In FY 2014, DFPS decided to separate the Prevention and Early Intervention Program from CPS and give it new responsibilities and resources. The move will help PEI to do more partnering with Texas communities to ramp up prevention efforts.

PEI Director Sasha Rasco gives a great illustration of what prevention is all about.

“If children are drowning in a river and people are furiously spending their energy pulling them out of the river, eventually someone needs to ask why these children are going into the river in the first place? Someone needs to go upstream and find out why kids are falling into the current and stop it. Our goal is to reduce the number of families coming into the child welfare system by building stronger families through community efforts.”

Besides moving up the organizational chart, PEI will also add the new Office of Child Safety (OCS). The new office will conduct independent reviews of child abuse and neglect fatalities related to both Child Protective Services and Child Care Licensing.

“The vision of the Office of Child Safety is to have someone looking at the larger trends around child fatalities,” says Rasco. “This work will inform our prevention efforts going forward, such as the populations we target and the prevention campaigns we conduct.”