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4000 Placing Children in DFPS Conservatorship

CPS October 2020

For placement definitions and types, see the Placement Process Resource GuidePlacement Types and Definitions.

4100 The Placement Process

CPS October 2020

For an overview of the placement process, see the Placement Process Resource GuideThe Placement Process.

DFPS caseworkers must work to minimize placement moves and find a placement that is the most appropriate for the child or youth.

4110 Actions Required Before Making a Placement

4111 Identify the Need for Initial or Subsequent Placement

CPS October 2020

DFPS must initiate the placement process, for an initial or subsequent placement, in any of the following situations:

  • DFPS initially removes a child or youth from his or her home.
  • DFPS receives a discharge notice from a caregiver.
  • DFPS determines a child or youth needs to be moved from the placement due to safety issues or because it is in his or her best interest.
  • A kinship caregiver requests a placement change.
  • A court orders a placement change.

When DFPS makes the decision to move a child or youth, the caseworker must prepare the child or youth, the caregivers, and the parents (if applicable) for the move.

4111.1 Seek Regional Placement Team Assistance If Needed

CPS October 2020

The Regional Placement Team (RPT) consists of the following members:

  • Centralized Placement Unit
  • Residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC)
  • Developmental disability specialists

The RPT is responsible for securing placements into the following facilities for children and youth in DFPS conservatorship:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Foster homes
  • General residential operations (GROs)
  • Residential treatment centers (RTCs)
  • Home and community services (HCS) homes
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF-IIDs)

The RPT presents placement options to the caseworker and supervisor, but the team does not select the placement. The caseworker and supervisor are responsible for selecting the placement.

If a contracted residential provider wants a child or youth removed from its facility, the provider must notify the child’s caseworker, supervisor, and RPT for the child’s legal region. The child’s caseworker and supervisor must review the discharge notice to ensure that it is appropriate. 

If the caseworker or supervisor believes that discharging the child is not in the child’s best interest, then the caseworker must contact the caregiver to discuss options for the child to remain in placement. The caseworker must work with the provider to try to prevent any placement changes determined not to be in the child’s best interest. These options may include helping the caregiver meet the child’s needs through:

  • Resources or services from the local mental health authority, STAR Health, or community organizations.
  • Respite care, if the caregiver is a foster parent.

The caseworker may request assistance from regional subject matter experts if necessary to identify resources and supports in the placement’s geographic area. The caseworker may also meet with the provider and regional subject matter experts to develop a plan to avoid a placement disruption.    

Additionally, the caseworker must immediately contact the RPT upon receiving a discharge notice from a contracted residential provider or a notice from a non-contracted caregiver that a child or youth should be moved from the caregiver’s home. The caseworker and RPT must follow the policies and steps in 4211 Seeking Placement through the Regional Placement Team.

If the child or youth is moving to a kinship caregiver’s home, the caseworker does not need to notify the RPT.

Below are the different types of discharges a provider may use and the circumstances under which the discharge applies. Contracted caregivers must adhere to these discharge timelines as outlined in the Residential Child Care Contract. The caseworker and supervisor must review the discharge notice to ensure that the type of discharge matches the type of agency and the reasons provided in the notice.

Twenty-Four Hour Discharge Notice

This type of notice is appropriate in any of the following situations:

  • A child or youth is arrested and is in jail or a juvenile detention facility. The provider is not willing to allow the child to return to the operation following release from jail or juvenile detention.
  • A child or youth placed in a foster home is admitted to a psychiatric hospital because the child poses a danger to self or others, or exhibits volatile, self-injurious, or inappropriate behaviors that the caregiver is not equipped to manage. The provider is not willing to allow the child to return to the placement after stabilization.
  • A child or youth placed in a GRO Emergency Shelter or a GRO that does not provide treatment services is admitted to a psychiatric hospital because the child poses a danger to self or others, or exhibits volatile, self-injurious, or inappropriate behaviors that the caregiver is not equipped to manage. The provider is not willing to allow the child to return to the placement after stabilization.

Two Day Discharge Notice

This type of notice is for a GRO Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program, when the GRO determines the child is ready to transition to another program within its same operation.

Ten Day Discharge Notice

This type of notice is for a GRO providing emergency care services, when the GRO determines one of the following:

  • It is no longer in the child’s best interest to remain at the facility.
  • The GRO cannot meet the needs of the child.

CPS removes the child within 10 calendar days after receiving the notice.

14-day discharge notice (non-emergency)

A psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, physician, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed professional counselor provides documentation showing that the child consistently exhibits behavior that cannot be managed within the provider’s licensed programmatic services. CPS consults with the provider to determine a plan for removing the child within 14 calendar days.

30-day discharge notice (non-emergency)

The contractor determines one of the following:

  • It is no longer in the child’s best interest to remain at the facility.
  • The contractor cannot meet the needs of the child.

Exception to 14-day or 30-day discharge notice

If a child or youth placed in a GRO offering treatment services (other than a GRO emergency shelter) is admitted to a psychiatric hospital and the provider does not plan for the child to return to the facility following stabilization, the provider may request an exception to the 14 day or 30 day discharge notice.

In order for DFPS to consider an exception, the provider must demonstrate good faith efforts to serve the youth in the facility by discharging the child back to the facility at least two times prior to the exception request. The provider must complete due diligence and demonstrate that all resources have been exhausted that would support the child in the placement. This includes accessing all STAR Health options, creative solutions, and resources from CPS, including but not limited to psychiatric hospital workers and education specialists. The provider’s clinical team is also required to meet with the psychiatric hospital’s clinical team prior to requesting an exception.

An exception would be considered for a child or youth to not return to the GRO offering treatment services once stabilized and ready for discharge from psychiatric hospitalization in any of the following circumstances:

  1. Safety concerns for the child, other children in the placement, or staff.
  2. If the provider is not equipped to manage the child’s specific and unique needs or behaviors. Examples include medical needs, significant change in behavioral needs, or a change in diagnosis.
  3. Child’s absolute refusal to return. Motivational interviewing is required prior to considering this exception. The caseworker contacts the regional program administrator for assistance with securing staff trained in motivational interviewing who can help resolve the child’s refusal to go to placement.

Timeframes for Exception Process

The licensed administrator for the operation must send a request to the CPS program director in the caseworker’s chain of command. 

The request for an exception must include all of the following:

  • Dates of the child’s hospitalization.
  • Dates the child returned to the operation.
  • Services provided to the youth to support him or her following stabilization.
  • The reason the provider is unable to meet the child’s needs.

The CPS program director reviews the exception request within three business days and notifies the provider, in writing, of the decision to approve or deny the exception.

If the CPS program director approves the exception, the child will be discharged from placement within 24 hours. If the program director denies the exception, the discharge date in the previously submitted discharge notice remains in effect. If a discharge notice has not been approved, then there is no active discharge date.

4112 Notify the Current Caregiver of the Planned Placement Change

CPS October 2020

At least 30 days before CPS plans to change the child or youth’s placement, the caseworker must notify the current caregiver or facility, in writing, that the placement will be changed.

The caseworker must document in IMPACT the justification for the delay when notice cannot be given within 30 days.

4113 Gather Information and Recommendations to Select a Placement

CPS October 2020

Before making a placement, the caseworker must gather and review as much current information as possible about the child or youth, including all of the following:

  • Current permanency goal.
  • Medical, intellectual, and physical functioning.
  • Information about the child’s behavior and supervision needs.
  • Education information such as the name of the school and school district the child or youth attends and his or her academic needs and extracurricular preferences.
  • Information from assessments conducted on the child or youth.
  • Abuse and neglect history, including any involvement with allegations as a victim or perpetrator while in substitute care.
  • Other important information in the case record, such as the most recent service plan and application for placement.

For general information on assessments, see the Placement Process Resource GuideAssessments in General. In almost all circumstances, using race, color, or national origin to select a placement violates federal law. See 4115 Prohibited Considerations Based on Race, Color, or National Origin.

4113.1 Review the Permanency Goal

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must review the child or youth’s current permanency goals (primary and concurrent) and update them, if appropriate. The caseworker selects a placement that supports the permanency goals and will help the child or youth achieve them.

4113.2 Check IMPACT Records for Siblings

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must review and search IMPACT records, including closed cases, to identify and locate any siblings of the child or youth. The caseworker must document efforts to place siblings together.

4113.3 Consult the Parents

CPS October 2020

At the time of the removal, the caseworker must consult the parents and attempt to gather as much information about the child or youth as possible (for example, feeding habits, sleeping preferences, comfort items, and so forth).

If parental rights are intact or if the parents are involved in case planning, the caseworker must ask the parents for input on the child’s or youth’s needs and the parents’ preferences for initial and subsequent placement.

4113.4 Consult the Child or Youth

CPS October 2020

Before any move, the caseworker must talk to the child or youth to determine his or her thoughts and recommendations about the best placement. The discussion must take place in a developmentally appropriate manner. The caseworker must ensure that the child or youth understands he or she is simply making recommendations and there is no guarantee that the caseworker can fulfill the requests. The discussion must include the following:

  • The child’s or youth’s preferences for the placement, including:
    • Desire to remain in current school.
    • Household composition.
    • Rural or urban setting.
    • Number of other children in the home.
    • Animals.
    • Access to extracurricular activities.
  • What the child or youth liked and disliked about previous placements, if applicable.

The caseworker must also consider information gathered about the child or youth throughout the life of the case.

4113.5 Consult the Attorney Ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, and CASA Representative

CPS October 2020

Before any non-emergency placement change, the caseworker must contact the following people and ask for their recommendations on the subsequent placement:

  • Attorney ad litem (AAL)
  • Guardian ad litem (GAL)
  • Court appointed special advocate (CASA)

If an emergency placement change does not allow time for the required consultations, the caseworker must notify the AAL, GAL, and CASA as soon as possible, but no more than three working days after the change.

Texas Family Code §264.107

An emergency placement is a situation in which CPS receives notice of the need for a placement change that requires immediate action (24 hours or less notice).

See the Placement Consultation Protocol page in the CPS section of the DFPS Safety Net.

4113.6 Review Additional Information about the Needs of the Child or Youth

CPS October 2020

In addition to reviewing information obtained from the child or youth and his or her family at the time of removal, the caseworker must review information from any other principals or collaterals along with any pertinent case file material.

For subsequent placements, the caseworker must also be able summarize what is known about the child or youth from:

  • Current or previous caregivers.
  • The case record.

The caseworker uses this information in determining the needs of the child or youth.

4113.7 Review Information from the Current Caregiver
4113.71 Caregiver-Initiated Placement Move

CPS October 2020

If a contracted provider initiates a placement change, the provider must complete Form 2109 Residential Child Care Discharge Form. Within this form, the provider must give all of the following information:

  • The provider’s reason for requesting the discharge.
  • The provider’s efforts to prevent placement disruption.
  • The provider’s recommendations for the future placement of the child or youth, which may include information about his or her triggers, type of placement required, level of supervision, or special services.

Contractually, the provider must submit this form before the placement change except in an emergency situation. If the placement change is an emergency, the provider must submit the form within 48 hours after the notice of emergency discharge.

The contractor must send the form to the child’s or youth’s caseworker, the CPS supervisor, and the Regional Placement Team for the child’s or youth’s legal region.

The caseworker must then forward a copy of the form to the child’s or youth’s CASA, attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, and local permanency specialist.

See 4111 Identify the Need for Initial or Subsequent Placement.

While the Residential Child Care Discharge Form is not required for non-contracted providers, the caseworker must still discuss the topics in the form with the current caregiver. The caseworker must document this discussion in IMPACT.

4113.72 DFPS-Initiated Placement Move

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must inform the contractor in a timely manner if there are any significant changes in the child or youth’s circumstances, including legal status, family situation, and factors related to the permanency goal.

If DFPS initiates a placement change, the caseworker must give written notice to the contracted provider as follows:

  • For contracted providers who are not providing emergency care services, the caseworker gives notice 30 calendar days before the placement change.
  • For contracted providers who are providing emergency care services, the caseworker gives notice five calendar days before the placement change.
  • The caseworker is not required to give notice if there is a court order or there is an immediate threat to the health, safety, or well-being of a child.

See 24-Hour Residential Child Care Requirements for more information.

The caseworker must attempt to gather as much information about the child or youth from the current caregiver as possible, including:

  • Any behaviors noted and successful or unsuccessful techniques for managing those behaviors.
  • Routines and preferences.
  • Recommendations about future placements.

4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Possible Placement

CPS October 2020

When making a placement decision, the caseworker must consider all of the following:

  • Placement with a noncustodial parent if there are no concerns of abuse or neglect.
  • Placement with siblings.
  • Placement with relatives and other connections.
  • Any special supervision or contact guidelines in place due to the child’s sexual victimization or sexual aggression history.
  • The education needs of the child or youth, including the need to maintain education stability.
  • Placement in the least restrictive setting.
  • Proximity of placement to the home of the child or youth.
  • Individual needs and preferences of the child or youth.
  • Biological parents’ recommendations.
  • Substitute caregiver’s circumstances.
  • Substitute caregiver’s history of abuse and neglect allegations. For foster homes, this includes history of abuse and neglect allegations while verified with previous child placing agencies, if applicable.
  • Substitute caregiver’s licensing variances

For additional guidelines, refer to the Placement Process Resource GuideIssues to Consider in Placement Decisions.

The safety of the child or youth is the paramount consideration in any placement selection.

4114.1 Preference for Relatives and Other Connections

CPS October 2020

Federal law and guidance, state law, and best practice call for DFPS and courts hearing DFPS cases to prioritize placements with relatives and other individuals with whom a child is connected.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(19)

Texas Family Code §262.114

Texas Family Code §263.306

Texas Family Code §263.404

Texas Family Code §263.5031

4114.11 Placement with Noncustodial Parents

CPS October 2020

For definitions of parent and noncustodial parent, see the Placement Process Resource GuidePreference for Noncustodial Parents, Siblings, Kinship and Others with Significant Relationships.

Noncustodial parents are generally entitled to have their own children placed with them, since they have constitutional protections involving the parent’s relationship with the child. The caseworker must take both of the following actions:

  • Contact each noncustodial parent to discuss possible placement.
  • Assess the safety and appropriateness of placement by conducting CPS and criminal background checks and making a home visit.

See 5431.3 Standard of Proof in an Adversary Hearing.

Considering a Noncustodial Parent

DFPS must make every effort to:

  • Identify and locate a noncustodial parent.
  • Determine if the noncustodial parent is willing and suitable to care for the child or youth.

See the Placement Process Resource GuideConsidering a Noncustodial Parent.

Assessing the Noncustodial Parent

The child or youth’s noncustodial parent is generally entitled to placement of the child or youth, except in one of the following situations:

  • The court determines otherwise.
  • The parent’s rights have been terminated.

However, CPS must still assess the placement to be certain it is safe for the child or youth before making a recommendation to the court.

A home study is not necessary to determine if the child or youth can be placed with the noncustodial parent. Before recommending that the child or youth be placed with the noncustodial parent, at a minimum the caseworker must perform the following tasks to assess the parent’s suitability:

  • Conduct an IMPACT search for previous abuse or neglect history.
  • Conduct a name-based DPS criminal history check.
  • Inquire whether there is an existing custody order that requires visitation to be monitored.
  • Interview any other children or youth in the home.
  • Review the physical safety of the home.

The caseworker must also consider all of the following:

  • The age, wishes, and needs of the child or youth.
  • Any special therapeutic, medical, or other needs the child or youth has.
  • The nature of the abuse or neglect in the other parent’s home.
  • The extent to which the noncustodial parent was or should have been aware of the circumstances in the home the child or youth was removed from.
  • The degree of the noncustodial parent’s existing relationship or history with the child or youth.
  • The ability of the two parents to cooperate with respect to parenting and reunification.

Placing with the Noncustodial Parent

If the child or youth is placed with the noncustodial parent, the caseworker addresses follow-up service plan issues with the noncustodial parent in the existing Family Plan of Service (FPOS) or in a new FPOS in the open Family Substitute Care (FSU) stage.

See 6242 The Family Plan of Service (FPOS).

Supervising a Noncustodial Parent Placement Outside of the Region or State

For information about supervision when the child is placed with a noncustodial parent who lives outside the region or state, see 4153 Placements Outside the Region or State.

4114.12 Placement with Relatives and Fictive Kin

CPS October 2020

Caseworkers must give priority to a relative or fictive kin who is providing a parental child safety placement (PCSP) if all of the following apply:

  • The child or youth comes into conservatorship.
  • A noncustodial parent is unavailable.
  • The placement is safe and available.

If there is an approved PCSP assessment in IMPACT, then a preliminary home assessment is not necessary and the caseworker must request a full home assessment within 48 hours of the child’s removal.

Texas Family Code §264.906

For financial support for relative and fictive kin placements, see:

6650 Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver

Texas Family Code Chapter 264: Subchapter I Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Placement Program

Texas Family Code Chapter 264: Subchapter K Permanency Care Assistance Program

DFPS Rules, 40 Texas Administrative Code §700.1005

4114.13 Placement with Former Foster Parents

CPS October 2020

If a child or youth re-enters conservatorship, the caseworker must consider placing the child or youth with his or her former foster parent, if all of the following apply:

  • A relative or fictive kin placement cannot be made.
  • It is in the child or youth’s best interest.
  • A noncustodial parent is unavailable.
  • The placement is safe and available.

