Harris County
Youth and Family Services Division

The Harris County Youth and Family Services Division was estabilshed by Harris County Commissioners Court in January 1998.

The Harris County Youth and Family Services Division is a unique collaboration of six county agencies working together to provide a continuum of coordinated services to the children and families of Harris County.  The Coordinating Committee – comprised of the executive directors of the six agencies – meets regularly to discuss areas for possible interagency collaboration. The chair of the Coordinating Committee rotates among the members and serves a two-year term.

In January 2015, David W. Simpson (executive director, Harris County Domestic Relations Office) was appointed chair of the Coordinating Committee. Steve Schnee, Ph.D (executive director, Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County) is serving as vice chair. The chair and co-chair serve for a two-year term ending January 2017


In 2002, the Youth and Family Services Division received the County Best Practices Award from the Texas Association of Counties Leadership Foundation.

To maximize value to taxpayers and clients in Harris County by developing a collaborative that continuously seeks to provide quality services in cost-effective ways.
  • Evaluate current services and determine the most effective ways to better serve the community;
  • Determine opportunities to expand services and funding sources;
  • Seek the means to enhance awareness of available services and expand the utilization of services between departments and the community;
  • Review legislation at the request of Commissioners' Court and recommend legislation to the Court when deemed appropriate;
  • Develop inter-departmental strategies to increase the cost-effective delivery of services.

The Youth and Family Services Division consists of the following Harris County agencies:

MISSION:  To provide a professional, compassionate, and coordinated approach to the treatment of sexually abused children and their families and to serve as an advocate for all children in our community.

The Children’s Assessment Center is a member of the National Children’s Alliance and Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas.The Children’s Assessment Center provides a safe haven to sexually abused children and their families, employing a multidisciplinary approach to the prevention, assessment, investigation, referral for prosecution, and treatment of child sexual abuse.  The CAC’s goal is to promote the complete healing of children and families who have been victimized by sexual abuse.

Clinical Social Work
Clinical social workers provide crisis intervention, coordination of services, and needs assessment to determine the appropriate referral to either The Children’s Assessment Center or other community resources.

Forensic Interviewing
The forensic interviewing program enables children to disclose on videotape, allowing all professionals involved in the case to view the taped statements, rather than submitting the child to repeated interviews.

Therapeutic & Psychological Services
The Children’s Assessment Center offers services ranging from crisis intervention and psychological evaluations to group, family, and individual therapy for child victims, siblings, and non-offending caregivers.

Medical Services
The University of Texas–Houston Health Science Center provides onsite medical clinic services at The Children’s Assessment Center.The clinic offers sexual abuse examinations, rape-evidence collection kits,DNA blood testing, follow-up exams, and expert testimony in court cases.

The Children’s Assessment Center provides a broad range of training, including seminars to help education, medical, and social work professionals identify the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse and how to respond to a child’s outcry. Other programs focus on law enforcement and legal issues, such as investigation techniques and ways that sexual abuse can impact a child’s testimony in court.Volunteer training is conducted monthly.

MISSION:  To support, enhance, and advocate for the safety and well-being of children and adults in Harris County.

*The Child Protective Services (CPS) program of DFPS investigates reports of suspected abuse and neglect, and provides family preservation, foster care, and adoption services.

Kinder Emergency Shelter
Youth, ages 12 to 17, who require emergency short-term care, are placed in the Emergency Shelter.

Community Youth Services Program (CYS)
The CYS works with school districts and others to prevent at-risk-youth from becoming victims of child abuse, running away, dropping out of school, or from committing delinquent behavior.

TRIAD Prevention Program
TRIAD is a consortium of HCPS, Juvenile Probation, and MHMRA to coordinate resources to serve youth at risk.

Guardianship Program
The Harris County Guardianship Program provides guardianship services for incapacitated and indigent adults by one of four Probate Courts.

Children’s Crisis Care Center (4Cs)
4Cs is a collaboration focused on meeting the needs of each physically abused and neglected child entering CPS custody.

HCPS Clinic
The Clinic is available to all child clients of CPS in Harris County.

BEAR (Be A Resource for CPS Kids)
BEAR is a 501(c) 3 public/private partnership that provides goods and services to children under the care of CPS.

MISSION:  Committed to providing legal, conciliatory, investigative, and probation services in the family courts that focus on the best interest of children.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Division
Family Mediation & Access Facilitation provides mediation of conservatorship, access, child support, and property issues affecting children by attorneys and custody evaluators with advanced mediation training.

Parent Conferences allow both parents and a facilitator to resolve post-divorce access and visitation disputes prior to initiating litigation.

Family Court Services Division
Social Study Investigations provide specially trained custody evaluators who investigate and submit reports to the courts about circumstances and conditions of a child and the home of anyone requesting adoption or contesting conservatorship/access. Issue-based investigations answer specific custody/access questions in an expedited manner.

The Substance Abuse Division coordinates treatment of parents with substance abuse issues through testing, evaluation, and intervention provided by partners.

High Conflict Parenting Classes are offered in partnership with ESCAPE Family Resource Center.

Community Supervision Unit
This unit provides supervision of individuals placed on probation for failure to pay child support or for violation of a visitation order. Probationers are required to report monthly and also might be referred to random drug testing, parenting classes, substance abuse, intervention, or employment assistance.

Legal Enforcement Division
Staff attorneys provide legal representation of Harris County parents to:
  • Establish/enforce child support and visitation;
  • Establish parentage;
  • Terminate income withholding orders;
  • Provide child support accountings; and
  • Conduct attorney consultations.
The Friend of the Court program collects support and ensures visitation for children through monthly monitoring and, as necessary, litigation.

MISSION:  Committed to the protection of the public and provision of services to youth referred for violations of the law.  Services include treatment, training, rehabilitation, and incarceration while emphasizing responsibility and accountability of both parent and child for the child’s conduct.  Offering the most opportunities for youth who demonstrate the greatest potential for positive change.

Intake Screening
Harris County law enforcement officers can take a juvenile to one of two 24-hour units of the department located at Chimney Rock Center and the Juvenile Detention Center.  Intake Screening assesses immediate circumstances and determines if the youth is to be detained or released.

Court Services
Probation services staff prepares a comprehensive profile of a juvenile to aid judges in determining suitable disposition of the youth, either at home under stringent rules of probation or outside his or her home.

Probation Supervision
Most juveniles remain at home under probation supervision, provided from nine offices located throughout Harris County.  Most juveniles are on probation for one year, but the courts may extend probation to the child’s 18th birthday.

Residential Facilities and Related Services
Unfortunately, some youth require removal from the home. Residential facilities include the Burnett-Bayland Reception Center, the Burnett-Bayland Home, the Delta Boot Camp, and the Harris County Youth Village.  Each facility has unique opportunities and programs designed to assist youth in making positive lifestyle changes.

Educational Services
Expelled students and delinquent youth placed in a county-operated institution receive educational services through the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program and the Juvenile Justice Charter School.  The educational programs focus on accelerated academic growth and behavior skills that will help students be successful when they return to their home school.

MISSION:  To provide (or ensure the provision of ) high quality, efficient, and cost-effective services that make it possible for persons with mental disabilities to live in dignity as fully functioning, participative members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay or third party coverage.

Children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances should be able to live in homes with families, develop normal relationships with their peers, attend school, and remain out of hospitals, residential and juvenile justice facilities.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Emergency Services (CAPES)
CAPES is a mobile crisis unit that provides intervention for children and adolescents including assessment, intensive crisis resolution, and community linkage for continuing care.

Family Resource Centers
The centers provide clinic and community-based mental health services to children and their families, including assessment, medication, service collaboration, as well as group, individual, and family counseling.

First Time Offender (FTO) Services
FTO services can help children and adolescents ages 7-17 who have emotional or behavioral problems and who have committed a misdemeanor or delinquent act for the first time.

TRIAD Family Preservation
TRIAD provides services to maintain children in their natural environment by providing assessment, counseling, behavior management, skills training, and service coordination to link them to community resources.

MISSION:  Providing quality, relevant outreach and continuing education programs and services to the people of Texas.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension–Harris County offers practical, how-to education based on university research.  The services are available to residents of Harris County and cover a wide range of subjects from landscaping your yard and managing your family’s money, to developing leadership in young people and being a wise consumer.  In other words, there is something for everyone.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is a member of the Texas A&M University System.

Volunteer Training
Extension provides training to thousands of volunteers each year in topics such as horticulture, youth leadership, natural resources, and life skills.Trained volunteers teach classes and provide hands-on experience to pass on skills and information to local citizens.

Certification Training
Classes are scheduled to provide required certification for employees such as pesticide operators, landscapers, food handlers, and childcare providers.

Workshops and Seminars
Workshops, seminars, result demonstrations, and exhibits are conducted throughout Harris County so that residents can access the educational programs.

Education Through Technology
Access to information is extended through the Web site and distance education.