The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) recently released a report on children in their care who are living in unlicensed facilities – they refer to children in these situations as Children Without Placement (CWOP).
Since August 2020, the state has seen a marked increase in the number of youth in unlicensed facilities. Texas has also experienced a shortage of providers for youth with higher acuity needs.
The report reveals that as of Sept. 7, 2021, a total of 28,943 children and youth were in the Texas child welfare system.
- Of these, 169 (0.56%) were in CWOP, pending an appropriate placement.
- Of those 169 youth, 57 were in a hotel, 53 were in a community-based lodging, 23 were in a leased space and 36 were in a DFPS office.
- The average length of time a youth remains in CWOP has also increased, from a low of 1.6 days in December 2019 to a high of 18.2 days in August 2021, a more than 1,000% increase.
- During fiscal year (FY) 2021, the average length of time a youth remained in CWOP was 11.2 days.
DFPS has been working to overcome these challenges and reduce the number of children in unlicensed placements by working with the Legislature and child welfare community to find stable placements for these children. In August 2021, CPS launched the new “General Placement Search” (GPS) system designed to reduce the amount of time required to find a placement for a child by providing real-time information and data sharing on placement availability across the state.