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6600 Case Planning with Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers

Services to Kinship Caregivers

For general information on kinship care, see the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide.

Kinship care refers to the care of a child by relatives or close family friends (also known as fictive kin). CPS is generally required to place a child with a kinship caregiver, when the child must be removed from the child’s home, because it maintains the child’s connections with his or her family and community.

6610 Identifying a Potential Relative Placement Before the Adversary Hearing

CPS February 2017

Before the adversary hearing, the caseworker must complete the following tasks to determine if it is in the child’s best interest to place the child with a potential substitute caregiver identified on Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource:

  •  contact potential caregivers listed on Form 2625 and determine their level of interest;

  •  inform the potential caregiver of the requirement for CPS and criminal history checks on household members and regular visitors before beginning the home assessment process;

  •  request demographic information on all household members and regular visitors including:

  •  dates of birth,

  •  social security or legal permanent resident numbers,

  •  current address, and

  •  addresses for any residences outside of Texas in the previous three years;

  •  conduct and review a CPS background check and a criminal history check of each interested person listed on Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource;

  •  conduct and review a CPS background check and a criminal history check of each household member who is 14 years old and up, and for regular visitors. See 6612 Conducting Background Checks;

  •  conduct a preliminary kinship caregiver home assessment of the potential kinship caregiver determined to be the most suitable (see Form 6588 Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment);

  •  If the child is in a Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) at the time of removal and the PCSP has been approved a preliminary home assessment is not required.

  •  conduct a home visit to ensure that CPS has identified and addressed any physical safety threats;

  •  within 48 hours of the placement the caseworker must:

  •  initiate a full kinship assessment (to include a PCSP home where the child was living at the time of the removal); and

  •  refer for immediate assignment of a kinship development caseworker (KDW).

For specific requirements about locating and providing notification to relatives, see 3224 Notification.

6611 Referring a Relative Who Is Interested in Caregiving

CPS February 2017

If the relative is interested in becoming a temporary caregiver for the child, see 7300 Training Foster and Adoptive Applicants.

6612 Conducting Background Checks

6612.1 Conducting and Evaluating CPS History Checks

CPS February 2017

For each potential kinship caregiver being considered for placement, the caseworker must:

  •  conduct a search in IMPACT for any CPS history on each person in the household who:

  •  is 14 years of age or older;

  •  is a regular visitors to the home; and

  •  cares for the child (for example, a babysitter); and

  •  check local CPS records in other states where each potential kinship caregiver has lived since turning 18 years old.

6612.11 If No CPS History Is Found

CPS February 2017

If the caseworker does not find any CPS history of abuse or neglect for the potential kinship caregiver, or for all household members over age 14, the caseworker must proceed with the home assessment. Refer to 6620 Contacting and Placing with a Potential Caregiver After the Removal.

6612.12 If CPS History Is Found

CPS February 2017

If the caseworker finds CPS history on anyone living in the home of the potential kinship caregiver, or on any regular visitors to the potential kinship caregiver’s home, the caseworker must document the information in IMPACT.

If there is CPS history with a finding of Reason To Believe (RTB) on a potential kinship caregiver or any household member age 14 and older, the caseworker must not place the child in the home, unless an exception is met.

If a placement is not made because of a CPS finding of Reason to Believe, the person who has the finding and is designated as a perpetrator may request a Placement Review of Findings by a CPS resolution specialist to determine whether the findings should stand.

6612.13 If the Finding Is Overturned

CPS February 2017

If a Placement Review of Findings results in a Reason To Believe (RTB) finding being overturned and there is no other CPS or criminal history that affects the potential caregiver’s eligibility for placement, the caseworker must proceed to 6623 Completing a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver.

6612.14 If the Finding Is Not Overturned

CPS February 2017

If the Placement Review of Findings does not overturn a finding, the caseworker generally does not place the child unless an exception is met.

A caseworker must never place a child in a home if there is an open CPS investigation or CPS is providing family-based safety services (FBSS), family substitute care stage (FSU), substitute care (SUB), or family reunification stage (FRE) to the potential kin caregiver.

Exceptions to this limitation are:

  •  a sibling placement with a parent who is not the biological parent of both siblings; and

  •  family reunification with the parent of one sibling when siblings are placed together.

6612.15 Exceptions

CPS February 2017

Reason To Believe (RTB) RTB for Medical Neglect, Physical Neglect, Refusal to Accept Parental Responsibility and Abandonment

If the Placement Review of Findings does not overturn a finding, the caseworker may make a placement only if the program director approves the placement. See 6624 Obtaining CPS Approval of the Home Assessment and Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home. Also reference Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code, Chart 2: Assessing Criminal History Offenses and Convictions for Kinship Placement and Kinship Foster and Adoptive Homes.

RTB for Physical or Sexual Abuse

If the Placement Review of Findings does not overturn a finding, CPS may make a placement only if there are extraordinary circumstances. The CVS caseworker’s program administrator and regional director must approve the placement.

If the family is ruled out for further consideration of based on a CPS history, in accordance with 6615 If a Potential Kinship Caregiver is Denied Further Consideration, the caseworker must:

  •  discuss the decision to rule out the family with the supervisor;

  •  document the decision in IMPACT on the Contact Detail page, by selecting Contact Summary Type and then selecting Kinship Disposition Summary; and

  •  contact the potential kinship caregiver to notify him or her of the decision.

If CPS decides to give the potential caregiver further consideration, the caseworker must complete a Kinship Safety Evaluation. See 6625 Requirements for a Kinship Safety Evaluation.

6612.16 Warning the Potential Caregiver

CPS February 2017

If CPS approves a potential caregiver with a finding of Reason to Believe as the permanent placement for a child, the caseworker must inform the potential caregiver that he or she may not be approved as a foster or adoptive parent for the child, depending on the outcome of a subsequent risk evaluation needed to meet Child Care Licensing minimum requirements, if eligible.

If not approved as a foster or adoptive parent, the potential caregiver will not be eligible for foster care maintenance payments, adoption assistance payments, or Permanency Care Assistance payments.

Being unaware of this policy could create significant hardship for the child and the potential caregiver.

6613 Conducting a Criminal History Check

CPS February 2017

For each potential kinship caregiver who has not been ruled out based on CPS history, the caseworker must initiate criminal background checks and evaluate any history on:

  •  each household member who is 14 years of age or older; and

  •  regular visitors to the home.

See 6613.2 Determining the Consequences of a Criminal History and 6612.1 Conducting and Evaluating CPS History Checks.

To complete a thorough criminal history check, the caseworker must:

  •  verify the caregiver’s, household members’ and regular visitors’ identities;

  •  obtain all names, including aliases and maiden names, that members of the household and regular visitors have ever used;

  •  verify the spelling of names, obtain dates of birth, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. If the person does not have a social security or driver’s license number, it may be possible for the person to establish his or her identity as described below. However, the caseworker must always obtain and verify spelling of names, dates of birth, and the person’s identity;

      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. Staff may accept another form of identification with a picture, for example, a credit card, library card, employee badge, or school identification, 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; and

  •  initiate the criminal background check through IMPACT within two business days of the kinship family agreeing to the request for placement, even if a criminal background was completed for a parental child safety placement or other previous CPS involvement before CPS was granted conservatorship.

