Office Of The Governor Announces High Needs Conservatorship Pilot Project With Department Of Family

December 7, 2016 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

The Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division today announced it will be entering into a partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to launch a High Needs Conservatorship Pilot Project aimed at improving emergency and long-term placements for high-needs foster children in the State of Texas. The Pilot Project, funded through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), will introduce an Integrated Coordinated Care model to a portion of the approximately 1,000 children DFPS has identified as highest risk in order to use the findings to ultimately grow the project to full scale. The Criminal Justice Division has issued a grant of $8 million to DFPS, which will select four pilot sites for the project and move toward implementation over the next several months.

"It is crucial that the most vulnerable Texans under the state's care receive the highest quality treatment so that they may be freed from an unacceptable cycle of crisis," said Governor Abbott. "By better coordinating the care of our highest needs children in the foster care system, we will begin to unwind the abuse and trauma they have endured. I am confident that this new partnership will help advance meaningful and stable reforms to Texas' current foster care system and help provide these children the future that they deserve."

Through the grant project, the Criminal Justice Division and DFPS plan to accomplish the following goals:

  • Develop a broad array of placement options for children with high needs
  • Serve the children in the least restrictive and most appropriate setting to facilitate increased placement stability and ability of the child to thrive
  • Reduce use of Residential Treatment Centers and Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals

The Pilot Project will provide wrap around care for approximately 500 children in foster care who are designated as having "highest needs" – those with multiple hospitalizations over a 12-month period. DFPS must attest that the child is a victim of a crime to provide services through the Pilot Project. Through the Integrated Coordinated Care model, no child can be turned away for any reason, including mental health or other issues. The model will also ensure coordination among all services, providers, foster care parents, involved kinship and any other significant individual in the child's life in order to reduce fragmentation of services and increase placement stability.