New Laws

House Bill 5

House Bill 5 of the 85th Texas Legislature transformed DFPS into an independent state agency. DFPS now reports directly to the Governor. As a result of HB 5, the agency immediately reorganized a core function of the agency, by moving all investigative functions from the Child Protective Services program into the new Child Protective Investigations (CPI) program. The new Investigations program includes former CPS investigators and special investigators, as well as investigators from the Child Care Licensing (CCL) program who investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in day care and foster care.

While CPI continues to work closely with both CPS and CCL, the new structure allows for improved quality and effectiveness of child abuse and neglect investigations. It further allows CPS to focus on its core functions of child safety, permanency, well-being, and normalcy. This reorganization was initially envisioned in Commissioner Whitman’s ten-point plan for improving CPS.

On September 1, 2017, the regulatory functions of the Child Care Licensing program as well as the Adult Protective Services Provider Investigations program transferred from DFPS to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).  The Child Protective Investigations program at DFPS and the Licensing and Regulatory Division at HHSC continue to work together closely to protect the children they jointly serve. 

Senate Bill 11

The 85th Texas Legislature directed DFPS to expand Community-Based Care, which is a community-based approach to meeting the individual and unique needs of children, youth, and families. A single contractor within each designated geographic service area is responsible for finding foster homes or other living arrangements for children in state care, and providing them a full continuum of services.

This contractor will be responsible for expanding foster care capacity, building a network of providers, engaging the community, finding homes and placements for children, providing case management, and coordinating and delivering services to children in foster care and their families. Community Based Care will serve both children in foster care and in kinship care (children in state legal custody who live with extended family). 

In FY 2018, DFPS solicited proposals for expanding Community-Based Care into 30 North Texas counties in DFPS Region 2 and into Bexar County. DFPS awarded the Region 2 contract to 2INgage, a partnership between Texas Family Initiative LLC and New Horizons Ranch and Center Inc. DFPS awarded the Bexar County contract to Family Tapestry, a division of the Children’s Shelter.  DFPS has also announced plans to expand Community-Based Care into two additional regions in 2019.

Senate Bill 11 also directed DFPS to conduct two pilots that use a similar community-based approach to helping families stay together and keeping children safe while receiving Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS). In the first FBSS pilot, DFPS contracted with Pathways Youth and Family Services to provide case management and develop and purchase a full array of services to meet the needs of the children and families in six West Texas counties. These counties are Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio. The second FBSS pilot will be located in Nueces County.