STATE AGENCIES UNDERGO SUNSET REVIEW PROCESS – TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES
Last week, I wrote about the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities Services undergoing the sunset review process. The Texas Legislature established the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission in 1977.As a reminder, this is the process in which the state has to identify and eliminate government waste, duplication and general inefficiencies in state agencies, The sunset review process is designed to review each of these agencies every twelve years. This review is done by taking up a certain number of the state agencies each time the Texas Legislature convenes. In this week’s article, we are going to review the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is an agency that is responsible for the protection of children, persons with disabilities and the elderly. DFPS is more involved in life and death related decisions affecting Texans than virtually any other state agency, with the exception of law enforcement organizations. The department’s Child Protective Services division or (CPS) is probably the most well-known and visible programs that operate within this state agency. The CPS case workers operate in a high pressure environment that seeks to ensure the safety of children. Today, the agency is a sub-agency of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Additionally, the day to day operations of the agency are overseen by the commissioner, who oversees the staff of the Department of Family and Protective Services and implements the duties and responsibilities of the agency.
According to a publication submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in June of 2014, the Department is working to establish a more streamlined mechanism for planning, communication, and management of its employees. By doing this, they feel that they will be more able to manage the agency and also be better equipped to withstand the public’s perspective and opinion of the duties of the agency. Currently, the DFPS seems to lack the necessary tools and processes in place to act as efficiently as they could as an agency. It is their intent to find better ways of implementing their duties and responsibilities as an agency moving forward.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and their Child Protective Services division are tasked with many cases, which include child abuse and/or neglect. These types of unfortunate cases will often times be a symptom of a much larger and substantial issue that has no real easy answers or quick fixes. In addition to that, the agency has a fairly high turnover for its case workers, which subsequently creates an experience gap within the institution. Currently, some of the struggles that the agency faces are high workloads, low pay, and very challenging and stressful work environments. Some of the focus recently during this sunset review process, has been to identify ways of having an effective management structure, which can be more efficient in its roles and responsibilities. Creating these new tools and processes should help to try and identify ways to help the caseworkers retention within CPS.
If you are interested in learning more visit the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Some of the other agencies we will review in the upcoming weeks include the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the Texas Education Agency, University Interscholastic League, as well as a number of other agencies. If you would like to learn more visit the Sunset Advisory Commission.
If you have any questions regarding the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or the sunset review process, please don’t hesitate to contact either my Capitol or District office. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 512-463-0672.