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1400 Case Records and Workload Management

1410 Definition of Case and Stage

CPS October 2020

A case means DFPS is or was involved with a family because of an investigation or because the family is or was receiving services from DFPS, or both. A case consists of one or more stages.

A stage of service is a phase of a case that focuses on specific DFPS activities, client needs, and outcomes. Under some circumstances, a stage can be open for purposes of review or determination for eligibility or payment.

A case record is described in 1421 The Case Record.

1411 Types of Cases and Stages of Service

CPS October 2022

Intake (INT)

The Intake stage is the first stage of service for every DFPS case. This stage usually begins when Statewide Intake receives a report of abuse or neglect. This stage may also begin when a professional reporter requests a service that does not include allegations of abuse or neglect, such as a case-related special request.

Case-Related Special Request (CRSR)

A case-related special request (CRSR) stage is a type of case that requests services that do not include allegations of abuse or neglect. Some examples of CRSRs include:

  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) requests.
  • Requests for adoption services.
  • Requests from out-of-state agencies for Texas DFPS to contact a client.
  • Compliance with court orders requiring family-based safety services through a Family Preservation (FPR) stage.

See the Statewide Intake Policy and Procedures, 4800 CPI Case-Related Special Requests.

Investigation (INV)

An investigation by Child Protective Investigations (CPI) is a stage of service. CPI investigates reports of child abuse or neglect in order to do as follows:

  • Determine whether any child in the family has been abused or neglected.
  • Assess the presence of current danger indicators.
  • Evaluate the risk of abuse or neglect that may occur in the future.

In homes where there are allegations of abuse or neglect, CPI caseworkers decide, based on the family dynamics, whether there is any threat to the safety of any child or children, or if a high level of risk of abuse or neglect is occurring. If there are safety threats or a high level of risk, CPI works with the family to determine whether the parents are willing and able to adequately manage those threats to keep the children safe. If CPI decides that children aren’t safe, the investigator starts protective services.

See 2000 Intake, Investigation, and Assessment.

Alternative Response (AR)

Alternative Response (AR) is a stage of service. It is an alternative way for CPI to respond to certain types of allegations. It is a strengths-based, family-centered approach to cases of alleged abuse or neglect. The primary focus of AR is child safety and family engagement. AR caseworkers work with families to determine their needs and address safety issues in the home where there are reports of abuse or neglect.

Eligibility for AR is based on factors such as the following:

  • The type and severity of the alleged maltreatment.
  • The ages of the children involved.
  • The family’s willingness to participate in the AR process.

AR is not for cases involving sexual abuse or cases requiring an immediate response for child safety.

Unlike other investigatory approaches, AR does not designate a perpetrator of abuse or neglect.

See 2600 Alternative Response.

Family Preservation (FPR)

A family preservation (FPR) case is also known as family-based safety services (FBSS). The FBSS program helps families who need additional services to keep a child safe and prevent entry into substitute care.

See 12000 Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS) for more information about the Family Preservation stage.

Family Substitute Care (FSU)

A family substitute care (FSU) case is established for a family that is receiving services from DFPS or the Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC), because one or more children were removed from the home and placed outside the home in substitute care.

Child Substitute Care (SUB)

A child substitute care (SUB) stage is established for a child who is in the temporary or permanent managing conservatorship of DFPS, regardless of the child’s living arrangements.

The SUB stage of a child in conservatorship is a stage of the family case, FSU or Family Reunification (FRE), if there is one. If there is no associated family case or the family case has closed, the child’s SUB stage is a stand-alone case.

See 6000 Substitute Care Services.

Request for Public Service (C-PB) CRSR

When a youth in DFPS conservatorship is the parent of a child, DFPS or the SSCC may create a substitute care C-PB stage by completing a CRSR with the type Request for Public Service.

A C-PB stage is opened for a youth parent and the youth’s child who live together in the youth parent’s placement, if both of the following apply:

  • DFPS or SSCC pays for the placement of the youth’s child.
  • DFPS has not obtained legal custody of the youth’s child.


4561.14 Youth Conservatorship Has a Child

6442 When a Youth in Substitute Care is Parenting

Family Reunification (FRE)

CPS establishes a Family Reunification (FRE) stage for a parent or parents who are receiving family reunification services when:

  • all children previously in substitute care are returned to the home of the parent or parents, but DFPS maintains conservatorship.
  • DFPS conservatorship has been dismissed, but the court has ordered the parents to participate in court-ordered services.

DFPS or SSCC provides family reunification services until one of the following occurs:

  • Services are no longer needed to help stabilize and preserve the children’s return to the home, and DFPS’s conservatorship ends.
  • A child is again removed from the home during the time DFPS maintained conservatorship.
  • The parents are dismissed from required participation in court-ordered services.

Family reunification may be with the parent from whom the child was removed or the parent who did not have custody at the time of removal.

Kinship (KIN)

A KIN stage is established by the kinship development caseworker when a kinship caregiver is caring for a child in DFPS conservatorship. Kinship development caseworkers provide ongoing support to the kinship caregiver.

A KIN stage is opened when DFPS or SSCC places a child with relatives or close family friends (also known as fictive kin).

