The Compact with Texans describes the department's services, principles, and the process for filing complaints and requesting information. For the purposes of this document, "customers" are defined as clients, family members, advocates, taxpayers, public officials, service providers, community based organizations, media, other agency representatives, and other interested parties.

Vision

Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is a department that:

  • Delivers effective, efficient, and innovative client services that are nationally recognized for excellence;
  • Supports its staff, who are highly motivated, well prepared for their jobs, exhibit a strong sense of professionalism, and enjoy their work;
  • Builds strong, effective, and mutually valued partnerships with clients, communities, and state leadership; and
  • Provides effective leadership that is accountable for its actions and communicates openly with clients and stakeholders.

Mission

The mission of DFPS is to protect children, and adults who are elderly or have a disability from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by working with clients, families, and communities.

DFPS seeks to support, protect, and strengthen families and their members at all stages of life. As a result we:

  • Protect the unprotected.
  • Include clients, families, and communities in our decision-making.
  • Find new and innovative approaches to get the job done.
  • Strive for excellence and are responsive to feedback from our customers.
  • Are accountable to our clients, stakeholders, and each other.
  • Are honest, respectful of others, and adhere to the highest ethical principles.
  • Value diversity and deliver services that draw on the strengths of each client's culture, ethnicity, and community.
  • Are committed to reducing disproportionate representation of minorities in our client population.
  • Value our people and their individual talents.

Services

Child Protective Services

  • Conduct civil investigations of reported child abuse or neglect.
  • Protect children from abuse and neglect.
  • Promote the safety, integrity, and stability of families.
  • Provide temporary and permanent placement for children who cannot safely remain with their own family.

Adult Protective Services

  • Investigate reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults who are elderly or have a disability.
  • Investigate reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults and children receiving services in certain settings serving persons with mental health or intellectual disabilities.
  • Provide or arrange protective services on an emergency basis as needed.

Child Care Licensing

  • Regulate child-care operations and child-placing agencies to protect the health, safety, and well being of children in care by reducing the risk of injury, abuse, and communicable disease.
  • Issue permits/licenses and monitor child-care operations and child-placing agencies in compliance with minimum standards of care.
  • Inform parents and the public about child-care in general and about the histories of specific homes and day-care operations in compliance with minimum state standards.
  • Provide technical assistance to Child Care providers regarding subject matter covered in the minimum standards of care.

Prevention and Early Intervention

  • Work with Texas communities to procure services for preventing child abuse, neglect, delinquency, running away, and truancy.
  • Develop and maintain a statewide inventory of prevention programs aimed at preventing child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency.
  • Collaborate with other agencies and community-based organizations to develop, a comprehensive and unified approach to deliver prevention services in effort to avoid fragmentation and duplication of services.

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Customer Service

Principles

As a Texas Health and Human Services department, we commit to providing high quality services in a professional and ethical manner. In order to do so, we will:

  • Treat our customers with courtesy and respect;
  • Ensure access to and provision of services is fair and equitable;
  • Implement new and creative approaches to improve quality of services;
  • Operate based on our customers' overall needs and feedback;
  • Provide understandable information in a variety of formats;
  • Ensure sound management of programs and funds;
  • Work in cooperation with customers;
  • Protect private information and share public information in accordance with applicable laws.

Standards

Texans can expect to receive high quality services from all Texas Health and Human Services departments. To meet this expectation, we will:

  • Process applications and respond to contacts accurately and within required timeframes;
  • Employ courteous and knowledgeable staff;
  • Respond appropriately to language or other special needs;
  • Expand access to information and services, such as by Internet and phone;
  • Provide services in safe facilities and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

DFPS Delivery Standards

Abuse Hotline (Statewide Intake)

Toll-free, statewide telephone reporting system

Average hold time of 8.7 minutes or less.

Child Protective Services

Investigations

Priority I: Initiated within 24 hours of the department's receipt of the report.

Priority II: Initiated within 72 hours of the department's receipt of the report.

DFPS must achieve permanency for children who are in DFPS conservatorship and who are in adoptive placement. When DFPS has temporary legal custody of a child, legal permanency must be achieved within 12 months, with the possibility of a 180-day extension that must be granted by the court.

