About Us

The Travis County Children's Protective Services (CPS) Board is comprised of up to 15 members appointed by the Travis County Commissioners for three-year terms. The CPS Board is the Travis County Child Welfare Board, as defined in the Texas Family Code – Section 264.005 - County Child Welfare Board.

In partnership with Travis County caseworkers and community organizations, the CPS Board provides critical resources and support to children at every stage of involvement with a Travis County CPS case; including Investigations, Family-Based Safety Services, and Conservatorship. These resources could include emergency assistance for an infant during an Investigation or support to relatives caring for children placed in their care through a kinship placement. Children in a substitute care setting and their caregivers are eligible for financial assistance from the Board. This includes children in foster care, kinship care, group homes, and/or residential treatment centers. Financial assistance can include funding for items related to educational needs, medical expenses, clothing and bedding, or other items related to the safety and welfare of children.

Our mission and authority

Our mission is to:

  • Provide financial support for the special needs of children and families involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) System
  • Educate our community about child abuse and neglect issues
  • Support and provide a liaison between Travis County Child Protective Services staff and the public by increasing our community's awareness of child welfare system, including, programs, policies, and needs

As a county Children's Protective Services Board, we are mandated by statute to provide coordinated state and local public welfare services for children and their families and for the coordinated use of federal, state, and local funds for these services.

Legal references

What We Do

Financial assistance

The CPS Board’s primary function is to evaluate expenditure requests and to direct and oversee the use of an annual budget. Travis County allocates funding for children and families involved in the child welfare system in the county. The goal is to provide assistance when other governmental and community partners cannot meet a family’s need. Historically, funding is used for:

  • Substance use testing requested by CPS staff of family members involved with Child Protective Services
  • Clothing, bedding, and safety-related items;
  • Summer camps and after-school programs;
  • Medical expenses; and,
  • Miscellaneous special needs, as approved by the Board.

The CPS Board sets budgetary guidelines on an annual basis, reviews expenditures and authorizes outlier expenses. The funding used by the board is authorized annually through the Travis County budget process by the Travis County Commissioners. The board budget is maintained as a part of the Health and Human Services authorized budget and subject to all budgetary rules set by the County.

Frequently asked questions

Reports

Initiatives

These initiatives are with partner organizations and individuals that work together to increase community participation in the child welfare system.

SAFE Kids Fund

The Travis County CPS Board established and operates a small non-profit corporation, Children's Protective Assistance, Inc. dba Capital Area Safe Kids Fund. The fund is used to raise charitable dollars to support children, families, and CPS. Monetary donations of any size are welcome and go directly to help Travis County children in foster care or who have been or are at risk of child abuse or neglect. Donors may write a check to Safe Kids Fund and will receive a written acknowledgment for their tax-deductible contribution.

Adopt a Visitation Room

When children are removed from their parents and placed in the care of CPS, it is important that they have opportunities to maintain relationships with their families. To facilitate these meetings, CPS offices have special visitation rooms for children and their families to connect.

Visitation rooms are places where families can heal relationships and preserve a sense of belonging, as well as, practice skills learned through parenting support and demonstrate the ability to care for their child. Many children are reunified with their families through support with CPS, but regardless of the case outcomes, children can benefit from forming life-long safe and positive attachments with family. Because visitation rooms are one of the key places where children and families can connect, it is important that they are warm and welcoming spaces.

Periodically, these visitation rooms need a re-do. We are always in need of individuals and groups to volunteer to paint, clean and re-stock the room with furniture (e.g. couches, tables, bookshelves) and home decorations (e.g. pillows, rugs, toys, art supplies, books).

To learn more about this opportunity this opportunity or to adopt a visitation room, contact CJ Zhao, CPS Board member via email or at 301-820-5589.

CPS Worker Appreciation Events/Activities

The CPS Board recognizes that CPS Caseworkers are the heroes who make everything happen for children and families in state care. The Board sponsors appreciation events on an periodic basis, such as “Thank You Breakfasts” and “Ice Cream Socials”. Giveaways in partnership with community members, such as ipsy and Thrivent are also provided at these events. Through these events the CPS Board hopes to ensure caseworkers and other CPS employees feel appreciated for their work.

Typically, caseworker appreciation events are hosted in the breakrooms of the two CPS offices in Austin. Because caseworkers have a very mobile job and are always on the go, take-away foods like breakfast tacos or other items that can be enjoyed on the go are provided. If you or your organization would like to host a caseworker appreciation event or would like additional information, please contact:

Lisa Hill
Administrative Associate
Office of Children Services
lisa.hill@traviscountytx.gov
512-854-7873

case worker in ice cream social getting ice cream
ice cream being served during case workers' ice cream social

Travis County CPS Case Workers

CPS Case Worker Corner

In every stage of service, whether it is Investigations, Family-Based Safety Services, Conservatorship or Adoptions, the ability of a Child Protective Services caseworkers to help families depends greatly on their county’s Child Welfare Board.

Meeting the individual needs of children who have been abused and/or neglected or whose families are less fortunate than others and are in need of assistance, requires more resources than are available to CPS caseworkers at any given time. Resources like clothing, cleaning supplies, baby beds, children’s beds, safety gates, diapers, formula and many other items are essential to be able to help families.

Amazingly, these types of items can mean the difference between having to bring children into foster care or being able to stabilize a family in their family, make it safer for children in their home and alleviate stress in the family that can add to the risk of abuse or neglect. It is imperative that these items be available to caseworkers at any given time rather than requiring a lengthy, bureaucratic process that can take days or weeks in order to receive them.

Travis County’s Child Welfare Board is among the most compassionate and dedicated boards in the State of Texas. This board is committed to assisting caseworkers as efficiently and effectively as possible and works tirelessly to provide the additional resources needed by CPS to ensure children’s safety, well-being and family connections.

The members of the Travis County Child Welfare Board are creative and innovative and constantly reassess whether the board is providing a swiftness of process so that CPS Caseworkers are able to serve Travis County families when they need it most. They understand the urgency of the work and that red tape and bureaucracy should not stand in the way of caseworkers’ ability to perform their duties.

The Travis County Child Welfare Board makes a difference. Travis County CPS Caseworkers are enormously grateful for their support.

Statistics

Networking

Helpful Links

The board is in the process of coordinating efforts with other local agencies and boards who also address the needs of at-risk children to establish more comprehensive support of children in care and educational programs. Many of these organizations are listed below.

Current Board Members

Members

Loading Board Members.. Please wait.

Kyle McKay, Foster Parent Liaison, Community Member (Non-appointed)

Ex-Officio Members

Sherri Fleming
TCHHS

Chief Estela Medina
TC Juvenile Probation

Virginia Martinez
Deputy Chief, Juvenile Probation

Board Liaisons

Board Liaisons are assigned to support the CPS Board in their day-to- day activities; their compliance with County budgetary rules; and as subject matter experts in Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Court System, and County process and procedures.

Currently the board uses the following liaisons: Child Protective Services Program Director; Health and Human Services Division Director and Administrative Assistant.

CPS Board Staff Liaison: Laura Peveto, OCS Division Director, Travis County Health and Human Services
laura.peveto@traviscountytx.gov
512-854-7874

CPS Board Program Director: Sharon Berger, LMSW, LCDC Travis County CVS Program Director
Sharon.Berger@dfps.state.tx.u
512-834-3206

CPS Board Staff Support: Lisa Hill, Administrative Associative, Office of Children Services
lisa.hill@traviscountytx.gov
512-854-7873

How to apply

The board consists of 15 members appointed by the Travis County Judge and Commissioners. Each board member serves a three-year term with the option to request reappointment for an additional three years. When there is a vacancy on the board Travis County puts out a call for applicants that is publicized on the Travis County website and other community forums.

Interested applicants complete an application/information packet and submit the completed packet to Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Office of Travis County. All packets submitted are reviewed and the most qualified candidates are selected to serve as board members.

The CPS Board has no vacancies at this time; potential new vacancies can occur in June if Board members retire.

For further information regarding board membership contact:

Travis County Intergovernmental Relations Office
700 Lavaca Street, Suite 360
Austin, Texas 78701 (Map)
512-854-4774

Get Involved

How you can help

Families with children in the child welfare system need your help. Because there are not enough foster homes in Travis County, some children and youth may have to live outside of the county and further away from relatives and siblings. You can help by: