Voluntary PlacementsTexas Style
Objectives Participants will learn how the shift wasmade from Voluntary Placement toParental Child Safety Placements. Participants will learn how ParentalChild Safety Placements supportpermanency. Participants will learn about the policyand internal supports necessary toaffect and sustain change in CPSpractice.
Voluntary PlacementsDefinedA temporary out-of-home placementmade by a parent when CPSdetermines that the child is not saferemaining in his or her own home.CPS may offer the parents the optionof placing the child out of the homeas an alternative to DFPS petitioningfor court-ordered removal of thechild.
Impetus for ChangeOffice of Consumer Affairs and LegislativeInquiries led to close scrutiny of VoluntaryPlacements—– Length of out of home placements– “Removal” without legal actions– Children left in placements at case closure– Inappropriate caregivers chosen– Not truly “voluntary”– Losing grounds for removal– Creating “Stuck” cases– Overuse of placement vs. In-home Safety Plan
The Beginning of Change Name change (to Parental ChildSafety Placement – PCSP) Created statewide workgroup Determined what was non-negotiable Defined consensus Began the work Legislative bills filed
The Non-negotiablesShort term and temporaryChild returned home priorto case closure with fewexceptions
Assumptions for PCSPs Placement is initiated by parent Placement is traumatic for children PCSP must be safe for the children PCSPs may occur in investigation andFamily Based Safety Services cases
Ultimate Goals of shiftfrom VoluntaryPlacements to PCSPs Complete appropriate out of homeplacement with PCSP as a shorttermmeasure for safety Leads to more children remainingwith parents when protectivecapacities control child safety threats Conduct removals on very seriouscases/appropriate cases vs. FBSS
Statewide Workgroup’sResponsibilityTo develop policy and practice to:– Clarify when PCSPs are appropriate– Specify what’s involved in conductinga safety assessment of caregivers– Determine an appropriate length oftime for PCSP– Provide guidance about what’sinvolved when returning a child homefrom PCSP– Limit case closures with PCSP in place
Need to CollaborateStakeholders consulted:–Statewide Parent CollaborationGroup–Court Appointed Special Advocates–Child Advocacy Centers of Texas–Legislative representatives
Circumstances WhenNo PCSP is NeededThe child can be safe in thehome because:–Safety threat is managedor eliminated–Parent has sufficientprotective capacities tomanage the safety threat
When a PCSP isAppropriate to Use Safety threats identified Child is vulnerable to threats Insufficient protective capacities No removal is necessary because child canbe safely returned to parents home inshort time period (generally 1 – 90 days) Appropriate caregiver can be identified Parent is willing to work on identifiedthreats and agrees to abide by Safety Plan
When is a PCSPNot Appropriate? Serious injury or abuse Family would be ineligible for FBSS Safety threats and diminished parentalprotective capacity exist that cannot beresolved in a short period of time (one to 90days) Prior FBSS history where services were offered,and the parents demonstrate no behavioralchanges or sufficient protective capacities Inability to locate a parent or legal guardianwho could facilitate a PCSP Inability to find appropriate PCSP caregiver.
The Initial Assessmentof the PCSP– Complete and review CPS history andCriminal History– Staff any findings with management– Inspect the home environment of caregiver– Interview caregiver– Obtain caregiver’s agreement to: Protect the child Work with CPS and child’s family Notify CPS if parents try to remove the child Notify CPS if unable to continue placement– Contact collaterals before PCSP when possibleor within 24 hours– Obtain caregivers’ input and signature onPCSP Agreement form
Ongoing Assessment– PCSPs should last 1–90 days whilecontinually assessing safety threats andprotective capacities– Extending a PCSP‣ Worker must hold a discussion with thefamily and caregiver to determine ifextension needed and if so, discuss reasonsfor extension of the PCSP‣ Family and caregivers must agree to theextension and PCSP Form must berenewed/signed
Staffing Requirements Initiate a PCSP On-going Staffings:– Every 30 days: Supervisor and Caseworkerstaffing Extending PCSP’s– Before 90 days expiration: Staffing with PD/RMrequired for authorization to continue– If approaching 6 months: Staffing and writtenapproval from the PA to continue PCSP mustbe obtained– >2 PCSPs require PD approval prior to 3 rdplacement Return home Closing a case with a PCSP in place
Ending a PCSP andWhen to Close the CaseReturning Child to Parent’s Home– Consult with Caregiver and Parent– Consider child’s best interest– Consult with management and develop Return HomePlanReturning Child to a Different Parent/Guardian– Make every attempt to return to Parent who allowedplacement– If cannot, then can consider other Parent/Guardian– Consult with PD/RM and develop Return Home PlanClosing the case– The Return Home Plan includes:How quickly and with what frequency the caseworkermust see the family after the child is returned to thehome, andWhether it is safe to close the case without continuingto work with the family.
Case Closure withan Open PCSP Should be exception. Three possible scenarios:1) Parents Have Disappeared2) Parent Declines Services3) Parents are Incarcerated What to do:– Ensure caregiver is willing to continue w/out CPS– Consult with management to see if legal action ispossible– If so, write affidavit for removal to articulate safetythreats, insufficient protective capacities, etc…– If no grounds for removal, consult with uppermanagement for approval to close with PCSP in place
SACWIS System ChangesMade To Track PCSPs Data captured ininvestigation andFBSS Data warehousereports
How PCSPs FigureInto Permanency Permanency starts at intake Decisions made early in cases haveconsequences later in the case Kinship program Permanency Care AssistanceProgram Adoption
How We Rolled This Out Changed language first Obtained field input throughoutprocess Updated policy & sent out Made SACWIS system changes Formal training of all management Continuation of workgroup check-ins Focus on safety and familyengagement to achieve safety
Training Staff:Working with Parents and RelativesWhile a PCSP is in Place• Maintain parent/child/sibling connections, whensafe to do so• Minimize the loss, grief, and separation• Assist the child in adjusting and transitioning toPCSP• Ensure consistency and clarity in roles,messages, and parenting• Facilitate communication• Lessen the child’s confusion or manipulation• Be available to talk to the caregiver• Be honest and up front
Training Content• Policy• Imagine exercises• What relatives want you to know….• Being sensitive to the needs of relatives• Challenges relatives may face• Considerations to be aware of• Working with Parents & Relatives• Tips for assisting relatives• Unique experiences of children & youth• Clinical interventions
Resources Links to our policies– http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/handbooks/CPS/Files/CPS_pg_2234_4.jsp#CPS_2234_4– http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/handbooks/CPS/Files/CPS_pg_3170.jsp#CPS_3172 Link to our Volunteer Caregiver Manual– http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/documents/Child_Protection/pdf/2010-10-29_VolunteerCaregiverManual-ENG.pdf Link to the Authorization Agreement ForNonparent Relative Or Voluntary Caregiver– http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/documents/child_protection/2638.pdf Link to the law– http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/SB00993F.pdf#navpanes=0
ReferencesDFPS HandbookVoluntary Caregiver ManualBrown, N., Boudreau, J.S., & Hardaway, A. (2009). ProgressReport: Relative and Other Designated Caregiver AssistanceProgram. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:Austin, Texas.Crumbley, J. & Little, R.L. (1997). Relatives Raising Children: AnOverview of Kinship Care. Washington, D.C.: CWLA Press, pp. 38-44. Pasztor, E.M., Goodman, C., Potts, M., Santana, M., & Runnels, A.(2002). Kinship Caregivers and Social Workers: The Challenge ofCollaboration—an Evidence-Based Curriculum. Berkeley: CaliforniaSocial Work Education Center.Schwartz, A. (2008). Connective Complexity: African AmericanAdolescents and the Relational Context of Kinship Foster Care.Child Welfare, 87(2)., p. 71.