Recent media articles by the San Antonio Express-News and The Dallas Morning News have raised concerns about overall foster care system capacity and the increasing number of children without placements, including in regions where Community-Based Care (CBC) has rolled out.
Across Texas last month, 186 children spent at least two nights in offices or other settings under staff supervision—more than in any other month in at least five years. With COVID-19, the ongoing federal lawsuit and the historic winter storm, DFPS and child placing agencies have struggled to maintain and recruit enough foster care placement capacity.
Legislators and DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters are concerned about insufficient foster care capacity, including the operations of Single Source Continuum Contractors under CBC. There has been discussion about problems with Family Tapestry’s services in Region 8A (Bexar County) where capacity has been insufficient and some children have remained without placements.* Senate Health and Human Services Chairwoman Lois Kolkhorst has proposed legislation, SB 1896, that would shift CBC oversight to a new independent office that focuses on the transition from the Legacy system to the new CBC model with hopes to improve the transition process. With rising concerns on the capacity crisis and few days left in the legislative session, lawmakers are still deciding how to fund CBC rollout to successfully expand in new catchment areas and to move to Stage II.
*NOTE: As this posting was being finalized, reports in the media began to emerge that Family Tapestry has notified DFPS that it is terminating its contract with the state as Community-Based Care provider in Bexar County. It is expected DFPS will assume responsibility for the duties, obligations and powers that Family Tapestry is relinquishing. Be aware that the article linked, while brief, has accounts of harm to children that you may find upsetting.
We will continue to keep you updated about these concerns. Email the Public Policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.