A Child Protective Services Caseworker - SAO CPS Spec I.
Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigators investigate claims
of child abuse and neglect. They have the difficult task of
figuring out what happened and predicting what will happen in the
future. CPS receives and investigates reports of abuse and neglect
24 hours per day, every day of the year.
A CPS investigation includes interviewing and gathering
information to see if abuse or neglect happened and if intervention
is necessary. The investigator considers both risk and safety
issues, and may recommend services for the child and family to
reduce the risk of further abuse or neglect.
To explore more of what Investigation Specialists do, click
To view a realistic online video about Child Protective Services
workers and clients, please click here.
You will also have access to a self-assessment that will help
you determine if this type of work is something that is a good fit
WHY WORK FOR DFPS?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is
responsible for protecting the unprotected - children, elderly, and
people with disabilities - from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
DFPS accomplishes this responsibility by employing over 12,000
workers who live up to the agency's Mission, Vision, & Values in
service to the 27 million citizens of Texas.
DFPS is not only a qualifying organization for the Service Loan
Forgiveness Program, which forgives the remaining balance on
college student Direct Loans after making 120 qualifying monthly
payments, but also offers excellent health benefits, special
discounts on many products and services through the Discount
Purchase Program, a lifetime monthly retirement annuity as well as
Texa$aver 401(k) and 457 Programs under the Employees Retirement
System of Texas. An additional benefit you will receive is 12 days
of paid annual leave, 12 sick days, and the potential to earn up to
four days of administrative leave each year. Your annual paid leave
accrual increases as your tenure increases.
Newly hired employees holding a Master's Degree in Social Work
may qualify for an increase at the point of hire.
Essential Job Functions:
- Responds quickly in crisis situations involving children who
may be in an abusive or neglectful situation. Sometimes these
situations can be dangerous.
- Conducts forensic investigations of reports of abuse/neglect to
children to determine if abuse or neglect occurred and conducts
assessments to determine the current or future risk of harm to
- Observes children for signs of any harm and assess the signs to
determine if they are the result of abuse or neglect. This could
involve children with serious injuries and child fatalities.
- Interviews people in the case such as the parents, caregivers,
person who reports the concern, family members, and others familiar
with the family situation. This may include medical staff,
teachers, law enforcement, etc.
- Assesses child safety and takes the necessary actions to
protect the child as appropriate. This could include removing a
child from their family.
- Talks frankly and objectively with families about matters they
may consider personal and private, such as parenting decisions and
actions, sexual abuse, income, money management, and personal
- Determines action to be taken to remove or to reduce an
immediate threat to the safety of a child to include working with
families to identify family members who can assist with keeping the
child safe, testifying in court to seek emergency protective
services, placing children in substitute care, referring family for
immediate crisis intervention therapy or other community
- Documents all relevant and appropriate information gathered
during the investigation and completes all required forms
accurately and in a timely manner.
- Gathers family and kinship information to support the child in
a placement, should the child be placed in DFPS custody.
- Participates in a regular on-call rotation that requires
response to situations of abuse/neglect after normal business hours
including overnight and weekend.
- Develops and maintains effective working relationships with law
enforcement officials, judicial officials, legal resources, medical
professionals, and the community.
- Works under constant deadlines that require prioritizing tasks
and the ability to work flexible hours.
- Maintains a balance of objectivity and empathy for families
living in stressful and crisis situations.
- Attends and participates in training/meetings/staffings.
- Performs other duties as assigned and required to maintain unit
- Promotes and demonstrates appropriate respect for cultural
diversity and competency among coworkers and all work-related
- Attends work regularly in accordance with agency leave
Knowledge Skills Abilities:
- Knowledge of child development
- Knowledge of family dynamics
- Skill in effective verbal and written communication.
- Skill in establishing and maintaining effective working
- Skill in problem solving techniques
- Ability to operate a personal computer.
