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7500 Home and Family Assessment

CPS October 2017

If a prospective foster or adoptive family selects DFPS as their child-placing agency (CPA), the FAD worker must determine whether to:

  •   verify the prospective foster parent; or

  •   approve the prospective adoptive parent.

To make an initial assessment of the prospective parents, their family, and their home, the FAD worker must visit the home:

  •   before the prospective parents complete pre-service training; and

  •   before the FAD worker begins a home screening.

Completing the Home Visit

For a detailed list of tasks to complete during the home visit, see Form 2176 Home and Family Assessment Protocol.

During the assessment, the FAD worker must discuss with the prospective parents any obvious conflicts to Minimum Standards that the FAD worker observes in the home.

After the visit, the FAD worker must consult with the FAD supervisor to address any concerns about the family and any minimum standard issues.

7510 If an Application to Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent Is Denied

CPS October 2017

If the FAD worker and supervisor determine that an application to become foster or adoptive parents must be denied, the FAD worker must:

  •   discuss the reasons for the denial with the applicants; and

  •   inform them orally and in writing that they have the right to request an unbiased administrative review of the denial.

See 7740 Administrative Review.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1505

If appropriate, the FAD worker may allow denied applicants to continue with the pre-service training to gain more knowledge about the services provided and children served by DFPS.

7511 Documentation for Verifying and Approving Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that a foster or adoptive home's case record contains the appropriate forms and documentation listed in:

7511.1 Documents Required Before Verifying or Approving Any Prospective Parent

7511.2 Documents Required Before Verifying Prospective Foster Parents or Approving Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

7511.3 Documents Required Before Approving Prospective Adoptive Parents

7511.1 Documents Required Before Verifying or Approving Any Prospective Parent

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure the following items are in the home record before a prospective parent is verified or approved:

  •   Documentation of completed, required pre-service trainings

  •   Form 2286 Foster Care and Adoption Parenting Application

  •   Form 2286b Additional Household Information, including the home's floor plan and a sketch or photos of the outside of the home. The floor plan must include the dimensions and purposes of all rooms in the home and identify indoor areas for children's use as required by Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 Texas Administrative Code §749.2471(3)

  •   Form 2286c Residence History

  •   Form 2954 Family Violence Calls Disclosure Form for Foster and Adoptive Parents

  •   Signed Form 4054c Background Check Statement Form, from each household member 14-years-old and older

  •   Proof of age

  •   Proof of income

  •   Documentation of citizenship (example: birth certificate, passport, citizenship paperwork)

  •   Proof of marriage, divorces, or death of spouse, as applicable

  •   Current pet vaccinations (for all dogs, cats, and ferrets), if applicable

  •   Form 2410 Foster Care and Adoption Discipline Acknowledgement

  •   Form 2166 Minimum Standards and Policy Acknowledgment

  •   Form 2288 Disaster Plan for DFPS Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Homes

  •   Medical Consent Training Certificate

  •   Form 2244 Health Care or Professional Service Provider Statement, if applicable

7511.2 Documents Required Before Verifying Prospective Foster Parents or Approving Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

In addition to the documentation listed in 7511.1 Documents Required Before Verifying or Approving Any Prospective Parent, the FAD worker must obtain the following documents before verifying a prospective foster parent or approving a prospective foster and adoptive parent:

  •   Proof of a college or high school diploma (including a GED or the results of an approved DFPS equivalency exam)

  •   Results of a TB test taken within 30 days before or after verification, for all household members over age 1

  •   Form 2209 Foster Parent Agreement

  •   Form 3001 Statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Foster Parent and Child-Placing Agencies, signed by the foster parents

  •   CPR and first aid training certificates

  •   Water safety training certificate, if applicable

  •   Proof of having passed a fire inspection

  •   Proof of having passed a health inspection

7511.3 Documents Required Before Approving Prospective Adoptive Parents

CPS October 2017

In addition to the documents listed in 7511.1 Documents Required Before Verifying or Approving Any Prospective Parent, the FAD worker must complete the following before approving a prospective adoptive parent:

  •   Form 3006 Fire Safety Checklist for Adoptive Homes

  •   Form 2932 Environmental Health Checklist

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3663

7512 Home Screenings

CPS October 2017

Before verifying or approving a prospective foster or adoptive parent, the FAD worker must conduct a home screening. The screening assesses the applicant's suitability to provide care and thoroughly evaluates any potential or actual risk of harm.

The FAD worker or a designated contractor must conduct the screening using Form 2191 Foster and/or Adoption Home Screening.

After completing the screening, the FAD worker or contractor must submit the template to the FAD supervisor for review and approval.

The FAD supervisor must review and approve the home screening form no later than 10 working days from the date he or she receives it. Additionally, child placement management staff (CPMS) must review and approve home screenings before final verification or approval.

See Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide, under Definitions, for the definition of child placement management staff (CPMS).

Home screenings must contain all information required by Licensing's Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2447 (foster homes), §749.3623 (adoptive homes)

During the home screening process, FAD staff make an initial assessment of each home to determine the number, ages, gender, and needs of children who may be placed in that home. The family's input is also a factor when making this decision.

The initial determination about the number ages, gender, and needs of children who may be placed in a home may change over time as a family gains experience with different children with different needs.

7512.1 Home Screening Interviews

CPS October 2017

Interviews for foster and adoptive home screenings must, at a minimum, include:

  •   one individual interview with each prospective parent;

  •   one individual interview with each child three years old or older who is living in the home either full or part time, including:

  •   adult children attending college who are home for the weekends, holidays, or vacations, and

  •   children who reside in other living arrangements, such as with a custodial parent or in boarding schools;

  •   one individual interview with each adult household member that lives with the family full or part time;

  •   one joint interview with the prospective foster or adoptive parents;

  •   one family group interview with all members of the household; and

  •   one interview with each of the prospective foster or adoptive parents' minor children 12 years old or older, or adult children who are not living in the home (this interview can be conducted either by telephone, in person, or by letter).

The FAD worker must also visit the home at least once when all members of the household are present.

The FAD worker must document all required interviews. Documentation must include:

  •   the date and method used to contact each person;

  •   the date of each interview;

  •   a listing of who was present at each interview;

  •   their relationship to the prospective foster or adoptive parents; and

  •   a summary of each interview.

7512.11 Obtaining References During Home Screenings

CPS October 2017

References enhance the assessment of prospective foster or adoptive families. Information from individuals that have a long acquaintance with prospective foster and adoptive parents is important when assessing an individual's suitability to provide foster or adoptive care.

The FAD worker must obtain five references for each prospective foster and adoptive family. Two references must be from relatives of the family (not counting adult children) and three from non-relatives. The FAD worker may obtain references by telephone or email, or by providing Form 2165 FAD Reference to persons named as references.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2449 (foster homes) and §749.3625 (adoptive homes)

7512.2 Updating the Home Screenings
7512.21 Updating Foster Home Screenings

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must update a foster home screening if there is a major life change in the foster family, as described in Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies §749.2805.

The FAD worker may update a foster home screening using an addendum. When updating a foster home screening because of a major life change in the foster family, the FAD worker must:

  •   immediately upon notification, assess the appropriateness of any current placement of children in the foster home; and

  •   complete the update within 30 days of being notified of the major life change.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2453

7512.22 Updating Adoptive Home Screenings

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must update an adoptive home screening every 12 months and after a major life change in the adoptive family. The update must include a review and update of each required category of information in an adoptive screening. It must also include documentation of at least one visit to the adoptive home when all household members are present. The visit to the home must occur within the 90-day period before child placement management staff (CPMS) approves the update.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3633

Subsequent Adoptions

If an adoptive family wishes to pursue a subsequent adoption, the FAD worker must complete an update to the original home screening to reflect the new adoption.

7512.3 Documenting Home Screenings

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must document in IMPACT that a family's home screening was completed. The FAD worker refers, in IMPACT, to the family's external case file for a hard copy of the screening. The FAD worker must maintain the completed home screening in paper form within the case file at all times.

7512.4 Waivers and Variances

CPS October 2017

A waiver can be requested if the economic impact of complying with a minimum standard is great enough to make compliance impractical.

A variance can be requested if the family is able to meet the purpose of a minimum standard in a different way.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8303

The FAD worker may submit waiver and variance requests to Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) on behalf of all foster and adoptive home applicants and verified or approved homes (related, unrelated, and fictive kin).

The FAD worker submits waiver and variance requests for relative and fictive kin caregivers before verification.

RCCL reviews and processes each waiver or variance request on a case-by-case basis. Waivers and variances cannot be granted if child safety will be negatively impacted.

RCCL's authority to grant waivers and variances is limited to Minimum Standards and does not extend to RCCL's general rules in 40 TAC Chapter 745. For example, RCCL may grant a variance request for the minimum standard governing bedroom space requirements if child safety is not negatively impacted; however, RCCL will not consider a waiver or variance request on background check rules because those rules are in Chapter 745, not any of the Minimum Standards rules chapters to which RCCL's waiver and variance authority extends. RCCL cannot grant any waiver or variance that conflicts with a requirement in state statute.

Waivers and variances often come with conditions.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8313

RCCL can amend or revoke any waiver or variance that has been granted if:

  •   it presents risk to children;

  •   the circumstances that supported it have changed;

  •   Foster and Adoptive Home Development (FAD) or the home failed to meet the conditions; or

  •   RCCL and FAD agree to an alternative time limit or conditions.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.8317

7512.41 Requesting a Waiver or Variance

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must submit variances and waivers for all applicants and verified or approved homes through IMPACT, to be approved by the FAD supervisor and then forwarded to the FAD program director. The FAD program director signs off on the request, at which time the request is forwarded to the Child-Care Licensing Automation System (CLASS). The request is then forwarded to the RCCL staff assigned to regulate the CPS region requesting the waiver or variance.

RCCL requires that a separate request be made for each minimum standard rule section number for which a waiver or variance is being requested. If requesting a waiver or variance, the FAD worker completes the variance or waiver form in IMPACT.

The FAD worker must:

  •   list the minimum standard rule section number for which the waiver or variance is being requested;

  •   list the name of the caregiver for whom the waiver or variance is being sought (if the request applies to a particular child or children, list each child's name and date of birth);

  •   specifically describe how the home does not, or would not, meet the minimum standard and why;

  •   state how long the waiver or variance is needed (specify a month, day, and year);

  •   provide justification for why this length of time is being requested;

  •   describe how child safety will be impacted if RCCL grants the request, and how the purpose of the standard will be met through other means;

  •   describe how FAD or the home will ensure the children's health and safety if the request is granted; and

  •   identify steps FAD or the home will take to meet this minimum standard by the time the waiver or variance expires.

If the request is for a waiver, the FAD worker must describe why it is not economically practical for the home to comply with this minimum standard. The FAD worker must include a cost estimate in the request.

7513 Inspections

7513.1 Foster Home Inspections

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure all foster homes are in compliance with the applicable fire, health and safety laws, ordinances, and regulations. Foster homes must have current and approved fire and health inspections before receiving verification.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2901

Fire Inspections

The FAD worker must ensure all approved and active foster homes have a current fire inspection at all times. Foster homes providing child-care services can either have:

  •   a fire inspection completed by a certified fire inspector or a local or state authority; or

  •   a fire safety evaluation conducted by the FAD worker using Form 3003 Family Foster Home Fire Safety Evaluation Checklist.

The FAD worker must ensure that the inspection or evaluation is documented in writing and includes the name and telephone number of the person conducting the inspection or evaluation.

The FAD worker must ensure that fire inspections completed by a certified inspector or local authority are updated every two years for foster homes (unless stated otherwise on the inspection). If the FAD worker conducts the fire safety evaluation it must be completed every year for foster homes.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2902 and §749.2903

Environmental Health Inspections

FAD workers must ensure foster homes have either:

  •   a health inspection conducted from the local health authority; or

  •   a health and safety evaluation conducted by child-placement staff using Form 2932 Environmental Health Checklist for foster homes.

The FAD worker must document each health inspection or evaluation, which includes the name and telephone of the person who conducted the inspection or evaluation. The foster home must correct any deficiencies found during the inspection or evaluation and must comply with any conditions or restrictions specified by the inspector or evaluator.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2902

7513.2 Adoptive Home Inspections

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure all adoptive homes are clean, safe, and free of obvious fire and safety hazards. The home must also be equipped with working smoke detectors. The FAD worker must document the home's condition using Form 2932 Environmental Health Checklist, and Form 3006 Fire Safety Checklist for Adoptive Homes.

Any concerns documented during an inspection must be immediately corrected and the adoptive home must comply with any conditions or restrictions the inspector or evaluator specifies at the time of the inspection.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3663

7514 Special Considerations Regarding Foster Parents

7514.1 Verifying Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients as Foster Parents

CPS October 2017

Prospective foster parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) may be verified if they otherwise meet the requirements set forth in the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

The FAD worker must obtain and document information about money management and spending habits, since TANF payments may not meet all of the family's budgetary needs. The FAD worker must also assess the family's resources to evaluate their ability to financially care for a foster child.

7515 Foster Home Verification

CPS October 2017

A foster home's compliance with the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies does not guarantee that the home will become verified or that a child's placement will actually occur.

Verification and placement are based on the FAD worker's assessment of the applicant's ability to offer adequate care to a child for whom DFPS is responsible.

FAD staff must make an initial assessment of each prospective home to determine the number, ages, gender, and needs of children who may be placed in that home. FAD staff must also consider input given by the applicant when making decisions about placements.

If the FAD worker determines that an applicant is not an appropriate caregiver for children in DFPS conservatorship, the FAD worker must discontinue the verification process.

Race, Color, or National Origin

Federal law prohibits using a child's or prospective placement's race, color or national origin to delay or deny applicants the opportunity to become foster parents or adopt.

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

FAD staff may consult with the regional attorney for further guidance.

See:

Appendix 4115: Information to Consider About Race, Color, and National Origin (RCNO) in Placement Decisions

7520 Annual Training Requirements for Foster Homes and Child Placement Staff

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure foster parents complete the required annual training within 12 months of their verification date and during each subsequent 12 month period. Foster parents are responsible for any training fees, travel expenses, and child-care costs associated with training. Foster parents must have a combined annual total of 20 training hours, which must include:

  •   emergency behavior interventions training (each foster parent must complete 4 hours);

  •   trauma-informed care training;

  •   normalcy (2 hours). See 7612.2 Supervisory Visits: Normalcy; and

  •   training related to prevention, recognition, and reporting of child abuse and neglect.

Pre-service training hours do not count toward annual training requirements. However, any hours that a person completes in addition to the required pre-service hours can be counted toward the first year of annual training requirements.

No more than one-half of the required annual training hours can come from self-instructional training and no more than three of those self-instructional hours may come from self-study training.

If a foster parent earns more than the minimum annual training requirements in a particular year, the hours may be carried over to the next training year. The number of training hours carried over cannot exceed 10 hours.

Foster parents who accept or maintain children who take psychotropic medication must also receive yearly training specifically related to these medications.

The FAD worker must maintain documentation verifying that the family completed annual training. The documentation may be a certificate, letter, transcript from an accredited college or university, or a signed and dated statement of successful completion of the training.

Documentation, other than college courses appearing on a transcript, must include:

  •   the participant's name;

  •   the date of training;

  •   the title or subject of training;

  •   the trainer's name and qualifications, or the source of training for self-instructional training; and

  •   the length of training in hours.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.931-947; 749.949

Annual Training Requirements for Child-Placing Staff

As stated in Minimum Standards §749.931, child-placement staff must complete annual training requirements that include but are not limited to:

  •   one hour of training on prevention, recognition, and reporting on child abuse and neglect;

  •   two hours of training specific to trauma informed care; and

  •   two hours of training specific to normalcy.

Annual training for child-placement staff increases employee's abilities to identify:

  •   ongoing issues that affect children in foster care;

  •   techniques for preventing child abuse and neglect;

  •   indications that a child may have been a victim of abuse and neglect; and actions to take for necessary interventions.

Annual training opportunities can also provide insight when working with appropriate community resources and how best to obtain assistance for children, when needed.

7600 Developing Foster and Adoptive Homes

CPS October 2017

This section contains duties and responsibilities relating to FAD workers when DFPS is acting as the Child-Placing Agency for foster or adoptive parents.

7610 Foster Home Development

CPS October 2017

FAD workers serve an integral and important role in supporting foster parents. They are responsible for ensuring that required documentation is complete and properly stored for all foster homes and for working in conjunction with a child's caseworker to ensure that foster parents receive information necessary to provide proper care.

Other duties and responsibilities of FAD workers include, but are not limited to, those described below.

Supporting Foster Families

The FAD worker must provide support and guidance to foster families to help ensure that:

  •   the physical, emotional and psychological needs of children under DFPS conservatorship are met;

  •   the foster family is aware of in-service training that can help develop their parenting skills;

  •   permanency plans are achieved for children under DFPS conservatorship;

  •   any need for intermittent alternate care (IAC) is addressed (see 7900 Alternate Caregiving for Foster Children);

  •   foster families are retained and treated as an important professional foster care team member;

  •   foster families support the child's birth family connection, if applicable; and

  •   foster parents are monitored and evaluated for compliance with the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Providing Foster Families with Documentation

The FAD worker must ensure that foster parents are provided with documentation from the child's caseworker, such as:

  •   court notices;

  •   court reports;

  •   service planning meeting notices; and

  •   the child's current plan of service.

Supporting the CPS Caseworker

The FAD worker must conduct joint foster home visits with a child's caseworker to promote:

  •   better communication between CPS staff and foster families;

  •   quick resolution to identified concerns; and

  •   receipt of updated information on the child's plan of service and the birth family's plan of service, if applicable.

Assisting Foster Families to Maintain Documentation

The FAD worker must ensure that foster families have the following documents present and accessible for each child in their home:

  •   Education log, if applicable

  •   Form 2102 Medication Log

  •   Orientation and placement paperwork

  •   Placement Authorization (Form 2085fc, Form 2085lr)

  •   Form 2279 Placement Summary

  •   Form 2655 Visitation/Contact/Restriction Plan

  •   Form 2530 CPS Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care

  •   Form 2410 Foster Care and Adoption Discipline Acknowledgement

  •   Current Child Plan of Service

  •   Medical, Dental and Psychiatric Information, including:

  •   Form 2403 Medical/ Dental/ Vision/ Hearing Examination Form

  •   Form 2101 Psychiatric Visit Documentation

The FAD worker must ensure that foster families have the following documents complete and easily accessible for inspection:

  •   The home verification certificate

  •   A current CPR and first aid card

  •   Training certificates (copies are adequate)

  •   The current fire and health inspections

  •   Form 2288 Disaster Plan for DFPS Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Homes

  •   A fire escape plan

Providing Foster Families With Record-Keeping Materials

The FAD worker must supply foster parents with blank copies of the following documents, as necessary:

  •   Form 2102 Medication Log

  •   Form 3005 Serious Incident Report

  •   Form 2403 Medical/ Dental/ Vision/ Hearing Examination

  •   Form 2101 Psychiatric Visit Documentation

  •   Form 2656 Search of Person or Personal Belongings

  •   Other applicable documents

7611 Rights and Responsibilities of Foster Parents

CPS October 2017

FAD staff must provide foster parents with Form 3001, Statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Foster Parents and Child Placing Agencies, and ensure they understand the rights and responsibilities of foster parents and the responsibilities of child-placing agency staff.

Rights of Foster Parents

FAD staff must inform foster parents that they have the right to:

  •   be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration as a member of the professional team;

  •   participate in service planning and in the implementation of the service plan;

  •   obtain training that will assist them in meeting the needs of the children placed in their home;

  •   be reimbursed in a timely manner for the care of children placed in their home, with the rates developed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission;

  •   ask questions and obtain information about the needs of a child DFPS would like to place in their home, including requesting a pre-placement visit;

  •   decline a specific placement without the fear of negative repercussions;

  •   appeal actions and decisions that affect them, and know the procedures as described in 7740 Administrative Review; and

  •   review their foster home record and request a copy of that record from their FAD worker.

Responsibilities of Foster Parents

FAD staff must inform foster parents that they have the responsibility to:

  •   participate in service planning and implementing the service plan;

  •   obtain annual training as required by 40 TAC Chapter 749, Subchapter F. Division 6 of Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, and inform FAD staff if they need assistance to find the required training (see 7520 Annual Training Requirements for Foster Homes and Child Placement Staff);

  •   communicate with DFPS by phone, in person, or electronic means about the information listed below, for the children placed in their home. Unless otherwise stated in Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, foster parents will communicate this information as soon possible but no later than 10 days after the event:

  •   Admission, Review & Discharge/Dismissal (ARD) meetings and other important education information;

  •   medical and psychological information;

  •   behavioral issues and concerns;

  •   serious incidents, as described in 40 TAC Chapter 749, Subchapter D Division 1 of Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies;

  •   ask questions and obtain information about children DFPS would like to place in their home, including requesting a pre-placement visit;

  •   make decisions about normalcy activities for the children placed in their home, consistent with 40 TAC Chapter 749, Subchapter M Division 7 of Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies;

  •   report required information to FAD and Residential Child-Care Licensing;

  •   comply with all applicable Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

7612 Supervisory Visits

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must routinely evaluate a foster home's on-going compliance with licensing rules (Minimum Standards). Supervisory visits ensure the safety of children in DFPS conservatorship and evaluate foster home compliance with Minimum Standards.

The FAD worker must conduct visits to foster and adoptive homes verified within the last 12 months according to the time frames listed below.

Type of Foster Home:

Total Number of Home Visits Required (a combination of announced and unannounced):

Number of Unannounced Home Visits Required During Each Nonconsecutive 12 month period:

Frequency of Visits During Which All Household Members Must Be Present:

Newly Verified Homes (less than 12 months)

At least 10 monthly home visits

per 12 month period

Three

(nonconsecutive)

Quarterly

For homes waiting for placement, the FAD worker must provide education to the foster parents and ensure that the home has remained safe and in compliance with Minimum Standards.

7612.1 Supervisory Visits: Unannounced Home Visits

CPS October 2017

An unannounced home visit is considered complete when there has been an unscheduled face-to-face contact in the home with at least:

  •   one primary caregiver; and

  •   all children placed in the home who are involved in a DFPS case.

An unannounced home visit must also include a complete walk-through of the home.

The announced home visits must not be conducted in back-to-back months, but rather spread out over the 12 month period.

Type of Foster Home:

Total Number of Home Visits Required (a combination of announced and unannounced):

Number of Unannounced Home Visits Required During Each Nonconsecutive 12 month period:

Frequency of Visits During Which All Household Members Must Be Present:

Foster home verified for placement of children age 3 and younger (verified more than 12 months)

At least 10 monthly home visits per 12 month period

Three

Quarterly

Foster Group Home or Treatment Service Home, such as a primary medical need (PMN)

At least 10 monthly home visits per 12 month period

Three

Quarterly

Foster home verified for placement of children age 4 and older (verified more than 12 months)

Every other month (a minimum of 6 announced and unannounced home visits per 12 month period)

Phone or email contact is required on months with no visit

Two

Twice a year

Pre Consummated adoptive home with adoptive placement

Every other month (a minimum of 6 announced and unannounced home visits per 12 month period)

Phone or email contact is required on months with no visit

Two

Twice a year

Home on Developmental Plan or Corrective Action (due to non-compliance or investigation)

Minimum of monthly visits until conditions of plans are satisfied. Weekly to bimonthly visits may be necessary

Within 30 days of the plan's expiration

Quarterly

The FAD worker must complete Form 2056 Foster Care and Adoption Supervisory Visit Documentation each time he or she conducts a supervisory visit to a foster home. This form must include:

  •   the date of the visit;

  •   the location of the visit;

  •   the names of all persons who were present during the visit; and

  •   the signature of the FAD worker conducting the visit and the signature of each foster parent present.

The FAD worker must maintain detailed documentation of supervisory visits in IMPACT.

If a foster home is available for placement but does not currently have any children placed in the home, the FAD worker still must continue to maintain all required monitoring and supervisory visits. The FAD worker is not required to monitor, or have supervisory visits with, a home that is placed on inactive status.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §749.2807-749.2819

See:

7613 Foster Family Quarterly Assessment

7613.1 Times Frames for Documenting the Quarterly Assessment

7612.2 Supervisory Visits: Normalcy

CPS October 2017

FAD staff must ensure foster parents understand why normalcy (the ability of a child in care to live as normal a life as possible) is important in helping a child become independent and learn about making good decisions. Children in care should have normal interaction and experiences within a foster family and participate in foster family activities. Children in care should also participate in age and developmentally appropriate childhood activities.

Foster parents make decisions about a child's participation in childhood activities by using reasonable and prudent parenting when making decisions about children in care participating in extracurricular (sports, yearbook staff, proms) and social (dating, going to the mall, overnight at friends) activities. It may be appropriate for foster parents and CPS staff to discuss employment or drivers' education for a child in care. CPS staff must approve the use of firearms for hunting purposes. In some circumstances, CPS staff must also approve travel for a child in care.

See:

7520 Annual Training Requirements for Foster Homes and Child Placement Staff

6451 Hunting

6470 When a Child Travels

7613 Foster Family Quarterly Assessment

CPS October 2017

Purpose of the Quarterly Assessment

The quarterly assessment:

  •   provides documentation of the foster family's ability to meet the needs of the children placed in their home;

  •   identifies the foster family's strengths and development needs; and

  •   evaluates the family's compliance with the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2815(c)

Required Documentation

The documentation of the quarterly assessment must consist of:

  •   documentation of, or reference to, all visits to the home during a specified period of time;

  •   specific rules evaluated;

  •   evaluation results;

  •   deficiencies found;

  •   plans for achieving compliance;

  •   plans for follow-up to ensure compliance was achieved; and

  •   any changes to the information in the foster home screening since the last supervisory visit, including the reasons for any change in the home's verification.

7613.1 Time Frames for Documenting the Quarterly Assessment

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must submit the quarterly assessment narrative to the supervisor and receive the supervisor's approval no later than the 30th day after the end of the quarterly period.

Once the quarterly assessment is approved, the FAD worker must provide a copy to the foster parents.

7620 Evaluating Foster Home Compliance with Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies

CPS October 2017

This section highlights licensing rules (Minimum Standards) related to foster home management and evaluation. The FAD worker must follow all Minimum Standards related to this subject, whether explicitly mentioned in this section or not.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC, Chapter 749, Subchapter N

7621 Evaluating Foster Home Compliance

7621.1 When to Evaluate a Foster Home

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must evaluate a foster home for compliance with relevant Minimum Standards every two years.

The FAD worker must also evaluate foster homes when:

  •   there is an allegation of deficiency with one or more Minimum Standards;

  •   there is a major life change in the foster family;

  •   there is a change that affects the condition of the verification (see 7622 Updating a Foster Home's Verification Certificate); or

  •   the FAD worker receives a family violence report.

If the FAD worker evaluates a foster home due to one of the situations above, the time frame for the evaluation for standards compliance does not change. The date only changes if the FAD worker evaluates the foster home for compliance with all licensing rules that apply to the home at the same time as the worker evaluates the home for one of the above situations.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2801 –749.2825

7621.2 Conducting Foster Home Evaluations

CPS October 2017

The verification date determines the foster home's first evaluation date for compliance with Minimum Standards, with subsequent evaluation dates spaced accordingly.

The FAD worker must either:

  •   perform a rule-by-rule evaluation of the foster home once every two years; or

  •   evaluate different parts of the applicable Minimum Standards at different times during the two year period.

Regardless of the method chosen, the FAD worker must use the same method for all evaluations within any given region.

During each evaluation, the FAD worker must ensure that the foster home continues to meet all required Minimum Standards.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2801, 749.2807, and 749.2813

7621.3 Documenting Foster Home Evaluations

CPS October 2017

Regardless of the reason for the FAD worker's evaluation of a foster home for compliance with Minimum Standards, the FAD worker must specifically document the minimum standard rule sections that were evaluated and state whether the foster home is in compliance.

The FAD worker must ensure that any deficiencies are correctly cited, and immediately address non-compliance with the foster parents.

The FAD worker must ensure that:

  •   documentation of deficiencies include plans for achieving compliance; and

  •   a plan for follow-up to ensure compliance is documented.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2807 – 749.2813

7621.4 Plans for Achieving Compliance and Follow-Up

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must include in all plans for achieving compliance with the Minimum Standards:

  •   specific actions or changes that must occur for the foster home to achieve compliance;

  •   time frames for the actions or changes that must occur for the foster home to achieve compliance, and the consequences for failing to achieve compliance;

  •   a determination of whether children can remain in the home before it achieves compliance; and

  •   a determination of whether new placements can be made in the home before it achieves compliance.

To ensure that the home achieves compliance, the FAD worker must either re-inspect the foster home or obtain documentation from the home showing that all deficiencies are corrected. The FAD worker must document that the foster parents have corrected all deficiencies, using the Quarterly Assessment in IMPACT.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2807 – 749.2811

7621.5 Supervisor Approval

CPS October 2017

The FAD supervisor must review and approve all foster home evaluation summaries, including those for temporary verifications. If doing a rule-by-rule two-year evaluation, the FAD supervisor must document approval by the two-year evaluation due date.

7622 Updating a Foster Home's Verification Certificate

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must update a foster family's current verification certificate and evaluate the home for compliance with Minimum Standards if a change occurs that affects the verification conditions.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2655 and §§749.2801 – 749.2811

Changes include, but are not limited to:

  •   marriage, divorce, separation, death, birth or any other change in household composition;

  •   a serious health problem or significant change in a work schedule that affects the foster parent's ability to care for the children; or

  •   extended absences, such as a foster parent being placed on active duty military service or accepting a job assignment in a different location from the foster home.

Single Foster Parent Marries

The FAD worker must update the home screening if a single foster parent marries. The FAD worker must complete the update before the marriage. However, if the foster parent did not notify the FAD worker of the marriage, or if the notification was not received before the marriage ceremony, the FAD worker must complete the update and pre-service overview for the new spouse within 90 calendar days of becoming aware of the marriage.

7623 Inactive Foster Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker may place a foster home on inactive status under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include, but are not limited to, situations in which:

  •   there are no foster children in the home;

  •   the FAD worker documents in the home's record that the home is on inactive status and not accepting children for placement; or

  •   FAD and the foster parents reach a mutual agreement to place the home on inactive status.

The FAD worker may not place a home on inactive status if the home should be closed.

See 7626.3 Closing a Foster Home.

