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1600 Permanency Care Assistance (PCA)

1610 Definitions Related to PCA

CPS October 2021

For the definitions of terms related to Permanency Care Assistance, see:

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1027

Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, under Definitions

Texas Family Code §264.851

1611 PCA Overview

CPS October 2021

Permanency Care Assistance is provided to people who assume managing conservatorship of a child previously in the temporary or permanent managing conservatorship of DFPS. Assistance is provided as long as all the eligibility criteria for assistance are met.

The assistance may take the form of the following:

  • Financial assistance – Negotiated monthly payments paid to an eligible caregiver to assist with a child’s needs.
  • Medical assistance – Provided through Medicaid.
  • Reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses – Provided for expenses related to obtaining the permanent managing conservatorship of an eligible child.

PCA is intended to provide benefits to a relative or fictive kin (close family friend) when those people otherwise might be unable to care permanently for children in DFPS’ managing conservatorship.

PCA is not intended to replace the permanent managing conservator’s legal responsibility to support the child. Families are responsible for using family resources to help provide for the child’s needs. The family’s resources are considered when determining how much PCA a family may receive.

1612 PCA Eligibility Requirements

1612.1 Eligibility Requirements for a Prospective Permanent Managing Conservator to Receive PCA

CPS October 2021

To receive Permanency Care Assistance for a child, a prospective permanent managing conservator must meet all the following eligibility criteria:

  • Become verified as a foster parent (see information below for relative or fictive kin requirements).
  • Serve as the child’s foster parent for at least six consecutive months before becoming the child’s permanent managing conservator.
  • Enter into an agreement for PCA before the court grants permanent managing conservatorship of the child.
  • Become the permanent managing conservator of an eligible child after the agreement for PCA is signed.

Note: A permanent managing conservator cannot receive PCA if the agreement for assistance is not in place before permanent managing conservatorship of the child is transferred to the relative or fictive kin. It is extremely important that the caseworker inform the caseworker’s supervisor of any court order that could affect the transfer of conservatorship and result in preventing the caregiver from participating in PCA. The caseworker also must alert the Conservatorship program director in such instances, and, if necessary, staff with the kinship specialist at State Office to discuss whether an appeal is warranted.

For a relative or fictive kin to qualify as the child’s verified foster parent, all the following conditions must be met:

  • DFPS placed the child with a caregiver who meets the specific definition of relative or fictive kin for the purpose of PCA. For more information, see the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, under Definitions..
  • DFPS recognized the relative or fictive kin as the child’s verified foster parent.
  • The relative or fictive kin served as the child’s verified foster parent for the required six consecutive months.
  • The relative’s or fictive kin’s signed authorization agreement to serve as the child’s verified foster parent remained in effect for the required time frame.
  • The child remained in DFPS conservatorship throughout the six months.
  • The child’s placement in the home was continuous for six months. Placement is considered continuous when the child lives in the home the entire time, with the exception of short absences that do not exceed 14 days. If a temporary absence exceeds 14 days, the count of the child’s total time in the placement must start over.

It is acceptable for the six months to have occurred in the past, and for the relative or fictive kin to have stopped serving as the child’s foster parent after that time.

Ineligible People

The following people are not eligible to become permanent managing conservators and receive PCA:

  • A person who shared joint managing conservatorship of a child with one or both of the child’s parents prior to the child coming into DFPS conservatorship.
  • The child’s parent or other person from whom the child was removed.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1029

Applying for Assistance

The prospective permanent managing conservator must apply for PCA and provide all necessary supporting documentation. See 6685 Applying for Permanency Care Assistance.

1612.2 PCA Eligibility Requirements for Children

CPS October 2021

A child is eligible to receive Permanency Care Assistance if all the following eligibility criteria apply to that child:

  • The child is in the temporary or permanent managing conservatorship of DFPS.
  • The prospective permanent managing conservator is related to the child in one of the following ways:
    • By consanguinity (descended from same ancestor).
    • By affinity (a relationship not based on blood ties).
    • By having had a longstanding and significant relationship to the child before DFPS placed the child in the home of the prospective conservator.
  • At the time the agreement for PCA is signed, DFPS has determined that reunification and adoption are not appropriate permanency options for the child, in accordance with 6683 Ruling Out Family Reunification and Adoption Before Pursuing Permanency Care Assistance.
  • The child has demonstrated a strong attachment to the prospective managing conservator, and the prospective permanent managing conservator has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child.
  • DFPS has consulted with the child about the transfer of permanent managing conservatorship to the prospective managing conservator, if the child will be at least 14 years old when the PCA agreement is signed.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1029

1612.3 PCA Eligibility Requirements for Siblings

CPS October 2021

If the prospective permanent managing conservator previously has entered into an agreement for Permanency Care Assistance on behalf of one child, the same caregiver is eligible to receive PCA on behalf of a sibling of the child, if all the following eligibility requirements are met:

  • The sibling is placed in the home of the same kinship caregiver.
  • The caregiver and DFPS agree on the appropriateness of the arrangement.
  • DFPS has temporary or permanent managing conservatorship of the joining sibling at the time the agreement is signed.

Federal Assistance for Siblings

When siblings are placed together at the same time and one sibling is eligible for Title IV-E assistance, the caseworker must apply for PCA on behalf of the child eligible for Title IV-E. If neither child is eligible for Title IV-E funding, then both the child and the joining sibling are eligible for state-paid funding.

To determine which sibling is the primary child eligible for Title IV-E funding, the caseworker contacts the eligibility specialist for adoption assistance.

1612.4 When a Child Is Not Eligible for PCA (State Paid or Paid by Title IV-E)

CPS October 2021

If a child and caregiver are not eligible for Permanency Care Assistance, a court may not order such assistance.

Texas Family Code §264.852(c)

However, a relative or other caregiver for a child in DFPS conservatorship who does not qualify for PCA may be eligible for benefits under 6652.2 DFPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1001

1613 Requesting an Extension of PCA

CPS October 2021

Extended Permanency Care Assistance benefits are available to an eligible young adult. This eligibility permits the young adult to retain the assistance from the young adult’s 18th birthday through the last day of the month in which the young adult turns 21.

Eligibility Criteria for Extended Benefits

A youth is eligible for extended benefits if all the following criteria are met:

  • The youth’s permanent managing conservator initially enters into a permanency care agreement with DFPS after the youth’s 16th birthday and before the youth’s 18th birthday.
  • The youth or permanent managing conservator submits documentation sufficient to establish that the youth meets any of the following criteria:
    • Regularly attends high school (or a program leading toward a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate).
    • Regularly attends an institution of higher education (or a postsecondary vocational or technical program).
    • Works at least 80 hours a month.
    • Participates in a program or activity that promotes employment or removes barriers to it.
    • Is incapable of performing the activities described above because of a documented medical condition. The burden of proof to demonstrate that the youth is incapable is the responsibility of the prospective managing conservator.

Extended PCA is not available for any PCA agreement entered into before October 1, 2010. Youth who turned 18 before that date are categorically excluded from receiving benefits or a fair hearing to appeal the denial of benefits.

Each year, the adoption assistance eligibility specialist verifies that the young adult works or attends school. The managing conservator, prior to the youth turning 18, submits documents directly to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist verifying the student’s attendance.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1053

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1057

1614 Informing Families about PCA

CPS October 2021

When a caregiver is considering becoming the permanent managing conservator of a child, the caseworker does the following:

  • Makes the caregiver aware of the programs DFPS offers kinship caregivers (including Permanency Care Assistance) and program requirements.
  • Ensures that the caregiver receives Form 2115 Permanency Care Assistance Request.
  • Informs the caregiver about the following:
    • The caregiver may name one or more people who may potentially serve as the child’s permanent successor caregiver in the event the caregiver is no longer able to care for the child due to death or incapacity.
    • The named person or people may continue to receive PCA benefits on behalf of the child if certain criteria are met (see 1624 PCA Successor).

1615 Applying for PCA

CPS October 2021

To apply for Permanency Care Assistance, the caregiver and caseworker take certain steps.

Step 1: Caregiver Completes the Required Forms

The child’s primary caseworker helps the caregiver complete the following forms:

Step 2: Child’s Primary Caseworker Submits the PCA Application

The child’s primary caseworker does the following:

  • Completes the electronic PCA application in IMPACT and submits it to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist.
  • Submits Forms 2115, 2116, and 2118 to the appropriate eligibility specialist no more than five days after completing the application in IMPACT.

Step 3: Child’s Primary Caseworker Obtains All Documentation

The child’s primary caseworker ensures that all documentation in the packet is complete and includes the following:

  • Proof of the child’s age. For acceptable proof of age, see Section B of Appendix 1530-F: Categorical Requirements for AFDC.
  • Proof of the child’s citizenship, (or verification of immigration status when the child is not a citizen). For acceptable proof of citizenship or qualified immigration status, see 1530 Foster Care Assistance Eligibility Requirements for Children and Youth Who Are in DFPS Conservatorship. If the child is not a U.S. citizen, the caseworker must record the steps taken to arrive at that conclusion.
  • Form 2115 Permanency Care Assistance Request, Form 2116 Permanency Care Assistance Worksheet, and Form 2118 Kinship Family Resources.
  • Verification of the FBI fingerprint-based criminal records checks from the National Crime Information Database.
  • A copy of the name-based criminal records checks submitted to DPS through IMPACT.
  • Copies of any records checks provided by another state or by local law enforcement.
  • Copies of checks from the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry. Copies may be requested from the foster and adoption home development (FAD) worker or from the case manager of the private child placing agency (CPA) for the caregiver’s home and must reflect that the checks were conducted before the home was verified. If the checks were not conducted before verification, eligibility for the foster care assistance and permanency care assistance must be state-paid, rather than being paid for by Title IV-E funding.
  • Copy of the initial court order appointing DFPS as temporary managing conservator of the child. For children who are eligible for assistance under Title IV-E, the court order must contain documentation that the child was removed by court order because continuing to live in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare.
  • The results of a home screening (an approved FAD home screening or a foster home screening conducted by the private CPA).

Step 4: Child’s Primary Caseworker Obtains Supervisory Approval of the Packet

The supervisor gives written approval of the packet after ensuring that the required documentation is included.

After supervisor approval, for homes verified by a private CPA, the caseworker sends Form 2189 Referral to FAD for Non-DFPS Home to the regional FAD unit when the packet is approved. The referral form notifies the FAD unit to create a FAD home in IMPACT, which enables the caregiver to apply for PCA.

Step 5: Primary Caseworker Sends the PCA Eligibility Packet to the Adoption Assistance Eligibility Specialist at Least 30 Days before the Transfer of Managing Conservatorship

Routine Cases

In a routine case, the caseworker sends the packet to the appropriate eligibility specialist for adoption assistance a minimum of 30 days before conservatorship of the child is transferred to the caregiver.

Cases That Are Not Routine

At times, a circumstance beyond the control of DFPS staff, the caregiver, and other involved parties requires that eligibility for PCA must be determined in fewer than 30 days. In such cases, all staff in the determination process must expedite the processing of the application and other documentation.

If compliance with a court order is not possible, conservatorship staff must consult in a staffing with the  Kinship specialist at State Office and the attorney representing DFPS before transferring managing conservatorship.

Step 6: If the Child Is Preliminarily Eligible, the Primary Caseworker Sends Documentation Required for the Transfer of Managing Conservatorship to the Eligibility Specialist

See 6685.41 Submitting the Permanent Managing Conservatorship Order.

1616 Determining PCA Eligibility

1616.1 Regional Eligibility Assistance Units

CPS October 2021

Regional adoption assistance eligibility specialists determine eligibility for Permanency Care Assistance.

This determination is based on the following:

  • Information provided to the eligibility worker by the child’s caseworker.
  • Data in DFPS automated systems, such as IMPACT.

The child’s caseworker does the following:

  • Completes a copy of the appropriate checklist for permanency care assistance.
  • Includes the copy in the case record for permanency care assistance.
  • Forwards the copy to the eligibility specialist, who will then conduct a review.
1616.2 Steps for Determining PCA Eligibility

CPS October 2021

To determine a child’s eligibility for Permanency Care Assistance, the eligibility specialist must take the following steps:

Step 1: Review the PCA Packet and Evaluate It for Completeness

As soon as the eligibility specialist receives the PCA eligibility packet from the child’s primary caseworker, the specialist logs receipt of the packet into the regional shared drive for PCA.

No more than three business days from the date the packet is received, the specialist reviews the packet to ensure the following:

  • The packet is complete.
  • A foster and adoption (FAD) home entry has been made in IMPACT for any homes verified by a private child placing agency (CPA).

The specialist asks the child’s primary caseworker for any missing or insufficient documentation.

Step 2: Make a Preliminary Determination about PCA Eligibility

A preliminary determination of eligibility is one in which all the eligibility requirements are met except for the following:

  • The agreement for PCA has not yet been negotiated and signed.
  • Managing conservatorship has not been granted by the courts.

The adoption assistance eligibility specialist must make a preliminary determination of eligibility within five business days of receipt of a completed packet. This time frame applies whether the packet is complete initially or the packet is completed after the specialist asks for additional documentation.

To determine whether all the eligibility requirements are met, the specialist follows 1612 PCA Eligibility Requirements.

Within two business days of the determination, the specialist notifies the appropriate parties in accordance with Step 2a: If the Child Is Preliminarily Determined to Be Eligible or Step 2b: If the Child Is Determined Ineligible, in this item, as applicable.

Step 2a: If the Child Is Preliminarily Determined to Be Eligible

Evaluate Eligibility for Title IV-E or State-Paid PCA

If a family is determined to have preliminary eligibility, the eligibility specialist must determine whether PCA will be paid using either of the following:

  • Federal Title IV-E funding.
  • State funding.

A child’s eligibility for Title IV-E or state-paid PCA is based on the child’s eligibility for funding while in foster care. The eligibility specialist verifies this in IMPACT, based on the following:

  • The child’s initial application for foster care assistance.
  • Any change in the determination.

A copy of this documentation must be included as part of the eligibility file.

A child is eligible for PCA paid with Title IV-E funding if the following are true:

  • The child was eligible for such payments while living for at least six consecutive months in the home of the prospective permanent managing conservator.
  • That prospective managing conservator was a verified foster parent during that time.

If the child does not meet the requirements for Title IV-E eligibility, but otherwise satisfies the requirements for PCA eligibility explained in 1612 PCA Eligibility Requirements, the child’s PCA is state-funded.

Notify Appropriate Parties about the Determination

After determining whether a child who is preliminarily eligible for federal Title IV-E funding or state funding, the adoption assistance eligibility specialist completes and sends Form 2117 Notice of Preliminary Eligibility Determination to all the following people:

  • The child’s primary caseworker and the supervisor who signed the PCA packet.
  • The prospective permanent managing conservator.
  • The PCA negotiator responsible for negotiating the child’s PCA benefits.

