FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/30/2017
BIPARTISAN HOUSE WORKGROUP SEEKS TO IMPROVE CPS AND FOSTER CARE SYSTEM
AUSTIN--A bipartisan group of Texas House members assembled by Speaker Joe Straus and led by Human Services Committee Chairman Richard Pena Raymond announced they have worked together to propose changes to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS} in order to improve Child Protective Services (CPS} and the Foster Care system of Texas. The group will be introducing bills in the next few days and continues to work on other legislative proposals for consideration by their colleagues.
"Speaker Straus, the Governor and Lt.Governor, as well as countless Legislators have indicated making sure Texas has one of the best CPS and Foster Care systems in the country is one of the top priorities for this Legislative Session," said Chairman Raymond. "This bipartisan group is a good indication that this legislature is committed to reaching that goal," added Raymond.
The workgroup is comprised of Richard Pena Raymond (Laredo), Eddie Rodriguez (Austin), Cindy Burkett (Sunnyvale ),Mary Gonzalez (EI Paso), Gene Wu (Houston), Tony Dale (Cedar Park), Rick Miller (Sugar Land), Toni Rose (Dallas), James Frank (Wichita Falls), Stephanie Klick (Fort Worth), Mark Keough (The Woodlands), and Ina Minjarez (San Antonio}.
The group has agreed on legislation that will improve the CPS and Foster Care systems in Texas by reorganizing the DFPS, moving it out of the Health and Human Services Commission and making it a stand-alone agency. The Commissioner of DFPS would then become a direct appointee of the Governor.
Other forthcoming proposals include expanding Kinship Care placements, which have proven to be the most successful way to help children who are in the Foster Care system. The reforms would also enable the agency to provide assistance, if it is deemed necessary, in order for the placement to occur.
Also being considered by the group is a more advanced community based services system of support for placement of children in Foster Care, instead of simply trying to redesign Foster Care.
The workgroup will continue to look at other reforms and changes in order to improve the system from top to bottom.
Contact: Abbie Kamin