AUSTIN – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio applauded Wednesday the signing of bills that aim to improve Child Protective Services and the state’s foster care system.
Leading up to this year’s legislative session, high-profile and tragic incidents put a spotlight on problems at CPS. Much of the focus was on high turnover among caseworkers tasked with protecting children from abuse. As a result, legislators approved the hiring of more than 1,400 additional caseworkers and authorized higher salaries in order to reduce turnover and bring stability to the workforce.
On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott signed a number of key CPS reforms into law: House Bill 4, providing additional support for family members who care for relatives who’ve been removed from their homes; House Bill 5, establishing the Department of Family and Protective Services as a standalone state agency; House Bill 7, reforming the court processes and procedures for child welfare suits; and Senate Bill 11, expanding community-based care.
Many of the ideas signed into law Wednesday came from a bipartisan House work group that was convened by Speaker Straus last year.
"I want to thank Governor Abbott for signing this legislation and for making CPS reform an emergency item,” Speaker Straus said. “I especially want to thank the many legislators in the Texas House who have worked on these issues for more than a year. House members rose to the challenge, worked across party lines and delivered legislation that will go a long way toward protecting vulnerable children. These were among the most important bills before the Legislature this year, and the House is very proud of the action we took."
contact: Jason Embry