Testimony to the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee.
The limited coordination and data sharing between the juvenile justice and child welfare systems results in costly, and sometimes counterproductive, duplication of services and worse outcomes for youth. To improve effectiveness and efficiency, Texas must improve information sharing between the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
HB 3859 has 3 provisions aimed at ensuring children’s rights are protected. However, we are concerned that HB 3859 could be interpreted to limit children’s rights or hurt a child’s well-being based on a provider’s religious beliefs. We recommend 2 changes to ensure HB 3859 will not allow providers to discriminate against children for religious reasons.
Testimony to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Texans Care for Children firmly supports SB 818 because it takes specific steps to update and clarify minimum standards for nutrition and active play – areas already regulated through child care licensing standards – to ensure more children have a healthy start in life.
Testimony to the House Committee on Human Services
We support expanding community-based foster care. However, that expansion must proceed with caution and clarity. To reach that goal, we support strengthening HB 6 provisions regarding the timeline for expanding community-based care, oversight, qualifications of an SSCC, rate setting, contingency plans, and contract compliance. We look forward to working with the author and the Committee to address these issues and ensure next steps in community foster care are in the best interests of children.
Testimony to House Appropriations Article III Subcommittee
High-quality early education and support for students facing non-academic challenges are critical for ensuring student success. We urge the Subcommittee to maintain the current level of annual funding for the high-quality grant program by providing $236 million and direct TEA to develop a plan to coordinate resources available for addressing non-academic barriers, among other steps.
We urge the Committee to withdraw the across-the-board cut contained in Article IX of the Senate budget and consider each program’s funding needs on a case-by-case basis. The proposed $1 billion cut would undermine the state’s efforts to improve child protection. It would lead to Medicaid cuts far in excess of the controversial therapy rate cuts for children with disabilities. It would also make it harder to reach full funding for the new pre-k grant program and other services that are critical to the success of children.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide input regarding the Senate Finance Committee’s filed budget bill for 2018-2019, Senate Bill 1, and in particular Article VI (Natural Resources). I write to urge you to support increased funding for “Texans Feeding Texans” (Surplus Agricultural Product Grant) to $10M for Fiscal Year 2018-19 (SB 1, Article VI-7, Rider 10). This funding supports Texas food banks in their commitment to help needy Texans reach their full potential for a healthy, productive life.
Testimony to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
SB 11 addresses significant problems facing Texas’ foster care system including capacity, health screening, and foster care facility investigations. Many of the proposed changes will help keep children in foster care safe and healthy. Further, SB 11 has several provisions that focus on preventing child abuse and neglect in the first place, thereby reducing the need for the foster care system. Although SB11 is a strong bill, many of the solutions it presents raise questions that must be addressed to ensure the success of community-based foster care. We support SB 11 and look forward to working with you to answer questions that will strengthen the bill moving forward.
Every school day, teachers, counselors, nurses, principals, and coaches interact with students experiencing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges that interfere with learning. Just as Texas needs to help schools better address academic barriers to learning, it must also help schools implement strategies and classroom conditions that address non-academic barriers to learning.
The state’s new pre-k grant program, established by HB 4, is off to a strong start in its first year. However, the introduced budget bill falls short of maintaining the current $118 million per year, putting the program at risk just as it is getting started and undermining efforts to ensure that students enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed.
Comments to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Texans Care for Children strongly supports HHSC’s proposed adjustment related to Medicaid payments for human donor milk. This critical step will increase the availability and use of human milk in neonatal units (NICUs) and, in turn, improve infant health, prevent infections and illnesses in babies, improve child growth and development, and reduce costs for the state.