Preparation For DFPS Cases And Ways To Structure Cases

  1. Get copies of all pleadings;
  2. Get copies of all Reporter Records and Exhibits;
  3. Immediately issue a Request for Production and be sure to request all notes and everything input into the Impact System (Appendix "A");
  4. Learn how DFPS files are organized so that you will know what is missing in the production from case to case;
  5. Learn the State and Federal laws that trigger funding for DFPS to operate and check out Texas and Federal Regulations, Texas Administrative Code, and Code of Federal Regulations;
  6. Go online and secure DFPS Policy relative to your particular issues;
  7. Secure a DFPS expert to consult with;
  8. Secure a medical expert to review and/or confront subjective findings;
  9. Stop all ex-parte interviews and control the flow of information so that you can track receipt of same by DFPS for purposes of accountability;
  10. Train clients to log all contacts and attempts at contacting caseworkers, supervisors, and program directors;
  11. Prepare Motions to Compel when document production is incomplete;
  12. Send Interrogatories (Appendix "B");
  13. Narrow the Pleadings by Special Exceptions (Appendix "C") and Requests for Admissions (Appendix "D");
  14. Send Request for Disclosures (Appendix "E");
  15. File Notice of Objection to Introduction of Testimony as Provided Under Daubert, Robinson and Nenno and Request for "Gatekeeper" Hearing (Appendix "­­F");
  16. Secure your own experts to challenge DFPS experts and their conclusions;
  17. Object to DFPS Service Plans which are impractical, internally inconsistent or impossible to perform and prepare your own with your own resources. Object or redact all hearsay allegations in the Family Service Plan. Be sure the Plan spells out DFPS's responsibility to provide services so that DFPS can be held accountable when it fails to provide timely services to the parents. (See Section V - Accountability is a Two-Way Street);
  18. Request additional access and possession;
  19. Periodically review court files and insist on receiving copies of all pleadings and court orders in the case. Get copies of all signed Orders.
  20. File Motions for Partial or Full Summary Judgments (Appendix "G");
  21. Learn case law relative to each ground for termination so that you can properly move for a directed verdict or object to submission of a court charge if there is factually or legally insufficient evidence to support an element of the case grounds;
  22. Learn the statutory timeline for disposition of DFPS cases, available extensions and requirements relative to any extensions (§263.401);
  23. Learn the statutory constitutional regulatory and policy preferences for family, relative and kinship and fictive placement over foster care;
  24. Learn ICPC and how to secure placement with out-of-state family and relatives, and how to secure such placements outside of foster care; and
  25. Learn appellate timetables (they are different) and how to perfect sufficient error for reversal of adverse decisions in the trial court.