Texas Health and Human Services

DFPS to Stand Alone

Gov. Greg Abbott, center, shakes hands with HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith during a bill signing May 31 at the John H. Winters Building in Austin. House Bill 5 will reform Texas’ foster care system and make DFPS a stand-alone agency.

DFPS is striking out on its own Sept. 1.

House Bill 5, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year, makes DFPS a stand-alone agency, removing it from the HHS system. It will still share some administrative support and collaborate with HHS to enforce child care standards.

“We feel this will give us more flexibility to protect the most vulnerable Texans,” DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman said. “Because we need to move so quickly, and our work is often so urgent, it’s important the lines of communication and accountability be as crisp, clear and concise as possible.”

HHS will continue to provide IT, payroll and procurement services for DFPS, which will remain subject to the authority of the HHSC Office of Inspector General for fraud, waste and abuse investigations.

DFPS will continue to investigate child care facilities, but HHS will assume regulatory and licensing functions. All Adult Protective Services facility and provider investigations will transfer to HHS.

HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith said the move won’t affect his commitment to protecting those who need help.

“Our role is changing, but our determination to help isn’t,” Smith said. “We are here to do anything in our power to help Commissioner Whitman and his team achieve their mission to protect all the children and adults DFPS serves.”

DFPS and the HHS Office of Transformation are working out the details of the transition.