Texas Family Code §262.114

Refer to the following topics in the Placement Process Resource Guide:

Placement with Former Foster Parents

Placement with Former Foster Parents Who Have Become Inactive

4114.14 Placement with Adoptive Parents of Siblings

CPS October 2020

Adoptive parents of siblings who have been adopted through DFPS or through a private adoption agency may or may not meet the definition of a relative or fictive kin. However, siblings of an adopted child or youth are immediate relatives regardless of adoption status.

If the adoptive family became inactive while in good standing, the family must be considered for placement and given preference as a relative placement regardless of verified status (in other words, active or inactive), even if the adoptive parents are not relatives or fictive kin of the sibling.

Siblings include half-siblings.

4114.15 Continuing Obligation to Make Kinship Placements

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must continue to seek all possible kinship placement options for a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship until he or she resides in a placement that meets both of the following conditions:

  • Is intended to be permanent.
  • Will result in the child or youth achieving positive permanency.
4114.2 Separating Siblings

CPS October 2020

Under federal law, DFPS must make reasonable efforts to place siblings together unless DFPS documents that doing so is contrary to the safety or well-being of one of the siblings.

If siblings are not placed together, DFPS must provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings unless it would be contrary to the safety or well-being of one of them.

42 U.S.C. §671(a)(31)

See the Placement Process Resource GuideSeparating Siblings.

4114.21 Separating Siblings in Paid Foster Care

CPS October 2020

Separating siblings because of a lack of placement availability requires the approval of the program director. The decision to separate siblings is a CPS program decision and cannot be made by a caregiver.

Before the program director approves separating siblings, he or she must review efforts made to find placements to accommodate the sibling group to ensure efforts were exhaustive and sufficient. The program director must also ensure there is a plan for the siblings to stay in contact before he or she approves separating them.

When siblings are not placed together:

  • The Regional Placement Team must continue searching for a placement for all siblings until one is located or until the conservatorship program determines that efforts are no longer necessary because it is not in the children’s best interest.
  • Staff must revisit the decision to place siblings together at every permanency planning meeting (PPM) and prior to each court hearing.
  • Staff must make sure siblings have regular and frequent contact, including weekly face-to-face visits. For information about exceptions to this requirement, see 6416.1 Sibling Visitation.
  • The Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS) must reflect efforts made to reunite siblings and plan for regular contact.

The Appropriateness of Placement section of the Placement Detail page in IMPACT must address the separation and the plan for ongoing contact between the siblings.

Staff must document in IMPACT the decision to separate siblings and decisions about ongoing efforts to find placements that might reunite siblings.

See 6251.4 Permanency Planning Meeting and 6241 The Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS).

4114.22 Separating Siblings for Safety Purposes

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must address and document the program director’s approval for the separation of siblings in each child’s service plan. If separation is based on concerns for the child or youth’s safety, the caseworker must do the following in the child’s service plan:

  • Identify the threat to the child or youth’s safety.
  • Describe how one of the siblings is vulnerable to the threat and why the placement cannot control the safety threat.

The CPOS must also discuss the strategies being used to address the safety threats so the siblings can be reunited.

4114.23 Siblings of Youth in Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2020

For youth in extended foster care, the caseworker must consider placements that allow siblings to remain together whenever possible.

Whether the emancipated youth remains in DFPS placement or lives independently, the caseworker must ensure regular and frequent contact between siblings.

4114.3 Ensuring Educational Stability

CPS October 2020

Federal law requires DFPS to have a plan to ensure educational stability for a child or youth in substitute care. In any placement, DFPS must consider whether the educational setting is appropriate and how close the placement is to the school the child or youth is enrolled in at the time of the placement or placement change. DFPS must coordinate with local schools and school districts to ensure that the child or youth remains in the same school he or she was attending at the time of the initial placement or any subsequent placement change, unless it is not in the child or youth’s best interests to remain in that school.

42 U.S.C. §675

When it is determined that a placement change will occur, DFPS contacts the foster care liaison at the school where the child is currently enrolled to determine if it is in the best interest of the child to remain in that school.

For more information about education services for children and youth in substitute care, see 15000 Education for Children.

See the Placement Process Resource GuideEnsuring Educational Stability.

4114.31 Placement Considerations

CPS October 2020

CPS staff must take into account how any proposed placement (initial or subsequent) will affect the child or youth’s educational stability. CPS staff must try to keep a child or youth in his or her school of origin upon coming into care and try to avoid educational moves once the child has come into care.

A child or youth enrolled in a primary or secondary public school and placed outside the school attendance zone can continue to attend the school the child or youth was enrolled in at the time of the placement, unless it is not in the child or youth’s best interest to remain in the same school. The student may attend the school without payment of tuition until he or she completes the highest grade the school offered at the time of the student’s enrollment. The student can continue to attend the school even if the student leaves DFPS conservatorship.

Texas Education Code §25.001(g) and (g-1)

The caseworker must always try to keep a child or youth in the school of origin even if the new placement is in a different school district, unless it is not in the best interests of the child or youth to remain in the same school. DFPS contacts the school district foster care liaison to obtain input about what is in the child’s best interests.

The caseworker must seek the assistance of the regional education specialist or the school district liaison for issues with enrollment and transfer of children or youth in foster care.

4114.32 When Placement in a New School is Necessary

CPS October 2020

If it is not in the child or youth’s best interest to remain in the current school, he or she must be enrolled in an appropriate school as soon as possible, but no later than two days after the placement. The child or youth must be enrolled in a school in the same school district, if possible, or in the school most able to meet his or her needs.

Schools are required to enroll a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship even if the required documentation is not initially provided. However, the caseworker or educational decision maker must ensure that the required enrollment documents and records from the previous school are provided to the new school as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from enrollment.

Texas Education Code §25.002(g)

NOTE: While law requires CPS to ensure the child or youth’s records are provided to the new school within 30 days of enrollment, the law requires the school to ensure the child or youth’s school records are transferred to the new school within 10 working days after enrollment.

Texas Education Code §25.007(b)(1)

The caseworker must document in the child or youth’s record why it is not in his or her best interest to continue in the current school. CPS must try to maintain stability in educational services and extracurricular activities to the greatest extent possible.

4114.4 Preference for the Least Restrictive Setting

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must place the child or youth in the least restrictive, most family-like setting available, consistent with the child or youth’s best interest and special needs.

Social Security Act, Title IV-E, §675(5)(A)

Level of Restrictiveness

Type of DFPS Placement

Least restrictive

Relative’s home, including the home of a noncustodial parent

Moderately restrictive

Foster family home, adoptive home, or cottage-style general residential operation (GRO)

Most restrictive

Child care institution, including any other GRO, such as emergency shelters or RTCs and facilities regulated by other state agencies

The child or youth’s caseworker must document the reasons the placement was chosen in the Placement Detail page in IMPACT under least restrictive setting. If a relative, foster family home, adoptive home, or cottage-style GRO is not chosen, the caseworker must explain why a less restrictive setting was not appropriate for the child or youth. DFPS’s rules allow placement into more restrictive settings (see table above) in one of the following circumstances:

  • The child or youth needs treatment services or other programmatic services (other than child care services) that are not available or cannot be provided in a foster home or cottage-style GRO.
  • The child or youth is placed with a sibling or a parent who needs treatment services or other programmatic services, and placement with the sibling or parent in a GRO is deemed to be in the child or youth’s best interest.
  • The child or youth is placed in a GRO because it is close to the child or youth’s home or school of origin, and such placement is deemed to be in the child or youth’s best interest.
  • There is no foster home or cottage-style GRO immediately available for the child or youth to be placed in.
  • The court orders the placement.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1311(a)

4114.5 Placing the Child Close to the Child’s Home

CPS October 2020

When the child or youth’s permanency goal is reunification, the caseworker must generally place the child or youth in close proximity to the parent’s home.

Social Security Act, Title IV-E, §675(5)(A)

45 Code of Federal Regulations §1356.21(g)

To meet this requirement, the placement must be within the same county (or within 50 miles of the parent’s home if the home is near the county boundary line) unless an exception is justified. For a list of exceptions, see the Placement Process Resource GuidePlacing the Child Close to the Child’s Home.

The caseworker must document such exceptions in the narrative under Issues in the Placement Detail page in IMPACT.

If a child or youth cannot be placed in the same county or within a 50-mile radius of the parent’s home if the home is near the county boundary line, the child or youth must be placed within the region, unless an appropriate exception exists.

4114.6 Substitute Caregiver’s Circumstances

CPS October 2020

When making a placement decision, the caseworker must consider the substitute caregiver’s willingness and ability to do the following:

4115 Prohibited Considerations Based on Race, Color, or National Origin

CPS October 2020

Federal law prohibits the use of race, color, or national origin (RCNO) as a factor in selecting a placement, with extremely limited exceptions. The RCNO of a child or of a potential foster or adoptive family should not be a factor in selecting a placement except in rare situations when staff can document compelling individualized circumstances that make this necessary. Texas law mandates compliance with this federal law. If a biological parent requests selection of a placement based on RCNO, CPS staff must explain that this is prohibited by federal law.

42 U.S.C. §1996b, the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996

Texas Family Code §262.114 Evaluation of Identified Relatives and other Designated Individuals; Placement

To avoid violating these laws, staff must read and follow the directions in Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color, and National Origin (RCNO) in Placement Decisions. In those rare circumstances when RCNO is considered as a factor, the following staff members must collaborate to make the placement decision:

  • Caseworker
  • Caseworker’s supervisor
  • FAD worker or case manager
  • FAD worker’s or case manager’s supervisor

A program director must approve the final decision.

For further guidance on this complex issue, consult the regional attorney.

4116 Additional Requirements Based on Specific Placement Type

CPS September 2021

Depending on the type of placement selected, the caseworker must follow the specific requirements and procedures in the corresponding handbook sections listed in the table below.

Type of Placement

Policy

Noncustodial parents

4114.11 Placement with Noncustodial Parents

Foster homes and residential facilities

4200 Foster and Licensed Facility Placements

Placements regulated and administered by other state agencies

4200 Foster and Licensed Facility Placements

Placements for youth and young adults

4300 Unauthorized Living Arrangements

10460 Supervised Independent Living (SIL) (for 18- to 21-year-olds)

For general information about Extended Foster Care, in which SIL settings are one placement type, see 10400 Extended Foster Care for Youth Who Are Age 18 or Older.

Placing a Texas child or youth in another state or placing a child or youth from another state in Texas

9000 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)

Placements that are not in the child or youth’s county, unit, or region

4153 Placements Outside the Region or State

4117 Specific Placement Considerations for Children or Youth Who Have Primary Medical Needs

CPS October 2020

In addition to the factors detailed in 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Possible Placement and its sub-items, the caseworker must consider the following factors when choosing a placement for a child or youth with primary medical needs (PMN):

  • Whether the home is contracted and verified to provide PMN services.
  • The individual capabilities of the foster family that meet the specific needs of the child or youth.
  • The number of children or youths in the home and how many of them are also receiving PMN services.
  • Whether the caregiver treats the child or youth like a patient or a family member and includes him or her in daily activities and family activities (for example, daily meals, family outings, and recreational activities).
  • Whether the foster parent will be the caretaker of the child or youth during day time hours and night time hours.
  • Whether the foster parent acts as the caretaker for the other children or youths currently placed in the foster home.

For the definition of primary medical needs, see the Placement Process Resource GuideSpecific Placement Considerations for Children Who Have Primary Medical Needs.

4117.1 Required Meetings

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must request a primary medical needs (PMN) staffing for all initial or subsequent placements involving a child or youth with PMN. The caseworker contacts the regional well-being specialist to request the PMN staffing.

The purpose of the PMN staffing is to develop a plan to address the child or youth’s medical services, equipment, and other needs during a placement transition.

  • The PMN staffing must occur after the placement has been identified but before any placement moves, unless an emergency situation occurs after hours. Additionally, the PMN staffing must occur for all of the following situations:
    • Respite care.
    • Reunification with parents.
    • Discharges from a hospital.
    • Children or youth without placement.
  • The child or youth’s primary caseworker must ask the well-being specialist to request a PMN staffing within 24 hours of any of the following events:
    • The initial removal of a child or youth with PMN.
    • A request for a new placement to the Regional Placement Team, for a planned or unplanned move.
    • The decision to make a planned reunification or relative or kinship placement.
    • The decision to make an out-of-state placement.
  • In an emergency situation, the PMN staffing must still occur after placement to ensure all equipment and services transition with the child or youth.

The well-being specialist sets up a conference call and facilitates the staffing. The well-being specialist must invite all of the following people:

  • Child or youth’s CPS caseworker
  • Caseworker’s supervisor
  • Program director
  • Local permanency specialist, if applicable
  • Regional Placement Team staff
  • Regional nurse consultant
  • Developmental disability specialist, if applicable
  • Education specialist
  • Medical, hospital, or nursing staff
  • STAR Health staff
  • CASA or guardian ad litem
  • Attorney ad-litem
  • Current child placing agency (CPA) and caregiver, when appropriate
  • New or proposed CPA and caregiver
  • Other key parties involved in the child or youth’s case

If the new caregiver needs to participate in any training to care for the child or youth, the caseworker must follow up with the doctor or doctor’s office to ensure the training occurred and to discuss any concerns the doctor may have.

If the doctor or the doctor’s staff indicates any concerns about the caregiver’s ability to care for the child or youth, the caseworker must not proceed with the placement until meeting with the program director for approval.

See:

4113.5 Consult the Child’s Attorney Ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, and CASA Representative

Primary Medical Needs (PMN) Resource Guide

4118 Additional Actions for Placing Children with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must take additional steps before placing a child with an intellectual or developmental disability or a related condition in any of the following types of facilities:

  • General residential operation (GRO) that serves primarily children with an intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Home and Community-based Services (HCS) group home.
  • Intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or related conditions, including state supported living centers.
  • Nursing facility.

The associate commissioner of CPS or his or her designee must approve placing a child in any of the above facilities.

Texas Government Code §531.159

More information on each of these types of facilities, including child eligibility and specific admission criteria, is available in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide.

This policy and its sub-items do not apply to the following:

  • Placements in a GRO, such as a residential treatment center, that does not specialize in serving children with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
  • Placements for youth 18 years of age or older.
4118.1 Assessing the Need for Facility Placement

CPS October 2020

Children and youth with disabilities must be placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting that meets their needs. The preferred and least restrictive placement for most children and youth with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) is a family (birth, relative, foster, or adoptive) home.

Staff should consider a specialized placement in a facility only after ruling out all possible family-like living environments and when both the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) and residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) have exhausted all other options. The CPU or RTPC must provide a list of all placement attempts to the child or youth’s primary caseworker.

If the placement search does not result in a placement in a family setting for a child or youth with an IDD, the caseworker must contact the regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) to discuss a specialized placement in a facility. The caseworker must complete the Checklist for Children with Disabilities.    

If placement in a facility is necessary, the regional DDS must first attempt to find a DFPS-licensed general residential operation (GRO) that serves children and youth with IDD. If a GRO placement is not available or appropriate, then the regional DDS must determine if a child or youth may be appropriate for a Home and Community-based Services (HCS) home or intermediate care facility operated by HHSC. Placement in a state supported living center (SSLC) should only be made if no other placement can be found.

Placement in a nursing facility should not be considered unless the child or youth’s need for specialized, ongoing nursing services prevents him or her from being placed in any other setting.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1315

While the regional DDS is searching for and facilitating placement in a facility, CPU and RTPC must use all available resources to find a less restrictive placement.

Regardless of where a child or youth with IDD or related conditions is placed, DFPS must immediately seek to place the child on all Medicaid Waiver lists for which the child is eligible.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1313(c)

4118.2 Home and Community-Based Services (HCS)

CPS October 2020

Staff may request a Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) waiver slot for youth aging out of care or for children who reside in a general residential operation (GRO) for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Individuals gain access to the HCS waiver program through the HCS interest list or by being a member of one of the several targeted groups identified by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Children and youth in DFPS conservatorship are one of the identified targeted groups.

The caseworker must contact the regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) for guidance on determining the child’s eligibility and appropriateness for an HCS waiver.

If the youth meets the criteria for an HCS waiver slot, the regional DDS then requests one through the state office DDS.

See the Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) Resource Guide for information on HCS eligibility.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI covers the room and board for the HCS placement. Once the caseworker, supervisor, and regional DDS agree to place the youth with an HCS provider, the regional DDS must immediately contact the SSI coordinator, and copy the caseworker, to determine if the youth has active SSI benefits. See 10341.2 Ensuring Funding and Eligibility for Services.

Accepting or Declining an HCS Waiver Slot

Once an HCS slot is released to a youth, the local authority sends a Verification of Freedom of Choice form to the regional DDS and caseworker. Staff uses this form to accept or decline the waiver slot and grant permission to begin the enrollment process.

The caseworker must contact the regional DDS within two business days before making the decision to accept or decline the slot. The caseworker must not decline an HCS slot without first consulting the regional DDS. Once the caseworker decides to accept or decline the HCS slot, the regional DDS must notify the state office DDS of the caseworker’s decision within two business days.

