H. Placement of a Child in Qualified Residential Treatment Program

A Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) must meet the definition assigned under the Federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Tex. Fam. Code § 263.00201(a). The program must have a trauma informed treatment model and 24 hour, 7 days a week onsite licensed nursing and clinical staff, must facilitate and document family participation and outreach, must provide discharge planning and family aftercare for six months, and must be licensed and nationally accredited. 42 U.S.C. Section 672(k)(4).

Within 60 days of a child's placement in a QRTP, the court must consider any assessment required by FFPSA regarding the child's placement. The court must then determine:

•   Whether the child's needs can be met through placement in a foster home and, if not;

•   Whether placing the child in a QRTP provides the most effective and appropriate level of care for the child in the least restrictive environment and;

•   Whether placing the child in a QRTP is consistent with the short-term and long-term goals for the child, as specified in the child's permanency plan.

The court must then approve or disapprove the placement. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.00201(b).

Any documentation prepared for the review and documentation regarding approval or disapproval by the court shall be included in and made part of the child's permanency plan. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.00201(c).

As long as a child remains in a QRTP, DFPS must provide the court with information at the Status Review Hearing and at each Permanency Hearing demonstrating that:

•   The ongoing assessment of the child's strengths and needs shows the needs of the child cannot be met through placement in a foster home;

•   Placement in a QRTP provides the most effective and appropriate level of care for the child in the least restrictive environment, and;

•   The placement is consistent with the short-term and long-term goals for the child specified in the permanency plan.

DFPS must provide information documenting the specific treatment or service needs that will be met for the child in the placement, the length of time the child is expected to need the treatment or services, and the efforts made by DFPS to prepare the child to be placed in a home, with a foster home, relative, legal guardian, or adoptive parent. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.00201(d).

The review of a child's placement in a QRTP may be conducted through a remote proceeding. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.00201(f).