Resource Letter:

For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Welfare Cases

December 9, 2022

Behavioral Health Resources from DFPS

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has expanded the Behavioral Health division which now includes the Trauma-Informed Care Specialists, Mental Health Program Specialists, and Substance Use Specialists. These specialists provide statewide support to DFPS staff and also serve as a resource to judges.

Trauma-Informed Care Specialists provide information and support for trauma-informed practices statewide. There are currently seven Trauma-Informed Care Specialists, with a specialist assigned to each DFPS region. Specialists offer guidance on trauma-informed practices such as engaging with parents, caregivers, and children; reviewing placement applications for strength-based language; and identifying of trauma-informed services and community supports. The Trauma-Informed Care Specialists can be contacted at

Mental Health Program Specialists are knowledgeable about services and resources available or needed to address complex mental health needs of children in DFPS conservatorship. Mental Health Program Specialists coordinate meetings to help different stakeholders in multiple systems to identify needed services or assist with questions. These specialists can also assist with State Hospital admissions and discharges. The Mental Health Program Specialists can be contacted at

Substance Use Specialists provide training, technical assistance, and case-specific support to DFPS staff regarding substance use issues. These specialists also provide technical support to staff regarding service planning, various drug testing methods, and treatment programs statewide. Substance Use Specialists facilitate communication with DFPS staff and local Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral Centers (OSARs). The Substance Use Specialists can be contacted at

Additional resources on these topics can be found in the Texas Child Welfare Law Bench Book in the “Health” section.

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For a complete list of Resource Letters, please visit the Children's Commission webpage. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. The Children’s Commission website is not equipped to facilitate dialogue or conversation about matters related to the information in this communique. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our website.