The only exception to this policy is if a home is placed on inactive status for the purpose of receiving Adoption Assistance or Permanency Care Assistance (PCA).

7623.1 Documenting an Inactive Foster Home

CPS October 2017

Within two business days of placing a foster home on inactive status, the FAD worker must:

  •   document the home's change of status on the quarterly assessment;

  •   change the home's status in IMPACT to Approved-Inactive; and

  •   inform Child Care Licensing (CCL) of the change in the foster home's verification status.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2489

7623.2 Contact With an Inactive Foster Home

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker is not required to monitor a foster home that is on inactive status. However, the FAD worker assigned to the home must contact the family at least once every six months to determine whether the foster parents wish to return their home to active status.

If the foster parents decide after one year of being on inactive status that they do not want their home to return to active status, the FAD worker must close the home.

Before an inactive home can become active again, the assigned FAD worker must:

  •   ensure that all background check requirements are complete; and

  •   make an in-person home visit to assess the home for compliance with all applicable Minimum Standards.

The FAD worker must document the home visit and assessments on the family's next Quarterly Assessment Narrative in IMPACT.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2815–749.2825

7623.21 Training Requirements for an Inactive Foster Home

CPS October 2017

If a foster home on inactive status is returning to active status, the foster parents may prorate their annual training requirement to take into account the time during which their home was inactive. However, the foster home must remain current on all required behavior intervention, trauma informed care, medical consent, psychotropic medication, and CPR and first aid training while on inactive status.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2821; §749.2825

7623.22 Background Checks for Inactive Status Foster Homes

CPS October 2017

Background checks are not required for a foster home on inactive status. However, if the foster home is taken off inactive status and it has been more than two years since the last background check for any person at the foster home for whom a check is required, the FAD worker must request the background check before a child can be placed in the home.

The FAD worker must pay particular attention to inactive status foster homes if name-based background checks are not kept current. If more than two years pass between name-based checks, the foster parent must submit to a new fingerprint-based background check before the home is taken off inactive status.

Best practice is for the FAD worker to maintain background checks (name-based and central registry) while a home is on inactive status.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2823

7624 If Foster Families Move

7624.1 If Foster Families Move Out of Region

CPS October 2017

If a verified foster family moves to a residence outside of its current DFPS region, and one or more children under DFPS conservatorship are placed in the home at the time of the move, the family may take the children with them.

Each child's respective caseworker must pre-approve the region-to-region move before the actual move occurs.

The region in which the child was residing must transfer supervision and responsibility for the foster home to FAD staff in the new region.

If a family is moving to a new region with a child in care, the newly assigned FAD worker must ensure that a temporary verification is issued when the family arrives. DFPS must not place additional children in the home until the home is issued a full verification at the new residence.

The previous FAD worker must provide the foster family's case record to the newly assigned FAD worker.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2520 – 749.2531

7624.2 If Foster Families Move Out-of-State

CPS October 2017

If a foster family moves out of Texas, the FAD worker must close the foster home. If the foster family wishes to foster in another state, they must meet the foster home requirements for their new state of residence.

After receiving the foster family's written release of information, the FAD worker must provide a copy of the family's foster home case record to the family's newly selected child-placing agency.

If a foster family is moving out of Texas and wishes to continue caring for a foster child who is under DFPS conservatorship and was placed in their home before the move, DFPS must follow the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

For more information on ICPC placements, see 4513.6 If a Texas Caregiver Moves to Another State.

It may become necessary to create a FAD stage for a home located outside of Texas if:

  •   a foster family is moving out of Texas;

  •   the family wishes to continue caring for a foster child under DFPS conservatorship;

  •   the child was placed in their home before the move; and

  •   it is in the child's best interest to move with the foster family.

It may also become necessary to create a FAD stage for a home located outside of Texas if an ICPC request from Texas DFPS results in the home being verified to foster or approved to adopt in the family's state of residence.

Before setting up a FAD stage in IMPACT for a caregiver living outside of Texas, the FAD supervisor must ensure the following have been received and are easily accessible in the child's SUB stage under the applicable Placement Request (100A):

  •   The verified or approved home screening completed by the other state verifying all background checks were completed, including FBI, state criminal check, and abuse or neglect check.

  •   A copy of the family's foster care license.

Not all states issue a foster care license. Therefore it may be necessary to ask the other state to provide a statement verifying the family:

  •   is an approved adoptive home in that state;

  •   is a verified foster home in that state; or

  •   meets that state's foster home licensing standards and has completed all required background checks, including FBI, state criminal check, and abuse or neglect checks.

For instructions on how to certify a new FAD home in IMPACT, see IMPACT Help for Certify a New Home.

7625 Temporary Verifications

CPS October 2017

Temporary verifications allow a foster family that moves to a new home, or that moves a mobile home to a new location, to continue caring for foster children who were placed in their verified home before the move. Temporary verifications are short-term, non-renewable, and may only be issued for a maximum of six months. They provide foster families with a period of time to obtain all required health and fire inspections and to comply with all applicable Minimum Standards at their new residence.

Foster families who receive temporary verifications are expected to obtain all required inspections as soon as practical after their move. They may not receive any new placements during the time that they are under a temporary verification.

The FAD worker must evaluate the foster home if a foster family moves to a new residence or relocates a mobile home. The FAD worker must ensure the family submits a new floor plan of the home along with sketches or photos of the outside areas showing buildings, driveways, fences, storage areas, gardens, recreation areas, pools, ponds, or other bodies of water.

The FAD worker must not provide a verified home with a temporary verification if there are no placements in the home at the time of the move. The FAD worker cannot use temporary verifications to change verification conditions of the home, such as the number, age, or gender of children placed, or services provided.

The FAD worker may only issue a temporary verification after:

  •   the FAD worker inspects the new residence;

  •   the FAD worker determines that the new residence meets the Minimum Standards, including all health and safety, environment, space and equipment standards;

  •   the FAD supervisor reviews and approves the temporary verification by signing and dating it.

If all Minimum Standards have been met, the FAD worker must document in the home's quarterly assessment that it is no longer under temporary verification.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2520 – 749.2531

7626 Developmental Plans and Documenting Failure to Comply With Minimum Standards

7626.1 Development Plans

CPS October 2017

During all home visits, the FAD worker must evaluate a foster family's need for skill enhancement to help them build their foster parenting skills. This need for skill enhancement is often referred to as a developmental need.

If the FAD worker identifies a developmental need for a family, such as more childhood development training, the FAD worker must document it on the family's quarterly assessment and discuss it with the family. The discussion with the family must cover the need for a Development Plan.

The FAD worker and the FAD supervisor consult to determine the need for a Development Plan. The Development Plan identifies tasks that will help the family enhance their foster parenting skills. The FAD worker must create the plan in IMPACT and include:

  •   family strengths;

  •   skills to be enhanced;

  •   a task list for foster parents and time frames for completing the tasks; and

  •   a task list for the FAD worker and time frames for completing the tasks.

The FAD supervisor and FAD worker must sign the Development Plan. The FAD worker must discuss the plan with the family and provide a copy to them for review and signature. The FAD worker must file the original signed document in the family's case record.

The FAD worker must review and discuss the family's Development Plan during subsequent supervisory visits, until the tasks listed on the Development Plan are complete and the FAD worker and FAD supervisor determine that a Development Plan is no longer necessary.

The FAD worker must document the family's progress in completing the Development Plan tasks on the family's Quarterly Assessment Narrative.

7626.2 Failure to Comply With Minimum Standards

CPS October 2017

Failure to comply with a minimum standard in 40 TAC Chapter 749, Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, is also referred to as an infraction, a violation, or a deficiency.

7626.21 Failure to Comply With a Minimum Standard or Other Licensing Rule

CPS October 2017

If a FAD worker identifies a failure to comply with Minimum Standards or another licensing rule during a supervisory visit or other contact with the family, the FAD worker must immediately:

  •   address it with the foster family; and

  •   complete the Violation Document in IMPACT.

The FAD worker must discuss the violation with the FAD supervisor to determine whether a Corrective Action Plan or Developmental Plan should be issued in conjunction with the Violation Document.

After completing the Violation Document in IMPACT, the FAD worker must provide a copy to the foster family.

7626.22 Corrective Action Plans

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must create a Corrective Action Plan in IMPACT if he or she determines that a violation of Minimum Standards, other licensing rule, or DFPS policy has occurred, and that the family needs assistance in correcting the noncompliance.

The FAD worker must provide the foster family an opportunity to participate in developing and updating their Corrective Action Plan in combination with the FAD worker.

The Corrective Action Plan must list specific tasks for the foster family to complete within a specified time frame. The FAD worker must review the plan's tasks with the family at least once a month in order to evaluate their progress.

After the family completes all tasks, the FAD worker must give the foster family a copy of the Corrective Action Plan.

Examples of a Corrective Action Plan are:

  •   the foster parents must complete two additional trainings on positive reinforcement; or

  •   a fire inspection must be completed on the home within 30 days.

See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide, under Guidelines for Corrective Action and Closure.

7626.23 Serious Incidents

CPS October 2017

A serious incident is a non-routine occurrence that has, or may have, dangerous or significant consequences to the child's care, supervision, or treatment. Some examples of serious incidents include, but are not limited to:

  •   a child's death;

  •   a child's critical injury or illness requiring treatment by a medical professional or hospitalization;

  •   allegations of abuse or neglect of a child;

  •   a child's sexual abuse of another child;

  •   a child's physical abuse of another child; or

  •   a child's arrest, charge, or indictment for a crime (excluding traffic tickets).

Foster parents must report any serious incident directly to the Statewide Intake Hotline, if the incident involves a child under the foster parent's care.

Once the FAD worker becomes aware of the serious incident, he or she must complete Form 3005 Serious Incident Report and forward it, along with any required documentation, to the regional Licensing representative.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§794.501 – 749.515

7626.3 Closing a Foster Home

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must close a verified foster home under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include, but are not limited to, situations in which:

  •   the foster parent repeatedly fails to comply with agency policy or corrective action plans;

  •   the foster parent refuses or repeatedly fails to comply with the Minimum Standards; or

  •   the foster parent refuses to allow the FAD worker to inspect the home, and the FAD worker and supervisor determine the foster home is not currently appropriate to meet the needs of a child in DFPS conservatorship.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2819–749.2825.

