Child Without Placement

CWOP Opportunities for Faith Community

“We believe that every child should have a home and it is our duty to work towards no child spending the night in an office.”

Children without Placement Initiative

To reduce the number of kids sleeping in DFPS offices and hotels, former Commissioner Whitman asked staff to begin developing relationships with community and faith-based organizations to provide a temporary space for kids who have not yet received a new placement. A memorandum of understanding was developed by Legal and the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement to outline the responsibilities of DFPS and community partners when an agreement has been made. DFPS staff, including Community Engagement and Faith-based specialists, are engaging in conversations in the community.

What Do We Mean by Temporary Space?

A temporary home-like space with a bed, bathroom, and living space that children can utilize while CPS continues searching for a stable placement for our youth for the duration of their time in care. The youth who come into care after being removal from their family need to have a safe, comfortable environment. Although our offices are safe and we work to make them as comfortable as possible, staying in this setting can increase the suffering a child feels after a removal. As we increase capacity across the state, it is also important to provide a home-like environment for our kids who have a lapse in placement.

What does the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) include?

The MOU outlines the responsibilities and duties of the parties regarding the provision of safe, temporary lodging for CPS Staff and children for whom a placement is unavailable. Here are the major points to consider:

  • A minimum of two people need to stay with child(ren) during the night. (1 worker must be a CPS caseworker and the same sex of the child)

    • Some of our community partners have provided volunteers, but we require a background check on file with that organization or church to ensure any volunteers coming into contact with the child have receive the necessary checks. But this is not a requirement.

  • Both staff must remain awake during their shift.

What concerns have other Partners expressed?

  • Trusting that CPS will keep looking for placement and will provide immediate support.

    • A CPS staff member is required to be there at all times, there is no exception to this. Also, since these are not considered placements and our Child Placement Unit must continue to work to find a placement.

  • Fearful of taking in a youth who is a “runaway,” off of their medication or who are noted to be defiant/aggressive.

    • Our youth look so much worse on paper than what we actually see during CWOP shifts due to the temporary nature. The average CWOP stay is 2-3 days, with the longest stays being around 10 days, but those usually occur in the more rural parts of Texas.

To register or for more information contact Cornelia Garza at (361) 816 4053 or cornelia.garza@dfps.state.tx.us