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How our legislative & public policy leadership is inspiring positive change in the child welfare system. Below you will find all of the latest Capitol Beat stories – to browse other categories, return to The CASA Voice home page or use the navigation list in the right column.

Be sure to keep informed of the latest state and national child welfare news coverage on the News Clips of Interest page!

Webinar: Understanding & Addressing Child Sexual Aggression

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has been working with Texas CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas to develop new guidelines regarding sexually aggressive behavior among children and youth in the Texas foster care system. Those new guidelines are rolling out statewide on Dec. 1, and it is important for CASA volunteers and… Read more »

State Leaders Continue to Express Concerns about CPS Problems; Commissioner Whitman Responds

After recent media reports about serious problems at CPS regarding locating and investigating reports of child abuse and neglect within legally required timelines, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus jointly issued this letter to DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman detailing their concerns and requesting a plan to address the problems. In addition, the… Read more »

New Online Trauma-Informed Advocacy Training Available

Texas CASA is excited to share a new online training resource, Trauma-Informed Advocacy for Children and Youth in Foster Care, featuring Elizabeth Watkins, J.D., Regional Attorney for the Department of Family and Protective Services. Following the Trauma-Informed Care survey and report issued last year, Texas CASA, the Texas Children’s Commission and the Shield Ayers Foundation partnered… Read more »

LATs Busy Prepping for the Legislative Session

Texas CASA has been busy preparing for the upcoming 85th Legislative Session, and so have our fabulous Legislative Advocacy Teams (LATs)! In the last couple of weeks, Texas CASA has visited CASA of Central Texas and Child Advocates of Fort Bend to train their teams on our legislative priorities. CASA of Central Texas Child Advocates of… Read more »

Children’s Policy Forum in Amarillo Oct. 24

Texans Care for Children, along with Children at Risk and the Amarillo Area Foundation, will be hosting Kids & The Capitol: A Preview of Top Children’s Issues Facing the Texas Legislature in 2017, on Oct. 24 in Amarillo. This policy forum will include a preview and panel discussion of upcoming legislative issues, the release of Children at… Read more »

HHSC LAR Includes Exceptional Item Funding Request for CASA & CACs

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) recently submitted their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for the next two-year budget cycle (Fiscal Years 2018-19). Although CASA programs have historically been funded under the Office of Attorney General, funding and oversight of CASA programs and the Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) were moved under HHSC in 2015 by… Read more »

Legislative Advocacy Teams in Action!

The Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT) from CASA of McLennan and Hill Counties recently met with Senator Brian Birdwell to discuss Texas CASA’s 85th Legislative Session Priorities. “A big thanks to our friends from CASA of McLennan and Hill Counties for making time to visit with me this week. Your communities are grateful for the important work… Read more »

DFPS Releases Legislative Appropriations Request for 2018-19 Biennium

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) recently released its Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for the 2018-19 fiscal biennium. State leaders exempted Child Protective Services programs from a 4-percent spending reduction that most other agencies are required to submit. DFPS requested $3.5 billion as its baseline funding for the next biennium but also submitted $534… Read more »

HHSC Releases Legislative Appropriations Request for FY 2018-19

The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for Fiscal Years 2018-2019 on Friday, Sept. 16. CASA funding was moved under HHSC last session in Senate Bill 354. Texas CASA is still reviewing the LAR, but some highlights are below: Our baseline funding under HHSC was not subjected to the 4-percent funding reductions that… Read more »

DFPS Announces 3 New CPS Regional Leaders

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) recently announced new Child Protective Services (CPS) leaders for Central Texas, the Gulf Coast and the Rio Grande Valley. The three new regional directors are Leshia Fisher for Region 6B, Marta Talbert for Region 7, and Tara O’Connell for Region 11. They began their new responsibilities on Monday,… Read more »