Texas has many agencies, such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), that are established to help residents with a variety of issues. While you may not need certain services now, there may come a point where you do need some assistance or know someone who does. Knowing what is available to you in the community and how programs work can be beneficial down the road.
We’re going to dive deeper into the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to take a closer look at the many ways they help people in the Lone Star State.
What is the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services works to help families stay healthy and safe. Its job is to protect the most vulnerable adults and children from the horrors of abuse, exploitation, and neglect.
There are a variety of programs and services that are designed to help people of all ages who may be hitting a rough patch in their lives.
Day Care and Residential Childcare
In Texas, Child Care Licensing (CCL) sets the rules that childcare facilities must follow to not only get a state license but also follow if they want to remain open. There are regular inspections to make sure that all protocols are followed to keep children safe.
Through these inspections, investigators are also looking for any signs of abuse and neglect. If there are any allegations, CCL will investigate them thoroughly.
As a service to help parents find licensed and reliable child care, CCL also provides a database so you can search for child care near you.
Child Protective Services (CPS)
Child Protective Services (CPS) looks into reports of child abuse and neglect. It looks to see if there are any threats to the safety of children in the home. If signs of abuse or neglect are found in the home, CPS caseworkers will determine if the parents can help to protect the children at home. If it’s determined that can’t happen, the caseworker will start protective services to keep the children safe.
If CPS is looking into reports of abuse and neglect, there will be an open case that will also allow the child to get services from CPS.
- Providing referrals to the family as needed
- Keeping children in their homes and offering Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)
If there is a risk to the child, but the situation is deemed less serious, the family can also get services from CPS. This is referred to as an Alternative Response. It does not involve a formal investigation.
Family-Based Safety Services
As mentioned above, Family-Based Safety Services can be offered to help families. This includes mental health support, daycare, family counseling, crisis intervention, violence prevention, and medical service referrals. The goal is to keep children safely in their homes or allow them to return home by keeping them safe.
CPS also offers in-home services to help make the family more stable and reduce the risk of future abuse or neglect. Sometimes children need to live with other family members or friends until their home is safe for them to return.
Services Out of the Home
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services also offers services out of the home. While the goal is to keep the child safe at home, sometimes that is not possible. In these cases, CPS may get temporary custody of the child. During this time, the child will get a full medical and mental health evaluation as well as an educational evaluation. Children will also get any therapy or treatments medical professionals deem necessary. Guardianship decisions will also be made for children in CPS custody.
Open Cases with CPS
CPS can continue a case after an investigation if they believe the child is at risk of neglect or abuse. CPS can go to court to get a child removed from their home if they believe it is not safe for them there. If a judge agrees, the child may be placed in foster care or sent to live with relatives with CPS overseeing the case.
How CPS Opens a Case
Certain steps need to be taken for CPS to open a case.
- Someone reports abuse or neglect.
- A caseworker comes to the home to evaluate the child’s safety. The caseworker may also talk to family, friends, neighbors, even teachers, and doctors. This usually takes about 30 days to complete. If the child is at high risk, the child may be removed from the home right away.
- During the 30 days, CPS will review the case and decide whether the child is safe or being abused or neglected.
- If the child is unsafe, CPS will decide if they need to leave the home or get family-based services in their home.
- When the child remains home and has an open case they may get medical services, counseling, or other services.
- If the child is removed, they will be placed with a family member, friend, or in foster care.
- In extreme cases, a court can terminate parents’ rights. CPS is awarded permanent managing conservatorship in these cases.
Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI)
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services also offers Prevent and Early Intervention (PEI). PEI focuses on preventing child neglect, abuse, and juvenile delinquency. PEI looks to help families in crisis by providing education, home visiting services, as well as mentoring for youth. PEI does not deliver services directly as it contracts with local providers to do so.
PEI-funded services will vary by location. Not all services may be available everywhere. It’s best to look at what your specific area has to offer.
When To Contact DFPS
You should contact DFPS if you believe someone is being neglected or abused or is at risk. Also, contact DFPS if you think someone is exploiting a person with a disability or special needs. DFPS can also help you find licensed daycare or residential childcare facilities.
Get In Touch With DFPS
If you’re concerned about abuse neglect or exploitation or anything else in regard to child welfare or abuse neglect and exploitation in care facilities, then reach out to DFPS through the following phone numbers or helpful links:
- To report abuse, call 1-800-252-5400.
- For other questions, call 512-438-4800.
- Complete the contact form on the DFPS website.
Knowing what the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services can do for you in the community can help you or a loved one who is going through a difficult time in their lives.