Child Protective Services

Handbook Revision, September 2015

This revision of the Child Protective Services Handbook was published on September 1, 2015.

CPS wants to ensure that the general public understands what critical actions caseworkers are required to perform and why. To further this understanding, CPS has set up a policy e-mail box for the general public: CPSPolicyQuestions@dfps.state.tx.us. Please feel free to contact us, via this email address, with any general questions related to policy.

For questions or concerns regarding specific cases, please contact the caseworker or supervisor, or the Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-720-7777.

Revisions Related to the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

Basic Training for Parents and Caregivers

Audio Recording and Videotaping Interviews

Definitions of Abuse and Neglect

Training Foster and Adoptive Applicants

Notifying Parents About the Use of Psychotropic Medications

Revisions Related to the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

The President signed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, Public Law (P.L. 113-183) into law on September 29, 2014. The law amends the title IV-E foster care program to address human trafficking, children missing from foster care, normalcy, successor guardianship (PCA), transitional planning for youth beginning at age 14, placing limits on the use of another planned permanency living arrangement (APPLA) as a plan for youth, and reauthorizes and amends Family Connections Grants and the Adoption Incentives Program. This law also includes additional AFCAR reporting and other (data) reports to congress.

The following policy revisions reflect this legislation. See further explanations below.

Reporting Human Trafficking to Law Enforcement

Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care

Child’s Plan of Service; Permanency Planning Meetings

Notification of Child Removal

Permanency Hearings

Permanency Court Report

Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Program

PAL Life Skills Training Curriculum

Credit Reports for Youth in DFPS Foster Care

Personal Documents Provided to Youth In or Leaving DFPS Conservatorship

Permanency Care Assistance Successor

Reporting Human Trafficking to Law Enforcement (PATS 8192, 8352, 8412)

The item below is added to identify circumstances in which an Investigations (INV) worker must report a trafficking situation to law enforcement. See:

2380 Child Trafficking (Sex and Labor Trafficking)

The item below is added to identify circumstances in which a Family Preservation (FPR) worker must report a trafficking situation to law enforcement. Policy is included regarding:

  •   interviewing a suspected victim of human trafficking;

  •   reporting human trafficking;

  •   assessing and documenting resources; and

  •   documenting efforts.

See:

2511 Child Trafficking (Sex and Labor Trafficking)

6315 Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care

The item below is added to identify circumstances in which ETV staff must interview a youth or young adult if staff believes the person is or is at risk of being a victim of trafficking. Staff must report to law enforcement immediately or within 24 hours if staff identifies the youth or young adult as a victim or is at risk of being a victim of trafficking.

10322 Staff Responsible for the ETV Program

Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care (PATS 8397)

The item below is revised to reflect changes in federal law regarding human trafficking, as it relates to the rights of children and youth. See:

6315 Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care

Child’s Plan of Service; Permanency Planning Meetings (PATS 8422)

The items below are revised to reflect changes in federal law regarding human trafficking as it relates to the development of the child’s service plan. See:

6250 The Child’s Service Plan

6251 Basic Description of the Child’s Service Plan

6251.1 Child Plan of Service Types

6251.2 Exception to the Requirement of a Child’s Service Plan

6252 Participation in Development of the Child's Service Plan

6252.1 Documenting Participation in CPOS Development 6252.1 Joint Case Planning With Parents

6252.2 Distributing the Approved CPOS to Participants 6252.2 Involving Children and Youth in Case Planning

6253 Documenting and Approving the Child's Service Plan

6254 Distributing the Child's Service Plan

_____________________

6274 Permanency Planning Meetings for Youth 14 16 and Over

Notification of Child Removal (PATS 8312, 8417)

The items below are revised to reflect changes resulting from SB206 (HB2433), 84th Texas Legislature, and the federal legislation HR 4980: Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.

This policy adds to the list of persons who are required to be notified of a child’s removal. Notification is now also made to:

  •   all adult relatives of the child’s alleged father, if DFPS has a reasonable basis to believe the alleged father is the child’s biological father; and

  •   any parents who have current custody of any sibling of the removed child. Siblings include anyone considered by state law to be a sibling and anyone who would have been a sibling but for termination or other disruption of parental rights.