Step 2b: If the Child Is Determined Ineligible

If the child is determined ineligible for PCA, the adoption assistance eligibility specialist sends the prospective managing conservator and the primary caseworker a written and dated notification of denial, Form 2119 Permanency Care Assistance Denial, citing the following information:

  • Each reason for the decision.
  • The family’s right to appeal.

For the family to be eligible for any benefits, any appeal must be concluded before managing conservatorship of the child is transferred to the kinship caregiver.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1057

The case file must contain documentation showing the date that the denial notice was mailed to the prospective permanent managing conservator.

See 1612.4 When a Child Is Not Eligible for PCA (State Paid or Paid by Title IV-E).

For children found to be ineligible following the preliminary determination, Step 2a is the final step in this application process unless a subsequent fair hearing and appeal result in an order establishing eligibility for such benefits. If an order is issued, benefits are negotiated and activated in accordance with the order.

Step 3: Negotiating a PCA Agreement with a Prospective Managing Conservator

The PCA negotiator negotiates the amount of PAC the family will receive, in accordance with 1617 Negotiating Permanency Care and Deferred Agreements.

When negotiation is complete, the PCA negotiator and family complete Form 2121 Permanency Care Assistance Agreement. The negotiator then sends the original to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist and provides the family with a copy.

Step 4: Activating PCA Benefits Upon a Transfer of Managing Conservatorship

Upon receipt of the notice described in 6685.41 Submitting the Permanent Managing Conservatorship Order, the eligibility specialist records and authorizes all PCA payments in IMPACT. Once benefits are activated, the specialist also completes and sends Form 2120 Activation of Permanency Care Assistance Notice to the managing conservator and the child’s primary caseworker.

The court docket sheet can be used to initiate PCA benefits to avoid delays. However, to ensure that payments continue, the caseworker must submit a file-stamped copy of the conservatorship order to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist within seven days of receiving the copy.

The effective date of the PCA agreement is the date upon which managing conservatorship is awarded to the prospective managing conservator. Benefits should begin in the first month following the effective date of the agreement.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1041

1616.3 Eligibility Units’ Ongoing PCA Responsibilities

CPS October 2021

An adoption assistance eligibility specialist has the following ongoing responsibilities related to Permanency Care Assistance:

  • Maintaining information in IMPACT when there is a change in the family’s circumstances, as described in 1612 Eligibility Requirements for PCA.
  • Processing the reimbursement of qualified nonrecurring expenses related to obtaining permanent managing conservatorship, as described in 1616.4 Reimbursing Nonrecurring Expenses Covered by PCA.
  • Obtaining certification of continued eligibility, as follows:
  • Notifying and requesting that other states or U.S. territories provide Medicaid coverage to Texas recipients of PCA who live out of state.
  • Authorizing Medicaid coverage for children from other states who live in Texas but receive PCA paid for with Title IV-E funding from another state’s public child welfare agency.
  • Initiating reimbursement when assistance has been overpaid.
  • Authorizing supplemental payments when assistance has been underpaid.
  • Maintaining the case in the appropriate eligibility unit, as described in 1616.5 Determining Which Region Maintains a Case Involving PCA.
  • Activating benefits in accordance with any orders issued after a fair hearing.
1616.4 Reimbursing Nonrecurring Expenses Covered by PCA

CPS October 2021

A permanent managing conservator may seek reimbursement of up to $1,200 for nonrecurring expenses for each child covered by a Permanency Care Assistance agreement.

The nonrecurring expenses for which a permanent managing conservator may be reimbursed are limited to the following:

  • Expense incurred directly by the conservator.
  • Expense for which the conservator was required to reimburse a third party.

Such expenses must be reasonable and necessary to complete the legal process of becoming the child’s managing conservator.

The expenses must not be not reimbursable or payable from other sources.

Examples of Expenses That May Be Reimbursed

Costs Associated with Becoming Verified as a Foster Home

These costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Obtaining a home study.
  • Fire and health inspections.
  • Costs of CPR/first aid training.
  • Fingerprint-based criminal history background checks.
  • Transportation for training to become a foster home.
  • Requested furniture and locks.
  • Pet vaccinations.
  • Health and psychological examinations.

Costs Associated with Assuming Managing Conservatorship of the Child

These costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Legal fees.
  • Court costs.
  • Reasonable costs for transportation.
  • Lodging and food for the child or person becoming the permanent managing conservator.

Examples of Expenses That May Not Be Reimbursed

Reimbursement cannot be made for the following expenses:

  • Home modifications (adjustments to the physical structure of the home).
  • Items previously purchased with kinship integration payment or reimbursed with the annually allowed $500 for unverified kinship placements before verification.
  • Costs of the child’s daily care and supervision that are covered by the foster care maintenance payment made following verification.

To Apply for Reimbursement

To apply for reimbursement, the permanent managing conservator submits receipts (or other proof of payment, such as canceled checks) to DFPS no more than 18 months after obtaining managing conservatorship of the child.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1043

1616.5 Determining Which Region Maintains a Case Involving PCA

CPS October 2021

The following guidelines are used to determine the region responsible for maintaining a case that involves Permanency Care Assistance:

If …

then

the child’s eligibility is confirmed, the permanency care assistance agreement is in effect, and payment has been made to the recipient for nonrecurring adoption expenses …

the DFPS region in which the permanent managing conservator lives maintains the case.

the child is placed in another state or U.S. territory for permanent managing conservatorship...

the DFPS region that determined eligibility and entered into the PCA maintains the case.

the family moves out of state ...

the DFPS region that last managed the case maintains the case.

