The Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee considered a bill to reform the state agency charged with overseeing child welfare and managing the foster system. SB 11, by Committee Chair Dr. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, would direct the Department of Family and Protective Services to create standards to transition to privately managed, non-profit service providers of the foster care system. This idea was tested in a pilot program in the North Texas region to positive results, and the state will now look at expanding that program state-wide.
Additionally, the bill would improve health care for foster kids, requiring a child get a full medical examination within three days of removal from an abusive situation and would create a pilot program to test the viability of a private non-profit case management system for the most sick or disabled foster kids. The HHS committee didn’t move this bill, and Schwertner said at the end of the meeting that he will continue to work with stakeholders to craft a good solution to fix foster and child protective services in Texas.
“We are going to work and work and work until we get this right,” he said.