How We're Transforming The System

We aim to transform the Texas child welfare system by providing support to many types of people involved in foster care. In this section, meet a family and the caregivers and professionals who work with them. Learn how TXPOP provides the support and tools they need to help children thrive and achieve positive permanency outcomes.

Let's explore a family currently involved in the system. You'll meet Adam, his siblings, and their mom, along with Adam's extended family and the professionals and caregivers working with them. In this Genogram, you can see who everyone is and how they relate to each other. Continue to click and scroll through this page to learn more about each person and how TXPOP helps them support Adam as he and his siblings reach a positive permanency outcome.

Please note: This is not a real case. We developed this case study based on several different cases.

Meet Adam

Meet Adam, a child involved in the system - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
Child in the system

Meet Adam, age 4. Adam and his three siblings, Alisha (7), Aaron (8), and Anthony (10), were placed in foster care after a neighbor reported to the police that Adam’s mom, Rose, left her children alone at night so she could use drugs. The person who reported to the police stated that she saw Adam wandering around the apartment parking lot and that she had previously seen Rose interacting with drug dealers. CPS was called and learned that Adam was looking for his mother while his siblings were asleep in the apartment. Rose could not be located, so the CPS investigator removed the children and placed them with Marion and Jack, caregivers whose home was verified by a local child placing agency. The case was eventually transferred to Jennifer, the Department of Children and Families conservatorship worker, and Leti, the child placing agency case manager. Jennifer and Leti have been working together to support Rose and her children. Their goal is to build enough safety for the children with Rose and her network of family and friends so the children can return home. 

 

In order to achieve this goal for the children, Jennifer and Leti understand that Rose needs to maintain a parental role with her children while they are in foster care. Jennifer and Leti also know that Rose can’t be expected to go it alone; she needs a strong network of people who will support her, hold her accountable, and help her keep the children safe in the long term.  

 

Rose told Leti and Jennifer that her parents and twin sister have always been very supportive and close to the children. She was open to adding them to her support network. Adam and his siblings told Leti that in the past they spent a lot of time with their dad and paternal grandparents. Rose was resistant to involving these family members at first, but once she understood how important they were to her children, she agreed to let Jennifer and Leti reach out to them. 

 

Marion and Jack also believe that the children should have frequent contact with their mother and other members of their family while they are in foster care.  To that end, Marion and Jack have worked to build a good partnership with Rose and her support network. 

Instead of excluding Adam from conversations and decision making, TXPOP provides a model in which Adam’s family, caregivers, case workers, case managers, and judges learn how to engage him. The TXPOP Practice Model includes tools like the Words and Pictures Explanation, which helped Adam understand it wasn’t his fault that he and his siblings were placed in foster care. This process reduces confusion and self-blame by providing children with age-appropriate information about their case. The TXPOP Practice Model also has built-in opportunities to elevate children’s voices in decision-making processes. Through the TXPOP model’s Three Houses tool, Adam was able to tell his case manager about his concerns, share what he loves about his family, and talk about what he would like to happen with his parents.

Jennifer, Adam’s case worker at the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), is eligible to sign up for the free Child Welfare Academy, which offers two certificate options for professionals working in child welfare. In the certificate courses, Jennifer can learn applicable skills for engaging Adam and his family. She’ll also be able to place Adam’s family history into context by learning more about how multigenerational trauma, structural inequality, and racism affect the lives of Adam and his family.

Leti, Adam’s case manager from the child placing agency, is being trained in the TXPOP Practice Model for Practitioners, while her supervisor Mary is receiving training in the Practice Model for Supervisors and Leaders.

Adam’s judge, Sandra, also has the opportunity to attend family engagement training and receive guidance through various resources provided on the TXPOP website.

Adam’s caregivers, Marion and Jack, are learning how to keep in contact with and engage Rose and her family so that Adam has a complete support network. Marion and Jack will receive training through the TXPOP Practice Model for Caregivers. When Adam started spending weekends at his mom’s house, he used a Transition Object to help him feel less worried and confused about the changes.

Adam’s paternal grandparents, Margaret and Benjamin, were included in Network Meetings and safety planning as soon as they were identified as an important part of Rose’s support network and her children’s lives.

Meet Rose

Meet Rose, a parent with children involved in the system - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
Parent with Children in the system

Rose, age 30, is a single mom of four children, Anthony (10), Aaron (8), Alisha (7), and Adam (4). Mark, who is in his late 20s, is the children's father. He and Rose have had an on-again, off-again relationship for many years and are currently separated. Because of this, he hasn’t been involved in the children’s lives for a while. 

 

Rose has multiple family members that are close to the children, including her twin sister Marie and her divorced parents Sarah and George. Mark’s parents, Margaret and Benjamin, have also been involved in the children’s lives as much as they can be. Mark has two younger siblings, James and Amy, who occasionally help with the children and try to keep in contact with Mark as much as they can. When Adam and his siblings were removed from Rose’s care, they were placed with caregivers Marion and Jack.  

 

The professionals currently involved in Rose’s life are: 

  • Jennifer, the Department of Children and Families conservatorship case worker
  • Leti, the child placing agency case manager, and her supervisor Mary
  • Sandra, the Child Protection Court judge

When Rose was first told her children were being placed in foster care, she didn’t know how much she could ask about the caregivers. Her case worker provided her with Marion and Jack’s Family Introduction, which helped Rose learn about the people who would be caring for her children. Rose, Marion, and Jack started using Family Notes to communicate about the children, which made Rose feel like her thoughts and opinions about her children mattered to the caregivers. During the first meeting with her conservatorship worker Jennifer, Rose created a Genogram of her family and friends and Jennifer emphasized the importance of building a support network. Jennifer also worked with her to arrange a Network Meeting and asked her who she thought would be important to invite and where it should take place. At the network meeting it was explained to Rose that there would be space for her and her family’s voices in the plans created for her and her children.

Rose will be provided with many supports and opportunities because of her involvement in TXPOP. She will receive support from her Department of Family and Protective Services case worker as well as the child placing agency case manager to learn how to build a relationship with her children’s caregivers. She will be encouraged to build and maintain a support network and will be connected with tools to help her do so. She will also be encouraged to continue parenting her children by attending all medical and school appointments, making decisions for her children, and spending as much time as possible with them.  

Meet Jennifer

Meet Jennifer, a DFPS Case Worker - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
DFPS Case Worker

Meet Jennifer, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Conservatorship Case Worker. Jennifer has worked at DFPS for three years. It was her first job out of college. Jennifer likes feeling that she is making a difference in the lives of families and she thinks she is good at her job. She does have a large workload and is always busy. Jennifer is unsure how to feel about TXPOP because in the past she has seen new initiatives start out very popular, take a lot of time to learn, and then not last in the long term. Jennifer is unsure how she will learn the new intervention or how much she will actually use it. She wonders how she will work with the child placing agency case manager to coordinate working with the family and case planning. Jennifer is unsure if judges and attorneys will be made aware of TXPOP or if parent attorneys will even allow their client parents to fully engage in TXPOP.

Leti, the child placing agency case manager, reached out to Jennifer to let her know she is at an agency using the TXPOP Practice Model and that they have a shared case, Rose and her family. Leti invited Jennifer to participate in the TXPOP Practice Model for Practitioners training. Through the training, Jennifer learned about sharing power with families by including them in the day-to-day care of their children. Jennifer also became familiar with many tools and interventions to help caregivers and families work together to keep children connected to their family and build a network to keep them safe. Jennifer then attended a Case Consultation that focused on Rose, her kids, and the caregivers. Jennifer was encouraged to try out one of the TXPOP tools. She decided to use the Chat Box tool during a meeting with Rose and found it very helpful in drawing out strengths and worries. The next time Jennifer met with Rose, she decided to create a Genogram. Rose told Jennifer about how involved the paternal grandparents, Margaret and Benjamin, were in the children’s lives, something Jennifer had not heard before. Leti and Jennifer then planned a Network Meeting. At the meeting, Jennifer met Margaret and Benjamin and Rose’s parents and sister for the first time. Jennifer was surprised and excited to see how supportive they all were of Rose and the children. 

Through TXPOP, Jennifer also has access to the Child Welfare Academy, which provides skills-based training that infuses social work principles into child welfare practice. All training participants will take Foundation Courses that cover strategies to increase family engagement, assist families with multigenerational trauma, bring awareness to social justice issues in child welfare, increase knowledge on child development, and apply an anti-racist approach to their practice. Additionally, two certificate tracks will be provided to deepen their work with families.

