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4500 Placing a Child With Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers

4510 Definitions Related to Kinship Care

4511 Definition of Kinship Care

CPS September 2010

Kinship care is the umbrella term used to describe substitute care that is provided to a child in DFPS conservatorship by relatives or fictive kin who live outside of the child’s home.

See:

4512 Definition of a KinshipCaregiver (Verified and Unverified)

4513 Definition of a Fictive Kin or Other Designated Caregiver

4512 Definition of a Kinship Caregiver (Verified and Unverified)

CPS September 2010

A kinship caregiver is a relative or fictive kin who provides care to a child. (See 4513 Definition of a Fictive Kin or Other Designated Caregiver.)

Unverified Kinship Caregiver

An unverified kinship caregiver:

  •  has not been verified as a foster parent, or otherwise licensed to provide 24-hour residential child care; but

  •  has been formally approved by DFPS, in accordance with 4510 Definitions Related to Kinship Care and its subitems.

Formal approval makes the unverified kinship caregiver potentially eligible for assistance under the DFPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program. See 4534 Explaining the Federal Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver.

Verified Kinship Caregiver (Foster Parent)

A verified kinship caregiver is licensed or verified as a foster parent to provide 24-hour residential care for a child, in accordance with Chapter 42 of the Human Resources Code and related regulations.

Verification as a foster parent is offered by either:

  •  DFPS through the CPS Foster and Adoptive Home Development program (FAD); or

  •  a private child-placing agency.

See:

7515 Foster Home Verification

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1501

A verified kinship caregiver may be eligible for permanency care assistance, if the caregiver assumes permanent managing conservatorship of a child in DFPS conservatorship and meets the program’s eligibility requirements.

4513 Definition of a Fictive Kin or Other Designated Caregiver

CPS September 2010

The terms fictive kin and other designated caregiver are synonymous.

Fictive Kin or Other Designated Caregiver – As it Applies to the Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program

A fictive kin or other designated caregiver:

  •  has a longstanding and significant relationship with a child in DFPS conservatorship, or with the child’s family; and

  •  is approved by DFPS to provide substitute care for the child, but is not verified, licensed, or certified to operate a foster home, a foster group home, a foster home operated by a child-placing agency, or a foster group home operated by a child-placing agency; or

  •  is subsequently ordered by the court to be the permanent managing conservator of the child after having provided the care described in Texas Family Code §264.751(1B, 3B).

Examples include a godparent or someone considered to be an aunt or uncle, even though the person is not related to the child.

Texas Family Code §264.751

Texas Human Resources Code Chapter 42

Fictive Kin or Other Designated Caregiver – As it Applies to Permanency Care Assistance Eligibility

A person is considered a fictive kin or other designated caregiver if the person had a longstanding and significant relationship with a child in DFPS conservatorship before DFPS placed the child in the caregiver’s home.

Texas Family Code, §264.851

4514 Definition of the DFPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program

CPS September 2010

The DFPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program offers financial assistance and other support to eligible kinship caregivers who have not been verified as foster parents. See 4530 Services for Unverified Kinship Caregivers.

4515 Definition of a Kinship Development Worker

CPS September 2010

Kinship development workers (KDW) provide support and resources to unverified kinship caregivers.

Kinship development workers are available in all DFPS regions, but they may not be available in all communities or assigned to all unverified kinship caregivers.

For further explanation of the roles and responsibilities of kinship development workers, see 4533 The Duties of a Kinship Development Worker.

4516 Definition of Kinship Foster Care

CPS September 2010

Kinship foster care is substitute care provided outside the child’s home by relatives or fictive kin who have been verified by DFPS as foster parents.

4517 Definition of a Relative

CPS September 2010

DFPS uses the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) definition of a relative:

A relative is related to a child by:

  •  blood or adoption (consanguinity); or

  •  marriage (affinity).

Texas Government Code §§573.022, 573.024

Exception

The DFPS definition of relative excludes the child’s:

  •  legal parent;

  •  birth parent; or

  •  adoptive parent (including noncustodial parents).

4518 Definition of Permanency Care Assistance

CPS September 2010

Permanency Care Assistance program (PCA) allows verified kinship caregivers to receive financial and healthcare benefits on behalf of a child, upon meeting eligibility requirements.

Eligibility requirements include:

  •  serving as a verified foster parent to the child for a minimum of six months; and

  •  entering into an agreement for permanency care assistance before becoming the child’s permanent managing conservator.

For a list and definition of terms related to the permanency care assistance, see DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1027.

Also see:

1600 Permanency Care Assistance and its subitems

4710 Obtaining Permanency Care Assistance

4519 Definition of a Prospective Permanent Managing Conservator

CPS September 2010

A prospective permanent managing conservator is a verified kinship caregiver (that is, a foster parent) who:

  •  has demonstrated a strong commitment to caring permanently for a child in DFPS conservatorship; and

  •  has applied for or has entered into an agreement with DFPS for permanency care assistance, but has not yet been named the permanent managing conservator of the child (also referred to as a prospective permanent custodian).

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1027

4520 Placing a Child With an Unverified Kinship Caregiver

CPS September 2010

Placement policies are designed to ensure that DFPS:

  •  addresses the child's needs for safety, permanency, and well-being; and

  •  provides the court with accurate, reliable, and timely information to assist with judicial determinations.

4521 Identifying Potential Relative or Fictive Kin Caregivers

CPS September 2010

When it is necessary to remove a child from his or her home, the worker must:

  •  identify and locate a noncustodial parent, if there is one; and

  •  make every effort to identify and locate a relative or other designated caregiver who is willing and suitable to care for the child.

Appropriate and willing relatives and family friends are generally given priority for placement. Often the child is already familiar with his or her potential kinship caregivers. The child may have an ongoing relationship with them, and they may have a personal interest in the child.

Kinship caregivers are usually familiar with the issues and challenges faced by a child's family. Having an ongoing relationship with the child's parents often makes it easier to work toward the permanency goal selected.

Forms to Be Completed by the Parent

To identify potential kinship caregivers at the time of a child's removal from the home, the worker asks the parent or other person who has legal custody to complete Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource to provide information about the child's:

  •  maternal and paternal grandparents;

  •  other significant relatives; and

  •  other kinship members.

The worker also asks the parent or other person with legal custody to specify his or her preferences regarding:

  •  the kinship caregiver with whom the child will be placed; and

  •  the support other kin may be able to provide to the child other than placement.

If the form is completed at the time of removal, the worker must complete a home assessment of the most appropriate substitute caregiver, if any, before the full adversary hearing.

