Texas CASA Testifies in Support of DFPS, HHSC LARs for 2020-2021 Biennium

HHSC and DFPS have released their two-year Legislative Appropriations Requests (LARs) for the 2020-2021 biennium and recently presented them before representatives of the Governor’s office and the Legislative Budget Board (LBB). Agency LARs are written in accordance with instructions from the Governor and the LBB, and they consist of a base budget that largely maintains current services and allows agencies to submit Exceptional Items to request additional funding to meet important unmet needs.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) submitted an Exceptional Item budget request as part of its LAR for a combined $4 million per year for CASA and Children’s Advocacy Center programs statewide. This is $2 million in additional funding for both CASA and CAC. Texas CASA had submitted a request for $2.25 million in additional funding for CASA programs for the FY 2020-2021 state budget, so the HHSC proposal is a good starting point as the legislature begins its long process to develop a two-year budget for the biennium.

DFPS has also published the LAR for FY 2020-2021. The baseline request for FY 2020-21 totals $4.2 billion in all funds ($2.4 billion in state funds), a net increase of $53.8 million. This is a 12.9-percent increase compared to projected 2018-19 expenditures and includes increases to staffing, four additional catchment areas for Community Based Care, secondary trauma funding and more.

Texas CASA Public Policy Coordinator Sarah Crockett testified after DFPS presented on their LAR on Sept. 14. Her testimony supported maintaining current DFPS funding for Collaborative Family Engagement and supported other DFPS funding priorities. At the HHSC LAR hearing before the LBB on Sept. 19, Texas CASA Public Affairs Executive Director Andy Homer testified in support of the Exceptional Item for CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Centers.

For questions regarding the budget or LARs, email the Public Policy team at [email]publicpolicy@texascasa.org[/email].