From the Courtroom to the Capitol: Texas CASA’s Legislative Priorities for the 87th Legislative Session
As the statewide CASA membership organization, Texas CASA’s mission is twofold: To support local CASA volunteer advocacy programs and to advocate for effective public policy for children and families in the child protection system.
In other words, our legislative and policy work is just as core and critical to our work as the trainings, resources and funding we provide to support the CASA programs across the state.
Fueled by our mission, our Public Policy team works to strengthen Texas’ child protection system and help lead the charge towards positive systemic change at the Capitol. Each legislative session, we collaborate with the 72 local CASA programs to develop an informed list of legislative priorities, and champion bills that will improve the way the system works for children and families. In partnership with the CASA Legislative Advocacy Teams across the state, we speak up for children and families in the system by bringing their needs to lawmakers’ attention and providing these decision makers with information, real people’s stories, and both statewide and local perspectives. Check out the difference our advocacy made last legislative session!
Below, you’ll find our Legislative Priorities for the 87th Legislative Session, which will convene in January 2021. These priorities will inform everything we do during the session to ensure CASA has a strong voice and to improve the way the child protection system works for children and families. The priorities also link to explainers, reports, true stories and other resources for those who are interested in better understanding the issues.
TEXAS CASA’S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR THE 87TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Texas CASA Funding Items
- Request an increase in annual legislative funding under HHSC by $2.25 million, in addition to the current annual funding level of $14.95 million, to $17.2 million.
- Support continued legislative funding for Family Finding/Collaborative Family Engagement under DFPS at $643,600 for the 2022-2023 fiscal biennium.
Texas CASA Legislative Policy Priorities
- Support policies that preserve families, promote family reunification when possible, and minimize the time children spend in foster care.
- Support funding and policy changes to fully implement the federal Family First Prevention Services Act within a reasonable timeframe.
- Support needed state funding for DFPS priorities and adequate foster care and kinship provider rates.
- Integrate policies and practices that respect and elevate child, youth and family voice in all aspects of the child protection system.
- Support policies to recognize and address disparities and disproportionality in the child protection system and achieve equity for youth and families in vulnerable populations.
- Improve services and supports for older youth in foster care, and youth transitioning out of foster care.
- Support continued state funding to enable the successful expansion of Community-Based Care, and ensure transparency and performance accountability.
- Strengthen policies and services in the STAR Health Medicaid program that cover children and youth currently or formerly in foster care.
- Support necessary changes to the Texas Family Code to ensure children and youth with dual status in foster care and the juvenile justice system receive efficient and effective services and supports.
- Improve access to high-quality treatment services and supports for children, parents and families affected by substance use disorder and mental illness.
- Strengthen policies and programs that improve educational outcomes for children and youth currently or formerly in foster care.
- Support funding and policy changes that help prevent human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth, along with adequate funding for services and supports that meet the needs of survivors of trafficking.
- Expand transportation options for children, parents and family members to help children stay in their school of origin, to support parental and sibling visitation, and to access services.
- Support funding and policy changes that promote the development of a trauma-informed child protection system.
As we get closer to the session convening in January, stay tuned for in-depth updates, a CASA and child welfare bill tracker and more. Please contact the Public Policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you have questions or would like to join or start a Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT). Check out this video, Rock the Capitol!, to learn more about LATs.
Thank you for your support of CASA and the children and families we serve. We couldn’t do this critical work without you!