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  H.B. No. 1549
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the provision of services by the Department of Family
  and Protective Services, including child protective services and
  prevention and early intervention services.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 261.204(a), Family Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Not later than March 1 of each year, the [The]
  department shall publish an [annual] aggregated report using
  information compiled from each child fatality investigation for
  which the department made a finding regarding abuse or neglect,
  including cases in which the department determined the fatality was
  not the result of abuse or neglect.  The report must protect the
  identity of individuals involved and contain the following
  information:
               (1)  the age and sex of the child and the county in
  which the fatality occurred;
               (2)  whether the state was the managing conservator of
  the child or whether the child resided with the child's parent,
  managing conservator, guardian, or other person entitled to the
  possession of the child at the time of the fatality;
               (3)  the relationship to the child of the individual
  alleged to have abused or neglected the child, if any;
               (4)  the number of any department abuse or neglect
  investigations involving the child or the individual alleged to
  have abused or neglected the child during the two years preceding
  the date of the fatality and the results of the investigations;
               (5)  whether the department offered family-based
  safety services or conservatorship services to the child or family;
               (6)  the types of abuse and neglect alleged in the
  reported investigations, if any; and
               (7)  any trends identified in the investigations
  contained in the report.
         SECTION 2.  Section 261.301, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (j) to read as follows:
         (j)  In geographic areas with demonstrated need, the
  department shall designate employees to serve specifically as
  investigators and responders for after-hours reports of child abuse
  or neglect.
         SECTION 3.  Section 264.1075, Family Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsection (c) to read as
  follows:
         (b)  As soon as possible after a child is placed in the
  managing conservatorship of the department [begins receiving
  foster care under this subchapter], the department shall assess
  whether the child has a developmental or intellectual disability.
         (c)  If the assessment required by Subsection (b) indicates
  that the child might have an intellectual disability, the
  department shall ensure that a referral for a determination of
  intellectual disability is made as soon as possible and that the
  determination is conducted by an authorized provider before the
  date of the child's 16th birthday, if practicable.  If the child is
  placed in the managing conservatorship of the department after the
  child's 16th birthday, the determination of intellectual
  disability must be conducted as soon as possible after the
  assessment required by Subsection (b).  In this subsection,
  "authorized provider" has the meaning assigned by Section 593.004,
  Health and Safety Code.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter B, Chapter 264, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Section 264.1261 to read as follows:
         Sec. 264.1261.  FOSTER CARE CAPACITY NEEDS PLAN. (a)  In
  this section, "community-based foster care" means the redesigned
  foster care services system required by Chapter 598 (S.B. 218),
  Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011.
         (b)  Appropriate department management personnel from a
  child protective services region in which community-based foster
  care has not been implemented, in collaboration with foster care
  providers, faith-based entities, and child advocates in that
  region, shall use data collected by the department on foster care
  capacity needs and availability of each type of foster care and
  kinship placement in the region to create a plan to address the
  substitute care capacity needs in the region. The plan must
  identify both short-term and long-term goals and strategies for
  addressing those capacity needs.
         (c)  A foster care capacity needs plan developed under
  Subsection (b) must be:
               (1)  submitted to and approved by the commissioner; and
               (2)  updated annually.
         (d)  The department shall publish each initial foster care
  capacity needs plan and each annual update to a plan on the
  department's Internet website.
         SECTION 5.  Sections 264.502(a) and (b), Family Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The child fatality review team committee is composed of:
               (1)  a person appointed by and representing the state
  registrar of vital statistics;
               (2)  a person appointed by and representing the
  commissioner of the department;
               (3)  a person appointed by and representing the Title V
  director of the Department of State Health Services; [and]
               (4)  a person appointed by and representing the speaker
  of the house of representatives;
               (5)  a person appointed by and representing the
  lieutenant governor;
               (6)  a person appointed by and representing the
  governor; and
               (7)  individuals selected under Subsection (b).