The KIN stage is closed when either of the following occurs:

  • The child is no longer living with that caregiver.
  • The KIN stage progresses to a FAD stage (described below).

Foster and Adoptive Home Development (FAD)

A FAD stage is opened when DFPS receives an inquiry from a family about becoming verified or approved by DFPS, rather than by a private child placing agency, to foster or adopt children in DFPS conservatorship.

This stage includes services such as the following:

  • Screening, training, and studying of appropriate candidates to become foster or adoptive parents.
  • Continued support.
  • Training of foster and adoptive parents in certified homes.
  • Matching of homes with children needing placement.

The FAD stage is closed after one of the following occurs:

  • Denial of certification or withdrawal from the DFPS program.
  • Consummation of an adoption and subsequent closure of the adoptive home.
  • Granting of permanent managing conservatorship to a foster parent who is a relative of the child and subsequent closure of the foster home.

There are no stage types for the FAD stage.

A KIN stage can be progressed to a FAD stage, but no other case or stage can be progressed to or from a FAD stage. FAD stages cannot be merged with other cases.

See 7000 Foster and Adoptive Home Development.

Adoption (ADO)

An Adoption (ADO) stage is opened before a child enters an adoptive placement. When the child is placed in an adoptive placement, the SUB stage remains open.

The following items are documented in the ADO stage:

  • Adoptive placement.
  • Adoption service plan.
  • Post-placement supervision of the adoptive placement.
  • Agreement and application for adoption assistance.

The ADO stage and the SUB stage are closed once the adoption is consummated.

The ADO stage is closed if either of the following occurs:

  • An adoption disruption occurs (that is, the adoptive placement does not result in the planned adoption).
  • The permanency plan changes, and the child is no longer in an adoptive placement.

Post-Adoption (PAD)

When an Adoption stage is closed with a reason of Adoption Consummated, IMPACT creates a new case in the name of the adoptive home and a new Post-Adoption (PAD) stage in the case for each adopted child.

The PAD stage begins automatically if there was an open application for adoption assistance in the Adoption stage when it was closed. If not, IMPACT creates the new case with the PAD stage and then closes it. If the family requests post-adoption services later, the closed case is re-opened.

The  PAD stage remains on the workload of the adoption assistance eligibility caseworkers. Adoption assistance and post-adoption services are paid through the PAD stage.

For more details, see:

8400 Post Adoption Services (Consummated Adoptions)

1700 Adoption Assistance Program

Administrative Review for Foster or Adoptive Home Providers (ARF)

The ARF stage begins when DFPS receives a request for review of an adverse action that DFPS has taken toward a FAD provider.

The ARF stage ends with the conclusion of the review and the recording of the decision.

The ARF stage can be opened if either of the following applies:

  • The FAD stage is open.
  • The FAD stage has been closed by a user with the appropriate security attribute.

See 7000 Foster and Adoptive Home Development.

Preparation for Adult Living (PAL)

DFPS provides PAL services to youth and young adults to help them successfully transition to adulthood. Services start when the youth is age 14 and can continue until the youth’s 21st birthday. PAL services are for youth who have any of the following situations:

  • Are in substitute care.
  • Aged out of DFPS conservatorship at age 18.
  • Have left extended foster care.

PAL program services and other transitional living services, such as education and training vouchers, are entered in the PAL stage.

IMPACT automatically stage progresses and opens a PAL stage for youth who are in a Child Substitute Care (SUB) stage at age 14. The PAL stage only opens on the workload of the lead PAL staff member or the person who has maintainer status for the region. The PAL stage can also be manually opened for any youth who is currently or has previously been in the SUB stage, and who meets the age and eligibility requirements to receive services.

For eligible youth or young adults from out of state who live in Texas or young adults who want to return to care after the trial independence has ended, a new case-related special request (CRSR) in the Intake stage can be progressed to the PAL stage in IMPACT to provide PAL services.

The PAL stage ends when the PAL staff closes the stage because the youth or young adult is no longer receiving services. After closure, the PAL stage can be re-opened when DFPS receives a new request for PAL services. The PAL stage must be closed for any young adult age 21 or older, but it can be re-opened and re-closed for purposes of documenting other transitional living services provided beyond age 21, such as the education and training voucher.

See 10000 Services to Older Youth in Care for more detailed information on transitional living services in the PAL stage, especially 10200 Preparation for Adult Living (PAL).

Administrative Review for Investigation (ARI)

An administrative review of investigation findings (ARIF) is an informal review process that gives the person designated as the perpetrator of child abuse or neglect the opportunity to challenge the findings against him or her. An ARI stage is used during an ARIF.

The ARI stage begins with the request for an administrative review or a release hearing.

The ARI stage can be opened only if the Investigation stage is closed, and there is a Reason to Believe finding on an allegation. Only employees with a specific security attribute can open the ARI stage. If the allegation disposition is overturned through the review process, a user assigned to the ARI stage can enter the new disposition.

The ARI stage ends with the decision of the review or hearing and closure of the stage. Once the ARI stage is closed, it can be viewed but not modified.


1260 Administrative Review of Investigation Findings (ARIF)

1290 Release Hearings When CPI Releases Investigation Findings

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