DFPS is authorizing only Medicaid to permanency care recipients from another state who live in Texas ...

the DFPS region where the family lives maintains the case.

1617 Negotiating Permanency Care and Deferred Agreements

1617.1 Role of the Negotiator in Determining PCA

CPS October 2021

The benefits negotiator, upon receiving notice of a preliminary determination of eligibility, must complete the following steps:

  1. Determine the child’s needs by reviewing the records of the child and family. The benefits negotiator also reviews information on the personal circumstances of both the results of the home study and the content of Form 2116 Permanency Care Assistance Worksheet and Form 2118 Kinship Family Resources.
  2. Contact the family within two days of receiving the preliminary determination of eligibility and make appointment to discuss Permanency Care Assistance benefits and negotiate the PCA agreement.
  3. Discuss PCA with the family, particularly how to obtain Medicaid benefits in Texas and other states, and discuss potential issues. See 1618 Providing Medical Assistance to Recipients of PCA.
  4. Provide the family with information about educational requirements. See 1617.4 Explaining Education Requirements When Negotiating for PCA.
  5. Determine the payment ceiling for monthly payments and communicate that information to the family. See 1617.2 Determining the Payment Ceiling When Negotiating for PCA.
  6. Negotiate and execute a PAC agreement with the family. See 1617 Negotiating Permanency Care and Deferred Agreements. Negotiators meet in person with the family when possible. Contact may be made in the family’s home or in a DFPS office, whichever is suitable to both parties, or contact may be made by telephone.
  7. Important note: The agreement must be negotiated before managing conservatorship of the child is transferred to the kinship caregiver, or eligibility for PCA will be permanently lost. See 1612.1 Eligibility Requirements for a Prospective Permanent Managing Conservator to Receive PCA.
1617.2 Determining the Payment Ceiling When Negotiating for PCA

CPS October 2021

The ceiling for monthly payments is based on the child’s authorized service level at the time that the agreement for Permanency Care Assistance is negotiated.

The ceiling is as follows:

  • $400 per month for basic level of care.
  • $545 per month for moderate, specialized, or intense levels of care.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1039

1617.3 Other Considerations When Negotiating for PCA

CPS October 2021

The negotiator for Permanency Care Assistance and the prospective permanent managing conservator must consider the following when discussing and negotiating the amount of PCA:

  • The child’s present and future need for services, assessed in relation to the family’s income, other resources, expenses, and plans for the future.
  • The child’s income and benefits, such as Retirement, Survivors, Disability Insurance (RSDI) or benefits provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that meet the following criteria:
    • Benefits are specifically designated for the child.
    • The child will retain these benefits in the permanent conservatorship.
    • These benefits must be applied toward meeting the child’s needs.
  • The costs for meeting the child’s needs through private sources, only when those needs cannot be met through publicly funded sources.
  • Policies explained in Appendix 1618.3: Discussion Guide – Negotiating Permanency Care Assistance and the 2116 Permanency Care Worksheet.
1617.4 Explaining Education Requirements When Negotiating for PCA

CPS October 2021

The negotiator for Permanency Care Assistance explains to the prospective managing conservator that DFPS may periodically require proof of full-time attendance for a child who is old enough to be required to go to school.

The term full-time elementary or secondary student means a child who meets any of the following criteria:

  • The child is enrolled in, or is in the process of enrolling in, an institution of elementary or secondary education, in accordance with Texas law or the law of the state in which the child lives.
  • The child is home schooled in accordance with Texas law or the law of the state in which the child lives.
  • The child is enrolled in, or is in the process of enrolling in, independent study at the elementary or secondary school level, administered by a school or school district, in accordance with Texas law or the law of the state in which the child lives.
  • The child is incapable of attending school full time due to a medical condition, and the incapability is supported by regularly updated information.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1049(d)

1617.5 Explaining PCA Successor Benefits

CPS October 2021

If the kinship caregivers die or become incapacitated, the child may lose or experience a lengthy disruption in benefits unless a potential successor caregiver(s) is identified in the Permanency Care Assistance Agreement or in an amendment of the agreement.

In order to receive the child’s benefits, the successor(s) will be required to sign a new permanency care assistance agreement, obtain legal custody of the child, and meet DFPS background check standards.

All benefits are voided if the kinship caregivers do not identify a potential successor caregiver(s) for the child in the event that kinship caregivers die or become incapacitated.

1617.6 Negotiating Deferred Agreements for PCA

CPS October 2021

A deferred agreement for Permanency Care Assistance is a written agreement between the prospective permanent managing conservator and DFPS to negotiate PCA at a future date, if the need arises.

Deferred agreements are used when the following are true:

  • The child and the prospective managing conservator meet the eligibility requirements for PCA when the court awards permanent managing conservatorship. This includes meeting the requirement of signing the PCA agreement before transferring managing conservatorship of the child to the kinship caregiver.
  • The prospective managing conservator is able to meet the child’s current needs.
  • The negotiator anticipates that the prospective managing conservator will need assistance meeting the child’s needs in the future.

Under the terms of a deferred agreement, the following must be true:

  • The family and child’s eligibility for PCA is already established.
  • If the family and child require assistance in the future, the family and DFPS negotiate at that time for specific benefits, including Medicaid, monthly financial assistance, or both.

The existence of a deferred agreement eliminates the need for a fair hearing for PCA.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1045

1618 Providing Medical Assistance to PCA Recipients

1618.1 Providing Medical Care to a Child Who Lives in Texas and Receives PCA

CPS October 2021

The medical care for a child who receives Permanency Care Assistance in Texas is covered under the Texas Medicaid Program.

Texas Medicaid assists with the following needs for the child:

  • Medical and dental care.
  • Eye care.
  • Durable medical equipment and supplies.
  • Psychiatric and behavioral health care.
  • Medical transportation.
1618.2 Providing Medical Care to a Child Who Lives Out of State and Receives PCA

CPS October 2021

When a child is eligible for Permanency Care Assistance that is paid for with Title IV-E funding, and the child lives outside Texas, the state of residence is responsible for providing medical assistance.

It may be more difficult to obtain medical coverage outside Texas for a child who meets the following conditions:

  • The child is in DFPS conservatorship.
  • The child lives outside Texas.
  • The child is eligible only for state-paid PCA.

The child will continue to be covered through the Texas Medicaid Program. However, unless the child independently qualifies for the other state’s Medicaid program, the managing conservator generally will be able to access benefits only from a Texas Medicaid provider.

1620 A Change in the Circumstances of a PCA Recipient

CPS October 2021

Reporting Changes

A family that has entered into an agreement with DFPS to receive Permanency Care Assistance is responsible for immediately reporting to the appropriate eligibility specialist changes in circumstances that may affect assistance, including the following:

  • Any name or address changes.
  • A change in marital status.
  • The death of a child or permanent managing conservator.
  • The incapacitation of the permanent managing conservator.
  • The relocation of the child (the child no longer lives with the permanent managing conservator).
  • A change in the child’s legal status.
  • A change in any circumstance that would warrant termination of the agreement for PCA.

Making a Request

When a change in a family’s circumstances affects the child’s current needs, or affects the family’s ability to meet those needs, the family may request a change in the monthly payment. The family may make the request only if the family is not already receiving the maximum monthly payment.

The request for a change must be both of the following:

Processing a Request

Upon receiving a request for a change in the monthly payment, the PCA negotiator contacts the permanent managing conservator within 10 business days to negotiate a new payment amount.

Negotiated increases are effective no earlier than the first of the month following the month in which the new agreement is signed.

The adoption assistance eligibility specialist updates the information reported as a change within five days of receiving the change.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1049

1621 Benefits: PCA Recertification and Termination

1621.1 Recertification of PCA Eligibility

CPS October 2021

Certification of continued eligibility is required at least every five years for children younger than 18 years old.

No fewer than 90 days before the five-year date for certification of continued eligibility, the eligibility specialist mails Form 2122 PCA Re-Certificationand Form 2123 PCA Certification of Continued Eligibilityto the permanent managing conservator.

The eligibility specialist makes three attempts to secure the required documentation from the conservator, with the last attempt being a certified letter.

If the eligibility specialist finds that the family has been overpaid, the specialist must initiate the recoupment process.

1621.2 Terminating PCA

CPS October 2021

A Permanency Care Assistance agreement may be terminated before a child turns 18 years old when any of the following occurs:

  • The prospective permanent managing conservator is not granted managing conservatorship of the child.
  • DFPS determines that the permanent managing conservator was mistakenly determined to be eligible for PCA.
  • The permanent kinship conservator is no longer legally responsible for the child’s care because of a change in legal status before the child reached 18 years of age.
  • The permanent kinship conservator is no longer providing any care or other support to the child.
  • The child dies.
  • The permanent kinship conservator requests that the agreement be terminated.

When the child moves out of or leaves the permanent managing conservator’s home, the permanent managing conservator does the following:

  • Reports the change.
  • Provides evidence of the conservator’s continued, routine, and ongoing financial support of the child.

If the child returns to substitute care and DFPS becomes the child’s managing conservator, the child’s PCA is suspended so DFPS can provide foster care payments. In this situation, PCA cannot be transferred to a subsequent permanent managing conservator.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1047

1621.3 Recertification of Eligibility for Extended PCA

CPS October 2021

For a youth who is eligible for extended Permanency Care Assistance, as described in 1613 Requesting an Extension of PCA, the eligibility specialist obtains certification of the youth’s continued eligibility. The first certification is completed the month in which the youth turns 18. Eligibility then is determined annually until the young adult turns 20, which covers the young adult until the 21st birthday.

Each year, around the youth or young adult’s birthday, the eligibility specialist makes three attempts to obtain Form 2122 PCA Re-Certification and Form 2123 PCA Certification of Continued Eligibility from the youth, young adult, or caregiver. These forms are required documentation for certification of continued eligibility.