         (b)  The members of the committee who serve under Subsections
  (a)(1) through (6) [(3)] shall select the following additional
  committee members:
               (1)  a criminal prosecutor involved in prosecuting
  crimes against children;
               (2)  a sheriff;
               (3)  a justice of the peace;
               (4)  a medical examiner;
               (5)  a police chief;
               (6)  a pediatrician experienced in diagnosing and
  treating child abuse and neglect;
               (7)  a child educator;
               (8)  a child mental health provider;
               (9)  a public health professional;
               (10)  a child protective services specialist;
               (11)  a sudden infant death syndrome family service
  provider;
               (12)  a neonatologist;
               (13)  a child advocate;
               (14)  a chief juvenile probation officer;
               (15)  a child abuse prevention specialist;
               (16)  a representative of the Department of Public
  Safety;
               (17)  a representative of the Texas Department of
  Transportation;
               (18)  an emergency medical services provider; and
               (19)  a provider of services to, or an advocate for,
  victims of family violence.
         SECTION 6.  Section 264.503, Family Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (d) and (e) and adding Subsection (h) to read
  as follows:
         (d)  The Department of State Health Services shall:
               (1)  recognize the creation and participation of review
  teams;
               (2)  promote and coordinate training to assist the
  review teams in carrying out their duties;
               (3)  assist the committee in developing model protocols
  for:
                     (A)  the reporting and investigating of child
  fatalities for law enforcement agencies, child protective
  services, justices of the peace and medical examiners, and other
  professionals involved in the investigations of child deaths;
                     (B)  the collection of data regarding child
  deaths; and
                     (C)  the operation of the review teams;
               (4)  develop and implement procedures necessary for the
  operation of the committee; [and]
               (5)  develop and make available training for justices
  of the peace and medical examiners regarding inquests in child
  death cases; and
               (6)  promote education of the public regarding the
  incidence and causes of child deaths, the public role in preventing
  child deaths, and specific steps the public can undertake to
  prevent child deaths.
         (e)  In addition to the duties under Subsection (d), the
  Department of State Health Services shall:
               (1)  collect data under this subchapter and coordinate
  the collection of data under this subchapter with other data
  collection activities; [and]
               (2)  perform annual statistical studies of the
  incidence and causes of child fatalities using the data collected
  under this subchapter; and
               (3)  evaluate the available child fatality data and use
  the data to create public health strategies for the prevention of
  child fatalities.
         (h)  Each member of the committee must be a member of the
  child fatality review team in the county where the committee member
  resides unless the committee member is an appointed representative
  of a state agency.
         SECTION 7.  Subchapter F, Chapter 264, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 264.5031 and 264.5032 to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 264.5031.  COLLECTION OF NEAR FATALITY DATA. (a) In
  this section, "near fatality" means a case where a physician has
  certified that a child is in critical or serious condition, and a
  caseworker determines that the child's condition was caused by the
  abuse or neglect of the child.
         (b)  The department shall include near fatality child abuse
  or neglect cases in the child fatality case database, for cases in
  which child abuse or neglect is determined to have been the cause of
  the near fatality. The department must also develop a data
  collection strategy for near fatality child abuse or neglect cases.
         Sec. 264.5032.  REPORT ON CHILD FATALITY AND NEAR FATALITY
  DATA. (a) The department shall produce an aggregated report
  relating to child fatality and near fatality cases resulting from
  child abuse or neglect containing the following information:
               (1)  any prior contact the department had with the
  child's family and the manner in which the case was disposed,
  including cases in which the department made the following
  dispositions:
                     (A)  priority none or administrative closure;
                     (B)  call screened out;
                     (C)  alternative or differential response
  provided;
                     (D)  unable to complete the investigation;
                     (E)  unable to determine whether abuse or neglect
  occurred;
                     (F)  reason to believe abuse or neglect occurred;
  or
                     (G)  child removed and placed into substitute
  care;
               (2)  for any case investigated by the department
  involving the child or the child's family:
                     (A)  the number of caseworkers assigned to the
  case before the fatality or near fatality occurred; and
                     (B)  the caseworker's caseload at the time the
  case was opened and at the time the case was closed;
               (3)  for any case in which the department investigation
  concluded that there was reason to believe that abuse or neglect
  occurred, and the family was referred to family-based safety
  services:
                     (A)  the safety plan provided to the family;
                     (B)  the services offered to the family; and
                     (C)  the level of compliance with the safety plan
  or completion of the services by the family;
               (4)  the number of contacts the department made with
  children and families in family-based safety services cases; and
               (5)  the initial and attempted contacts the department
  made with child abuse and neglect victims.
         (b)  In preparing the part of the report required by
  Subsection (a)(1), the department shall include information
  contained in department records retained in accordance with the
  department's records retention schedule.
