The responsibilities of Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) 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.
2012 Accomplishments and Initiatives
PEI continued to lead the Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) for Building Healthy Families during FY 2012 through a memorandum of understanding adopted by the council’s 11 member agencies in FY 2010. After meeting once in FY 2012, the participating agencies determined they would continue to meet on an ad hoc basis. PEI also responded to the council’s recommendations to the Texas Legislature in December 2009.
PEI funded the Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention Services or MAPS program that helps address the needs of families facing multiple issues, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health, and child abuse. PEI also released request for proposals based on fee-for-service instead of cost reimbursement. The new fee structure is more efficient to administer and lets PEI staff focus on service quality.
Public Awareness Campaigns
PEI launched a new child abuse prevention campaign called “Help for Parents, Hope for Kids” on July 1, 2012. This included a new website in both English and Spanish (HelpandHope.org or AyudayEsperanza. org). The campaign featured: a statewide advertising campaign involving television, radio, billboard, transit, movie theatres, and online ads; a social media campaign that included a presence on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube; video testimonials from parents who had abused or neglected their children and sought help to change; outreach to other organizations to participate by distributing campaign materials or providing services or resources to parents through HelpandHope.org. The campaign’s Facebook page was very successful in sharing ideas and resources designed to strengthen families. 52,265 people visited the campaign website in the first two months of the campaign (July-August 2012). Pre-and post-campaign research showed:
- Awareness of the campaign rose by thirteen percentage points for single parents and eight percentage points for young mothers, who were the primary target audience.
- Awareness of the website increased five percentage points for all parents, nine percentage points for Hispanic parents, nine percentage points for young mothers, and nine percentage points for single parents.
- Thirteen percent more young moms reported they were likely to change their behavior when stressed out by their children (calm themselves down, stop and think, leave the room, take a walk, etc.),
In FY 2012, PEI also collaborated with DFPS’ Child Care Licensing program on three campaigns: Baby Room to Breathe, Watch Kids Around Water, and Where’s Baby: Look Before You Lock.
- Baby Room to Breathe educates parents about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other unexplained infant death. DFPS developed a Safe Sleep for Babies DVD in both English and Spanish to distribute to organizations who work with expectant mothers and families with infants. The video was made available on the campaign website (BabyRoomToBreathe.org or BebeEspacioParaRespirar.org) and on the DFPS YouTube channel. An online ad campaign in July and August, 2012, turned existing TV spots into online-ads. 74,721 people visited the website during those two months.
- Watch Kids Around Water replaced See and Save as the agency’s campaign to prevent childhood drowning. This included a new website coupled with a small online-ad campaign. The new campaign started the Friday before Memorial Day 2012. See: WatchKidsAroundWater.org.
- Where’s Baby: Look before You Lock reminds parents and caregivers to check their cars for their infants and young children before locking the cars to prevent hot car deaths. PEI and CCL distributed rearview mirror hang tags to daycares reminding parents to check their backseats before they leave their cars.
Other Child Abuse Prevention Initiatives
In FY 2012, DFPS created the fifth, annual-prevention calendar for Texas families titled “Diving into the Sea of Parenting.” The calendar gave parents and other caregivers practical advice on healthy habits at home, teaching children to tell the truth, dealing with bedtime, handling whining, and more. The calendar’s messages are consistent with assessments on 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 HelpandHope.org and AyudayEsperanza.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. 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. PEI planned the conference in collaboration the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and with several divisions of the Texas Department of State Prevention and Early Intervention 28 Health Services. About 275 people attended the Partners in Prevention Conference in April 2012.
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, youthemployment programs, career preparation, and alternative recreational activities. Communities prioritize and fund specific prevention services according to local needs. CYD services are available in fifteen targeted Texas ZIP codes. In FY 2012, 16,900 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 2012, 26,834 youth and 19,089 primary caregivers received services through the STAR program.
Statewide Youth Services Network
These youth-services contracts make community and evidence-based juvenile delinquency prevention programs available to youth ages 10-17 in each DFPS region. In FY 2012, 5,273 clients received services through Statewide Youth Services Network funded programs.
Texas Families: Together and Safe
Texas Families: Together and Safe is a program that 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 2012, 1,870 families 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 1-800-580-HELP.
- Texas Youth Hotline - www.TexasYouth.org or 1-800-98-YOUTH.
Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) 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 communitybased organizations to provide prevention services for child abuse and neglect. In FY 2012, these programs included the Family Support, Fatherhood and Leadership for Effective Parenting, Respite and Parent Education, Basic Parent Education, and Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention programs, as well as various special initiatives and public awareness campaigns that are noted elsewhere in this report. In FY 2012, 577 families received services through CBCAP funded programs.
Community-Based Family Services
This program serves families who are investigated by CPS but allegations are not confirmed. Services include home visits, case management, and additional social services to promote a safe and stable home environment. In FY 2012, 206 families received services through the Community-Based Family Services program.