The attempts at contact are made as follows:

  • The first attempt is made 60 days before the youth or young adult’s birthday.
  • The second attempt is made 30 days before the youth or young adult’s birthday, if the first attempt is unsuccessful.
  • The third attempt is made on the youth or young adult’s birthday, by certified letter, if the second attempt is unsuccessful.

If the necessary documentation is not received within 30 days of the young adult’s 18th birthday, the eligibility specialist terminates  extended benefits. If the required documentation is received at a later date, the eligibility specialist can restart extended benefits. The start date will be the first of the month in which the documentation of eligibility is received.

The permanent Kinship conservator must provide sufficient documentation to meet the education- or work-related requirements each time eligibility is recertified for young adults 18 and older. The permanent managing conservator submits documents directly to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1053

1622 Recouping a PCA Overpayment

CPS October 2021

When a permanent managing conservator receives an overpayment for PCA, the overpaid funds must be recouped.

Overpayment may be required for any of the following reasons:

  • The child is younger than age 18, and the permanent managing conservator is no longer legally responsible for the child.
  • The permanent managing conservator is no longer providing support to the child.
  • The child or permanent managing conservator dies.
  • The child was mistakenly determined to be eligible for benefits.
1622.1 Standard Cases – Recouping PCA Overpayments in 30 Days

CPS October 2021

When a Permanency Care Assistance payment has been overpaid, the adoption assistance eligibility specialist for the region discusses the case with the eligibility supervisor.

If the eligibility specialist and supervisor are not sure whether recoupment is needed, the specialist consults by email with a Federal/State support program specialist.

In the email to the program specialist, the eligibility specialist includes the following:

  • Child’s name.
  • Child’s personal identification number.
  • A brief overview of the circumstances that led to the overpayment.

Required Consultation

The eligibility specialist and supervisor must consult with the program specialist before processing a recoupment in any of the following circumstances:

  • The overpayment exceeds six months.
  • The overpayment exceeds $50,000.
  • Fraud is suspected.

Standard Recoupment Process

  1. The Federal and State Support program specialist for the AA and PCA programs  in  DFPS State Office sends Form 8102-PCA Request for Payment to DFPS to the regional eligibility specialist. The form provides the permanent managing conservator with details about the recoupment, such as the invoice number, date of service, original warrant date, original warrant amount, and total amount of the overpayment.
  2. The regional eligibility specialist sends the form to the regional operation support administrator (ROSA), who then completes and signs Form 8103a-PCA Overpayment Letter. The letter explains the following to the permanent managing conservator:
    • When and how the overpayment occurred.
    • When the payment is due to DFPS (30 days from the date on the letter).
    • Where to send the payment.
  3. The ROSA mails the following to the permanent managing conservator:
    • Form 8103a-PCA Overpayment Letter, explaining that the overpayments must be repaid.
    • Form 8102-PCA Request for Payment to DFPS, providing the details of the overpayment and recoupment.
  4. The permanent managing conservator does the following:
    • Completes Form 8102-PCA.
    • Sends a copy of the form with each payment to the DFPS address provided in the letter.
  5. The ROSA sends a copy of Form 8103a-PCA Overpayment Letter and Form 8102-PCA Request for Payment to DFPS to these two places:

Handling Late Payments

On the 30th day after the date listed on Form 8103a-PCA Overpayment Letter, the DFPS Accounting Office does the following:

  • Sends a second letter to the permanent managing conservator, this time by certified mail.
  • Notifies the ROSA by email.

If the permanent managing conservator contacts the ROSA on or after the 30th day from the date on Form 8103a-PCA Overpayment Letter, the ROSA does either of the following:

  • Refers the permanent managing conservator to the DFPS Accounting Office to discuss a repayment plan.
  • Notifies the DFPS Accounting Office, if a repayment plan has been proposed by the permanent managing conservator.

If the permanent managing conservator fails to respond to the second letter within 30 days, the DFPS Accounting Office refers the case to the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.

1622.2 Hardship Cases – Recouping PCA Payments in Any Dollar Amount

CPS October 2021

If a permanent managing conservator contacts the regional operation support administrator (ROSA) within 30 days from the date on Form 8103a-PCA Overpayment Letter to explain that the conservator cannot repay the overpayment in full by the due date, the ROSA offers the conservator a repayment plan, as follows.

The amount of the overpayment determines which DFPS personnel must approve the repayment plan.

To begin the process, the ROSA asks the permanent managing conservator to do the following:

  • Explain in writing (by mail or email) why the parent cannot repay the entire dollar amount by the due date.
  • Send the letter or email to the ROSA by the 10th business day from the date that the conservator first contacted the regional adoption assistance eligibility specialist about repayment.

When the ROSA receives the letter explaining the permanent managing conservator’s inability to pay by the due date, the ROSA does the following:

  • Discusses a payment plan with the conservator.
  • Completes and signs Form 8103g-PCA Overpayment Approval Letter, which explains the details of the payment plan as discussed with the permanent managing conservator.

