Resource Letter:
For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
August 28, 2019
Back to School 2019-2020
Children ages 3, 4, and 5 after September 1st who are or were in DFPS conservatorship after an Adversary Hearing are eligible for Pre-kindergarten (Pre-k) through their local school district. The Pre-k program will be half day or full day depending on the age of the child. Eligibility is verified by the regional CPS Education Specialist.

For Education Specialist contact information, please link to
Elementary School to High School
Under state law, education must be addressed at permanency hearings and attorneys must be knowledgeable about whether a child’s educational needs and goals are met and addressed. It is critical that judges and attorneys ask questions about education to help ensure positive school experiences and better education outcomes for children and youth in foster care.

Children lose about 4-6 months of progress with every school move. State laws, as well as federal education and child welfare laws, require that children be allowed to remain in the school where they are enrolled at the time of each placement, referred to as the school of origin. If it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin, there must be immediate enrollment in the new school (i.e. within two days) with prompt records transfer between schools.

Every child in foster care has an education decision-maker, and children and youth receiving special education services also have a parent, a foster parent, or a surrogate parent making special education-related decisions on their behalf. Courts also have the authority to appoint a surrogate parent, if necessary, to ensure the educational rights of the child are protected. In most cases, however, if a surrogate parent is required, the school district will appoint one. 

Extended Foster Care & Higher Education
Young adults age 18 and older may voluntarily remain in DFPS conservatorship for Extended Foster Care if the young adult is attending college or other institutions of higher education. One placement option for young adults in Extended Foster Care is Supervised Independent Living (SIL). Although there are many SIL providers throughout the state, Texas is fortunate in that colleges and universities are establishing campus-based SIL programs. Taken in conjunction with other benefits such as the state tuition and fee waiver and the federal Chaffee Education & Training Voucher, SIL may be a critical resource for young adults currently or formerly in foster care who want to pursue higher education. Transitional Living Services (TLS) also assist young adults with transitioning to successful adulthood. The provision of TLS includes access to information about benefits, supports, and resources that affect both older youth in foster care and those who have aged out of foster care. Depending on the program, TLS apply to youth and young adults ranging from age 14 up to age 23, and up to age 26 for continuous healthcare coverage. The TLS handout link below includes information about resources for youth and young adults who are currently or formerly in DFPS managing conservatorship.

For more information, please link to

For a current list of SIL providers and contact information, please link to
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For a complete list of  Jurist in Residence Letters  and  Attorney Resource Letters , please visit the Children's Commission website. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our  website .