Texas Child Protective Services To Begin Privatized Pilot Program

During the 85th Legislative Session, lawmakers agreed to outsource to private foster care contractors the case management duties of CPS workers in two areas in the state as a pilot program…

El Paso and surrounding counties have been designated to take part in a pilot program for Child Protective Services (CPS). During the 85th Legislative Session, lawmakers agreed to outsource to private foster care contractors the case management duties of CPS workers in two areas in the state as a pilot program.

Once the program is launched in El Paso, the plan is to identify another region for a similar pilot. The pilot will run for two years.

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), CPS’ parent agency, plans to privatize this family-based service beginning March 1 and allow a nonprofit organization to intervene.

Family-based safety services (FBSS) is one of three main operations of CPS. The agency is also responsible for investigating potential abuse and when the state takes custody of a child. Families are referred to FBSS when a CPS investigator determines that there is risk of abuse or neglect if the children remain with their family, but there isn’t an immediate need for the state to take custody.

The pilot program is partnered with Pathways Youth and Family Services, Inc. Pathways plans to hire at least 60 employees in the area and will give preference to former CPS employees. Pathways will work with Family Services of El Paso and is currently looking for office space in the El Paso area.

Those in opposition of the privatization believe there will not be enough oversight of the private organization. DFPS will have access to Pathways’ business files and will meet with families served through the programs to ensure they’re making progress. Others note that the real problem is underfunding of state programs and that if something goes wrong during the pilot, the private agency can be replaced with another one.

Earlier this month a federal appeals court granted Texas a temporary stay of U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack’s edict that ordered changes to the long-term housing, treatment and support of abused and neglected children in Texas. In December 2015, the federal Judge ruled that the state’s foster care system is unconstitutional.


This story originally published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc.


 

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