Adoption


 

 Texas Adoption

Adopting a child (or sometimes an adult) can be one of the happiest times in a person’s life, but also one of the most complex legally, it is important to have knowledgeable counsel on your side. Whether you are a stepparent or relative looking to adopt, or a single parent, or a couple, there is a lengthy administrative procedure to go through in order to legally adopt a child.

It is especially important to seek help if you have blemishes in your background that may preclude you from adopting. Some issues may be insurmountable, but many minor issues can be resolved by working together with the state and adoption agencies. There is so much red tape and emotion infused in adoptions, having someone to represent you takes away much of the hassle, and sometimes can even help you get approved for adoption.

 

What is adoption?

Adoptive families provide a permanent home for children. This lifelong commitment requires that they provide for the short- and long-term needs of a child through adulthood. Adoptive families provide for the emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and cultural needs according to the child’s developmental age and growth.

 

What is required to become an adoptive parent?

You need to find a licensed child-placing agency in your state so that a home study can be completed. This will involve the completion of training, a check of your references, and a criminal background check. The cost is minimal with a public state agency. The cost varies with the private adoption agencies. In either case, there are federal income tax credits available for families who adopt children. Most public state agencies such as DFPS will only perform a home study for families who are willing to become the adoptive parent of the children they have waiting for adoption. Generally, children available for adoption through DFPS have special needs. These children may be:

  • school-age
  • members of sibling groups
  • diagnosed with disabilities or conditions that affect their physical, emotional, or medical well-being
  • African-American, Hispanic, or other ethnic backgrounds.

 

Can we look up information on the different adoption agencies in Texas?

Yes please go to http://www.txchildcaresearch.org. Each child-care facility’s regulatory history of inspections and reports will be available online.

 

Can Texas children be placed out of state?

Yes. Out-of-state homes must be approved for adoption by agencies licensed or certified to approve adoptive home studies in the state where the home is located. Your state’s home study and the placement of a child in your home both must meet the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies prescribed by the Child Care Licensing Division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Texas participates in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. This is an agreement among states to cooperate with each other in the interstate placement of children.

 

I am approved to become an adoptive parent in my state. What is the next step?

If you are approved to adopt by your state or adoption agency, please review the Texas Foster Care and Adoption information and use the inquiry form found at the bottom of each child’s profile page to submit your interest regarding that child or sibling group. You may also email the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange with the name and identification number of the children who wait that you are interested in adopting. Include your name, address, and telephone number. Please include the name of the agency you are working with and your caseworker’s name and phone number. You will receive the name and phone number of the child’s caseworker. You may also call 1-800-233-3405. See the Frequently Asked Questions about TARE for more information about the exchange.

 

I am not yet approved to adopt. How do I start?

If you reside in another state, and you are not yet approved to adopt in your state, you may start the adoption approval process by calling a licensed child-placing adoption agency in your state. You may visit your state web site for information regarding your state’s adoption resources.

If you live in Texas, you may submit your interest to become an approved adoptive family or a licensed foster family by filling out an interest form in the Get Started section or by leaving a message at the Foster Care and Adoption inquiry line at 1-800-233-3405.

 

Adoption Assistance

9300Placing Children Outside of Texas

CPS March 2012

This section describes what DFPS must do to place into foster care in Texas a child who is abused or neglected child and is being placed outside of Texas.

In some cases, placing a child in another state through an interstate compact is the best way to achieve permanency for the child; for instance, it may be the only way to place a child near the child’s parents.

Whenever DFPS places a child in another state, the child’s worker continues to apply all of the policies and procedures for substitute care services that pertain to the child’s case. See 6000 Substitute Care Services.

Every interstate placement made by DFPS is subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC); therefore the caseworker making the placement must coordinate it through the Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO). State law and DFPS policies that govern the removal and placement of a child within the state of Texas also apply.

DFPS places children outside of Texas with the following types of caregivers:

  •  Parents

  •  Relatives (see 4481 Definitions)

  •  Foster families

  •  Adoptive families

  •  Residential treatment centers

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1902(b)External Link

Under ICPC, DFPS must cover all necessary costs of the child’s care that cannot be covered through other sources, until the court dismisses DFPS conservatorship.

For detailed information about making placements with different types of caregivers, see:

4200 Types of Placements

6930 Selecting an Adoptive Home

For the policies and procedures on each stage of placing a child outside Texas, see the items that follow.

9310 Requesting Another State’s Permission to Place a Child

9311 Documenting a Request to Place a Child Outside of Texas

CPS March 2012

The child’s caseworker accesses the ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) tab in the child’s IMPACT case. This is found under the substitute care (SUB) or adoption (ADO) stage, depending on the child’s status.

ICPC Placement Request Packet

To request a home screening and permission to place a child in another state, the child’s caseworker prepares an interstate placement request packet in IMPACT:

1.   Complete the Placement Request (100A) sections I-III of the Interstate Compact Placement Request in IMPACT– One for each child.

2.   Complete the ICPC cover letter in IMPACT – One for each ICPC request packet.

3.   Complete the ICPC Financial/Medical form in IMPACT– One for each child.

4.   Upload into IMPACT all of the following legal forms that must accompany the ICPC placement request packet:

  •  The original court order appointing DFPS as the child’s conservator

  •  The most recent court order with DFPS as the conservator

  •  The child’s birth certificate (or other verification of the child’s age and citizenship, if a birth certificate is not available)

  •  The child’s Social Security number

5.   Upload the most recent additional following documents (if applicable) to complete the interstate placement request packet:

  •  Psychological or developmental evaluation of each child, required if placement is for adoption

  •  Physical and dental exam documents

  •  Educational documents:

  •  Report card

  •  Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) or 504 documents and accommodations

TICO prints out the most recent child’s plan of service to complete the ICPC placement request packet. The child’s caseworker must ensure that the plan of service is accurate and up-to-date for each child who is involved in the ICPC request.

Completing the Cover Letter

In the cover letter, the caseworker must include all of the following:

  •  Contact information on the child’s caseworker

  •  The child’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number

  •  The type of home screening being requested:

      If a home screening has already been completed, the caseworker explains in the cover letter and encloses a copy of the screening results.

      A home screening is most likely to have been completed when:

  •  a child moves out-of-state with his or her caregiver, or

  •  a child is placed for adoption with a family who lives out-of-state

  •  A brief explanation of the reasons the child came into DFPS care

  •  The caregiver’s name, home address, and phone number

  •  Details about the caregiver’s relationship to the child (such as why the caregiver is interested in caring for the child) and any contact the caregiver had with the child before the ICPC request was made,

  •  A brief profile of the child (the child’s temperament, likes and dislikes, medications, and so on), and any special educational or physical needs

  •  The child’s permanency plan

9311.1 Specifying How Costs Will Be Covered for Daily Care

CPS March 2012

The ICPC Financial / Medical Form 103 for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is part of the packet for ICPC and is on the ICPC tab of IMPACT under the substitute care (SUB) and adoption (ADO) stages. The caseworker completes the form in IMPACT designating the child’s eligibility for foster care payments through:

  •  Title IV-E;

  •  non IV-E paid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) paid for foster care payments; or

The caseworker also completes the form to designate the type of placement that the child is going to in the receiving state.

The options for covering the costs of a child’s daily care are specified in the following chart:

Options for Covering the Cost of Care

Conditions

The caregiver supports the child without financial assistance.

The caregiver must be a parent or a relative of the child.

The caregiver applies for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) in the receiving state.

  •  The caregiver must be the child’s parent or relative; and

  •  The receiving state must allow a family to apply for TANF.

DFPS provides foster care assistance to the caregiver.

The caregiver must be licensed to provide foster care in the receiving state.

For detailed information about applying for Title IV-E foster-care assistance, see 1511 Foster Care Assistance Application and Review Policies.

For information about SSI and adoption assistance payments, see 1715.4 SSI Payments and Adoption Assistance Payments.

9311.2 ICPC Financial / Medical Form for an ICPC Placement Request

CPS March 2012

The Financial / Medical Form 103 for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is part of the packet for ICPC and is on the ICPC tab of IMPACT under the substitute care (SUB) and adoption (ADO) stages. The caseworker completes the form in IMPACT designating the child’s eligibility for foster care payments through:

  •  Title IV-E or non IV-E paid; or

  •  Supplemental Security Income (SSI); or

The caseworker also completes the form to designate the type of placement that the child is going to in the receiving state.

If the child is eligible for Title IV-E foster-care assistance, the cover letter must include information about the child’s Title IV-E eligibility to enable the receiving state to begin paying the child’s Medicaid benefits. See:

1538 Medicaid Benefits for Foster Care Children Placed in Texas From Other States

1539 Medicaid Benefits for Foster Care Children Placed Out-of-State

If the child is placed with a parent or relative not receiving foster care payments, the caregiver applies for Medicaid in the receiving state.

