Texas CASA’s Public Policy team has been hard at work to ensure the success of the bills we are championing this session. Several of our champion bills have passed out of their chamber of origin and are headed to committees on the other side. The Senate has not been hearing many CPS bills this session, we believe in part because the 85th Legislative Session was so focused on those issues. However, we are optimistic that our House bills will be heard and keep moving, especially with some help and support by our Legislative Advocacy Teams! Although not all of our bills are progressing as quickly as we would hope, there is still time to amend sections of those bills onto other bills that seem likely to pass. See below for a list of bills that have already passed out of their originating chambers.
- HB 123 – This bill by Rep. James White would allow children and youth in foster care or experiencing homelessness to receive a copy of their birth certificate without a fee or parental consent. Additionally, this bill would grant fee waivers for these youths’ driver’s licenses or IDs. HB 123 passed unanimously in the House and has been referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the Senate.
- HB 811 – This bill by Rep. White would require public schools to consider whether a child is experiencing homelessness or is in foster care when taking disciplinary action against them. HB 811 passed in the House and has been referred to the Administration Committee in the Senate.
- HB 1702 – This bill by Rep. Donna Howard would require foster care liaison officers at institutions of higher education to obtain the names and information of all current and incoming students who were previously in the conservatorship of the state. This bill would be immensely important for youth who were in foster care and are attending college to ensure that they are set up for success. HB 1702 passed out of the House and is awaiting referral to the Senate.
- HB 1709 – This clean-up bill by Rep. Mary Gonzalez amends the surrogate parent statute and requires school districts to notify DFPS if a surrogate parent has been appointed to child with disabilities who is in the conservatorship of the state. HB 1709 passed unanimously through the House and has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
- SB 1535 – This bill by Sen. José Menendez requires better communication between DFPS, Child Care Licensing and the Foster Care Ombudsman (FCO). It also requires Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCCs) under Community Based Care to give the FCO access to any internal records on children that are stored outside of the DFPS IMPACT system. SB 1535 passed unanimously in the Senate and has been received in the House.
To follow these and other child welfare bills, check out our Bill Tracker or email [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email] with questions.