If the FAD worker decides to close a verified foster home, the FAD worker must:

  •   discuss the reasons for closure with the foster parents; and

  •   inform the foster parents orally and in writing that, before closure, they have the right to request:

  •   an unbiased administrative review of the decision; or

  •   a peer review, if the foster parents choose to waive the right to an administrative review.

See:

7740 Administrative Review

7741 Peer Review Appeal Process for DFPS Verified Foster Parents

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1505

If necessary, the FAD worker may remove any child in DFPS conservatorship from the home before the administrative or peer review.

7626.4 Foster Families that Adopt

CPS October 2017

Verified foster parents are not required to complete a new Parenting Application when they begin adoption of a foster child. Instead, the FAD worker must obtain current information from the foster family and supplement the original, out-of-date application by updating any relevant and necessary information.

Foster parents are also not required to submit to an Adoptive Home Screening. Their Foster Home Screening can instead be updated to address all adoption requirements in the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3623

7626.5 Supervising Children Receiving Treatment Services

CPS October 2017

DFPS does not verify foster homes that care for children receiving treatment services. However, if a child develops a need for treatment services after placement, the FAD worker must immediately consult with the FAD supervisor to determine an appropriate plan of action.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.61(2)

7630 Developing and Supervising the Adoptive Home

7631 Supervising the Adoptive Home

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must have, at a minimum, quarterly contact with all approved adoptive homes on his or her caseload that are still awaiting adoptive placements. These contacts must be spaced accordingly so that no more than three months lapses between contacts. The contact may be by letter, telephone or in person. Face-to-face contacts are required once every six months.

The purpose of the contact is to provide support, education, and training about:

  •   attachment to adoptive children;

  •   parenting issues and concerns;

  •   children available for adoption;

  •   children with special needs; and

  •   efforts made to present the family as available adoptive parents.

Before making an adoptive placement, the FAD worker must ensure that a child is presented to the prospective adoptive family in accordance with 6940 Presenting and Placing the Child for Adoption and 6941 Presenting Information About the Child.

The FAD worker must be available to the adoptive family before and after an adoptive placement, and assist in preparing the adoptive family for placement in accordance with 6943 Preparing the Family and the Child for Placement. When an adoptive placement is made, the assigned FAD worker must assist with, and ensure that, all tasks are completed at the time of the child's placement as described in 6944 Completing the Placement.

After placement, the FAD worker must provide support to the adoptive home through monthly contacts and bi-monthly face to face contacts. The FAD worker must maintain face-to-face contact every other month with the adoptive family.

The FAD worker must ensure that she or he is available to address any questions, concerns, or suggestions that the adoptive family may have. However, CPS conservatorship staff will actually supervise the adoptive placement until consummation.

The FAD worker must document all contacts with the adoptive family in IMPACT.

See:

6953 Contact With the Child and Adoptive Family

6953.1 Conducting Visits with the Child and Adoptive Family

For additional guidance on post-placement adoptive home supervision and post-adoption services, see:

7612 Supervisory Visits

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.3421 – 749.3465

7632 Homes for Legal Risk Placements

CPS October 2017

Some homes function as both a verified foster home and an approved adoptive home for children in DFPS conservatorship. These homes are verified and approved for the sole purpose of receiving placements of children whose permanency plan is adoption, but whose parental rights have not yet been terminated.

Foster-to-adoptive placements that are made before termination of parental rights are considered legal risk placements. In these instances, the child is initially placed in a home to receive foster care, but after termination of parental rights the intent is for the child to achieve permanency through adoption in that same home.

See 6900 Adoption Preparation and Support Services.

Foster parents willing to accept legal risk placements must sign Form 2209 Foster Parent Agreement at the time of verification. The form specifies that DFPS may remove a child from the home if it determines it is in the child's best interest.

Before submitting the family for the consideration of a legal risk placement, the FAD worker must have previously determined the type of child the family is best able to parent. Characteristics to consider should include the child's age, gender, and special needs.

Children Eligible for Legal-Risk Placement

Children who fall into any of the categories below could be considered appropriate for legal risk placement:

  •   abandoned infants for whom there is no information identifying the parents;

  •   children who are the subject of a parental rights termination suit and the attorney representing DFPS advises that there is a high probability that the court will grant termination on both biological parents because:

  •   one parent is deceased or has relinquished rights and the other parent is unknown,

  •   parental rights were previously terminated for the abuse or neglect of another child,

  •   the child has previously been removed, was returned home, and then re-entered foster care because of an additional incident of abuse or neglect,

  •   a parent who is the subject of the parental termination suit is the child's primary abuser, or

  •   a parent failed to protect a child from serious injury or death as a result of abuse inflicted by the other parent, who is the subject of a parental termination suit;

  •   children in cases where parental rights have been terminated, but the parents have filed an appeal;

  •   children for whom the court has ordered that an adoptive family must be selected before the parent's rights can be terminated;

  •   children whose siblings have already been placed for adoption;

  •   children for whom the permanency plan is adoption, but who have not yet been placed in an adoptive placement;

  •   children whose parents (alleged and presumed) have abandoned them, the children have been in DFPS's temporary managing conservatorship for at least six months and:

  •   DFPS has made reasonable efforts to reunite the child with the parent,

  •   the parent has not visited or maintained contact with the child

  •   the parent has demonstrated an inability to provide the child with a safe environment,

  •   and termination is in the child's best interest.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.3201 – 749.3221

7633 Inactive Adoptive Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker may place an adoptive home on inactive status because of a mutual agreement between the adoptive family and FAD.

This policy does not apply to homes placed on inactive status only for the purpose of receiving adoption assistance benefits.

7633.1 Contact With an Inactive Adoptive Home

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker assigned to an adoptive home is not required to have contact with that home if it is on inactive status. However, the FAD worker assigned to the home must contact the family at least once every six months to determine whether the adoptive parents wish to return their home to active status.

If the adoptive parents decide after one year of being on inactive status that they do not want their home to return to active status, the FAD worker must close the home. The exception to this policy is if a home is placed on inactive status for the purpose of receiving adoption assistance.

7634 Closing an Adoptive Home

CPS October 2017

If a FAD worker and supervisor decide to close an adoptive home, the worker must discuss the reasons for closure with the adoptive parents. The worker must provide the adoptive family with the reasons for closure, both orally and in writing, and inform the family they have the option to request an administrative review. Reasons an adoptive home may be closed include, but are not limited to:

  •   an incident of abuse or neglect occurs in the home that warrants a child's removal;

  •   the adoptive family is not willing to adopt a child from the population of children for which adoptive families are needed;

  •   the FAD worker and supervisor determine the adoptive home is not currently appropriate to meet the needs of a child in DFPS conservatorship.

The FAD worker may remove any child in DFPS conservatorship from the home before the administrative review.

7640 DFPS Policies That Exceed Minimum Standards

7641 Water Safety and Swimming Activities

CPS October 2017

Verified homes that provide foster care services, including foster homes that are also approved adoptive homes, are required to comply with specific Minimum Standards related to water safety and swimming activities.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.3131 – §749.3149

Adoptive homes that do not provide foster care services are not required to adhere to these Minimum Standards.

7641.1 Water Policy Requirements for Foster, Adopt, and Foster-Adopt Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure all verified and approved homes adhere to certain basic water safety requirements:

  •   all foster and adoptive parents must supervise children under the age of five or with physical or cognitive impairments at all times when the children are in the bathtub;

  •   all foster and adoptive parents who have a pool or other body of water on their property must successfully complete an approved water safety course;

  •   all foster and adoptive parents must ensure that:

  •   children's toys are kept away from a pool that is not in use; and

  •   a telephone is always kept by the pool in case of an emergency.

Although there are no applicable Minimum Standards for adoptive homes, the above water policy requirements still apply.

7642 Disaster Planning and Procedures for Foster and Adoptive Home Development (FAD) Placements

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that foster and adoptive parents caring for children in DFPS conservatorship are aware that in the event of a disaster, they must notify their FAD worker of the disaster as soon as possible. Disasters requiring notification include, but are not limited to, fires, floods, tornados, hurricanes, and severe weather.

The FAD worker must inform foster and adoptive parents caring for children in DFPS conservatorship that they are required to evacuate their homes if mandated by local city or county authorities.

The FAD worker must ensure that foster and adoptive families with current placements are aware that they must take the following items when evacuating:

  •   A two week supply of medication in its bottle, if applicable

  •   Other medical supplies and equipment (such as a first aid kit and glasses)

  •   Important paperwork (such as placement and medical authorizations, educational portfolio, and Medicaid card) for each child

  •   Form 2288 Disaster Plan for DFPS Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Homes

  •   Contact information for the family's and child's caseworkers and supervisors

7642.1 Disaster Plan Practice

CPS October 2017

A foster home must practice disaster plans annually.

The foster home does this by:

  •   discussing the plans and procedures for handling fire and weather emergencies with children in care;

  •   conducting a fire drill, so children are able to safely exit the foster home within three minutes; and

  •   conducting a severe weather drill.

The FAD worker must ensure that the foster home can provide documentation of the discussion and drills, including the date and time of each.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2908

7642.2 Documenting Disaster Plans for Foster and Adoptive Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure all foster and adoptive homes caring for children under DFPS conservatorship have a written disaster plan on file. The FAD worker supplies each family making disaster plans with the Emergency Supply Checklist pamphlet developed by FEMA.

Form 2288 Disaster Plan for DFPS Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Homes, was developed to ensure that all foster and adoptive homes caring for children in DFPS conservatorship are prepared, and have evacuation plans, in the event of an emergency. The FAD worker must ensure all foster and adoptive homes caring for children in DFPS conservatorship complete Form 2288:

  •   at the time of verification;

  •   at each re-evaluation; and

  •   any time the information provided on Form 2288 changes (within two weeks of the change).

The FAD worker must enter information from the completed form into the family's electronic case file.

7642.3 Disaster Procedures for FAD Workers

CPS October 2017

FAD Workers' Responsibilities During an Emergency Advisory or Disaster

The FAD worker must follow specific procedures during an emergency advisory or declared disaster (such as hurricane, flooding, wild fires, tornadoes, or severe weather) to ensure the safety and well-being of children in DFPS conservatorship.

