Lawmakers looking to help 1,100 homeless Texas foster kids

Lawmakers plan to make cuts that could negatively affect foster families and low income people (KXAN Photo)
Lawmakers plan to make cuts that could negatively affect foster families and low income people (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — So far this year, nearly 600 kids were taken from their homes in Travis County due to abuse or neglect.

As of June 1, just under 1,100 kids are in the Texas foster care system in need of a home. State lawmakers are holding a hearing on Tuesday to discuss what can be done to improve the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Some local foster children are forced to eat, sleep, and shower in state office buildings because there aren’t enough homes to care for them. The hearing at the Capitol will focus on how to make Texas a safer place for foster children. Lawmakers will strategize how they can create an environment where the kids can grow up to be healthy, successful in school and ultimately stable adults.

Kate Murphy, a Senior Policy Advocate for Texans Care for Children, joined us in the KXAN studio to tell you what is being done to improve the lives of foster care kids.

“We are definitely starting to make progress,” said Murphy. “You hear about all of these tragedies, all of these sad stories, but we’re really working to make changes. There are some new program and pilot projects in place.”

According to Murphy, the primary need in Texas is for more case workers. National standards mandate that case workers see 17 kids each month; however, that is not the case in Texas.

“Right now our case workers are stretched so thin they’re trying to see like 30 kids a day, running all over town trying to protect the lives of 30 different kids,” said Murphy.

Tuesday, July 12 at 6 p.m., there is a meeting where you can learn how to become a foster parent. The meeting is at the Child Protective Services Office on 14000 Summit Drive near MoPac and Wells Branch in North Austin.

Murphy concluded saying, “The one thing that really makes a difference in the life of a kid who’s experienced the type of trauma that these kids have seen, is a stable caring adult in their life.”

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