Jennifer can seek further training through the Social Work Certificate in Child Protection Services. This certificate equips DFPS workers with the tools needed to ensure they are partnering with families, gathering rigorous and balanced information, building supportive child and family networks, and producing effective and sustainable plans with input from families.

As a Department of Family and Protective Services Case Worker in a region that is implementing TXPOP, there are many supports available to Jennifer:  

  •  Training on the TXPOP Practice Model and approach from a TXPOP expert.
  • Ongoing support, case consultation, coaching, and frequent interaction from the child placing agency case manager counterpart. 
  • The TXPOP Practice Model Manual (coming soon!), which outlines the TXPOP approach and provides in-depth explanations of the practice tools.
  • Private online learning community and knowledge bank.
  • Access to the Child Welfare Academy certificate programs and courses.
  • Connections to other case workers practicing the TXPOP approach.

Meet Marion & Jack

Meet Marion & Jack, Foster Caregivers - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
Foster Caregivers to the Children

Meet the caregivers, Marion and Jack. Marion and Jack were so excited to become caregivers. They enjoyed participating in the caregiver training and meeting other caregivers. They felt they could love and care for children in need, but the day they got the call from their case manager Leti it had been such a crazy week. Marion’s mother wasn't feeling well so Marion had been taking her to medical appointments and checking in on her every day. Jack was putting in a lot of overtime. Their washing machine broke. Marion was watching her neighbor’s children when Leti called to ask if she and Jack were open to an emergency placement of four children. Marion wondered if their first-ever placement should be four children, but she didn’t want siblings to be separated. Marion and Jack knew there was no perfect time, so they said yes.

During the licensing process, Marion and Jack worked with Leti to create a Family Introduction. It was shared with Rose and Anthony, Aaron, Alisha, and Adam before they came to stay with Marion and Jack, easing the difficult transition for everyone. Marion and Jack were apprehensive about engaging with the children’s family, so they started communicating through Family Notes, which felt like the right place to begin. Marion and Jack were invited to attend Network Meetings. They liked going to the meetings because it helped them understand the perspectives of everyone involved, including Rose, her family and support network, Department of Family and Protective Services staff, and judges. It also kept them involved in the case planning and made them feel like their thoughts and opinions mattered.

When Adam and Alisha started asking them why they had to stop living with their mom, Jack and Marion didn’t know what to say. Leti helped them use the Words & Pictures Explanation with the children to answer their questions. Marion and Jack liked all of the tools Leti used to understand the children's thoughts and feelings and address their worries and fears, including the Three Houses, Transition Object, and Safety House.  

As caregivers in an agency that is implementing TXPOP, there are many supports available to Marion and Jack:

  • Training on the TXPOP Practice Model and approach from a TXPOP expert
  • Ongoing support and frequent interaction from their child placing agency case manager to help them build working relationships with Rose, her family, and everyone in the support network. 
  • More involvement with the whole family, Department of Family and Protective Services staff, judges, case planning, family meetings, and court hearings. 
  • The TXPOP Caregiver Practice Model Manual, which outlines the TXPOP approach, explains the caregiver-specific tools in depth, and describes helpful techniques to build rapport and trust with families.
  • Tools designed specifically for caregivers, including the Family Introduction, Network Circles, Personal Support Plan, Caregiver Rigorous Plan, and Future House
  • Connections to other caregivers practicing the TXPOP approach.

Meet Judge Sandra

Meet Judge Sandra, a Child Protection Court Judge - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
Child Protection Court Judge in Texas

Meet Judge Sandra, the Child Protection Court judge. Judge Sandra was elected two years ago after running a family law practice for over 20 years. She decided to run for office because of her personal and professional commitment to help families. She first learned about TXPOP when she was asked to participate in the Local Advisory Group. During the Local Advisory Group meetings she learned that TXPOP is a new way of working with families that puts children’s input at the center of decision making, builds partnerships between families and caregivers, and creates a safety and support network around the children and their families. Last week she received a notice that her new family, Rose and her children, are involved in the project.

