The safety of all children is the highest priority for Texas community-based organizations that provide child welfare services. As a network serving these organizations, TACFS continues to provide our members with tools and resources to ensure safety protocols are current and effective.

It is with a great sense of urgency that we want to help foster care organizations reduce risk and prevent tragedies from happening. TACFS and the Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCCs) that lead foster care in Community-Based Care regions are offering resources that will help detect and address threats to the safety of children in our care. The SSCCs are working with their networks of community-based organizations to expand the reach of these resources. Through an exclusive partnership with Praesidium, we have begun to offer organizations the following opportunities to assess and improve safety for children:  

    1. 1. Participating in a Praesidium Virtual Training for Organizational Leaders: Administrators, program directors, and supervisors play unique and essential roles in the prevention of organizational abuse. Leadership can implement strategic, empirically based prevention methods that will drastically reduce the likelihood of abuse and false allegations and can be a driving force in creating a culture of safety within the organization. Participants will learn research-based abuse risk management techniques, such as what type of policies should be formalized into practice; how to screen for abuse risk during the hiring process; how best to equip and train employees, supervisors, and caregivers with appropriate abuse prevention knowledge and skills; monitoring and supervision best practices for ensuring safety within facilities, staff-client interactions, and high-risk activities; and, how to prevent drift from standards by identifying risk trends through incident information. This presentation and discussion will guide participants through the process of identifying risks specific to their organizations so leaders can start to develop practical risk reduction plans. 

    2. 2. Participating in the Praesidium Organizational Online Self-Assessment: an online self-assessment tool that allows organizations to quickly and confidentially learn the strength of their policies and practices designed to keep those in their care safe from abuse. This self-assessment will help an organization identify its abuse prevention strengths and weaknesses based on the Praesidium Safety Equation and access sample resources to improve safety.  

    1. 3. Participating in the TACFS Learning Center’s Bystander Intervention Training: Bystander intervention is when a person who notices a problematic/unsafe/inappropriate situation then takes on the personal responsibility to take some type of action to intervene. Staff will be given tools to feel empowered to do something to prevent potential abuse or harmful situations.  

We must continue striving to ensure the system is as safe as possible for the children, youth and families we serve. Community-based organizations have worked tirelessly in recent years, and in very trying circumstances, to enact new safety measures and protocols. We are working with member organizations to further those efforts and ensure that only people who share our commitment to safety are working in the system. We also want to hear members’ ideas and on-the-ground feedback.

TACFS, SSCCs and our member organizations will continue sharing effective, appropriate resources that will result in continuous safety improvements for all children, youth, and adults involved with the child welfare system.