Appendix 3620: Services to Abused or Neglected, Unmarried, School-Age Parents (Practice Suggestions)
1. Preventing further abuse or neglect. The worker should help the family to prevent further neglect and abuse.
2. Considering alternatives for dealing with pregnancy. The worker may help the unmarried school-age parent consider the following alternatives:
a. pregnancy termination,
b. releasing the child for adoption, and
c. keeping and caring for the child.
3. Including father in service plan. If possible, the father of the child must be included in service planning as follows:
a. The father must be told what plans are being made for his child.
b. The father must be told that he has a part in deciding the child's future.
c. The father must be involved in the court proceedings to terminate his legal right to the child.
d. The worker should discuss with the father his feelings about
1) plans for the child,
2) the pregnancy, and
3) the court action.
e. The worker should help the father decide if he will
1) support the mother and unborn child financially,
2) help pay for medical expenses,
3) provide child care or housing, and
4) visit or plan with the mother.
4. Pregnancy termination. If the mother and her family decide to terminate the pregnancy, the worker refers them to the appropriate resources.
5. Releasing the child for adoption.
a. Private agency resources. If the mother and her family decide to place the child for adoption, the worker first helps the mother to explore private agency resources for placement of the child.
b. Placement through DFPS. If private agency resources are not available and the mother and her family wish to place the child through DFPS, DFPS will join the parents in a petition to the court to terminate the parent-child relationship and place managing conservatorship with DFPS To initiate this process, the worker must obtain:
1) an affidavit of relinquishment executed by the parents,
2) an affidavit of the status of the child executed by the mother,
3) a statement of paternity executed by the father, and
4) a social history of the child. (See 40 TAC Chapter 749, Subchapter S.)
c. Legal problems and assistance. If the parents want to establish paternity or petition the court for child support, or if any other legal questions arise related to the pregnant teenager, the worker should help obtain legal advice and services in the community.
6. Keeping and caring for the child. If the mother and her family decide to keep the child, the worker may
a. examine with the mother and her family her financial ability to support the child,
b. help them plan for the mother's and child's future, and
c. refer the mother to a family planning agency. (See 9)
7. Foster or residential care. The worker explores the need for and availability of foster or maternity home care for the unmarried school-age mother and her child. The following sources are used to pay for these living arrangements.
a. local funds,
b. the family,
c. the father of the unborn child, and
d. another agency or community resource.
8. Medical care for unmarried school-age parents. The worker should help the abused or neglected, unmarried, school-age parent obtain adequate health services including prenatal care if available.
a. Medicaid (Title XIX) health care. Medicaid pays for prenatal, delivery, and post-natal medical care for the unmarried school-age mother who receives AFDC or SSI or who is in AFDC, medical assistance only, or state-paid foster care. To have a child covered, a separate application for medical care coverage for the child is made when the child is born.
b. Other health care resources. The worker should help the unmarried school-age parent who is not eligible for Medicaid obtain needed medical care through family and community resources such as
1) private medical insurance policies,
2) local funds,
3) county hospitals,
4) public health units,
5) maternity clinics, and
6) well-baby clinics.
9. Family planning services for unmarried school-age parents.
a. DFPS obligation. DFPS offers family planning services to abused or neglected school-age parents to allow them to voluntarily limit their family size or to space their children.
b. Family planning services include
2) education, and
3) medical services such as diagnosis, treatment, drugs, supplies devices, and related counseling.
c. Eligibility for services
1) DFPS services. Family planning discussions with the unmarried school-age parent by protective services staff are considered protective services and given without regard to income.
2) Contracted Services. Only AFDC and SSI recipients, MAO income-eligible clients, and other income-eligible clients may receive contracted family planning services. The contracted agency determines eligibility for service.
3) Contraceptive Services. Minors eligible for Medicaid (Title XIX) or services under Title XX may voluntarily request contraceptive services (except for sterilization) and receive these services without the consent of the parents or the managing conservator.
d. Sterilization. The worker uses the following guidelines regarding sterilization:
1) DFPS may not consent to sterilization of a child in its managing conservatorship.
2) Federal funds are not used to sterilize any person less than 21 years old or legally incapable of giving informed consent to the sterilization.
3) Unmarried school-age parents who are over 18 years old or who are not in DFPS's conservatorship may be referred for a list of service agencies that give information on sterilization procedures.
4) Parents receiving AFDC should be referred for family self-support services.
10. Self-Support Services and Community Resources for Unmarried School-Age Parents. Unmarried school-age parents may feel the need to provide for themselves but may not be able to because of physical, emotional, or mental limitations. Family self-support services and community resources can help the unmarried school-age parent become self-supporting. These services are used also to reduce the risks of minors' pregnancies and of further child abuse or neglect. The worker should know about resources in the community including their admission or eligibility requirements and referral procedures. For a list of services and resources, see Appendix 3412, Community Resources.