Overview

DFPS developed the General Placement Search (GPS) application to speed up the process of finding the best possible placements and the right services for children and youth in state care. GPS does this by collecting real-time data about placement preferences and vacancies from CPS contracted providers. See more about placement practices and GPS benefits in the Background section below.

As a contracted CPS provider, what does this mean for me?

Your contract with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) currently requires you to update your vacancies into the Child Placement Vacancy application daily. GPS will replace this process and that contract requirement will be changed by a contract amendment.

The accuracy of the placement data available to CPS will depend on providers entering timely and accurate information through the GPS application.

GPS collects more fields of data than CPV.  This may require an enhancement to your data collection process. Contracted CPS providers will collect specific placement preference and vacancy information and enter it into the GPS application. The first time you enter data into GPS for a placement record, you must complete all required fields.  After you provide the complete initial record, you will need to update vacancy information or changes based on placement activity daily. This allows CPS placement staff to seen vacancy and placement information in real time.

Note: This is separate from the Single Source Continuum Contractor’s (SSCC) Gateway API process. The GPS system only accepts data from providers that have a contract with DFPS. Some providers will need to send data to both the DFPS and SSCC interfaces.

What do I need to do?

All CPS contracted providers will be required to enter specific data based on placement preferences and vacancy information.

Step 1: Evaluate and/or modify your data collection process to collect the data fields required by CPS.  For a complete list of data fields, see Section 1.4 in the GPS Data Transmission Information and Instructions document.

Step 2: Decide how you will enter your information into GPS. There are two methods of entering the required information into GPS:

  • Manual entry – Providers enter the placement details into GPS by manually logging in with their Public Provider Portal credentials, accessing the provider records, and entering the placement details.
  • GPS Data Transfer Process – Send placement data from your Case Management System (CMS) to the GPS system via a new electronic data transfer (EDT) process. This allows your CMS database to directly communicate with the GPS database. To learn more about the data transfer process refer to "How do I learn more about the electronic data transfer (EDT) process?"

Step 3: Pre-register to use GPS. Simply answer the questions in our online form CPS has prepared a questionnaire to collect CPS provider to provide your contact information, data entry method, and other vital information to make the GPS project a success.

Step 4: Take the GPS self-directed training. Information on will be available on this webpage on or after May 17, 2021 on how to access the GPS training.

Step 5: Begin using GPS manual data entry. A link to the GPS login page will be posted on this website after June 4, 2021. Training will be available soon.

How do I learn more about the electronic data transfer (EDT) process?

  1. Read the GPS Data Transmission Information and Instructions document.
  2. Discuss EDT participation with your case management system (CMS) vendor.
  3. Coordinate with your CMS vendor on the timing of their CMS-GPS project implementation. Once your CMS vendor has established and tested their CMS-GPS EDT process, then schedule data testing sessions for your data with DFPS Information Technology Service (ITS) to test data transmissions to ensure all data in the records can be processed without exception. 
  4. Work with DFPS ITS and your CMS vendor to ensure that all exceptions are resolved.
  5. Coordinate with your CMS vendor to develop a process to manage data exceptions and ensure they are resolved in a timely manner.
  6. When all testing is successfully completed for your provider records, you can use the GPS EDT production system.

What if I have questions and need more information?

Check out the links below to more useful information and resources:

If you need more information, email the GPS team at: DFPSGPSPROJECT@dfps.texas.gov.

GPS Timeline Summary

GPS Registration Begins

April 15, 2021

GPS Data Entry Training

May 17 2021

GPS Goes Live

June 4, 2021:

  • All provider information from IMPACT and CLASS will be loaded into GPS.
  • CPV will be retired.
  • GPS manual data entry by providers of placement preference and vacancy information begins.
    • Providers are encouraged to begin manual data entry as soon as possible as it will reduce the volume of correspondence from the CPS Placement Unit about preferences and vacancies.
    • Even if providers ultimately choose the electronic data transfer (EDT) method, DFPS encourages them to enter data manually until their EDT process is ready.
  • Electronic data transfer is available to those providers who are ready participate.

GPS Manual Data Entry Deadline

July 1, 2021:
All providers who have registered to use the manual data entry method will be expected to begin updating their preferences and vacancies in GPS.

Background Information

What factors influence CPS’s child placement practices?

Many factors influence the decision on where children and youth are placed when Child Protective Services (CPS) becomes their temporary or permanent managing conservator. These factors include:

  • The safety of the child/youth.
  • The strengths and needs of the child/youth.
  • Cultural backgrounds.
  • Child and family’s preferences and needs.
  • The child/youth’s permanency goal.
  • Educational stability.
  • Keep siblings together.
  • Keeping children/youth connected to their community.
What Is the purpose of GPS?

GPS will allow CPS staff to:

  • More easily find placements by searching vacancy information in real-time.
  • Match child characteristics to specific placements with specific services.
  • Provide information on the demographics of the placement to include data related to other children living in a particular placement and their history of incidents and/or behaviors.
  • Locate potential placements, schools, current placement and sibling placements. 
  • View compliance and enforcement information in one application instead of several, including IMPACT, CLASS, and others.
  • Report on placement and caregiver capacity by placement type, provider, and services offered.
  • Track placement search activities.
What are the expected benefits and outcomes?
  • Streamlines sharing information on placement needs with providers.
  • Reduces the number of systems used to find the least restrictive and most appropriate placements in or near the child’s home community.
  • Speeds up finding placements for children.
  • Reduces data entry for placement coordinators by pre-populating frequently used search criteria from the child/youth’s common application.