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Austin TX Family Law Blog

Monday, June 15, 2015

Texas Officials Redesigning Foster Care System

When can the state remove children from parents?

Texas has deemed approximately 45,000 children unable to safely live with their parents. About one-third of those children are in state custody. The foster care system in Texas is difficult to navigate and has dealt with serious incidents of child abuse, children moved hundreds of miles away from a previous home, children not receiving proper doses of medication, and deaths due to neglect. A news station in Northern Texas created a multi-part report about the current reforms taking place to overhaul the system.

Children entering the foster care system come from a range of backgrounds and have experienced harm to their physical, emotional, developmental, and educational well-being. The previous foster care system failed in alleviating some of these issues by placing children far from their original families, separating siblings and repeatedly moving the children, sometimes up to 40 times. Officials are concerned because these children constitute the next generation, and without proper care and attention, the risk is great that their problems and challenges will carry on when they have children of their own.

The new system divides Texas into 16 regions. The state limits contractors from hundreds to only one per region. This smaller system reduces the amount of area and number of children each region manages. By managing a smaller area, the regions can focus on providing more effective care for kids. The region is able to hire subcontractors to help integrate children into the system, but the state has the final say. The regions would have more control for the day-to-day protocols. Some oppose the redesign viewing it as a shortcut in addressing the problems rather than appropriately investing in the current system for improvements.

The current system is strict on parents working to get children out of the system and back home. Parents have to follow a family service plan which can include parenting classes and drug tests. Many parents want to see improvements in the system for children and for themselves to maintain healthy, happy relationships until the state awards custody back to the parents. In the redesign, foster parents and biological parents will have more contact. The state hopes this will help parents and children alike realize their full potential.

Stinson Moyle, PLLC specializes in family law and handles all aspects of family law matters in Austin, Travis County, Williamson County and Hays County. Our attorneys are Texas board-certified family law attorneys who will provide you with sound legal guidance. Contact us today at (512)320-9070 to arrange a consultation.


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