Our Memo to TX Leaders on Implementing Expert Panel’s Foster Care Plan

This week, as we pushed back against the state’s deeply disturbing efforts to investigate families of transgender children, we also continued our work to address the ongoing crisis in Texas foster care.

We delivered a memo to Governor Abbott, DFPS, HHSC, and legislative leaders about how to effectively leverage the recommendations from the Expert Panel in the foster care lawsuit against the state. State leaders and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit selected the independent panel to identify action steps for ending the crisis of children without placement in Texas foster care.


The road map provided by the Expert Panel is an opportunity to keep more kids safely with their parents and out of foster care. For kids who do enter foster care, the recommendations are an opportunity to provide the healing, stabilizing experience of living with a well-prepared foster family — or at least in a safe, supportive facility — rather than staying in a CPS office or unlicensed group home.

If we seize this opportunity, it will mean the world to traumatized kids who are hurting right now — and it will put more kids on a path to grow up healthy, succeed in school, and eventually live as independent, thriving young adults in our communities. 

Our memo to state leaders:

  • Applauds the state agencies for their recent written commitment to implement most of the measures recommended by the Expert Panel.
  • Urges the Governor and legislative leaders to take action now on the Expert Panel recommendations that require their support — rather than making kids wait until next year’s legislative session and continue to suffer. In particular, we urged them to ensure the state agencies can move forward with pool funding for non-traditional, trauma-informed services and to provide emergency funding now so more children in foster care can be placed with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other kinship care providers.
  • Outlines how state leaders should re-envision some Expert Panel recommendations to improve efficiencies across agencies and keep children safely in their own homes and out of foster care. For example, as the state agencies follow Panel recommendations on boosting mental health services for children in foster care who do not have an adequate foster home, they should seek to strengthen mental health services for ALL kids in foster care — and children who are still with their families but could be at risk of entering foster care if they don’t get the mental health support they need.
  • Explains how the Legislature can use the 2023 session to support implementation of the Expert Panel recommendations on a children’s mental health system of care, youth and young adult peer support and family partner support services, and accelerating efforts to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).

Additionally, our memo includes an appendix briefly summarizing the Expert Panel’s recommendations, the state’s response, and our perspective on the state’s response.

We look forward to working together to implement this plan for Texas kids!