AUSTIN (KXAN) — Monday, Texas lawmakers will talk about two new bills that could change the way kids are placed and treated in foster care. It’s all part of an effort to overhaul the state’s child welfare system.
House Representative Gene Wu, D-Houston, in the past week filed two bills that are coming up for a public hearing. House Bill 7 would require the court system to create a specific plan for a parent at risk of losing their child due to neglect or abuse. The Department of Family and Protective Services would continue to work with that parent on behavioral changes all in an effort to try and keep the child with their biological parents. However if that is not achieved the parent’s rights could be restricted or even terminated.
House Bill 39 would require the Department of Family and Protective Services to develop an evidence based system for assessing the risk to a child in an abuse or neglectful situation. The department would work with Texas universities, including the University of Texas, to identify the factors impacting the child and decide which caseworker is assigned, how often a parent can see the child and when a caseworker has too many kids to watch over.
Lawmakers recently allocated $150 million to CPS to help fund additional caseworkers after the department said they weren’t able to see some of the state’s most at risk kids because of a lack of caseworkers.
Monday’s public hearing on the two bills gets underway at 8:30 a.m. at the State Capitol.