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TexProtects Reports

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Understanding ACEs 2022 Update

The research is clear. What happens in early childhood matters and can stretch far beyond the walls of a home for a lifetime. Join us for a virtual discussion about TexProtects’ latest analysis and data regarding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how understanding this evidence is the key to preventing ACEs in the first place.

Español: Comprender ACEs 2022


Four Recommendations to Start Transforming the CPS System

The vision of the Department of Family and Protective Services is to improve the lives of those they serve by achieving their mission of promoting safe and healthy families and protecting children from abuse, neglect and exploitation. In our new report, we look at existing outcome measures defined by federal and state leadership to better understand system performance and make recommendations for improvement to ensure that we keep our eyes on what matters most - getting results for children and families. 

The Economic Cost of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events such as child abuse/neglect or having a caregiver experiencing substance use, mental health issues, family violence, or incarceration. Research has shown that severe and chronic adversity can disrupt a child's neurodevelopment and increase the likelihood of negative health, behavioral, education, and economic outcomes.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Prevalence in Texas, 2018-2019

Research has shown severe and chronic adversity can disrupt a child’s neurodevelopment and increase the likelihood of negative health, behavioral, education, and economic outcomes.The National Survey of Children’s Health, administered by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), offers the most comprehensive data available on the prevalence of ACEs in Texas; however, because their survey is based on parent self-report and does not include questions about child abuse and neglect, even these numbers likely underestimate the actual incidence of ACEs.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Home Visiting Programs in Texas

On March 19, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott’s Emergency Declaration with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Administration of Children and Families immediately changed how we lived our lives. The changes touched everything in our communities, including how home visiting programs provide services to families.


Future Directions for Home Visiting in Texas (with Child Trends)

This report looks to the future of home visiting in Texas. HV programs will be an integral part of a community-focused twenty-first century child welfare system. HV programs provide expectant parents and parents of young children with in-home parenting support, information, and connections to additional services.

Home Visiting Advocacy Toolkit

Tools, tips, and tricks for supporting home visiting through the policymaking process in the Texas Legislature.

Home Visiting in Texas 4.0

The updated landscape of home visiting in Texas as it is today.

Child Abuse and Neglect Risks During COVID-19

Included in this report is a summary of relevant research that points to the ways in which economic recessions, unemployment, increases in family violence, mental health, substance use, and parental stress have been correlated to increases in child abuse and neglect. COVID-19 has added social isolation, lack of access to services, and physical health challenges to the mix of stressors for families.

Family First Prevention Services Act: A Shift in the Right Direction for Families

This report takes a look at the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), legislation that creates a transformational shift in how states can utilize federal dollars for child protection. We provide an overview of FFPSA and take a look at the Texas implementation plan from the Department of Family and Protective Services. We suggest the highest priorities for Texas to focus on and implementation opportunities for Texas moving forward.

Early Childhood Matters: What Texas Policymakers Know About ECBD and How To Advocate For A Better Texas Tomorrow

This report applies newly acquired research about Texas policymakers’ understanding of early childhood brain health to inform and develop targeted messaging strategies and policy recommendations. While the intent of the report is not to thoroughly outline the science of ECBD, it should resource advocates with consistent terminology, talking points, and policy solutions so that, as a state, we can better capitalize on the opportunities of the early years and ensure brighter futures. Funded by the Episcopal Health Foundation. For more resources on Early Childhood click here.


86th Texas Legislative Session Wrap-Up

This report highlights major legislative and budgetary decisions from the 86th Texas Regular Legislative Session that are relevant to the goals and priorities of TexProtects. We have focused on identified priorities and bills which we either led or supported along with our partners throughout the legislative session. Highlights include increases in funding for Nurse-Family Partnership and Project HOPES, strategic planning for implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act and integration of trauma-informed practices into public schools.

The Opportunity to Invest in Dallas County Children: How Project H.O.P.E.S. gives Hope for a Better Tomorrow for Dallas Families

The Child Protection and Family Strengthening Ecosystem is a multisystem, developmental framework used to connect families, in three specific zip codes, to community-based services through the Dallas HOPES Project. This framework, utilized by parent navigators and other key community providers, increases the continuation of services so that families can receive the support they need from a variety of service points. This report will provide an overview of the different community services, both universal and targeted, by the developmental age of the child.

ACEs Uncovered: Powerful Preventative Strategies to Promote Resilience and Brain Health for a Better Texas Tomorrow

Texas must view Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as a multisystemic public health issue. To prevent and treat ACEs and the environmental and social factors that lead to them, Texas must support a statewide strategic collaboration across multiple sectors — including government, nonprofit, philanthropic, business, and more. Texas should also further invest in evidence-informed, trauma-informed home visiting programs, screening tools, and training approaches to keep children and families from becoming at risk of child maltreatment and other ACEs.


Where Do We Go From Here? - Demystifying the Transitional Experiences of Texas Foster Youth

Most individuals find the transition to adulthood to be difficult; but for youth who at some point were involved in the foster care system (foster-connected youth), transitioning into adulthood is uniquely overwhelming. Many foster youth alumni continue to have challenges in accessing postsecondary education, individualized housing, mental health support, and employment opportunities.

Texas Maternal Health and Child Outcomes

A mother’s and child’s health and wellbeing are inextricably linked. The wellbeing of the mother, prior to her own birth, can determine the health of her pregnancy and the health of her child. To ensure the health of future generations of Texans, the state needs to implement efforts targeted at preventing and intervening in intergenerational health risks linked to maternal morbidity and mortality.

Parental Substance Use in the Child Welfare System

Many families involved in the child welfare system are negatively impacted by parental substance use. To successfully reduce the number of children and families suffering from substance use and the negative social and economic consequences, including children entering the foster care system, Texas must ensure access to and implementation of community-driven, cost-efficient and proven prevention, intervention, and treatment programs and practices.

Preserving and Building Strong Families: Improvements to Family Based Safety Services

Children need a protective and stable family in order to thrive. Separating them from their biological family can be traumatic, often leaving lasting negative impacts. Through the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), Texas has significant opportunity to strengthen the effectiveness and utilization of its existing family preservation services. Through the implementation of evidence-based services, the state will be able to reduce reliance on the foster care system and the negative human and societal consequences and financial costs that result.

Medicaid Managed Care for Foster Youth

The Healthy Foster Care America initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics identifies mental and behavioral health as the “greatest unmet health need for children and teens in foster care.” Children in the foster care system have special healthcare needs, often suffering from serious physical, mental, developmental, and psychosocial problems rooted in childhood adversity and trauma. Due to the transient and uncertain environment of the foster care system, children face barriers to receiving high-quality comprehensive healthcare services.

Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Foster Youth

Many foster youth experience adversities in childhood that can be challenging to overcome; and, the increased likelihood of early pregnancy is one preventable risk that can have a lasting impact for both the foster youth and their children. Prevention is a significant and proven strategy that can positively alter the direction of pregnant and parenting foster youth and their children. Increasing service capacity and accessibility in Texas should continue to be the focus if we are to avert intergenerational child maltreatment within this population.


85th Legislative Session: Child Protection at the Forefront – Responding to a Crisis

The 85th Texas Legislature ended the Regular Session on May 29th after 140 days. This legislative session, legislators faced many challenges impacting Child Protective Services (CPS), the foster care system and children being harmed. As a result, they filed hundreds of bills related to child protection, a far greater number than in previous sessions. Legislation finally approved by the 85th Legislature addresses some of the issues.

Home Visiting in Texas

Family support Home Visiting programs are a crucial tool in strengthening vulnerable families and curbing child abuse and neglect. These are evidence-based (or promising-practice) programs. While models differ in methodology, the commonality between all are programs that, at the invitation of an at-risk family, provide a nurse, social worker or other trained professionals to provide mentorship and assistance that supports these families’ efforts to become more resilient and self-sufficient. This report provides a detailed overview of existing family support Home Visiting resources in Texas, and TexProtects’ vision for expanding Home Visiting to eventually reach at least half of all highest risk families – a percentage that would truly cut into Texas’ child maltreatment epidemic.

Child Protective Services Workforce and Recommendations

Retaining a high-quality workforce continues to be one of the greatest challenges CPS faces. Turnover at CPS remains higher than any other state agency of its size and despite a two-year reform effort called “CPS Transformation,” overall turnover at CPS remains the same, around 25% every year. This report has three main goals: identify the current issues remaining within the CPS system that contribute to high turnover, identify past reform and transformation attempts in the past 10 years that worked and those that failed, and outline key recommendations that TexProtects believes will ensure CPS has a strong and stable professional workforce to better protect Texas children.

Texas Foster Care System Analysis and Recommendations

In late 2015, a federal court ruled that Texas' foster care system violates the constitutional rights of the children in its care, and ordered sweeping changes. To assist legislators and other decision-makers, this report provides an overview of the system, including issues of healthcare, system capacity, education, and the needs of children about to age out of the system. Appendices include a flowchart of current services for children aging out and TexProtects' analysis of the Special Masters' recommendations to the court.

Kinship Care in Texas: Policy, Research and Recommendations

Kinship care is a type of family preservation service provided for children that are unable to reside with their birth parents - in short, relatives or others close to the family who step up to care for children that have been removed. Studies show that children in kinship care fare better than children taken in by strangers, making kinship care the most ideal placement. This report explains kinship care, outlines its benefits (including cost savings to the state) and challenges, and outlines TexProtects' recommendations for the 85th Texas Legislature to strengthen kinship care.


Home Visiting in Texas 2.0: Current and Future Directions - 2013-14 Data Update and Outcomes

An update to our 2013 report, "Home Visiting in Texas." This 64-page comprehensive report on the scope, funding and outcomes of home visiting programs in Texas, plus recommendations for the child abuse prevention strategy.


Understanding Texas' Child Protective Services System

We hope this report -- and its detailed flowchart on what happens when Child Protective Services receives a complaint -- will prove to be a most useful reference tool for legislators, state agencies, public policy makers, researchers, advocates, media and others for years to come. Next, we will release an accompanying Public Policy Brief with commentary on the CPS system process and recommendations for improvement in order to improve the protection of vulnerable Texas children.

Child Maltreatment County Risk Assessment

This research brief analyzes the Texas counties at highest risk for child maltreatment and makes the case for increased investment in prevention strategies focusing on those areas.


Home Visiting in Texas: Current and Future Directions

This 64-page comprehensive report on the scope, funding and outcomes of home visiting programs in Texas, plus recommendations for the child abuse prevention strategy.

Our Mission

Our mission is to protect Texas children from the trauma of abuse and neglect and empower families to thrive through education, research, and advocacy. Our vision is that all children are safe, nurtured, and resilient. Learn more about the work we do. You can help protect Texas children from abuse & neglect. Find out how you can help.

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