Caregivers Living in Texas for Fewer than Three Years

If the kinship caregiver, household members 14 years or older or anyone who cares for the child being assessed has not lived in Texas for the past three consecutive years, CPS must perform:

  •  a Texas criminal history check; and

  •  an FBI fingerprint check.

See:

1811 Criminal Records Checks Legal Requirements

1812 FBI Records Checks

6613.1 Determining the Consequences of a Criminal History

CPS February 2017

If any member of the potential kinship caregiver’s household has a criminal history, the caseworker must determine the type of criminal history and its effect on kinship placement, using the table in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code, Chart 2: Assessing Criminal History Offenses and Convictions for Kinship Placement and Kinship Foster and Adoptive Homes.

Convictions

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

  •  absolute bars, unless the regional director grants an exception following a Kinship Safety Evaluation;

  •  five year bars, unless the regional director grants an exception following a Kinship Safety Evaluation;

  •  other offenses that may preclude placement, unless the program director grants approval 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.

  •  the caseworker and supervisor must consider other criminal convictions not listed in Chart 2 in relation to a potential kinship caregiver’s ability to provide a safe home for the child.

History Other Than Convictions

A 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, may prohibit placement, depending on the offense. When such history exists, a program director or regional director may need to provide approval.

Staff generally does not approve placement 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.

Staff may grant exceptions following the guidelines used in the case of a conviction for the same offense. See in Appendix 4525: Offenses From the Texas Penal Code, Chart 2: Assessing Criminal History Offenses and Convictions for Kinship Placement and Kinship Foster and Adoptive Homes.

Being investigated for a criminal offense or having been arrested for a criminal offense does not indicate guilt or innocence and should not be weighed the same as a criminal conviction. However, as part of the overall home assessment process, the caseworker should consider and address situations in which a potential caregiver or household member:

  •  has an arrest history related to child safety; or

  •  is currently under investigation for an offense.

If the caseworker cannot make a determination, he or she must consult with the supervisor.

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

6613.2 Considering the Totality of the Circumstances

CPS February 2017

When evaluating history that is not an absolute bar to placement, the caseworker must consider the totality of the circumstances and other factors that may affect the overall decision for placement.

While staff must consider all convictions and any other pertinent criminal history information, the presence or absence of a criminal history is only one of many factors staff must weigh in determining whether a potential kinship caregiver can provide a safe and stable home for a child in conservatorship.

Staff should not automatically assume that:

  •  a kinship caregiver can provide a safe and stable home because there is no criminal history;

  •  a potential kinship caregiver should not automatically be ruled out solely based on a criminal history, without considering its impact for placement; and

  •  a particular conviction or history should not be considered in relation to a child’s safety because it is not addressed in the table in Appendix 4525: Chart 2: Assessing Criminal History Offenses and Convictions for Kinship Placement and Kinship Foster and Adoptive Homes.

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

  •  information provided by references.

Factors that may support approval of a potential caregiver’s home, despite 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;

  •  the kinship caregiver demonstrates sufficient protective capacity; or

  •  any combination of the above.

Factors that may support 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 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; or

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

6614 If More Than One Potential Kinship Caregiver Is Under Consideration

CPS February 2017

If, after completing IMPACT and criminal history checks, the caseworker identifies more than one person as a potential caregiver for the child, the caseworker must take the following steps to determine the most appropriate caregiver:

  •  consider the wishes of the family. The caseworker may hold a family group conference to try and determine the family’s wishes. See 1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM);

  •  consider the totality of the circumstances in the potential kinship caregivers’ homes, including the relationship between any potential caregiver and the child;

  •  consider CPS policy (see 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement); and

  •  consult with the caseworker’s supervisor to determine the most appropriate caregiver, and conduct a written home assessment for that caregiver (see 6623 Completing a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver).

6614.1 Determining Whether to Proceed with Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment

CPS February 2017

Once staff makes a determination about the impact of a criminal history using the table in Appendix 4525: Chart 2: Assessing Criminal History Offenses and Convictions for Kinship Placement and Kinship Foster and Adoptive Homes, the caseworker must consult with the supervisor to determine whether to proceed with the kinship home assessment. The caseworker must document the staffing in IMPACT on the Contact Detail or Monthly Evaluation pages.

6614.2 Informing Potential Kinship Caregivers of Potential Consequences of Criminal History

CPS February 2017

If staff decides to move forward with the kinship home assessment, the caseworker 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 caseworker must also inform the potential caregiver that he or she may even be barred from being a foster or adoptive parent, which may also make him or her ineligible for Adoption Assistance and Permanency Care Assistance.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.651; 745.657

Although the information is discussed during the kinship home assessment and the warning is printed on Form 0695 Kinship Caregiver Agreement, the caseworker must specifically inform the potential kinship caregiver to help him or her understand the consequences of his or her criminal history.

6615 If a Potential Kinship Caregiver Is Denied Further Consideration

CPS February 2017

If CPS rules out the family for further consideration, the caseworker must inform the kinship caregiver about the decision. If the family is ruled out by someone other than the primary caseworker, then that individual must inform the primary caseworker of the decision not to proceed. A written home assessment does not need to be completed in this circumstance, unless ordered by the court. The caseworker must document the decision not to proceed in IMPACT, on the Contact Detail page, by selecting Contact Summary Type and then selecting Kinship Disposition and Summary.

If at any time, a family under review as a potential kinship caregiver is denied for kinship home assessment or placement, the caseworker must:

  •  ask the potential caregiver if they are willing to be a Permanency Resource for the child;

  •  inform the potential caregiver that the denial does not necessarily rule out future consideration; and

  •  assess the next potential kinship caregiver identified on Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource or in other information the caseworker has gathered.

6620 Contacting and Placing with a Potential Caregiver After the Removal

CPS February 2017

Before CPS can place a child with a caregiver, CPS must complete a DFPS history and background check, DPS criminal history check and a preliminary assessment. CPS policy requires that the checks and preliminary assessment be completed and approved before a child is placed, and the caseworker must complete a home assessment as soon as possible after placement. See 6623 Completing a Risk Assessment and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver.

If the parents or the child has identified a potential kinship caregiver, the caseworker must contact the potential caregiver and:

  •  explain the reason for the contact;

  •  verify the potential caregiver’s continued interest in being a placement option;

  •  inform the potential caregiver of the requirement for CPS and criminal history checks on household members and regular visitors before beginning the home assessment process;

  •  advise potential kinship caregivers that a contracted home assessment provider will contact them;

  •  explain the process for completing a written home assessment;

  •  explain the process for completing a criminal background check;

  •  inform the potential kinship caregiver that CPS requires face-to-face interviews with all household members, three years of age and older, in order for an assessment to be considered complete;

  •  inform the potential kinship caregiver that CPS requires three non-relative and two relative references;

  •  request demographic information on all household members and frequent visitors including dates of birth, social security or legal permanent resident numbers, current address, and addresses for any residences outside of Texas in the previous three years;

  •  explain CPS’s expectations of a kinship caregiver, the court process for a CPS case, and the commitment required of a kinship caregiver; and

  •  verify the family’s contact information is accurate.

6621 Placing with a Relative after the Adversary Hearing

CPS February 2017

After CPS places a child with a relative or other designated caregiver, following the DFPS background check, DPS criminal history check, and the preliminary assessment, the child’s caseworker must follow the policies outlined in the steps of the home assessment process.

See:

6614.1 Determining Whether to Proceed with Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment

6623 Completing a Risk Assessment, and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver

6623.2 The Written Home Assessment

6624 Obtaining CPS Approval of the Home Assessment and Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home

6622 Presenting a Preliminary Written Assessment

CPS February 2017

Before submitting a preliminary assessment, the caseworker must:

  •  complete CPS and criminal history checks on the potential kinship caregiver and household members who are regular visitors;

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

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

  •  obtain a supervisor’s approval and complete a preliminary written home assessment. See Form 6587 Preliminary Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment.

If a Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) assessment has already been completed, it may be used instead of the preliminary written assessment.

6623 Completing a Risk Assessment, and a Written Home Assessment of the Kinship Caregiver

CPS February 2017

Before CPS can place a child with a kinship caregiver, or recommend to the court that the child be placed, the child’s caseworker or contracted provider must assess the caregiver’s suitability by completing:

  •  a written assessment of a kinship caregiver’s home, using Form 6588 Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment Template; and

  •  a risk assessment, using Form 2049 Risk Assessment.

Either CPS staff or a contractor may complete the written home assessment and risk assessment.

6623.1 The Risk Assessment

CPS February 2017

When seeking to place a child with a kinship caregiver, either temporarily or permanently, the caseworker must pay attention to the risk and safety issues that may be present.

After obtaining the results of the risk assessment, the caseworker or contractor must:

  •  incorporate the risk results into the written home assessment;

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

  •  submit the written home assessment for approval, using Form 6588 Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment Template.

6623.2 The Written Home Assessment

CPS August 2017

Timeframes for Completing Home Assessments

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

If kinship caregivers are identified …

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

at the time of removal …

provide a written home assessment at the adversary hearing.

within one or two days of removal …

provide a written home assessment at the adversary hearing.

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

provide, 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 …

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

at other times in the case …

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

If the risk assessment (Form 2049) identifies concerns, the caseworker or contractor must ensure that the written home assessment addresses the concerns.

If the family had a prior DFPS history that required a program director approval regarding a Reason to Believe or a review of findings and a kinship safety evaluation (KSE), the caseworker must attach the findings and the KSE to the home assessment.

The written home assessment must also address any:

  •   relevant background;

  •   mitigating factors;

  •   rehabilitation; and

  •   any other issues relevant to why the caseworker recommends approving placement despite the concerns.

The kinship development caseworker must create a developmental plan to address concerns identified in the home assessment. See 6641 The Duties of the Kinship Development Caseworker.

See:

6612.1 Conducting and Evaluating CPS History Checks

6613 Conducting a Criminal History Check

6624 Obtaining CPS Approval of the Home Assessment and Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home

CPS February 2017

The supervisor must review and approve the home assessment. Once the home assessment is reviewed, CPS must make a determination about placing the child in the caregiver’s home. The caseworker must gain CPS approval for a potential kinship caregiver’s home.

See also 6630 Requesting Special Court Action for Placement with Fictive Kin.

If…

Then…

The home assessment is approved and there are no concerns regarding CPS history, criminal history, or child safety.

Home assessment will only require supervisor’s approval.

The caseworker places the child.

The caseworker refers the case to the Kinship Program no later than two days after placement.

The home assessment is approved but requires a kinship development plan due to identified concerns.

Document requirements for addressing the identified concerns in the home assessment before approval. If the identified concerns require immediate protective actions, the caseworker coordinates with the caregiver to implement the required actions. The supervisor approves with conditions.

Place the child in the home.

      The caseworker places the child and refers to the Kinship Program for the requirements to be addressed through ongoing supports and services. The kinship caseworker contacts the caregiver to discuss the requirements and requests agreement from the caregiver. The kinship caseworker develops a kinship development plan. The supervisor approves with conditions.

Place the child in the home.

      The kinship caseworker develops a kinship developmental plan with the caregiver.

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.

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 6612.1 Conducting and Evaluating CPS History Checks and 6613 Conducting a Criminal History Check to obtain approval to proceed with home assessment.

2.   Conditionally approves the home assessment, pending the KSE outcome, if the Program Director or their designee 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 6625 Requirements for a Kinship Safety Evaluation.

4.   The CVS PD who conditionally approved the home assessment must approve the KSE and placement of the child in the caregiver’s home.

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.

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 despite history in the KSE.

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

If Home Assessment is Denied

Home Assessment is Denied Due to:

Action

Criminal or CPS History

See 6612 Conducting Background Checks or 6613 Conducting a Criminal History Check.

Incomplete home assessment. The Home Assessment does not contain sufficient information.

The caseworker returns the home assessment to the provider for completion and does not place the child.

Placement is not in the child’s best interest.

The caseworker completes a Kinship Disposition Summary in IMPACT and notifies the relative and all legal parties.

6625 Requirements for a Kinship Safety Evaluation (KSE)

CPS August 2017

To complete the Kinship Safety Evaluation, the caseworker must:

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

  •   obtain a copy of the report on the administrative review of investigative findings (ARIF), in the case of a Reason to Believe (RTB) finding;

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

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

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

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

  •   indicate whether the conviction would be an absolute or temporary bar to becoming a foster or adoptive home or would otherwise require Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) to conduct a risk evaluation;

  •   explain what the caseworker told the caregiver about the impact of the 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

  •   limit their ability to receive financial assistance to care for the child;

  •   explain in detail why the caseworker recommends placing the child in the home:

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

  •   submit the evaluation for approval as outlined in 6624 Obtaining CPS Approval of the Home Assessment and Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home.

For absolute and five 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 despite 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, the caseworker must summarize it 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.

A kinship safety evaluation (KSE) may not be used to approve a home assessment for payment.

6630 Requesting Special Court Action for Placement with Fictive Kin

CPS February 2017

Unless court approval is required first, the caseworker must give 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.

See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, under Definitions.

