Temporary Parental Safety Agreement 

Temporary Parental Safety Agreement (TPSA)

When the Department of Social Services (DSS) receives a report from someone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected, they must investigate to determine whether the child is safe at home. If the child is unsafe, DSS can either take custody right then or they and the parents can set up a Temporary Parental Safety Agreement (TPSA). Under the TPSA, the parents ask someone, usually a relative, to care for the child while DSS is investigating. This is a voluntary and short‐term plan between the parent and DSS. The extended family caring for the child is a “Temporary Safety Provider” and not a foster parent. If DSS determines that the child can’t return home because of ongoing safety issues, they will take the child into foster care. The kinship caregiver caring for the child is usually asked to continue caring for the child, either with or without becoming a foster parent.

  1. Department of Social Services (DSS) will conduct an Initial Provider Assessment to determine if the kinship caregiver’s home is safe and if they can care for the child. This assessment should be completed before the child is placed.
  2. After 30 days in the temporary safety provider’s home, DSS must conduct a Comprehensive Provider Assessment, which is more extensive than the initial assessment.
  3. A TPSA is temporary and should only last for the time it takes DSS to assess the safety of returning the child to their parents. If the safety issues are taken care of, DSS will return the child home. If they are not, DSS will take the child into foster care, but usually, the child can continue to live with the kinship caregiver. The kinship caregiver can decide whether to become a licensed foster parent.  
  4. A TPSA is voluntary; it may be revoked at any time by the parent, the kinship caregiver, or the Department of Social Services (DSS). 

Becoming a kin caregiver is a big responsibility. When asked to take in a child, asking the child welfare worker the following questions is helpful. Stress that you want to take care of the child the best way you can, and you need this information.   

  1. Who has legal custody of the child?  
  1. Who is responsible for enrolling the child in school, obtaining health insurance, granting permission for health care and obtaining it, signing school permission forms, etc.?   
  1. Are there restrictions about contact with the parents or other family members?  

Ask for a copy of these restrictions in writing. If they do not give you a copy of these restrictions in writing, write a letter or email the caseworker you spoke with and summarize your understanding. Ask them to get back to you immediately if your understanding is incorrect. Keep a copy of the letter or email.

  1. How often will someone from child welfare services visit your home?  
  1. What are the requirements for you and your home if I want the children to live with me?  Are the requirements different if the children are with you just temporarily?  
  1. What services are available for you and the children, and how do you get them?  
  2. Are mental health services for the child or your family available?
  3. Are there restrictions on the discipline you can use (such as spanking) with the children?  
  4. What subsidies or financial assistance are available? How do you apply? 
  5. How can you become a licensed foster parent and receive a monthly foster care subsidy to help meet the children’s needs?
  6. Will the child welfare agency or social services assist with child care, daycare, or after-school care?  
  7. Will you receive transportation help to take the children to healthcare appointments? 
  1. A Temporary Safety Provider is not a foster parent because the state does not have custody of the child.
    • You cannot receive monthly foster parent subsidy payments. However, if DSS determines that the child cannot be returned safely to their parents and they take custody of the child (take the child into foster care), then you can ask to become a licensed foster parent for this child. As a foster parent, you would receive the monthly foster parent board payment and other support services available to foster parents. 
  2. During the TPSA, DSS cannot provide in-home services or support to you. To provide in-home services or other supports, the child must either be returned to their parent’s home or DSS must take custody of the child. 
  3. You may be eligible for public benefits outside of DSS you qualify for. Ask DSS for help in determining which services you are eligible for.
  1. Some counties provide more services to Temporary Safety Providers. Ask the DSS caseworker what services they can provide, such as childcare, clothing allowance, etc.
  2. Ask DSS to provide you in writing with what type of contact is allowed with the child’s parents. This document will help you comply and can be used by you to reinforce to the child’s parents what you are allowed to do. If they do not give you a copy of these restrictions in writing, write a letter or email the caseworker and summarize your understanding. Ask them to get back to you immediately if your understanding is incorrect. You want to comply with these rules so the child will not be removed from your home.

*Not Intended as Legal Advice