The Compact with Texans describes the services, principles, and standards of the Department of Family and Protective Services, as well as 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.

DFPS Mission

We promote safe and healthy families and protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

DFPS Vision

Improving the lives of those we serve.

DFPS Values

  • Accountable: We act with a sense of urgency to deliver results in an accountable, ethical, and transparent manner.
  • Respectful: We recognize the value of each person and act timely, value privacy, and treat all with respect.
  • Diverse: We promote diversity, inclusion, and equality by honoring individual differences.
  • Collaborative: Whether through our staff or contractors, we work in partnership with clients, families, and communities to ensure our mutual success.
  • Professional: We value our staff and strive for excellence while being professional, passionate, and innovative.

Services

Child Protective Investigations

  • Conduct civil investigations of reported child abuse or neglect.
  • Protect children from abuse and neglect.
  • Promote the safety, well-being, and permanency of families.

Child Protective Services

  • Protect children from abuse and neglect.
  • Promote the safety, integrity, and stability of families.
  • Provide temporary and permanent placement, including with relatives, for children who cannot safely remain with their own family.
  • Reunify children with their parents through services and support to the family to create change so parents can safely care for their child.
  • When reunification with parents is not possible, work to keep children with relatives so they are connected to their family and community.

Adult Protective Services

  • Investigate reports of abuse, neglect,  and financial exploitation of adults who reside in the community and:
    • are age 65 or older; or
    • have a disability that substantially impairs their ability to care for or protect themselves.
  • Identify needs, ensure current safety, and arrange for or provide protective services to alleviate or prevent future maltreatment or self-neglect.

Prevention and Early Intervention

  • Work with Texas communities to grant funds for programs and initiatives designed to promote positive outcomes for children, youth, families, and communities.
  • Develop and maintain a statewide inventory of programs to prevent risk factors that lead to child maltreatment or other childhood adversities.
  • Collaborate with other agencies and community-based organizations to develop a comprehensive, unified, community-driven, evidence-based approach to deliver prevention services in order to align efforts using a public health framework that addresses known risk and protective factors leading to child maltreatment.

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Customer Service

Principles

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 DFPS. 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

Average hold time of 8.5 minutes or less on the toll-free telephone reporting system.

Adult Protective Services

An APS specialist initiates an investigation within 24-hours of receiving a report from Statewide Intake regardless of the assigned priority. During the case initiation, the APS specialist contacts a person who has current and reliable information about the alleged victim’s situation and begins assessing the need for protective services, adjusting the priority as appropriate.

An APS specialist contacts the alleged victim in person within the following timeframes calculated from the time Statewide Intake received the report:

Priority 1: 24 hours
Priority 2: 3 calendar days
Priority 3: 7 calendar days
Priority 4: 14 calendar days

Child Protective 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.
Alternative Response: After the case is assigned to a caseworker, telephone contact with the family is initiated within 24 hours; face-to-face contact with the family occurs within five days.

DFPS must interview each alleged victim face-to-face (as appropriate for the victim’s age and development), make reasonable efforts to locate both parents of each alleged victim, and conduct a home visit within the appropriate time frames.

Child Protective Services

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.

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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. DFPS programs include:

  • Adult Protective Services
  • Child Care Investigations
  • Child Protective Investigations
  • Child Protective Services
  • 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 policy-related complaints regarding DFPS cases 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.

Contact the 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 HHS 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 investigating waste, abuse and fraud in all health and human services programs that are provided in Texas, including services provided by the Department of Family and Protective Services. The OIG provides oversight of activities, providers, and recipients of health and human services and the Department of Family and Protective Services through compliance and enforcement activities designed to identify and reduce waste, abuse, or fraud; and improve efficiency and effectiveness within the HHS system.