         (c)  The report produced under this section must protect the
  identity of individuals involved in a case that is included in the
  report.
         (d)  The department may combine the report required under
  this section with the annual child fatality report required to be
  produced under Section 261.204.
         SECTION 8.  Sections 264.505(a) and (c), Family Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A multidisciplinary and multiagency child fatality
  review team may be established for a county to review child deaths
  in that county. A [review team for a] county [with a population of
  less than 50,000] may join with an adjacent county or counties to
  establish a combined review team.
         (c)  A review team must reflect the diversity of the county's
  population and may include:
               (1)  a criminal prosecutor involved in prosecuting
  crimes against children;
               (2)  a sheriff;
               (3)  a justice of the peace or medical examiner;
               (4)  a police chief;
               (5)  a pediatrician experienced in diagnosing and
  treating child abuse and neglect;
               (6)  a child educator;
               (7)  a child mental health provider;
               (8)  a public health professional;
               (9)  a child protective services specialist;
               (10)  a sudden infant death syndrome family service
  provider;
               (11)  a neonatologist;
               (12)  a child advocate;
               (13)  a chief juvenile probation officer; and
               (14)  a child abuse prevention specialist.
         SECTION 9.  Section 264.506(b), Family Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  To achieve its purpose, a review team shall:
               (1)  adapt and implement, according to local needs and
  resources, the model protocols developed by the department and the
  committee;
               (2)  meet on a regular basis to review child fatality
  cases and recommend methods to improve coordination of services and
  investigations between agencies that are represented on the team;
               (3)  collect and maintain data as required by the
  committee; [and]
               (4)  review and analyze the collected data to identify
  any demographic trends in child fatality cases, including whether
  there is a disproportionate number of child fatalities in a
  particular population group or geographic area; and
               (5)  submit to the vital statistics unit data reports
  on deaths reviewed as specified by the committee.
         SECTION 10.  Section 264.509, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  The Department of State Health Services shall provide
  a review team with electronic access to the preliminary death
  certificate for a deceased child.
         SECTION 11.  (a) Section 264.514, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (a-1) and amending Subsection (b) to read as
  follows:
         (a-1)  The commissioners court of a county shall adopt
  regulations relating to the timeliness for conducting an inquest
  into the death of a child. The regulations adopted under this
  subsection must be as stringent as the standards issued by the
  National Association of Medical Examiners unless the commissioners
  court determines that it would be cost prohibitive for the county to
  comply with those standards.
         (b)  The medical examiner or justice of the peace shall
  immediately notify an appropriate local law enforcement agency if
  the medical examiner or justice of the peace determines that the
  death is unexpected or the result of abuse or neglect, and that
  agency shall investigate the child's death. The medical examiner or
  justice of the peace shall notify the appropriate county child
  fatality review team of the child's death not later than the 120th
  day after the date the death is reported.
         (b)  A county must attempt to implement the timeliness
  standards for inquests as described by Section 264.514(a-1), Family
  Code, as added by this Act, as soon as possible after the effective
  date of this Act.
         SECTION 12.  Section 264.903, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
         (a-1)  The department shall expedite the evaluation of a
  potential caregiver under this section to ensure that the child is
  placed with a caregiver who has the ability to protect the child
  from the alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect against the child.
         SECTION 13.  Section 265.005(b), Family Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  A strategic plan required under this section must:
               (1)  identify methods to leverage other sources of
  funding or provide support for existing community-based prevention
  efforts;
               (2)  include a needs assessment that identifies
  programs to best target the needs of the highest risk populations
  and geographic areas;
               (3)  identify the goals and priorities for the
  department's overall prevention efforts;
               (4)  report the results of previous prevention efforts
  using available information in the plan;
               (5)  identify additional methods of measuring program
  effectiveness and results or outcomes;
               (6)  identify methods to collaborate with other state
  agencies on prevention efforts; [and]
               (7)  identify specific strategies to implement the plan
  and to develop measures for reporting on the overall progress
  toward the plan's goals; and
               (8)  identify strategies and goals for increasing the
  number of families receiving prevention and early intervention
  services each year, subject to the availability of funds, to reach
  targets set by the department for providing services to families
  that are eligible to receive services through parental education,
  family support, and community-based programs financed with
  federal, state, local, or private resources.
