The responsibilities of Prevention and Early Intervention are to:
- Work with Texas communities to develop services to prevent child abuse and neglect, delinquency, running away, and truancy.
- Plan, develop, and administer a comprehensive, unified approach to delivering prevention services to avoid fragmentation and duplication.
- Make prevention and early intervention services more accountable by demonstrating the effectiveness or public benefit of programs.
2011 Accomplishments and Initiatives
PEI continued to lead the Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) for Building Healthy Families during FY 2011 through a memorandum of understanding adopted by the council's 11 member agencies in FY 2010. In FY 2011, the agencies continued work on several of the recommendations they submitted in a final report to the Texas Legislature in December 2009. These included PEI releasing a Request for Proposal for one-stop shop where the needs of families with multiple issues could be met. PEI also began exploring implementing different contracting methods.
PEI contracts with community-based agencies and organizations to provide services to prevent the abuse, neglect, delinquency, and truancy of Texas children. Services are voluntary and provided at no cost to participants. However, all services are not available in all Texas communities. To find out if services are available in your community, look for Prevention and Early Intervention on the DFPS website.
Community Youth Development (CYD)
The CYD program contracts with community-based organizations to develop juvenile-delinquency prevention programs in ZIP codes with high juvenile crime rates. Approaches used by communities to prevent delinquency have included mentoring, youth-employment programs, career preparation, and alternative recreational activities. Communities prioritize and fund specific prevention services according to local needs. CYD services are available in 15 targeted Texas ZIP codes. In FY 2011, 19,731 youth received services through the CYD program.
Services to At-Risk Youth (STAR)
The STAR program contracts with community agencies to offer family crisis intervention counseling, short-term emergency respite care, and individual and family counseling. Youth as old as age 17 and their families are eligible if they experience conflict at home, truancy or delinquency, or a youth who runs away from home. STAR services are available in all 254 Texas counties. Each STAR contractor also provides universal child abuse prevention services, ranging from local media campaigns to informational brochures, and parenting classes. In FY 2011, 30,168 youth received services through the STAR program.
Statewide Youth Services Network
These contracts make community and evidence-based juvenile delinquency prevention programs available to youth ages 10-17 in each DFPS region. In FY 2011, 5,720 clients received services through Statewide Youth Services Network funded programs.
Texas Families: Together and Safe
Texas Families: Together and Safe funds evidence-based, community-based programs to alleviate stress and promote parental competencies and behaviors that increase the ability of families to become self-sufficient and successfully nurture their children.
The goals of the program are to:
- Improve and enhance access to family support services.
- Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of community-based family support services.
- Enable children to stay at home by providing preventative services.
- Increase collaboration among local programs, government agencies, and families.
In FY 2011, 2,114 families received services, including 2,110 families in which the primary caregiver received services.
Texas Runaway and Youth Hotlines
The toll-free Texas Runaway Hotline and the Texas Youth Hotline offer crisis intervention, telephone counseling, and referrals to troubled youth and families. Volunteers answer the phones and interact with callers facing a variety of problems including family conflict, delinquency, truancy, and abuse and neglect issues.
- Texas Runaway Hotline - www.TexasRunaway.org or 1-800-580HELP.
- Texas Youth Hotline - www.TexasYouth.org or 1-800-98YOUTH.
Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention program builds community awareness of prevention services, strengthens community and parental involvement in child abuse prevention efforts, and encourages families to use the services available to them. This program funds a variety of community-based organizations to provide child abuse and neglect prevention services. These programs include the Relief Nursery, Family Support, Rural Family Support programs, Fatherhood and Leadership for Effective Parenting and Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention, as well as various special initiatives and public awareness campaigns as noted in other sections of this report. In FY 2011, 461 families received services through CBCAP funded programs.
Tertiary Child Abuse Prevention
Through this program, children who have been abused or neglected (or are at-risk of the same) receive a variety of volunteer, community-based prevention, intervention, and other services after they leave CPS care. The goals of the program include reducing child maltreatment and the number of families re-entering the Child Protective Services (CPS) system. The program also strives to improve the quality and availability of services for children after they leave CPS care and to enhance a statewide network of child abuse prevention programs. In FY 2011, 44 families received services through the Tertiary Child Abuse Prevention program.
A variety of Family Strengthening services are available statewide that have been proven to effectively increase family protective factors. These services are provided to increase the resiliency of families and prevent child abuse and neglect. These programs must also foster strong community collaboration to provide a continuum of family services. In FY 2011, 938 families received services through the Family Strengthening program.
Youth Resiliency (YR)
Youth Resiliency programs provide services proven to increase protective factors for youth. A variety of services are available across the state to increase youth resiliency and prevent juvenile delinquency. These programs must foster strong community collaboration to provide a spectrum of services for participating youth. In FY 2011, 1,162 clients received services through the Youth Resiliency program, including 1,066 children who were at risk.
Community-Based Family Services
This program serves families who are investigated by CPS but whose allegations are unsubstantiated. Services include home visits, case management, and additional social services to foster a safe and stable home environment. In FY 2011, 280 families received services through the Community-Based Family Services program.
PEI Child Abuse Prevention Special Initiatives
In FY 2011, DFPS created the fourth annual prevention calendar for Texas families titled "Help Me Grow Up to Be…The Very Best of Me." The calendar gave parents and other caregivers practical advice on soothing a fussy baby, potty training, water safety, bullying, chores, and more. The calendar's messages are consistent with prior assessments of the most effective strategies for prevention outreach. These assessments indicate the best approach is to directly target families with user-friendly outreach materials that give parents tools they can use to strengthen their parenting skills.
PEI distributed nearly 500,000 calendars to about 1,000 agencies, contractors, and partners across Texas, including:
- More than 250 social-service providers.
- Licensed child-care facilities, child welfare boards, and child advocacy centers.
- Elementary and secondary schools and Head Start programs.
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) offices in many locations.
- Local churches and medical facilities.
English and Spanish versions of the calendar were made available for free download at www.ItsUpToYou.org. The calendar was endorsed by the Texas Pediatric Society and the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Partners in Prevention Training Conference
Each year, DFPS hosts the Annual Partners in Prevention Training Conference in Central Texas. The conference brings together social service professionals, advocates, educators, law enforcement professionals, child-care professionals, community leaders, and faith leaders interested in improving programs and sharing expertise. The conference is open to prevention and early intervention agencies that contract with DFPS and other prevention service providers and interested parties. The conference was planned in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Texas Youth Commission, Texas Education Agency, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, and the Texas Workforce Commission. About 300 people attended the Partners in Prevention Conference in October 2010.
Public Awareness Campaigns
During FY 2011, PEI and other DFPS divisions carried out public awareness campaigns targeting child safety. Those efforts included the "Room to Breathe" campaign, an effort to address factors associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other unexplained infant death. PEI's conducted community-based outreach on safe infant sleeping that was developed in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services. As part of this effort, PEI distributed a fact sheet titled "Safe Sleep for Babies" and infant onesies and magnets. In July 2010, PEI delivered a train-the-trainer curriculum on safe infant sleep to three target counties to make information available through trusted community partners. In FY 2011,
PEI made the curriculum available statewide. More on this campaign may be found at www.BabyRoomToBreathe.org or www.BebeEspacioParaRespirar.org.