Conservatorship (CVS) staff or the regional DDS must sign and return the Verification of Freedom of Choice form to the local intellectual and developmental disability authority, indicating if the slot was accepted or declined.

Selecting an HCS Provider

The caseworker must consult with the regional DDS for guidance in selecting an HCS provider.

See the Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) Resource Guide for more information.

Before considering a pre-placement or placement in HCS, CPS staff must take the following actions:

  • Conduct appropriate background checks.
  • Conduct an inspection of the HCS home.
  • Schedule a pre-placement visit.

Background Checks

Before having a pre-placement visit or making placement in an HCS home, the caseworker must conduct a DFPS History check and a DPS Name-Based Criminal History Check on the following people:

  • All staff working in the home.
  • Anyone in the home over the age of 14 (this includes other HCS residents in the home).

The HCS program administrator or home staff can facilitate obtaining this information.

If the HCS agency fails to provide the information necessary to conduct background checks, DFPS must not allow placement.

The caseworker must meet with regional leadership if there are concerns with results of background checks. The regional DDS must attend the meeting to facilitate conversation with the HCS agency about staffing issues.

Home Inspections

Before pre-placement, a regional DDS must conduct a home inspection of an HCS home being considered. The regional DDS must provide his or her findings and recommendations to the caseworker, supervisor, and program director for consideration in an email. This includes if the HCS is an option, if there are any concerns, and the HCS home’s plan to rectify any concerns. The program director consults with the program administrator (PA) if there are any identified concerns.

Pre-Placement Visit

Once the caseworker has selected and vetted the HCS provider, the regional DDS or caseworker must schedule a pre-placement visit for the child or youth. This pre-placement visit allows both the child or youth and the provider to become familiar with each other. Pre-placement visits generally last anywhere from one to six days.

Transferring the Child or Youth to a New HCS Provider

If it becomes necessary to move the child or youth to a new HCS provider agency, the caseworker must contact the regional DDS to assist in setting up a transfer meeting with the local authority and new provider agency.

Health and Human Services (HHS) requires a transfer to be planned in order for the receiving provider to be knowledgeable about the child or youth’s needs and to be prepared to deliver necessary services. Therefore, the transfer effective date must be a future date to allow for adequate planning. DFPS may make an exception for an emergency transfer.

4118.3 Obtaining CPS Associate Commissioner Approval to Place a Child or Youth in a Facility

CPS October 2020

Once CPS finds a facility that will take the child or youth, the regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) and the caseworker must submit a state office memo, approved by the regional program administrator, to the CPS state office developmental disability specialist (DDS) requesting placement of the child or youth in the facility. The state office DDS will seek written approval from the associate commissioner or designee and notify the region when the placement is approved. For information about emergency placement approvals, see 4118.4 Emergency Placement Approval Process.

The caseworker must document in the child or youth’s record that state office approved the placement.

For more information on the state office memo and approval process, consult the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideCPS Associate Commissioner Approval Process.

4118.4 Emergency Placement Approval Process

CPS October 2020

If an emergency placement in a facility is needed, the region must call the state office developmental disability specialist to discuss the situation and obtain a verbal approval from the director of placement.

Following this approval, a written request to the CPS associate commissioner or designee must be approved using the process described in 4118.3 Obtaining CPS Associate Commissioner Approval to Place a Child or Youth in a Facility.

4118.5 Requirement to Continue Seeking Less Restrictive Setting

CPS October 2020

The conservatorship caseworker reevaluates the child or youth’s placement every six months. The caseworker consults with the residential treatment placement coordinator and regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) to determine if a more home-like setting is available and appropriate for the child or youth.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1313(d)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1315(d)

The state office DDS must be notified when a child or youth under the age of 18 is planning to move out of a facility and into an alternate placement.

See:

6237 Permanency Planning for Children with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities in Institutional Settings

Texas Government Code §531.159, Monitoring of Permanency Planning Efforts

4118.6 Additional Requirements for Specific Facilities

CPS October 2020

In addition to the steps above for placements in all facilities that serve primarily children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), each type of institution may have its own enrollment process or requirements. Consult the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide for specific information for each type of facility.

General Residential Operation (GRO) for Children or Youth with IDD Placement

The primary caseworker names the regional developmental disability specialist (DDS) as the secondary worker. The regional DDS must:

  • Make face-to-face contact at least once a month with a child or youth in a GRO that serves primarily children or youth with IDD.
  • Document in IMPACT observations and discussions with the child or youth and caregiver.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) Group Home Placement

The caseworker must reevaluate the child or youth’s placement in the four-bed HCS group home at the time the Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS) is reviewed to determine if placement in a three-person HCS home is available and appropriate for the child or youth.

The caseworker or a local permanency specialist must conduct visits per policy in 6411 Contact With the Child and its sub-items.

Intermediate Care Facilities and State Supported Living Centers

The regional DDS and the caseworker must contact the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) coordinator to verify SSI benefits for a youth before considering placement in an intermediate care facility (ICF). SSI benefits are not needed for placement in a state supported living center (SSLC). The regional DDS coordinates with the ICF provider and the local authority to ensure an appropriate placement for a child or youth in an ICF.

The primary caseworker names the regional DDS as the secondary worker. The regional DDS must:

  • Make face-to-face contact at least once a month with a youth in an ICF or SSLC.
  • Document in IMPACT observations and discussions with the child and caregiver.

4119 Get Approvals within the Required Time Frame

CPS October 2020

The caseworker’s supervisor must approve initial and subsequent placements, including emergency placements, in IMPACT within five days of the placement.

An individual with child placement management staff qualifications must also approve placements into a foster or adoptive home.

DFPS Rules, 26 TAC §749.675

The supervisor must verbally approve the placement before the child is placed.

For emergency placements, the supervisor may verbally approve the placement up to 24 hours after the child has been placed.

4120 Actions Required After Selecting a Placement

4121 Prepare the Child or Youth and Caregivers for the Move

4121.1 Prepare the Child or Youth for the Move

CPS October 2020

In preparing the child or youth for the move, the caseworker’s role is to minimize the child or youth’s anxiety and make the transition as smooth as possible. For guidance, see the Placement Process Resource GuideBest Practice Tips to Support a Placement Move.

4121.2 Prepare the Current and New Caregivers for the Move

CPS February 2021

When a placement change is initiated, the caseworker must explain the reasons for the move to the current caregiver at the time the decision is made. The current caregiver should be as involved as possible in preparing the child or youth for the move.

If safe and appropriate, the caseworker must provide the current caregiver with information about where the child or youth will be moved, what the living situation will be, and other information that may help the current caregiver to ease the child or youth’s anxiety about the impending move.

The child or youth’s caseworker must do the following:

  • Provide the new caregiver with information on Form 2279 Placement Summary and the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A.
  • Conduct a pre-placement visit.
  • Encourage communication between the current and new caregivers.

Note: If the child’s new placement is in a foster home, all foster parents in the home must sign Form 2279 and Attachment A to acknowledge their receipt of the information. 

If the child’s new placement is in an unverified kinship home, all adults living in the home who have unsupervised access to the child must sign Form 2279 and Attachment A to acknowledge their receipt of the information.

If the child is being placed in a general residential operation (GRO), the following people must sign Form 2279 and Attachment A to acknowledge their receipt of the information:

  • Administrator for the GRO.
  • Receiving intake staff, if applicable.
  • Child’s case manager. 

The GRO staff are responsible for ensuring that any other caregivers for the child receive the information. GROs are basic child care operations and include placement settings other than foster homes, such as emergency shelters, cottage homes, and residential treatment centers.

4121.3 Complete the Placement Summary Form

December 2020

Before moving the child or youth from the current caregiver, the caseworker must review the completed Form 2279 Placement Summary. The purpose of this form is to enhance continuity of care for the child by documenting what the current caregiver knows about the child.

If the child or youth is leaving a contracted placement, the caregiver must complete the form before the child or youth’s discharge.

If the child or youth is leaving a kinship caregiver’s home, the caseworker asks the kinship caregiver to complete the form. However, if the kinship caregiver does not complete the form, then the caseworker must complete it.

4121.4 Update the Child or Youth’s Medical and Educational Information in IMPACT

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must update the child or youth’s medical and educational information in IMPACT before making copies for the new caregiver. While other parts of the child or youth’s case record may contain related information, the information the caseworker enters into IMPACT is unique in that it:

  • Presents the child or youth’s history.
  • Conveys the type of information any caregiver should know about a child or youth who is the responsibility of DFPS.

On the Medical/Developmental History page, the caseworker must include milestones, history of illness, and other critical information about the child or youth’s health and development.

On the Education page, the caseworker must list schools the child or youth previously attended, the school the child or youth currently attends, and any services the child or youth is receiving in the school. If the child or youth will be changing schools, the caseworker must ensure that IMPACT correctly reflects the date of the child or youth’s withdrawal from the current school.

In the case of an emergency placement, the caseworker must take the following actions:

  • Share the information verbally with the caregiver.
  • Update the information in IMPACT at the earliest opportunity but no later than 72 hours after the placement is made.
  • Provide a copy of the revised information to the caregiver.

4122 Schedule and Conduct a Pre-Placement Visit

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must arrange for the child or youth to visit the substitute caregiver’s home or facility at least once before placing the child or youth. The pre-placement visit must occur before the placement and be scheduled at a time that minimizes disruption to the child or youth.

If the proposed placement of the child is with an unverified relative or fictive kin, DFPS can waive the requirement if the placement meets both of the following criteria:

  • There is a prior relationship between the caregiver and the child or youth.
  • The caregiver cared for the child or youth in the preceding 12 months.

Establish a Meaningful Interval between the Pre-Placement Visit and the Placement

There must be a meaningful interval between the pre-placement visit and the placement. The interval must be at least sufficient to allow a child or youth and caregiver to have privacy, discuss and consider placement, and have their questions, opinions, and concerns addressed.

This meaningful interval is important to any placement because it:

  • Allows the child or youth to determine if he or she feels that the placement is a good fit.
  • Gives the child or youth time to process the change.
  • Gives the caseworker an opportunity to discover and address any immediate concerns raised by the caregiver or the child or youth after their first encounter.

DFPS Rules, 26 TAC §749.1251

4122.1 Pre-Placement Visit for Emergency Placement

CPS October 2020

For an emergency placement in which there is no time for a pre-placement visit, the caseworker must still discuss the placement with the child in a private location away from the placement prior to placing the child. During the discussion, the caseworker makes sure the child feels safe and comfortable with the placement. 

Texas Family Code §264.7541(a)

DFPS Rules, 26 TAC §749.1251

4122.2 Before the Pre-Placement Visit

CPS October 2020

To prepare the child or youth for the pre-placement visit, the caseworker must tell the child or youth about the placement, such as where it is located, what type of placement it is, who lives there, and any other information the child or youth desires to feel less apprehensive about the move.

4122.3 During the Pre-Placement Visit

CPS October 2020

During the pre-placement visit, the caseworker must help the child or youth and caregiver get to know one another and encourage them to ask and answer questions.

The caseworker must accompany the child or youth while the child or youth views the home or facility and his or her bedroom.

Before placement, the caseworker must ensure that the caregiver received training from the appropriate professional providers on the following:

  • Correct administration of any medication.
  • Proper use of any medical equipment.
  • Special health care needs of the child or youth.
4122.4 After the Pre-Placement Visit

CPS October 2020

After the pre-placement visit, the caseworker must speak with each verbal child or youth away from the caregiver’s home or facility.

This conversation must include only the caseworker and the child or youth, so that the child or youth can freely express his or her thoughts and feelings and discuss any problems with the placement.

The caseworker must do his or her best to address the child or youth’s feelings and, whenever possible, resolve any problems with the placement. The caseworker must ask the child or youth if he or she felt safe at the placement.

If the child or youth says that he or she does not feel safe at the placement, the caseworker must immediately contact the supervisor to discuss the next steps, including the decision to seek an alternative placement. At no time should a caseworker leave a child or youth in a home where the child or youth reports feeling unsafe.

See the Placement Process Resource GuideDiscussion Topics for a Child Whose Placement Is Changing.

4122.5 Resolving Issues

CPS October 2020

When it is not possible to immediately resolve problems with the placement, the caseworker must contact his or her supervisor to determine the appropriate course of action. The caseworker must also consider whether additional action is needed because of concerns with the placement.

See 4161 Safety and Related Concerns for Placements.

4123 Complete Authorization Forms Provided at Time of Placement

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must provide the placement paperwork to the caregiver at the time of placement regardless of when it was completed. Whenever possible, the caseworker should complete in advance any paperwork that must be signed at the time of placement.

4123.1 Complete the Placement Authorization Form

CPS February 2021

The caseworker must complete the appropriate placement authorization form based on the placement type, as shown in the following table.

Type of Placement

Placement Authorization Form

Kinship placement

Form 2085KO Placement Authorization – Kinship or Other Non-Foster Caregiver

Foster home (other than a kinship foster home) or general residential operation

Form 2085FC Placement Authorization – Foster Care/Residential Care

Home and Community-Based Services setting

Form 2085HCS Placement Authorization – Home and Community-Based Services (HCS)

Legal risk placement

Form 2085LR Placement Authorization – Legal Risk

Supervised Independent Living setting

Form 2085SIL Placement Authorization – Supervised Independent Living

The caseworker must complete as much of the form as possible and bring copies to the placement for signature.

If the child or youth is being placed with a parent, the caseworker does not need to complete a placement authorization form. However, the caseworker must take the following actions:

  • Give Form 2279 Placement Summary and Attachment A to the parent, obtain signatures, and upload the signed documents into One Case.
  • Enter the placement into IMPACT.
4123.2 Complete the Medical Consenter Form

CPS October 2020

Form 2085-B Designation of Medical Consenter is a required part of the placement packet.

See 11111 Selecting the Medical Consenter and Backup Medical Consenter.

The following table describes what actions the caseworker takes depending on who he or she will designate as the medical consenter.

Who will be the medical consenter?

What must the caseworker do?

Caseworker

Complete Form 2085-B and list himself or herself as the consenter.

Caregiver, and the caseworker has the caregiver’s information before placement

Complete the Designation of Medical Consenter form in IMPACT and generate the Medical Consenter Form(s) from IMPACT.

Unknown, or the caseworker does not have access to IMPACT and a printer

Bring copies of blank form with as much of the child or youth’s information as possible filled out in advance.

If the caseworker completes the Designation of Medical Consenter Form prior to placement and learns that the identified medical consenter is different than who is listed on the form, the caseworker must complete a new Designation of Medical Consenter form and update IMPACT to reflect the correct person. The new form must be completed and provided to the caregiver at the time of placement.

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must verify that the caregiver has completed the required medical consenter training. If the child or youth is being placed with a kinship caregiver who has not completed the training, the caseworker must walk through the online or paper training with the kinship provider before designating him or her as the child or youth’s medical consenter.

If the caseworker cannot verify that the caregiver completed the training, or is otherwise unable to complete the steps required to designate a caregiver as a medical consenter, the caseworker must designate himself or herself as the consenter. The caseworker must remain the consenter until the required actions are completed and the caregiver is designated as the child or youth’s consenter.

If the child or youth is being placed with a parent, the caseworker does not need to complete the medical consenter form. However, the caseworker must enter the placement and the medical consenter designation into IMPACT.

4123.3 Complete the Education Decision-Maker Form

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must complete as many fields as possible in Form 2085-E Designation of Education Decision-Maker. The caseworker fills out the form using information from IMPACT or other portions of the case record that reliably indicate the child or youth’s identifying and other information.

After the caseworker completes Form 2085-E to the extent possible, he or she must:

  • Make copies of the form.
  • Bring the copies to the placement for completion and signature.

If the child or youth is being placed with a parent, the caseworker does need to complete Form 2085-E.

4124 Provide Advance Notice to AAL, GAL, and CASA

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must provide written notice to the following people at least 48 hours before selecting a placement:

  • Attorney ad litem (AAL)
  • Guardian ad litem (GAL)
  • Court appointed special advocate (CASA)

If the placement was shared with the child or youth’s attorney ad litem (AAL), guardian ad litem (GAL), and court appointed special advocate (CASA) during the required placement consultation, then additional notice is not required.

See 4113.5 Consult the Child’s Attorney Ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, and CASA Representative.

4130 Actions Required When a Child Moves

4131 Gather the Child or Youth’s Personal Belongings and Important Documents

CPS October 2020

Whether the child or youth is being removed initially or moving from one placement to another, the caseworker must gather important items from where the child or youth is living at the time, including:

  • Form 2279 Placement Summary and all accompanying documents such as school ID, Social Security card, birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, and so forth.
  • The child or youth’s education portfolio and information on his or her academic progress and status.
  • Sentimental items, including comfort items such as favorite toys, blankets, pillows, books, photos of family and current caregiver, and lifebook.
  • Any personal items attained while in the placement, such as gifts, toys, clothing, and so forth.
  • Prescribed medications and medical devices, glasses or contacts, orthodontic devices, and over-the-counter medications needed immediately.

If the caseworker is unable to obtain required items at the time of the move, the caseworker must attempt to obtain them afterward.

The caseworker may accomplish this by returning to the home or placement. If the move was contentious, it may be necessary to work through another individual who may have greater success, such as a residential contract manager for a contracted placement, the kinship worker, a relative, or CASA.