The ROSA then sends the following to the permanent managing conservator by certified mail:

The permanent managing conservator does the following:

  • Signs Form 8103h-PCA Provider Repayment Plan Documentation and Approval.
  • Returns it to the ROSA.

When the ROSA receives the signed Form 8103h-PCA Provider Repayment Plan Documentation and Approval, the ROSA does the following:

  • Mails the original and a copy of Form 8102-PCA Request for Payment to DFPS to the DFPS Accounting Office.
  • Sends a copy of Form 8102 by email to the Federal/State support program specialist for Adoption/Permanency Care Assistance.
1622.3 Extreme Hardship Cases – Recouping PCA Payments in More Than 12 Months (Requires State Office Approval)

CPS October 2021

If a permanent managing conservator explains to the regional operation support administrator (ROSA) in writing why the conservator cannot repay the overpayment(s) within 12 months, the ROSA informs the managing conservator of the following:

  • A plan that exceeds 12 months must be approved by the DFPS State Office.
  • The maximum repayment plan is 24 months.
  • There is no guarantee approval will be granted.

If the permanent managing conservator agrees to a repayment plan of more than 12 months but not more than 24 months, the ROSA does the following:

  • Forwards the total amount to be recouped and timeframe for payment to the division administrator of the DFPS Federal and State Support Unit.
  • Notifies the permanent managing conservator that the plan has been forwarded for approval.

The division administrator does the following:

  • Processes the request for a payment plan.
  • Obtains the required approval.

Plan Is Approved

If the repayment plan is approved, staff at DFPS State Office does the following:

Plan Is Not Approved

If the repayment plan is not approved, the division administrator notifies the permanent managing conservator.

1623 Fair Hearings Regarding Decisions about PCA

1623.1 Duties of the Adoption Assistance Eligibility Specialist

CPS October 2021

The adoption assistance eligibility specialist does the following:

  • Informs the permanent managing conservator about the right to a fair hearing whenever PCA is denied, delayed, suspended, reduced, or terminated.
  • Explains what supporting documentation the permanent managing conservator will need to provide at the hearing, as proof of a child’s eligibility.
  • Prepares a fair hearing packet and submits it to the DFPS Office of General Counsel in the State Office, including the following:
    • The prospective permanent managing conservator’s entire case file for PCA.
    • A recommendation to be added to an agreed order, when applicable. An agreed order shows what the family will be eligible for after a fair hearing.

If the permanent managing conservator requests a fair hearing during the negotiation of benefits, the negotiator for PCA does the following:

  • Prepares a written report summarizing the dispute over the amount of assistance and the efforts taken to resolve it.
  • Provides documentation of the process and results of the discussion and negotiation with the permanent managing conservator, including any pertinent notes or recordings.

In such circumstances, the negotiator must be prepared to participate and testify in the fair hearing.

1623.2 Appealing Decisions Made Regarding PCA

CPS October 2021

A prospective permanent managing conservator has a right to request a fair hearing whenever Permanency Care Assistance is denied, delayed, suspended, reduced, or terminated. The request must be filed in writing within 90 days following the decision to deny, delay, suspend, reduce or terminate PCA benefits.

Circumstances under Which a Fair Hearing Is Not Available

Fair hearings are not available if any of the following are true:

  • The person who is denied benefits was not a licensed or verified foster parent when the person applied or when the person was denied.
  • The child for whom the application was made did not live with the prospective managing conservator for at least six consecutive months while in DFPS conservatorship.
  • The person denied benefits became the child’s permanent managing conservator before September 1, 2010.
  • The child for whom extended PCA benefits were denied turned 18 years of age before October 1, 2010.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1057

1624 PCA Successor

CPS October 2021

PCA payments may continue to a PCA successor if the following are true:

  • The successor was named by the kinship caregiver in the original permanency care assistance agreement or in an amendment to that agreement.
  • The successor submits the required background check information to DFPS and that information meets DFPS standards.
  • The successor signs a PCA agreement with DFPS.
  • The successor submits proof to DFPS demonstrating that the successor has been given legal custody of the child by the court.

The PCA successor cannot begin receiving PCA payments from DFPS until the successor has signed a PCA agreement and assumed legal custody of the child.

If the PCA successor signs the agreement after being given legal custody of the child by the court, DFPS may grant benefits retroactive to the date legal custody was granted. In such a case, these retroactive benefits are granted for a period not to exceed 12 months.

The terms and conditions of the agreement originally signed by the kinship caregiver will also apply to the PCA successor. This means that the following are true for the PCA successor:

  • The successor is entitled to a one-time reimbursement of the following:
    • Non-recurring expenses.
    • Reasonable and necessary fees expended toward obtaining legal custody of the child. These fees include things such as the cost of obtaining a home study, health exams, court costs, and others (up to $1,200).
  • The successor is entitled to receive the child’s benefits for the same duration determined in the original PCA agreement.
  • The successor may exercise the right to a fair hearing if benefits are denied, delayed, suspended, or reduced.
  • The successor must abide by the same conditions for continuation of PCA payments, including, but not limited to, annual notification, certification, and documentation requirements.

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