This week the House Human Services held a hearing on three bills related to Child Protective Services. The Committee approved HB 4, a smart bill that provides additional support to grandparents and other "kinship" caregivers who take in children after they've been removed from their parents. (Consider thanking the author, Rep. Cindy Burkett, here on Twitter.) The Committee also approved HB 5, which would make DFPS an independent state agency outside of HHSC.
The Committee has yet to vote on the third bill, HB 6. However, a similar bill, SB 11, was voted out of the Senate Committee this morning. These bills expand on the community-based foster care system established through Foster Care Redesign. Some refer to it as "privatization." As we said in our testimony, we are supportive of the concept, but legislators must take the time to get it right rather than rushing the legislation through on a fast-track schedule.
Meanwhile, it's also critical that the Legislature provide additional funding for foster care reimbursement rates. It's a message we'll deliver to budget-writers during tomorrow's House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.