I. Evaluation of Identified Relatives and Other Designated Individuals

1. Background/Criminal History Checks

Before a full Adversary Hearing, DFPS must perform a background and criminal history check on the relatives or other designated individuals identified as a potential relative or designated caregiver, as defined by Tex. Fam. Code § 264.751, on the proposed Child Placement Resources Form provided under Tex. Fam. Code § 261.307.

DFPS shall determine which relative or other designated individual would be the most appropriate substitute caregiver, if any, before the full Adversary Hearing. Until DFPS identifies such caregiver, DFPS must continue to explore substitute caregiver options. The time frames do not apply to a relative or other designated individual located in another state. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.114(a).

Special Issue: Effective September 1, 2017, courts will be required at each permanency hearing held under Chapter 263 to review the placement of each child who is not placed with a relative caregiver or designated caregiver as defined by Tex. Fam. Code § 264.751, and make a finding as to whether DFPS is able to place the child with a relative or designated caregiver and to state the evidence that supports its finding either way. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.002(b).

For more on out of state placements, see generally the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children[4] and the Bench Book chapter on The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

2. Home Study Filed With Court

At the full Adversary Hearing, DFPS shall, after redacting any social security numbers, file with the court:

•   A copy of each proposed Child Placement Resources Form completed by the parent or other person having legal custody of the child;

•   A copy of any completed home study performed; and

•   The name of the relative or other designated caregiver, if any, with whom the child has been placed. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.114(a-1).

If the child has not been placed with a relative or other designated caregiver by the time of the full Adversary Hearing, DFPS shall file with the court a statement that explains:

•   The reasons why DFPS has not placed the child with a relative or other designated caregiver listed on the proposed Child Placement Resources Form; and

•   The actions DFPS is taking, if any, to place the child with a relative or other designated caregiver. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.114(a-2).