Carlos Uresti

Mose Buchele / NPR StateImpact

Ryan E. Poppe

The term “crisis” has been used in recent years to describe the state of Texas’ foster care system and state lawmakers are examining what can be done to fix it.

There were 65,000 cases of confirmed child abuse that were investigated by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services in 2015. That’s down by 14 percent, according to state’s Child Protective Services Division.  

But Judge John Specia, the head of the state agency, told lawmakers while those numbers have decreased, 50 percent of case workers are leaving the job because of low pay and high caseloads.

Flickr user Myles Grant / cc

Last week, Governor Greg Abbott announced he wanted $40 million more for the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), so that they could institute reforms to Child Protective Services, a department that has been roundly criticized for years. The announcement came after the third death in three months of a child in the CPS system. 

What is the state of child welfare in the Texas? How are legislators looking to improve it?

Guests:

During his 18 years in the Texas Legislature, Sen. Carlos Uresti has wrangled many issues, but he’s devoted special attention to the dangers children too often encounter in their own homes.

He rattles off the grim statistics that keep him focused.  

TPR News

The deaths of eight foster kids over the past year have sparked concerns and lawmakers are now being asked to review the Texas foster care system. Some child advocates say the blame lies with the legislature and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has asked lawmakers to take another look at the issue.

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