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CPS_IconWorking with CPS

Domestic violence is a well-documented risk factor for child abuse, leaving an increasing number of survivors involved in the child welfare system. In order to effectively advocate within this system, advocates must be equipped with the knowledge, resources, and tools to navigate the complex issues presented within this intersection. To help survivors secure the best outcome for their family, it’s crucial they be supported as protective parents and viewed as instrumental in helping promote resiliency in their children. TCFV is dedicated to providing this knowledge base and tools to advocates working with survivors involved with the child welfare system.  

Quick Resources

Survivors Rights Cards – These resource rights cards provide information for advocates and survivors about the rights and responsibilities of parents who are survivors of family violence in the CPS system. Download the card in English and in Spanish.

434 Task Force Report on the Relationship between Domestic Violence and Child Abuse and Neglect – In 2011-2012, the S.B. 434 Task Force on the Relationship between Domestic Violence and Child Abuse and Neglect, a legislatively mandated task force comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, reached consensus on recommendations for CPS, Family Violence Programs and other systems working with survivors in the CPS system. The task force report details these recommendations which are currently being implemented within CPS, family violence programs and various systems.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DFPS and HHSC-funded Family Violence Centers – In 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and HHSC-funded Family Violence centers was updated and signed by all HHSC-funded programs and DFPS leadership. This MOU details expectations of how CPS, APS and HHSC-funded family violence centers on issues such as: reporting/referrals, confidentiality limits, cross training, liaison systems, and conflict resolution. The MOUs from 2012 are still valid and will remain so until an update or revision is issued.

MOU Guidance Document – In 2012, HHSC, TCFV, and DFPS agreed upon this guidance document which provides an interpretation and best practices to CPS, APS and HHSC-funded family violence centers on how to implement the MOU in local communities.

Greenbook Initiative – This publication assists child welfare, domestic violence service providers and family courts in working together to serve families experiencing violence.

Working with CPS

DFPS Liaisons

Every HHSC-funded family violence center has a liaison who is the link between their program and CPS/APS and has the role of clarifying confidentiality limits, arranging cross-trainings and problem solving when issues arise. To find your Program’s CPS liaison contact TCFV’s Policy Department at 1-800-525-1978.

The Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and HHSC-funded Family Violence centers details expectations of the liaison system and conflict resolution. The MOUs from 2012 are still valid and will remain so until an update or revision is issued.

Download the MOU template: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DFPS and HHSC-funded Family Violence Centers.

For more information about survivors’ rights in the CPS system, view the Survivors Rights cards in English and Spanish.

Advocating within CPS

Domestic Violence and Shelters: What Happens to my Child? – HHSC and CPS have created a brochure for survivors of family violence who are in shelter and are involved in CPS.

CPS Policy Handbook Online – The CPS Handbook contains the policies and procedures that CPS workers must follow through all the phases of a CPS case.

Administrative Review of an Investigative Finding (ARIF) – CPS must give parents a letter explaining their final decision and whether parents have been given a finding as a perpetrator of child abuse and neglect. If a parent does not agree with CPS’ decision, they can ask for an ARIF within 45 days of getting the finding letter. For more information about an ARIF see TAC Rule 700.516.

Protective Capacity

Resources for Supporting Survivors’ Protective Capacity

Research has shown that developing the quality of a child’s relationship with the non-battering parent is the single most important factor in a child’s emotional recovery from exposure to domestic violence.1 Family violence advocates play a vital role in helping survivors identify their strengths, protective actions and fostering a healthy parent child relationship.

Safety Planning when Children are Involved explores safety planning options including: Planning for Violence in the Home; Planning for Unsupervised Visits; Planning for Safe Custody Exchanges; Safety Planning While Pregnant.

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health provides training and resources for advocates supporting children, parents, and caregivers impacted by domestic violence.

K.I.S.S. (A Kid Is So Special) -12-week child focused curriculum developed to strengthen the Mother-Child Bond by recognizing the impact domestic violence has on children.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s  Domestic Violence Collaborative Group has created a  series of fact sheets to help parents understand how children may react to domestic violence and how to best help them feel safe and valued and develop personal strength.

Amazing brain series and booklets – brief and accessible information about how trauma affects children’s brains and how parents and others can help. 

The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) has several webinars on the intersection on domestic violence and child protection and a grid that outlines survivor protective actions.

Child Welfare Information Gateway – Resources for building parental resiliency.

 1Bancroft L, Silberman J., The Batterer as Parent. 2002 Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.

Building Resiliency

Building Resiliency in Children Exposed to Family Violence

Tips for advocates working with children exposed to domestic violence and what you can do to support them and the survivor parent.

Honor Our Voices – an online learning module that provides the opportunity to see domestic violence through the eyes and voices of children. This website also has a practice guide for advocates when responding to children exposed to domestic violence.

National Center Traumatic Stress Network – resources on  how the trauma of domestic violence affects children and how advocates can provide intervention: