Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Texas

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Fam. Code § 263.101

A service plan must be filed no later than the 45th day after the date the court renders a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator of a child.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Fam. Code § 263.102; Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 700.1321

The service plan shall be prepared by the department in conference with the child's parents.

In regulation: Child Protective Services must ask the following individuals to participate in developing the child's service plan:

  • The child's caseworker in the conservatorship unit
  • The caseworker supervising the placement, if different from the caseworker in the conservatorship unit
  • The child, unless he or she is too young to participate
  • The child's parents, unless they:
    • Cannot be located, despite due diligence
    • Have had their parental rights terminated
    • Refuse to participate
  • The substitute caregiver (e.g., a relative, the foster parent, or a representative of the general residential operation in which the child is placed)
  • Each person appointed by the court to serve as the child's attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, or court-appointed special advocate
  • A prospective adoptive family with whom the child has been placed for adoption
  • When appropriate, other family members, professionals, and volunteers who are or will be providing services to the child or the child's family

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Fam. Code § 263.102

The service plan must:

  • Be written in a language that the parents understand
  • State appropriate deadlines
  • State whether the goal of the plan is:
    • The return of the child to the child's parents
    • The termination of parental rights and placement of the child for adoption
    • Because of the child's special needs or exceptional circumstances, the continuation of the child's care out of the child's home
  • State the steps that are necessary to:
    • Return the child to the child's home if the placement is in foster care
    • Enable the child to remain in the child's home with the assistance of a service plan if the placement is in the home under the department's or other agency's supervision
    • Provide a permanent safe placement for the child
  • State the actions and responsibilities that are necessary for the child's parents to take to achieve the plan goal during the period of the service plan and the assistance to be provided to the parents from the department or other authorized agency toward meeting that goal
  • State any specific skills or knowledge that the child's parents must acquire or learn, as well as any behavioral changes the parents must exhibit, to achieve the plan goal
  • State the actions and responsibilities that are necessary for the child's parents to take to ensure that the child attends school and maintains or improves the child's academic compliance
  • State the name of the person with the department or other agency whom the child's parents may contact for information relating to the child if other than the person preparing the plan
  • Prescribe any other term or condition that the department or other agency determines to be necessary to the service plan's success
  • Include a statement to the parent that failure to provide a safe environment for the child may result in termination of parental rights