The regular 85th Texas Legislative Session ended May 29, 2017. During the session, lawmakers worked hard to improve the state’s child welfare system, adopting several bills focused on young Texans in foster care. While there is still more work to be done to ensure kids in the state’s care receive the support and services they need to thrive, a solid foundation has been set for improved outcomes for children and youth. We hope to build on these successes moving forward.
Please contact the Public Policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
child welfare bills of the 85th texas legislature
Texas CASA has compiled important information and resources to help CASA program staff, volunteer advocates, and other interested parties understand these recent legislative changes and their impact on CASA.
All of these resources and more can be accessed through our 85th Session Legislative Outcomes page. We hope you take some time to review and utilize these important resources as they will help expand your knowledge of the impact and changes to come for CASA and the children you serve.
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.
- HHSC Exceptional Item Request by Texas CASA
- CVC Funding Request by Texas CASA
- Texas CASA Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) Initiative
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.