If the caseworker is unable to secure the child or youth’s medications, the caseworker must work with the receiving caregiver to contact STAR Health to request refills.

4131.1 Durable Medical Equipment

CPS October 2020

Durable medical equipment funded through Medicaid is considered the property of the child or youth and must follow the child or youth. The regional well-being specialist can help coordinate assistance for dismantling and transporting the equipment.

If a parent or caregiver will not send durable medical equipment with the child or youth, the caseworker must immediately consult with the attorney representing DFPS or the regional attorney.

For a child or youth with primary medical needs (PMN), a PMN staffing must already have occurred. See 4117 Specific Placement Considerations for Children or Youth Who Have Primary Medical Needs and its sub-items.

If the caseworker is unable to obtain required items at the time of the move, the caseworker must attempt to obtain them afterward.

The caseworker may accomplish this by returning to the home or placement. If the move was contentious, it may be necessary to work through another individual who may have greater success, such as a residential contract manager for a contracted placement, a relative, or CASA.

4132 Transport the Child or Youth to the Placement

CPS October 2020

The primary or secondary caseworker must transport the child or youth to any initial or subsequent placement, or accompany the child or youth if the child or youth needs medical or other specialized transportation. The trauma of a placement change is heightened if the caseworker is not the one who helps the child or youth make the transition.

If the caseworker is unable to transport the child or youth, the caseworker’s supervisor may approve another caseworker to do so.

When a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship is placed with a residential child care contractor (such as a private child-placing agency or general residential operation), the caseworker must transport the child or youth to the placement. It is not appropriate for a contracted provider to transport the child or youth to the new placement or the discharged child or youth to the DFPS office. As a child or youth moves from placement to placement, the presence of the caseworker provides a vital connection.

If an emergency occurs on a night, weekend, or holiday, the supervisor on call may assign appropriate DFPS staff to arrange placement. However, this is done only after contacting or attempting to contact the caseworker or supervisor assigned to the case.

4133 Provide and Discuss the Placement Summary (Form 2279)

CPS February 2021

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must provide continuity of care by discussing with the new caregivers the information provided by the previous caregiver on Form 2279 Placement Summary and the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A. This discussion occurs regardless of whether the caregivers are verified or unverified.

If the child’s new placement is in a foster home, all foster parents in the home must sign Form 2279 and Attachment A to acknowledge their receipt of the information. 

If the child’s new placement is in an unverified kinship home, all adults living in the home who have unsupervised access to the child must sign Form 2279 and Attachment A to acknowledge their receipt of the information.

If the child is being placed into a general residential operation (GRO), which includes emergency shelters and residential treatment centers, the following people must sign Form 2279 and Attachment A to acknowledge their receipt of the information:

  • Administrator for the GRO.
  • Receiving intake staff, if applicable.
  • Child’s case manager.

The GRO staff are responsible for ensuring that any other caregivers for the child receive the information.

At an initial placement into foster care, the caseworker must, at a minimum, discuss the child or youth’s immediate and special needs for the first 72 hours and any known sexual victimization or aggression history. Within 72 hours of the placement, the caseworker must take the following actions:

  • Complete the remainder of Form 2279 and launch the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A.
  • Compile any attachments not provided.
  • Provide the form and attachments to the new caregivers.

For all subsequent placements, the caseworker must provide a completed Form 2279, the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A, and all required attachments at the time of placement.

The new caregivers and the caseworker must sign the Placement Summary Form and the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A, to acknowledge that they have discussed the information.

If any caregivers are not present during the placement, the caseworker must review the information with those who were not present and obtain signatures on Form 2279 and Attachment A within three business days. Required signatures for those who were not present may be collected electronically.

The caseworker then must do the following:

  • Upload the signed Form 2279 and Attachment A to OneCase on the day of the placement or by 7 p.m. on the next calendar day. Additional signatures captured on the form are uploaded to OneCase within 3 business days of placement.
  • Place the original form in the case record.

4134 Complete the Placement Authorization and Consent Forms

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must complete as much of the appropriate placement authorization, medical consent, and education decision-maker forms as possible before making the placement. See 4123 Complete Authorization Forms Provided at Time of Placement and its sub-items.

At the time of the placement, the caseworker must obtain required signatures and, if possible, immediately provide a copy of the required forms to the caregiver.

Note: When a kinship home becomes a verified kinship foster home, the caseworker must re-issue the placement authorization form using Form 2085FC Placement Authorization - Foster Care / Residential Care and provide the child placing agency a copy of an updated Application for Placement form.

Confirm Medical Consent Training

If a caregiver will serve as the child or youth’s medical consenter, the caseworker must verify that the caregiver completed the required medical consent training.

If the caregiver who will serve as the child or youth’s medical consenter is a kinship caregiver, the caseworker must help the caregiver complete the required medical consent training.

4135 Provide the Child’s Plan of Service and Discuss Services

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must provide and discuss the current Child’s Plan of Service (CPOS) with the new caregiver, if it has been completed.

For either initial or subsequent placements, the caseworker must discuss with the new caregiver the services to be provided.

4136 Provide Additional Documentation

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must provide the following additional documents and information to the new caregiver at the time of placement or within 72 hours:

  • For initial placements and placements into DFPS foster homes, provide Form 2530 CPS Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care. See 6420 Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care and upload the document into OneCase.
  • Medicaid card, STAR Health ID card, and other medical documents.
  • Education portfolio.
  • The child or youth’s background information. 
  • Assessments and evaluations of the child or youth, including the child or youth’s diagnostic assessment, educational assessment, neurological assessment, and psychiatric or psychological evaluation.
  • Information about any juvenile or adult criminal issues regarding the child or youth.
  • An updated medical and developmental history.

See the Placement Consultation Protocol page in the CPS section of the DFPS intranet.

4137 Provide Critical Documents to the Kinship Caregiver

CPS October 2020

In addition to other required placement forms, at the time of placement into a kinship home, the caseworker must provide the kinship caregiver with the Kinship Manual and get the kinship caregiver’s signature on Form 0695 Kinship Caregiver Agreement.

4140 Actions Required After a Placement Change

4141 Make a Referral to the Kinship Development Worker

CPS October 2020

Within two business days after placing a child or youth with a kinship caregiver, the child or youth’s caseworker must take the following actions:

4142 Enter the Placement Change Information in IMPACT

CPS July 2020

After the child or youth is placed, the caseworker must enter information about the placement into IMPACT on the day of the placement or by 7 p.m. on the next calendar day. The caseworker updates the placement in the SUB stage of any child or youth in the case who changed placements.

The placement date is the date of actual placement, not the date the placement is planned to take place.

On the placement page in IMPACT, the caseworker must enter the date the caregiver was provided the Child Sexual History Report Attachment A. 

Updates to the Placement Detail page must address issues of appropriateness, proximity, restrictiveness, and so forth. If the child or youth changes placement type (for example, moving from a foster home to a kinship home or general residential operation), the caseworker may need to update the service plan.

After updating IMPACT, the caseworker must save and submit for supervisor approval. The supervisor must approve the placement within seven days. For foster and adoptive homes, child-placing management staff must also approve the placement.

See 4119 Get Approvals within the Required Time Frame.

If the child or youth is discharging from a previous placement, the caseworker selects the correct placement discharge reason and sub-type reason, if applicable, in IMPACT. If the reason for discharge listed on the discharge notice is unclear or does not align with other information the caseworker has regarding the placement, the caseworker must contact the caregiver for clarification. The caregiver must provide clarification in writing.

The documentation provided by the caregiver and other CPS documentation must support the sub-type selected.

If there is no discharge notice (because the child is discharging from a non-contracted placement), then the caseworker selects the discharge reason and sub-type reason that best represents the reasons stated by the caregiver.

The caseworker seeks clarification from the supervisor before selecting one of the following discharge sub-type reasons:

  • Change of Verification/License Type
  • Facility under Adverse Action
  • Not Verified/Licensed to Serve
  • Facility Home Closed/Inactive

The following discharge reasons have sub-type reasons listed in IMPACT.

Discharge reason

Discharge reason sub-type

Caregiver/Agency requested

  • Child’s behavior
  • Service Level increased
  • Service Level decreased
  • Achieved therapeutic goals
  • Risk (or actual) abuse or neglect
  • Not least restrictive
  • Not verified/licensed to serve
  • Caregiver moved
  • Facility/Home closed/inactive
  • Change of verification/Lic type
  • Remains in placement, change of CPA

CPS Initiated

  • Child’s behavior
  • Service Level increased
  • Service Level decreased
  • Achieved therapeutic goals
  • Risk (or actual) abuse or neglect
  • Not least restrictive
  • Not verified/licensed to serve
  • Caregiver moved
  • Facility/Home closed/inactive
  • Change of verification/Lic type
  • Remains in placement, change of CPA
  • Facility under adverse action

Child hospitalized (medical/psych)

  • Caregiver/agency requested discharge
  • CPS initiated
  • Out of placement more than 14 days

Child ran away

  • No intention to return
  • Out of placement more than 14 days
  • Caregiver/agency requested discharge

Refused to stay in placement

  • Child feels unsafe
  • Incompatibility

Emancipated

  • Aged out
  • Legally married
  • Court ordered emancipation

The following discharge reasons do not have subtypes in IMPACT. 

  • Child Placed in PCA
  • Placement as of Stage Closure
  • Closer proximity to parent/relative
  • Child placed with noncustodial parent
  • Child death
  • Child returned home
  • Child placed with relatives/fictive parent
  • Child placed in adoption
  • Child placed with siblings

Caregiver/Agency Requested

The caseworker must select this reason only when the placement entity has contacted CPS and provided written notification of discharge.

The documentation provided by the caregiver and the CPS documentation must support the sub-type selected.

Discharge sub-type

Select when

Child’s behavior

The child or youth’s behavior cannot be managed in the placement setting.

Service Level increased

The child or youth’s authorized level of care increased.

Service Level decreased

The child or youth’s authorized level of care decreased.

Achieved therapeutic goals

The child or youth achieved all of the identified treatment goals listed on the treatment plan.

Risk (or actual) abuse or neglect

There is concern about child safety.

Not least restrictive

A less restrictive placement is more appropriate to meet the child’s needs and has been identified.

Not verified/licensed to serve

The provider’s license type changed, or the placement is not licensed to meet the child’s needs.

Caregiver moved

The caregiver moved residences.

Facility/Home closed/inactive

The foster home or facility closed or is on inactive status.

Change of verification/Lic type

The provider changed the license type in CLASS.

Remains in placement, change of CPA

The foster home changed CPAs but the child remains in the same foster home.

CPS Initiated

The caseworker must select this reason only when CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change. 

The CPS documentation must be consistent with the sub-type selected.

Discharge sub-type

Select when

Child’s behavior

The child or youth’s behavior cannot be managed in the placement setting.

Service Level increased

The child or youth’s authorized level of care increased.

Service Level decreased

The child or youth’s authorized level of care decreased.

Achieved therapeutic goals

The child or youth achieved all of the identified treatment goals listed on the treatment plan.

Risk (or actual) abuse or neglect

There is concern about child safety.

Not least restrictive

A less restrictive placement is more appropriate to meet the child’s needs and has been identified.

Not verified/licensed to serve

The provider’s license type changed, or the placement is not licensed to meet the child’s needs.

Caregiver moved

The caregiver moved residences.

Facility/Home closed/inactive

The foster home or facility closed or is on inactive status.

Change of verification/Lic type

The provider changed the license type in CLASS.

Remains in placement, contract change

The provider’s contract changed but the child remains in the same placement.

Facility under adverse action

The facility is under adverse action through Residential Child Care Licensing or Residential Child Care Contracts.

Child hospitalized (medical/psych)

The caseworker must select this reason only when CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change. 

The CPS documentation must be consistent with the sub-type selected.

Discharge sub-type

Select when

Caregiver/agency requested discharge

The placement entity requested the child’s or youth’s discharge.

CPS initiated

CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change.

Out of placement more than 14 days

The child or youth has been in the hospital for more than 14 days.

Child ran away

The caseworker must select this reason only when CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change. 

The CPS documentation must be consistent with the sub-type selected.

Discharge sub-type

Select when

No intent to return

The caseworker does not plan for the child to return to the placement once the child returns from runaway.

CPS initiated

CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change.

Out of placement more than 14 days

The child or youth has been on runaway for more than 14 days.

Refused to stay in placement

The caseworker must select this reason only when CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change. 

The CPS documentation must be consistent with the sub-type selected.

Discharge sub-type

Select when

Child feels unsafe

The child or youth reports that he or she doesn’t feel safe at the placement.

Incompatibility

The child or youth reports that the placement is not a good match for him or her. 

Emancipated 

The caseworker must select this reason only when CPS initiates the placement change or the court orders a placement change. 

The CPS documentation must be consistent with the sub-type selected.

Discharge sub-type

Select when

Aged out

The child or youth turned 18 while at the placement and did not stay in extended care.

Legally married

The child or youth was legally married while in substitute care.

Court ordered emancipation

The child was legally emancipated by the court.

Discharge reasons with no sub-types

Discharge reason

Select when

Child Placed in PCA

The caregiver is a kinship caregiver who becomes a verified kinship caregiver and PCA has been negotiated.

Placement as of Stage Closure

The child or youth remains in this placement when the stage closes in IMPACT.

Closer proximity to parent/relative

The child or youth moves to a placement closer to a parent, relative, or fictive kin.

Child placed with noncustodial parent

The child or youth is placed with the parent who did not have custody or possession of the child at the time of removal.

Child death

The child or youth died.

Child returned home

The child or youth returned to the home where the child or youth lived at the time of the initial removal.

Child placed with relatives/fictive kin

The child or youth is moving to a relative or fictive kinship home.

Child placed in adoption

The child or youth is placed into adoptive placement in an ADO stage.

Child placed with siblings

The child or youth is moving to a placement with his or her siblings.

4143 Provide Required Notifications

4143.1 Notify the Parents

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must notify the child or youth’s parents about the initial placement or change in placement as provided in 6151.3 Notification Requirements and Schedule.

Use Caution and Consider the Safety of the Child or Youth and the Caregiver

If giving the parents information that could be used to find the caregiver is likely to compromise the child or youth’s or caregiver’s safety, the caseworker must ensure that the notification excludes all of the following:

  • The caregiver’s address.
  • Any other information that would reasonably lead the parent to be able to locate the child or youth at:
    • The caregiver’s residence.
    • Another location not arranged or approved by DFPS.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1317(b)

4143.2 Notify the AAL, GAL, and CASA of an Emergency Placement

CPS October 2020

In an emergency placement, CPS must notify the child’s attorney ad litem (AAL), guardian ad litem (GAL), and court appointed special advocate (CASA).

CPS must notify them as provided in 6151.3 Notification Requirements and Schedule.

4143.3 Notify Secondary and Ancillary Workers of a Subsequent Placement

CPS October 2020

If the child has a local permanency specialist, kinship development worker, developmental disability specialist, or other staff involved in his or her case, the caseworker must inform that worker whenever a decision to change a placement is made. Those workers must be notified immediately.

4144 Request Day Care for the Placement

CPS October 2020

If the child or youth’s caregivers work outside the home full-time and are eligible for and need day care services through DFPS, the caseworker must begin the authorization process as soon as possible.

See 8235 Child Day Care Services.

4145 Request an Initial Service Level or Service Level Change if Needed

CPS October 2020

If the child or youth needs services at the moderate level or higher, the caseworker must complete a referral packet for the third-party contractor responsible for authorizing service levels.

See:

4421 Application for Placement

Texas Service Levels Resource GuideDefinitions of Service Levels

4146 Discuss Medical and Dental Appointments with the Caregiver

CPS October 2020

For an initial placement, the caseworker must ensure the medical and dental check-up must be completed within specified time frames.

For subsequent placements, the caseworker must inform the caregiver of the time frame for the next check-ups to ensure that the caregiver can schedule them at the appropriate time.

The caseworker must inform the caregiver of any appointments that have already been scheduled or need to be scheduled for the child or youth.

See 11210 Meeting the Requirements for Medical and Dental Services.

4147 Follow Up on Education-Related Issues

CPS October 2020

If the child or youth changed schools, the caseworker must follow up to make sure the child or youth has been withdrawn from the school he or she was attending before the placement change.

If the child or youth did not change schools, the caseworker must advise the new caregiver to do the following, if applicable:

If the child or youth is in a contracted setting, the date of withdrawal is the date of the discharge from the prior placement. If the child or youth is moving to another contracted setting, the new contracted caregiver must enroll the child or youth in the school within two school days.

If the child or youth is moving from a kinship placement, the withdrawal date is the date of the placement move, and the caseworker must withdraw the child or youth from the prior school. The caseworker must follow up to make sure the child or youth has been withdrawn from the prior school and that the new school has received records within 10 days.

If the caseworker encounters resistance or difficulty, the caseworker must contact the school district’s foster care liaison. To find contact information for a district’s liaison, visit the Texas Education Agency’s Texas School Foster Care Liaisons webpage.

4150 Special Circumstances Affecting Placements

4151 Court-Ordered Placements in Unapproved Facilities

CPS October 2020

If a judge orders a placement into an unapproved facility (see 5313.1 Definition of Unapproved Facility), the caseworker must immediately notify state office placement and the managing attorney of the court order (see 5311 Notice Requirements for Elevating Certain Court Orders).

