CPS advocates unhappy with budget cuts impacting Texas kids’ lives

Texas State Capitol building. (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)
Texas State Capitol building. (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday at the State Capitol, a new case is being made to help with the backlog of cases at CPS and the need for more workers.

Advocates who run groups that help keep kids out of the CPS system are unhappy with state budget cuts and lawmakers relying heavily on federal funding to make up the difference.

These prevention programs are often referred to as home visiting programs. It’s where a nurse or social worker goes into a home that’s having problems and helps mentor parents in an effort to keep them out of the system.

“It protects children and changes lives and it keeps them from ever going into the legal system, saves money on special education, all kinds of things across the board,” says Lee Nichols, TexProtects, Communication Director.

The program leaders are concerned about the proposed funding in the budget. Out of the $3.2 billion in the CPS budget, $186 million is slated for home visiting programs – that’s about 6-percent of the budget. But that funding is $26 million less than the previous session. Those advocating for this proposed budget say $56 million in federal funding would make up the difference.

However, those who run these prevention programs say federal funding is not guaranteed and are concerned less families may receive help. With Governor Greg Abbott declaring the CPS funding an emergency item – Tuesday’s rally is a cry to lawmakers to take a second look.

“If we invest in these programs properly then all of these problems with too high of case load at CPS will change,” says Nichols. “If there are fewer kids going into CPS then those problems come down and less money needs to be spent.”

Today’s rally took place at 2 p.m. on the south steps. Afterwards organizers met with lawmakers.

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