Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book

2023 version: As effective November 1, 2023

F. Trauma Work in Texas

1. Reports

Building a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System: A Blueprint[161]

Trauma-Informed Care Final Report, The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute for Texas[162]

2. Statewide Initiatives

a. The Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care

In July 2017, the Children's Commission launched the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC), which aims to elevate trauma-informed policy in the Texas child welfare system by creating a statewide strategy to support system reform, organizational leadership, cross-systems collaboration, and community-led efforts with data-informed initiatives to develop champions, consensus, and funding. The SCTIC began with a planning group with the Children's Commission, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), Texas CASA, and the Department of Family and Protective Services and created workgroups to carry out its mission. Since its inception, the SCTIC assisted in the release of resource documents and training events which can be found on www.TraumaInformedTexas.com.

b. Behavioral Health Division at DFPS

In Fiscal Year 2019, DFPS formed the Behavioral Health Services Division within CPS. The division now includes a Behavioral Health Services Division Administrator, a Trauma-Informed Care Manager, six new regional Trauma-Informed Care Program Specialists, a Behavioral Health Services Program Specialist, three Substance Use Program Specialists, two CANS Program Specialists, and a Mental Health Program Specialist. The Medical Services Division covers medical and dental issues for CPS with Nurse Consultants and Well-Being Specialists. The Behavioral Health Services Division Administrator and the Trauma Informed Care Program Manager are based at the State Office in Austin. The Behavioral Health Services Program Specialist is located in Houston, one CANS Program Specialist operates in San Antonio and a second CANS Program Specialist is in Houston. The Trauma Informed Care Program Specialist positions are based in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Corpus, Midland, and Paris or surrounding areas. The division includes three Substance Use Program Specialists located in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. These positions complement a two additional Substance Use Program Specialists and two Mental Health Program Specialists who are based in Austin and report to Child Protective Investigations. These staff work together to provide support, resources, and technical assistance to direct delivery staff in their work with families experiencing substance use disorders through every stage of service.

c. Cross-Systems Trauma-Informed Care initiative

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Office of Mental Health Coordination leads a Cross Systems Trauma-informed Care (CSTIC) initiative. The vision of the CSTIC is a coordinated behavioral health system, as envisioned by the Behavioral Health Strategic Plan, which is healing-centered and trauma-informed in its foundation and unified in its implementation of a person-centered and family-focused approach across Texas. The CSTIC initiative involves working with state agencies across Texas to advance trauma-informed organizations, culture, and services. The collaboration includes representatives from state agencies who receive state funding for behavioral health training or services. As part of the CSTIC initiative, HHSC leads an internal Trauma Transformation Team with representatives from different divisions and departments within the agency who facilitate trauma-informed change within HHSC.

d. Children's Advocacy Centers (CAC) Practice Model

In 2013, the Texas Legislature raised the standard for mental health services in CACs, requiring that all mental health services be trauma-focused and evidence-based. Additionally, mental health services must be provided by professionals who have a master's degree and are licensed, or who are students in an accredited graduate program and supervised by a licensed mental health professional.

e. Trauma-Informed Care Specialty Network

Created by STAR Health, the Trauma-Informed Care Specialty Network allows its providers to list the training on trauma that they have pursued and helps identify providers who have been trained in trauma-informed care in the STAR Health network for caseworkers, caregivers, and others in the child welfare community. STAR Health also offers TIC trainings to CPA, kinship families, RTC staff, and Emergency Shelter staff.

3. Examples of Community-Level Initiatives

a. Region 3 Foster Care Consortium

Established in 2015 to promote collaboration and information sharing among the many stakeholders committed to the well-being of children in the child welfare system. the Consortium facilitates productive partnerships and sponsors informative programming, drawing on the resources of integrated healthcare and other service providers, child advocates, policy groups, child placing agencies, education liaisons, foster parents, court personnel, single source continuum contractors, and DFPS leadership.

b. The Travis County Collaborative for Children (TCCC)

Led by Texas Christian University's (TCU) Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development (KPICD), the TCCC implemented system-wide changes to the way children in Travis County are cared for during and after their time in state custody. TCCC's goal is to accelerate healing and speed to permanency for children in foster care utilizing KPICD's research-based Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRIĀ®) principles and practices.

c. The Trauma-Informed Care Consortium of Central Texas (TICC)

Established in 2013 by St. David's Foundation and Austin Child Guidance Center, the TICC brings together professional organizations quarterly to network, share information, and coordinate trainings for mental health clinicians, school personnel, medical/nursing professionals, law enforcement, and juvenile justice professionals.

d. The South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium

The South Texas Trauma Informed Care Consortium is a collaboration between The Children's Shelter, Voices for Children, and City of San Antonio Metro Health Department that brings together community participants who are committed to addressing the impact of trauma.