Consultants' Report to CPS Raises Foster Care Redesign Concerns

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Peter Clark, pclark@txchildren.org, 512.417.9262

Consultants’ Report to CPS Raises Foster Care Redesign Concerns

AUSTIN – A new report commissioned by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the parent agency to Child Protective Services (CPS), raises concerns about the state’s troubled Foster Care Redesign program, stating, "Foster Care Redesign is about delivering foster care services differently, not adding an administrative entity into the current delivery model.”

Under Foster Care Redesign, which is currently in place in one region of north Texas, a super-contractor (known as a Single Source Continuum Contractor or SSCC) serves as an intermediary between DFPS and the front-line contractors who provide services to children, select foster families, and perform other duties.

"The report confirms the state shouldn’t expand Redesign unless it puts in place the funding and the statewide child safety standards needed to protect kids,” said Eileen Garcia, CEO of Texans Care for Children. "Creating an extra middle man between abused kids and the state of Texas is no substitute for funding services, reducing caseloads for CPS caseworkers, and establishing uniform standards to assess children and foster parents.”

The report follows the super-contractor pulling out of its contract with DFPS in the state’s first Redesign region; high-profile cases of children dying with the very foster families selected by the state and its contractors; public discussion of the unmanageable caseloads for CPS staff; and numerous legislative hearings on CPS.

The analysis, conducted by Public Consulting Group, found:

  • The transfer of funding to the super-contractors is neither transparent nor adequate to cover all the costs. The report notes, "DFPS and the SSCCs have different understandings of what costs would be covered in the ongoing resource transfers, but both parties agree that the resource transfers do not include all costs incurred by the SSCCs.”
  • Certain functions are now performed by both DFPS and the super-contractor. The report says, "The current model requires the SSCC to fully fund these overlapping tasks.”
  • DFPS, the super-contractors, and other key stakeholders have different expectations of how the system should function and what it can achieve. The report suggests more funding is needed to reach expectations, stating, "It is realistic to expect to meet the goal of providing enhanced services, additional funding is needed to support this initiative.”

The report contains 17 recommendations, including:

  • "Consider modifying the RFP process to require the SSCCs to demonstrate how they would conduct the necessary activities differently versus replicating the current system. ”
  • "DFPS should consider standardizing a statewide child assessment.”
  • "Where similar tasks must be completed by DFPS and the SSCC, those costs should be identified and calculated. DFPS should be explicit with SSCCs during the RFP process about who is responsible for covering those costs, and set the expectation these tasks can be performed differently than DFPS.”

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Texans Care for Children has led policy advances for Texas children for nearly 30 years. The nonpartisan nonprofit organization serves as a voice for children, a source on children and a network for people who put kids first. Through policy analysis, statewide coalitions, grassroots campaigns and research, Texans Care for Children improves conditions for children in the areas of health, mental health, early opportunities, child protection and juvenile justice.