Leadership In Public Policy

Texas CASA works to make sure that the voices of children in the child welfare system are heard not only in the courts but also at the Texas Capitol. Texas CASA engages in legislative advocacy efforts to better enable CASA volunteers to serve these children through the promotion of public policies.

Latest Public Policy Updates

Legislative Advocacy Teams (LATs)

Legislative Advocacy Teams (LATs) work with Texas CASA and their local CASA programs to build relationships with legislators, develop policy agendas to improve the child welfare system in partnership with Texas CASA, and motivate and empower others in their program to advocate for those improvements. LATs are led by volunteer advocates and/or board members, and work with staff liaisons in each CASA program.

As a part of a LAT, CASA volunteers are able to advocate for children on a larger scale and work toward solutions to systemic problems they encounter in their role. This gives them the chance to be a voice of change not only for the children they serve, but for every child in the child protection system!

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45

Legislative
Advocacy
Teams

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93

Office visits during
CASA Day at the
Capitol

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260

Bills tracked
during 87th
Session

Legislative efforts

Texas CASA is a leader in working to assure sound public policies in Texas on issues affecting the child welfare system, the well-being of children, and youth in state custody and other policy areas related to our mission.

Along with the local CASA programs and their volunteers, Texas CASA engages in a variety of efforts to study, develop and change public policies. Additionally, Texas CASA staff members conduct research, collaborate with other advocacy and stakeholder groups, lead special task forces, and engage in other processes to develop and impact policy.

88th Legislative Session

The 88th Legislative Session convenes on January 10, 2023. Texas CASA along with the Legislative Advocacy Teams will be advocating for systemic change on behalf of children and families.

Bill Tracker

Here we will be tracking important legislation impacting the Texas child welfare system and the children and families involved.

CASA Day at the Capitol

We will be back in person at the Texas Capitol for CASA Day at the Capitol. We hope you will join us!

Legislative Session Priorities & Outcomes

TEXAS CASA’S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR THE 88TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

1. Texas CASA supports policies that preserve families, promote family reunification when possible, and minimize the time children spend in foster care. Learn more.

  • Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act and expanding access and funding for evidence-based mental health, substance abuse treatment and in-home parenting skills.
  • Strengthening the children’s mental health service array to prevent entries into foster care because their parents cannot find or access needed mental health care for their children

2. Texas CASA supports funding and policies that provide a child access to safe, stable placements in their community that meet their individual need and support their permanency goals. Learn more.

  • Increasing the number of Treatment Foster Care Homes, which allow children and youth to receive intensive, trauma-informed mental health services in a family-like setting.
  • Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act and building upon the Qualified Residential Treatment Program pilot to increase the number of short-term, high-quality treatment beds available to the highest-needs children and youth in foster care.
  • Implementing the recommendations from the Senate Bill 1575 workgroup to improve the quality and oversight of traditional residential treatment centers in Texas. Read the SB 1575 Report here.

  • Implementing the newly proposed Foster Care Rate Methodology, which will tie funding to providers based on the services and supports they offer to children, rather than relying on an outdated level of care rating system.

3. Texas CASA supports policies that allow CASA volunteers to be appointed by judges to represent the best interest of children involved with the child protection system, whether as part of a Suit Affecting the Child Parent Relationship or motions from the court. Learn more.

  • Amend Chapter 264.601 of the Texas Family Code to allow CASA programs to utilize state funding for all child welfare cases, including Court-Ordered Services cases.
  • Amend Chapter 107.031 of the Texas Family Code to clarify the types of cases in which judges can appoint volunteer advocates, including CASA.
  • Amend Chapter 264.203 of the Texas Family Code to allow optional appointment of guardians ad litem to Court-Ordered Services cases to help ensure that children receive best-interest representation in their child welfare case, regardless of whether or not a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship has been filed.

4. Texas CASA supports funding and policies that further support and encourage placement with relative caregivers. Learn more.

  • Increase the daily reimbursement rate for kinship caregivers.
  • Allow kinship caregivers, regardless of whether they are licensed, to receive the maximum daily reimbursement rate.
  • Increase one-time funding and access to concrete services, such as diapers, beds and clothing, especially early in a placement.
  • Streamline the process and requirements for accessing childcare and respite care for kinship caregivers so that it is more readily and more widely available.
  • Support the expansion of Kinship Navigator programs, which help provide caregivers with information, education and referral to a wide range of services and supports.
  • Streamline and improve the licensing process to allow more kinship caregivers to become licensed foster parents and receive full state and federal foster care benefits.

5. Texas CASA supports continued funding from the Health and Human Services Commission and the Department of Family and Protective Services.

  • Texas CASA supports continued funding from the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) of $31.9M for the 2024-2025 biennium.
  • Texas CASA supports continued legislative funding for Family Finding/Collaborative Family Engagement under the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) in the amount of $643,600 for the 2024-2025 biennium.
  • Texas CASA supports restoration of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds, if a reduction occurs.

    Reports