On October 1, 2021, DFPS revised its Policy 2400 that outlines the process for when Child Protective Investigations (CPI) sends a case from Investigations to voluntary Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS) or to Court-Ordered Services (COS), also known as Motion to Participate (MTP). Below is a summary of the revisions to Policy 2400.
No Referral to FBSS: Investigations will close its case and a parent or legal guardian will not be referred to FBSS when any of the following circumstances exist:
- A parent or legal guardian has demonstrated behaviors that address the danger indicators and/or risk factors;
- A protective caregiver or an active network of people is present who are aware of the dangers and who are willing to take action to prevent harm; or
- The parent/legal guardian is receiving services through their community that address the danger indicators and child safety has been secured.
Referral to FBSS: A parent or legal guardian will be referred to FBSS when any of the following circumstances exist:
- A safety plan is in place to address danger indicators and the plan has safety interventions that sufficiently manage the danger;
- The parent or legal guardian has high or very high risk that is not managed by a protective caregiver, community services, or a sufficient safety network; or
- There is a court order in an MTP/COS case that requires the parent/legal guardian to participate in FBSS.
Request for MTP/COS: A court order to participate in services will be sought by CPI when a parent or legal guardian is uncooperative or unwilling to participate in services that directly address the danger indicator or risk factors that cause concern for child safety. To seek filing of an MTP/COS case there must be a continuing danger to a child’s safety caused by the behavior of the parent or legal guardian and one of the following circumstances exist:
- There is a validated allegation that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect (known as Reason to Believe [RTB]), or
- There is a substantial risk of abuse or neglect.
Removal: A family will not be referred to FBSS or COS/MTP and CPI will seek legal removal of the child when any of the following circumstances exist:
- A parent or legal guardian caused serious physical harm to the child and there is no protective parent/legal guardian and/or there is an unknown perpetrator who caused serious physical harm to the child;
- There is child sexual abuse and no protective parent/legal guardian;
- There was a safety plan in the current investigation that the parent or legal guardian did not adhere to, and another incident of abuse or neglect occurred;
- There is an immediate danger to a child aged 0-5 and both parents or legal guardians had a previous legal case addressing the same or similar dangers (COS/MTP or Temporary Managing Conservatorship) and their child(ren) were not returned to their care; or
- There is immediate danger, and no safety intervention is available or sufficient to mitigate the danger.
If the attorney representing DFPS determines that there is no legal basis for an MTP/COS case, or if the court denies the order, the investigation will be closed.