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 third in a four-part series about CBC.
The Stages of Community-Based Care
After a federal judge identified a series of failures with the government-run foster care system, the Texas legislature made fundamental changes to how foster care is delivered in the State. These changes resulted in a model known as Community-Based Care (CBC) which transfers responsibility for running foster care from the government to local, nonprofit organizations within the community.
The Goal of CBC
The goal of transferring responsibility to local groups is to make the foster care system more responsive to the unique needs of different Texas communities. Under the current CBC model, a lead non-profit entity agrees to manage foster care services in a community with help from a network of local partners. The transition to CBC provides an opportunity for communities to step up and step in for their kids by taking back responsibilities previously outsourced to the government.
CBC allows communities to come up with innovative solutions to the unique problems in their region in a way that a centralized system cannot. The outcome-based nature of the model ensures that the lead non-profit is improving the local foster care system, or it can be replaced.
When the local agency, known as a Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC), contracts with the State, they do not take over all foster care services at once. Instead, the SSCC gradually takes over services in different stages.
In Stage 1, the initial phase of the contract, the local nonprofit takes over foster care placement services. This means that the SSCC is responsible for making sure their local foster youth are placed in good homes, ideally close to their home community or with their siblings when applicable. In Stage 1, the lead agency is also responsible for recruiting new foster homes and building a strong network of other organizations in the community that can help children and families.
At this time in Texas, four regions – Fort Worth/Arlington, San Antonio, Abilene/Wichita Falls, and Amarillo/Lubbock – have taken on the responsibilities of Stage 1. In December 2021, the State will be asking for applications from agencies to provide CBC in Midland/Odessa.
Only a couple of areas have progressed to Stage 2 of Community-Based Care. Fort Worth/Arlington and Abilene/Wichita Falls are the communities who now have full control over their foster care system.
In Stage 2 of CBC, the lead agency is not only responsible for finding foster homes, but for the entire spectrum of foster care services. These services include case management for active child protective cases, managing child placements with relatives, reunifying families and reunification services.
Future of CBC
In the final phase of CBC (Stage 3), funding for the lead agency is tied to the outcomes it achieves for children and families from the community.
As CBC continues to roll out in Texas, it is important to remember that Texas has always needed community organizations to help families and children in the child welfare system. This new model simply recognizes that communities know how to best care for and serve their children and families.