If the parents are unable to complete Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource at the time of the child's removal, or they refuse to do so, the worker explains that the sooner the form is completed the sooner efforts can be made to place the child in a familiar home.

Until the worker identifies a qualified kinship caregiver, the worker must continue to search for one.

If throughout the course of a case a parent or other family member provides, or CPS obtains, additional or updated information about a potential kinship caregiver, CPS must reconsider the placement in light of the new information.

4521.1 Assessing the Unverified Kinship Caregiver’s Home and Conducting History Checks

CPS September 2010

DFPS may place a child with a relative or other designated caregiver, unless the placement is not in the child's best interest.

Before the adversary hearing, the worker must complete the following to identify a placement that is best for the child:

  •  A CPS background check and a criminal history check of each potential substitute caregiver listed on Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource

  •  A Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment of the substitute caregiver determined to be the most appropriate, if any (see Form 6588 Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment and Form 6588 instructions)

4521.2 Identifying Additional Relatives and Kin

CPS September 2010

A child's family may make the child's worker aware of other potential kinship caregivers, during the course of a case.

During the adversary hearing that is held before a child is placed, the worker asks the child's family for information about additional relatives and other potential kinship caregivers.

Texas Family Code §§262.201; 261.307(a)(2); 262.114

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC, §700.1320(a)

While planning or holding a family group conference or permanency conference, the worker also may learn from the child's relatives or kin about other relatives or kin who may be potential kinship caregivers.

When made aware of other potential caregivers, the worker:

  •  adds the information to Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource; and

  •  notifies the additional relatives and kin about the child's removal.

4522 When Placing a Child With an Unverified Kinship Caregiver Following a Removal

CPS September 2010

The law permits DFPS to place a child with a caregiver before completing CPS background and criminal history checks and an approved home assessment; however, DFPS policy requires that the checks and assessment be completed and approved before a child is placed, unless the court orders placement before the checks are completed.

If the court orders placement before the checks are completed, the worker still completes a home assessment as soon as possible after placement.

Texas Family Code §262.114(b)

Before DFPS can place a child with a relative or other designated caregiver, or recommend to the court that the child be placed, the child's worker must follow the policies outlined in the steps of the home assessment process discussed in this section.

4523 Conduct and Evaluate CPS History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers

CPS November 2009

Conducting a CPS History Check

For each potential kinship caregiver with whom a child may be placed, the worker:

  •  conducts a search in the IMPACT case management system for any CPS history on each person in the household who is 14 years of age or older; and

  •  checks local CPS records in the other states where each potential kinship caregiver has lived since becoming 18 years old.

See 1800 Record Checks.

If the worker finds a CPS history on anyone living in the home of a potential kinship caregiver, the worker documents the information in IMPACT on the pages for Contact Detail or Monthly Evaluation.

If further consideration of the family is ruled out based on a CPS history, in accordance with 4525 Conduct and Evaluate Criminal History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers, the worker:

  •  discusses the decision to rule out the family with the supervisor; and

  •  documents the decision in IMPACT on the Contact Detail page by selecting Contact Summary Type and then selecting Kinship Disposition Summary.

If No CPS History Is Found

If no CPS history with a Reason to Believe (RTB) finding for abuse or neglect is found for the prospective kinship caregiver or any individuals 14 years of age or older who live in the potential kinship caregiver's home, and the results of criminal history checks are clear or have been fully evaluated according to 4525 Conduct and Evaluate Criminal History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers, the worker completes a written home assessment. See 4526 Complete a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver.

If after the home assessment further consideration of the family is not ruled out, the worker proceeds to 4524 Contact Potential Kinship Caregivers Not Ruled Out by a CPS History Check.

If a CPS History Is Found

If the potential kinship caregiver or anyone who lives in the potential caregiver’s home and is 14 years of age or older has a CPS history that includes a finding of Reason to Believe (RTB), the worker does not place the child in the home.

If a placement is not made because of a CPS history, the person living in the household of the potential caregiver who has the finding of Reason to Believe and is designated as a perpetrator may request a Placement Review of Findings to determine whether the findings should stand.

A CPS resolution specialist conducts the placement review.

To encourage placement with relatives or friends over placement with a family that the child does not know, the specialist gives scheduling priority to a review of a kinship placement over reviews for foster placements.

If the Finding Is Overturned

If a Placement Review of Findings results in an RTB finding being overturned and there is no other CPS or criminal history that affects the potential caregiver's eligibility for placement, the worker proceeds to 4526 Complete a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver.

If the Finding Is Not Overturned

If the finding is not overturned following a Placement Review of Findings, the worker does not place the child.

Under no circumstances does a worker place a child in a home if there is an open CPS investigation involving the home.

Exceptions

RTB for Physical or Sexual Abuse - If the finding is not overturned following a Placement Review of Findings, a placement may be made only if approval is obtained in the manner described in 4527 Obtain Approval for a Caregiver With a CPS or Criminal History.

RTB for Abuse or Neglect Other Than Physical or Sexual Abuse - If the finding is not overturned following a Placement Review of Findings, a placement may be made only if there are extraordinary circumstances or compelling justification. In such a situation, the worker's supervisor and the program director must give approval to proceed with a written home assessment that would address concerns, background issues, mitigating factors, rehabilitation, safety issues for the child and any other issues relevant to why the placement should be approved.

Warning the Potential Caregiver

If a family with a finding of Reason to Believe is not ruled out after a home assessment, the worker must advise the family that if the family is approved as the permanent placement for the child, the family may not be approved to become foster or adoptive parents for the child, depending on the outcome of a subsequent risk evaluation.

Being unaware of this stipulation could create significant hardship for the child and the family.

4524 Contact Potential Kinship Caregivers Not Ruled Out by a CPS History Check

CPS November 2009

If a potential kinship caregiver has not been ruled out on the basis of a CPS history check, the caseworker contacts the potential caregiver by phone and explains:

  •  the reason for the call;

  •  the process for completing a criminal background check;

  •  the process for completing a written home assessment;

  •  CPS's expectations of a kinship caregiver;

  •  the court process for a CPS case; and

  •  the commitment required of a kinship caregiver.

If the Caregiver Is Interested

If a potential kinship caregiver is interested in caring for the child, the worker:

  •  confirms the potential kinship caregiver's identifying information; and

  •  requests the names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth for all children  and adults living in the kinship caregiver's home.