6631 Obtaining Court Approval for a Kinship Caregiver with Criminal or CPS History

CPS February 2017

If all requirements and necessary approvals are obtained in 6624 Obtaining CPS Approval of the Home Assessment and Placement of a Child in a Kinship Home, then the caseworker must:

  •  request court approval to proceed with the placement;

  •  inform the court about the following:

  •  a potential kinship caregiver or household member’s specific CPS history of abuse or neglect or criminal history; and

  •  how that history affects the ability to verify the caregiver as a foster home or approve the caregiver as an adoptive home later in the case; and

  • obtain the court’s approval to proceed with the placement and follow instructions in 6614.2 Informing Potential Kinship Caregivers of Potential Consequences of Criminal History.

6631.1 If a Court-Ordered Placement Occurs Before a Negative Assessment

CPS February 2017

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 caseworker must immediately:

  •  inform his or her supervisor;

  •  inform the attorney representing CPS;

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

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

Informing Other Parties

After informing the supervisor and CPS attorney, the caseworker must inform 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 for the child, if the guardian ad litem is not one of the parties listed here.

If the child is to remain in placement, the kinship development caseworker must create a developmental plan to address any safety threats. See 6641 The Duties of the Kinship Development Caseworker.

6631.2 If a Court-Ordered Placement Occurs After a Negative Assessment

CPS February 2017

Immediately Inform the Supervisor and Attorney

CPS may not place a child in a home with a denied home assessment; however, if the court orders the placement with the knowledge that the home assessment is denied, the caseworker must immediately:

  •  inform his or her supervisor;

  •  inform the attorney representing CPS;

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

  •  consult with the supervisor and attorney about next steps, to include identifying additional potential caregivers and implication for permanency; and

  •  develop a plan to address any identified safety or risk issues, to ensure the child’s safety.

Inform Other Parties

After informing the supervisor and CPS attorney, the caseworker must inform 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 for the child, if the guardian ad litem is not one of the parties listed here.

6632 Referring Across Regional Lines for Kinship Home Assessments and Services

CPS February 2017

When a caseworker makes a referral either for kinship services or for a kinship home assessment to another region, the caseworker must complete and send the following forms to the conservatorship (CVS) program administrator or designated mailbox 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 Kinship Release of Information and Acknowledgement.

The receiving region assigns a caseworker in that region to conduct the home assessment. The caseworker must bring all necessary forms to the home assessment visit for the potential kinship caregivers in case they did not receive them. This caseworker also must collect 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 caseworker 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 supervisor or above in the placing (sending) region must make placement recommendations or decisions.

6633 Conducting a Pre-Placement Visit and Placing a Child with a Kinship Caregiver

CPS February 2017

Once all prerequisites have been met, the caseworker must conduct a pre-placement visit with the child and caregiver. With supervisory approval, the caseworker may make a placement without conducting a pre-placement visit if the proposed caregiver is a relative or fictive kin who:

  •  has a long-standing or significant relationship with the child; and

  •  has provided care for the child at any time during the 12 months preceding the date of the proposed placement.

After the completing the pre-placement visit, the caseworker places the child with the kinship caregiver. See 4122.3 During the Pre-Placement Visit for more details on how to conduct pre-placement visits.

6634 Providing Required Forms at the Time of Placement

CPS February 2017

For guidance on the actions taken by a caseworker, see 4137 Provide Critical Documents to the Kinship Caregiver.

In addition to the forms required for placement in 4137 the caseworker must provide the following documents to the kinship caregiver at the time of placement:

The child’s caseworker or kinship development caseworker must:

  •  complete Form 0696 Kinship/TANF Program Letter; and

  •  provide it to the grandparent to use when applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (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.

6634.1 Kinship Caregiver Manual

CPS February 2017

The DFPS Kinship Caregiver Manual:

  •  describes what caregivers can expect as well as their responsibilities 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

6634.2 Kinship Caregiver Agreement

CPS February 2017

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

The caseworker must:

  •  review and sign the agreement; and

  •  ask the caregiver to review and sign the agreement.

6640 The Kinship Development Caseworker

6641 Duties of the Kinship Development Caseworker

CPS February 2017

The kinship development caseworker (KDW) is a CPS position designed specifically to provide support and resources for kinship caregivers.

The KDW 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 kinship caregiver meet the child’s needs;

  •  provides resources or referrals to resources to ensure placement stability; 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.

Providing Other Services to the Kinship Caregiver

The KDW also provides these other services to the caregiver:

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

  •  ensures 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 6634 Providing Required Forms at the Time of Placement;

  •  invites the caregiver to participate in:

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

  •  Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM),

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

  •  explains 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).

6642 Services and Contact with the Kinship Caregiver

CPS August 2017

Kinship Development Caseworker (KDW) Assigned Within Two Business Days of Placement.

The caseworker and KDW must meet to discuss the:

  •   child’s needs;

  •   visitation plan;

  •   permanency goal;

  •   details of case; and

  •   caregiver needs.

Upcoming Appointments and Case Planning Needs

The KDW must maintain face-to-face contact with the kinship caregiver as outlined below.

The initial visit to the kinship caregiver’s home must occur within 15 calendar days of case assignment. Before the initial visit the KDW must:

  •   confer with the caseworker;

  •   read the home assessment; and

  •   understand the visitation plan.

During the initial visit, the KDW must:

  •   provide a copy of the DFPS Kinship Caregiver Manual;

  •   complete the kinship agreement;

  •   discuss Star Health benefits and the Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) and whether they have a Texas Health Steps medical checkup scheduled;

  •   discuss financial assistance available to the kinship caregiver to include verification;

  •   complete the integrated payment application with the kinship caregiver;

  •   tour the home, especially the child’s bedroom, to determine if there are any unmet needs or safety hazards;

  •   discuss and develop a kinship developmental plan if the Home Assessment or current visit identified any concerns; and

  •   discuss the need and availability of kinship caregiver training.

6643 Expectations for Face-to-Face Contact with the Kinship Caregiver

6643.1 Frequency

CPS February 2017

The kinship development caseworker (KDW) must make face-to-face contact with the kinship caregiver at least once every month for the first six months of the placement.

After the 6-month period, the KDW must staff with the kinship supervisor and the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker and CVS supervisor to determine if monthly visits by the KDW may be reduced. This decision is based on:

  •  improvements made on the kinship developmental plan (if there is one);

  •  any new resources needed or identified; and

  •  any change in the household composition.

If staff determines that the KDW may reduce contact based on the family’s progress, the KDW supervisor may set another contact schedule. The new contact schedule for the KDW may not be less than quarterly face-to-face with the kinship caregiver. The CVS caseworker’s visits must continue to be at least once a month.

6643.2 Where Visits Must Occur

CPS February 2017

The initial visit must be in the home of the kinship caregiver.

The majority of the monthly visits must occur in the home (for example, out of seven months of monthly visits four must be in the home).

If the kinship development caseworker’s visits have been reduced to quarterly, all quarterly visits must be in the home.

6643.3 Ending Visits

CPS February 2017

Visits must continue with the kinship caregiver until:

  •  the child is moved from the home;

  •  the kinship caregiver becomes licensed as a foster parent and a foster and adoption home development (FAD) or child-placing agency (CPA) case manager is assigned; or

  •  the legal case is closed.

