On December 31, 2020, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) announced that Region 9 — which includes Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo — would transition to a new system of foster care called Community-Based Care (CBC). This is the fourth in a four-part series about CBC.
Implementation and Innovation in Community-Based Care
The Texas Legislature expressed two main goals in creating Community-Based Care (CBC). First, the Legislature said, “it is the intent of the legislature that the provision of community-based care for children be implemented with measurable goals.” Second, the Legislature expressed the intent to “implement community-based care throughout this state.” The ultimate goal of the transition to CBC is the statewide implementation of a community-based system of care focused on outcomes.
In its Implementation Plan for Texas Community Based Care, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) projects that CBC will be implemented statewide by 2029. As discussed in our previous article, implementation occurs in three stages: placement; case management; and performance accountability.
CBC is currently operating in four regions: Region 3b (Fort Worth); Region 2 (Abilene/Wichita Falls); Region 8a (Bexar County); and Region 1 (Lubbock/Amarillo). Additionally, contract negotiations are underway for Region 8b (South Texas).
Further, in the Implementation Plan, DFPS identified the next four regions for CBC implementation: Region 3E (Dallas); Region 9 (Midland / San Angelo); Region 4 (Tyler); and Region 5 (Beaumont). Those regions will begin the transition to CBC between September and June 2021.
DFPS is tracking and reporting the preliminary outcomes in regions in which CBC in bi-annual reports to the Legislature. Early indications are that the community non-profits providing CBC (SSCCs) are mostly outperforming prior performance by DFPS, even while balancing the initial challenges of full-scale system change.
|Safety in placement||99.2||unknown||99.5||unknown||99.8||unknown||100%||unknown|
|Placements per child||1.37||1.36||1.28||1.39||1.34||1.47||1.18||unknown|
|Placement within 50 miles of home||76%||74%||43%||47%||85%||75%||46%||45%|
|Placement with siblings||65%||63%||57%||67%||63%||64%||65%||61%|
|Placement in least restrictive setting||85%||75%||78%||78%||72%||70%||77%||unknown|
The increased role of the private sector and the relatively-limited flexibility granted by DFPS to the SSCCs under CBC has given rise to innovation.
All four SSCCs have implemented placement matching technology that evaluates child needs against foster home criteria to determine the best fit. The advantages of such technology are so obvious that DFPS has borrowed this private sector innovation and is developing its own placement matching software — despite an ever-shrinking number of legacy catchments as CBC expands.
The SSCCs are also constantly assessing regional gaps in services and taking action to address region-specific needs. In Region 3b, Our Community Our Kids (OCOK) is increasing therapeutic foster care for high-needs children — a model it calls Professional Home-Based Care. 2INgage in Region 2 has issued mini-grants to encourage child-placing agencies to develop needed capacity. Given the high rate of sibling groups in Bexar County, Family Tapestry is focusing on increasing homes that take siblings, including siblings with a variety of ages and needs.
To the extent that the state’s child welfare becomes more community-driven, flexibility continues to increase, and DFPS recedes into its proper role in oversight and accountability, the vision of CBC will be realized. That vision, expressed by the Legislature and Governor, is for a decentralized child welfare system in which communities collaborate to achieve outcomes, with means and methods unique to specific communities and the freedom to innovate together on behalf of their kids.