- Ability to travel and attend child and family visits as well as
other work related appointments and meetings after 5pm.
- Ability to be on call on a rotating basis and work irregular
- Ability to work in an emotion-filled environment and which may
require conducting home visits in isolated or high crime areas and
may involve exposure to substandard and unsanitary living
Registration or Licensure Requirements:
This position requires use of the applicant's personal motor
vehicle to complete job functions.
Applicants for positions must have a reliable motor vehicle and
acceptable driving record for the past five years, and a current,
valid Texas driver's license appropriate for the vehicle and
passenger or cargo load. Applicants must provide proof of driving
record, insurance and license.
Initial Selection Criteria:
Child Protective Services Specialist I: An accredited Bachelor's
degree OR accredited Associate's degree plus two (2) years of
relevant work experience OR 60 accredited college credit hours plus
two (2) years relevant work experience OR 90 accredited college
credit hours plus one (1) year of relevant work experience.
Examples of relevant work experience in social, human, or
protective services include paid or volunteer work within social
service agencies or communities providing services to families or
other at-risk populations.
Child Protective Services Specialist II: Employed as a Child
Protective Services Specialist I for 9 months AND have received
Child Protective Services Specialist Certification OR currently
employed as a Child Protective Services Specialist II in Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services OR previously employed
as a Child Protective Services Specialist II in Texas Department of
Family and Protective Services.
Child Protective Services Specialist III: Employed as a Child
Protective Services Specialist II for 9 months AND have received
Advanced Child Protective Services Specialist Certification OR
currently employed as a Child Protective Services Specialist III in
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services OR previously
employed as a Child Protective Services Specialist III in Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services.
Child Protective Services Specialist IV: Employed as a Child
Protective Services Specialist III for 24 months AND have received
Senior Advanced Child Protective Services Specialist Certification
OR currently employed as a Child Protective Services Specialist IV
in Texas Department of Family and Protective Services OR previously
employed as a Child Protective Services Specialist IV in Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services.
Req ID 484306
This position may be filled at any level from a CPS Specialist I
to CPS Specialist IV. Factors such as education and experience may
be considered when establishing the starting salary.
Applicants selected for this position are also eligible to
receive a $416.66 monthly increase in addition to the base salary.
Applicants hired into an investigative position will receive this
increase the first of the month following 120 days of tenure. Once
employed, the incumbent must remain in an investigative position to
continue to receive the additional pay.
This position will be in a mobile unit which means the majority
of the work will be conducted using mobile technology, such as a
tablet, while away from the office. Being mobile requires working
independently yet still being responsive to supervision and your
Newly hired DFPS employees in eligible positions will be
assigned a DFPS cellular phone.
COMPETENCIES REQUIRED/ACQUIRED DURING THE FIRST FEW MONTHS OF
A process competency refers to a general approach to practice
that can be observed in a newly hired CPS Specialists' interactions
with children, families, and safety networks.
- Understands and is able to articulate how family engagement is
critical to achieving safety, permanency, and well-being.
- Can identify basic strategies for engaging children and
- Understands and appreciates the different views, expertise and
experience of others; takes into account the perspectives of other
- Understands the need to expand the child's safety network
beyond caregivers and to other adults who care about the child and
can participate in day to day safety of the child.
- Interviews caregivers to identify individuals who may be
supportive of the caregiver and/or child.
- Interviews children to identify individuals who may be
supportive of the child and/or caregiver.
- Understands and is able to articulate the concept of child
- Is able to identify one's own biases and is willing to
challenge one's own thinking.
- Regularly seeks information from a variety of sources to make
and revise assessments.
- Understands the importance of and is able to make judgments
based on factual information vs. assumptions.
- Considers ways to ensure personal safety in addition to safety
of children and families during interviews and other meetings
- Understands and is able to articulate what an intervention is
and the variety of interventions CPS might use under which
- Understands and is able to articulate personal responsibility
for outcomes in a case.
