Alternative Response: Empowering Families to Keep Kids Safe

Alternative Response is great.

I mean, I think it helped me keep my family together … ”

– Lacy, a mom who participated in Alternative Response

“[It] made us a family.”

– Jackson, Lacy’s son

Texas Should Expand Alternative Response to Reduce Involvement with the Child Protection System

Child Protective Investigations (CPI) plays a crucial role in safeguarding children. However, the traditional approach to investigations often breeds apprehension within families, resulting in a reluctance to collaborate with investigators or participate in services that can keep children safe at home with their families. As a result, this approach may result in the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) removing children from their homes and placing parents on the child abuse registry.

The Alternative Response (AR) approach offers a more supportive and flexible solution, helping families address their challenges without the stigma, anxiety, or long-term consequences associated with traditional CPI investigations.

Texas currently limits AR to low- to moderate-risk cases involving children six and older. Those restrictions significantly limit the use of AR. A pilot in El Paso launched in February 2024 extends AR services to children of all ages.

During FY 2022, 90% (37,765 cases) of AR cases were resolved without needing further, more intrusive actions like a traditional investigation or family preservation case.

We urge the Legislature to appropriate funding to expand the use of Alternative Response.


Learn more about Lacy and Jackson’s experience with Alternative Response: