. The Safety Assessment tool is completed on the parent’s home to determine if danger indicators continue to exist in the parent’s home.

See the Safety and Risk Assessment Resource Guide.

12620 Ongoing Assessment of Child Safety

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must assess child safety throughout the FBSS case. The caseworker must immediately reassess safety in the home if, at any point during the case, the caseworker develops concerns for the child’s safety due to a change in the family’s circumstances, composition, willingness to work with DFPS, or home condition, or for other reasons.

12621 Criminal and DFPS Background Checks

CPS June 2019

When reassessing safety, the caseworker identifies any changes in the composition of the household. 

See 2115 Terms Used in Primary Statutory Definitions for the definition of household.

The caseworker consults with his or her supervisor to determine if the following people need a criminal and child abuse and neglect history check to ensure the child is safe:

  •  New individuals who move into the home.

  •  Frequent visitors to the home.

The caseworker and supervisor consider the following factors when determining whether to complete a background check on an individual:

  •  Frequency of contact with the child.

  •  Current safety concerns in the case.

  •  Vulnerability of the child.

  •  Parent’s history of choosing household members or caregivers who pose a danger to the child.

  •  Information obtained from the child about time spent with the new household member or frequent visitor.

  •  Information obtained from collaterals about the new household member or frequent visitor.

  •  Disclosure of criminal and child abuse and neglect history by the new household member or frequent visitor.

If a background check determines that a person has a criminal or abuse or neglect history, the caseworker must discuss the results with the supervisor to identify any actions necessary to make sure the child is safe. The caseworker must document this discussion in IMPACT.

12630 Safe Sleep and Other Safety Related Issues

CPS June 2019

When making the initial face-to-face contact with a parent or caregiver, the caseworker must complete the following tasks and document it in a case contact:

  •  Provide the Keeping Children Safe Wherever You Go! document to the parent or caregiver and discuss the topics.

  •  Observe the home environment to evaluate safety.

  •  If there is an infant (under 12 months of age), observe the area where the infant sleeps for any unsafe sleep practices.

  •  Discuss any concerns about the home environment with the parent or caregiver, and make a plan to correct the issues.

  •  Consult with the supervisor as appropriate.

At every home visit with the child and parent or caregiver, the caseworker must view the sleeping arrangements for any child under 12 months of age.

If the caseworker notes any concerns at the visit regarding sleep environments, the caseworker must take the following actions:

  •  Discuss safe sleep with the parent or caregiver.

  •  Assist the family in obtaining bedding, cribs, and beds as soon as possible to ensure child safety.

  •  Consult with the supervisor as appropriate.

The caseworker must document the following in a case contact, as appropriate:

  •  Observations of the child’s sleeping arrangements.

  •  Evaluations of safe sleep.

  •  Discussions with the parent or caregiver about safe sleep, including the parent’s or caregiver’s responses.

  •  Supervisor consultations related to safe sleep.

  •  Actions taken to assist the family with safe sleeping arrangements.

12640 CPS Actions When Danger to a Child is Present

CPS June 2019

If danger to a child is present at any point during the case, the caseworker must consult with the supervisor and take one or more of the actions described below:

  •  Require a caregiver to take action to control the danger to a child.

  •  Hold an immediate Family Team Meeting. See 1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM).

  •  Implement a parental child safety placement.

  •  Seek one of the following legal actions, after consulting with the attorney representing DFPS:

  •  Remove an alleged or designated perpetrator from the home.

  •  Assist a parent in getting a court order for protection of a child or family member.

  •  Get a temporary restraining order if the caseworker believes that a parent is going to remove a child from the state.

  •  Get a court order that requires a parent to participate in services.

  •  Remove the child from the home.

Texas Family Code §§262.1015; 264.203

Once the caseworker ensures the child is safe, the caseworker must make a report to Statewide Intake if the danger that presented itself is related to a new incident of abuse or neglect.

12650 Safety Plans in FBSS

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must complete a Form 2604 Safety Plan whenever there is a danger present that threatens child safety, except in any of the following situations:

  •  The family is unwilling to participate in the safety plan (See 12651 Refusal to Participate in a Safety Plan).

  •  A Family Team Meeting addresses and documents danger indicators and specific actions taken to ensure child safety.

  •  Immediate legal actions need to be taken.

Supervisor approval must be provided prior to implementing a safety plan, and Safety plans must not go beyond 30 days without being reviewed with a supervisor. This review must be documented in IMPACT.

The caseworker must ensure that each individual signing Form 2604 Safety Plan understands and agrees to all of the following:

  •  His or her responsibilities.

  •  The potential consequences of not complying with the safety plan.

  •  The actions or circumstances needed to eliminate the need for the safety plan.

The caseworker must complete criminal and DFPS background checks on anyone who agrees to serve as a safety monitor by living in the home with the family. The caseworker, in consultation with the supervisor, evaluates the background check results and proceeds in accordance with 3211 Evaluating the Child’s Safety Before Placement. The caseworker must document all background check results in case narratives.

The caseworker must provide a signed copy of Form 2604 Safety Plan to each person who signed it.

12651 Refusal to Participate in a Safety Plan

CPS June 2019

If the family is unwilling to participate in a safety plan to address dangers to the child, the caseworker determines if it is necessary to remove the child from the home. See 3220 Removing a Child.

12652 Required Contact

CPS June 2019

If the safety plan includes a provision requiring an individual to live with the parent and child, the caseworker must contact that individual as often as necessary to ensure child safety, but at least once a month.

12653 Ending a Safety Plan

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must end a safety plan in either of the following situations:

  •  It is no longer needed to ensure the safety of the child.

  •  The stage will be closed with no further CPS involvement.

12660 Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP)

CPS June 2019

Strengthening a parent’s ability to safely care for his or her child is an essential goal for the caseworker. If child safety cannot be secured in the parent’s home, the caseworker can consider a parental child safety placement (PCSP). The caseworker considers a PCSP only when all other options to keep the child safe in his or her own home, or with a parent, have been explored and a removal is not appropriate or possible.

A PCSP is a temporary, short-term living arrangement that should last no longer than 60 days. The caseworker, supervisor, and program director must give careful consideration when determining if a PCSP should be extended.

See:

3210 Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP).

Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) Resource Guide

PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool

PCSP Assessment and Agreement Tool (Spanish)

12670 Removing a Child

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must refer the family for a Family Team Meeting before removing the child, or document in IMPACT the reason such a referral was not possible. See 1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM).

The caseworker removes a child from the home only after exhausting all other efforts to secure child safety. The caseworker must remove a child from the home if there is danger to a child and there is no other reasonable way to ensure the child’s safety. See 3220 Removing a Child.

12700 Case Closure in Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

12710 Closing an FBSS Case

12711 Case Closure Conference (Staffing)

CPS June 2019

The FBSS caseworker must confer with the supervisor within 30 calendar days of the case being submitted for closure. The caseworker must document the discussion, which must include answers to the following questions:

  •  How have the danger or worries identified at the beginning of the FBSS case been mitigated?

  •  What parental or caregiver behavioral changes has the caseworker observed that lead the caseworker to believe that the caregiver’s protective capacities have increased and the child is safe?

  •  What do service providers, family members, and any other safety network members report regarding the family’s progress?

  •  Who functions as the safety network for the family? What changes have they observed? What commitment have they made to help ensure child safety?

If the parents or caregivers have not participated in services or made the necessary behavioral changes to ensure child safety, the caseworker and supervisor must confer with the program director and the attorney representing DFPS to determine next steps or the rationale for case closure. These discussions must be documented in IMPACT.

12712 Final Risk Reassessment Before Closure

CPS June 2019

The FBSS caseworker must complete a Risk Reassessment tool when making the case closure decision and submit it for supervisory approval within 30 calendar days before submitting the case to the supervisor for closure.

Exceptions

A Risk Reassessment is not required in any of the following circumstances:

  •  All children have been removed from the home and placed in substitute care.

  •  The family cannot be located.

  •  The only child died.

12713 Final Safety Assessment Before Closure

CPS June 2019

The FBSS caseworker must complete a Safety Assessment tool when making the case closure decision. It must be completed within 30 calendar days before submitting the case to the supervisor for closure.

Exceptions

A Safety Assessment is not required in any of the following circumstances:

  •  All children have been removed from the home and placed in substitute care.

  •  The family cannot be located.

  •  The only child died.

12714 Closing Summary

CPS June 2019

The caseworker must complete a closing summary in IMPACT before submitting the case for closure.

12715 Final Face-to-Face Contact

CPS June 2019

No more than 10 calendar days before submitting the case for closure, the FBSS caseworker must do the following:

  •  Conduct a home visit at the child’s residence.

  •  Make face-to-face contact with each person on the current Family Plan of Service, and notify each person of the case closure decision.

  •  Take an individual picture of each child to document his or her condition.

On the day the case is closed in IMPACT the caseworker must have had a face-to-face contact within 25 calendar days.

12716 Case Closure Approval

CPS June 2019

The supervisor must approve or reject the case closure within 15 calendar days of the case being submitted for closure.

12720 Whom to Notify of the Case Closure Decision

CPS June 2019

When a case is closed and services are discontinued, the caseworker must notify all of the following:

  •  Any contractor providing services to the child or family.

  •  Noncustodial parents.

  •  Relatives who have been or will be active sources of support to the family.

12730 Submitting an FBSS Case for Closure

CPS June 2019

A family-based safety services case is submitted for closure when at least one of these circumstances exists:

  •  Family preservation services are no longer needed to ensure child safety.

  •  The family has moved and reasonable efforts to locate the family have not been successful.

  •  Consultation with the attorney representing DFPS determines that legal intervention, including court-ordered services, is not possible, and

  •  The family has refused all services, or

  •  CPS has already offered or provided all available services appropriate to the family’s needs or that the family has requested and is eligible to receive.

  •  At least one child is removed from the home and the court grants DFPS temporary managing conservatorship, as the case will be worked by a conservatorship worker.

12731 Case Closure Letter

CPS June 2019

Within 15 calendar days after closing a case, the caseworker must send a case closure letter to parents (including noncustodial parents) and legal guardians who have been receiving family-based safety services. Case closure letters are not required if the child has been removed from the home, the family cannot be located, or the only child died.

12800 Program Director Involvement in FBSS

CPS June 2019

Program directors often provide guidance and evaluate the progress of a case. Caseworkers and supervisors must consult with a program director in any of the following situations:

  •  There are circumstances related to case referral to FBSS requiring the program director’s involvement (see 2400 Transferring a Case from Investigation to Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS).

  •  The FBSS case has been open for 9 consecutive months and case closure will not happen within the month.

  •  Any legal action is being considered.

  •  A parent has a positive drug test. Consult with the program director within 24 hours of the caseworker learning of the positive drug test result.

  •  Extending a parental child safety placement past 60 days is being considered (see 3216 Extending a PCSP Past 60 Days).

The supervisor or caseworker must notify the program director immediately if the legal action approved by the program director is not acted upon or achieved.

12900 Special Circumstances in Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS) Cases

12910 Opening an Investigation While an FBSS Case is Open

CPS June 2019

Whenever the FBSS caseworker learns that a principal on the Family Service Plan form is a principal in an open CPI case, a staffing (meeting) with a risk manager must occur unless an exception exists. The staffing (meeting) must be held within 14 days of the referral from CPI. 

12911 Staffing with Risk Manager

CPS June 2019

The following staff attend the staffing (meeting) with the risk manager:

  •  CPI caseworker and supervisor

  •  FBSS caseworker and supervisor

The inclusion of program directors is optional.

While all eligible cases must be referred to the risk manager, exceptions for holding staffings with the risk manager are as follows:

  •  An intake has prompted an emergency removal or a show cause removal.

  •  If there is an open court-ordered services case, the CPI and FBSS caseworkers, supervisors, and program directors will handle the case staffing.

  •  If at least one program director has conducted a joint staffing with the CPI caseworker, CPI supervisor, FBSS caseworker, and FBSS supervisor, then the case does not have to be staffed with the risk manager.

The staffing must be documented in the FBSS case and include all of the following information:

  •  Participants.

  •  Patterns of behaviors and concerns.

  •  Identified safety threats along with intervention.

  •  Next steps identified.

Prior to risk manager review, all documentation must be updated with contacts made, rationale for closure, history documented, and management approval.

12920 When a Child Dies During an Open FBSS Case

12921 Immediate Notifications

CPS June 2019

When a child dies during an open FBSS case, the caseworker must notify the following people as soon as possible, but at least within 24 hours:

  •  The FBSS caseworker notifies the FBSS supervisor after learning of a child’s death in an open FBSS case.

  •  If the child dies while in a parental child safety placement, the caseworker notifies the parents, unless they cannot be found.

  •  If the open FBSS case is under a court order, the caseworker notifies all parties involved including the following people:

  •  Attorney ad litem for the child and parents, if appointed.

  •  CASA representative and child’s guardian ad litem, if appointed.

  •  Any legal counsel retained by the parents.

  •  Attorney representing DFPS in the child’s case.

  •  Regional attorney.

The FBSS caseworker must also make a report to Statewide Intake as soon as possible, but no later than 8 hours after learning of the child’s death, and document the Call ID in the case record. If the caseworker verifies that the child’s death has already been reported to Statewide Intake, the caseworker does not need to make a report. (See 2331 When a Child Dies.)

12922 Joint Staffing

CPS June 2019

As soon as the investigation is assigned, the following staff must attend a joint staffing (meeting):

  •  CPI caseworker

  •  CPI supervisor

  •  FBSS caseworker

  •  FBSS supervisor

12923 Documentation

CPS June 2019

The FBSS caseworker or supervisor must make a contact entry in IMPACT immediately or within 24 hours of learning of the child’s death. The contact entry states that all documentation made after the date of this entry was made after the child’s death. Any prior documentation in IMPACT must not be altered. Any prior documentation that is incomplete must be documented after the documentation of the child death, with an explanation of the date discrepancy.

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