A content competency refers to a specialized domain of knowledge
that should be integrated into process competencies.
- Understands and is able to identify power and control.
- Distinguishes domestic violence from other types of
- Is able to identify and refer both victims and perpetrators of
domestic violence to appropriate services.
- Can articulate symptoms of broad mental health diagnostic
- Is able to make appropriate referrals for crisis intervention,
psychological and psychiatric evaluations.
- Can articulate mental health resilience factors and recovery
- Distinguishes between substance use, abuse, and chemical
- Can articulate physical and behavioral warning signs of
substance use and abuse.
- Administers and/or makes referrals for drug testing as
- Makes referrals to community and contracted services available
to treat substance abuse.
- Can articulate substance abuse resiliency factors and recovery
Demonstrates a basic understanding of the following
- Federal and state law, regulations and rules for the operation
of child protection programs.
- The statutory responsibility for reporting suspected abuse and
- Roles and responsibilities of participants in the global child
welfare system, including children, families, child protection,
various courts, and other child/family serving agencies
- Legal definitions and concepts, including ethics, and is able
to apply them within the law to casework and judicial process
Establishes Effective Relationships with Colleagues
- Is willing to accept and provide support and assistance from/to
co-workers, supervisors and other child protective services
- Is able to build and maintain effective working relationships
with external stakeholders
Follows policy and procedures
- Is able to learn and understand the specific policies and
procedures for child protective services
- Understands the policy requirements of ethical practice and the
ramifications to staff and clients when this does not occur.
- Demonstrates adherence to policy and best practice
- Records observations accurately as part of case documentation,
using specific quotes and precise behavioral descriptions of the
danger and its impact on the child
- Prepares clear, accurate, and appropriate written
communications or documents
- Prepares court documents such as petitions, affidavits and
- Acts quickly to solve problems and to get things done
- Uses technology, "to-do" lists or other tools to manage time,
keep track of what needs to be done, and manage multiple, pressing
- Regularly re-assesses and re-prioritizes in order to focus
attention on the most important tasks
These requirements are not exhaustive, and additional job
related physical requirements may be added to these by individual
agencies on an as needed basis. Corrective devices may be used to
meet physical requirements. These are typical requirements;
however, reasonable accommodations are possible.
Physical Activities: He/she is frequently asked to stand, hear
and talk; he/she is occasionally asked to climb.
Physical Demands: The incumbent typically performs work that
requires him/her to exert up to 20 pounds occasionally, and/or up
to 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of
force constantly to move objects.
Visual Requirements: The incumbent must be able to see objects
clearly at 20 inches or less, and at 20 or more feet. In addition,
he/she must be able to adjust his/her eyes to bring objects into
focus, distinguish colors, see objects in his/her peripheral
vision, and see objects in three dimensions.
Working Conditions: He/she typically works in a mobile
environment (the majority of work is performed outside of the
office environment) and is exposed occasionally to adverse
environmental conditions including, but not necessarily limited to,
extreme heat, wetness and humidity, chemicals, close quarters,
gases and heights.
Any candidate who is called to an agency for an interview must
notify the interviewing agency in writing of any reasonable
accommodation needed prior to the date of the interview. MOS
Note: There are no direct military occupation(s) that relate to
the initial selection criteria and registration or licensure
requirements for this position. All active duty, reservists,
guardsmen, and veterans are encouraged to apply. For more
information, see the Texas State Auditor's Military Crosswalk
HHS agencies use E-Verify. You must bring your I-9 documentation
with you on your first day of work.
I-9 Form - Click here to download the I-9 form.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
HHS agencies will provide reasonable accommodation during the
hiring and selection process for qualified individuals with a
disability. If you need assistance completing the on-line
application, contact the HHS Employee Service Center at
1-888-894-4747. If you are contacted for an interview and need
accommodation to participate in the interview process, please
notify the person scheduling the interview.