DFPS Releases Report on Appropriate Levels of Care for Children

As required by the 86th Texas Legislature, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has released its quarterly report on the Utilization of Appropriate Levels of Care in Foster Care. This report sheds light on Texas foster care capacity, and provides information regarding how DFPS is implementing plans to ensure children are placed in the most appropriate service level for their needs.

Some highlights:

  • Intense Plus Services: According to DFPS, “Intense Plus Services are designed to address chronically serious to severe emotional and/or behavioral management problems that interfere with the child’s ability to function in a family, school, or community setting outside of a therapeutic environment.” The report indicates that as of July 23, 2021, only two residential treatment centers (RTCs) are contracted to provide Intense Plus services, and no other providers are expected to add the service level to their operations.
  • Treatment Family Foster Care: This service level is a home environment with specialized foster parents that is more structured than typical foster care, but less restrictive than residential treatment. Placing contractors continue to report that training and preparing foster families for Treatment Family Foster Care is taking longer than anticipated, and that the model works best with one child in the home receiving this service. The program continues to grow, and as of Feb. 1, 2021, the age has been expanded to all children in DFPS conservatorship ages 17 and under. Child Placing Agencies (CPAs) have begun training new and current families to work with older youth, but it is taking longer than expected for older youth to be accepted into these homes. As of July 23, 2021, 256 Texas children have been placed in a Treatment Foster Family Care placement.
  • There has also been an increase in utilization of Supervised Independent Living (SIL) in areas with Community-Based Care. SIL is a type of voluntary, extended foster care where young adults live on their own, while still receiving certain services and case management from DFPS.