Austin American-Statesman – October 21, 2015
by Alberta Phillips
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick continued rolling out his interim charges for various Senate committees with a welcome focus on health and human services, including foster care children, aging Texans and people struggling with mental illness. Charges also include a monitoring charge to test reforms to Child Protective Services and initiatives to reduce Medicaid fraud.
A very welcome – and needed — charge Patrick issued centers on reducing recurrence of child abuse and neglect; addressing high-acuity needs of foster care children and strengthening the state’s adoption process to improve the long-term success of adoption placements. Patrick also is calling for a review of how foster care children exit the system and recommendations to smooth transitions for those who age-out of foster care.
While we’re on the topic of children, it’s a good time to note an organization that is in the forefront of advocating for Texas children. The nonprofit, Texans Care for Children, has put together some meaningful strategies for improving the state’s foster care system. The nonprofit points out that 11 to 37 percent of youth who are aging out of foster care are experiencing homelessness. Also, the obesity rates for foster children is much higher than they are for other children. Those are problems within the reach of lawmakers to fix – if they have the will.
For a full list of all charges for health and human services and transportation, go to https://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/2015/10/13/lt-governor-patrick-announces-fourth-installment-of-interim-charges/