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The Umbrella of Family Services in Texas​

In Family Based Safety Services, a state caseworker works with families in the child protective system, but where a removal has not occurred. FBSS connects families to voluntary services such as counseling, mental health treatment, or drug testing. An FBSS caseworker monitors the family’s progress and ensures safety of the child(ren). 

Referrals come from Child Protective Investigations (CPI)and are voluntary unless ordered by a court.

FFPSA-eligible services are evidence-based services approved by a federal clearinghouse that are eligible for a federal draw-down. Texas has not implemented an FFPSA plan, but the Texas Family First program pilots a process and evidence-based services that could inform a Texas model.

Referrals in Texas are made to a specific eligible population of families through CPI.

Family preservation services is an umbrella term for contracted or community services created to support families and keep families at home. Services may be contracted with DFPS or they may be funded by another source, but are not uniformly available among communities. Clients may be referred to services by a caseworker, court, or community referral. 

Referrals may be from the state, local courts or jurisdictions, or a community referral.

But wait, there's more...

Concrete services are typically defined as supports, goods, or needs that increase the safety of the home or allow the caregiver to better meet the needs of the family. Typically, these are services that cannot be obtained or purchased by the caregiver.

Evidence-based services are services that have been researched and shown to be promising, supported, or well-supported by the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse.

What is FFPSA?

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) of 2018 was passed to decrease the number of children entering foster care. Specifically, FFPSA creates a new pathway for federal Title IV-E funding to serve families before they enter the foster care system. 

The guidance for eligibility is specifically for families with children at “at imminent risk of removal,” including families at risk of adoption or guardianship dissolution and pregnant and parenting foster youth. 

Eligible services must fall into the following categories: 

  • Mental health treatment 
  • Substance use treatment
  • In-home parent training

While FFPSA creates a new federal match at 50 percent to use Title IV-E funding for prevention, states must achieve readiness in line with federal guidance and invest new state dollars to receive this funding.

Family First State Plans and Enacted Legislation

FFPSA Clearinghouse Matrix​

Texas Family First Pilots

Texas does not have an approved Title IV-E Prevention Services Plan to establish FFPSA services, but the Texas Family First Pilot was enacted through the passage of House Bill 3041 (87R, Frank) and is funded through Federal Family First Transition Act funding. This pilot establishes FFPSA eligible services in certain areas of the state and targets families “at imminent risk.” It is currently operating in four regions. 

  • Family Based Safety Service
  • Texas Family First Pilots
Family Based Safety ServiceTexas Family First Pilots
Target PopulationFamilies who have had an abuse/neglect investigation​. Families with children may be at risk of abuse or neglect​. Families with children at risk of removal. For court ordered services, risk assessment with a danger indicator​, high or very high level of risk.
Family EngagementReferral to voluntary services, or may be court-ordered.Work with caseworkers and families to determine eligibility. Services are voluntarily engaged in by family, but require a court order for additional oversight.
Area ServedStatewideRegions 1, 2, 3W, and 8B​
ServicesNot evidence-based treatment that may be limited depending on contracted or community services availability. These may include:​ drug testing​, BIP/DV,​ parenting skills, mental health treatment or counseling​, and concrete services.Evidence-based, FFPSA clearinghouse services​. May overlap with FBSS services.
TreatmentIndividual-focused​Family-focused services​
Funding SourceFunded through a mix of state and federal dollars, may be community services and funded through a great, local government funding, or other financing mechanism.Funded through time-limited Federal Family First Transition Act funding
LocationTypically out of home​Typically in-home services​

Determining the right families to serve is one of the most important steps in developing a family preservation plan. The term “imminent risk” of removal has been construed a number of different ways by different states. Some take a more narrow approach that includes system involvement, and some include wider populations receiving prevention services. Below, we’ve compiled a list of common population criteria to determine a service population, including examples of states that use that criteria (not exhaustive). Using these criteria, we developed some data to better understand these populations in Texas — kids and families are served, trends and insights, service needs, and what this all means to better meet families needs.

Common Target Population Criteria

The majority of investigations with confirmed RTBs are closed without further state intervention. ​


Parental Child Safety Placements (PCSP)


2024 To Date
Distinct Children
Days in PCSP
Children Removed During PCSP (7.5%)


FY 2023
Distinct Children
Days in PCSP
Children Removed During PCSP (6.5%)

FBSS referrals dropped substantially in 2021 and 2022, but the trend started to reverse in 2023.

For children that are removed, the majority are done so with reasons including neglectful supervision, which may be because of mental health or substance use issues...


Other Reasons:

Sexual Abuse (5%), RAPR (3%), Medical Neglect (3%), Abandonent (3%), Emotional Abuse (1%), Lack of Mental Health and IDD Services (1%), To Obtain MH Services (>1%)

The drop in removals has largely been in the category of neglectful supervision, but all areas have seen a drop.

