The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) serves the state’s children, youth, families, and people who are elderly or have disabilities. This Annual Report and Data Book is an overview of the department’s programs, services, performance, and accomplishments. It also provides a comprehensive statistical explanation of DFPS services. This report covers the period of September 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014. You can find this report and other information on the department’s website at www.dfps.texas.gov.
The mission of DFPS is to protect children and people who are elderly or who have disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by involving clients, families, and communities.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:
- Is recognized for innovative, effective services.
- Builds strong, effective partnerships with clients, communities, providers, and state leaders.
- Provides effective leadership that is accountable for its actions and communicates openly with clients and stakeholders.
- Supports staff members who are highly motivated, diverse, ethical, well-trained, and professional.
- We protect the unprotected.
- We involve clients, families, and communities in decision making.
- We provide quality services.
- We are innovative and strive for excellence.
- We are ethical and accountable.
- We promote diversity.
- We value our staff.
DFPS Staffing and Structure
The DFPS commissioner is appointed by the executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The DFPS commissioner directs 11,254 employees in 287 local offices that are located in 11 regions and a state headquarters in Austin. DFPS has five major programs:
- Child Protective Services
- Adult Protective Services
- Child Care Licensing
- Statewide Intake
- Prevention and Early Intervention
A nine-member council is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate. The council makes recommendations on the department’s rules and policies and takes public input.
Our caseworkers rely on communities to help families struggling with abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In FY 2014, 3,787 of volunteers and volunteer groups worked with DFPS to increase awareness and provide services. Trained DFPS volunteers:
- Deliver prevention and intervention services.
- Promote policies and programs that build healthy families.
- Increase community resources that support DFPS clients.
- Help Texans who are least able to protect themselves.
All Texas Health and Human Services agencies, including DFPS, were in the process of Sunset Review during FY 2014. The Sunset Advisory Commission staff conducted a thorough review of DFPS and issued a report in late 2014. The Sunset report concluded that DFPS needed to improve management practices to reduce turnover and fulfill its mission more effectively. Recommendations in the report included:
- Updating Child Protective Services (CPS) policy and policy-making practices.
- Performance evaluations for CPS staff that focus on the quality of casework.
- More clearly defining corrective actions for employees and guidance for managers.
- Creating a caseworker mentoring program in CPS.
- Allowing DFPS to more easily fine child-care providers for violations of state standards that put children at high risk.
- Enhancing the status and role of the DFPS Prevention and Intervention program.
- Improving planning for Foster Care Redesign.
- Reporting the progress and activities of DFPS internal CPS Transformation effort to the Sunset Advisory Commission.
Some of these recommendations had already been implemented as FY 2014 came to a close, and the Sunset process continued into FY 2015.
Transforming Child Protective Services (CPS)
DFPS hired an experienced consulting firm to conduct a top-to-bottom review of CPS that was largely based on the input and insights of front-line CPS staff from across Texas. In June 2014, The CPS Operational Review produced a sweeping set of recommendations. The Sunset Advisory Commission also released its recommendations for DFPS, while the Casey Family Programs gave CPS its recommendations on improving foster care in Harris County.
DFPS developed a plan to address the findings of these reviews and make improvements in the CPS program. The CPS Transformation report to the Sunset Advisory Commission details these efforts.
The Transformation initiative brings together all three sets of recommendations, and frontline field staff is leading much of the implementation.
You will find the latest on these efforts on the CPS Transformation webpages on the DFPS Website. You will find more information about Transformation in the 2014 Accomplishments and Program Enhancements section of this report.
Office of Consumer Affairs
The Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) handles complaints and legislative inquiries about DFPS programs. The purpose of OCA is to address the concerns of DFPS clients, their families, other stakeholders, and the public in a fair and unbiased manner.
OCA handled 4,822 complaints, 15,118 general inquiries, and 888 legislative inquiries in FY 2014. OCA validated 12% percent of complaints. OCA also shares the results of their reviews with DFPS state and regional administrators to help improve the quality of services. You may contact the Office of Consumer Affairs by:
- Calling a toll number (800-720-7777).
- Filling out a form on the DFPS website.
- Email the Office of Consumer Affairs.
Emergency Resource Room
Caseworkers get emergency supplies or special items from emergency resource rooms, such as like diapers, cleaning supplies, clothes, and small furniture to meet the needs of their clients. CPS resource rooms are called Rainbow Rooms. Adult Protective Services resource rooms are called Silver Star Rooms or Bridge Rooms. There were 200 emergency resource rooms that served 135,495 DFPS clients in FY 2014.