Texas Child Welfare Changing Landscape Action Plan

Texas Child Welfare Changing Landscape Action Plan

Major legislation at both the state and federal level requires DFPS to take a comprehensive approach to activities designed to deliver strategic plans associated with significant policy implementation.

You can find the Action Plan here that DFPS will undertake in developing strategic plans to be completed in 2020 associated with SB 355, SB 781 and Family First federal legislation.

Background:

Congress passed the Family First Prevention Services ActPDF DocumentExternal Link (FFPSA) in February 2018.  This law restructured federal child welfare funding, particularly Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, which Texas uses to pay for services for children in foster care and their families.

FFPSA seeks to reduce entry in foster care, limit the use of congregate care, and to increase access to substance abuse and mental health services. The agency shares these goals and the State has made strides in addressing these as evidenced through the policy and funding decisions made during the recent biennia.

DFPS has worked closely with federal and state staff and stakeholders to analyze the impact on the child welfare system. Part of the analysis is determining if there is a fiscal impact on the state, needed changes to statute and an examination of the required timelines for implementation. This analysis is preliminary and subject to change, as Texas is awaiting additional guidance from federal agencies.

Based on our analysis, Texas will delay the implementation of certain provisions of FFPSA. Below are the provisions of FFPSA that will be delayed:

  • 472(k)(2) of the Act: Limitations on Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments for placements that are not foster family homes.
  • 472(c) of the Act: Limit on the number of children in a foster family home.
  • 472(k)(1)(B) and 475A(c) of the Act: Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTPs).
  • 471(a)(37) of the Act: Certification preventing increases to the juvenile justice population.

The main reasons for needing a delay in implementation are:

  • Texas does not have Qualified Residential Treatment Programs to serve the highest needs kids and draw down federal money.
  • Texas does not have enough providers who offer evidence-based services.
  • Texas continues to receive guidance from the federal government on what evidence-based services will even be acceptable for draw down and cannot increase capacity until guidance is received.

It is also important that our state Legislature have the opportunity to weigh-in on the policy and fiscal changes driven by this federal legislation.

DFPS has notified the Administration for Children and Families that Texas will delay the implementation of the provisions listed above. This two year delay does not prohibit Texas from implementing sooner if the decision is to do so.

We welcome you to review the Family First Prevention Services ActPDF DocumentExternal Link (pages 169-206) and sign up for email updates in the box above.

You may also send questions, comments, or concerns to our Family First Prevention Act email box. DFPS will post FAQ’s or other information on this page based on your feedback.