Families at Risk in Texas

Texas ranks 7th lowest for foster care entries. But, while removals from investigations continues to decline, family preservation removals are going up 2716 in 2023, compared to 1355 in 2022. This might mean that services are not meeting the needs of the families. It could also indicate that the populations are experiencing higher levels of risk or need.

1 in 5 kids come back to the attention of CPS within 12 months of family preservation services.

21% of removals were from family preservation.

The state served just under 600 Pregnant and Parenting Youth in FY 2023.

A survey of adolescent and young women (ages 16-24) who have lived in foster care:

report intimate partner violence
report experience reproductive coercion
report unintended pregnancies

Data Texas Foster Youth Health Initiative

In 2023, 1,275 kinship placements disrupted – a decrease from 2022.

Unable to meet the child’s needs (16%)
Child’s behavior (26%)
Risk of Abuse or Neglect (12%)

After Kids Leave Care...

In 2023, over 3,700 children were reunified with their family when they left care. Another 5,690 exited to the care of relatives/kin. Of the children returning home almost 23% had been subsequently alleged as a victim within a year.

It is critical to keep children that have found permanency from re-entering the system and to keep families together.
Children that have been in care often have complex trauma that may present in later years. In Texas, $6.4 million is spent each fiscal year to support post-adopt/post-permanency services for famlies. This investment has grown, but funds are still limited and typically serve children and families with the highest needs. On average 168 children are served monthly.
A survey completed through the Heart Galleries of Texas and UT found that the top two needs of families post-adoption were mental health care services and respite care.
Access and availability remain major barriers to care, but financial limitations and navigating services are limiting as well. Surveyed providers reported a need for increased covered mental health services, and an array of services that could help stabilize families prior to a crisis and the need for more training and resources.
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Fewer children are without placement, but those that are have complex needs...

Physical Aggression (91%) Psychiatric Hospitalizations (87%) Running Away (79%) Juvenile Justice Involvement (76%) Bullying (68%)

April 2024 CWOP Snapshot

National Issues and Barriers

When do we engage families? And what does that look like?

Pregnant & Parenting Youth
  • Don’t necessarily want a case opened to engage youth
  • DFPS using Home Visiting to serve this population currently
  • Population could be served outside of the system if no longer in care
Intake Referrals
  • (KS)
  • Robust process through intake system, may utilize Structured Decision Making or another model to better understand risk and eligibility
  • Call may from a parent or youth seeking support on their own
  • Rather than open an investigation or refer to community services, a FFPSA case is engaged

Strengths: Clear way to engage and get support from a family perspective, additional opportunities outside of a traditional investigation

Challenges: Could cause confusion with 211 or multiple hotlines, would need to ensure a model could identify risk and course correct as needed

Adoption/Guardianship At-risk of Dissolution
  • Many families engage local network or CPA
  • Services may need to be focused more on serving high acuity youth, complex trauma, mental health, case management
Court-Ordered Services
  • As part of an open case, a judge orders a family to participate in services
  • The family may qualify because
    1. They are part of a CPS court case
    2. Or, the judge may order specific services

Strengths: Systems approach, could serve as an additional referral point, continued culture change to working with families

Challenges: Services may be limited in different jurisdictions, judicial opinions or approaches may vary

Community Pathways
  • CA, NY (Wave 2)
  • Family Resource Centers, Community Based Organizations, Partner Prevention Providers
  • Intake may be from the family or a community referral, but does not come through the state’s protective system
  • CBO case manager determines eligibility based on criteria defined by state, works with state to verified
  • Case manager through community organization rather than the state
  • Strengths: Family not in CPS system, voluntarily engaging, good pathway for families not in the traditional CPS system: youth at risk of relinquishment, pregnant and parenting
  • Potential challenges: Sharing data, technology, and education on determining eligibility
System Involvement
  • (CA, FL, MI, NY)
  • Most common point of engagement is for families already involved in the system to be referred to services once a decision against removal is made
  • Family team meetings are a common way to support family voice in creating a plan for safety and services

Strengths: Population and opportunity to engage is clear; family risk and protective factors are clear

Challenges: Families may be hesitant to engage with system or state involvement for a number of reasons; may limit population that could be served

How do we monitor safety?

Safety and Risk Assessments

Monthly Monitoring Visits

Risk Reassessment

Case Management Reporting

How could we monitor system progress and outcomes?

Third Party Assessor
Advisory Committees
Performance-Based Contracts
Gap Analyses
Learning Collaboratives
Continuous Quality Improvement

Email policy@tacfs.org for more information and to learn more about this work.