Following the order’s issuance, staff must carry out the judge’s order by taking the following actions:

  • Conducting any required activities to prepare the child or youth.
  • Conducting any required activities to prepare the caregiver or facility to receive the child or youth.
  • Making the placement.
  • Providing any required notifications of the placement change.
  • Taking all other steps ordinarily taken during a placement change.

The caseworker and supervisor also consider whether any additional steps are necessary, such as:

  • Providing training for the caregiver.
  • Asking the court to order training for the caregiver.
  • Increasing the number of visits by the caseworker to the placement.
  • Addressing any needs identified for the child.

4152 Involving State Office in a Placement Search

CPS October 2020

When staff cannot find a placement, the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) or residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) must elevate the issue to CPS state office and include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • A recently updated Application for Placement.
  • A current Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment (if applicable).
  • A current psychological assessment (if available).
  • A current psychiatric assessment (if available).
  • The child or youth’s service level authorization.
  • The placement search log.
  • The contact with the behavioral health service manager (if appropriate).

CPS state office staff must review the information and provide guidance, suggestions, and feedback to help CPU or the RTPC secure an appropriate placement.

If staff cannot secure an appropriate placement for the child or youth, the regional director or designee must approve overnight plans for the child or youth.

Until a placement can be secured, the caseworker must notify his or her chain of command, including the regional director, each day a child or youth is under DFPS supervision. The caseworker must complete Form 2915 Child Without Placement and email the completed form to all of the following::

The caseworker does not need to complete a new form for consecutive overnight stays. However, the caseworker must send an email each day to the region’s central point of contact to provide an update. The email must include all of the following:

  • The child’s:
    • Name
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Person identification number (PID)
    • County
    • Level of care (LOC)
    • Barriers to placement
  • Where the child came from directly before child watch
  • Location of child watch (child’s location while without placement)
  • Any update on placement

Regional placement staff must continue searching for a placement that meets the needs of the child or youth until a placement is secured. Regional placement staff must discuss placement options with the state office Placement Division frequently until a placement is secured.

4152.1 Plans for a Child or Youth When Placement Is Unavailable

CPS September 2021

If a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship does not have a placement, the child or youth must, as a last resort, stay in a hotel or other location supervised by CPI or CPS staff. Under no circumstances may the child or youth temporarily stay overnight in a DFPS office.

Before having a child or youth stay in a hotel or other location, the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) or residential placement coordinator (RPC) makes a diligent effort to secure an appropriate placement for the child or youth with a licensed and contracted provider. The caseworker considers temporary placement with family members or fictive kin in this limited circumstance.

If the CPU or RPC is unable to secure a placement in the child or youth’s region, the CPU or RPC contacts counterparts in the other regions and requests assistance in securing a placement.

If the CPU or RPC is unable to secure a placement for the child or youth after contacting the other regions, the CPU or RPC notifies the caseworker and the caseworker’s chain of command. This chain of command escalates the issue to the regional director.

4152.2 Meeting the Needs of a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS September 2021

Each region must have its own plans, including sleeping and bathing arrangements, when a child or youth has no overnight placement. Examples of appropriate sleeping and bathing arrangements may include a hotel room, foster home, emergency shelter, or other facility that has agreed to shelter the child or youth on a temporary basis if CPI or CPS staff provides supervision.

Documents to Review

To ensure the safety of a child or youth under DFPS’s care and supervision in a hotel or another community location, regions must ensure all staff members responsible for supervision review the following information before their shift:

All forms listed above, as well as any updated information on those topics, are printed and stored in a secure location (to protect the child or youth’s confidentiality) for review by staff and caregivers who supervise the child or youth who remains without placement.

For a child or youth without placement under DFPS’s care and supervision in a hotel or another community location, staff and caregivers must review the forms to ensure the safety and well-being of the child or youth. Each staff member or caregiver must sign Attachment A or Form 2279b by hand (not electronically) before each shift. However, staff and caregivers who have reviewed and signed Attachment A or Form 2279b for the same child or youth during the same period of being without placement do not need to sign again, unless there is a change in the information on Attachment A.

Once the child or youth is moved into a placement, the primary caseworker or regional designee scans all signed copies of the following documents and uploads them to OneCase in the Sexual History Report Attachment A tab:  

Photo of Child or Youth

If a child or youth is entering DFPS supervision (in a hotel or other community location) for the first time, a staff member or caregiver takes a photo of the child or youth and sends it to the child or youth’s primary caseworker, who then uploads it into IMPACT.

Significant Events or Issues

If a significant event or issue arises while supervising a child or youth, staff members and caregivers must notify their supervisor immediately. All significant events and serious incidents must be immediately escalated up the chain of command to the regional director, using the email subject line CWOP Incident.

Additional Requirements

Regional plans must also include, at a minimum, the arrangements described in this section’s subitems (below).

4152.21 Food for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS September 2021

The region must arrange for the child or youth to have all of the following:

  • Three meals and at least one snack each day.
  • Intervals between snacks and meals that never exceed four hours during daytime hours and 14 hours during nighttime hours.
  • Any special diet prescribed by a health care provider.
  • Food to which the child or youth is not allergic (based on the child or youth’s known food allergies).
4152.22 Medication for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS September 2021

The region must follow the medication policy in 11300 Medication. This policy does the following:

  • Outlines procedures for the administration, storage, and destruction of medications.
  • Contains links to required medication logs.
4152.23 Toiletries, Linen, and Bedding for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS September 2021

For overnight stays in a hotel or other location, the region must arrange for each child or youth to have all of the following:

  • His or her own bed or sleeping space.
  • Clean towels.
  • Clean bedding, including at least one sheet set, one pillow and pillowcase, and at least one of the following:
    • Bedspread
    • Comforter
    • Blanket
    • Quilt
  • Toiletries.
  • Other items necessary to meet the child or youth’s needs.

If staff does not locate a placement within 24 hours, the caseworker must arrange for the child or youth to have a shower (or to bathe in a way that is appropriate for the child or youth’s age and developmental level).

4152.24 Supervision for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS September 2021

When a child or youth stays with CPS or CPI staff overnight, supervision must be a priority for the protection of the child or youth and staff members. To provide proper supervision, CPS and CPI staff must follow these guidelines:

  • All children and youth must remain in close proximity to CPS or CPI staff and other trained adult caregivers at all times. The following factors should be considered when determining the type of supervision to be implemented: normalcy for the child, the child’s service/treatment plan, and best interests of the child.
  • There must be at least two caregivers at every location where at least one child or youth is being supervised.
    • At least one of the caregivers must be a CPS or CPI staff member at the caseworker level or higher.
    • The other caregiver must be a trained adult, age 21 or older.
  • There must be at least one CPS or CPI staff member (caseworker or higher) for every three children at any one location.
  • The CPS or CPI regional director or their designee can increase the number of trained adult caregivers, CPS or CPI staff members (caseworkers or higher), or both at a specific location based upon these factors:
    • Gender of all children and youth at a specific location.
    • Age of all children and youth at a specific location.
    • Acuity of the needs of all children and youth at a specific location.
    • Physical location of all children and youth at a specific location.
  • The CPS or CPI staff member (caseworker or higher) is the only person responsible for administering and locking up medication according to 11300 Medication.
  • The CPS or CPI staff member (caseworker or higher) must ensure other trained adult caregivers who supervise children or youth without placement have received information about the child, including child sexual history, and their supervision needs.
  • DFPS temporary staff, staff in other DFPS programs, or contracted staff may supervise children and youth without additional approval. These staff members count as other trained adult caregivers, but not as CPS or CPI staff.
  • The CPS or CPI regional director must approve the use of verified interns or volunteers for interacting or engaging with children or youth. Verified interns or volunteers do not count in the ratio of children and youth to trained adult caregivers.
  • Each trained adult caregiver assigned to supervise the child or youth must remain awake and be ready to meet the needs of the child or youth at all times.
  • All trained adult caregivers assigned to supervise children or youth must make sure areas are free from potential hazards.
4152.25 Education for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS February 2021

Regions must ensure that when a child or youth is without placement and is staying in an alternate location, the CPS caseworker enrolls the child or youth in school no later than the second school day of the temporary alternative placement.

The caseworker must make every effort to allow the child or youth to remain in the school he or she was attending before the placement disruption. If the child or youth cannot attend the same school, the caseworker must make every effort to allow him or her to remain in the same school district.

The caseworker should contact the regional education specialist for assistance in this circumstance.

4152.26 Entertainment and Recreational Activities for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS February 2021

Regions must ensure the child or youth has sufficient recreational activities. This may include, but is not limited to, television, board games, and outdoor recreational time. Staff must remember that the inability to find placement is not a result of the child or youth’s actions and the child or youth may not receive consequences for this.

4152.27 Additional Support and Services for a Child or Youth without Placement

CPS February 2021

The region must ensure that any additional supports and services that may be required to meet the child or youth’s needs are available to the child or youth. Such services may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Nursing services if the child or youth has medical needs that require routine medical expertise.
  • Regional nurse and well-being specialist consultation.
  • STAR Health Service Management for medical or behavioral health care needs. Contact the STAR Health Manager (1-800-218-7453).

4153 Placements Outside the Region or State

4153.1 Out-of-State Placements

CPS October 2020

For placement of children out of state, see 9000 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

4153.2 Out-of-Region Placements

CPS October 2020

When DFPS places a child or youth outside the region that has legal jurisdiction, the region where the child or youth is placed must provide the supervision and a portion of the case management services. The local permanency specialist provides these services, known as courtesy supervision.

The caseworker must request services and supervision by a local permanency specialist within seven days of the placement. The caseworker must complete and submit the Form 2077 Universal Referral Form. See 6412 Services to Children and Caregivers Across Regional Lines and 6412.2 Local Permanency Supervision and its sub-items.

4153.3 Requesting Placements Across Regional Lines into Community-Based Care Catchment Areas

CPS October 2020

Staff in the following divisions must follow this policy when requesting placements across regional lines into Community-Based Care (CBC) catchment areas:

  • Child Protective Investigations
  • Family Based Safety Services
  • Conservatorship
  • Foster and Adoptive Home Development
  • Regional Placement Team (including centralized placement unit, residential treatment placement coordinators, and developmental disability specialists, when applicable)
  • Preparation for Adult Living (when a youth or young adult is returning to extended foster care

Requesting Placement of a Child in Paid Foster Care

Requesting a paid foster care placement of a child into a CBC catchment area must occur on rare occasions, as a placement of last resort, and be based on the best interest of the individual child (such as placing a child with his or her sibling in the same verified kinship or foster or adoptive home).

When it has been determined that a child requires a paid foster care placement, the caseworker makes a referral to one of the following:

  • Regional Placement Team coordinator
  • PAL staff (when a youth or young adult is returning to extended foster care)

If the Regional Placement Team coordinator or PAL staff determines that the best placement for the child is located in the CBC catchment area, the caseworker must consult and obtain approval from all of the following members of his or her chain of command:

  • Supervisor
  • Program director
  • Program administrator
  • Regional director

The caseworker must complete Form 1508 Request for Placement into CBC Catchment Areas. In this form, the caseworker provides his or her chain of command the justification for the placement into the CBC catchment area, including:

  • Why the placement is in the child’s best interest.
  • All alternate placement options pursued, and the reasons they were denied or not appropriate.

The regional director who approves the placement must consult with the regional director from the CBC catchment area, who gives final approval for the placement. 

The time frame for completing this process depends on when the child requires placement, but should occur prior to the child’s physical placement into the CBC catchment area. Generally, the regional director approves or denies the child’s placement into the CBC catchment area within 24 hours of receiving the justification. For emergency placements, the regional director approves or denies the child’s placement into the CBC catchment area as soon as possible after receiving the justification.

The caseworker records the regional director’s approval of the child’s placement into the CBC catchment area as a contact in the Contact Detail page in IMPACT and follows 4153.2 Out-of-Region Placements if the placement is outside the region.

This process does not include youth entering Supervised Independent Living (SIL) placements.

4160 Placements and Child Safety

CPS October 2020

A child or youth’s safety in a placement is the foremost concern. The caseworker evaluates the safety of the child or youth throughout the placement process.

  • At the time of placement selection, the caseworker must assess each child or youth’s particular vulnerabilities and the ability and willingness of each potential caregiver to protect the child or youth.
  • After the placement has been selected and the caseworker is conducting pre-placement activities or actually placing the child or youth, the caseworker must look again for indications the caregiver will protect the child or youth.
  • While the child or youth is in the placement, the caseworker must monitor for safety during face-to-face visits and in any other contact the caseworker or DFPS staff has with the child or youth. For a child or youth with primary medical needs, the caseworker must refer to Appendix 3: Questions for CPS Staff to Ask When Visiting in the Home with a Child with Primary Medical Needs, located in the Placement Process Resource Guide. The resource guide also has additional points of discussion for children or youth who do not have primary medical needs.

4161 Safety and Related Concerns for Placements

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must take responsive action if there are concerns with a child or youth’s placement:

Type of Concern

Responsive Actions (as appropriate)

Safety concerns

  •   Immediate removal of a child or youth for immediate safety concerns.

  •   Report to Statewide Intake or other appropriate state agency for alleged abuse or neglect.

  •   If the caseworker is concerned about the child or youth’s safety at the new placement or the child or youth verbalizes that he or she is scared, the caseworker must contact the supervisor to discuss the situation and next steps. The caseworker must never leave a placement where there are concerns about child or youth safety before discussing the matter with the supervisor and developing a plan.

General concerns

  •   Discussion with the caseworker’s supervisor and chain of command.

  •   For pervasive concerns with a foster home, the caseworker and chain of command may consider disallowing placements in accordance with 4222.1 Disallowing Placements into Foster Homes.

  •   Discussion with the child-placing agency (CPA) or management of the general residential operation (GRO).

  •   Discussion with the residential contract manager for the CPA or GRO.

  •   Closure of a home if it is a foster or adoptive home.

Concerns about compliance with Minimum Standards

  •   Referral to Residential Child Care Licensing.

4200 Foster and Licensed Facility Placements

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must make a referral to the Regional Placement Team when:

  • Every effort has been made to find an appropriate noncustodial parent, relative, or kinship placement.
  • Those efforts were unsuccessful.

4210 The Regional Placement Team

CPS October 2020

Different parts of the Regional Placement Team specialize in specific types of placements. For more information on the regional placement team and its components, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideThe Regional Placement Team.

4211 Seeking Placement Through the Regional Placement Team

4211.1 Caseworker Notifies Regional Placement Team

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must notify the Regional Placement Team that a placement is needed according to the appropriate time frame below:

  • The same business day the caseworker receives notice of an impending non-emergency removal in which there is no relative or kinship placement.
  • The same business day the caseworker receives notice of an emergency initial removal.
  • The same business day a provider gives notice requesting that a child or youth be discharged from placement (such discharge notices must be delivered to the caseworker immediately upon receipt).

The caseworker must notify the placement team by emailing the regional placement team mailbox. The caseworker must provide regional placement staff with the most current information, including all of the following:

  • The appropriate common application:
  • Psychological or psychiatric assessment.
  • The most recently completed Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment.
  • Service level.
  • Information from any provider discharge notice.
  • All other available information about each child or youth in the referral form, including:
    • Discharge notices for review.
    • Information about juvenile arrests.
    • Psychiatric hospital admissions.
    • Removal affidavits (for the first 45 days the child or youth is in care).
    • Any other documents that could assist in an appropriate search for placement.
4211.2 Placement Team Searches for Placement Options

CPS September 2021

General Placement Search Database

The DFPS Regional Placement Team (RPT) uses the General Placement Search (GPS) database to search for licensed providers, based on the child’s needs and characteristics, to ensure the most appropriate placement.

See 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Possible Placement.

IMPACT and CLASS History Checks

The DFPS Regional Placement Team and Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC) Placement Teams use CLASS to complete a Residential Child Care Investigations (RCCI) investigation history check on all potential placements to consider compliance history. The Regional Placement Team also checks IMPACT for any abuse or neglect history.

The DFPS Regional or SSCC Placement Team reviews the results of the history check and confers with the caseworker or supervisor if the history checks return results such as the following:

  • Pending licensing investigations.
  • Investigations that were closed as Reason to Believe or Unable to Determine.
  • Any patterns in the investigation history that cause concern.
  • History of licensing violations.

If Residential Child Care Regulation (RCCR) placed a general residential operation (GRO) or residential treatment center (RTC) on probation, neither DFPS nor an SSCC places a child in that GRO or RTC unless one of the following occurs:

  • The associate commissioner or deputy associate commissioner of CPS approves the placement.
  • The deputy commissioner or Commissioner of DFPS approves the placement.
  • A court orders the placement.

See 4151 Court-Ordered Placements in Unapproved Facilities.

DFPS does not place a child in a foster home with more than six children unless there is an approved 24-hour awake supervision plan and the director of conservatorship services approves the placement in advance.

DFPS does not place a child in a foster home if the child placing agency (CPA) that verifies the home has put its verification on inactive status.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1311(c)

CLASS Variance Checks

The DFPS Regional or SSCC Placement Team coordinator reviews all licensing variances, including variances related to caregiver ratio, supervision, and training, when determining whether the placement can meet the child’s individual needs.

