Texas legislators focusing on failures of foster system
More than 100 bills have been filed to try and correct errors this session
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock ranks No. 2 in child abuse rates in Texas. In Lubbock this year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the South Plains is helping more than 2,000 children escape abuse and neglect.
Child advocates are short-staffed and overworked, causing a failed system to suffer even more. They have been asking for a change from lawmakers for years.
“Every two years we go into session and we go in there with our fingers crossed, knees bent, heads down, praying,” CEO and president of Children’s Home of Lubbock, Jimmy Moore said.
Legislators are planning to strengthen and expand their community based care program, first introduced in 2017 to keep foster children closer to home while in state care. The Department of Family Services used to handle all cases until this program, now it’s all on the backs of the community, but rural communities can’t keep up with demand with little resources and low funds.
“What most people don’t realize is that we fundraise sometimes more than half of what it takes to take care of kids,” Jimmy Moore said.
The Texas House and Senate have set aside $128 million in their preliminary budgets to expand community-based care. Moore says, he hopes this session will give communities the resources they need to care for the state’s most vulnerable population.
“We’re getting some of the highest acuity of kids coming through now. We feel like there’s not enough money in the state of Texas to take care of them.”
The legislature plans to move into the next stage of the community-based care plan 18 months after implementation for each region.
That’s when the state will evaluate foster homes and pay out incentives for high performers.
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