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SAN ANTONIO – The Children's Shelter awarded Texas House Speaker Joe Straus with the Angel of the Shelter Award on Thursday for his leadership in protecting children from abuse across Texas.

Under the leadership of Speaker Straus in 2017, the Legislature took significant steps to more quickly and effectively protect children who are at risk of abuse. For example, the Legislature authorized the hiring of more than 1,400 additional Child Protective Services caseworkers in order to provide stability at the agency and reduce caseloads. The Legislature also provided additional support for kinship caregivers and foster families. In addition, Speaker Straus led the effort to reform the state's mental health system and provide additional funding for needed services and mental health facilities.

Last fall, Speaker Straus created the House Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse. Research has shown that, when children die from abuse in Texas, the parent or caregiver is often under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"I'm honored by this recognition because the Children's Shelter is so important to our community," Speaker Straus said. "I'm proud of the steps we've taken to protect children and improve the foster care system, but there is more work to be done. I will keep working with the Children's Shelter and others to make Texas a safer place for all children."

The Children's Shelter provides comprehensive care for abused and neglected children in San Antonio and surrounding areas. It offers emergency shelter and residential treatment for children in crisis, helps children find permanent homes through foster care and adoption, and provides specialized mental health services for children impacted by maltreatment. The Children's Shelter is a leader in child abuse and neglect prevention programs that provide families with education and support to break the cycle of abuse.

"The Children's Shelter is honored to be recognizing Speaker of the House Joe Straus, as he has been a champion for children and families, not only for his district, but the entire state," said Annette Rodriguez, President/CEO of The Children's Shelter. "The work he has done as Speaker has allowed The Children's Shelter an opportunity to be much more impactful to serve children and families in Bexar County."

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