Within 24 hours of the emergency advisory or declaration by local, county, state, or federal officials, the FAD worker must:

  •   ensure that DFPS foster home placement logs are reflected accurately in IMPACT;

  •   contact each foster and adoptive family located in the emergency advisory or declaration area to:

  •   verify information (destination and contact information) on Form 2288 Disaster Plan for DFPS Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Homes;

  •   remind the family that if evacuation is mandated for their area, they are required to leave;

  •   remind the family that if they evacuate, they must take at least a two-week supply of medication for each child, if applicable; and

  •   instruct the family to contact the DFPS hotline to report each child's whereabouts and conditions after they reach their evacuation destination.

The FAD worker must update the FAD supervisor on efforts to contact all foster and adoptive families with current child placements. If a family fails to make the required notification to DFPS after an evacuation, the FAD worker must attempt to reach the family's emergency contacts to determine the family's whereabouts.

Following an evacuation, the FAD worker must contact his or her foster and adoptive families to:

  •   discuss a tentative return date;

  •   inquire about each child's condition; and

  •   follow up with any issues that arose during the evacuation.

FAD Supervisor Responsibilities

After gathering relevant information from their workers, FAD supervisors must contact their program directors to provide an update on each foster or adoptive family's evacuation process.

FAD Program Director Responsibilities

FAD program directors must ensure that the incident commander is kept informed of all contacts with foster and adoptive families.

7643 Soliciting Funds

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must inform foster parents that they are prohibited from soliciting funds (asking for money or gifts) outside of DFPS that provide a material gain to the individual foster parent. DFPS considers solicitation of such funds as unethical and potentially undermining DFPS's reputation in the community.

However, the FAD worker must inform foster parents that they may use outside resources that benefit all foster parents or families, such as the Women Infant Children (WIC) Program and the school lunch program. Funds solicited by individual foster parents may have state or federal tax implications and are generally not viewed as reimbursable expenses incurred as a result of caring for a foster child.

Although DFPS prohibits individual foster parents from soliciting funds that provide a material gain, the foster parents may accept from churches or religious organizations unsolicited items that benefit children in care, such as clothing, toys, or furniture items.

Foster parents must solicit and access corporate and foundation funds or resources through DFPS-organized activities on the local, regional, or state level. Examples of DFPS-organized access to funds or resources include, but are not limited to:

  •   child welfare boards;

  •   community partners activities;

  •   local foster parent associations; and

  •   local chapters of the Council on Adoptable Children (COAC).

The FAD worker must remind foster parents to protect the confidentiality of children under their care and take precautions to prevent disclosing confidential information to community and corporate organizations. Releasing confidential information about a foster child violates federal and state confidentiality laws and may subject the foster parent to criminal prosecution.

7700 Investigations in Foster Family and Adoptive Homes

CPS October 2017

The Statewide Intake child abuse hotline receives two types of investigative reports on foster and adoptive homes.

Reports of Abuse or Neglect

These are reports of abuse or neglect alleging that a child in care was or may be harmed. Such harm must meet the definitions of abuse or neglect, as described in the Texas Family Code (§261.001) and Texas Administrative Code (700.451-700.471).

Reports That Do Not Involve Abuse or Neglect

These are reports of possible violations to statute, administrative rules, or Minimum Standards, in which no allegation of abuse or neglect is involved.

7710 Abuse and Neglect

CPS October 2017

Residential Child-Care Licensing (RCCL) investigates all allegations of abuse and neglect of a child in DFPS conservatorship who is placed in a verified foster or approved adoptive home.

Upon notification from RCCL of an abuse or neglect investigation in a foster or adoptive home, the FAD worker must complete Form 3005 Serious Incident Report, and submit it to RCCL.

Texas Family Code, §261.401(b)

7711 Allegations and Incidents That Licensing Must Investigate

CPS October 2017

RCCL staff must always investigate:

  •   allegations of abuse and neglect of children in DFPS conservatorship;

  •   the death of a child in DFPS conservatorship;

  •   allegations involving the child-placing agency or CPS staff;

  •   history of family violence calls regarding a verified foster home; and

  •   any reportable serious incident or reported violation of Minimum Standards involving a child under the age of 6 who is in DFPS conservatorship.

In the Licensing Policy and Procedures Handbook see 6541.1 Allegations and Incidents That Must Be Investigated by Licensing.

Texas Human Resources Code §42.044(e)(2)-(3)

7720 Minimum Standards Violations

CPS October 2017

Upon RCCL's request, the FAD worker must investigate reports of Minimum Standards violations in homes that DFPS has verified to foster and approved to adopt.

FAD staff must complete, approve, and submit the investigation to RCCL within 30 days of being assigned to investigate.

In the Licensing Policy and Procedures Handbook see:

6542 Investigations of Minimum Standards Violations Conducted by CPAs or CPS

6542.1 Receiving and Assigning the Report

6542.2 CPA Responsibilities

6542.3 Licensing Responsibilities

7730 Safety Plans

CPS October 2017

A Safety Plan is a voluntary agreement between a CPA and RCCL, implemented to ensure that a child in DFPS conservatorship is safe while a RCCL investigation is underway.

The FAD worker must implement a Safety Plan with a foster or adoptive home, upon request from RCCL.

Safety Plans list specific action items for the home and FAD worker to complete. The family and FAD worker can co-create these action items, which are designed to ensure immediate safety for children in care.

The FAD worker and foster or adoptive parents must sign the Safety Plan to signify their agreement to complete the action items. The Safety Plan ends when the RCCL investigation closes and the home complies with all required actions.

7740 Administrative Review

CPS October 2017

A foster or adoptive applicant or parent has the right to:

  •   request an administrative review to challenge the denial of an application for or closure of a foster or adoptive home; and

  •   request a copy of and review the records related to the decision before the administrative review.

Applicant/Parent Has 15 Days to Request Administrative Review

The applicant or parent receives a letter notifying him or her of the adverse action. If the applicant or parent wants to request an administrative review and a copy of the records, he or she must complete the form attached to the letter and return the form to the FAD worker within 15 calendar days after receiving the letter. If the applicant or parent submits the form more than 15 calendar days after receiving the notification letter, the FAD worker may schedule the review if the worker determines good reason exists for the delay.

Applicant/Parent Requests Copy of Records

If the applicant or parent also requests a copy of the records, the FAD worker must request records from the Records Management Group, using OneCase in IMPACT. See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide, under Producing FAD Administrative Review Records for Foster and Adoptive Parents.

The FAD worker does not schedule a review until the applicant or parent notifies the FAD worker that he or she received the records. The applicant or parent must notify the FAD worker within 15 calendar days after receiving the records in order for an administrative review to be conducted. If the applicant or parent notifies the FAD worker more than 15 calendar days after receiving the records, the FAD worker may schedule the review if the worker determines good reason exists for the delay.

Review Date

If the applicant or parent does not request a copy of the records, the review must be conducted within 30 calendar days of the FAD worker receiving the request for a review. If the applicant or parent requests a copy of the records, the review must be conducted within 30 calendar days of the applicant or parent notifying the FAD worker that he or she received the records.

The Administrative Review

A program director or individual designated by the CPS program administrator conducts the administrative review.

The administrative review is not a formal hearing and does not include a formal examination and cross-examination of witnesses. However, during the review the applicant or parent can dispute the adverse action by presenting evidence, including written documentation and oral testimony. The program director or designee determines if the testimony may be given either in person or by telephone. If the applicant or parent has a representative, the representative may be present if the applicant or parent is being interviewed or questioned for the review, and when the applicant or parent presents evidence.

After the administrative review is completed, the program director or individual designated by the CPS program administrator provides written notification of the decision to the foster or adoptive applicant or parent who requested the review.

If the application denial or home closure is due to a substantiated finding for abuse, neglect, or exploitation and the foster or adoptive applicant or parent has had an Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF) to challenge the substantiated finding, the applicant or parent is still eligible for an administrative review to challenge the denial or closure. However, the ARIF decision may be considered during the administrative review.

If FAD staff upholds a denial or closure in an administrative review and the foster or adoptive applicant or parent subsequently files a new application, FAD staff may deny the application without providing another administrative review, unless the applicant provides evidence of changed circumstances.

7741 Peer Review Appeal Process for DFPS Verified Foster Parents

CPS October 2017

If a FAD worker and supervisor decide to take certain adverse actions against a foster home, the foster parent may choose to waive his or her right to an administrative review and instead proceed with a peer review. The foster parent also has the right to request a copy of and review the records related to the adverse action before the peer review.

Parent Has 15 Days to Request Peer Review

The parent receives a letter notifying him or her of the adverse action. If the parent wants to proceed with the peer review, the parent must complete the form attached to the letter and return it to the FAD worker within 15 calendar days after receiving the letter. If the parent submits the form more than 15 calendar days after receiving the notification letter, the FAD worker may schedule the review if the worker determines good reason exists for the delay.

Parent Requests Copy of Records

If the parent also requests a copy of the records, the FAD worker must request the records from the Records Management Group, using OneCase in IMPACT. See the Foster and Adoptive Home Resource Guide, under Producing FAD Administrative Review Records for Foster and Adoptive Parents.

The FAD worker does not schedule a review until the parent notifies the FAD worker that he or she received the records. The applicant or parent must notify the FAD worker within 15 calendar days of receiving the records in order for a peer review to be conducted. If the parent notifies the FAD worker more than 15 calendar days after receiving the records, the FAD worker may schedule the review if the worker determines good reason exists for the delay.

Review Date

If the parent does not request a copy of the records, the peer review must be conducted within 30 calendar days of the FAD worker receiving the request for a review. If the parent requests a copy of the records, the review must be conducted within 30 calendar days of the parent notifying the FAD worker that he or she received the records.

The Peer Review

The purpose of a peer review is to review the adverse action through a non-adversarial process and make recommendations about decisions and actions taken on DFPS-verified foster parents. This appeal procedure uses the expertise of foster parents to review adverse actions and help CPS staff evaluate if appropriate action was taken. These guidelines must be written and given to all DFPS verified foster parents.

During the peer review, the parent can dispute the adverse action by presenting evidence, including written documentation and oral testimony. If the parent has a representative, the representative may be present if the parent is being interviewed or questioned for the review, and when the parent presents evidence. However, the peer review appeal process is not a formal hearing and does not include a formal examination and cross-examination of witnesses.

Each region establishes a team to review and evaluate certain decisions and actions taken with DFPS verified foster parents through an equity lens. The review team makeup will include foster parents.

Each region decides when this review team convenes. The review team meets on a regular basis or as needed.

Each region that takes adverse action on DFPS-verified foster parents, resulting in possible home closure, must allow these families access to the peer review appeal process before closing the home. Regions also use this process if requested to review:

  •   staff lowering the capacity of placements without the foster parents' agreement;

  •   foster parents being placed on corrective action;

  •   conflicts arising between staff and foster parents.

Staff cannot conduct a peer review unless the records related to the decision are provided to the peer review team. If a foster parent wants to use the peer review appeal process, the foster parent must sign a release of information statement so information can be shared with his or her peers.

The complete foster home case record, including information in IMPACT, is available at the peer review appeal hearing. If relevant, or requested by the foster parent, each member of the review team receives copies of the following information:

  •   Quarterly narratives over the last year (or more if relevant)

  •   All serious incident reports

  •   All developmental and corrective action plans

  •   Commendations and any special recognition

  •   Home screening

  •   The narratives that are not included in the quarterly narrative over the last year (or more if relevant)

The peer review appeal team makes a recommendation to the CPS program administrator, who makes the final decision. The CPS program administrator notifies the foster parent and the peer review appeal team in writing.

7800 Special Considerations

7810 Avoiding a Conflict of Interest When DFPS Employees Apply to Foster or Adopt

CPS October 2017

Foster and Adoptive Home Development (FAD) program staff must ensure that they avoid public perceptions of impropriety, mistrust, conflict of interest, or favoritism at all times. The FAD worker exercises sound judgment in his or her relationships with DFPS clients, including foster and adoptive parents, contractors, and fellow employees. The FAD worker displays professional behavior and refrains from personal involvement that may or will discredit, question the integrity of, or embarrass either DFPS or the individuals involved. See HHSC policy, Chapter 4B, Employee Conduct.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.107(3)

The policies in the following items are designed to protect the best interests of children in DFPS conservatorship and to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, impropriety, or favoritism toward CPS employees during the verification, approval, and placement process.

Only policies unique to FAD appear in this handbook. For policy that all DFPS employees, including CPS employees, must follow, see the internal policy DFPS-8103 Fostering or Adopting of Children in DFPS Conservatorship by DFPS Employees.

7811 Restrictions on FAD Verifying or Approving DFPS Employees and Others with Close Ties to DFPS

CPS October 2017

If acting as a child-placing agency (CPA), DFPS must avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest and impropriety. See 7810 Avoiding a Conflict of Interest When DFPS Employees Apply to Foster or Adopt.

If the following persons meet the relevant requirements and seek to become foster or adoptive parents of children in DFPS conservatorship, they must do so through a private child-placing agency, rather than being trained, verified, or monitored by DFPS in its role as a CPA:

  •   DFPS employees, including CPS staff

  •   Family members and relatives of DFPS employees

  •   DFPS council members

  •   Contracted service providers including subcontractors and vendors, such as home screeners and employees of a private CPA

  •   Any entity that financially benefits from DFPS including but not limited to paid consultants

  •   Volunteers, including court appointed special advocates (CASAs)

  •   Employees of a child advocacy center

  •   Members of a child welfare board

The requirement may also apply to other persons who have a close relationship with DFPS. The regional director, in consultation with FAD staff at the DFPS state office, makes this determination on a case-by-case basis.

Persons with a close relationship to DFPS include, but are not limited to:

  •   family court judges;

  •   county attorneys;

  •   district attorneys who represent DFPS;

  •   guardians ad litem for the child;

  •   attorneys ad litem for the parents or child; and

  •   CPS employees who are terminating their employment with CPS.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.107(2)

FAD staff must not conduct, review, or approve foster home screenings, adoptive home screenings, or post-placement adoptive reports if there is a conflict of interest or bias with the family or the child. For example, there would be a conflict of interest if the staff is related to or has a personal relationship with the family or the child.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.107(1)

When FAD staff conducts adoptive home screenings, the staff must verify that the person evaluated appears suitable for adoption. See 7210 Reasons for Screening Applicants for Foster Care and Adoption.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.107(5)

7811.1 Requesting an Exception to the Policy Requirements for Fostering or Adopting a Child in DFPS Conservatorship by a DFPS Employee

CPS October 2017

In extremely limited situations, depending on each individual case's unique circumstances and the child's best interest, the DFPS commissioner may grant an exception to deviate from the policy. The FAD division processes these exceptions.

If the state office FAD division administrator or designee receives a request for an exception from the regional director or designee, he or she must verify that the request:

  •   is in writing;

  •   specifies the reasons for requesting an exception;

  •   confirms that there is no conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest; and

  •   confirms that the proposed action is in the child's best interest.

If the request meets the above criteria, the state office FAD division administrator or designee must submit an action memo through his or her chain of command to obtain approval from each level of supervisors, including the DFPS general counsel, until final written approval to grant an exception is obtained from the DFPS commissioner.

7900 Alternate Caregiving for Foster Children

CPS October 2017

DFPS encourages foster parents to use alternate care to provide relief from the daily stresses of caring for foster children. Doing so gives foster parents the break they need to return refreshed and better equipped to handle the challenges of caring for children in foster care.

DFPS must ensure proper precautions are taken to maintain the safety of foster children while they are in alternate care.

Alternate care consists of:

  •   babysitting and overnight care, which is:

  •   short-term or infrequent care; and

  •   provided by a babysitter or alternate caregiver; and

  •   intermittent alternate care (IAC), also known as respite care, which is:

  •   a planned alternative 24-hour care;

  •   intended to provide relief to the child's primary caregiver;

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2621

  •   provided by a person, other than the child's foster parent, who has contracted with DFPS to provide these services; and

  •   paid for by DFPS.

Alternate caregivers regularly provide child care and supervision when the foster parent is unavailable. Regularly is defined as at least four hours a day, three or more times a week and for more than nine consecutive weeks.

Examples of alternate caregivers include, but are not limited to:

  •   adult household members who have responsibility as a caregiver for a foster child; or

  •   an unrelated daycare provider.

7910 Background Check Requirements for Babysitters and Intermittent Alternate Care Providers

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must complete DPS name-based criminal history and DFPS central registry checks for all babysitters, alternate caregivers, and relative caregivers before those individuals can provide services. The FAD worker must assess these checks in the same manner as when verifying foster families.

The FAD worker must complete a fingerprint-based criminal history check for a babysitter or alternate caregiver who provides care for a child in DFPS conservatorship in the child's foster home. The FAD worker must also conduct a fingerprint-based criminal history check on a relative if the relative provides care in the child's home. See 7922 Relatives.

Youth in care acting as babysitters are exempt from criminal and central registry checks.

See:

7441 Evaluating Criminal History Results

7442 Evaluating DFPS and Out of State Abuse or Neglect History Results

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §745.615

7920 Babysitting and Overnight Care

CPS October 2017

Babysitting and overnight care are defined as care that is provided by a babysitter or alternate caregiver.

7921 Restrictions on DFPS Employees

CPS October 2017

DFPS employees may not act as babysitters or provide overnight care for a child in foster care not related to them, except as otherwise provided in policy when an appropriate placement is not available. See 4152.2 Meeting a Child's Needs Until a Placement Is Secured.

7922 Relatives

CPS October 2017

Relatives are related to the foster child through blood, marriage, adoption, or creation of the court.

The FAD worker must ensure that a relative who is not living with the foster child supervises that child for no more than 12 hours a day, whether in the child's home or in that relative's home.

If the relative provides care in the relative's own home, he or she is not subject to regulation as a child-care home.

7923 Approving and Documenting Babysitters

7923.1 Approving and Documenting Adult Babysitters

CPS October 2017

Background Checks

See 7910 Background Check Requirements for Babysitters and Intermittent Alternate Care Providers.

Experience and Training

The FAD worker must ensure that an adult babysitter has a minimum of six months child-care experience or has provided CPS staff with two personal or professional references who can describe the prospective babysitter's child-care experience. Child-care experience includes professional work experience, such as being a teacher, as well as personal experience such as babysitting related or unrelated children.

Ratio of Children to Babysitters

The FAD worker must ensure that an adult babysitter provides care for no more than six children at a time.

Approval

The FAD supervisor must review documentation related to the babysitter (including background checks). The FAD supervisor must determine whether to approve or deny the individual as a babysitter and document the determination in the foster family file. The prospective babysitter may only care for foster children after FAD approves him or her.

Documentation

The FAD worker must maintain written documentation of the adult's child care experience and references in the case record of the foster family for whom the adult is providing services.

7923.2 Approving and Documenting Minor Babysitters

CPS October 2017

Background Checks

See 7910 Background Check Requirements for Babysitters and Intermittent Alternate Care Providers.

Requirements and Limitations

The FAD supervisor or child placement management staff (CPMS) must ensure that a minor who is 16 years old or older, including a minor under DFPS conservatorship, meets requirements before approving the minor to serve as a babysitter for foster children under the age of 13.

The FAD supervisor or CPMS must

  •   establish limits on the number of children that a minor babysitter may care for at a time;

  •   establish limits on the duration and frequency of the babysitting, including limiting the minor to babysitting no more than eight hours a day and never babysitting overnight;

  •   verify that the minor is certified in CPR and first aid; and

  •   verify that neither the minor babysitter, nor any of the foster children under his or her care, is receiving treatment services as defined by Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) Minimum Standards, §749.61(2).

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2599

Certification and References

The FAD worker must receive from all prospective minor babysitters, including those under DFPS conservatorship:

  •   documentation of CPR and first aid certification; and

  •   two personal or professional references.

The conservatorship (CVS) and FAD workers must jointly assess the documentation of a prospective minor babysitter who is also under DFPS conservatorship and determine whether to approve the foster child as a babysitter.

Approval

The FAD supervisor must review documentation related to the babysitter (including background checks). The FAD supervisor must determine whether to approve or deny the individual as a babysitter and document the determination in the foster family file. The prospective babysitter may only care for foster children after FAD approves him or her.

Documentation

The FAD worker must maintain documentation of a minor's references and CPR and first aid certification in the case record of the foster family for whom any minor is providing services.

