Permanency means leaving state care to live in a permanent home. This usually means children go home to their parents, go to live permanently with relatives, or get adopted. This is known as positive permanency. Planning for positive permanency starts as soon as CPS removes a child from a home and ends when the child leaves CPS' legal custody.
The goal is to reunite children with their parents when possible, and CPS provides reunification services to families immediately before and after a child returns home.
Goals of the Permanency Strategic Plan created in 2015 are to:
- Safely reduce the average time to achieve positive permanency by 25 percent by 2020.
- Achieve positive permanency for children under six years old who have been in DFPS conservatorship for more than two years.
- Reduce the number of youth exiting care without a permanent home.
- Create a sense of urgency to achieve positive permanency.
When a child cannot return home safely, the court may give permanent custody to a relative or make the child available for adoption. The number of children adopted from foster care increased significantly in the last decade. DFPS approves adoptive homes and contracts with licensed, private child-placing agencies to increase the number of parents available to adopt children from foster care.
The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) website (AdoptChildren.org) is an important tool for recruiting foster and adoptive parents and also promotes adoption with photo listing and profiles of children awaiting adoption. TARE also has a toll-free nationwide Adoption and Foster Care Inquiry Line.
CPS offers services to children and their families to help adopted children overcome the trauma of abuse or neglect and the loss of their birth families. These services include counseling, crisis intervention, parent training, and support groups.
For more information, see Adoption in the CPS section of DFPS Data Book.