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TexProtects' 2017 Legislative Priorities


Invest in results-proven prevention programs
1) Expand Project HOPES to serve 8 more counties ($10 million) and expand services at 24 current sites. ($24M)
2) Scale up Texas Home Visiting and Nurse-Family Partnership program to serve an additional 4,430 highest-need families to reach 7% of targeted high-risk population with State efforts (currently at 3%). ($35M)
3) Evaluate effectiveness and cost benefit of current prevention programs and services through state funded university partners. ($2M)
4) Increase availability of hospital based abusive head trauma prevention and other prevention supports. ($3 M)

Reduce child abuse and neglect fatalities
1) Develop training for Justices of the Peace and Medical Examiners related to inquests for child deaths, ensure complete autopsies for children subject to inquest and eliminate “limited autopsies” to include all autopsies of deaths of children ages 6 and younger
2) Allow adjacent counties of any population size to form joint Local Review Teams and require each county to participate in a Local Review Team
3) Provide Local Review Teams electronic access to preliminary death certificates and require local registrars to create expedited processes to notify Local Review Teams of child deaths within 120 days
4) Create positions within each Department of State Health Services Region to enhance coordination and data collection

Child Protective Services Improvements

Strengthen the CPS Workforce
1) Bring hiring standards in line with all other states: Require a minimum of a 4-year degree from an accredited University for caseworkers with stricter requirements for exceptions (cap at 5% of caseworkers).
2) Support Continuation of the 829 additional Workers approved by the Legislative Budget Board December 2016 (as well as salary increases).
3) Increase salaries to all CPS program positions to ensure equity, alleviate compression, and increase retention incentives.
4) Manage caseload size: “Just In Time” replacement of workers system, which reduced Dallas turnover from 46% to 27%.
5) Facilitate equity in caseworker workload distribution including complexity of cases.
6) Utilize geographic case assignment distribution with increased expertise and specialized training in “hot” zones.
7) Reduce span of control of supervisors to caseworkers, enabling them to effectively support caseworkers and reduce the number of cases for which they are responsible.
8) Compensate workers for actual time worked by removing overtime hours banked.

Family Preservation and Supporting Relative Families
1) Provide relative caregivers (kinship providers) critical supports including significant financial support (approximately $10,000 per child per year), child care, trauma-informed training, other services to reduce relative placement breakdowns, ensure successful and safe preservation of relative caregivers and include incentives to adopt.
2) Implement evidence-based family preservation casework to strengthen parenting skills and prevent entry or reentry into the foster care system utilizing models such as “SafeCare."
3) Provide temporary relative care providers (parental child safety placements) supports such as childcare, trauma-informed training and other concrete resources. 4) Reauthorize support of the Permanency Care Act to allow verified kinship caregivers to receive full foster care payments.
5) Establish guidelines on frequency of contact required by Family Based Safety Services caseworkers based on the risk level of the case.
6) Utilize emerging relative-finding technology to increase number of relative placements options.

Foster Care
1) Establish treatment foster care and expand therapeutic foster care interventions in specially trained foster parent homes for children with high physical and behavioral health needs.
2) Increase foster care capacity through targeted recruitment and enhanced reimbursements directly to foster families and other methods to adequately recruit the continuum of foster homes needed to serve children.
3) Support resources and changes in policy and practice to enhance placement stability and decisions, including specialized placement software and geo-mapping capabilities that improve placement proximity to children’s families of origin, children’s schools and after-school activities.
4) Advance medical coordination of care for foster children.
5) Ensure all children in Permanent Managing Conservatorship are represented by an attorney ad-litem through state support of counties.
6) Promote youth aging out of care by removing barriers for them to obtain forms of identification.

For questions or comments, please contact:
Pamela McPeters, Director of Public Policy
pamela@texprotects.org or 512.913.4408

Our Mission

Our mission is to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect through research, advocacy and education. We effect change by organizing and educating our members to advocate for increased investments in evidence-based child abuse prevention programs, CPS reforms, and treatment programs to heal abuse victims. Learn more about the work we do. You can help protect Texas children from abuse & neglect. Find out how you can help.

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