GetInvolved

Get Involved

Be a part of the solution!

VolunteerTake the first step to becoming a CASA advocate!

NominateIf you know someone who has what it takes to be a CASA advocate, let them know!

DonateSupport Texas CASA & invest in the future of Texas' children!

Click here to view all CASA programs in Texas. For a CASA program outside of Texas, please visit the National CASA website.

The regular 86th Texas Legislative Session ended May 27, 2019. Texas CASA and local CASA programs worked hard this session to pass some important legislation aimed at improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system.

SESSION RECAP

The following is a set of resources for your reference that will help expand your knowledge and understanding of the session’s legislative outcomes:

  • Texas CASA’s public policy team wrote summaries of funding and key policy changes made this legislative session.
  • Texas CASA recorded a webinar describing the outcomes of the legislative session.
  • Texans Care for Children wrote a preliminary recap report on key issues addressed during the session.
  • Texas Network of Youth Services also provided a summary of outcomes for the session.
  • The Children’s Commission provided a summary of legislative changes affecting CPS legal cases.
  • TexProtects released a report highlighting legislative and budgetary decisions from the legislative session related to supporting their vision that every Texas child is safe, nurtured, and resilient.

As new resources become available, they will be added to this section. For example, Texas CASA will be offering a webinar to review the important child welfare outcomes of the 86th Regular Session.


LEGISLATIVE OUTCOMES

Below you will find information regarding bills that we championed throughout the legislative session, bills that we considered a high priority for the child protection system, and other bills we supported. Use the links below to skip to sections of the bill tracker or continue scrolling to see all of the bills listed.


BILLS CHAMPIONED BY TEXAS CASA

HB 72 | RELATING TO THE CONTINUATION OF MEDICAID BENEFITS PROVIDED TO CERTAIN CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES.

Author: Rep. White | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Paxton
Companion: SB 1493

Allows adoptive parents to opt into STAR Health Medicaid for their child if the youth has a chronic health condition. Establishes a program that protects the continuity of care for each child and ensures the child receives their health benefits.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

HB 123 | RELATING TO PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS FOR FOSTER CHILDREN OR YOUTH, HOMELESS CHILDREN OR YOUTH, AND UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH.

Author: Rep. White | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Watson
Companion: SB 481

Allows for foster children, homeless youth, and unaccompanied minors ages 18-21 to receive a copy of their birth certificate without requiring parental consent or any fee. Also grants fee waivers for foster children, homeless youth, and unaccompanied minors when applying for a Driver’s License or ID.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

HB 811 | RELATING TO DETERMINING APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION TO BE TAKEN AGAINST A PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT WHO IS IN FOSTER CARE OR WHO IS HOMELESS.

Author: Rep. White | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. West
Companion: SB 424

Requires public schools to consider whether a child is experiencing homelessness or in foster care when taking disciplinary action.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 1702 | RELATING TO SERVICES PROVIDED FOR STUDENTS AT PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION WHO WERE FORMERLY IN FOSTER CARE.

Author: Rep. Howard | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Hancock
Companion: SB 1357

Requires liaison officers at institutions of higher education who assist students formerly in foster care to obtain the names and information of all current and incoming students who were previously in the conservatorship of the Department. The bill requires the liaison to provide these students with information about support services available to them on campus. The liaison officer may participate in relevant training that serves to better assist children formerly in foster care.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 1709 | RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF A SURROGATE PARENT FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN IN THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES.

Author: Rep. González | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Menéndez
Companion: SB 2399

Requires school districts to notify DFPS if a surrogate parent has been appointed to child with disabilities who is in the conservatorship of the DFPS. Clarifies that if the school district determines that a court-appointed surrogate parent is not properly performing their required duties, the district shall consult with DFPS. If DFPS agrees with the school district that the court-appointed surrogate parent is unable or unwilling to act in the surrogate parent capacity, DFPS must request the court review the appointment of the individual.

Status: Effective Immediately

Back to Top


HIGH PRIORITY BILLS FOR TEXAS CASA

HB 53 | RELATING TO THE TRANSITIONAL LIVING SERVICES PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE.

Author: Rep. Minjarez| Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Powell

Adds topics to be covered under Preparation for Adult Living requirements. Requires PAL to include lessons concerning insurance, taxes and voting.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

HB 475 | RELATING TO INFORMATION FOR FOSTER CHILDREN WHO ARE PREGNANT OR MINOR PARENTS.

Author: Rep. Howard | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Watson
Companion: SB 1290

Requires DFPS to provide parenting information to parenting and pregnant foster youth.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

HB 3390 | RELATING TO IDENTIFYING RELATIVE AND OTHER DESIGNATED CAREGIVERS FOR CHILDREN IN THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES.

Author: Rep. Scott Sanford | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Paxton

Requires guardians ad litem, attorneys ad litem, and CPS caseworkers to ask children, in a developmentally appropriate way, about any adult who could be a caregiver for the child. Also requires judges to ensure that children and youth are being asked about the relationships in their lives at every permanency hearing.

Status: Effective Immediately

Back to Top


BILLS SUPPORTED BY TEXAS CASA

HB 18 | RELATING TO CONSIDERATION OF THE MENTAL HEALTH OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS IN TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS, COUNSELING PROGRAMS, EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, STATE AND REGIONAL PROGRAMS AND SERVICES, AND HEALTH CARE SERVICES FOR STUDENTS AND TO MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID PROGRAM TRAINING AND REPORTING REGARDING LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH AUTHORITY AND SCHOOL DISTRICT PERSONNEL.

Author: Rep. Price | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Watson
Companion: SB 913

Requires certain school employees to receive trauma-informed and grief-informed care training to better serve students dealing with substance use disorders and other behavioral health challenges. Also encourages best practice methods for training, such as positive behavior interventions and support. Additionally, this bill would require appropriate mental health education for students according to grade level.

Status: Effective on 12/1/2019

HB 65 | RELATING TO REPORTING INFORMATION REGARDING PUBLIC SCHOOL DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS.

Author: Rep. Johnson | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. West
Companion: SB 304

Requires schools to track and report information concerning out-of-school suspensions. This is in addition to reporting expulsions and disciplinary alternative education program placements.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 692 | RELATING TO THE SUSPENSION OF A STUDENT WHO IS HOMELESS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOL.

Author: Rep. White | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Watson
Companion: SB 1001

Prohibits public schools from sending homeless youth to out-of-school suspension.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 1884 | RELATING TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO RELATIVE AND OTHER DESIGNATED CAREGIVERS OF CHILDREN IN THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES.

Author: Rep. Minjarez | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Alvarado

Requires the department to inform the designated caregiver or relative of a child of the information necessary to become verified by a licensed child-placing agency to operate an agency foster home and information concerning the permanency care assistance program.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

HB 2184 | RELATING TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT’S TRANSITION FROM AN ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM TO A REGULAR CLASSROOM.

Author: Rep. Allen & Rep. White | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Huffman
Companion: SB 1155

Creates requirements for alternative education programs and public schools to follow when a child is released from an alternative education program. The measures are to ensure a smooth and successful transition for children coming back to school.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 2229 | RELATING TO A REPORT OF INFORMATION CONCERNING JUVENILE OFFENDERS COMMITTED TO THE TEXAS JUVENILE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WHO HAVE BEEN IN FOSTER CARE.

Author: Rep. Jarvis Johnson | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Whitmire

Requires each member of the legislature to receive a copy of the report provided to the governor biennially that contains data concerning the number and percentage of children in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. This bill would also make this report available to the public on the Department’s website.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 2813 | RELATING TO THE STATEWIDE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH COORDINATING COUNCIL.

Author: Rep. Price | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Nelson

Establishes a statewide behavioral health coordinating council to create a statewide strategic approach to behavioral health services. The council would be composed of various government agencies, health-related institutions of higher education, and several state board medical examiners.

Status: Effective immediately

HB 3800 | RELATING TO REQUIRED REPORTING OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES BY PEACE OFFICERS AND PROSECUTORS.

Author: Rep. Thompson | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Huffman
Companion: SB 1920

Requires peace officers who investigate human trafficking offenses to prepare and submit a written report that includes the offense being investigated, description of the alleged prohibited conduct, and identifying data of each person suspected of the crime and each potential victim of the offense.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

SB 355 | RELATING TO DEVELOPING A STRATEGIC PLAN TO ENSURE THE PROVISION OF PREVENTION AND EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES COMPLIES WITH FEDERAL LAW.

Author: Sen. West | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Rep. Klick
Companion: HB 4263

Calls for DFPS to develop a strategic plan for implementing prevention programs that comply with the Federal Family First Prevention Services Act.

Status: Effective immediately

SB 436 | RELATING TO STATEWIDE INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE MATERNAL AND NEWBORN HEALTH FOR WOMEN WITH OPIOID USE DISORDER.

Author: Sen. Nelson | Bill Summary
Sponsors: Rep Price et al.
Companion: HB 1292

Requires the Department of Health & Human Services to develop and implement initiatives to improve screening procedures to better identify and care for women with opioid use disorder. Includes improving continuity of care, optimizing healthcare for pregnant women with opioid dependency issues and increasing access to medicine-assisted treatment facilities for pregnant women.

Status: Effective immediately

SB 568 | RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF CHILD-CARE FACILITIES AND FAMILY HOMES; PROVIDING ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES.

Author: Sen. Huffman | Bill Summary
Sponsors: Rep. Greg Bonnen and Rep. Collier
Companion: HB 4261

Outlines different penalties for childcare facility violations such as abuse, neglect or failure to report incidents to a parent or guardian. Also creates a safety training account to provide funds for safety training materials for licensed childcare facilities.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

SB 633 | RELATING TO AN INITIATIVE TO INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN CERTAIN COUNTIES.

Author: Sen. Kolkhorst | Bill Summary
Sponsors: Rep. Lambert and Rep. Guillen
Companion: HB 1598

Requires local mental health authority groups in rural communities to develop a mental health services development plan. The aim of this plan is to increase access to needed mental health services in rural communities.

Status: Effective immediately

SB 821 | RELATING TO CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTERS.

Author: Sen. Nelson | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Rep. Price

Requires children’s advocacy centers to adopt a multidisciplinary team working protocol that outlines the center’s mission statement, the roles of participating agencies, and the agency’s commitment to the center.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

SB 1231| RELATING TO PROVIDING CERTAIN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CERTAIN CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT INVESTIGATIONS AND ALLEGATIONS.

Author: Sen Bettencourt | Bill Summary
Sponsors: Rep. Meyer and Rep. Leach
Companion: HB 2740

Requires DFPS to notify the director of a private or charter school if the Department determines that an abuse or neglect investigation involves an employee of the school.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

Back to Top


OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

HB 2764 | Relating to minimum standards and caregiver training for substitute care providers for children in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Author: Rep. Frank et al. | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Sen. Hughes

Bill language from SB 1543 added onto bill requiring DFPS investigators that are conducting interviews during a Department investigation to give the interviewee notice of their right to record the interview with an audio recording device.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

SB 11 | Relating to policies, procedures, and measures for school safety and mental health promotion in public schools and the creation of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium.

Author: Sen. Taylor | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Rep. Greg Bonnen et al.

Language from SB 10 amended onto the bill establishing the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium to enhance the state’s ability to address mental health care needs. The TMHCC will be composed of 12 health-related institutions of higher education in Texas.

Status: Effective immediately

SB 781 | Relating to the regulation of child-care facilities.

Author: Sen. Kolkhorst | Bill Summary
Sponsor: Rep. Leman
Companion: HB 1698

Establishes regulations for child safety, runaway prevention, quality contracting, and strategic and operational planning for general residential operations.

Status: Effective on 9/1/19

Back to Top