9311.3 Information About the Child for an ICPC Placement Request

CPS March 2012

To the extent available at the time of the request for placement through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), the caseworker must provide all of the information that DFPS ordinarily provides to a child’s caregiver, including the child’s:

  •  current service plan, as specified in:

  •  6251 The Child’s Service Plan, and

  •  6260 Case Plan Review;

  •  most recent status report filed with the court, as specified in 5530 Permanency Hearings for Children Under Temporary DFPS Conservatorship;

  •  most recent school records, including any special education records;

  •  medical documents, including the child’s most current medical and dental exams, immunization record; and psychological evaluation or developmental assessment (if applicable).

Psychotropic Medications and Adoption Screenings

If a child is taking psychotropic medications or if the ICPC referral is for a home screening related to an adoption, then either a psychological evaluation or developmental assessment must be included in the ICPC placement request packet.

Emergency Orders of Protection

For ICPC cases, an Emergency Order of Protection cannot be used in lieu of a Temporary Managing Conservatorship Order (TMC).

Texas court orders that specify one child’s name and use et al to represent the others must include the names of any other children who are involved in the order by listing them either:

  •  under the court order heading In the Interest of; or

  •  in the body of the court order.

9312 Requesting Placement With a Parent or Relative Outside of Texas

CPS March 2012

Documenting the Request

To request permission to place a child with a parent or relative who lives in another state, the child’s caseworker must prepare the documentation specified in 9311 Documenting a Request to Place a Child Outside of Texas.

Applicable Policies

Non-Offending Parent

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) does not apply whenever a court transfers the child to a non-custodial parent with respect to whom the court:

  •  does not have evidence before it that such parent is unfit;

  •  does not seek such evidence; and

  •  does not retain jurisdiction over the child after the court places the child.

The receiving state has no responsibility for supervision or monitoring for the court having made the placement in this circumstance.

If a court or other competent authority such as DFPS invokes the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), the court or other competent authority is obligated to retain jurisdiction and follow normal ICPC procedures to request placement of a child in the other state.

Relative

The placement of a child with relatives must comply with DFPS’s policy and the receiving state’s requirements for such placements. If the receiving state does not require the relative to be verified or licensed, then the relative may qualify for the Texas Kinship Program including Integration and Reimbursement funding.

The Interstate Compact does not apply to the sending or bringing of a child into the receiving state by the child’s parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult aunt or uncle, or the child’s guardian and leaving the child with any such relative or the child’s guardian, if the person who brings the child to the receiving state is a person whose full legal right to plan for the child:

  •  has been established by law at a time before initiating the placement arrangement; and

  •  has not been voluntarily terminated, diminished, or severed by the action or order of any court.

ICPC Regulation No. 3PDF DocumentExternal Link, Definitions and Placement Categories: Applicability and Exemptions

Texas Family Code, §264.751External Link

See:

4500 Placing a Child With Relatives and Other Kinship Caregivers

4535 Explaining the DFPS Financial Assistance Available to an Unverified Kinship Caregiver

4710 Obtaining Permanency Care Assistance

9521 Voluntary Interstate Placements With Relative Caregivers

9312.1 Criteria for Priority Home Screening

CPS March 2012

A priority home screening may be requested for a Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) case, if the following criteria are met:

  •  The proposed caregiver is the child’s parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult aunt or uncle, adult brother or sister, or the child’s guardian.

      Cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles, and great-grandparents do not meet the criteria for the degree of relationship between the child and the proposed caregiver. Fictive kin, such as close family friends, do not meet the criteria.

AND

  •  At least one of the following circumstances is met:

  •  an unexpected dependency because of a sudden or recent incarceration, incapacitation, or death of a parent or guardian. (Incapacitation means a parent or guardian is unable to care for a child because of a medical, mental, or physical condition of a parent or guardian); or

  •  the child is currently in an emergency placement; or

  •  the court finds that any child in the sibling group sought to be placed has a substantial relationship with the proposed placement resource; or

  •  a child sought to be placed is age four or younger. If the child age four or younger is in a sibling group with older siblings, then the older siblings may be placed in the same proposed placement resource with the younger child.

Before submitting a Priority Home Screening Request, the caseworker must ensure that the following additional three items are included in the request packet:

  •  ICPC Criteria for Priority Home Screening – Form ICPC105Word Document (Regulation 7 Worksheet) uploaded into IMPACT

  •  Order of Compliance (Priority Court Order) uploaded into IMPACT

  •  Priority Home Study Request form entered in IMPACT

A priority screening may not be requested if:

  •  the proposed placement is for a foster or adoptive home; or

  •  the child is already placed in the receiving state, in violation of ICPC guidelines.

The priority home screening must be completed and returned to the sending state’s interstate compact office within 30 calendar days from the date that the receiving state’s interstate compact office receives and accepts the priority ICPC placement request packet.

9313 Requesting Placement With a Foster Family Outside of Texas

CPS March 2012

In a variety of circumstances, DFPS may place a child with a foster family that lives outside of Texas.

If the foster family is licensed or verified, the child’s caseworker must first:

  •  notify the supervisor and other appropriate levels of management before proceeding with an Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) request; and

  •  obtain approval from the regional program administrator (PA) before submitting the ICPC placement request packet.

The PA then determines whether:

  •  it is in the child’s best interest to be placed with the foster family;

  •  the foster family is able to meet the child’s ongoing medical and financial needs;

  •  the foster family is licensed by a private child-placing agency (CPA) in the receiving state and the CPA has entered into a contract with DFPS, or the foster family is licensed through the appropriate state agency in the receiving state.

Placement With a Close Friend of the Child’s Family

DFPS treats the placement of a child with close friends of the child’s family the same as a placement with a relative; however, most states require close friends to be trained and licensed as foster caregivers.

Before submitting an ICPC placement request packet, the child’s caseworker researches (through the regional ICPC coordinator or ICPC staff at the DFPS state office) the other state’s policy on placing a child with a close friend of the family.

Examples of Out-of-State Placements

  •  The child’s birth family has moved to another state, and the child needs to be placed with a caregiver who lives near the birth family.

  •  The child has grown attached to a foster family that must move outside of Texas and moving with the foster family will not affect the child’s or family’s ability to achieve the goals established in the child’s permanency plan.

For detailed information about coordinating a foster child’s move with a foster family, see 9316 When a Texas Caregiver Moves to Another State.

9314 Requesting Placement With an Adoptive Family Outside of Texas

CPS March 2012

In a variety of circumstances, DFPS may place a child for adoption with a family that lives outside of Texas.

Examples

The circumstances under which a child may be placed include the following:

  •  An adoptive family living outside of Texas has been located for a child with special needs.

  •  The parental rights of a child’s parents are terminated after the child’s placement with a relative or foster caregiver who lives outside of Texas and when the child is available for adoption, the caregiver wants to adopt.

In the second example, the child’s initial out-of-state placement has already been approved and completed. DFPS must initiate a separate request for approval of the adoptive placement.

Documentation

To request permission to place a child for adoption in another state, the child’s caseworker must prepare the IMPACT documentation specified in 9311 Documenting a Request to Place a Child Outside of Texas and the subitems, with the following additions:

Cover Letter

The cover letter must:

  •  specify whether DFPS will support the adoption financially, as specified in:

  •  1700 Adoption Assistance Program, and

  •  1760 Medicaid Coverage, the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance, and Adoption Assistance;

  •  identify any other sources of financial assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI);

  •  indicate whether the adoption will be consummated in Texas or the receiving state; and

  •  include a written statement confirming that DFPS has a current contract in place, if the prospective adoptive family is licensed through a Private Child-Placing Agency (CPA) in the receiving state. (In such a circumstance, it is the responsibility of the child’s caseworker to obtain such a confirmation.)

See 8263 Out-of-State Adoption Placements.

ICPC Placement Request Packet

The caseworker includes the all of the following in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) placement request packet through uploading it into the IMPACT ICPC tab:

  •  The court order terminating parental rights and appointing DFPS as the child’s permanent managing conservator

  •  The results of the adoptive home screening, if it has been completed (Actual FBI results will not be released to other states)

  •  The child’s Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) report

For information on the HSEGH report, see:

6921 Completing the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) Report

Appendix 6921: Requirements for Completing the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) Report

For additional information about placing children for adoption in other states, see:

6934 Adoptive Homes in Other States

6945 Making Placements in Other States

9315 Requesting Placement in a Residential Treatment Center Outside of Texas

CPS March 2012

DFPS may place a child under its conservatorship in an out-of-state residential treatment center if:

  •  an out-of-state facility is better equipped to meet a child’s specific needs; or

  •  there are no Texas facilities with available capacity to meet the child’s needs.

Before submitting an ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) Placement Request to place a child in an out-of-state residential treatment center, the child’s caseworker must:

  •  notify Texas Interstate Compact office (TICO) and the residential treatment placement coordinator of the proposed placement; and

  •  ensure that a child-specific contract for placement out-of-state, in a residential treatment center and a separate contract for supervision are both executed.

The associate commissioner or his or her designee is responsible for approving the child specific contract for placement. The regional director or his or her designee is responsible for approving the contract for supervision.

Upon approval of both the child-specific residential contract and contract for supervision, the caseworker submits the ICPC Placement Request through IMPACT and as specified in 9311 Documenting a Request to Place a Child Outside of Texas.

The contract for supervision services is required to mandate that monthly face-to-face contact between the contractor and the child placed in the out-of-state residential treatment center is conducted. The contractor is required to provide a monthly supervision report to the child’s Texas caseworker. This ensures the likelihood that the mandated contact occurs.

Additionally, the child’s Texas caseworker must make monthly contact with the child by telephone or electronic means such as Skype or email.

All contacts made by the contractor and caseworker must be thoroughly documented in IMPACT.

See 6311 Contact with the Child.

9316 When a Texas Caregiver Moves to Another State

CPS March 2012

If a child’s caregiver is moving to another state, and it is in the child’s best interest for the child to move with the caregiver, the child’s caseworker must ask the receiving state for permission to continue the placement there.

The child’s caseworker prepares the same documentation specified in 9311 Documenting a Request to Place a Child Outside of Texas and the subitems, with the following additions:

  •  In the Interstate Compact Cover Letter in IMPACT, the caseworker indicates that the child has been placed with the caregiver and the child has already moved with that caregiver to the receiving state.

  •  In the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) placement request packet, the caseworker includes:

  •  the caregiver’s most current home screening. Texas verifies that all required criminal background checks are completed according to the placement type and that all persons required to undergo a criminal background check are cleared. Specific convictions are addressed in the home screening; however, actual FBI results are not released to other states; and

  •  the IMPACT Placement Status (100B). The form includes information about the child’s caregiver and the date of placement.

If the Caregiver Is a Foster Family

If the child’s caregiver is a foster family, the ICPC placement request packet must include a copy of the family’s verification as a foster family in Texas; that is, either:

  •  a license issued by a child-placing agency (CPA) in Texas; or

  •  a certificate issued by DFPS (Form 2909Word Document Foster Only Certificate or Form 2912Word Document Foster Adoptive Home Certificate, Dual-Licensed).

If the foster parent is licensed or verified, the child’s caseworker must first:

  •  notify the supervisor and other appropriate levels of management before proceeding with an ICPC request; and

  •  obtain approval from the regional program administrator (PA) before submitting the ICPC placement request packet.

The PA then determines whether:

  •  it is in the child’s best interest to move with the foster family;

  •  the foster family is able to meet the child’s ongoing medical and financial needs; and

  •  the foster family understands that the family must meet the licensing requirements of the receiving state to qualify for ongoing foster care support.

Effective Period of Texas Licensure

The foster family’s Texas license or verification remains in effect for up to 90 days while the family applies for a license in the receiving state. A DFPS program administrator (PA) can extend the family’s Texas licensure for 60 additional days, if it is clear that the family will be licensed in the receiving state during the extension.

Receiving states generally accept a family’s Texas licensure or verification, as long as the license or verification remains in effect.

If the caregiver’s application for a foster care license in the receiving state is denied, the child’s caseworker must find another placement for the child.

Adoptive Families

If the caregiver is an adoptive family, the placement request packet must include the additional documentation specified in 9314Requesting Placement With an Adoptive Family Outside of Texas.

If the adoptive parent is licensed through a child-placing agency (CPA) in Texas, the child’s caseworker must:

  •  notify his or her supervisor and other appropriate levels of management before proceeding with an ICPC request; and

  •  obtain approval from his or her regional program administrator (PA) before submitting the ICPC placement request packet.

9500 Other ICPC-Related Issues

9510 Private Interstate Placements

CPS March 2010

In addition to covering the interstate placement of children who have been removed from their homes for abuse and neglect, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) also covers private interstate placements made for adoption and specialized residential care.

A private placement is a placement made by a parent, court, court-appointed guardian, or licensed child-placing agency — it is not a placement made by a state agency, such as DFPS.

Unlike interstate placements of abused and neglected children, most private interstate placements do not involve DFPS field staff; however, they do involve the Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO).

Responsibility for Records Management

It is the responsibility of the sending person, agency, or court to maintain the official record of the child’s interstate placement.

9511 Private Adoptions

CPS March 2012

Private adoptions include:

  •  independent adoptions arranged directly by the child’s birth parents and adoptive parents, usually with the assistance of an attorney;

  •  independent adoptions arranged by the court or the child’s guardian and the adoptive parents; and

  •  agency adoptions arranged by private child-placing agencies.

Procedures for Private Adoption

The procedures that must be followed in a private interstate adoption are similar to those explained in 9100 Types of Interstate Placements through 9400 Placing Children From Another State In Texas, with two exceptions:

  •  DFPS caseworkers are normally not involved in the placement; and

  •  the home screening is usually completed before the request to place the child is submitted to the receiving state’s interstate compact office.

In private adoptions, the birth and adoptive parents (or other parties, as applicable) work directly with the interstate compact offices of the sending and receiving states. The birth and adoptive parents function as the sending and receiving agencies.

As in all adoptive placements, the interstate compact offices for both the sending and receiving states coordinate the approval process in private adoptions under the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

It is particularly important for parties to an adoption who are unfamiliar with interstate placements to be aware that the receiving state’s compact office determines whether:

  •  the placement complies with applicable state laws (note that in some states independent adoptions are not legal);

  •  the sending agency has the authority to place the child; and

  •  the proposed placement does not appear contrary to the child’s best interest.

Documentation

To request approval of a private interstate adoption, the sending agency must submit an interstate placement request packet that includes a Placement Request (100A) and the documents specified in the following chart.

Documents

Notes

The adoptive home screening

If a child is being placed in Texas, the home screening must conform to the guidelines in Appendix 7260: Foster/Adoptive Home Study Guidelines and must be completed by:

  •  a licensed child-placing agency; or

  •  a licensed social worker.

The home screening must be current within one year of the date that TICO receives the ICPC placement request packet.

All criminal background checks, which include FBI, local Department of Public Safety, and the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry , must be current within two years from the date that the home screening is approved. A person does not require a new fingerprint-based criminal history check if:

  •  the person:

  •   has a fingerprint-based criminal history clearinghouse record from a background check that is accessible to DFPS through the Department of Public Safety clearinghouse; or

  •   has a fingerprint-based criminal history on record with DFPS; and

  •  it has not been more than 24 months since the last name-based criminal history check was submitted.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §§745.625External Link and 745.630External Link

Texas verifies that all required criminal background checks are completed according to the placement type and that all persons required to undergo a criminal background check are cleared. Specific convictions are addressed in the home screening; however, actual FBI results are not released to other states.

The Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) report

If the child is being placed in Texas, the HSEGH report must meet the requirements in Appendix 6921: Requirements for Completing the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History Report.

Legal documentation of:

  •  the child’s adoptability, and

  •  the sending agency’s authority to place the child.

At a minimum, the documentation of the child’s adoptability must include a valid consent document signed by the child’s biological mother and father (and legal father, if different).

Examples include:

  •  an affidavit of relinquishment;

  •  a waiver of interest; and

  •  an affidavit of status.

If the child is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe, the child’s Indian parent or custodian or a tribal court must consent to the adoption. See Appendix 1226-A: Child-Placing Requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act and Related Guidelines and Regulations.

If the child is being placed by a child-placing agency (or anyone other than the legal parents), there must be a court order terminating parental rights and appointing the child-placing agency (or other party) as the child’s managing conservator.

Any other documents requested by the receiving state

If the child is being placed in Texas, the following documents are also required:

  •  A hospital discharge summary or physician’s statement describing the child’s health at birth

  •  A written statement from the adoptive parents confirming that they will secure appropriate medical care for the child (for a child with health problems);

  •  A written specification explaining whether the adoption will be consummated in Texas or in the sending state.

Approving the Placement

If the placement request packet is complete, correct, and in compliance with the laws and regulations of the sending state, the sending state’s compact office forwards it to the receiving state’s compact office.

If the placement is in compliance with the laws and regulations of the receiving state, and does not appear contrary to the child’s best interest, the receiving state’s compact office approves the placement. If the placement conflicts with the laws or regulations of the receiving state, or appears contrary to the child’s best interest, the receiving state’s compact office denies the placement.

The receiving state’s interstate compact office completes Section IV of the Placement Request (100A), and forwards a copy to each participant notifying them of the placement decision.

Making the Placement

After the receiving state’s interstate compact office approves the placement, the sending agency works directly with the receiving agency to place the child.

Notification

After placing the child, the sending agency notifies the compact office in each state that the placement has occurred.

Exception

In an independent adoption (an adoption arranged by a court or an attorney, rather than a government agency), the notification can be submitted by an attorney in either state.

The preferred method of notification is to complete a new IMPACT Placement Status (100B).

If a Placement Status (100B) is not readily available, the sending agency notifies the compact offices by letter. The letter must specify the date of the child’s placement.

If a Placement Is Canceled

If a placement is canceled and the sending agency decides not to place the child, the sending agency must also notify both interstate compact offices.

Supervision

The need for supervision in private adoptive placements depends on:

  •  the laws and policies in effect in the state where the child is being placed; and

  •  the type of placement.

Most states, including Texas, do not require supervision of independent adoptive placements (placements arranged by a court or an attorney, rather than a government agency); however adoptive placements made by licensed child-placing agencies do require supervision.

In Texas, the DFPS Child-Care Licensing Division’s Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies requires the child-placing agency in the receiving state to contact the child and adoptive family at least five times in the first six months. At least two of those contacts must be face-to-face, and at least one must take place in the family’s home.

When supervision is required, the supervising agency must send a supervisory report to the sending agency at least once every three months, as specified in 9240 Understanding the Supervision Stage of an Interstate Placement.

Closing a Case

As soon as the adoption is consummated, the sending agency notifies the interstate compact office in each state.

Exception

In an independent adoption (arranged by a court or an attorney, rather than a government agency), the notification may be submitted by the attorney in either state.

The preferred method of notification is to complete and forward a new IMPACT Placement Status (100B).

If the form is not readily available, the sending agency may notify the interstate compact offices by letter. The letter must specify:

  •  the date of the adoption decree;

  •  the court that issued it; and

  •  a copy of the adoption decree, if a copy is required by the relevant state.

If the placement breaks down and the adoption has not yet been consummated, the sending agency notifies the interstate compact office in each state.

The Role of a Texas Attorney in a Private Adoption

Attorneys in Texas must be careful not to violate Chapter 42 of the Human Resources Code (HRC) when they participate in private adoptions. Chapter 42 states that no person may operate a child-placing agency without a license issued by the DFPS Child Care Licensing Division (CCL). The chapter further defines a child-placing agency as the person other than the natural parents or guardian of a child who plans for the placement of or places a child in an institution, agency home, or adoptive home.

Texas Human Resources Code §§42.041(a)External Link; 42.002(12)External Link

During the arrangement of an adoption, planning for the placement of a child includes, but is not limited to:

  •  serving as an intermediary between the birth mother and the prospective adoptive parents; and

  •  filing for managing conservatorship with the intent to place the child for adoption.

If the Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO) suspects that an attorney is engaging in unlawful child-placing activities, TICO staff must notify CCL immediately.

9512 When a Parent Requests to Make a Private Placement in a Licensed Residential Facility

CPS March 2012

Parents who want to place a child who is not in state conservatorship in an out-of-state licensed residential facility send the request through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The parents must complete required ICPC request documentation and send it to the ICPC office in the sending state.

If Texas is the sending state the request can be made through the ICPC Online Request website and sent by email, postal mail, or fax. See 9514 ICPC Request Website When Texas is the Sending State.

  •  ICPC Request Website

  •  Email [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Postal Mail: DFPS, ATTN: Texas Interstate Compact Office, MC W-223, PO Box 149030, Austin, Texas 78714

  •  Fax 512-339-5815

Placement Request (100A) must be submitted. An acceptance letter from the licensed residential facility should be included with the request.

After the placement is approved through the receiving state Interstate Compact office, the parent must submit to Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO) a Placement Status (100B) specifying the date of placement.

The parents are responsible for maintaining a copy of all documentation related to their child’s placement.

Supervision

The facility supervises the placement and sends quarterly supervisory reports to TICO.

TICO forwards the quarterly reports to the parent.

Closing the Case

When the child leaves the facility, the parent completes a Placement Status (100B) in the ICPC Request Website.

TICO forwards a copy to the sending state’s compact office notify them of the child’s discharge and TICO is closing the case.

Occasionally, the facility itself completes the Placement Status (100B) and sends copies to both compact offices.

TICO closes its case when the child is discharged, turns 18 years of age, or approved placement is not used.

See 9514 ICPC Request Website When Texas is the Sending State.

9513 When a Juvenile Probation Officer Requests Placement in a Licensed Residential Facility

CPS March 2012

A juvenile probation officer in either the sending or receiving state may request a placement of an adjudicated delinquent in a licensed residential facility.

The placement of an adjudicated delinquent may be covered either by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) or by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Juveniles (ICJ).

