Community-Based Care: The Model

Jan 21, 2021

On December 30, 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 second in a four-part series about CBC.

The Model for Community-Based Care

We often talk about the Texas “foster care system,” but what exactly does that mean? This system does much more than provide foster homes for children. The system is responsible for preventing child abuse or neglect, investigating reports of maltreatment, providing services to families accused of abuse or neglect, and foster and adoptive placements to name a few. Multiple institutions and individuals are involved in different parts of the foster care system.

There are currently two models of care in the foster care system in Texas. This first model to discuss is the one we have historically used in the State, often called the legacy system. Under the legacy system, the state agency (DFPS) manages all parts of the foster care system.

Legacy Foster Care Model

After a federal judge ruled that the Texas legacy system was putting foster youth at an unreasonable risk of harm, Texas began looking to a new model to solve the many existing problems throughout the system. The Texas Legislature recognized that in a state as large and diverse as ours, a centralized government system cannot effectively respond to the different needs of parents and children across the state.

The second model of foster care in Texas, known as Community-Based Care (CBC), was born out of the need for a localized system that is more responsive to the resources and needs of the community. Under CBC, Texas is divided into different geographic regions in which local private and non-profit organizations manage parts of the foster care system in their own communities. Since 2017, four regions are operating under this model.

Community-Based Care Model

Technically, what the transition to CBC means for the State is a shift of foster care management from the state agency (DFPS) to local nonprofit organizations.

These organizations contract with the department to take over different functions of the system, particularly for placement of youth in stable foster homes and for managing services and decisions for children and their families. Under this model, these local organizations develop a strong network of local services within the community to successfully run the system in their region.

Results for foster children have been positive under the new model. Local providers are performing well in key areas like child safety and placement stability. As of March, 100 percent of children are safe in their foster homes and are experiencing fewer moves from foster home to foster home.

By transferring foster care services to local providers under the CBC model, the system is more child-centered, more community-oriented, and more efficient. Under an ideal community-based model, the community is responsible for all services including adoptive services, programs for young adults aging out of care, residential group care, foster care, family reunification, family preservation, and abuse prevention services.

Under CBC, the government takes an oversight role, ensuring local providers are performing well for children. The community-based model also leaves the State in charge of investigating abuse and neglect allegations and separating children from their families. For a truly successful model, though, the State must allow local groups to run their community’s foster care system. These organizations know their children, know their community’s needs, and are best positioned to help their own families.

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