CHILD PROTECTION


The center is deeply committed to safeguarding Texas' six million children from abuse or neglect.

Recent Child Protection Publications

Statement: Recent Federal Report on Child Maltreatment Probably Reflects Budget Cuts, Not Less Child Abuse (12/14/2011)

Senior Policy Analyst Jane Burstain, Ph.D., on the recently released federal Child Maltreatment report. The report showed a decline in the rate of kids being identified as abuse and neglect victims in 2010 as compared to rates in 2008. Some are claiming this means that there are fewer kids being abused and neglected.

“A more likely explanation for falling rates of identified maltreatment is that budget cuts are forcing state agencies to selectively spend their limited resources on fewer cases. And, in fact, the Child Maltreatment report shows state child welfare agencies are investigating fewer abuse and neglect reports and, when they do investigate, are less likely to identify kids as a victim. So it probably isn’t that there’s less child abuse and neglect; it is more likely that with budget cuts, state agencies can do less to identify and address it."

Child Protective Services 2011 Legislative Sesssion and Interim (11/3/2011)

The 2011 Legislature lost the momentum of reform efforts from previous legislative sessions due primarily to a brutal budget session. And an anticipated deficit in the 2013 Legislature will affect work in the interim. CPPP has produced a series of policy pages that look back at the 2011 session while looking forward to 2013.

Statement on Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (09/20/2011)

Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) Senior Policy Analyst Jane Burstain released the following statement today regarding the Federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act:

CPPP applauds and supports the bipartisan Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act introduced on Monday by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, Geoff Davis and Lloyd Doggett. The bill provides needed support to help states better address child abuse and neglect and CPPP urges the U.S. House to pass the bill as quickly as possible.

Statement on Howard Baldwin as Interim DFPS Commissioner (09/6/2011)

Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs asked Howard Baldwin to serve as interim commissioner for the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), succeeding retiring Commissioner Anne Heiligenstein. Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following comments.

The 2012-13 Budget for Child Protective Services: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (06/9/2011)

In a brutal budget session, child protective services (CPS) fared better than most state services for 2012-13. The proposed rate cuts for foster care and adoption payments were not implemented and some caseload growth for these programs was funded. At this funding level, CPS hopes to move forward with its proposal to redesign foster care to help children move to permanency faster. With the budget, CPS can actually start hiring new staff to work with children and families at the start of state fiscal year 2012. Finally, funding for families services was maintained at 2010-11 levels.

But the overall budget for CPS is 10 percent less than what CPS estimated it needed for the biennium to help families affected by child abuse and neglect. Caseload growth for family services was not funded and statewide intake staff, adoption services, and child abuse and neglect prevention programs were cut. The specifics are discussed below.

Foster Care: Fast Tracking Relatives Who Care for Kids (05/27/2011)

In 2008, the federal government enacted the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act which was the first major revision to child welfare laws in a decade. One of the goals of the federal law is to encourage the use of relative caregivers, who are often the best resource for children who cannot return home, and through whom children are able to maintain ties to their family, community, culture, and religion.

But Texas’ demanding licensing process can make it difficult for relatives to become foster parents. This special report explores how to adapt Texas’ licensing process to accommodate relatives who care for kids, while holding child safety as a top priority.

Title IV-E Waivers Are Key to Keeping Kids at Home (03/31/2011)

There is a conflict between the outcomes the federal government says it wants and the outcomes it actually spends its money supporting. Ultimately, that conflict needs to be addressed through further federal child welfare financing reform. But until that happens, the federal government should create a new Title IV-E waiver program so states can pilot ways to use dedicated child welfare federal funds to achieve the outcomes the federal government wants.

Jane Burstain provided testimony to the Senate Finance Committee on the importance of the Title IV-E waiver program as a tool for states to more efficiently and effectively use child welfare funds.

SB 1 Threatens DFPS Progress in Keeping Children Safe (02/7/2011)

Preserving families and protecting children from abuse and neglect is the very essence of an essential state function and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has been getting the job done. Despite a growing volume of cases, DFPS has improved investigations, kept more children safe in their homes or with relatives, and increased the number of adoptions for children who could not return home. The cuts to the DFPS budget in SB 1, however, threaten all this progress and will force DFPS back to the days when removals were high, caseloads were unmanageable and children were sleeping in DFPS offices.

Upside Down Child Protection (02/7/2011)

In the budget bills for CPS, funding for family-based protective services falls short by 30 percent, or about $51 million. But shorting family-based protective services will not save the state money. It will simply force CPS to send maltreated children who could have stayed safe in their own homes or with relatives into the more expensive alternative of foster care.

House Bill 1 Cuts Funding Needed to Keep Children Safe (01/20/2011)

Even in cases of abuse and neglect, the primary job of Child Protective Services (CPS), is to preserve families. With the resources the Legislature has provided to CPS in recent years, removals have dramatically declined so that now, in about eight of every 10 new cases opened for services, CPS avoids a removal and keeps the family intact.

The proposed state budget bill filed on Tuesday [House Bill (HB) 1] endangers all the progress CPS has made and threatens to push CPS back to the days when removals were high, children were sleeping in CPS offices and caseworkers were overwhelmed.

The Guide to Texas Child Protective Services (01/4/2011)

The goal of a child welfare system is to ensure that children are protected from abuse and neglect, preferably by helping families safely care for children in their own homes. When that’s not possible, the system looks for other alternatives, so that all children grow up in a loving, permanent home. Many different individuals and groups help make this happen in Texas.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is the state agency charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect. DFPS fulfills this mandate through its Child Protective Services (CPS) Division. Courts also play a critical role. If the abuse or neglect is serious enough to warrant removing children from their home, courts become the ultimate arbiter of what happens to them. The federal government and Texas Governor and Legislature are involved as well, creating laws that govern how CPS operates and establishing policy priorities for the system through what is funded in the CPS budget. Finally, advocates, organizations that work with children and families and the families themselves play a crucial role in ensuring that the system works in supporting families and communities to keep children safe and protected.

In recent years, there have been significant efforts to improve the CPS system in Texas. CPPP has participated in many of these efforts and this guide is a continuation of our work. Chapter 1 discusses how Texas fits into a national context and recent state reform efforts. Chapter 2 describes how the system is structured based on a review of federal and state law, the Texas administrative code and CPS internal policy. It also uses data to describe how children and families are actually moving through the system.

This guide is primarily designed as a resource for researchers, advocates, policymakers, and those who work in and with the CPS system. This overview should make it easier to identify problem areas and policy gaps so the system can better support families and their communities in providing safe and permanent homes for all the children of Texas.

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