Permanency Process

Whenever CPS removes a child from his or her home and places the child in substitute care, staff must engage in permanency planning on behalf of the child to ensure that the child can return the child’s family if and when this can be safety accomplished or be placed permanently with an alternative family, preferably a kinship family, as soon as possible. 

In some cases the Department is appointed Permanent Managing Conservator--PMC of a child. If parental rights are terminated, the Department seeks to find an adoptive home for the child, either with kinship or with others.  If parental rights are not terminated, the Department continues efforts to locate someone else who can assume this role, and seeks a foster family that can stay committed to the child during this process. In most cases it is not in the best interest of children for DFPS to obtain PMC without termination of parental rights, especially of children under age 12. 

Staff must document their permanency efforts in the child’s service plans and court permanency and placement review reports.

Permanency Legislation

Court Resolution

Permanency legislation, implemented in 1998, requires courts to render a final order for children in the agency's custody within 12 months of their removal from their home, with a one-time, six-month extension for special circumstances.


Federal and state law provide only four acceptable permanency goals, and CPS subdivides the acceptable permanency options into nine subsets as follows.

Federal Law/Texas Family Code CPS (as seen on Child and Family Service Plans)
Family Reunification Family Reunification
Adoption Alternative Family: Relative/Kinship Adoption
Alternative Family: Unrelated Adoption
Permanent Managing Conservatorship to a relative or suitable individual Alternative Family: Relative/Kinship Conservatorship
Alternative Family: Unrelated Conservatorship
Another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) APPLA Family: Foster Family DFPS Conservatorship
APPLA. Family: Other Family DFPS Conservatorship
APPLA: Independent Living
APPLA: Community Care

Special Permanency Efforts

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