The 86th Legislative Session adjourned on Monday, May 27, 2019. The Appropriations Bill (House Bill 1) was passed and has been sent to the Governor. Now, the Governor has 20 days after the final day of the session to sign or veto the bill. If neither action is taken, the bill becomes law without the Governor’s signature.
Below are some of the funding decisions relevant to CASA, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the children and families we serve.
CASA Program Funding
CASA will get an increase of $3.5 million for 2020-21, taking our annual state funding from $13.2 million to $14.95 million! The House had funded our full request of a $4.5 million increase for the biennium, but the Senate had come in much lower in their version of the bill. The $3.5 million represents a compromise between the two funding amounts.
Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE)
Texas CASA had not requested an increase in funding for CFE, but had requested that the funding levels for 2018-19 be maintained in the 2020-21 biennium. Both chambers kept that number in their initial bill, and there was not great deal of discussion around this issue. Therefore the funding, which is provided through the DFPS budget, will be maintained at $643,600 for the upcoming biennium!
Other funding decisions that may be of interest are below:
Community Based Care (CBC)
For the 2020-21 biennium, the conference committee chose to fund CBC in the five catchment areas already under contract or in the process of selecting a contractor – Regions 1, 2, 3B, 8A and 8B – at a cost of $224,629,320 in 2020 and $238,995,410 in 2021. In addition, they have approved $64,338,743 in funding for Stage 2 of CBC in the three regions that are already under contract – 2, 3B and 8A. This means that there will be 5 total regions of the state under contract for CBC in the next two years, and three of those have been granted funding to take over case management responsibilities from the State, beginning with Region 3B. Texas CASA will continue to support the local CASA programs as the system undergoes these major changes.
Preparation for Adult Living (PAL)
DFPS was provided with $500,000 in additional funding for PAL purchased services. In addition, the agency was provided an additional $1,551,150 for additional PAL staff and Regional Youth Specialists for independent living assessments.
Prevention & Early Intervention
DFPS was provided $1,455,749 to expand the HOPES (Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Support) program into additional regions. The conference committee also provided the Texas Nurse-Family Partnership program an additional $2.24 million to expand into additional regions. In addition, the conference committee recommended funding a $2 million pilot program to improve outcomes for children at highest risk of re-entering the child welfare system.
Medicaid Coverage Evaluation Issue
What’s more, conferees for HB 1 adopted the senate’s rider that requires the Health and Human Services Commission to evaluate the number of youth formerly in care who do not continuously renew their Medicaid coverage until age 26. The Commission will submit a report to the legislature no later than Nov. 1 of each fiscal year. This rider will assess the need for future legislation that would streamline the renewal process for this population.
If you have any questions about the budget, contact the Public Policy team at [email]email@example.com[/email].