TX Children's Advocates Want Foster Care System Fixed ASAP
Thursday, December 30, 2021
The Texas foster-care system is suffering a severe shortage of safe and appropriate placement homes, resulting in an expert panel being convened to address the problem and a myriad of others.
Kate Murphy, senior child welfare policy associate at Texans Care for Children, said the number of kids who did not have a safe home within the foster-care system hit a record high in mid-2021, but is now declining.
"We know we've had a really significant spike in the number of kids we couldn't find homes for," Murphy noted. "Part of the reason those numbers are going down is because we're placing kids out of state, or we're using temporary, emergency placements."
In the past two years, at least 65 Texas foster-care operations have closed, more than a third of them for safety reasons, creating a loss of more than 2,000 available beds. Texas lawmakers passed several pieces of legislation this year to address ongoing issues including approving millions to fund caseworkers, retain providers and increase foster-care capacity.
Murphy pointed out many in the state's foster-care system receive a "child without placement" designation, meaning the state cannot find a suitable placement. She added those children have the most acute levels of need, often suffering from trauma or abuse, drug addiction or mental illness.
"So what we're seeing is that kids are coming into care because they can't get their needs met, and then the system is unable to meet those needs," Murphy observed. "We're seeing that happen disproportionately with older youths."
The pandemic has been a unique stressor for older youths, according to Murphy, because of system challenges, but also because they are more vulnerable.
"We have so many young adults who leave foster care and have limited resources," Murphy explained. "They depend on some of the jobs that were most effected by the pandemic, like the service industry."
Murphy is gratified new policies adopted by the state this year will help older youths transitioning out of foster care to establish a rental history and credit rating, a serious challenge for those who have been in the system for a number of years.
get more stories like this via email
The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …
Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …
This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …
Health and Wellness
With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …
As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …
The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…
Health and Wellness
One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …