DFPS has a mission to protect some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. This includes children, the elderly, and adults with disabilities who may have special health-care needs. DFPS works to prevent abuse, neglect, and / or exploitation. Exploitation means using a position of trust to misuse a person’s money or property.
DFPS’ programs are:
Childcare Licensing establishes the standards that childcare operations must follow to obtain a state license and remain open. DFPS regularly inspects most types of childcare operations to make sure that they follow licensing standards. CCL investigates allegations of abuse or neglect in all childcare operations, including illegal childcare operations. CCL also provides technical assistance to childcare providers.
CCL provides a database of all legal childcare in Texas, so that you can search for childcare in your area and check out its state record. If you want to learn more about childcare programs and need help finding one that fits your family’s needs, see our Day Care page.
CPS caseworkers investigate reports of child abuse or neglect to determine if it occurred and if there are any threats to the safety of all children in the reported home. If so, they determine whether the parents are willing and able to adequately manage those threats to keep children safe. If CPS concludes that children aren't safe, the caseworker starts protective services.
To get services from CPS, a child has to have an open case with CPS. This usually means CPS is investigating a report of abuse or neglect about a child, or, during an investigation, found that a child is either experiencing – or is at high risk of – abuse or neglect. CPS can also offer services to families when the situation is less serious, but there is risk to a child. This kind of open case is called an Alternative Response and does not involve a formal investigation. Alternative Response was piloted in a few areas of the state starting in the fall of 2014.
Once a child has an open case, CPS’ goal is to work with the family to ensure the child is in a safe environment. This could include:
Family-based safety services (FBSS) are designed to keep children safely in their homes – or make it possible to return children home – by strengthening the ability of families to protect their children and reducing threats to their safety.
When a child’s safety can be reasonably assured, CPS provides in-home services to help stabilize the family and reduce the risk of future abuse or neglect. Most children getting these services live at home while CPS works with their families. In some cases, children may live elsewhere temporarily, usually with relatives or close family friends, until it is safe for them to return home.
FBSS can provide a variety of services – either directly by CPS staff or through contracts with providers or referrals to community-based providers. Services may include, but are not limited to, family counseling, crisis intervention, substance-abuse treatment, domestic-violence intervention, and day care. Currently, FBSS caseworkers may also provide 1-on-1 parenting and homemaker skills in areas where community-based services are not available.
If a child cannot remain safe in the home, then a judge may give CPS custody of the child. The child may then get the following services:
In order for CPS to continue a case after an investigation, CPS must believe that a child is at risk of abuse or neglect. CPS may go to court to remove children from their homes if it believes children cannot remain in their homes. If a judge decides that a child needs to be removed for their protection, the child may go into foster care or to live with relatives with CPS oversight.
While none of us ever wants this, children with disabilities or special health-care needs sometimes face neglect or abuse. They can be at risk if a parent becomes ill, overwhelmed, burnt out, or isn’t able to get the health care that the child needs.
Additionally, there are times where a child’s particular disability or special health-care need may cause them to pose a threat to another child living with them. In that case, CPS can offer services to protect the family.
Here are the steps for CPS or APS to open a case:
PEI focuses on preventing child abuse, neglect, and juvenile delinquency. The division is responsible for planning, developing, and administering a comprehensive, unified system for delivering prevention services, while avoiding fragmentation and duplication. In collaboration with communities and community-based organizations, PEI identifies potential areas for intervention, such as assisting families in crisis; providing parent education, respite, and home visiting services; as well as mentoring and leadership development for youth. PEI contracts with local providers to perform all functions (including outreach and promotion), as the unit does not deliver services directly.
While all PEI programs target children and youth in the 0-17 age range, most providers will focus on a smaller age group within that range (e.g., 0-5, 10-17). PEI-funded services also vary in their geographic coverage. While 1 program offers services in all 254 counties, another might only provide services in specific communities, counties, or regions. In order to locate PEI programs and the types of services offered in your area, or to view additional prevention, information, and resources, please refer to the following links: