Budget Recommendations on Foster Care, Family Preservation, and More

State agencies are currently developing the budget requests they will submit to the Texas Legislature ahead of the 2025 legislative session. Known as Legislative Appropriations Requests (LARs), these requests will guide lawmakers as they write the 2026-2027 state budget.

We recently delivered a memo to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) urging the agency to include eight specific budget requests in the LAR it submits to the Legislature.

Our eight budget recommendations are outlined below. You can also read our full memo here:

The Legislature has shown a growing interest in investing in programs that help children stay safely with their families and avoid entering foster care. Legislators have recognized the trauma and harm that children and families often experience when kids are removed from their homes, as well as the challenges that children and the state experience when more kids are in the state’s foster care system. While there are instances when DFPS must remove children for their safety, the three recommendations outlined below offer ways to keep more children safe with their families.

1) Request general revenue funding to continue the family preservation services offered through the Texas Family First Pilots.

2) Request funding to strengthen and expand the availability of evidence-based family preservation services.

3) Request funding to facilitate the statewide scaling of the Alternative Response (AR) pilot in Region 10 (El Paso) and the comprehensive training of Child Protective Investigations (CPI) caseworkers in the principles of alternative response.

Strengthen support for relatives and family friends caring for children who would otherwise be in foster care.

4) Request funding to support unverified or informal kinship caregivers.

Enhance support for children and families who are involved with DFPS.

5) Request funds so DFPS can staff certified family partners and youth peer support specialists at the Department to enhance support for children and families involved with the child welfare system.

Improve infrastructure at DFPS to ensure children in foster care are safe, stable, and well-supported.

6) Request funds to maintain the Legislature’s investment in Texas Child-Centered Care (T3C), previously known as “rate modernization.”

7) Request funds to overhaul the DFPS IMPACT data system, as envisioned in the DFPS Workgroup recommendations.

Increase investment in programs supporting youth who may age out of foster care.

8) Restore lost funding for Transitional Living Services.