The DFPS Regional or SSCC Placement Team reviews the variance checks and confers with the caseworker or supervisor if the variance checks return results that may affect the placement’s ability to meet the child’s individual needs.

When the DFPS Regional or SSCC Placement Team and caseworker or supervisor disagree, regional staff escalate the matter to the regional director or designee for a placement decision. The regional director or designee consults with the director of placement.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1311(c)

4211.3 Placement Team Confers with Providers and Communicates Options to Caseworker

CPS September 2021

Once the DFPS Regional or SSCC Placement Team identifies placement options, it communicates with potential providers to determine whether the provider can meet the child’s needs. The options are provided to the caseworker and supervisor.

4211.4 Caseworker and Supervisor Make Placement Selection

CPS September 2021

The following people work together to make the final decision for placement:

  • The primary caseworker.
  • The supervisor (and other CPS management staff as necessary).
  • Legal parties, if required by local court orders or local court expectations.

A placement may not be rejected solely because the operation is on heightened monitoring.

4211.5 CPU or RPC Provides Confirmation of Selected Placement

CPS September 2021

Once the child’s caseworker and supervisor select the placement, the Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) or Residential Placement Coordinator (RPC) completes Form 2105 Placement Confirmation and provides it to the caseworker.

4211.6 Placements into Operations on Heightened Monitoring (HM)

CPS September 2021

When a child is already placed in a child placing agency (CPA) or a general residential operation (GRO), including a residential treatment center (RTC), and the operation is placed on heightened monitoring, the caseworker receives an email from DFPS notifying the caseworker that the operation is now on heightened monitoring. The caseworker documents the email notification in the Family Substitute Care (FSU) or Child Substitute Care (SUB) stage as a contact in the contact narrative.

For prospective placements, if a GRO, RTC, or CPA is on heightened monitoring at the time of the placement search, the DFPS Regional or SSCC Placement Team notifies the caseworker that the prospective placement is on heightened monitoring. If the caseworker or SSCC staff accepts the prospective placement, the caseworker or SSCC staff enters a request for approval of a placement into an operation on heightened monitoring. This is entered in IMPACT in the Heightened Monitoring Placement Request tab in the Placement section of the SUB stage. This request must include a best interest statement and justification for placement that include child-specific information about why the placement is in the best interest of the child.

Before placing the child in the placement, the heightened monitoring placement request must be submitted to the CPS regional director of the child’s legal region and must receive the CPS regional director’s approval in IMPACT. In the absence of the CPS regional director, approval from the CPS director of field or the CPS associate commissioner is required in advance. This includes placements made by SSCCs.

An approval of a heightened monitoring placement request is only valid for 14 calendar days. If the placement is not completed within 14 days after that approval, a new request must be submitted and approved before the child physically goes to the placement.

The approving authority (CPS regional director, CPS director of field, or CPS associate commissioner) who is responsible for approval or denial of the heightened monitoring placement request documents such approval or denial in IMPACT. If the approving authority approves the placement, that authority documents both of the following in the Heightened Monitoring Placement Approval comment box:

  • The fact that the approving authority reviewed and considered the identified operation’s history from the past five years.
  • The child-specific justification for the approval of the placement.

When a child is approved to be placed in an operation on heightened monitoring, but the approving authority gives restrictions, conditions, or both, the primary caseworker documents the restrictions and conditions as a contact in the child’s SUB stage. The primary caseworker discusses the restrictions and conditions with the people providing care and case management oversight. The caseworker documents the discussion as a contact in the child’s SUB stage and follows up as necessary to ensure that the operation implements and adheres to the restrictions and conditions.

If the operation is also on probation (in addition to heightened monitoring), the approval of the associate commissioner or deputy associate commissioner of CPS is also required before placement. This request is submitted at the same time as the heightened monitoring placement request described above.

The table below describes documentation requirements related to heightened monitoring placement requests.

Documentation for Heightened Monitoring Approvals

Person Responsible for Documentation

What to Document

Where to Document

When to Document

Heightened Monitoring approving authority (CPS regional director, CPS director of field, or CPS associate commissioner)

Approval of heightened monitoring placement request, including confirmation of review of the operation’s 5-year history and child-specific justification for placement.

Heightened Monitoring Placement Approval comment box.

Upon the approval.

Primary caseworker or SSCC staff

Child-specific best interest statement and submission of the heightened monitoring placement request.  

Heightened Monitoring Placement Request tab.  

Upon accepting prospective placement but before physical placement of child.  

Primary caseworker

Restrictions and conditions (if any) to placement in an operation on HM.

Contact in SUB stage.

Upon notification of approval of HM prospective placement and on an ongoing basis, as long as the restrictions and conditions are applicable.

Primary caseworker

Discussion and implementation of restrictions and conditions (if any) to placement in an operation on HM.

Contact in SUB stage.

After the discussion with the caregiver and review of each restriction’s or condition’s implementation. (This may need to consist of multiple entries if not all completed at the same time.)

4220 Placements into Facilities Regulated by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)

December 2020

For information on the types of facilities that HHSC regulates and the types of services they provide, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide – Placements into HHSC-Regulated Facilities.

4221 Abuse and Neglect Investigations of Placements

4221.1 RCCI Notifying CPS of Alleged Abuse or Neglect in Foster Homes

CPS April 2021

When Residential Child Care Investigations (RCCI) receives a report of abuse or neglect of a child in a foster home, the RCCI supervisor, Statewide Intake (SWI) RCCI screener, or designee notifies the following people:

  • The primary CPS caseworker and supervisor assigned to the child whom IMPACT names as the alleged victim. This notification must occur within 24 hours of RCCI’s receipt of the report.
  • The CPS caseworkers for any other children placed in the foster home.

Priority None (PN)

SWI RCCI Screener Actions

Additional notifications are required if the SWI RCCI screener changes the intake report involving a foster home to Priority None (PN).

In this situation, the SWI RCCI screener, or designee, notifies all the primary CPS caseworkers and supervisors assigned to all the children placed in the foster home immediately.

The notification is generated in IMPACT as an alert on the caseworker’s and supervisor’s to-do list in the child’s SUB stage. An alert icon also displays on the caseworker’s assigned workload in IMPACT.

See Child Care Investigations Handbook, 6241.3 Notification of Priority None (PN) Intake Reports Involving a Child in DFPS Conservatorship.

After the SWI RCCI screener’s decision to assign PN to an investigation of abuse or neglect in a foster home, the SWI RCCI screener does the following:

  • Reviews the foster home’s history of the following:
    • Compliance with minimum standards.
    • Abuse or neglect investigations.
  • Writes a report stating details of the home’s history.
  • Emails the report to each caseworker, supervisor, and regional director assistant.
  • If the PN is issued outside normal business hours, the RCCI screener will also notify the on-call caseworker and on-call supervisor for the child’s region. That caseworker and supervisor will perform an immediate safety assessment. This does not alter any of the other time frames in this section.

CPS Actions

Upon receipt of the review of the foster home’s history, the primary caseworker and supervisor will review the report and take the following steps:

  • Assess whether there are any concerns for a child’s safety or well-being.
  • Document the following in IMPACT as a Home History Review Staffing:
    • A summary of the report.
    • The assessment of safety and well-being and any decisions as a result of the staffing.

The caseworker also files the report in each child’s case record.

If the PN is received outside normal business hours, the on-call worker and on-call supervisor will review the report and take the following steps:

  • Assess whether there are any concerns for a child’s safety or well-being.
  • Document the following in IMPACT as a Home History Review Staffing and send to the primary caseworker and supervisor:
    • A summary of the report.
    • The assessment of safety and well-being and any decisions made as a result of the staffing.
  • For cases marked sensitive, the on-call program director will document the information above in IMPACT as a Home History Review Staffing.

The immediate assessment of safety by the on-call caseworker and on-call supervisor does not replace the requirements of the primary caseworker and supervisor. The primary caseworker and supervisor also must complete an assessment of safety upon receipt of the information and document any decisions made as a result of the staffing.

If there is an allegation that a child has abused or neglected another child, the caseworker follows the protocols in Appendix 4623: Protocol for RCCI Investigations Involving Child-on-Child Victimization in Foster Care.

If the report alleges child sexual aggression, the caseworker must follow the protocols in the Child Sexual Aggression Resource Guide.

4221.2 CPS Responsibility and Procedure after Receiving a Notification of Abuse or Neglect by either RCCI or CPI

CPS January 2021

When a CPS caseworker receives an I&R in IMPACT notifying them of a report of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation the CPS caseworker must take the following actions:

  • Review the abuse, neglect, or exploitation report in IMPACT, CLASS, or both, immediately.
  • Discuss the intake with the supervisor immediately.
  • Contact the RCCI or CPI investigator for additional information.
  • Consult with the program director about the circumstances surrounding RCCI’s or CPI’s investigation no later than 7 p.m. the next business day.
  • Document an I&R A/N Notification Staffing contact type in the child’s Sub stage no later than 7 p.m the next business day after notification of the report.

The contact documentation must include all of the following:

  • A copy of the I&R.
  • Discussions with supervisor and program director.
  • Consideration of the child’s safety needs and any related actions.
  • Any plans for future actions.

The CPS caseworker must document the execution and results of any follow-up actions as normal contacts in IMPACT when they are completed.

The CPS caseworker must document as a contact in IMPACT a summary and the disposition of the RCCI or CPI investigation once the investigation is concluded.

If a report involves alleged child-on-child victimization, the caseworker must follow the protocols in Appendix 4623: Protocol for RCCI Investigations Involving Child-on-Child Victimization in Foster Care.

If the report alleges child sexual aggression, the caseworker must follow the protocols in the Child Sexual Aggression Resource Guide.

See 6419 Working with Children Who Are Sexually Aggressive, Have Sexual Behavior Problems, or Are Victims of Sexual Abuse.

4221.3 CPS Protocol During an Investigation Involving a Child in Conservatorship

December 2020

CPS staff must ensure the safety and well-being of the child or youth in DFPS custody. CPS staff should not presume that the existence of an RCCI or CPI safety plan means there is no additional casework to be performed as the child or youth’s managing conservator.

The caseworker, along with the supervisor and other appropriate members of the management chain, must consider any remaining casework appropriate to the situation, such as:

  • Interviewing the child or youth about his or her well-being.
  • Additional supportive services in response to any incident.
  • A placement change.

If the caseworker needs to make contact with the child or youth, the caseworker must not:

  • Ask questions specific to the RCCI or CPI investigation.
  • Interview the child or youth about the abuse or neglect allegations, as this is the role of the RCCI or CPI investigator. RCCI or CPI will conduct the abuse or neglect investigation.
  • Disclose details of the allegations to the caregiver under investigation by RCCI or CPI, as this is the responsibility of RCCI or CPI (this also applies to other CPS staff with knowledge of the investigation).

RCCI Investigations

The RCCI investigation is a separate record that RCCI maintains. After RCCI concludes the investigation, the CPS caseworker must print and file a copy of the completed investigation in the case file of the child or youth who was the victim.

CPI Investigations

See CPI & CPS Protocols for Investigations on Open Substitute Care (SUB) Stages Resource Guide.

4221.4 Using Intermittent Alternate Care and Respite During an Abuse and Neglect Investigation  

CPS October 2020

CPS must provide prior approval if the child or youth is placed in respite care or intermittent alternate care (IAC). The child-placing agency (CPA) must notify CPS as required by the residential child care contract and Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies. The progress and outcome of the investigation and the child or youth’s safety and well-being determine the duration of IAC or respite care. CPS retains the decision-making authority regarding the child’s placement and any changes.

Children and youth may not be placed into respite care in a home with more than six children.

4221.5 How CPS Conducts Safety Checks or Other Safety Measures

CPS October 2020

If CPS determines its staff must conduct safety checks or other actions to make sure the child or youth is safe, the state office Placement Division must initiate those actions and coordinate with regional leadership. Each regional director designates staff to conduct safety checks.

If CPS believes additional action such as a placement change must be taken based on the child or youth’s individual needs:

  • The program director must approve all actions in consultation with the state office Placement Division Administrator.
  • Staff must follow CPS policy when determining placement actions. Placement changes do not occur unless it is in the child or youth’s best interest.
  • The program director must approve any placement change associated with an RCCI investigation.
4221.6 CPS Actions When Abuse or Neglect Is Alleged to Have Occurred in a Foster Home

CPS October 2020

When a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship is the alleged victim in an abuse or neglect investigation in a foster home, the caseworker must provide the appropriate notice as soon as possible but not later than 10 days after the event. See 6150 Notifications and its sub-items.

4222 Foster Homes

CPS September 2021

For more information on foster homes, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide – Foster Homes.

4222.1 Disallowing Placements into a Foster Home

CPS October 2020

If a caseworker has a serious concern about child safety or well-being and is considering disallowing new placements with a particular foster family verified by a private child placing agency (CPA), the caseworker must do the following:

  • Thoroughly document the reasons to consider disallowing new placements.
  • Submit this documentation to his or her direct supervisor.

The request goes up the chain of command for consideration and approval. For specific steps in this process, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideDisallowing Placement.

4222.2 Re-Allowing Placements into a Foster Home

CPS October 2020

If the caseworker learns of a detailed justification for changing the status of and considering placements in a foster family that is on Disallowed Placement status, the caseworker must do the following.

  • Thoroughly document the reasons to consider re-allowing placements.
  • Submit this documentation to his or her direct supervisor.

The request goes up the chain of command for consideration and approval. For the steps in this process, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideRe-allowing Placement.

4223 General Residential Operations

CPS October 2020

For more information on general residential operations, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideGeneral Residential Operations.

4223.1 Restrictions on the Length of Stay in GROs Providing Emergency Care Services

CPS October 2020

There are several restrictions on how long a child or youth may stay in a general residential operation (GRO) providing emergency care services. For a child in CPS conservatorship, the restrictions are summarized as follows:

Child’s Age

Maximum Length of Stay

Under age 1

4 days (96 hours), unless the infant is with a minor parent, in which case the maximum length of stay is 30 days

Over age 1 but under age 5

5 workdays, unless the child is in the shelter with a sibling who is 5 years old or older or a minor parent, in which case the maximum length of stay is 30 days

Age 5 or older

30 days

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1311

DFPS Rules, 26 TAC §748.4205

DFPS Rules, 26 TAC §748.4207

Regardless of the maximum length of the child or youth’s stay, the CPS caseworker must provide written notice of extension to the emergency shelter three days before the 15th day of the placement. If further extensions are required, the CPS caseworker must again provide written notice three days before the 15th day of each extension.

Children and youth may not reside in a shelter for more than 90 days.   

DFPS Rules, 26 TAC §748.4207

4230 Facilities Under the Authority of Other State Agencies

December 2020

When appropriate, DFPS may place a child who is in DFPS’s managing conservatorship into a facility operated or regulated by one of the following:

  • Texas Juvenile Justice Department
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Texas School for the Deaf

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1307

4231 DFPS’s Continuing Responsibilities When a Child in Conservatorship is Placed in a Facility Regulated by Another State Agency

CPS December 2020

While a child or youth in DFPS managing conservatorship is placed in a facility operated or regulated by another state agency, DFPS must continue to meet the obligations of a managing conservator.

See:

6240 Case Planning

6410 Placement Supervision

4231.1 Notifying a Facility Regulated by Another State Agency of a Child’s Sexual Victimization and Sexual Aggression History

CPS February 2021

When a child or youth in DFPS managing conservatorship is admitted to a facility operated or regulated by another state agency, such as a juvenile probation facility, state supported living center, or psychiatric hospital, the caseworker must provide the facility with the child’s history of sexual victimization and sexual aggression. When the caseworker is present at the time of admission to any of these facilities, the caseworker must provide the facility with the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A. If the child is admitted by the caregiver, the caregiver is responsible for notifying the facility of the child’s history of sexual victimization and aggression at the time of admission.

Psychiatric Hospitals

When the caseworker is present at the time of admission, the caseworker must do all of the following:

  • Provide the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A, to the hospital care coordinator or similar staff and attempt to obtain that person’s signature at the time of placement.
  • Provide a copy for the hospital.
  • Upload the signed copy into One Case.

If the child is admitted by the caregiver, the caregiver is responsible for notifying the hospital of the child’s history of sexual victimization and aggression at the time of admission. Upon being notified of the admission, the primary caseworker must do the following immediately but no later than three business days after being notified about the admission:

  • Ensure that the psychiatric hospital care coordinator or similar hospital staff responsible for the child receives a copy of the Attachment A.
  • Attempt to obtain the care coordinator or similar hospital staff’s signature on the Attachment A.
  • Upload the signed copy into One Case.

Juvenile Probation and Other Facilities

The caseworker must provide a copy of the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A, to the admissions staff or person responsible for the oversight of the child or youth at the time of admission. The caseworker must make every attempt to obtain the required signature on the Attachment A within three business days of being notified of admission. If a facility refuses to sign the document, the caseworker notes the refusal on the document and uploads it into One Case. 

If the child is admitted by the caregiver, the primary caseworker must do the following immediately but no later than three business days after being notified about the admission:

  • Ensure that the person responsible for the oversight of the child receives a copy of the Attachment A.
  • Attempt to obtain the staff’s signature on the Attachment A.
  • Upload the signed copy into One Case.

See 4133 Provide and Discuss the Placement Summary (Form 2279).

