TACFS worked closely with legislators, agency to secure $90 million. Children in the state’s foster care system will have greater access to the range of services they need under a funding measure approved by the Texas Legislature this week.
House Bill 5, which legislators approved before the end of their special session, includes $90 million for the state’s foster care system. The Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services (TACFS) worked closely with legislators and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to secure this funding, which includes $35 million per year (statewide) for each of the next two years to increase the state’s payment to those who provide foster care and $20 million for grants that will allow organizations to add the capacity needed to provide care for more kids.
The additional funding will help community organizations in Texas provide the broad range of services needed by children and youth who have experienced the trauma of maltreatment. Throughout 2021, TACFS has worked to explain that state funding has not kept up with the cost of caring for kids who have increasingly complex needs.
“The Legislature has taken a needed step toward helping organizations meet the vast needs of children, youth and families involved with foster care,” said TACFS CEO Katie Olse. “We are grateful that legislators listened to the caregivers who are on the ground and serving kids in communities across Texas. This funding is going to help.”
The state has also been experiencing a shortage of foster care placements, caused in part by funding that has not reflected the true cost of care, the challenges of finding and retaining qualified and fully trained staff, and the reluctance of families to bring children into their homes during the ongoing pandemic.
“This funding will help address the capacity shortage in the foster care system,” Olse said. “We want to make sure that children and youth in foster care not only have a place to sleep at night, but also have access to the trauma-informed services and supports they need, and the legislation approved this week will help organizations provide those services to more kids. There is a long way to go to fully address the shortage of placements the system faces, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. We are grateful that legislators have listened and have taken action to begin strengthening our safety net for vulnerable young Texans.”Katie Olse, TACFS CEO