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Appendix 5535: Legal Requirements Relevant to the Permanency Progress Report for a Child in TMC

CPS September 2015

Federal Requirements

Federal law requires that DFPS report on the following:

  •  the safety of the child;

  •  the continuing necessity for, and appropriateness of, the child’s placement (including whether the placement is the least-restrictive and is in closest proximity to the child’s parents);

  •  the extent of the parents’ compliance with the service plan and any temporary court orders;

  •  the parents’ progress toward alleviating or mitigating the causes for removal;

  •  the estimated date of the child’s move from substitute care to reunification with the parents, adoption, or permanent managing conservatorship (PMC);

  •  the child’s placement options, both in-state and out-of-state, for children whose permanency plan no longer calls for reunification with the child’s parents;

  •  whether an out-of-state placement continues to be appropriate and in the child’s best interest;

  •  the services required by youth over the age of 14 to make the transition to successful adulthood.

State Requirements

State law requires that the permanency progress report include information necessary for the court to make finds and determinations about the following:

  •  DFPS’s efforts to:

  •  locate and request service of citation on all persons entitled to service;

  •  obtain the assistance of a parent providing information necessary to locate an absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

  •  ensure that the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age-appropriate normalcy activities; and

  •  ensure that substitute caregivers are following the reasonable and prudent parent standard by, without DFPS’s prior approval, making decisions similar to those a parent would be entitled to make regarding a child’s participation in age-appropriate normalcy activities.

  •  the extent of the parties’ compliance with temporary orders and the service plan and the extent to which progress has been made toward improving the causes necessitating the placement of the child in foster care;

  •  whether to return the child to the child’s parents if the child’s parents are willing and able to provide a safe environment and the return is in the child’s best interests;

  •  a likely date by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the child’s home, placed for adoption, or placed in a permanent managing conservatorship;

  •  whether the child’s safety, well-being, and needs, including medical or special needs, are being met;

  •  whether the placement of the child, including a child who has been placed outside the state, continues to be necessary and appropriate and in the child’s best interest;

  •  the appropriateness of the permanency goals for the child developed in accordance with department rule and whether CPS has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan;

  •  whether the child has been provided, in a developmentally appropriate manner, the opportunity to express the child’s opinion on any medical care provided;

  •  whether a child receiving psychotropic medication has been provided appropriate non-pharmacological interventions, therapies or strategies to meet the child’s needs, or has been seen by the prescribing physician at least once every 90 days;

  •  whether an education decision-maker for the child has been identified, the child’s education needs and goals have been identified and addressed, and there have been major changes in the child’s school performance or serious disciplinary events;

  •  whether services that are needed to assist a child aged 14 or older in transitioning from substitute care to successful adulthood are available in the child’s community;

  •  whether the child has been consulted about the desired permanency outcome if the child’s permanency goal is another planned permanent living arrangement, and whether another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child;

  •  a summary of the medical care provided to the child, as required by the Texas Family Code §266.007 (see also 11141 Including Medical Information in Court Reports);

  •  information on significant events for the child, including:

  •  a placement change, including DFPS failure to locate an appropriate placement for at least one night;

  •  a significant change in medical condition;

  •  an initial prescription or change in dosage of psychotropic medication;

  •  a major change in school performance or a significant disciplinary event at school; or

  •  any event determined to be significant under DFPS rules; and

  •  any additional information DFPS determines is appropriate or that is requested by the court and relevant to the court’s findings at the permanency hearing before a final order is rendered.

Additional DFPS requirements

DFPS policy requires that the permanency progress report include the following:

 •    recommendations or concerns that DFPS, as the child’s managing conservator, wants the court to consider at the hearing;

  •  a determination of whether it is advisable for the child to attend the hearing; and

  •  any other information requested by the court.

42 USC §675(5)(B)(C)

Texas Family Code §§153.375, 263.303, 263.306, 266.007

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