4232 Reporting Problems to Other State Agencies

CPS October 2020

If a DFPS caseworker is concerned about problems or deficiencies in the care provided to a child or youth in a facility that is operated or regulated by another state agency, the caseworker must report his or her concerns to that agency. If the caseworker suspects that the child or youth (or any other child or youth in the facility) is being abused or neglected, the caseworker must report the possibility of child abuse or neglect to all of the following:

  • The agency responsible for operating or regulating the facility where the abuse or neglect may have occurred.
  • The caseworker’s own supervisor.
  • Statewide Intake.

4233 TJJD and JPD Facilities

December 2020

DFPS remains the managing conservator of a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship who is:

  • Committed to the custody of or under the placement and care responsibility of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD).
  • Under the placement and care of a juvenile probation department (JPD).

As managing conservator, DFPS must continue to monitor the child or youth’s placement and make the required monthly face-to-face contact.

DFPS must resume its responsibilities for the child or youth’s placement as soon as he or she is released from the placement and care responsibility of TJJD or a JPD.

See:

6822 CPS Youth and Juvenile Justice

4231.1 Notifying a Facility Regulated by Another State Agency of a Child’s Sexual Victimization and Sexual Aggression History.

4240 The Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program

CPS October 2020

The Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program (IPTP) offers short-term, therapeutic placements intended to transition a child or youth out of a psychiatric hospital.

For more information on IPTP, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide.

4241 IPTP 60- to 120-Day Limit

CPS October 2020

All placements in IPTP must be limited to 60 days, unless the associate commissioner of CPS grants a one-time, child-specific waiver for an additional 60 days. No placement may exceed 120 days.

DFPS Rule, 40 TAC §700.2381

DFPS Rule, 40 TAC §700.2385

4242 Eligibility for IPTP Placement

CPS October 2020

To be eligible for this program, a child must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be in DFPS conservatorship.
  • Have had at least one psychiatric hospitalization in the last 12 months.
  • Either be ready for discharge from a psychiatric hospital or at imminent risk of a subsequent psychiatric hospitalization (that is, at risk of having a psychiatric hospitalization again soon).
  • Have been determined by the associate commissioner of CPS or the associate commissioner’s designee to be in crisis and in need of acute stabilization.

DFPS Rule, 40 TAC §700.2383

For more details on eligibility requirements, see Eligibility for IPTP Placement in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide.

4243 Referring a Child for IPTP Placement

4243.1 Referral Process and Required Documentation

CPS October 2020

In preparation for requesting short-term therapeutic placement of a child through IPTP, the caseworker must take the following actions:

  • Complete Form 2245 Referral to Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program.
  • Update the Application for Placement for Residential Care in the child’s Subcare stage in IMPACT.
  • Obtain the results of a psychological evaluation of the child or youth, completed within the preceding 14 months.
  • Obtain the paperwork for all discharges made from psychiatric hospitals within the preceding 12 months.
  • Submit the placement packet to the Regional Placement Team (RPT).

After receiving the placement packet from the caseworker, the RPT does the following:

  • The residential treatment placement coordinator (RTPC) must review the referral form and complete placement packet for accuracy and send it within 24 hours to the CPS state office Placement Division program specialist.
  • If the Placement Division program specialist approves the referral, he or she sends it for approval within one working day to the division administrator of placement.
  • The division administrator notifies the Placement Division program specialist whether approved or denied.
  • If the division administrator of placement approves the referral, the Placement Division program specialist must send the referral form and complete placement packet to the IPTP provider.
  • The IPTP provider must respond with an admission determination to the IPTP program specialist as soon as possible but no later than two business days after receiving the referral. The Placement Division program specialist must ensure that the provider complies with this requirement. If the IPTP provider accepts the child or youth for admission, the RTPC notifies the Placement Division program specialist and the DFPS caseworker within one working day.
  • The Placement Division program specialist emails the IPTP approval to the RTPC, caseworker, supervisor, eligibility specialist, and Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) staff. If denied, the program specialist notifies the RTPC.

4244 Planning for Discharge from IPTP Placement

CPS October 2020

Before discharging a child from IPTP, it is important to prepare the child for the transition into a less-restrictive environment. Since the program is time-limited, discharge planning must begin at the time of placement.

4244.1 Submitting the Child’s Service Level Request

CPS October 2020

No later than the 45th day of an IPTP placement, the IPTP provider sends the child or youth’s complete clinical record to a third-party contractor that reviews and assigns service levels. For information, see 4400 Texas Service Levels System.

A complete clinical record must include all of the following:

  • Form 2089 Level of Care Authorization Request, in IMPACT.
  • Progress notes, daily logs, case management notes, and incident reports from the child’s previous 30 days in care.
  • Assessments and evaluations made within the previous 30 days, including the child’s admission assessment, diagnostic assessment, educational assessment, psychiatric or psychological evaluation, and medical or dental documentation.
  • The child’s current treatment or stabilization plan.
  • The child’s current education documentation.
  • A list of the child’s current medications, including the dosage, the frequency taken, and the reason that the medication was prescribed.
  • Treatment records for a physical condition that is in progress and requires continuing or follow-up medical care.
  • Therapy notes from the previous 30 days.
4244.2 Discharge from IPTP Placement

CPS October 2020

After determining the service level, the placement program specialist notifies the caseworker of the following:

  • New service level determined by the third-party reviewer.
  • IPTP end date.

Unless an extension is being requested, the caseworker updates the placement in IMPACT to indicate that the child has stepped down from the IPTP program to the standard residential treatment center (RTC) program.

4245 Requesting Extension of an IPTP Placement

CPS October 2020

The DFPS Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program (IPTP) is a short-term program intended to last no longer than 60 days. If the child or youth has not stabilized within 60 days, the caseworker can request an extension of up to an additional 60 days. No IPTP placement may exceed 120 days.

To request an extension, the following steps must be completed at least 10 working days before the child’s date of discharge from IPTP:

  • The placement program specialist consults the child or youth’s treatment team and the caseworker to determine whether the child requires additional time to stabilize.
  • If staff determines that the child or youth is not ready to be discharged, the caseworker completes a waiver requesting an extension of up to 60 days to allow the child or youth additional time to stabilize.

To request a waiver, the caseworker must take the following actions:

After the program director grants approval, the following occurs:

  • The caseworker forwards the extension request to the placement program specialist.
  • If the placement program specialist approves the waiver request, the program specialist must forward it within one working day to the division administrator of placement for approval.
  • If the division administrator of placement approves the extension request, the administrator must forward the approved request to the director of placement within one working day.
4245.1 Extension Granted

CPS October 2020

If an extension of the IPTP placement is granted, the caseworker must follow the guidance on discharge planning provided in 4244 Planning for Discharge from IPTP Placement.

4245.2 Extension Not Granted

CPS October 2020

If an extension is not granted, the caseworker must update the placement in IMPACT to reflect the IPTP end date. If the caseworker and supervisor decide to seek a new placement for the child, the caseworker must follow the placement process in 4100 The Placement Process.

4250 Intense Foster Family Care Services

CPS October 2020

For more information on Intense Foster Family Care Services, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideIntense Foster Family Care Services.

4251 Requesting Intense Foster Family Care Placement

CPS October 2020

A caseworker may place a child or youth who has an Intense service level and has an emotional disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, or intellectual and developmental disability in a foster family home verified to serve children or youth with Intense needs. The caseworker must work with the CPS placement program specialist, who must approve or deny the placement.

The child or youth’s caseworker must make a referral to place a child or youth with Intense service level needs, following the steps in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideRequesting Intense Foster Family Care Placement.

4260 Treatment Family Foster Care (TFFC) Program

CPS October 2020

The Treatment Foster Family Care Program (TFFC) provides intensive, multi-disciplinary treatment services to children in a highly structured home environment. For more information see the Placement Process Resource Guide.

4261 Treatment Family Foster Care (TFFC) Time frames

CPS October 2020

TFFC placements may not last more than six months, unless granted a one-time, three-month extension by the division administrator of placement. No placements may exceed nine months.

4262 Eligibility for TFFC Placement

CPS October 2020

To be eligible for a Treatment Foster Family Care placement, a child must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Is in DFPS conservatorship.
  • Has been placed in or recommended for residential placement.
  • Has been admitted into and is being discharged from a psychiatric hospital setting, or has a history of aggressive or diagnosed antisocial behavior problems. 

4263 Referring a Child for TFFC Placement

4263.1 Required Documentation

CPS October 2020

To refer the child for a TFFC placement, the child’s caseworker must complete and submit the following to the centralized placement unit for the child’s legal region:

  • Form 2404 Treatment Foster Family Care Referral.
  • The Application for Placement in the child’s Subcare stage in IMPACT.
  • A current psychological evaluation of the child.
  • The psychiatric hospital records from the last 12 months.
  • The placement log for the last 12 months.
4263.2 Referral Process

CPS October 2020

The Centralized Placement Unit (CPU) reviews the referral to ensure the child is eligible for TFFC and the referral paperwork is complete. 

CPU submits the referral to TFFC providers, who review it and identify whether or not there is an appropriate TFFC home available.

CPU notifies the caseworker when an appropriate placement is identified or if there is not one available. If a TFFC provider identifies a placement, CPU presents the option to caseworker. If the caseworker accepts the placement in the TFFC home, the CPU sends Form 2105 Placement Confirmation to the caseworker, supervisor, CPA, and TFFC mailbox .

During the TFFC referral process, the Regional Placement Team must continue to search for an appropriate placement.

4264 Discharge from TFFC

CPS October 2020

The TFFC provider must work with the caseworker to identify a less restrictive placement where the child or youth can live after discharge from TFFC. Once the placement is identified, the caregiver is trained, and the decision is made to transition the child or youth to the identified caregiver’s home, the TFFC provider must submit a service level request to the third-party contractor to assign a service level 45 days before the child is discharged.

After the third party contractor completes its review and assigns a service level, the caseworker follows 4211 Seeking Placement Through the Regional Placement Team.

4265 Requesting an Extension of a TFFC Placement

CPS October 2020

TFFC placements are intended to last no longer than 6 months. There is an option for a one-time extension for up to an additional 3 months. No TFFC placement may exceed 9 months.

Before requesting an extension, the caseworker must consult with the child’s treatment team. The caseworker and treatment team work together to determine whether the child requires additional time to stabilize.

If the caseworker and treatment team determine that the child is not ready for discharge, the TFFC provider takes the following actions:

  • Completes a request to extend the placement up to 3 months.
  • Submits the request to the Regional Placement Team mailbox for the child’s legal region and copies the caseworker and supervisor on the request. The mailboxes for each region are as follows:  

Region 01 placement requests mailbox

Region 02 placement requests mailbox

Region 03 placement requests mailbox

Region 04 placement requests mailbox

Region 05 placement requests mailbox

Region 06 placement requests mailbox

Region 07 placement requests mailbox

Region 08 placement requests mailbox

Region 09 placement requests mailbox

Region 10 placement requests mailbox

Region 11 placement requests mailbox

After receiving the TFFC provider’s request for an extension, the process for requesting an extension is as follows:

  • Within seven days, the caseworker completes a memo (use the memo template) requesting an extension and submits it to the regional director through the regional chain of command.
  • The regional director reviews the memo and determines if a request for an extension will be forwarded to state office. 
  • The TFFC state office program specialist reviews the extension request considering if the child has made progress but would benefit from more time in the treatment foster family for further services.
    • If approved, the TFFC state office program specialist must forward it within one working day to the division administrator of placement for approval.
    • If denied, the TFFC state office program specialist must notify the caseworker and the TFFC contactor within one working day.

  •   The division administrator of placement approves or denies the extension request within one working day.

    • The TFFC state office program specialist notifies the caseworker, supervisor, and RPT of the decision.
    • RPT then notifies the TFFC provider.
    • If not approved, follow 4264 Planning for Discharge from TFFC.

Contact the DFPS Treatment Foster Care mailbox for assistance with TFFC.

4270 Placements and Living Arrangements for Youth and Young Adults

CPS October 2020

For more information on placements and living arrangements for youth and young adults, see the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuidePlacements and Living Arrangements for Youth and Young Adults.

4280 Temporary Absence from Paid Placement

CPS February 2021

A temporary absence from placement is when any child or youth in DFPS conservatorship has a foreseen or unforeseen absence from a paid placement. Examples of such absences include:

  • Psychiatric hospitalization
  • Medical facility hospitalization
  • Runaway
  • Unauthorized placement
  • Temporary placement or visit
  • Locked facility, jail, juvenile detention center
  • Short-term substance abuse placement

Unless the child or youth is on runaway status or participating in normalcy activities, any time a child or youth in DFPS conservatorship is temporarily absent from placement, the caseworker must ensure that the temporary caregiver for the child has been informed of the child’s history of sexual victimization and aggression. The caseworker must have the temporary caregiver review and sign the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A. The caseworker then uploads the signed copy into One Case.

See:

4231.1 Notifying a Facility Regulated by Another State Agency of a Child’s Sexual Victimization and Sexual Aggression History

11611.11 Caseworker Actions During Psychiatric Hospitalizations

See Texas Administrative Code §700.323 for the legal basis for DFPS policy on payments to providers and caregivers during absences from placement.

4281 Criteria for Paying for Foster Care During a Child’s Absence

CPS October 2020

Under certain circumstances, DFPS must continue to make foster care payments to a provider on behalf of a child who is no longer in that provider’s care to reserve space (bed hold) for the child’s anticipated return to that provider in the near future.

DFPS must only make payments to a provider for foster care during a child’s absence if the situation meets each of the following conditions:

  • DFPS plans to return the child to the provider at the end of the absence.
  • The provider agrees to reserve space for the child’s return for as long as DFPS makes payments in the child’s absence.
  • DFPS is not making foster care payments on behalf of this same child to any other provider during the child’s absence.

In order for the provider to be eligible to receive foster care payments for children absent from the foster care facility, the provider must be actively engaged in all of the following:

  • Giving emotional support to the child (via active participation in the child’s treatment while hospitalized).
  • Meeting the child’s concrete needs (such as providing clothing and other items).
  • Having frequent face-to-face contact with the child on a regular basis (such as by being physically present with the child at the hospital as required by some medical facilities and so on).
  • Facilitating family visits, as appropriate.
  • Communicating with the medical facility care team regarding the child’s progress and discharge plan.

DFPS will not reimburse the provider for days of foster care when a child or youth resides in any of the following:  

  • Psychiatric hospital once acute care ends.
  • Nursing home placement.
  • Intermediate care facilities for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities (ICF/IDD).
  • State supported living centers.
  • Placed with a non-licensed relative caregiver.
  • Pre-consummated adoptive placement.
  • Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility.
  • Texas state hospitals.

4282 Payment Time Frames

4282.1 Emergency Care

CPS October 2020

DFPS may pay an emergency shelter or other provider contracted to provide emergency care for only five additional days from the date of the child or youth’s temporary absence.

4282.2 Foster Care

CPS October 2020

If a child is temporarily absent from non-emergency foster care, DFPS may continue to pay the foster care provider, if the payment is approved as follows:

  • The regional supervisor and program director must approve payment for an absence of not more than 14 days.
  • The regional program administrator must approve payment for an absence between 15 and 30 days.
  • The regional director and director of placement must approve payment for an absence between 31 and 90 days.
  • In unusual circumstances, payments may continue for an absence of longer than 90 days with prior written approval by the CPS assistant commissioner or designee.

4283 The Plan or Intent for the Child or Youth to Return

CPS October 2020

If a child or youth is away from his or her licensed paid placement, the caseworker, with supervisory approval, must discuss the plan or intent for the child or youth to return to the caregiver or provider following the temporary absence. If the caseworker does not intend to return the child or youth to the placement, the caseworker must inform the provider or caregiver of the decision. The caseworker must end the placement with the effective date agreed upon with the provider. 

4284 When the Caregiver or Provider Does Not Agree for the Child or Youth to Return

CPS October 2020

If the caregiver or provider does not agree for the child or youth to return, he or she must provide written discharge notice as stipulated in the contract. Once it is determined a child or youth is not returning and the discharge notice is received, the caseworker must submit a referral to the regional placement team to begin placement searches. The caseworker must notify the eligibility specialist no later than the following business day. The caseworker must end the placement in IMPACT on the date the decision is made that the child or youth will not return to the placement. 

4300 Unauthorized Living Arrangements

CPS October 2020

For more information, refer to the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideIndependent Living Arrangements.

4310 Unauthorized Arrangements By Youth in DFPS Conservatorship

CPS February 2021

When a youth in DFPS’s managing conservatorship begins living in an unauthorized living arrangement, the youth’s caseworker must take the following actions:

  • Try to persuade the youth to return to substitute care.
  • Notify the parties as outlined in 6150 Notifications.
  • Assess the risk of abuse and neglect in the unauthorized living arrangement.
  • Assess the appropriateness of the unauthorized living arrangement.
  • Assess and document the following in the case record:
    • Who made and who implemented the unauthorized living arrangement.
    • Whether the youth is related to the caregiver.
    • The youth’s options if the unauthorized living arrangement does not work out.
  • Ensure that the unauthorized caregiver for the child has been informed of the child’s history of sexual victimization and aggression. The caseworker must make every effort to review the child’s sexual history report, Attachment A, with the unauthorized caregiver, obtain signatures, and upload the signed copy into One Case. If the unauthorized caregiver refuses to sign, the caseworker must document on the Attachment A who refused to sign and upload the document. The caseworker enters a contact documenting the caseworker’s efforts to notify the unauthorized caregiver of the child’s sexual victimization and aggression history.

For additional information about responding to unauthorized independent living arrangements, see 6460 When a Child or Youth is Missing from CPS Conservatorship.

4400 Texas Service Levels System

CPS October 2020

For a detailed explanation of the Texas service levels system, see the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideDefinitions of Service Levels.

4410 Service Level Determinations and Reauthorizations

CPS October 2020

When a child or youth comes into care, the caseworker must assess the child or youth’s service needs. The caseworker consults with the child or youth’s caregivers, parents, teachers, or other appropriate sources to make the determination.

4411 Authorizing Service Levels

4411.1 Basic Service Level

CPS October 2020

When placing a child or youth in a facility, DFPS caseworkers and supervisors may authorize the Basic service level in either of the following situations:

  • If they determine that the child or youth has basic needs.
  • To provide foster care payment at the Basic service level when a child or youth does not have an authorized service level (ASL) from the third party contractor.

The DFPS eligibility specialist must enter into IMPACT a Basic ASL effective 12 months for children or youth who do not require an ASL higher than Basic. The end date of the Basic ASL is the first day of the month that follows the 12th month after the start date of the ASL. If the child or youth continues in care past this date and does not have a current ASL authorized by the third party contractor, the eligibility specialist must record a new Basic ASL for another 12-month period.

When initially placing a child or youth in a facility before a third party contractor has authorized service, an eligibility specialist must enter the Basic service level into IMPACT as the ASL and as the billing service level (BSL) for the system to pay the facility. If the facility is only contracted to provide higher than Basic level services, the eligibility specialist makes no ASL or BSL entries.

If the child or youth’s needs increase, the caseworker requests a higher service level from the third-party contractor. A child or youth with a Basic service level is expected to function at an age appropriate level educationally, socially, physically, medically, developmentally, and emotionally. See the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideDefinitions of Service Levels.

4411.2 Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus Service Levels

CPS October 2020

Only the third-party contractor can authorize Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus service levels. The third-party contractor determines the child or youth’s authorized service level (ASL) at the Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus service level initially and at subsequent utilization reviews, based on the child or youth’s needs documented in the facility’s clinical record.

The Moderate service level is valid for 12 months and the Specialized, Intense, and Intense Plus service levels are valid for three months. See Appendix 4320: DFPS Guidelines for Service Authorizations for time frames on requesting and authorizing service levels and utilization reviews.

4411.3 Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program (IPTP) Service Level

CPS October 2020

This service level is not determined by the third-party contractor. It is determined by the eligibility criteria in the Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource GuideEligibility for IPTP Placement.

4411.4 Treatment Family Foster Care (TFFC) Service Level

CPS October 2020

This service level is not determined by the third-party contractor. It is determined by the eligibility criteria in Foster and Licensed Facility Placements Resource Guide.

4420 Caseworker Responsibility for Timely Determinations

CPS October 2020

Responsibility at Child or Youth’s Entry Into Care

When a child or youth comes into care, the caseworker must assess the child or youth’s service needs and take one of the following actions within one day of the removal:

  • Request in IMPACT that the regional eligibility staff enter a Basic service level.
  • Request in IMPACT a service level and submit the request and a complete clinical record to Youth for Tomorrow.

The caseworker consults with the child or youth’s caregivers, parents, teachers, or other appropriate sources to make the determination.

Ongoing Responsibility for Service Level Determinations

The caseworker must do all of the following:

  • Ensure that the child or youth receives a timely initial authorized service level (ASL) when the child comes into care.
  • Request an ASL whenever the needs of the child or youth change.
  • Request subsequent ASLs as part of the scheduled review process before the ASL expires.
  • Provide a copy of the ASL to the placement when placing a child or youth;
  • Coordinate and submit all required documentation to the third-party contractor to ensure accurate evaluation of the ASL.
  • Coordinate with the facility to ensure that the ASL is reviewed in a timely manner.
  • Assess the child or youth’s service needs by gathering information from the child or youth’s caregivers, parents, teachers, and other people who know the child or youth.

Additionally, the caseworker must work with the placement to ensure that the service level does not expire. The Moderate service level is valid for 12 months, and the Specialized, Intense, and Intense Plus service levels are valid for only 3 months.

For a chart on time frames for ASLs, see Appendix 4320: DFPS Guidelines for Service Authorizations.

The third party contractor authorizes Moderate, Specialized, Intense, and Intense Plus service levels for children in DFPS conservatorship.

CPS staff may not guarantee a caregiver a service level above Basic or contrary to the ASL in IMPACT when placing a child or youth.

4421 Application for Placement

CPS October 2020

The Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care is known as the full application for placement and is located in IMPACT. Form 2087ex Alternative Application for Placement of Children in Residential Care is known as the alternative application for placement and is available for download on the DFPS intranet. This form is used to provide information in need of an emergency placement following initial removal from the home.

The caseworker must provide the full application for placement to the facility before or at the time the child is placed with Moderate, Specialized, Intense, or Intense Plus service needs.

When a child or youth is placed on an emergency basis or has a Basic authorized service level, the caseworker must provide one of the following at the time of placement:

  • The full application for placement.
  • The alternative application for placement.

If the caseworker provides the alternative application at the time of placement, he or she must provide the full application for placement within 30 days of the placement.

4422 Obtaining an Initial Authorized Service Level (ASL)

CPS October 2020

The initial service level is for children who are in DFPS conservatorship for the first time. For children who require a service level higher than Basic, the caseworker must request an authorized service level (ASL) from the third-party contractor (Youth for Tomorrow).    

The caseworker must submit the following forms and documentation:

The caseworker may also submit information describing any extenuating circumstances, incident reports, and so on.

The DFPS caseworker must work with the provider to obtain appropriate paperwork to submit a child or youth’s information to the third-party contractor for an initial service level.

When a child or youth is leaving a hospital, the CPS supervisor may request that the third party reviewer complete an initial ASL within one working day or 24 hours of the discharge.

4422.1 Submitting Information to the Third-Party Contractor (Youth for Tomorrow)

CPS October 2020

The caseworker must submit information to Youth for Tomorrow in one of the following ways:

  • Fax at 817-633-4602
  • Email at help@yft.org
  • Mail at 624 Six Flags Drive, #126, Arlington, Texas 76011

Youth for Tomorrow may be reached by calling 817-633-1900.

Once the caseworker submits the initial service level request:

  • Youth for Tomorrow assigns the initial service level within two working days.
  • The caseworker must check IMPACT to obtain the service level determination. This is posted the same day that Youth for Tomorrow completes the initial authorization.
  • The caseworker must print out the service level authorization form and provide it to the contracted provider where the child or youth is placed.

4423 Obtaining a Scheduled or Nonscheduled Review of a Service Level

4423.1 Requesting a Review of a Service Level by Preparing a Complete Clinical Record

CPS October 2020

To request a review of a child or youth’s authorized service level, whether scheduled or nonscheduled, the caseworker must do both the following:

  • Forward a complete clinical record for the previous 30 days to the third-party contractor.
  • Coordinate the submission of all other required documentation to the third-party contractor.

The complete clinical record includes:

  • IMPACT Form 2089 Service Level Authorization Request (for nonscheduled reviews only).
  • Information on any medical problems experienced or disabilities existing within the previous 30 days.
  • For children or youth with primary medical needs, an evaluation from a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner, with the diagnosis and the prescribed services.
  • Progress and therapy notes (individual therapy, speech, occupational, or physical therapy) and school records for the previous 30 days.
  • Serious incident reports and seclusion reports for the previous 30 days.
  • All relevant up-to-date items from the case file from within the previous 30 days, including the narrative from the monthly summary in IMPACT.

A caseworker may request a nonscheduled review of a service level when any of the following occur:

  • An authorized service level will expire within 14 calendar days and the third-party contractor is not scheduled to conduct a utilization review within the next 30 days.
  • An authorized service level has expired.
  • The caseworker determines that the child or youth’s needs have changed.
4423.2 If a Complete Clinical Record Is Not Available When Requesting a Review of a Service Level

CPS October 2020

A complete clinical record for the previous 30 days may not be available because the child or youth:

  • Has run away or is living in an unauthorized placement.
  • Lives in a kinship placement.
  • Is in juvenile detention.
  • Is in the hospital.
  • Is living independently, on a trial basis.

In these circumstances, the CPS caseworker must submit one of the following to the third-party contractor:

  • A sufficiently updated application for placement.
  • A narrative report of the child or youth’s circumstances and any available supporting documentation.

The effective date for the service level is the date that the third-party contractor reads the request for a review and the application for placement or narrative.

If a case meets the criteria for submitting a narrative or application for placement instead of a clinical record, the narrative or application must include certain details. See the table below.

For information on the types of service levels, their time frames, and the application for placement, see 4410 Service Level Determinations and Reauthorizations.

If the child or youth was or is…

the narrative or application for placement must include the following:

a runaway or living in an unauthorized placement …

  •   The length of time the youth has been living in that status.

  •   Where the youth has been living while in that status.

  •   Where the youth is living now.

  •   The youth’s behavior since he or she returned, including any behavior that placed the youth or others at risk.

  •   Any available supporting documentation, such as any law enforcement incident reports.

living in a family or kinship placement …

  •   The length of time the child or youth has been in the placement.

  •   The reason the placement was disrupted.

  •   The child or youth’s behavior while in placement, including any behavior that placed the child or youth or others at risk.

  •   Any available supporting documentation, such as school documents and therapy notes.

in juvenile detention …

  •   The length of time the youth has been in detention.

  •   The current charges against the youth and the reason the youth was detained.

  •   A list of any prior juvenile history.

  •   The youth’s behavior, including any behavior that placed the youth or others at risk.

  •   Any available supporting documentation, such as law enforcement incident reports and detention-related documents.

in the hospital …

  •   The location where the child or youth was living before he or she was admitted to a hospital.

  •   The length of time the child or youth has been in the hospital.

  •   The reason the child or youth was hospitalized.

  •   The last incident of the following, since hospitalization:

  • Aggression or assault

  • Self-harm

  • Restraint

  • The use of pro re nata (PRN) medications (that is, medications used as the need arises)

  •   Any new medication prescribed and whether the medication will be discontinued upon discharge.

  •   Any significant risk behaviors placing the child or youth or others in danger.

  •   The medical condition and services needed to manage it, if the child or youth has a primary medical need.

  •   Any available supporting documentation, such as discharge documents.

living independently, on a trial basis …

  •   The length of time the youth has been living independently, on trial basis.

  •   The reasons the youth wishes to return to extended foster care.

  •   Where the youth has been living since leaving care.

  •   Any behaviors that placed the youth or others at risk.

  •   The youth’s present educational, medical, and emotional needs.

4423.3 Submitting the Clinical Record (or Narrative and Application) to Request a Review of a Service Level

CPS October 2020

The caseworker may request a scheduled or nonscheduled review of a service level from the third-party contractor by fax, email, or mail.

For a scheduled review, the caseworker must submit the clinical record and required documentation at least 15 days before the expiration of the authorized service level.

4423.4 After Submitting the Clinical Record (or Narrative and Application) to Request a Review of a Service Level

CPS October 2020

Once the caseworker submits a request for a scheduled or nonscheduled review of a service level, the third-party contractor makes a determination and assigns the service level within 10 working days.

The caseworker must check the IMPACT case management system to obtain the service level determination.

For scheduled reviews, the caseworker must enter the requested service level in IMPACT within 10 working days of the request being read by the third-party contractor.

For nonscheduled reviews, the caseworker must enter the requested service level in IMPACT the day that the service level is read by the third-party contractor.

After the third-party contractor’s determination of the authorized service level, the caseworker must do the following:

  • Print IMPACT Form 2089 Service Level Authorization.
  • Provide the form to the contracted provider with whom the child or youth is placed.

4424 Guidelines for Expired Service Level Authorization

CPS October 2020

When a child or youth has an expired service level, the third-party contractor is permitted to authorize a new service level in the following situations:

  • The previous authorized service level (ASL) and the new ASL are the same and there is a time gap of 90 days or less. The third-party contractor may make the effective date the day after the last expiration date for the expired ASL. The adjustment is made on the current utilization review (UR) report.
  • The previous ASL is higher than the new adjusted ASL and there is a time gap of 90 days or less. The third-party contractor may make the effective date the day after the last expiration date for the newly read ASL. The adjustment is made on the current UR report.
  • The previous ASL is lower than the new adjusted ASL and there is a time gap of 30 days or less. The third-party contractor may make the effective date the day after the last expiration date for the higher newly read ASL, as supported by the clinical record during the 30-day stabilization period. The adjustment is made on the current UR report.

If the lapse in authorization of service is greater than 90 days, the effective date for the new ASL is the day of the review. An eligibility specialist or foster care billing staff must contact a state office service level program specialist to review and correct these unusual situations that cause a lapse in the ASL.

4425 Retroactive Service Level Authorization

CPS October 2020

Child placing agencies (CPAs) and DFPS foster homes may request retroactive payment of an initial authorized service level (ASL) when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The request for retroactive initial service level is submitted for authorization to the third-party contractor within 45 days of admitting a child or youth who has never had an initial ASL determined by the third party reviewer.
  • Upon admission to the CPA, the child or youth must remain in the same foster home or have been in respite care within the same CPA that is requesting the initial ASL.
  • The child or youth did not reside in an emergency shelter for 30 days or more prior to placement.

If the initial request requires additional information, the service level rate may be retroactive up to 60 days from the date of submission when all the conditions are met. This gives the requester time to gather needed information.

4425.1 Obtaining a Retroactive Service Level

CPS October 2020

To obtain a retroactive service level, the CPA or the DFPS caseworker must submit a complete packet within the first 45 days of admitting the child or youth to the foster home. The request for an initial service level authorization must be postmarked on or before the 45th day after a CPA admits a child or youth who does not have an initial authorized service level.

To enable the third party contractor to process the initial service level, the CPA must submit certain documentation. For a list of required documents, see the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideObtaining a Retroactive Service Level.

4430 When Authorized Service Levels and Billing Service Levels Are Not the Same

4431 Requesting a BSL That Is Lower Than the ASL

CPS October 2020

A supervisor must approve a caseworker’s request for a billing service level (BSL) that is lower than the authorized service level (ASL) for any child or youth.

A CPS regional director (or designee) must approve, and document the approval of, a caseworker’s request for a BSL that is two or more service levels lower than the ASL.

Some examples of when lowering a child’s BSL may be appropriate are when:

  • The child or youth is receiving specialized medical care and a move will disrupt the treatment.
  • The child or youth needs to finish a semester of school, graduate, or stay in close proximity to his or her family or siblings.

Staff must document in the child or youth’s case record any special needs requiring this type of placement.

In addition, the caseworker must complete Form 2086 Service Level Approval and submit it with the approved BSL to an eligibility specialist. If a child or youth who has an ASL of Specialized or Intense is placed at a lower BSL, the utilization review is still required within three months or before the expiration date of the ASL. The indicators for the ASL will continue to be met even after the BSL is lowered.

4432 Requesting a BSL That Is Higher Than the ASL

CPS October 2020

Occasionally it is in a child or youth’s best interest not to be moved, but the third party contractor’s utilization review lowers the authorized service level (ASL) below the lowest billing service level (BSL) in a provider’s contract. The service level program specialist in state office must discuss the situation with the caseworker and determine whether to approve increasing the BSL to a level higher than the ASL. This is not applicable to Intense Plus.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following situations:

  • The youth will graduate in 60 days or fewer.
  • The youth requires continuity of medical treatment, excluding psychological services, not to exceed 60 days.
  • The youth will age out of care in 60 days or fewer.
  • The school year will end in 60 days or fewer.

4433 State Office Eligibility Program Specialist Role and Responsibilities

CPS October 2020

The state office eligibility program specialist must enter into IMPACT under the service level tab the following information:

  • Authorized service levels (ASLs) from utilization reviews that are not captured by the automated third-party contractor’s interface with IMPACT.
  • Service levels approved through the process described in 4432 Requesting a BSL That Is Higher Than the ASL.

4434 Appealing Disagreements with ASLs

CPS October 2020

If a residential child care provider or DFPS caseworker disagrees with the service level determination by the third party contractor, he or she can appeal it. To appeal the determination, the residential child care provider or DFPS caseworker must use the administrative and peer review processes through the third-party contractor. The DFPS supervisor must initiate the appeal. These processes are outlined on the third party contractor’s website.

Refer to the Texas Service Levels Resource GuideAppealing Disagreements with ASLs.

If the CPS supervisor or residential child care provider disagrees with the secondary review completed by the third-party contractor, the person originating the appeal may submit a written request to the service level monitor for a review by the Peer Review Committee. This request must be postmarked, faxed, or emailed within five working days of the service level monitor’s notification.

4434.1 Service Level Peer Review Committee

CPS October 2020

The Service Level Peer Review Committee reviews the clinical record that the third party contractor reviewed during the utilization review. The committee makes a written recommendation on the appropriate authorized service level (ASL) to the associate commissioner for CPS. The associate commissioner makes the final determination on the appropriate ASL.

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