Policy

88th Texas Legislature

About

The Texas Legislature convenes just 140 days every odd-numbered year. The Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services has staff, board members, members, and partners who are actively engaged in advocacy before, during, and after the session. They work to promote the interests of Texas children and families through funding, programs, and policy that encourage service providers to thrive in communities across Texas.

Important Dates:

Election Day: November 8, 2022
Bill Filing: November 14, 2022 – March 10, 2023
88th Texas Legislature: January 10, 2023 – May 29, 2023
TACFS Advocacy Day at the Capitol: January 24, 2023

Our Priorities

Strengthened Families

Investments in proven family-focused programs can make families stronger and safer, allowing them to stay together and raise children in safe, loving environments. Proven prevention and family-preservation strategies delivered by community-based organizations can profoundly help children and families before a crisis or before more intervention is needed. Increased support and resources for kinship families can support families when there has been a removal, while also providing some normalcy and consistency for the child during a difficult time.

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Supporting the Child-Serving Workforce

Between rising costs and salaries, many employers in Texas and nationwide have struggled to recruit and retain their workforce. This is especially true in child welfare, where it is critical to have highly trained and qualified professionals supporting at-risk Texans. These are not easy jobs, and require experience, passion, and dedication. In addition, when an organization is unable to support a certain number of staff, that can impact their ratios and the number of children or youth they can serve – which ultimately impacts capacity.

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High-Quality Placements and Services

Recent state investments have helped sustain capacity in the foster care system, but it is essential that legislators continue to make investments to help community-based organizations build and deliver the range of services that children and youth in foster care need. At a time when child welfare faces significant shortages of qualified workers, support through rate increases or dedicated funding would help organizations provide needed staffing levels. It is also important that the state focus on well-funded, well-implemented Community Based Care and implementing a rate methodology that will reflect the cost of care rather than outdated formulas.

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Mental Health Care for Texas’ Most Vulnerable Youth

Children and youth across the country face increasing rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal behaviors. This is especially true for adolescents in the child welfare system whose experiences and trauma often create complex trauma. TACFS will be advocating for programs that effectively respond to crises and equip organizations with the resources they need to provide the continuum of mental health services that vulnerable children and youth need.

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Child-Centered Oversight

Safety is caregivers’ top priority, but punitive regulations that fail to recognize the realities of caring for children who have experienced trauma currently provide a disincentive to work with children and youth who have high needs. The trauma that children experience before they are placed in foster care can result in self-harm, aggression, and other challenging behaviors. The Legislature’s guidance will be needed to focus on core health and safety so that true safety risks are prioritized and addressed.

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Contact Us

Contact the public policy team at policy@tacfs.org.

Jamie McCormick

Vice President of Public Affairs

Rachel Nicholson

Director of Policy and External Relations

Meg Davis

Director of Communications