Foster Child Care Summit Must Produce Solutions



After trying just about everything else over the past decade to fix the foster care system run by the Department of Family and Protective Services, Gov. Greg Abbott is proposing a summit next week of all major parties to try to find a solution. It’s an unconventional approach to a persistent condition problem, but it’s worth a try.

State officials have been throwing this box around for years, and the result has been real harm to countless foster children and adolescents. These vulnerable people must receive the greatest protection from the state, not half-hearted efforts and bureaucratic double talk. Finally, everyone involved in this drama must come together and find a lasting solution to something that should have been resolved years ago.

The summit marks yet another phase in six years of legal wrangling since federal judge Janis Jack ruled the state’s foster care system endangers children and violates their rights. Instead of accepting criticism of obvious issues, state attorneys have repeatedly fought Judge Jack – and generally lost. She ordered numerous changes to the state system, threatened with fines, and criticized state officials – almost all of them justified.

Abbott is now offering “good faith” negotiations “to discuss possible solutions” to the problems described by court-appointed counselors about foster children staying in unlicensed facilities. Each month, up to 400 Texas children are housed in unsafe temporary sites like motels or state office buildings.

This is not a satisfactory answer for children who need better supervision. Supervisors appointed by Judge Jack have uncovered cases of child-to-child sexual abuse, over-medication, non-receipt of prescribed medication and unnecessary physical strain. There was even a report that an adopted girl arranged to meet a sex trafficker and was taken from the state building where she was residing.

It’s outrageous, and no Texan can be satisfied with something close.

Childcare with foster families is not easy. It is one of the most difficult things a state government does. It is expensive and requires constant effort from well-trained staff. It is also emotionally draining for social workers who see so much abuse and have so many families to watch over. In turn, this leads to high turnover in a state agency that needs experienced workers, leading to a new round of problems.

As difficult as it is to manage a foster care system, however, other states manage to do it effectively. Texas officials should check with them what works in their state and how those practices can be copied in Texas.

This is the kind of real issue that state officials should be focusing on, not the “electoral integrity” bills in a state with secure elections, and now an election audit demanded by the government. former President Trump in a state he won. An abused or neglected child is placed with a foster family to benefit from protection that he did not have at home. The state must provide this protection, not continue the problems.

Finally, this summit must lead to real and lasting solutions.



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