Notice & Engagement
All parties involved in child welfare cases continue to struggle with securing consistent and timely notice of scheduled hearings from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). This issue includes the foster placements and DFPS service provider facilities where the children/youth are in placement and results in many parties not being able to attend scheduled court hearings. The Office of Court Administration, with funding from the Children’s Commission, hosts a Notice and Engagement service that uses non-confidential case data to provide hearing notice by email to and/or text message about upcoming hearings to court participants (attorneys, CPS personnel, CASA, parents, relative caregivers, and adoptive/foster parents) involved in cases heard by the Child Protection Courts. The Notice and Engagement tool was developed to improve and expand engagement of families and caregivers in court hearings so that court hearings could be higher quality and more meaningful for the families and children involved.
Currently, the Notice and Engagement tool is only available for cases heard by Child Protection Courts in the Child Protection Case Management System (CPCMS) application, but the Office of Court Administration has created an Application Programming Interface (API) that will allow courts other than those using the Child Protection Court Case Management System to upload their hearing data into the system. The goal of the is to expand the hearing notification tool to all courts hearing child welfare cases in order to provide parties with up-to-date hearing information and to provide courts with an alternate means of notification free of charge.