Statutory References

Major Provisions

  • Definitions of abuse and neglect of children
  • Mandatory reporting of suspected abuse or neglect of children
  • Prepare and disseminate statistics by county relating to CPS in an annual report made available to the legislature and general public
  • Responsibility for receiving reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children
  • Responsibility for thorough investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect allegedly committed by a person responsible for a child's care, custody or welfare
  • Responsibility to assign priorities and prescribe investigative procedures for investigations based on the severity and immediacy of the alleged harm to the child
  • Take action to protect abused and neglected children from further harm
  • Establish review teams to evaluate department casework and decision-making related to investigations of child abuse or neglect
  • Employ Child Safety Specialists to conduct staff reviews and evaluations of cases determined to involve high risk, monitor cases with multiple referrals, and approve decisions and assessments related to investigations that involve a high risk to the health or safety of a child
  • Work with children and their families, providing services to prevent further abuse, help alleviate the effects of the abuse suffered, prevent removal of the child from the home, and provide reunification services when appropriate for the return of the child to the home
  • When necessary, secure appropriate court orders and take possession of a child if there is an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child or the child has been a victim of neglect or sexual abuse and that continuation in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare
  • Make reasonable efforts to secure the return of the child
  • Develop a service plan in conference with the child's parents to determine return of the child to the child's parents, termination of parental rights and placement of the child for adoption, or because of the child's special  needs or exceptional circumstances continue the child's care out of the child's home
  • Provide substitute care for children until the problems have been sufficiently resolved
  • Provide permanent placement for children who cannot safely return to their home
  • Establish a database of all verified foster homes willing to accept foster care placement of a child in care
  • Recruit potential adoptive parents for children whose parents have had their parental rights terminated
  • Requirements for frequency and location of contact with children in substitute care
  • Requirements for conducting criminal background and central registry checks of foster and adoptive parents

The federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, requires DFPS to:

  • Provide written notification to maternal and paternal grandparents and other adult relatives regarding a child's removal and placement in state custody and support options
  • Ensure youth aging out of state care have a Transition Plan developed within 90 days of turning 18 or the date leaving CPS extended foster care
  • Seek to have education stability for children in DFPS custody
  • Have a health oversight and coordination plan
  • Keep siblings in custody placed together.  If this is not possible, the state must provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings, unless the state shows frequent visits or other interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings
  • Make eligibility changes for the Title IV-E adoption assistance program to promote adoption of children with special needs
  • Provide information about Adoption Tax Credits during training for adoptive parents

The federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act allows and the Texas Legislature support:

  • Establishing a relative guardianship subsidy program.  For Texas, this is a subsidy program called the Permanency Care Assistance program for relatives taking permanent managing conservatorship of a child.  This program is intended to provide an additional option for children and youth who might otherwise remain in kinship foster care.  It is not intended to be a long term foster care program.
  • Allowing youth aging out of care to stay in extended foster care for a variety of reasons until they turn 21.
  • Extending adoption assistance benefits and Permanency Care Assistance benefits until the youth turns 21 if the adoption assistance agreement or Permanency Care Assistance agreement was signed after the youth turns 16.
  • Authorizing federally recognized tribes to apply for IV-E funding directly.