6644 Preparing for the Visits

CPS February 2017

To prepare for all subsequent visits, the caseworker must:

  •  review the kinship developmental plan if there is one;

  •  contact an appropriate collateral;

  •  confer with the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker for an update on the case (in case there have been changes in the permanency goal or the visitation plan); and

  •  call the foster and adoption home development (FAD) or child-placing agency (CPA) case manager to check on the verification process if the family wishes to become a verified home.

6645 Conducting the Kinship Caregiver Visit

CPS February 2017

While visiting with the kinship caregiver, the kinship development caseworker (KDW) must:

  •  review the kinship developmental plan if there is one;

  •  discuss any barriers to completing tasks on the developmental plan and work with the kinship caregiver to identify any strategies to address the barriers;

  •  ask the kinship caregiver if they have any issues or concerns;

  •  discuss the licensing process and assist with issues to expedite the process;

  •  discuss the kinship caregiver’s understanding of the child’s permanency goal and visitation with the parents; and

  •  explore with the kinship caregiver a general knowledge of how the child functions day to day (examples: socially, medically, and educationally).

6646 Actions after each Kinship Caregiver Visit

CPS February 2017

After each visit, the kinship development caseworker (KDW) must:

  •  document the contact with seven days;

  •  document a contact with the child the same day the contact occurs. Enter any narrative related to the contact within seven days;

  •  follow up on any needs identified, such as:

  •  revise the Kinship Developmental Plan;

  •  refer the kinship caregiver for services;

  •  assist with appointments and visits if needed;

  •  speak with the conservatorship (CVS) caseworker about any concerns identified; and

  •  follow up with any barriers to integration payments or the verification process.

6650 Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver

6651 Explaining the Federal Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver

CPS February 2017

When a child is placed with a kinship caregiver, the child’s kinship development caseworker must explain the financial resources that may be available. These resources are also explained in the Kinship Caregiver Manual.

Texas Family Code, §264.755

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1005

6651.1 When the Caregiver Is Related to the Child

CPS February 2017

If the 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. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) administers TANF services.

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 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 caseworker if the caregiver plans to apply for the child-only TANF grant.

6651.2 When the Caregiver Is the Child’s Grandparent

CPS February 2017

A kinship caregiver who is also the child’s grandparent may be eligible for an additional Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (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 caseworker must refer the grandparent to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), which determines eligibility for the one-time payment.

The general eligibility requirements 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; and

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

The child’s caseworker or kinship development caseworker must:

  •  complete Form 0696 Kinship/TANF Program Letter; and

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

  •  If the grandparent is caring for a sibling group, then the kinship development caseworker must request the Integration Add-On rate for each sibling to the oldest child. This provides $495 for each sibling also in the grandparent’s care.

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.

6652 Explaining the CPS Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver

6652.1 Day Care

CPS February 2017

CPS may provide day care for children in CPS conservatorship who live with eligible kinship families. CPS provides day care, 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, a kinship caregiver must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  •  formal approval by CPS, signing and abiding by the kinship caregiver agreement (Form 0695);

  •  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 caseworker or caseworker must submit a request to the regional day care liaison.

Each CPS 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

6652.2 CPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program

CPS February 2017

The CPS Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program (also referred to as the kinship program) provides limited financial assistance to help kinship caregivers care for children. The program provides continuity and stability for children in CPS conservatorship. All assistance is based on caregiver eligibility and availability of funds.

When a child is placed with a kinship caregiver, the kinship development caseworker must explain the financial resources that may be available through the program.

Family Code, §264.755

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1005

Also see 6651 Explaining the Federal Financial Assistance Available to a Kinship Caregiver.

6652.3 Integration Benefit

CPS February 2017

The integration benefit provides continuity and stability for children who are in CPS conservatorship by helping eligible kinship caregivers afford the costs of integrating a child into the home. The Integration payment is $1,000 for a single child or the oldest child in a sibling group and an add-on rate of $495 for each additional sibling in the sibling group.

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

6652.31 Eligibility Criteria

CPS August 2017

To be eligible for the integration benefit:

At the time of placement:

  •   the child being placed must be in DFPS conservatorship;

  •   the child is being placed with a kinship caregiver formally approved by DFPS through the home assessment process;

  •   the home in which the child is being placed is not a verified foster or group home receiving foster care maintenance payments;

  •   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 in the same legal episode;

      Examples:

      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, any subsequent kinship placements in that legal episode are not eligible.

      A child was placed with a relative, reunified with family and the conservatorship (CVS) case closed. The child was later returned to care with a new CVS case and placed with the same relative. This relative may be eligible for the Integration payment.

  •   the caregiver’s family income does not exceed 300 percent of the current federal poverty limit. Total family income must also include all household members including the parents and anyone who moved in on or after initial placement. See the Federal Poverty Income Limit Chart in IMPACT in the Quick Reference Guide under the Help button; and

  •   the caregiver must be ineligible for the one-time Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) payment to grandparents, as documented by:

  •   a denial to the grandparent;

  •   Form 0698 Ineligibility Documentation for TANF Grandparents Grant; or

  •   the caregiver is eligible for the TANF Grant but is caring for a sibling group.

40 TAC Chapter 700, Subchapter J, Division 1

6652.32 Payment Deadline

CPS February 2017

CPS must make integration payments within 90 days of placement.

Exception:

The caseworker 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.

6652.33 Documenting in IMPACT

CPS February 2017

If the kinship caregiver meets eligibility requirements, the kinship development caseworker must take the following steps in IMPACT:

  •  generate a resource ID;

  •  create a contract; and

  •  request an integration payment.

See steps E and F in the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, Add a Kinship Home to IMPACT.

6652.4 Reimbursement Benefit (Flexible Support Payment)

CPS February 2017

A 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.

CPS reimburses the caregiver for child-related expenses on the anniversary of the date the child was placed with the relative. CPS makes the annual reimbursement based on time of placement and not calendar year. For example, the reimbursement payment may be requested one year from the time of placement.

6652.41 Requesting Reimbursement

CPS February 2017

To request reimbursement, the 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.

6652.42 Eligibility Criteria

CPS February 2017

The eligibility criteria for a reimbursement benefit are as follows:

  •  CPS formally approved the placement, through the home assessment process;

  •  the kinship caregiver is making the request for reimbursement on behalf of a child who is in the kinship caregiver’s care at the time the expenses are incurred;

  •  the child is in CPS conservatorship, or was in CPS 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 current federal poverty limit. Family income includes all household members, including parents and anyone who moved in on or after initial placement; and

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

If the 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.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1009

6652.43 Required Documentation

CPS February 2017

After attaining permanent managing conservatorship, the kinship caregiver must:

  •  submit proof of the child’s residence, such as the child’s school records, Medicaid card, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (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; and

  •  provide the date the court transferred the child from CPS conservatorship to the permanent managing conservatorship of the kinship caregiver, and produce a court order if the date cannot be verified through IMPACT.