         SECTION 14.  Subchapter A, Chapter 265, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 265.007 and 265.008 to read as follows:
         Sec. 265.007.  IMPROVING PROVISION OF PREVENTION AND EARLY
  INTERVENTION SERVICES. (a)  To improve the effectiveness and
  delivery of prevention and early intervention services, the
  department shall:
               (1)  identify geographic areas that have a high need
  for prevention and early intervention services but do not have
  prevention and early intervention services available in the area or
  have only unevaluated prevention and early intervention services
  available in the area; and
               (2)  develop strategies for community partners to:
                     (A)  improve the early recognition of child abuse
  or neglect;
                     (B)  improve the reporting of child abuse and
  neglect; and
                     (C)  reduce child fatalities.
         (b)  The department may not use data gathered under this
  section to identify a specific family or individual.
         Sec. 265.008.  EVALUATION OF PREVENTION AND EARLY
  INTERVENTION SERVICES. (a)  The department may enter into
  agreements with institutions of higher education to conduct
  efficacy reviews of any prevention and early intervention services
  provided under this chapter that have not previously been evaluated
  for effectiveness in a research evaluation.  The efficacy review
  shall include, when possible, a cost-benefit analysis of the
  program to the state and, when applicable, the return on investment
  of the program to the state.
         (b)  The department may not enter into an agreement to
  conduct a program efficacy evaluation under this section unless:
               (1)  the agreement with the institution of higher
  education is cost neutral; and
               (2)  the department and institution of higher education
  conducting the evaluation under this section protect the identity
  of individuals who are receiving services from the department that
  are being evaluated.
         SECTION 15.  Subchapter B, Chapter 40, Human Resources Code,
  is amended by adding Section 40.038 to read as follows:
         Sec. 40.038.  SECONDARY TRAUMA SUPPORT FOR CASEWORKERS. (a)  
  In this section, "secondary trauma" means trauma incurred as a
  consequence of a person's exposure to acute or chronic trauma.
         (b)  The department shall develop and make available a
  program to provide ongoing support to caseworkers who experience
  secondary trauma resulting from exposure to trauma in the course of
  the caseworker's employment. The program must include critical
  incident stress debriefing. The department may not require that a
  caseworker participate in the program.
         SECTION 16.  Subchapter C, Chapter 40, Human Resources Code,
  is amended by adding Section 40.0516 to read as follows:
         Sec. 40.0516.  COLLECTION OF DATA; ANNUAL REPORT. (a)  The
  department shall collect and compile the following data on the
  state and county level:
               (1)  the following information for reports of abuse and
  neglect in residential child-care facilities, as defined by Section
  42.002:
                     (A)  the number of reports of abuse and neglect
  made to the department hotline;
                     (B)  the types of abuse and neglect reported;
                     (C)  the investigation priority level assigned to
  each report;
                     (D)  the investigation response times, sorted by
  investigation priority;
                     (E)  the disposition of each investigation;
                     (F)  the number of reports of abuse and neglect to
  which the department assigned a disposition of call screened out or
  alternative or differential response provided; and
                     (G)  the overall safety and risk finding for each
  investigation;
               (2)  the number of families referred to family
  preservation services, organized by the risk level assigned to each
  family through structured decision-making;
               (3)  the number of children removed from the child's
  home as the result of an investigation of a report of abuse or
  neglect and the primary circumstances that contributed to the
  removal;
               (4)  the number of children placed in substitute care,
  organized by type of placement;
               (5)  the number of children placed out of the child's
  home county or region;
               (6)  the number of children in the conservatorship of
  the department at each service level;
               (7)  the number of children in the conservatorship of
  the department who are pregnant or who are a parent; 
               (8)  the number of children in the managing
  conservatorship of the department who are the parent of a child who
  is also in the managing conservatorship of the department;
               (9)  the recurrence of child abuse or neglect in a
  household in which the department investigated a report of abuse or
  neglect within six months and one year of the date the case was
  closed separated by the following type of case:
                     (A)  cases that were administratively closed
  without further action;
                     (B)  cases in which the child was removed and
  placed in the managing conservatorship of the department; and
                     (C)  cases in which the department provided family
  preservation services;
               (10)  the recurrence of child abuse and neglect in a
  household within five years of the date the case was closed for
  cases described by Subdivisions (9)(B) and (C); and
               (11)  workforce turnover data for child protective
  services employees, including the average tenure of caseworkers and
  supervisors and the average salary of caseworkers and supervisors.