Judge Sandra received a Notice to the Court that explained that she can expect increased involvement of her families in the day-to-day lives of their children, which she also believes is vitally important. The notice also let her know the caregivers, family, extended family, friends, and other support network members may attend court hearings. Network Meetings were explained and a list of questions she could ask were provided. Judge Sandra also attends Quarterly TXPOP Judges Convenings to learn and network with other judges around the state who are involved with TXPOP.  

Judges in a Child Protection Court that have a family involved in TXPOP will be supported in a variety of ways: 

  • Training and support at Quarterly TXPOP Judges Convenings that provide education on youth outcomes research, overviews of TXPOP processes, and peer models that illustrate judges who have successfully implemented the model. 
  • A Notice to the Court that demonstrates the TXPOP process and provides a decision tree for how judicial rulings affect children.
  • TXPOP promotional materials that are geared towards judges and the legal community in general.

Meet Leti

Meet Leti, CPA Case Manager - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
Case Manager at Child Placing Agency

Meet Leti, a case manager who works for a child placing agency. Leti has served as a case manager for four years. She previously worked in an after-school program at a church school. Leti feels called to help children heal from trauma, abuse, and neglect, which is why she enjoys her job as a case manager.

Leti has noticed that many of the children she works with lack a connection to their extended family and that the caregivers she works with are often overwhelmed. Recently, the agency that Leti works for adopted a new practice model called TXPOP. Leti has been using the practices from this new approach with Marion and Jack, two caregivers on her caseload, and the children placed in their home. Although Leti is eager to apply the new practice model with her other families, she does have some concerns about working in this new way. Leti worries that she lacks experience working with children’s families. She is also concerned that she won’t get the information she needs from the CPS case worker—she knows they are busy and can be hard to track down. 

Leti is excited about trying a new process if it means that the children she works with will have more of a connection with their parents and extended family. Typically, caregivers and child placing agency workers don’t have any contact with families. However, in the TXPOP Practice Model everyone works together to build support networks and keep children connected to their families. Leti had the opportunity to participate in the full TXPOP Practice Model for Practitioners training. In the training, she learned how to share power with families by including them in decisions about the day-to-day care of their child. Leti also received training on a variety of tools—such as the Three Houses and the Future Housewhich will help her elicit Adam’s perspective and include him and his siblings in the decision making process. Leti especially likes the tools that help children understand why they are in care and what is happening in their case, such as the Words and Pictures Explanation and the Words and Pictures Plan

Many of the tools—such as Network Circles, Network Finding Matrix, Network Meetings, and Family Safety Circlesfocus on helping Rose, Marion, and Jack build their support networks so that the children are cared for and kept safe both now and in the future. Leti has appreciated having concrete practices that help her connect with the family.

In addition to training, TXPOP will provide ongoing case consultation, coaching, and opportunities for practice reflection throughout the project. Leti has already had the opportunity to attend a case consultation that focused on Rose and her kids. She also used the online learning community to connect with other practitioners trying out the practice model. The TXPOP team will provide Leti with guidance and support every step of the way. 

Leti will also have access to the Child Welfare Academy, which provides skill-based training that infuses social work principles into child welfare practice. All students will take Foundation Courses that will provide skill-based training and strategies to increase family engagement, assist families with multigenerational trauma, bring awareness to social justice issues in child welfare, increase knowledge on child development, and apply an anti-racist approach to their practice. Additionally, two certificate tracks will be provided to deepen their work with families.

For Leti, the Social Work Certificate in Child Welfare Services will provide further knowledge and critical thinking on trauma and its impact on developmental processes, attachment, and relationships. She will be able to take this knowledge and build trust, rapport, and empathy with Rose and her family as they navigate the child welfare system.

As a case manager in an agency that is implementing TXPOP, there are many supports available to Leti: 

  • The TXPOP Practice Model includes manuals, practice guides, case examples, templates for tools, and training videos.
  • Training and support from a TXPOP program specialist.
  • The Child Welfare Academy online learning community and knowledge bank.
  • Connections to other case managers practicing the TXPOP approach. 

Meet Mary

Meet Mary, CPA Supervisor and Manager - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
Child Placing Agency Director

Meet Mary, a manager at a child placing agency that is implementing TXPOP. Mary supervises a team of case managers working directly with foster caregivers, including Leti. Mary has been a supervisor for several years now, but previously worked directly with caregivers. Mary enjoys being able to make decisions in her agency about how to work with children and families. Mary is enthusiastic about supporting her team as they learn TXPOP practices and work with children and caregivers. Mary has supervised Leti as she implements the TXPOP approach in Adam's case. 

The TXPOP Practice Model includes special training and support for leaders and supervisors. Mary and the other managers in her agency attended the supervisors and leaders training. Mary learned how to practice authentic leadership and adapt the practice model tools while supervising her staff. One of the tools Mary can use in supervision is the Chat Box, which will help Mary have balanced conversations with her staff. Mary feels confident in providing support to Leti and enjoys hearing how she incorporates the practices with the caregivers Marion and Jack. One practice they discussed in supervision was the Three Houses, which helped Leti hear the children’s perspectives on their placement.

 

One of Mary’s responsibilities as a leader is explaining to her team what TXPOP is and how the agency will be involved on an ongoing basis. Mary has talked with her team about their role in engaging families and the Department of Family and Protective Services. The extra training and preparation has provided Mary with the information she needs to lead conversations with her staff and gain skills in building and supporting a learning environment in her agency.

As a leader in an agency that is implementing TXPOP, there are many supports available to Mary: 

    • Training on the TXPOP Practice Model and approach from a TXPOP expert.
    • Specific trainings and materials for supervisors and leaders.
    • A Supervisors and Leaders manual.
    • Private online learning community and knowledge bank. 
    • Connections to other supervisors and leaders practicing the TXPOP approach. 

Meet Margaret & Benjamin

Meet Margaret & Benjamin, Kinship Caregivers - For the TXPOP Child Welfare Academy
KInship Caregivers

Meet kinship caregivers Margaret and Benjamin, who are Mark’s parents and Adam's grandparents. Margaret and Benjamin have three children: Mark (29), James (28), and Amy (26). They love their children and try to support them in any way they can. 

They know their son Mark was young when he met Rose and they became parents. Margaret and Benjamin have always loved Rose and Mark’s kids, Anthony, Aaron, Alisha, and Adam. They have tried to stay in the children’s lives no matter what was going on between Rose and Mark, but this hasn’t always been easy. The last few times they saw Rose and the kids, they were worried that the kids weren't being taken care of because Rose seemed to be struggling, but they didn’t know what to do. They wanted to stay on good terms with Rose so they could stay in the children’s lives. They were sad for Rose when they heard the children were removed and were angry at Mark for not being there when the kids needed him.

Margaret and Benjamin believe in supporting their family no matter what, so they were happy to attend Network Meetings when asked to by Leti and Jennifer. The Network Meetings helped them stay connected to Rose and the children. Margaret and Benjamin requested to be written into the Rigorous Plan to show Rose their commitment to her and the children’s safety. They believe children should stay with family, so they decided to become kinship caregivers.

Once the children came to live with them, Rose didn’t manage the change in the family dynamic very well. Leti met with Margaret, Benjamin, Rose, and Mark, and together they created a Future House that helped them all develop a shared vision for their family. They also started using Family Notes to communicate with Rose about the children, which helped minimize misunderstandings and ensure they were all on the same page with caring for the children. Margaret and Benjamin were also worried about the changes the children were dealing with, so Leti explained the Transition Object, which they found helpful for the youngest two children when transitioning between their house and Rose’s house for visits.

As caregivers in an agency that is implementing TXPOP, there are many supports available to Margaret and Benjamin:

  • Training on the TXPOP Practice Model and approach from a TXPOP expert
  • Ongoing support and frequent interaction from their child placing agency case manager helping them learn to build working relationships with Rose, her family, Mark, and everyone in the network. 
  • More involvement with the whole family, Department of Family and Protective Services staff, judges, case planning, family meetings, and court hearings. 
  • The TXPOP Caregiver Practice Model Manual outlines the TXPOP approach, explains the Caregiver specific tools in depth, and describes helpful techniques to build rapport and trust with families.
  • Tools designed specifically for caregivers, including Family Introduction, Network Circles, Personal Support Plan, Caregiver Rigorous Plan, and Future House
  • Connection to other caregivers practicing the TXPOP approach.

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