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The Texas 85th Legislative Session convened on January 10, 2017, and Texas CASA is hard at work championing child welfare bills and our legislative priorities that broadly recognize the need to systemically improve the child protection system in a variety of ways. Throughout the session, this page will be updated on the status of our legislative priorities and all relevant bills. To see our past legislative success, check out the 84th Legislative Session Bill Tracker. Please contact the Public Policy team at publicpolicy@texascasa.org with any questions.

child welfare bills of the 85th texas legislature

On January 10, 2017, the Texas Legislature got back to work for Texans young and old, which means Texas CASA is also working hard to advocate for important child welfare bills and issues.

Visit our Bill Tracker to find information regarding bills that we are focused on championing through the legislative process, bills that we consider high priority for the child protection system, and other bills we support. We will be updating the bill tracker frequently to notify the Texas CASA network regarding the status of each of these bills in the legislative process, and regarding other bills we think can create meaningful change for the children we advocate for.

Check out the Bill Tracker!


Texas CASA Legislative Priorities for the 85th Legislative Session

State Funding Issues
  • Increase state funding for CASA programs under the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) from $13 million to $15 million annually for the 2018-2019 fiscal biennium to support local CASA program growth in order to serve more children.
  • Seek continued financial support through DFPS to expand Texas CASA’s Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) program.
  • Support state funding to lower CPS caseloads and increase caseworker compensation to help reduce turnover.
Additional information:
Systemic Changes to the Child Protection System
  • Improve foster care placement decisions to reduce disruptions and increase placement proximity to children’s families and home communities.
  • Increase foster care capacity to provide appropriate caregiving in the least restrictive setting.
  • Promote trauma-informed understanding of children and trauma-informed care throughout the child protection system.
  • Consolidate all child abuse and neglect investigations under CPS before Child Care Licensing (CCL) is moved to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
  • Increase timely access to needed medical, mental health and other support services for children and families involved with CPS.
  • Promote policies and legislation that hold the best interest of the child as the primary determinant in placement and other CPS decisions and respect the voice of children when making policy decisions and recommendations.
  • Support policies and legislation to improve permanency outcomes for youth aged 14 and older in state care, and provide better services and support for youth who age out of care.
Court and Legal Practices and Educational POLICIES
  • Support efforts to improve docketing and other court practices in order to recognize and accommodate the special needs of the child protection system.
  • Support policies and legislation to improve the quality and funding for legal representation of children in the child protection system.
  • Support criminal justice system reforms to remedy legal barriers which disproportionately impact children and youth in state care.
  • Support legislation and policies that improve educational outcomes for children and youth in state care.

Click the button below to download a PDF version of Texas CASA’s Legislative Priorities.

Download Texas CASA’s Legislative Priorities