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 permanent managing conservatorship (PMC). The caregiver submits a Medicaid application to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) on behalf of the child to see if the child will qualify for any additional assistance.

6653 Other Support Services

CPS February 2017

Other support services may be available to the kinship caregiver. See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide under Services for Kinship Caregivers.

6660 Kinship Caregivers Interested in Becoming Verified as Foster Parents

CPS February 2017

Interested relatives and fictive kin are verified as foster parents by:

  •  CPS; or

  •  a private child-placing agency.

See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, under Definitions.

To become a verified foster parent, a kinship caregiver must meet the minimum standards adopted by the DFPS Child Care Licensing Division, including, but not limited to:

  •  passing background checks, including fingerprint-based checks;

  •  completing pre-service training;

  •  passing a foster home screening; and

  •  meeting home environment standards.

The caseworker must inform all of the known adult relatives of the child about the option to pursue verification as a foster parent.

The conservatorship (CVS) and Kinship caseworkers must make the following clear to the kinship caregiver:

  •  any caregiver who is a relative or fictive kin may pursue verification as a foster parent, regardless of the child’s permanency goal; and

  •  the goal for CPS, however, is the timely permanent placement of the child, not long-term foster care, so CPS will act in accordance with the child’s permanency goal.

The requirements for becoming verified as a foster parent are the same for relatives and fictive kin as they are for any unrelated foster parents.

However, on a case-by-case basis, a caseworker may ask the family’s foster and adoptive home development caseworker or the case manager for the private child-placing agency whether it is appropriate to request from Child Care Licensing a waiver or variance from minimum standards that are not related to safety.

For further information about the process for homes being verified by CPS, see 7515 Foster Home Verification.

For further information about verification requirements in general, see Subchapter M of the Child Care Licensing’s Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

6661 Assisting a Kinship Caregiver Seeking Verification as a Foster Parent

CPS February 2017

If a relative or fictive kin expresses interest in becoming a verified foster parent for the child, the caseworker must, as soon as possible:

  •  refer the relative or fictive kin to the regional foster and adoption home development (FAD) caseworker who can help pursue verification; and

  •  inform the relative or fictive kin about the option to pursue verification through a private, child-placing agency.

6661.1 When There Is a Kinship Development Caseworker

CPS August 2017

When the relative or fictive kin has been assigned a kinship development caseworker (KDW), the KDW and the child’s caseworker must provide support to the caregiver throughout the verification process.

When a KDW becomes aware of a kinship caregiver’s interest in becoming a verified foster parent, the KDW must:

  •   notify the conservatorship caseworker and supervisor about the caregiver’s interest; and

  •   refer the family to the foster and adoption home development (FAD) caseworker or private child placing agency.

6661.2 Explaining Eligibility for Services

CPS August 2017

The caseworker and the kinship development caseworker (KDW) must explain to the caregiver that his or her eligibility for certain services may change after becoming verified as a foster parent; for example:

  •   the caregiver is no longer eligible for the annual reimbursement provided under the Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program; and

  •   the caregiver may not qualify for day care benefits provided for kinship care (see 8235.3 Foster Child Day Care).

6661.3 Documenting in IMPACT a Caregiver’s Disinterest

CPS August 2017

If a caregiver indicates that he or she is not interested in becoming verified as a foster parent, after being informed by the caseworker about the opportunity, the caseworker must document the caregiver’s reasons in the Kinship Disposition Summary field on the Contact Detail page in the family substitute care (FSU) stage in IMPACT.

6661.4 Addressing Finances

CPS August 2017

The caseworker must explain to the kinship foster parent that:

  •   if the kinship foster parent receives Social Security benefits on behalf of the child, DFPS will become the payee for those benefits to offset the costs of foster care payments for the child; and

  •   if the kinship foster parent receives child support payments on behalf of the child  the payment will be redirected to DFPS while the foster parent is receiving foster care payments.

6661.5 Addressing Child Care

CPS August 2017

Before placing the child in the verified kinship placement, the caseworker notifies the kinship caregiver that:

  •   the eligibility criteria for day care provided during foster care is more restrictive than the eligibility criteria for day care provided during kinship care; and

  •   the caregiver may not be eligible for foster care day care services.

If the foster parent was receiving general protective services or kinship day care services while he or she was the child’s unverified kinship caregiver, the caseworker must end the authorization for that day care, effective on the date that the child is placed with the kinship foster parent.

If day care is needed while the child is in kinship foster care, and the caregiver meets the eligibility requirements, the caseworker requests authorization for foster day care. See 8235.3 Foster Child Day Care.

6662 When a Kinship Caregiver Is Verified as a Foster Parent

CPS February 2017

Once the kinship caregiver (the child’s relative or fictive kin) becomes verified as a foster parent, the child’s caseworker must obtain the following from the foster and adoption home development (FAD) caseworker or the private child-placing agency:

  •  the date that the caregiver was verified as a foster parent; and

  •  the start date of the child’s foster placement with that caregiver.

6662.1 Explaining the Permanency Goal

CPS February 2017

On the first day of the foster placement, the caseworker must explain to the foster parent (and the case manager of the private child-placing agency, when appropriate) that it is the priority of CPS to secure a long-term permanent placement for the child.

6662.2 Providing Forms 2646 and 2085kf

CPS February 2017

The caseworker must also provide the caregiver with the Notification of Permanency Options, Form 2646, and do the following:

  •  discuss the purpose of the form, emphasizing that long-term foster care is not an acceptable permanency option;

  •  ask the caregiver to review and sign the form;

  •  explain that, ultimately, CPS may be required to change a child’s placement in order to secure a permanent and stable home; and

  •  ask the caregiver to review and sign Placement Authorization: Verified Kinship Foster Caregiver, Form 2085kf.

6662.3 Recording the Foster Placement in IMPACT

CPS February 2017

In IMPACT, the caseworker must:

  •  enter an end date for the current placement;

  •  select from the drop down box the Placement Removal reason “Placed with Relatives,” as this option best applies; and

  •  record the new placement, now that the caregiver is verified as a foster parent.

To record the new placement, the caseworker must:

  •  open the Placement page in the child’s Substitute Care stage;

  •  select the foster home’s resource identification number by choosing the correct resource from the Resource Directory; and

  •  ensure that the box for either relative or fictive kin has been checked.

6662.4 Completing Paperwork

CPS February 2017

The caseworker communicates with the foster and adoption home development (FAD) caseworker or the case manager of the private child-placing agency to ensure that the caseworker has completed all of the paperwork required by minimum standards or other placement requirements.

6662.5 Closing the Kinship Stage in IMPACT

CPS August 2017

Once the caseworker makes an approved entry in IMPACT for a verified kinship foster placement, the kinship development caseworker closes the kinship stage, with the approval of the kinship supervisor.

6670 Closing a Kinship Home

CPS February 2017

CPS may close a kinship case only after:

  •  positive permanency is achieved;

  •  the child moves from the home;

  •  the child ages out; or

  •  the family becomes a verified foster family.

Once CPS decides to close a kinship stage, the kinship caseworker must conduct an exit interview. During the exit interview the kinship development caseworker must discuss:

  •  the kinship caregiver’s understanding of why the case is being closed;

  •  why the kinship caregiver elected not to become verified (if applicable);

  •  if the case is being closed due to positive permanency or the child aging out, discuss what resources are available for the family in the community, and the need for continuity of care if the child is receiving therapeutic or medical services;

  •  if the case is being closed because the child moved to a different placement, what could have prevented it from doing so; and

  •  if the caregiver is eligible for a post-permanent managing conservatorship (PMC)  flexible support payment, make sure the caregiver has clear instruction as to when he or she must request it and contact information to make the request.

The kinship development caseworker must document the exit interview in the Kinship Closing Summary. The Kinship Closing Summary must also include:

  •  information about financial assistance through the Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program;

  •  community resources provided to the family;

  •  a developmental plan summary;

  •  if the family became verified and by whom; and

  •  the permanency plan.

6680 Permanency Care Assistance (PCA)

6681 Overview of Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

Eligible relatives and fictive kin who have served as verified foster parents to a child for six consecutive months may receive financial and healthcare benefits on behalf of the child through the DFPS Permanency Care Assistance (PCA) program.

See the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide, under Definitions.

For a full explanation of federal and state eligibility requirements, see 1600 Permanency Care Assistance.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1029

6681.1 Caregiver Requirements

CPS February 2017

To receive permanency care assistance for an eligible child, a verified kinship caregiver must do the following, in the order shown below:

1.   Serve as the child’s verified foster parent for six consecutive months.

2.   Receive preliminary approval of eligibility for permanency care assistance by the regional adoption eligibility specialist.

3.   Negotiate and sign an agreement with DFPS to receive permanency care assistance on behalf of the child (this step must be taken before becoming the child’s permanent managing conservator).

4.   Become the permanent managing conservator of the eligible child and submit, in a timely manner, the court order transferring permanent managing conservatorship to DFPS.

6681.2 Caregiver Ineligibility for Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

A verified kinship caregiver is ineligible for permanency care assistance under the following circumstances:

  •  a prospective permanent managing conservator cannot meet the requirement for becoming the child’s managing conservator, if he or she becomes a joint managing conservator of the child; or

  •  a person does not meet the definition of a prospective permanent managing conservator who may qualify for benefits, if the person is the child’s parent or other person from whom the child was removed.

6681.3 Child Eligibility for Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

A child is eligible to receive permanency care assistance, if all of the following eligibility criteria apply:

  •  the child is in CPS temporary or permanent managing conservatorship;

  •  the child’s prospective permanent managing conservator:

  •  is related to the child by consanguinity or affinity; or

  •  had a longstanding and significant relationship to the child before CPS placed the child in the prospective conservator’s home in the same legal episode;

  •  the child’s prospective permanent managing conservator has served as a verified foster parent to the child for at least six consecutive months before the effective date of the agreement for permanency care assistance;

  •  the child has demonstrated a strong attachment to the prospective permanent managing conservator and that person has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child;

  •  DFPS has determined, at the time the agreement for permanency care assistance is signed, that adoption and returning the child to the home from which the child was removed are not appropriate permanency options. (See 6234.24 Ruling out Family Reunification and Adoption Before Pursuing Permanency Care Assistance for further explanation); and

  •  DFPS has consulted with the youth about the prospective permanent managing conservator’s interest in becoming conservator, if the youth is at least 14 years old when the permanency care agreement is signed.

6681.4 Meeting the Conditions to Verify Eligibility for Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

In order for a kinship caregiver to serve as a verified foster parent to a child for six consecutive months, all of the following conditions must be met:

  •  The child is placed by DFPS with the verified kinship foster parent. The placement date for the verified foster home begins the mandatory six-month period.

  •  The caregiver must be verified as a kinship foster parent and remain verified as a kinship foster parent to care for the child.

  •  The caregiver has entered into and signed Form 2085FC Placement Authorization Foster Care/Residential Care and the agreement remains in effect.

  •  The child remains in the conservatorship of DFPS throughout the six-month period, until the day before the verified kinship caregiver becomes the child’s permanent managing conservator.

  •  The child’s placement in the home is continuous. That is, the child lives in the home the entire time, with the exception of short absences of no more than 14 days. If a temporary absence exceeds 14 days, the count of the child’s total time in the placement must start over.

If a child and caregiver are not eligible for permanency care assistance, a court may not order that the assistance be provided.

Texas Family Code §264.852(c)

6682 Adding Permanency Care Assistance to the Child’s Plan of Service

CPS February 2017

When a child’s permanency plan calls for a change to permanent managing conservatorship by a relative or fictive kin, with intent to pursue permanency care assistance, the caseworker must document in the child’s plan of service:

  •  the change to the child’s permanency plan; and

  •  any information related to the requirements for the federal case plan.

The federal requirements include:

  •  a description of the steps CPS has taken to determine that it is not appropriate for the child to be returned home or adopted;

  •  the ways in which the child meets the eligibility requirements for permanency care assistance; specifically CPS’s determinations that:

  •  the child was removed from his or her home as a result of a judicial determination that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child;

  •  the child was eligible for foster care maintenance payments for at least six consecutive months in the home of a verified kinship caregiver who is the prospective permanent managing conservator;

  •  being returned home is not an appropriate permanency option for the child;

  •  the child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective permanent managing conservator and the prospective permanent managing conservator has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child; and

  •  the youth has been consulted about the prospective managing conservator’s interest in becoming conservator and about the agreement to receive permanency care assistance, if the youth is at least 14 years old;

  •  the efforts CPS made with the child’s prospective managing conservator to discuss adoption as a more permanent alternative to permanent managing conservatorship and, if applicable, the reasons why the prospective conservator chose not to pursue adoption;

  •  the reasons that placing the child permanently with a prospective permanent managing conservator and providing permanency care assistance are in the child’s best interests;

  •  the reasons for placing siblings separately, when applicable; and

  •  the efforts CPS made to discuss permanency care assistance with the child’s birth parents, or the reasons why such efforts were not made.

42 U.S.C. §675(1)(F)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC Chapter 700, Subchapter J, Division 2

6683 Ruling Out Family Reunification and Adoption Before Pursuing Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

To seek permanent managing conservatorship and permanency care assistance for a child’s relative or fictive kin caregiver, a caseworker must establish (with approval from his or her supervisor and program director) that:

  •  family reunification and adoption are not appropriate permanency options; and

  •  transferring permanent managing conservatorship to a relative with the support of permanency care assistance is in the child’s best interest.

The caseworker must document this determination in the child’s plan of service.

If CPS staff believes that termination of parental rights is achievable, and CPS legal representatives disagree, staff must bring the disagreement to the attention of management in both CPS and the CPS Legal Division until a resolution is reached.