7924 Approving Alternate Care Plans

CPS October 2017

The foster child's conservatorship (CVS) caseworker and FAD worker must pre-approve a DFPS foster family's alternate care plan.

The FAD worker must review the foster family's alternate care plan quarterly. The FAD worker must document the reviews in the family's quarterly narrative, noting any changes to the plan. The review must include a list of babysitters, alternate, and relative caregivers, and include how often the family uses them.

7925 Documenting Care Instructions

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must inform foster parents that they must provide written instructions for each foster child to all persons providing intermittent alternate care (IAC), babysitting, or overnight care. The FAD worker must inform foster parents that they must:

  •   complete Form 2085-RC Intermittent Alternate Care Provider Instructions for each foster child, and

  •   give each completed form to the actual babysitter or IAC provider before leaving the child with the provider.

The FAD worker must inform the foster parents that instructions must include:

  •   medical and behavioral information on each foster child for whom care is being provided;

  •   medication instructions for each foster child for whom care is being provided, if applicable;

  •   appropriate discipline methods for all foster children;

  •   eating and sleeping instructions (including any food restrictions or allergies) for each foster child for whom care is being provided;

  •   names of acceptable visitors;

  •   emergency instructions and contact information to include a child's physician; and

  •   information on how to get in touch with each foster child's CVS worker and foster parents, if needed.

7926 Notifying DFPS of Alternate Care Services

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must inform foster parents that they must notify DFPS of any plan to use babysitting, overnight, or IAC services before leaving the foster child with the caregiver.

7930 Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) and DFPS Verified Foster Homes

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that verified foster parents and non-verified individuals who wish to provide intermittent alternate care (IAC) services are pre-approved and meet the requirements under DFPS rule and policy to provide these services.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §§749.2621 – 749-2635

7931 Verified FAD Homes Providing Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC)

CPS October 2017

DFPS-verified foster homes may provide intermittent alternate care (IAC) services for a child in DFPS conservatorship. The FAD supervisor or a child placement management staff (CPMS) must pre-approve each time a DFPS-verified foster home provides IAC services. The FAD supervisor or child placement manager must deny IAC services if it could be detrimental to a child.

The record of the foster home providing IAC services must include documentation of a FAD supervisor's or CPMS's approval.

The FAD worker must ensure that the foster home meets and complies with the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies for all children in care. The Minimum Standards are rules that provide required standards on a variety of subjects including but not limited to, capacity, child-to-caregiver ratios and supervision.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, 40 TAC §749.2627 and §749.2629

See also 7932 Service Limitation of Verified IAC Providers.

7932 Service Limitation of Verified IAC Providers

CPS October 2017

While DFPS-verified foster homes may provide intermittent alternate care (IAC) services for a child in DFPS conservatorship, the FAD worker must ensure that the following limitations are applied:

  •   Verified DFPS foster homes cannot provide IAC services to children receiving treatment services.

  •   Verified homes must follow all capacity and caregiver-to-child ratios.

  •   Verified homes cannot provide more than 14 consecutive days, or 60 days annually, of IAC care unless the foster home exclusively provides respite child-care services.

  •   Verified homes may not provide IAC services more than once each month.

The FAD worker must ensure that verified homes allow a minimum of 10 days between providing IAC services. These limits do not apply to homes that exclusively provide IAC services.

DFPS may make an exception to this requirement for a child who needs a placement because of an abuse or neglect investigation in the child's foster home.

Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies,40 TAC §§749.2631, 749.2551 – 749.2567, and 749.2633.

7933 Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) Providers

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must verify that intermittent alternate care (IAC) providers meet the qualifications as outlined in the IAC contract. The following individuals or businesses may provide IAC services:

  •   foster parents verified by DFPS or through another licensed child-placing agency, or persons licensed by the DFPS Child Care Licensing Division;

  •   facilities providing child-care services and licensed or registered through the DFPS Child Care Licensing Division, except for emergency shelters which may not provide IAC services for DFPS-verified foster homes;

  •   businesses certified to provide home and community support services through the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS);

  •   an approved individual who meets the following minimum requirements in addition to the qualifications outlined in the Intermittent Alternate Care Contract. The individual must:

  •   be a minimum of 18 years of age;

  •   have a minimum of six months child-care experience or two personal references who can describe the prospective provider's child-care experience;

  •   agree to follow the DFPS non-physical discipline policy and confidentiality policy;

  •   have had criminal background checks completed within the last 24 months on the prospective provider and all persons 14 years of age or older living in the provider's home, and the proposed provider has been determined appropriate to provide IAC services;

  •   have had central registry checks (child abuse and neglect checks) completed within the last 24 months on the prospective provider and all persons 10 years of age or older living in the provider's home, and the proposed provider has been determined appropriate to provide IAC services;

  •   provide proof of current adult, child, and infant CPR and first-aid certifications; and

  •   provide proof of negative tuberculosis tests for all household members.

7933.1 Non-Verified Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) Providers

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must ensure that an individual who is not a verified foster parent and wants to provide intermittent alternate care (IAC) services to a child in DFPS conservatorship has first established an individual contract with DFPS.

The FAD worker must ensure that, before the individual contract for IAC services is established, the approved IAC provider must agree to:

  •   comply with regulations, policies, and procedures as specified by DFPS;

  •   submit the completed Form 2082 Intermittent Alternate Care Contract to DFPS as stated in the individual's IAC contract;

  •   inform DFPS immediately of any significant problems that arise with a child in DFPS conservatorship while providing IAC services; and

  •   acknowledge that DFPS cannot guarantee the frequency of IAC use.

7934 Contracting for Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) Services

CPS October 2017

The FAD worker must facilitate contracts with verified and non-verified IAC providers. The FAD worker must ensure that verified and non-verified intermittent alternate care (IAC) providers establish a contract before the services are authorized and received.

The FAD worker must ensure that verified foster parents establishing a contract with DFPS to provide IAC care are in good standing, and their home complies with the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies found in Title 40 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 749, Subchapter O.

The FAD worker must ensure that facilities providing IAC services are in good standing with DFPS and have provided a copy of their facility license or registration.

The FAD worker must ensure that foster homes, businesses, or facilities verified by private CPAs provide documentation that DFPS (RCCL or Contracts) has not taken adverse action against them. A verbal or written statement from the facility is sufficient.

7935 Arranging Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) Services

CPS October 2017

Intermittent alternate care (IAC) requests may come from the foster parent, the FAD worker, the child's CVS caseworker, or a medical professional such as the child's therapist or doctor.

All non-emergency requests for IAC must be made at least 10 working days in advance of the desired start date of the IAC services. The request must be submitted to the foster family's FAD worker, or a regionally designated CVS caseworker, and may be verbal or written.

DFPS-verified foster homes using IAC services must notify and get approval from the child's CVS caseworker before the child is placed in IAC. Foster parents must ensure that the appropriate information about each child is provided to the IAC provider before the child is left with the IAC provider. See 7925 Documenting Care Instructions.

7935.1 Requiring Prior Service Authorization to Ensure Payment of IAC Services

CPS October 2017

If a DFPS-verified foster home requests IAC services, regionally designated staff must create a service authorization in the child's SUB stage. The authorization shows approval of payment for the length of time that the child will be placed in IAC. The FAD worker or regionally designated staff must complete the IAC service authorization and send it to the FAD supervisor for approval for payment of the service.

To ensure that the provider will receive payment, the FAD supervisor must approve the service authorization before the IAC services begin. The FAD worker must notify the child's caseworker that IAC services have been arranged before the child may be placed in IAC. The notification to the child's caseworker must contain the:

  •   dates of IAC services;

  •   name of the IAC provider; and

  •   address and telephone number of the IAC provider.

7935.2 Procedures for Arranging Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC)

CPS October 2017

If placing a child for intermittent alternate care (IAC):

  •   the appropriate FAD staff must notify the child's caseworker;

  •   the FAD supervisor must approve the service authorization for the agreed length of time of IAC (see 7935.1 Requiring Prior Service Authorization to Ensure Payment of IAC Services);

  •   the FAD worker must negotiate and document the dates of IAC services between the foster family and IAC provider, including pick-up and drop-off times;

  •   the FAD worker must ensure that the IAC provider receives completed forms:

  •   Form 2084 Declaration of Service Provided Foster Parent Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC);

  •   Form 2085RC Intermittent Alternate Care Provider Instructions;

  •   Form 2085R Placement Authorization for Intermittent Alternate Care; and

  •   the FAD worker must ensure that the IAC provider has emergency contact information for the foster family, the child's CVS caseworker, the FAD worker, and the Statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.

The FAD worker must ensure that the foster parent will provide transportation to the IAC provider's home unless other arrangements have been made with the provider, the child's CVS caseworker, or the FAD worker.

7936 Processing the Billing for Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) Services

CPS October 2017

Each time the child has been returned after intermittent alternate care (IAC) has been provided, the IAC provider is responsible for completing the middle portion of Form 2084 Declaration of Service Provided Foster Parent Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC).

The provider then forwards the completed and signed form to either the FAD worker or another regional designee.

The FAD worker or the designee must forward the fully signed and completed Form 2084 to the regional contract staff for payment.

Regional contract staff makes the payment directly to the IAC provider at the designated rates.

7936.1 Canceling Intermittent Alternate Care

CPS October 2017

To cancel previously authorized intermittent alternate care (IAC) services, the foster parent contacts the FAD worker and the IAC provider, usually by phone, no later than 24 hours before the authorized start date of the services.

7936.2 Requesting Additional Units of Intermittent Alternate Care Service

CPS October 2017

If foster parents request intermittent alternate care (IAC) beyond the allotted 10 days per fiscal year, the FAD worker must fill out a request and provide the completed request to the supervisor. The supervisor, upon approving the request, must forward it to the program administrator. The FAD program administrator or designee must provide final written approval of the request.

Any request for additional IAC must have the recommendation of:

  •   the child's CVS caseworker;

  •   the FAD worker; or

  •   a medical professional.

Non-emergency requests for additional IAC services should be made at least 10 working days in advance of the desired start date. The criteria for foster parents requesting additional days are:

  •   death in the family;

  •   serious illness of a family member; or

  •   adverse behavioral, medical, or mental health condition exhibited by the child.

Regions must develop their own procedures for reviewing and approving requests for additional IAC services. Granting additional IAC units beyond the annual allotment is ultimately dependent on the funds and availability within each region.

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