         (b)  Not later than February 1 of each year, the department
  shall publish a report containing data collected under this
  section.  The report must include the statewide data and the data
  reported by county.
         SECTION 17.  Subchapter C, Chapter 40, Human Resources Code,
  is amended by adding Section 40.0529 to read as follows:
         Sec. 40.0529.  CASELOAD MANAGEMENT. (a)  Subject to a
  specific appropriation for that purpose, the department shall
  develop and implement a caseload management system for child
  protective services caseworkers and managers that:
               (1)  ensures equity in the distribution of workload,
  based on the complexity of each case;
               (2)  calculates caseloads based on the number of
  individual caseworkers who are available to handle cases;
               (3)  includes geographic case assignment in areas with
  concentrated high risk populations, to ensure that an adequate
  number of caseworkers and managers with expertise and specialized
  training are available;
               (4)  includes a plan to deploy master investigators in
  anticipation of emergency shortages of personnel; and
               (5)  anticipates vacancies in caseworker positions in
  areas of the state with high caseworker turnover to ensure the
  timely hiring of new caseworkers in those areas.
         (b)  In calculating the caseworker caseload under Subsection
  (a)(2), the department shall consider at least the following:
               (1)  caseworkers who are on extended leave;
               (2)  caseworkers who worked hours beyond a normal work
  week; and
               (3)  caseworkers who are on a reduced workload.
         SECTION 18.  Subchapter C, Chapter 40, Human Resources Code,
  is amended by adding Section 40.078 to read as follows:
         Sec. 40.078.  PREVENTION TASK FORCE. (a)  In this section,
  "task force" means the Prevention Task Force.
         (b)  The commissioner shall establish the Prevention Task
  Force to make recommendations to the department for changes to law,
  policy, and practices regarding:
               (1)  the prevention of child abuse and neglect;
               (2)  the implementation of the changes in law made by
  H.B. 1549, Acts of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017; and
               (3)  the implementation of the department's five-year
  strategic plan for prevention and early intervention services
  developed under Section 265.005, Family Code.
         (c)  The commissioner shall determine the number of members
  on the task force and shall appoint members to the task force
  accordingly. Members of the task force may include:
               (1)  a chair of a child fatality review team committee;
               (2)  a pediatrician;
               (3)  a judge;
               (4)  representatives of relevant state agencies;
               (5)  prosecutors who specialize in child abuse and
  neglect;
               (6)  medical examiners;
               (7)  representatives of service providers to the
  department; and
               (8)  policy experts in child abuse and neglect
  prevention, community advocacy, or related fields.
         (d)  The commissioner shall select the chair of the task
  force.
         (e)  The task force shall meet at times and locations as
  determined by the chair of the task force.
         (f)  A vacancy on the task force shall be filled in the same
  manner as the original appointment.
         (g)  A member of the task force is not entitled to
  compensation or reimbursement of expenses incurred in performing
  duties related to the task force.
         (h)  The department shall provide reasonably necessary
  administrative and technical support to the task force.
         (i)  The department may accept on behalf of the task force a
  gift, grant, or donation from any source to carry out the purposes
  of the task force.
         (j)  Chapter 2110, Government Code, does not apply to the
  task force.
         (k)  Not later than August 31, 2018, the task force shall
  submit a report to the commissioner. The report must include:
               (1)  a description of the activities of the task force;
  and
               (2)  the findings and recommendations of the task
  force. 
         (l)  The task force is abolished and this section expires
  August 31, 2019. 
         SECTION 19.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act, the commissioner of the Department of Family and
  Protective Services shall appoint members to the Prevention Task
  Force created by this Act under Section 40.078, Human Resources
  Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 20.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1549 was passed by the House on May 6,
  2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 142, Nays 1, 2 present, not
  voting; that the House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
  H.B. No. 1549 on May 25, 2017, and requested the appointment of a
  conference committee to consider the differences between the two
  houses; and that the House adopted the conference committee report
  on H.B. No. 1549 on May 28, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 141
  ,
  Nays 1, 2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1549 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 23, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0; at the request of the House, the Senate appointed a conference
  committee to consider the differences between the two houses; and
  that the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.B. No.
  1549 on May 28, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor