What is Fostering Connections?

The federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Actof 2008 (P.L. 110-351) was signed into law on October 7, 2008. "Fostering Connections," as the bill is commonly known, was designed to improve the lives of children and youth in foster care and increase the likelihood that they will be able to leave the foster care system to live permanently with relative caregivers or adoptive families. The law accomplishes this by extending and providing services for relatives, children in foster care, tribal nations, and adoptive families. The 81st Texas legislature in 2009 gave support for implementation of items beginning October 1, 2010.
For additional information about the federal legislation, see:  Federal Children's Bureau Information Gateway on Fostering Connections

Results

In 2009, DFPS developed a project to address the agency wide issues involved. DFPS, in coordination with community partners, developed rules, policy, procedures, contract changes, permanency activities and automation changes to carry out the federal and state Fostering Connections legislation.

All the elements were finally in place with the implementation of Supervised Independent Living (SIL) placements in May of 2013.  See summary of progress: Progress Report (09/01/2013).

The ongoing information about these topical areas can be found in the respective sections of the DFPS web site:  

Support for Relative Caregivers

See Kinship Care to get information on:

  • Notifying Relatives
  • Licensing Issues Regarding Kinship Foster Homes
  • Permanency Care Assistance (aka Kinship Guardianship Assistance)

Improve Outcomes for Children in Foster Care

  • Extended Foster Care (including SIL)
  • Transition Planning
  • Short Term Training (court, attorneys, kinship, CASA)
    The federal legislation allows states to claim federal reimbursement for short-term training related to foster care and adoption assistance programs.
  • Education Stability
  • Health Care Oversight and Coordination Plan: See STAR Health Program, which began 4/1/08.
  • Placing Siblings Together/Maintaining Relationships
    DFPS policy in CPS Handbook Section 4000 requires staff to attempt to place siblings together when appropriate and to maintain regular contact when siblings are separated.
  • Tribal Issues
    DFPS initiated quarterly meetings with representatives of the three federally recognized tribes in Texas in October 2009 to share information and discuss collaboration building efforts, as well as provide an opportunity to articulate coordination and technical assistance needs. Meeting discussions have included further efforts for completion of Tribal State agreements and new opportunities for Tribes created with the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. DFPS has met individually with each tribe wishing to establish a tribal State agreement. Individual meetings regarding Title IV-E State agreements have been held with interested Tribes. DFPS is currently working on a Title IV-E agreement with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.

Improve Incentives for Adoptive Families

  • Adoption Incentive / Extended Adoption Assistance
  • Promotion of Adoption with Special Needs / Eligibility Issues
    DFPS made automation changes to adjust for the gradual elimination of the Title IV-E income requirements for adoption assistance.

    Tax Credits

    Information about adoption tax credits is provided in the PRE-service training for foster and adoptive parents.

  • Additional Information About Fostering Connections

    Send requests for information to: fosteringconnections@dfps.state.tx.us.