To achieve our vision of a safe and positive future for all Texas children, Texas CASA has worked to stay at the forefront of emerging challenges by developing several new initiatives, including Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE). Studies have found that one of the strongest indicators for child well-being is the number of committed adults in a child’s life. In collaboration with the Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) and the local CASA programs, we are working to ensure that every child in foster care has the opportunity for lifelong connections. By working together, we are finding and engaging family and other committed adults to create healthy relationships and support systems.
“I’m excited to be a part of this initiative. I anticipate that this will start a fundamental shift in how we look at families entering the system.”
This partnership is built around the fact that children have many relatives and other important connections that can be identified and located, and engaged with a case at its inception. The primary purpose of CFE is to develop a lifetime network of support for children and families, with a focus on increasing collaboration between CPS and CASA. The aim is to improve child wellbeing, placement, as well as relational and legal permanency outcomes for children in CPS care.
Texas CASA and DFPS have continued to roll out CFE across Texas since 2015. Currently CFE is in 41 CASA programs, 90 counties and 10 DFPS regions – more than 50% of the statewide network. With your support, we are on track to take CFE statewide by 2023.
CFE SNAPSHOT: 41 Programs Serving 90 Counties and 10 DFPS Regions
Added in FY 2017
added in FY 2018
added in FY 2019
added in FY 2020
TEXAS’ APPROACH TO ENGAGING FAMILIES
Through CFE, we aim to:
- Increase the number of supportive, nonpaid people in a child’s life longterm (their network)
- Improve outcomes for children in care
- Strengthen collaboration
- Enhance CASA advocacy
- Increase child and family voice in planning and decision-making
- Model a team-based approach
Greater collaboration between stakeholders to involve families and build networks
Access to connection, engagement and searching tools to engage and find family/important relationships
Families and their support network come together for family meetings
A lifetime network of supportive relationships is formed for the child and their family
Data continues to be collected and analyzed each year by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin to determine whether outcomes were improved for children and families in the child welfare system. The CFE model is flexible, so having this data and learning what is working from staff on the ground will allow our practice to evolve.