See:

3224 Notification

4521 Identifying Potential Relative or Fictive Kin Caregivers

6123 Locating Relatives and Providing Notice of Removal

Permanency Hearings (PATS 8462)

The items below are revised to reflect changes in federal law regarding human trafficking as it relates to permanency hearings following final orders. See:

5580 Permanency Placement Review Hearings After Final Orders for Children Under DFPS Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC)

5581 The Purpose of a Permanency Placement Review Hearing for Children Under Permanent DFPS Conservatorship (PMC)

5582 Meeting the Time Frames for Holding a Permanency Placement Review Hearing (PMC)

Appendix 5581: Requirements for the Court in a Permanency Placement Review Hearing After the Final Order of Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC)

Permanency Court Report (PATS 8467)

The items below are revised to reflect changes in federal law regarding human trafficking as it relates to permanency court reports. See:

5531 The Purpose of a Permanency Hearing Before the Final Order

__________

5535 Meeting the Content Requirements for the Permanency Plan and Progress Report for a Child in TMC

__________

Appendix 5531: Requirements for the Court in a Permanency Hearing Before the Final PMC Order for a Child in TMC

__________

Appendix 5535: Legal Requirements Relevant to the Permanency Progress Report for a Child in TMC

Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Program (PATS 8432)

The items below are revised to reflect federal law regarding human trafficking as it relates to youth and young adults in the PAL program. See:

10200 Preparation for Adult Living (PAL)

10210 Preparation for Adult Living Program

10211 10212 Targeted and Eligible Population for PAL

10211.1 Targeted Priority Population

10211.2 Additional Eligible Population

10212 10213 PAL Eligibility for Youth Placed in a Title IV-E Placement by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) or Into Foster Care by a County Juvenile Probation Department (CJPD)

10213 10214 PAL Eligibility for Youth Who Move to Placed in Texas From Another State

10214 10215 How and When PAL Services Should Be Provided PAL Staff Role for Youth Residing With the Designated Perpetrator of Abuse or Neglect

10214.1 Age PAL Services Must Begin

10214.2 Youth Under Age 16

10214.3 PAL Services Not Affected by Permanency Goal

10220 Required PAL Services and Benefits

10221 Independent Living Skills Assessment

10222 Life Skills Training

10223 Life Skills Independent Study Guide

10224 PAL Case Management Services

10230 Optional PAL Services

10231 Age-Appropriate Activities

10240 PAL Transitional Living Allowance (TLA)

10241 Qualifications for PAL Transitional Living Allowance

10241.1 Young Adults Residing With a Designated Perpetrator of Abuse or Neglect

10242 Payment Limits for the PAL Transitional Living Allowance

10243 Payment Method for the PAL Transitional Living Allowance Payment Procedures

10244 PAL Transitional Living Allowance When a Youth Is Young Adult Will Be Living With or Returning to a Parent After Aging Out of Foster Care

10245 Suspension of Payments of PAL Transitional Living Allowance

10250 PAL Aftercare Room and Board

10251 Qualifications for PAL Aftercare Room and Board

10252 Limitations While Receiving ETV or in Extended Foster Care for PAL After Care Room and Board Eligibility for PAL Aftercare Room and Board Services

10252.1 PAL Aftercare Room and Board Limitations While Receiving ETV

10252.2 PAL Aftercare Room and Board Limitations While in Extended Foster Care

10253 Assessment of Amount for PAL Aftercare Room and Board Payment

10254 Allowable Expenditures for PAL Aftercare Room and Board

10255 Payment Limits for PAL Aftercare Room and Board Payment Procedures

10256 Host Home for PAL Aftercare Room and Board Payment

__________________________________

10263 PAL Responsibilities When Youth Are Placed Cross-Regionally

10263.1 PAL Services When Youth Are Placed Cross-Regionally

10263.2 PAL Payments When Youth Are Placed Cross-Regionally

10264 National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

10264.1 Key NYTD Terms

10265 National Youth in Transition (NYTD) Independent Living Services

10266 National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) Survey

10266.1 Baseline and Follow-Up Populations

10266.2 Outcome Reporting Status

10266.3 Designating a National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) Primary Contact

10266.4 IMPACT Data and Information Alerts

10266.5 Use of Diligent Search to Locate Youth in the Survey Population

10267 Special Populations

10267.1 Reporting NYTD Services on Youth From a Different State (ICPC)

10267.2 Reporting on Youth in Placement With the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD)

PAL Life Skills Training Curriculum (PATS 8482)

The appendix below is revised to add new study topics regarding:

  •   human trafficking dangers and knowing services and supports available to human trafficking victims; and

  •   LBGTQ agencies and resources.