If the Caregiver Is Not Interested

If the potential kinship caregiver is not interested in caring for the child, or is unable to care for the child, the worker:

  •  documents the decision not to proceed in the IMPACT case management system on the Contact Detail page by selecting Contact Summary Type, and then selecting Kinship Disposition Summary; and

  •  contacts the next potential kinship caregiver listed.

When Placement Is Not Affordable

If the potential caregiver decides not to care for the child because the caregiver cannot afford to do so, the worker asks the caregiver to estimate the amount of assistance the caregiver believes would make the placement affordable.

The worker then documents the caregiver's decision and estimated amount on the Contact Detail page in IMPACT by selecting Contact Summary Type and then selecting Kinship Disposition and Summary.

4525 Conduct and Evaluate Criminal History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers

4525.1 Conducting a Criminal History Check

CPS July 2012

For each potential kinship caregiver who has not been ruled out based on DFPS history, the worker initiates criminal background checks on each household member who is 14 years of age or older. See 4523 Conduct and Evaluate CPS History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers.

To complete a thorough criminal history check, the caseworker verifies the caregiver and household members’ identities. The caseworker obtains all names, including aliases and maiden names, that members of the household have ever used. The caseworker verifies the spelling of names, obtains dates of birth, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers, if they have these.

An individual may provide a driver’s license, or another form of state or federal identification card from either the United States or another country. Another form of identification with a picture – for example, a credit card, library card, employee badge, or school identification – is acceptable if it includes the person’s photograph and otherwise appears reliable and consistent with other identification documentation. If a person does not have an acceptable form of identification, the placement cannot be made.

The criminal background check must be initiated through the IMPACT case management system within two business days of the kinship family agreeing to the request for placement, even if one was completed for a Parental Child Safety Placement or other previous CPS involvement before the department was granted conservatorship.

4525.11 Caregivers Living in Texas for Fewer Than Three Years

CPS July 2012

If the kinship caregiver being assessed has not lived in Texas for the past three consecutive years, the worker informs the court during the adversary hearing that the following actions are being performed:

  •  A Texas criminal history check

  •  An FBI fingerprint check

See:

1811 Criminal Records Checks Legal Requirements

1812 FBI Records Checks

4525.2 Considering the Totality of the Circumstances

CPS July 2012

The presence or absence of a criminal history is one factor among many that must be weighed in determining whether a potential kinship caregiver can provide a safe and stable home for a child in conservatorship. The weight given to an individual’s history varies based on the type of conviction, the length of time since the conviction, the individual’s rehabilitation, and a multitude of other factors.

Staff should not automatically presume a kinship caregiver can provide a safe and stable home because there is no criminal history, nor should staff automatically rule out a potential kinship caregiver solely based on a criminal history, without considering its impact for placement. Exceptions can be made based on factors discussed in this policy and 4527.3 Obtain Court Approval for a Kinship Caregiver with Criminal or DFPS History.

In addition, the fact that a particular conviction is not addressed in the chart in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code does not mean that it should not be considered in relation to a child’s safety. Staff must consider all convictions and any other pertinent criminal history information for their impact on the potential caregiver’s ability to provide a safe and stable home for the child.

4525.3 Determining the Consequences of a Criminal History

CPS July 2012

If any member of the potential kinship caregiver’s household has a criminal history, the worker first determines the type of criminal history and its effect on kinship placement, using the chart in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code. Since the placement may become permanent, the worker reviews 4527 Obtain Approval for Placement in a Kinship Home with DFPS or Criminal History when deciding whether to proceed with the Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment.

Convictions

Convictions have the following impact on the approval of a potential kinship caregiver’s home:

  •  Absolute Bars, unless RD exception granted following a Kinship Safety Evaluation (See 4527 Obtain Approval for Placement in a Kinship Home with DFPS or Criminal History)

  •  5 Year Bars, unless RD exception granted following a Kinship Safety Evaluation

  •  Other Offenses that may preclude placement, unless PD approval granted following a Kinship Safety Evaluation.

      It is important to distinguish the consequences of criminal history in a kinship placement from the consequences in a potential foster or adoptive home. Even though a kinship home is approved following a Kinship Safety Evaluation, if the home applies to become verified to foster or approved to adopt, Residential Child Care Licensing may reach a different conclusion about the safety of the home

  •  Other criminal convictions not listed in the chart in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code must be considered by the worker and supervisor in relation to a potential kinship caregiver’s ability to provide a safe home for the child.

History Other Than Convictions

  •  In the case of deferred adjudication, of an indictment or a complaint for an offense that would constitute a permanent or temporary bar or other offenses as described above. Placement may be precluded, depending on the offense, and may require approval from a program director or regional director.

      Placement is generally not approved if a potential kinship caregiver or household member 14 years or older:

  •  has an offense for which the person received a deferral of adjudication, and they have not successfully completed probation;

  •  is indicted for an offense; or

  •  is the subject of a criminal complaint that has been accepted by a district or county attorney for prosecution.

Exceptions may be granted following the guidelines used in the case of a conviction for the same offense as outlined in these policies and the chart in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code.

Being investigated for a criminal offense or having been arrested for a criminal offense is not a reliable indicator of guilt or innocence and should not be afforded the same weight as a criminal conviction. However, if a potential caregiver or household member has an arrest history that is of concern as it relates to child safety, or if a potential kinship caregiver or household member is currently under investigation for an offense, this information should be addressed as part of the overall home assessment process.

If the worker cannot make a determination, he or she consults with the supervisor.

If the supervisor cannot make a determination, he or she consults with appropriate resources in the region, such as the program director, a staff member in the Foster Adoption Development program, or both.

4525.4 Factors to Consider in Proceeding with Kinship Home Assessment or Approval of a Home

CPS July 2012

Criminal history that would constitute a bar in a foster or adoptive setting is a very serious consideration in approving a potential kinship caregiver’s home. However, as discussed in 4525.2 Considering the Totality of the Circumstances, criminal history is one factor among many to weigh in assessing the safety of a caregiver’s home and, in general, no one factor determines the outcome in a given case. Factors that may support moving forward with a Kinship Home Assessment or approval of a potential caregiver’s home in spite of otherwise barred criminal history include:

  •  the conviction occurred many years ago;

  •  the conviction was an isolated occurrence;

  •  there is a pre-existing relationship between the child and the potential caregiver or child’s family;

  •  the child has been safely living in the home for several months or more;

  •  the individual whose history is being evaluated demonstrates rehabilitation;

  •  the bar is temporary and will expire in the near future; or

  •  any combination of the above.

Factors that may support not moving forward with a Kinship Home Assessment or denial of a potential caregiver’s home on the basis of criminal history include the following:

  •  The conviction is for a sexual offense

  •  There is a minimal or no relationship between the potential caregiver and the child or the child’s family

  •  The individual whose history is being evaluated demonstrates no rehabilitation

  •  The conviction is recent

  •  There is significant criminal history, particularly convictions, in addition to the potentially barred conviction

4525.5 Determining Whether to Proceed with Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment

CPS July 2012

Once a determination has been made about the consequences of a criminal history as outlined above, the worker staffs the case in order to determine whether to proceed with the kinship home assessment, understanding that the totality of the circumstances will need to be considered before rendering a decision about placement. The worker then documents the staffing in IMPACT on the Contact Detail or Monthly Evaluation pages.

Warning Potential Kinship Caregivers

If the decision is to move forward with the kinship home assessment, the worker must warn a potential caregiver who has a criminal history or a household member with criminal history that, even if approved for a kinship placement, he or she is not guaranteed kinship assistance or approval to foster or adopt. The worker also informs the potential caregiver that he or she may even be barred from being a foster or adoptive parent, which may also make them ineligible for adoption assistance and Permanency Care Assistance.

Although the information is discussed during the Kinship Home Assessment and the warning is printed on Form 0695 Kinship Caregiver Agreement, the worker specifically informs the potential kinship caregiver to help them understand the consequences of his or her criminal history.

4525.6 If a Potential Kinship Caregiver Is Denied Further Consideration

CPS July 2012

If the family is ruled out for further consideration, the worker also informs the family about the decision. A written home assessment does not need to be completed in this circumstance, unless ordered by the court. The worker then documents the decision not to proceed in IMPACT, on the Contact Detail page, by selecting Contact Summary Type and then selecting Kinship Disposition and Summary.

At any time, if a family under review as a potential kinship caregiver is denied for Kinship Home Assessment or placement, the worker assesses the next potential kinship caregiver identified on Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource or in other information the worker has gathered.

4525.7 If More Than One Potential Kinship Caregiver Is Under Consideration

CPS July 2012

If, after completing IMPACT and criminal history checks, more than one person is identified as a potential caregiver for the child, the worker takes all of the following steps to determine the most appropriate caregiver:

  •  Consider the wishes of the family; a family group conference may be held to assist with ascertaining the family’s wishes. See 1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) and 6273.1 Family Group Conferences.

  •  Consider the totality of the circumstances in the potential kinship caregivers’ homes, including the relationship between any potential caregiver and the child, as described in 4525.2 Considering the Totality of the Circumstances.

  •  Consider DFPS policy (see 4120 Consider Key Issues in Selecting a Caregiver).

  •  Conduct a written home assessment for the most appropriate caregiver, as determined through consultation with the worker’s supervisor (see 4526 Complete a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment on the Kinship Caregiver).

4526 Complete a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver

November 2009

Before DFPS can place a child with a kinship caregiver, or recommend to the court that the child be placed, the child's worker or contracted provider assesses the caregiver’s suitability by completing:

  •  a risk assessment, using Form 2049; and

  •  a written assessment of a kinship caregiver's home, using Form 6588 Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment Template.  

The risk assessment and written home assessment may be completed either by:

  •  CPS staff; or

  •  a contractor.

See Form 6588 Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment and Form 6588 instructions.

The Risk Assessment

When seeking to place a child with a kinship caregiver, either temporarily or permanently, the worker must pay attention to the risk and safety issues that may be present. See 2270 Ensuring Child Safety.

After obtaining the results of the risk assessment, the worker or contractor:

  •  incorporates the risk results into the written home assessment;

  •  attaches the risk results to the written home assessment; and

  •  submits the written home assessment for approval, as described below.

The Written Home Assessment

If the risk assessment identifies concerns, the worker or contractor ensures that the written home assessment addresses the concerns.

The written home assessment must also address any:

  •  relevant background;

  •  mitigating factors;

  •  rehabilitation; and

  •  any other issues relevant to why the worker recommends approving placement in light of the concerns.

See:

4523 Conduct and Evaluate CPS History Checks of Potential Kinship Caregivers

4525 Conduct and Evaluate Criminal History Checks of Potential Kinship Caregivers

Determining Time Frames for the Written Home Assessment

The point at which the parents identify potential kinship caregivers determines the date by which the worker must complete the written home assessment.

If Caregivers Are Identified at Removal

If the parents identify potential kinship caregivers at the time the child is removed from the home, the worker completes the written home assessment by the time of the adversary hearing.

If Caregivers Are Identified Within a Day or Two of Removal

If the parents identify potential kinship caregivers within one or two days after the child is removed from the home, the worker completes the written home assessment by the full adversary hearing.

If it is not possible for the worker to complete the assessment before the hearing, the worker may obtain supervisory approval to complete a preliminary assessment by the date of the adversary hearing.

See Form 6587 Preliminary Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment. The worker cuts and pastes the assessment template into the Contact Detail page in the IMPACT case management system.

If Caregivers Are Identified a Few Days After Removal

If the parents identify a potential caregiver more than a few days after removal and there is not sufficient time for the worker to complete a home assessment before the full adversary hearing, the worker’s supervisor may authorize the worker to:

  •  give the court a preliminary written assessment of the kinship caregiver placement; and

  •  complete the full written assessment within 15 days after the adversary hearing and then submit the assessment to the program director or the director's designee for approval.

Presenting a Preliminary Written Assessment

Before submitting a preliminary assessment, the worker:

  •  completes CPS and criminal history checks on the potential kinship caregiver and household members;

  •  visits the home of the potential kinship caregiver at least once to determine the level of safety, permanency, and well-being he or she can offer the child being placed;

  •  completes a risk assessment (Form 2049) on the prospective caregiver's home; and

  •  obtains a supervisor's approval and completes a preliminary written home assessment. See Form 6587 Preliminary Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment.

If Caregivers Are Identified a During a Family Group Conference

If the parents identify potential kinship caregivers during a family group conference, the worker completes the written home assessment within 15 working days after the caregivers are identified.

If Caregivers Are Identified at Other Times in the Case

If a potential kinship caregiver is identified at any other time, the worker completes a written home assessment within 30 working days after the caregiver is identified.

If kinship caregivers are identified …

then, for each caregiver who is not ruled out, the worker …

at the time of removal …

provides a written home assessment at the adversary hearing.

within one or two days of removal …

provides a written home assessment at the adversary hearing

three or more days after removal, but before the adversary hearing …

provides, with supervisory approval:

  •  a preliminary written home assessment at adversary hearing; and

  •  a full written assessment within 15 days after the adversary hearing.

at the Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) Conference …

completes a written home assessment 15 working days after the caregivers are identified.

At other times in the case …

completes a written home assessment 30 working days after the caregivers are identified.

When a Caregiver Lives Out of State

If a relative or other possible caregiver lives in another state, the timeframes referenced in 6322 Placing a Child With Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers and its subitems do not apply.

Kinship caregivers who live out of state may be eligible for financial assistance.  

See:

4533 Explain the Federal Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver

4534 Explain the DFPS Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) may apply.

See:

9200 Understanding the Interstate Placement Process

4526 Complete a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver

If a Court-Ordered Placement Precedes a Negative Assessment

Immediately Inform the Supervisor and Attorney

If the court places a child before a home assessment has been completed, and the home assessment recommends against placement, the worker immediately:

  •  informs his or her supervisor;

  •  informs the attorney representing DFPS;

  •  provides the supervisor and attorney with a copy of the home assessment; and

  •  consults with the supervisor and attorney about next steps, which include informing the court and possibly setting a hearing.

Inform Other Parties

After informing the supervisor and DFPS attorney, the worker informs the other parties to the suit, including the:

  •  attorney ad litem for the child;

  •  attorney for the parents;

  •  parents, unless their whereabouts are unknown;

  •  court appointed special advocate (CASA); and

  •  guardian ad litem, if the guardian ad litem is not one of the parties listed here.

Obtaining Supervisory Approval for the Home Assessment

The written home assessment, whether preliminary or full, done by CPS staff or contractor, must be approved by the program director or their designee.

Documenting the Home Assessment in IMPACT

The worker documents a Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment in IMPACT in the KIN stage of service. See Appendix 4533-A: Working in the KIN Stage of Service in IMPACT.

4526.1 Referring Across Regional Lines for Kinship Home Assessments and Services

CPS January 2012

When a caseworker makes a referral either for kinship services or for a kinship home assessment to another region, he or she completes and sends the following forms to the CVS Program Administrator for the receiving region:

  •   Form 2077 Inter-Regional Courtesy Agreement

  •   Form 6581 Request for Kinship Home Assessment or Services

  •   All required attachments outlined at the bottom of Form 6581

If a Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment is requested, the sending region mails the potential kinship caregiver:

  •   Form 0398 Kinship Profile Questionnaire, so that the prospective caregiver can begin answering the questions that will be asked during the assessment;

  •   Form 0397 Important Information for All Potential Kinship Caregivers, so that the prospective caregiver has information about the home assessment process; and

  •   Form 0399 Release of Information and Acknowledgement.

A worker in the receiving region is assigned to conduct the home assessment. He or she is responsible for bringing all necessary forms to the home assessment visit for the potential kinship caregivers in case they did not receive them. This worker is also responsible for collecting the signed Form 0399 Release of Information and Acknowledgement for the case file.

Placement Recommendations

The receiving region should not, and does not, make placement recommendations or decisions. The worker in the receiving region who is assigned to conduct the assessment is only responsible for listing the strengths and concerns of the potential kinship caregivers.

A staff person in the placing (sending) region is responsible for making placement recommendations or decisions.

4527 Obtain Approval for Placement in a Kinship Home with DFPS or Criminal History

CPS July 2012

To obtain approval for a kinship placement when someone in the home has a DFPS abuse or neglect or criminal history as outlined in 4523 Conduct and Evaluate CPS History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers, 4525 Conduct and Evaluate Criminal History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers, and the chart in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code, the worker completes a Kinship Safety Evaluation. A Kinship Safety Evaluation is an assessment of how the criminal history or DFPS history of abuse or neglect impacts the caregiver’s ability to keep the child safe.

4527.1 Requirements for a Kinship Safety Evaluation

CPS July 2012

To complete the Kinship Safety Evaluation, the caseworker:

  •  describes the nature and seriousness of the DFPS case or crime for which the potential kinship caregiver or household member was convicted, including any other prior history;

  •  obtains a copy of the report on Administrative Review of Investigative Findings (ARIF), in the case of an RTB finding;

  •  states the age of the person when the DFPS case or crime was committed, if pertinent;

  •  states the time that has elapsed since the person’s last DFPS case or criminal history;

  •  explains the evidence of rehabilitative efforts, including any information gathered from collaterals contacted that support that evidence;

  •  summarizes why the person does not pose a safety threat to the children;

  •  indicates whether the conviction would be an absolute or temporary bar to becoming a foster or adoptive home or would otherwise require a risk evaluation be conducted by RCCL;

  •  explains what the worker told the caregiver about the impact of their conviction or DFPS abuse or neglect history and that the caregiver understood that the conviction or DFPS abuse or neglect history will or may exclude them from being verified as a foster home or an approved adoptive home and will or may limit their ability to receive financial assistance to care for the child;

  •  explains in detail why the worker recommends placing the child in the home:

  •  cites the date of the program director’s approval to proceed with the home assessment despite the caregiver’s DFPS abuse/neglect and/or criminal history; and

  •  submits the evaluation for approval as outlined in 4525.2 Obtain CPS Approval for Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home.

For Absolute and 5 Year Bars that require regional director approval following the Kinship Safety Evaluation, the documentation must also:

  •  describe the extraordinary circumstances that exist to justify the kinship placement in spite of the criminal history or DFPS history of abuse or neglect; and

  •  present compelling justification as to how the caregiver will ensure the child’s safety in the kinship home.

Much of this information may already be contained in the Kinship Home Assessment; however, it must be summarized in the Kinship Safety Evaluation in a way that makes it clear why the potential kinship caregiver’s home is safe despite the criminal history or DFPS history of abuse or neglect.

4527.2 Obtain CPS Approval for Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home

CPS July 2012

The worker must first gain CPS approval for a potential kinship caregiver’s home despite certain criminal history or DFPS history of abuse or neglect, as follows:

If the potential caregiver or someone 14 years of age or older who lives in the potential kinship caregiver’s home has the following history and the Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment and Kinship Safety Evaluation (KSE) establishes the child would be safe in the home...

Then the worker does the following:

  • RTB other than PHAB or SXAB

  • Criminal history other than a 5 Year or absolute bar (including deferred adjudication without completion of probation, indictment, or criminal complaint in this category) and which requires a KSE as outlined in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code

1.   Follow 4523 Conduct and Evaluate CPS History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregiver and 4525 Conduct and Evaluate Criminal History Checks on Potential Kinship Caregivers to obtain approval to proceed with home assessment

2.   Conditionally approves the home assessment pending the KSE outcome if the regional approver determines that approval of the home assessment and placement would be appropriate pending the results of a KSE

3.   Submit KSE in accordance with 4527.1 Requirements for a Kinship Safety Evaluation

4.   Obtain PD approval of KSE and placement of the child in the caregiver’s home

  • RTB for PHAB or SXAB

  • Criminal history that is an  Absolute or 5 Year Bar (including deferred adjudication without completion of probation, indictment, or criminal complaint in this category) and which requires a KSE as outlined in Appendix 4525:Offenses From the Texas Penal Code

1.   Follow steps 1-4 above

2.   Explain extraordinary circumstances and compelling justification to support approval of the placement in spite of history in the KSE;

3.   Obtain PA and RD approval of KSE and placement of child in the caregiver’s home.

If necessary CPS approvals are obtained as described above, the worker proceeds to 4527.3 Obtain Court Approval for a Kinship Caregiver with a Criminal or DFPS History.

4527.3 Obtain Court Approval for a Kinship Caregiver with Criminal or DFPS History

CPS July 2012

If all requirements and necessary approvals are obtained in 4527.2 Obtain CPS Approval for Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home, then the worker:

  •  requests court approval to proceed with the placement;

  •  informs the court about the following:

  •  The specific DFPS history of abuse or neglect or criminal history of a potential kinship caregiver or household member

  •  The consequences of that history on the caregiver’s ability to be verified as a foster home or approved as an adoptive home later in the case; and

  •  Obtains the court’s approval to proceed with the placement and follow instructions in 4527.4 Explaining Consequences of Criminal History to Kinship Caregivers If Court Approval Received.

In the case of a fictive kin caregiver, the worker also follows the process outlined in 4528 Request Special Court Action for Placement With Fictive Kin (Caregivers Not Related to the Child).

4527.4 Explaining Consequences of Criminal History to Kinship Caregivers If Court Approval Received

CPS July 2012

The caseworker explains the consequences of the criminal history to the kinship caregivers.

  •  The caseworker explains to the caregivers, who possess (or whose household members possess) a DFPS finding of RTB for physical or sexual abuse or a criminal conviction resulting in an Absolute or 5 Year Bar (including deferred adjudication without completion of probation, indictment, or criminal complaint in this category), that they are barred from:

  •  becoming foster or adoptive parents for the child, and

  •  receiving adoption assistance or Permanency Care Assistance.

  •  The caseworker explains to the caregivers, who possess (or whose household members possess) other criminal convictions listed in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code (including deferred adjudication without completion of probation, indictment, or criminal complaint in this category), their potential bar from:

  •  becoming foster or adoptive parents for the child, and

  •  receiving adoption assistance or Permanency Care Assistance.

  •  The caseworker obtains the caregivers’ signatures on the Kinship Caregiver Agreement, to indicate that they understand how their DFPS or criminal history affects their ability to become foster or adoptive parents and from receiving adoption assistance or Permanency Care Assistance. 

  •  The caseworker documents the conversation and the kinship caregiver’s understanding of the conversation in IMPACT.

4528 Request Special Court Action for Placement With Fictive Kin (Caregivers Not Related to the Child)

CPS November 2009

If the child is not related to the kinship caregiver by blood, marriage, or adoption (that is, the caregiver is regarded as fictive kin), the worker requests that the court appoint the fictive kin caregiver as possessory conservator of the child. This is necessary because licensing statutes and rules do not allow an unlicensed caregiver to provide residential care without a court order giving the caregiver legal status.

Unless court approval is required first, the worker gives the court and all parties to the suit 10 days written notice of the plan to place the child with a caregiver who is the child's fictive kin before proceeding with the placement. Written notice is not required if the placement plans are discussed in court or ordered by the court.

4529 Place a Child With a Kinship Caregiver After All Prerequisites Are Met

CPS November 2009

Once all prerequisites have been met, the worker places the child with the kinship caregiver. See 4530 Services for Kinship Caregivers.

4530 Services for Unverified Kinship Caregivers

4531 Providing the Kinship Manual and Agreement at Placement

CPS September 2010

When a child is placed in the home of an unverified kinship caregiver, the placing worker informs the caregiver about the services he or she may receive on behalf of the child.

To inform the caregiver, the worker:

  •  provides the caregiver with a copy of the DFPS Kinship Caregiver Manual; and

  •  obtains the caregiver’s signature on the Kinship Caregiver Agreement (Form 0695).

Kinship Caregiver Manual

The DFPS Kinship Caregiver Manual:

  •  describes what caregivers can expect while caring for a child who is in the legal custody of CPS due to abuse or neglect; and

  •  is a resource for unverified kinship caregivers to meet their short-term needs, thereby helping to stabilize the placement.

Texas Family Code §261.3071

Kinship Caregiver Agreement

The Kinship Caregiver Agreement (Form 0695) outlines the agreement between DFPS and the unverified kinship caregiver for providing care to a child in DFPS conservatorship.

The worker:

  •  reviews and signs the agreement; and

  •  asks the caregiver to review and sign the agreement.

See:

6124.3 Substitute Care Services to the Caregiver

4134 Issues Regarding Subsequent Placements

4532 Referring the Case to the Regional Kinship Development Worker

CPS September 2010

Within seven calendar days after placing a child with an unverified kinship caregiver, the child’s worker:

  •  completes a referral form obtained from the worker’s regional office; and

  •  forwards it to the kinship unit in the region where the child is placed.

Once the unit receives the kinship referral, the case is assigned to a kinship development worker.

If no kinship worker is available in an area, the conservatorship (CVS) worker provides services to the unverified kinship caregiver.

Opening the Case in IMPACT

When opening a case in the Kinship stage of service in the IMPACT case management system, the worker assigns:

  •  the kinship worker as the primary worker; and

  •  the child’s caseworker as the secondary worker.

4533 The Duties of a Kinship Development Caseworker

CPS September 2011

Kinship development caseworkers (KDW) are DFPS positions designed specifically to provide support and resources for unverified kinship caregivers. The caseworkers are available in all DFPS regions, but not in all communities.

When there is a kinship development caseworker available in the kinship caregiver’s area, he or she serves as the primary caseworker responsible for finding local resources to meet the child’s and caregiver’s needs.

Specifically, the kinship development caseworker:

  •   provides training, individually or in groups, to help the unverified kinship caregiver meet the needs of the child;

  •   provides resources or referrals to resources to ensure the stability of the placement; for example, providing or referring the family to financial assistance, child care, counseling, remedial educational programs, and academic enrichment programs;

  •   assesses kinship families continually, to determine their strengths and needs;

  •   helps with permanency planning for the child, along with the child’s substitute care caseworker, and

  •   provides support for the kinship caregiver family in reaching the child’s goals.

See 4532 Referring the Case to the Regional Kinship Development Caseworker.

Documenting in IMPACT

Substitute Care (SUB) Stage

In the SUB stage of IMPACT, the kinship caseworker is assigned as the secondary caseworker and works with the substitute care caseworker (also known as the subcare caseworker) to coordinate services for the kinship caregiver and child.

As the kinship caseworker coordinates services for the kinship caregiver, the kinship caseworker may gather additional information that is helpful to the substitute care caseworker, such as additional support for the family and family history. The kinship caseworker provides this information to the substitute care caseworker to help him or her update and complete various tasks, including establishing relationships in Family Tree (see 1432 Family Tree).

Kinship (KIN) Stage

In the KIN stage of IMPACT, the kinship caseworker is assigned as the primary caseworker and documents there the contacts he or she has made with kinship caregivers.

See Appendix 4533-A: Working in the KIN Stage of Service in IMPACT.

Providing Other Services to the Caregiver

Other services the caseworker provides to the caregiver include:

  •   ensuring that the child’s service plan addresses any issues or concerns identified in the written home assessment;

  •   ensuring that the caregiver has the latest version of the child’s service plan and copies of all other documents or information normally provided to substitute caregivers, as explained in 6420 Services to the Substitute Caregiver;

  •   inviting the caregiver to participate in:

  •   the initial preparation and subsequent reviews of the child’s service plan,

  •   Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) conferences (see 6273.1 Family Group Conferences),

  •   all court reviews of the child’s case, as long as the child remains in the caregiver’s care; and

  •   explaining the medical and dental policies outlined in 11200 Medical and Dental Services.

For additional information about initial and ongoing services, see:

1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM)

6124.3 Substitute Care Services to the Caregiver

6420 Services to the Substitute Caregiver

4534 Explaining the Federal Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver

CPS September 2010

When a child is placed with an unverified kinship caregiver, the child’s worker must explain the financial resources that may be available from the federal government. These resources are also explained in the Kinship Caregiver Manual.

Also see 4535 Explaining the DFPS Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver.

Texas Family Code, §264.755

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1005

When the Caregiver Is Related to the Child

If the unverified kinship caregiver is related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption, he or she may apply to receive services from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF services are made available through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

If the kinship caregiver’s family is certified for TANF, the household can be certified to receive a cash benefit and family medical assistance for the child.

The child also retains his or her eligibility for DFPS Medicaid, as long as:

  •  DFPS retains custody of the child; and

  •  the child lives with the kinship caregiver.

The TANF worker explains to the caregiver that it is optional to apply for a child-only TANF grant in which the caregiver is not included in the benefit calculation and the benefit is provided only for the child.

The caregiver must inform the child’s worker if the caregiver plans to apply for the child-only TANF grant.

If the caregiver applies for and receives the child-only TANF grant, the child’s Medicaid eligibility will end when DFPS’s legal responsibility for the child ends.

When the Caregiver Is the Child’s Grandparent

If the unverified kinship caregiver is a grandparent of the child, then the grandparent may be eligible for an additional TANF benefit. This additional benefit, known as the one-time TANF payment to grandparents, provides up to $1,000 to help with the costs of integrating the child into the grandparent’s home.

The child’s worker must refer the grandparent to HHSC, which determines eligibility for the one-time payment.

The general eligibility requirements for a kinship caregiver who is a grandparent to receive a one-time TANF payment to grandparents are as follows:

  •  The child has been approved to receive a TANF benefit (usually a child-only grant in which the caregiver is not included in the grant calculation and the grant is provided only for the child).

  •  The grandparent is 45 years of age or older.

  •  The grandparent’s income does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty limit.

  •  The family’s resources are less than or equal to TANF resource limits.

The child’s worker or kinship development worker:

  •  completes Form 0696 Kinship/TANF Program Letter; and

  •  provides it to the grandparent to use when applying for TANF.

Form 0696 serves as a letter to the TANF worker:

  •  explaining the role the kinship caregiver provides to CPS; and

  •  clarifying that the caregiver is not a paid foster home.

When the Caregiver Is Not Related to the Child

The child retains his or her eligibility for Medicaid as long as:

  •  DFPS retains custody of the child; and

  •  the child lives with the unverified kinship caregiver.

4535 Explaining the DFPS Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver

CPS September 2010

To help unverified kinship caregivers care for children, limited financial assistance is available through the DFPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program. The program provides continuity and stability for children in the conservatorship of DFPS. All assistance is subject to the eligibility of the caregivers and the availability of funds.

When a child is placed with an unverified kinship caregiver, the child’s worker must explain the financial resources that may be available through the program.

Family Code, §264.755

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1005

Also see 4534 Explaining the Federal Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver.

Integration Benefit

The purpose of the integration benefit is to provide continuity and stability for children who are in the conservatorship of DFPS by helping eligible unverified kinship caregivers afford the costs associated with integrating a child into the home.

The benefit may be applied for each sibling group in each initial placement, after DFPS approves placement with the kinship caregiver.

Documenting in IMPACT

If the unverified kinship caregiver meets the eligibility requirements, the kinship development worker takes the following steps in the IMPACT case management system:

  •  Generates a resource ID

  •  Creates a contract

  •  Requests an integration payment

See steps E and F in Appendix 4533-B: Add a Kinship Home to IMPACT.

IMPACT checks that all required information has been entered into the system before payment is made.

Once the transaction is confirmed by IMPACT, payment is made by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Payment Deadline

Integration payments must be made within 90 days of placement.

Exception:

      The worker has 120 calendar days from the date that the child is placed to submit an authorization for an integration benefit on behalf of grandparents who may qualify.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  •  The child being placed is in the conservatorship of DFPS.

  •  The child is placed with an unverified kinship caregiver who was formally approved by DFPS.

  •  The home in which the child is placed is not a licensed or verified foster or group home that is receiving foster care maintenance payments.

  •  Placement occurred on or after March 1, 2006.

  •  The caregiver signs and abides by the Kinship Caregiver Agreement (Form 0695).

  •  No other caregiver has received an integration benefit on behalf of the child or sibling group being placed. For example, a sibling group of five is placed with two caregivers. One caregiver takes three children; the other takes two children. Both caregivers may be eligible for the integration benefit; however, no subsequent kinship placements are eligible.

  •  The caregiver’s family income does not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty limit, in accordance with current federal poverty guidelines.

      See the Federal Poverty Income Limit Chart in IMPACT in the Quick Reference Guide under the Help button.

  •  The caregiver must be ineligible for the one-time TANF payment to grandparents, as documented by a denial to the grandparent or by Form 0698 Ineligibility Documentation for TANF Grandparents Grant.

Reimbursement Benefit

An unverified kinship caregiver may also qualify for an annual reimbursement of up to $500 per child for child-related expenses, if the expenses meet eligibility requirements and the kinship caregiver is eligible.

The caregiver is reimbursed for child-related expenses on the anniversary of the date the child was placed with the relative.

To request reimbursement, the unverified kinship caregiver must:

  •  complete Form 0697 Application for Kinship Reimbursement;

  •  designate which child-related items were purchased;

  •  designate how much the items cost; and

  •  sign the form, affirming that the money was spent for the designated child.

The eligibility criteria for a reimbursement benefit are as follows:

  •  The placement was formally approved by DFPS.

  •  The expenses being claimed occurred on or after September 1, 2005.

  •  The request for reimbursement is being made on behalf of a child who is in the care of the unverified kinship caregiver at the time the expenses are incurred and at the time the invoice is processed.

  •  The child is in DFPS conservatorship, or was in DFPS conservatorship immediately before the child’s kinship caregiver was awarded permanent managing conservatorship (PMC).

  •  The caregiver has signed and continues to abide by the Kinship Caregiver Agreement (Form 0695).

  •  No other caregiver has been paid under the reimbursement provision on behalf of the child in the year for which the expenses are submitted.

  •  The home in which the child is placed is not a licensed or verified foster or group home receiving foster care maintenance payments.

  •  The family income does not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty limit, in accordance with current federal poverty guidelines and as described below.

If the unverified kinship caregiver obtains permanent managing conservatorship of the child, and all other eligibility requirements are met, the kinship caregiver may request the $500 annual reimbursement for the three years following the award of PMC, or until the child reaches age 18, whichever comes first.

After attaining permanent managing conservatorship, the kinship caregiver does as follows:

  •  Submit proof of the child’s residence, such as the child’s school records, Medicaid card, or TANF eligibility statements. Materials provided as proof of residence must show the child’s name, the kinship caregiver’s name, and the child’s and caregiver’s joint address as proof that they live in the same home.

  •  Provide the date the court transferred the child from DFPS conservatorship to the permanent managing conservatorship of the kinship caregiver, and produce a court order if the date cannot be verified through the IMPACT data management system.

Caregivers who obtain permanent managing conservatorship may be eligible to apply for other assistance offered through the state’s Texas Works program on behalf of the child for whom they obtain PMC. The caregiver submits a Medicaid application to HHSC on behalf of the child to see if the child will qualify for Medicaid.

4536 Advising the Unverified Kinship Caregiver About Support Services

CPS September 2010

The worker explains to the unverified kinship caregiver the support services that may be available, such as:

  •  day care;

  •  group training;

  •  financial and legal services;

  •  support from a kinship development worker; and

  •  support from various local sources, such as a church or food bank.

Day Care

DFPS may provide day care for children in DFPS conservatorship who live with eligible kinship families. Day care is provided in accordance with the policies explained in 8235.5 Kinship Child Day Care, and only as funds are available.

To be eligible for day care services, an unverified kinship caregiver must:

  •  meet the general eligibility requirements for assistance, such as formal approval by DFPS, signing and abiding by the kinship caregiver agreement (Form 0695), and other requirements specified in Title 40 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), §700.1003.

  •  work outside of the home for 40 hours per week; and

  •  be a resident of Texas.

To apply for day care services, the child’s kinship development worker or caseworker must submit a request to the regional day care liaison.

Each DFPS region has a priority system for the allocation of day care slots.

See:

8235.5 Kinship Child Day Care

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§700.1013, 700.1015

Group Training Sessions (Support and Education)

In certain areas of Texas, unverified kinship caregivers may attend group training and education sessions (known as Kinship Care Support/Education Group Training) designed to support unverified kinship caregivers. The group training is facilitated by the kinship development worker and follows a structured, 10-week curriculum.

Topics covered include:

  •  stress management;

  •  self-esteem;

  •  substance abuse;

  •  sexual abuse;

  •  discipline;

  •  identifying and accessing community resources; and

  •  information about CPS processes.

Support training provided through local community nonprofit organizations may also benefit kinship families.

Support Services From Kinship Development Workers

Kinship development workers (KDW) are DFPS positions designed specifically to provide support and resources for unverified kinship caregivers. The workers are available in all DFPS regions, but not in all communities. For a detailed description of the services provided, see 4533 The Duties of a Kinship Development Worker.

Financial and Legal Resources

If there is a kinship development worker available to work with the unverified kinship caregiver, he or she serves as the primary worker for finding resources to meet the caregiver’s financial and legal needs. (In areas where no kinship development worker is available, the substitute care worker becomes the primary worker for that purpose.)

If the caregiver lives in another state, the kinship development worker makes the caregiver aware that he or she may be eligible for financial assistance.

See:

4534 Explaining the Federal Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver

4535 Explaining the DFPS Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver

Local Assistance

The worker may also refer families to local sources of financial assistance, such as the following, to help them meet the child’s needs and ensure the stability of the placement:

  •  Food banks

  •  Churches

  •  Utility companies

4537 When Services Are Not Available to the Unverified Kinship Caregiver

CPS September 2010

When No Kinship Development Worker Is Available

In areas where no kinship development worker is available, the child’s substitute care worker is responsible for finding resources to meet the needs of both the child and family. (Substitute care workers also find resources for the child before the child is placed with a kinship family, when the child is in DFPS conservatorship.)

When No Support Training Is Available

If kinship support training is not available in the caregiver’s area, the worker researches availability through the following local support groups and provides a list of options to the unverified kinship caregivers, such as the:

  •  Area Agencies on Aging (AAA);

  •  National Urban League;

  •  The caregiver’s local school district;

  •  Grandparents Raising Grandchildren; and

  •  American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

When Other Services Are Not Available

If the unverified kinship caregiver or the child needs services that are not available through Medicaid or through nonprofit organizations in the caregiver’s community, workers use services provided by DFPS contractors, as funding allows.

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