Adult Protective Services

Investigations in Facility Settings (all but State Supported Living Centers)
The investigator makes a face-to-face contact with the victim within the timelines established by the priority of the case.

Priority I: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 24 hours of receipt of the report by DFPS.

Priority II: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within three calendar days of receipt of the report by DFPS.

Priority III: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within seven calendar days of receipt of the report by DFPS

In State Supported Living Centers: The APS specialist makes a face-to-face contact with the victim within the timelines established by the priority of the case. All State Supported Living Center investigations are designated as either Priority I or II.

Priority I: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 24 hours of department's receipt of the report.

Priority II: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 3 calendar days of department's receipt of the report. 

In-Home Investigations:

Priority I: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 24 hours of receipt of the report by DFPS.

Priority II: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 3 calendar days of receipt of the report by DFPS.

Priority III: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 7 calendar days of receipt of the report by DFPS.

Priority IV: Face-to-face contact with the alleged victim is made within 14 calendar days of receipt of the report by DFPS.

Child Care Licensing

Initial application for license, registration or listed family homes

Written notification of decision to accept or return of application will be sent within 21 calendar days of receipt by department.

Subsequent applications

Day Care: Review application within 14 calendar days of department's receipt of the report.

Residential Care: Review application within 21 calendar days of department's receipt of the report.

Investigations

Priority I: Initiated within 24 hours of department's receipt of the report.

Priority II: Initiated within 10 calendar days of department's receipt of the report.

Priority III: Initiated within 15 calendar of department's receipt of the report.

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Contacts & Complaints

Complaint Process

The DFPS Office of Consumer Relations (OCR) handles complaints about specific cases relating to DFPS program policy. We are here to help you, and you can trust us to fairly review your complaints. The DFPS programs include:

  • Adult Protective Services In Home Services
  • Child Protective Investigations
  • Child Protective Services
  • Child Care Investigations
  • Texas Abuse Hotline

The OCR acknowledges every complaint or inquiry that is received.  If the information is appropriate for OCR to review, the OCR will notify you of the findings by letter — within the limits of confidentiality laws. 

The OCR can :

  • Take complaints from the public including foster youth ages 18 years old and older, and former foster youth. 
  • Address general, non-specific inquiries and questions about a DFPS case as well as the case process. 
  • Conduct formal reviews of a Child Protective investigation when the investigation concludes a person abused or neglected a child.  This is handled through the OCR Review process.
  • Refer people to other agencies and programs that may be able to assist them.

If the information you provide is not an issue that the OCR can review, the OCR will either share your information with the appropriate agency or refer you to an agency that may be able to assist you.

The OCR cannot:

  • Assist foster youth ages 17 years old or younger - contact the Foster Care Ombudsman.
  • Take reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, this include reports of abuse, neglect or a violation of standards by a child care facility - contact the Texas Abuse Hotline.
  • Handle complaints or inquiries related to the Adult Protective Services - Provider Investigations program or inspections or minimum standards investigations by the Child Care Licensing – contact the Health and Human Services Consumer Rights and Services.
  • Change the findings of a case other than Child Protective investigation findings through the OCR Review process
  • Review the actions or orders of the courts or law enforcement agencies.

To find out more information about the OCR and our complaint process you may review our policies.

DFPS Office of Consumer Relations

Mail Code Y-946
PO Box 149030
Austin, TX 78714-9030
Toll-free: 1-800-720-7777 (available 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday)
Online submission: Office of Consumer Relations
Email: Office of Consumer Relations
Fax: 512-339-5892

Hotlines

DFPS offers several hotlines to get help, depending on the type of question or complaint you have. Please see DFPS Hotlines and Information Lines for a detailed list of Hotlines.

Reporting Waste, Abuse or Fraud

You can report suspected waste, fraud or abuse in health and human services programs to the HHSC Office of Inspector General (OIG) either online or by calling 800-436-6184. You may also make a report to the Texas State Auditor's Office by calling 800-TX-AUDIT.

The HHSC OIG is responsible for investigation of waste, abuse and fraud in health and human services programs. The OIG provides oversight of HHS activities, providers, and recipients through compliance and enforcement activities designed to identify and reduce waste, abuse, or fraud; and improve efficiency and effectiveness within the HHS system.

To report waste, abuse or fraud, please call toll-free, 1-800-436-6184, or use the online reporting form.