  •  If the sending agency places the juvenile in a CCL-licensed facility, such as a residential treatment center, the placement is covered by the ICPC and in Texas the Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO) coordinates the placement.

  •  If the sending agency places the juvenile in a facility that is not licensed by CCL (for example, a juvenile detention center), the placement is covered by the ICJ and not ICPC.

The probation officer must complete required ICPC request documentation and send it to the ICPC office in the sending state.

If Texas is the sending state the request can be made through the ICPC Online Request website and sent by email, postal mail or fax. See 9514 ICPC Request Website When Texas is the Sending State.

  •  ICPC Request Website

  •  Email [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Postal Mail: DFPS, ATTN: Texas Interstate Compact Office, MC W-223, PO Box 149030, Austin, Texas 78714

  •  Fax 512-339-5815

The probation officer must submit the following:

  •  The Placement Request (100A)

  •  A court order that includes ICPC Article 6External Link language

  •  An acceptance letter from the licensed residential facility

Additional documentation that can be included is the:

  •  social history of the child; and

  •  psychological or psychiatric evaluation of the child.

After the placement is approved through the receiving state Interstate Compact office, the probation officer must submit to Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO) a Placement Status (100B) specifying the date of placement.

The probation officer is responsible for maintaining a copy of all documentation related to the child’s placement.

Supervision

The facility supervises the placement and sends quarterly supervisory reports to TICO.

TICO forwards the quarterly reports to the probation officer.

Closing the Case

When the child leaves the facility, the probation officer completes a Placement Status (100B) in the ICPC Request website.

TICO forwards a copy to the sending state’s compact office notify them of the child’s discharge and TICO is closing the case.

TICO closes its case when the child is discharged, turns 18 years of age, or approved placement is not used.

See 9514 ICPC Request Website When Texas is the Sending State.

9514 ICPC Request Website When Texas Is the Sending State

CPS March 2012

DFPS provides an ICPC Request Website for parents and juvenile probation officers. A private attorney or CPA can use the website for only independent or private adoptions. This website allows the sending of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) request to the Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO) when Texas is the sending state. The website allows the person to complete a Placement Request (100A), and upload the required documents for the request. The website allows the requester to sign up for an account where he or she tracks the status of the request. The following types of placements are able to be requested through this method.

Private Adoption

A private attorney or private CPA could use the website to complete a private adoption request, including the required documentation that must be uploaded with the Placement Request (100A). The required documentation to complete this request is found in 9511 Private Adoption.

Licensed Residential Facility as a Private Interstate Placement

A parent or probation officer can request placement in a licensed residential facility through the website. To complete a placement the parent or probation officer must complete the Placement Request (100A), including uploading other required documentation.

For required documentation see:

9512 When a Parent Requests to Make a Private Placement in a Licensed Residential Facility

9513 When a Juvenile Probation Officer Requests Placement in a Licensed Residential Facility

9520 Special Situations Related to Interstate Placements

9521 Voluntary Interstate Placements With Relative Caregivers

CPS March 2010

If a child’s family voluntarily decides to place a child with a friend or relative who lives outside of Texas, the placement is not subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

If the child is a ward of a court in Texas or another state, the child’s placement is subject to the Interstate Compact and an interstate placement packet must be submitted through the appropriate channels. See 9200 Understanding the Interstate Placement Process.

For detailed information about working with a family that wishes to place a child voluntarily, see 3600 Special Issues.

If the family needs substantial assistance to place the child, DFPS asks the court to appoint DFPS as the child’s temporary managing conservator. When the court does so, the placement becomes subject to the ICPC and the child’s caseworker must coordinate it through the Texas Interstate Compact Office (TICO).

9522 When a Child Runs Away to Another State

CPS March 2010

Most placements of runaway children are not subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The interstate return of a runaway child, with or without the involvement of a court, is not subject to the ICPC.

The ICPC does apply to the placement of a runaway child when all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  •  The child was already in the jurisdiction of a court when he or she ran away to another state;

  •  The child has placed himself or herself with a caregiver in the state to which he or she ran away; and

  •  The court of jurisdiction wants to approve and formalize the child’s placement with that caregiver.

Example: A foster child runs away from a foster home to live with a relative in another state.

When all three conditions are satisfied:

  •  the child’s placement is subject to the ICPC; and:

  •  the court of jurisdiction or the public agency responsible for the child’s care, custody, and welfare (in the state from which the child ran away) must request a home screening and permission to place the child.

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Timothy Hutton

Divorce and Custody Lawyer at Hutton Law, PLLC
Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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