See:

Appendix 10212: Preparation for Adult Living Life Skills Training Curriculum Outline

Credit Reports for Youth in DFPS Foster Care (PATS 8332)

The items below are revised to clarify the:

  •   process and requirements for CPS request and review of credit reports for foster care youth aged 14 up to 18;

  •   situations in which caseworkers may request a credit report for foster care youth;

  •   policy for placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on a youth’s account; and

  •   policy for assisting young adults in Extended Foster Care to request a credit report on their own.

See:

10621 Overview of Consumer Credit Reports for Youth in Foster Care

10622 How to Obtain Requesting a Consumer Credit Reports for Youth Ages 14 Up to Age 18 16 and 17

10623 Informing Credit Reports for Young Adults Age 18 in Extended Foster Care About Obtaining a Consumer Credit Report

10624 Requesting Credit Restoration Services

Personal Documents Provided to Youth In or Leaving DFPS Conservatorship (PATS 8407)

The items below are revised to reflect changes to policy regarding the personal documents provided to youth in or leaving DFPS conservatorship, at ages 16 and 18.

See:

10122.21 Preparation for Youth Within 90 Days Before Turning 18

10122.22 Designating a Medical Power of Attorney

10130 Personal Documents Provided Given to Youth Who Are Transitioning to Adulthood

10131 Personal Documents Provided to Youth at Age 16

10132 Personal Documents Provided to Youth at Age 18

10132.1 Designating a Medical Power of Attorney

10132.2 Provision of Documents

10133 Guidance on Obtaining Documentation for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

10133.1 Personal Identification Certificates or Driver’s Licenses

10133.2 Social Security Cards

10133.3 Requesting Certified Birth Certificates

10133.4 Health Passports (STAR Health), Proof of Medicaid Enrollment, and Immunization Records

10133.5 Requesting a Youth’s CPS Case Record

10133.51 Accessing the Basic Family Tree Report

Permanency Care Assistance Successor (PATS 8442, 8452, 8447)

The items below are revised to include policy that a caregiver may appoint a person to permanently care for the child in the event that they are no longer able to do so due to death or incapacity, and that that person may continue to receive PCA benefits on behalf of the child.

The new policy explains:

  •   the definition of permanency case assistance successor;

  •   the conditions for making PCA payments to a permanency case assistance successor (PCA-S); and

  •   the terms and conditions of the PCA agreement that apply to the PCA-S.

See:

1614 Informing Families About Permanency Care Assistance

1623 Permanency Care Assistance Successor

4519.1 Permanency Care Assistance Successor (PCA-S)

Basic Training for Parents and Caregivers (PATS 8292)

The item below is revised to reflect the legislative requirement that if DFPS or a court orders parenting skills training, then the program must be an evidenced-based or promising practices parenting education program provided in the community in which the parents reside, if available.

Mandated by HB 2630, 84th Legislature, 2015, which amended the Texas Family Code.

See:

2530 Family Plan of Service

8232.1 Basic Training — Parents and Caregivers

Audio Recording and Videotaping Interviews (PATS 8317)

This item is revised to explain audio and video documentation requirements described in Section 19, S.B. 206, 84th Legislature, Regular Session, 2015. See:

2241 Interviews With Children

Definitions of Abuse and Neglect (PATS 8322)

Senate Bill 1889 (84th Regular Session) adds an exception to the definition of "neglect" in state law. The revision below reflects this change. See:

2113.1 Definitions of Abuse

2113.2 Definitions of Neglect

Training Foster and Adoptive Applicants (PATS 8307)

The items below are revised according to HB 781 (84th Regular Session) to state that DFPS contracts must require at least 35 hours of competency-based, pre-service training for potential caregivers before verification or approval. See:

7310 Pre-Service Training of Foster and Adoptive Homes

7311 Pre-Service Training Sessions

7312 When to Offer Full or Abbreviated Pre-Service Training

7312 7313 When Prospective Parents Complete Training and Then Withdraw

7313 7314 When Prospective Parents Complete Training, Are Approved, and Then Withdraw

7314 7315 Exception to the Requirement That Prospective Foster Parents Attend Pre-Service Training

7316 Exceptions to Pre-Service Training Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents

Notifying Parents About the Use of Psychotropic Medications (PATS 8477)

This item is revised to explain requirements for notifying parents when a child is receiving psychotropic medications, as described in Section 19, S.B. 206, 84th Legislature, Regular Session, 2015. See:

11153 Notifying Parents About the Use of Psychotropic Medications