House Committee Calls for Pause in Foster Care Redesign

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Peter Clark, [email protected], 512.417.9262

House Committee Calls for Pause in Foster Care Redesign

AUSTIN – A new report from the Texas House Human Services Committee recommends a pause in the state’s troubled Foster Care Redesign program.

The state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, the parent agency of CPS, has already implemented the Foster Care Redesign model in two regions of the state, naming a private contractor to manage the local foster care system.

After studying the issue during the interim, the House Committee unanimously concluded:

"The state should remain committed to redesigning the paid foster care service delivery system, but the FCR [Foster Care Redesign] rollout should be temporarily delayed pending further evaluation of available data, additional PPP input, and possible legislative direction."

During the Committee’s hearing last April, Texans Care for Children’s Child Protection Policy Associate, Ashley Harris, delivered a new report outlining needed foster care reforms and urged the Committee to pause Redesign efforts until enhanced safety standards were in place.

"We’re pleased to see the Committee call for a pause in Redesign,” said Ms. Harris following the release of the Committee’s new report. "Instead of expanding a system based on an extra middleman between the state and vulnerable children, state leaders need to implement basic safety standards such as annual evaluations of foster parents and manageable caseloads for CPS caseworkers.”

The report follows a number of difficulties for the Foster Care Redesign program. Last year an independent evaluation requested by the state questioned whether Redesign could reach its goals without additional funding, and the original lead contractor for Redesign abruptly withdrew from its contract.

The state has also seen a spike in the number of children killed with the very foster parents selected to keep them safe after they were removed from their parents. Those tragedies did not occur within Foster Care Redesign but have drawn attention to the need for new protections statewide.

Legislative leaders have signaled that strengthening CPS will be a priority during the upcoming legislative session.