Welcome to the Texas State Plan!
This plan entitled, Access to Safety, Justice, and Opportunity: A Blueprint for Domestic Violence Interventions in Texas, serves as the core guidance document for determining and assessing underserved areas or populations as well as identifying and outlining any unmet needs for survivors of family violence. This Plan also serves as the family violence funding map for the Health and Human Service Commission Family Violence Program (HHSC FVP) and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funds, and contains a detailed inventory of the services available via a network of family violence programs across the state.
A Little Background and History…
In 2002, the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) published the original State Plan in direct coordination with the state agency then administering FVPSA and other family violence funds. Now the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Family Violence Program (HHSC-FVP) administers appropriated family violence center funding. The authors of the State Plan designed it to meet FVPSA requirements as well as new directives in the Texas Human Resource Code to have a “Family Violence Services Plan”; it contained both a qualitative narrative on the need for services as well as detailed charts on the availability of service. In 2007, in close coordination with HHSC, TCFV updated the State Plan, adding new maps and service charts.
The Plan for the Plan
Five years later, in 2012, TCFV embarked again on a process for updating the State Plan taking the opportunity to re-envision the ways in which it assesses and summarizes access. In this iteration, published in 2013, TCFV worked with partners to look at all access points through the eyes of a survivor of family violence and sought to answer questions such as: Where could a survivor access services? How would a survivor know where to go? What additional supports are in place within family violence programs? To answer these questions and apply this survivor-centered focus, TCFV engaged in a collaborative effort with the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin to create and analyze a survey of every dedicated domestic violence program in the state. With a significant investment of time and attention directed at helping family violence respond, TCFV and IDVSA achieved a 100% response rate to the survey instrument; ultimately, this greatly helped in accurately depicting the full breadth of service availability across the state.
Along with a broad focus on survivor access, this version of the State Plan contains new components that will provide each county with a detailed look at their tailored response to, and need for, family violence services. Following the completion of the original 2012-2013 State Plan update, which focused on data from family violence programs, questions remained unanswered about how availability of services correlated to the need and where and how to best target the critical funds aimed to provide interventions that promote the safety of survivors and their children. In order to answer these questions, TCFV again worked with IDVSA to analyze a variety of statistics currently available in Texas on family violence (see Data Elements and Methodology for full descriptions) to better understand the county-level needs for family violence services and the role demographics may play.
Lastly, a key component to a comprehensive state planning process is an analysis of what populations are un-served or underserved. In order to better understand and identify these populations, TCFV conducted an additional qualitative analysis via conducting listening projects with nearly every Executive Director in the state in a small group format. These facilitated roundtable discussions included groups consisting of 8-15 participants in which they discussed the following questions.
1. What specific populations are un-served or underserved
in your area; how was that determined?
2. What program administration/service provision model
enables the most effective services?
On these pages are the cumulative results of these data collection and analysis efforts in the form of a narrative plan and corresponding maps that highlight the need for, and delivery of, family violence services in the State of Texas.
The large size of Texas, which has 254 counties, makes creating a comprehensive plan for access to services for survivors of family violence a challenge. The State Plan findings certainly support this perception. While 66% of Texas counties have a physical access point for survivors, 33% do not. Of those counties with a physical access point, 27% have a shelter and 39% have a physical presence via an outreach office, nonresidential center, or office in a partner location. In those counties without an in-person access point the vast majority offer services by meeting a survivor at an agreed location; however, 7% (19 counties) have either no service at all or no access point past meeting at the county line.
Un-served & Underserved Populations in Texas
As mentioned earlier, a key component to promoting meaningful access to services for all survivors of family violence is an awareness of those communities that may be un-served or underserved. This should be a holistic response in family violence programs that allows any survivor to feel safe and supported; it also should involve targeted outreach efforts to those populations identified via the State Planning process and any applicable community needs assessments.
Through both the in-person qualitative interviews with Executive Directors and follow up questions via the program survey, certain populations emerged as a priority for these targeted outreach efforts. They are:
- Survivors with Limited English Proficiency
- In particular those survivors living in Colonias
- Survivors with Substance Abuse/Mental Illness
- Male Survivors
- Communities of Color
- Rural Areas
- Survivors of Dating or Family Violence
- Child Witnesses to Family Violence
As a state, in order accomplish safe and healthy outcomes, policy makers must make concentrated efforts to promote inclusion of these populations in the planning for, and delivery of, services as well as creating mechanisms that promote access to family violence services in these communities.
Along with surveying where and what services were available, we also sought to examine how programs were working with new partners or leading efforts on emerging issues in the field of family violence, such as response to stalking or participation on domestic violence fatality review teams. For a detailed account of these activities and subsequent findings please look to the accompanying narrative.
Navigating the Maps
Maps represent a core piece of the 2013 State Plan; each tab respectively highlights a significant data point yielded in the statistical analysis conducted by IDVSA. These data points, or themes, in various combinations indicate an increased need in a given county for services to survivors of family violence.
In order to understand and draw conclusions from identified trends, IDVSA collected and created a comparative data pool that represented how the availability of services matched up with where and how family violence programs serve a given county. As a first step, IDVSA worked with TCFV to group like service provisions types together in order to explain service in counties. This process yielded five methods of measuring depth of service options, which the State Plan survey then included:
1) Meeting clients at county line/arranged location
2) Meeting clients at agreed location/partner agency;
3) Outreach office;
4) Nonresidential services; and
Using these measures of organizational presence, in conjunction with appropriate statistical analysis, several unique groups of counties (classes) emerged that helped to explain Texas residents’ county-level access to family violence services These classes (see descriptions below) were used by IDVSA and TCFV to help understand other county level characteristics. The end result identified:
· How markers for need, such as program service statistics, interacted with the types and availability of family violence services.
· A comparison of program services and indicators of need to see if there were demographics or other county characteristics that would highlight that a given county might be at a greater need for family violence services.
Using these classes and other county-level demographics, IDVSA identified county-level characteristics that might indicate an increased need for family violence services. Additionally, the analysis showed there were certain counties that displayed a unique need for targeted responses to family violence.
In order to learn more about these characteristics and unique needs, click through the tabs above for further details.
Click on the image above to read the State Plan Executive Summary
- Class One: Largely intermittent physical service availability
- Class Two: Largely rural areas served by outreach centers
- Class Three: High shelter access
- Class Four: Largely urban/suburban & high presence of physical access via outreach and shelter
- Class Five: (114 counties) Largely rural with intermittent physical service availability
- Class Six: No Services Available
TCFV and IDVSA incorporated the 2010 Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data on the number of arrests for offenses against families and children by public safety agencies within county. The age, sex, and race of victims were not available so separate analyses of incidents for men and women are not possible. Arrests for family violence by county contain the number of arrests made by each participating law enforcement agency within each county. This data on reported family violence crimes was aggregated by county and represents a measure of need for family violence services.
Population density numbers within the maps are based on Census figures of the number of persons per square mile in a given county in 2010, using numbers for both men and women.
A recent Texas-specific study on family violence prevalence was also used to identify the potential need for services by county in Texas. The survey was a random sample of Texas residents that were representative of the state’s population. Because the prevalence data did not contain county identification, the State Plan extrapolated the evidence to the county level using United States Census Bureau data to obtain county level estimates.