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Running Head: Tx. Department of Family and Protective Services

 

Tx. Department of Family and Protective Services

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[Institution’s Name]

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

     The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is charged with protecting children and adults who are elderly or have disabilities living at home or in state facilities, and licensing group day care homes, day care centers, and registered family homes. The agency is also responsible for managing community-based programs that prevent delinquency, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of Texas children, elderly, and disabled adults. The agency’s services are provided through its Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services, Child Care Licensing, and Prevention and Early Intervention divisions. Everyday, 9,000 DFPS employees in 254 cities across the state of Texas protect the physical safety and emotional well-being of its most vulnerable citizens. Among its 9,000 employees are investigators, caseworkers, and field personnel involved in these programs, and a significant number of support staff who work in a call center, administer new investigations, and provide technical support. As an example of the number of cases and investigations, in 2004, the Adult Protective Services component of the agency completed 61,000 investigations of which nearly three-quarters were confirmed cases of maltreatment. (E. Wayne Carp 2007)

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     During the 80th Texas Legislative Session, concerns arose about children in DFPS’ conservatorship with a history of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and continued intensive psychiatric needs (E. Wayne Carp 2007). These children often remained in psychiatric hospitals longer than necessary because placements that provided appropriate levels of supervision, support, and therapy could not be located. When placements were found, these children continued to be at risk of repeat hospitalization.

Consequently, DFPS received designated appropriations for the 2008-2009 bienniums to purchase Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program services. Intensive Psychiatric Transition Programs must offer a short-term mental health treatment and placement option for DFPS children with intensive psychiatric needs at the time of release from a psychiatric hospitalization or as an alternative to an imminent psychiatric hospitalization. The purpose of the Intensive Psychiatric Transition Program is to provide enriched services and supports to stabilize children and promote successful transitions to less restrictive settings.

     The Adult Protective Services (APS) Program began in Texas in the mid-1970's with the passage of Title XX of the Social Security Act, which required that states receiving Title XX funds assure that the states' human services systems would protect children, elder adults and adults with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation. During the 72nd Legislature, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) was created, at which time the APS program was transferred under DFPS.

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     The responsibility for investigations in community MHMR centers was not specifically addressed in HB 7, but MHMR, DFPS and the Texas Council on Community MHMR Centers, and advocates agreed that having investigations conducted by staffing independent of the centers would be preferable. TDMHMR and DFPS entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that DFPS would phase in these investigations by July 1995.

     The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) was created with the passage of House Bill 2292 by 78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session. Previously called the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, DFPS is charged with protecting children, adults who are elderly or have disabilities living at home or in state facilities, and licensing group day-care homes, day-care centers, and registered family homes. (Ronald S. Federici 2003)

     The agency is also charged with managing community-based programs that prevent delinquency, abuse, neglect and exploitation of Texas children, elderly and disabled adults. The agency's services are provided through its Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services, Child Care Licensing, and Prevention and Early Intervention divisions. Every day, almost 6,800 DFPS employees in more than 249 offices across the state protect the physical safety and emotional well-being of the most vulnerable citizens of Texas.

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Mission

     The mission of The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is to protect children, the elderly, and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by involving clients, families and communities.

Vision
     The Department of Family and Protective Services:

  • Is recognized for innovative, effective services;
  • Builds strong, effective partnerships with clients, communities and state leaders;
  • Provides effective leadership that is accountable for its actions and communicates openly with clients and stakeholders; and
  • Supports staffs that are highly motivated, diverse, ethical, well trained, and professional.

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Purpose
     The purpose of the Department’s Family and Protective Services Program (DFPS) is to protect children and to act in the children’s best interest. CPS focuses on children and their families and seeks active involvement of the children’s parents and other family members to solve problems that lead to abuse or neglect. The objectives of DFPS are to:

  • Prevent further harm to children and to keep children with their families when possible;
  • Provide permanence for children in substitute care by resolving family dysfunction and returning children to their families; and
  • Provide permanence for children who cannot return to their families.

     Each year more than 50,000 Texas children are identified by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as victims of abuse and neglect. Many more cases go unreported or are not reported in a manner that supports effective investigation. Funding for these services are at all times contingent upon the availability and receipt of state or federal funds that the Department allocates to these services. If funds for these services become unavailable during any budget period, Contracts may be immediately terminated at the discretion of the Department.

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     DFPS cannot guarantee a specific number of referrals or funding. Issuance of this Emergency Procurement in no way constitutes a commitment by DFPS to award a contract or to pay costs incurred by an Applicant in the preparation of a response to this Emergency Procurement. No part of the Contract shall be construed as a commitment by the Department to place either a particular child or a specified number of children in a facility.

     With 7,000 employees and 250 offices across the state, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is charged with ensuring the safety and well-being of the children, elderly and disabled in the state of Texas. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services gives top priority to securing the integrity of information gathered for its investigations and cases.  (Ronald S. Federici 2003)

     The funding for caseload growth for foster care and adoption subsidies at the restored FY 2005 rates is requested in this item. Forecasts of the average number of FTE children per month in paid foster care indicate a caseload growth of 6.2% for FY 2006 and 6.7% for FY 2007. Similarly, forecasts of the average number of children provided adoption subsidies per month indicate a caseload growth of 8.4% for FY 2006 and 7.4% for FY 2007. There are no projected shifts toward higher service levels in foster care or higher adoption subsidy payments that would cause an increase in the average cost per person served for these programs.

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     The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is the designated Title IV-B state agency to provide protective services to children and families. In accordance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) requirements, Texas is submitting the 2005 Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR) and other supporting documentation that is listed in ACF Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-05-04 dated April 29, 2005. The Texas APSR outlines the progress made in the previous year toward accomplishing the goals and objectives identified in the state’s previously submitted 2005-2009 five-year Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP). All PIP goals and objectives were incorporated into the 2005-2009 CFSP.

     In addition, the Annual Budget Request and Annual Summary of Child and Family Services, the CFS-101, is also being forwarded as part of this transmittal. Listed below are the eleven separate sections that support the State of Texas request for its FY 2005 allotment authorized under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, subparts 1 and 2, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA FY 2006 basic state grant), and Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) FY 2006 funds.    

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     Most DFPS employees work away from the office at least part-time. “About 85 percent of our people are at least partly mobile,” explained Scott. Caseworkers required a solution to document case notes for entry into the agency’s central database. Until recently, most employees relied on laptops, but, according to Scott, laptops were costly and were not secure. “Laptops can be stolen or lost,” she said. “The chain of evidence is important to us. If the information is compromised or tampered with, it can impact our prosecution of a case.” Scott’s security concerns are underscored by mandates that govern the use of personal information by government agencies such as the Privacy Act of 1974.

     Within the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) are hundreds of Adult Protective Services (APS) caseworkers visiting elderly and disabled adults who are the victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Elderly or disabled Texans represent about a quarter of the state’s population. In 2004 APS completed 60,998 investigations of which 44,034 were confirmed cases of maltreatment. When the department receives a report of abuse, neglect or exploitation, caseworkers are required to initiate an investigation within 24 hours. Caseworkers complete a comprehensive assessment of the alleged victim’s situation to identify and address root causes and provide or arrange for services to alleviate or prevent future maltreatment. Services are provided directly by caseworkers, through arrangements with other community resources, or purchased by APS on a short-term, emergency basis. Services provided include financial assistance for rent and utility restoration, social services, health services, guardianship and referrals to other community services. Caseworkers arrange for everything from delivered meals to in-home care to ongoing medical treatment to direct deposit of a client’s social security check. (E. Wayne Carp 2007)

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     As determined by a major statewide report, DFPS needed to leverage leading-edge technology to enable caseworkers to file their reports more quickly from clients’ homes, to access resources and case documentation remotely, and to create a network for quickly sharing information within FPS. All of these improvements would help APS speed and better coordinate treatment, and allow caseworkers to provide help to more clients. The situation became all the more important as Texas experienced a rise in reports of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation.

References

Help for the Hopeless Child: A Guide for Families by Ronald S. Federici; Publisher: Dr. Ronald S. Federici & Associates; 2nd edition (August 29, 2003).

Department of Family and Protective Services by E. Wayne Carp; Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (April 7, 2007).

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