6683.1 Approving the Plan

CPS February 2017

The child’s caseworker and supervisor must:

  •  agree, on a case-by-case basis, that the permanency plan is in the best interest of the child; and

  •  obtain the program director’s approval of the plan.

6684 Discussing the Intent to Pursue Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

No later than 30 days after the determination to pursue PCA is approved, the caseworker must:

  •  discuss with the caregiver the caregiver’s intent to pursue permanency care assistance; and

  •  obtain the caregiver’s signature on Form 0690 Permanency Care Assistance Statement of Intent.

Once the Statement of Intent is signed, the caseworker must file it in the paper case file.

6685 Applying for Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

The conservatorship (CVS) caseworker must send all applications and supporting documentation for permanency care assistance (PCA) to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist. The job duties of the adoption assistance eligibility specialists include PCA.

When a prospective permanent managing conservator is nearing completion of the required six consecutive months as a verified foster parent, the child’s primary caseworker must begin working with the caregiver to apply for assistance.

Standard Practice – 30 Days in Advance

The appropriate eligibility unit must receive the application and all supporting documentation no later than 30 days before the caregiver anticipates being awarded permanent managing conservatorship.

6685.1 Completing a Permanency Care Assistance (PCA) Application

CPS February 2017

In order for a permanency care assistance (PCA) application packet to be complete, the caseworker must:

  •  ensure that the caregiver completes the following forms timely and accurately:

Form 2115 Request for Permanency Care Assistance

Form 2116 Permanency Care Assistance Worksheet

Form 2118 Kinship Family Resources

  •  complete the application for permanency care assistance in IMPACT, and submit it electronically to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist for that region;

  •  complete the checklist and packet for permanency care assistance and obtain a supervisor’s approval confirming that the checklist and packet are complete;

  •  forward the complete packet for permanency care assistance within five calendar days after the application is entered in IMPACT; and

  •  send to the appropriate eligibility unit the complete checklist and packet.

The complete checklist and packet includes:

  •  Proof of age and citizenship (for more information on methods of determining age and citizenship, see 1530 Foster Care Assistance Eligibility Requirements for Children and Youth Who Are in DFPS Conservatorship)

  •  Verification of alien status, when the child is not a U.S. citizen

  •  Form 2115 Permanency Care Assistance Request, Form 2116 Permanency Care Assistance Worksheet, and Form 2118 Kinship Family Resources

  •  A copy of the initial court order appointing CPS as temporary managing conservator

  •  The signed and dated copy of the first petition resulting in the court ordering removal of the child from the home

  •  The approved FAD home screening or the private child-placing agency’s foster home screening

  •  Copies of all background check documentation, including:

  •  a copy of the FBI fingerprint-based criminal records checks of the National Crime Information Database,

  •  a copy of the name-based criminal records check from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS),

  •  copies of records checks from local or out-of-state law enforcement, and

  •  a copy of the results from the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry check, which can be requested from the foster and adoption home development (FAD) caseworker or from the case manager of the private child-placing agency.

6685.11 When the Caregiver Is Verified by a Private Child-Placing Agency and Is Applying for Permanency Care Assistance

CPS February 2017

When a private child-placing agency has verified a kinship caregiver, CPS must create a record for a foster and adoption home development (FAD) home in IMPACT, in order to process the application for permanency care assistance.

To ensure that the FAD home record is created, the caseworker’s supervisor must send Form 2189 Referral Form to FAD for a Non DFPS Home to the regional FAD unit. The supervisor must make the referral at the time the supervisor approves the packet.

6685.2 Timeframe for Applying

CPS February 2017

The child’s caseworker must ensure that the documentation is complete and the required attachments are provided to the Adoption Assistance Eligibility Unit at least 30 to 45 days before the caregiver receives permanent managing conservatorship by a court.

If there is a compelling issue impacting the 30-day timeframe, such as a court order or directive:

  •  the caseworker must expedite the application; and

  •  the caseworker and supervisor must immediately notify the adoption assistance eligibility supervisor and the adoption assistance eligibility specialist for the region, as well as contact the regional attorney, if necessary.

6685.3 Reviewing the Application and Permanency Care Assistance Packet

CPS February 2017

Within three days of receiving an application and packet, the adoption assistance eligibility specialist must review the application and packet to determine whether:

  •  the application is complete; and

  •  the packet contains all of the required documentation.

If the application and packet are incomplete, the adoption assistance eligibility specialist must immediately notify the following persons in writing to identify the additional documentation that is required:

  •  the child’s caseworker;

  •  the child’s casework supervisor; and

  •  the prospective permanent managing conservator.

Once the specialist receives all of the materials in full, he or she must:

  •  review the application;

  •  preliminarily approve or deny it; and

  •  inform the caseworker of the approval or denial within two working days of making the determination.

6685.4 Negotiating the Monthly Payment

CPS February 2017

If the adoption assistance eligibility specialist preliminarily approves the application, a CPS assistance negotiator and the kinship caregiver negotiate to determine the amount of assistance the caregiver will be paid each month.

6685.41 Submitting the Permanent Managing Conservatorship Order

CPS February 2017

The court docket sheet can be used to initiate payment; however, to ensure that payments continue, the caseworker must submit a file-stamped copy of the PMC order.

Within seven days of receiving the file-stamped order, the caseworker must send it to the adoption assistance eligibility specialist.

6685.42 Receiving the First Payment

CPS February 2017

One month after receiving permanent managing conservatorship, the caregiver receives the first monthly payment.

The caseworker must convey to the caregiver that there may be days in the month for which the caregiver does not receive either a foster care payment or a permanency care assistance payment. Foster placement payments are made retroactively and are paid by the day. Permanency care assistance payments are made early in the month and are paid by the month.

6685.5 Signing the PCA Agreement Before Conservatorship is Granted: Court Time Frames and Processes

CPS February 2017

The child’s caseworker must keep all legal parties informed throughout the permanency care assistance process to ensure that permanent managing conservatorship is not granted to the caregiver before the caregiver negotiates and signs the agreement for permanency care assistance.

In addition, the caseworker and supervisor must be prepared to explain to court staff, including judges:

  •  the process for determining a kinship caregiver’s eligibility for permanency care assistance; and

  •  the requirement that the kinship caregiver is eligible for permanency care assistance only if the caregiver signs the assistance agreement before the court grants the caregiver permanent managing conservatorship.

6686 Granting Assistance to the Sibling of a Child Who Receives PCA

CPS February 2017

Federal Funding Exceptions for Siblings

When siblings are placed together and at the same time, the caseworker must apply for permanency care assistance on behalf of the child who is eligible for Title IV-E funding, to make the joining siblings eligible for Title IV-E assistance.

To determine which child in a sibling group is the primary child eligible for Title IV-E funding, the caseworker must contact the adoption assistance eligibility specialist.

If there is no child eligible for Title IV-E funding in the sibling group, the children receive state-paid funding.

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