The Texas Kinship Steering Committee (Committee) was formed in January 2022 as a collaboration among the Department of Family and Protection Services (DFPS), the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCCs), the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services (TACFS), Casey Family Programs (CFP), child welfare professionals, a youth previously in DFPS custody, and a kinship caregiver with lived experience. The charge of the Committee was to assess barriers and generate system reform recommendations so that children and youth are placed with kinship caregivers as quickly and as safely as possible, to stabilize and support kinship caregivers through positive permanency, and to address the kinship recommendations from the Expert Panel in the M.D. v. Abbott litigation.
The Steering Committee was supported by a Core Team and Workgroups which met with regular cadence to discuss the processes for kinship caregivers. A Core Team from within the Steering Committee ensured that workgroups were developed and focused on dissecting specific topics, from initial and subsequent placements to positive permanency. The work resulted in formal recommendations from the workgroups to the Steering Committee. This report lists and explains those recommendations and is the product of months of work by many stakeholders all aligned to further kinship care in Texas. The report includes information and recommendations that we hope resonate with policy makers, providers, judges, and others involved in improving foster care. We want to thank the steering committee and workgroup members for their work and countless hours of research, brainstorming, writing, reviewing and driving Texas to be the best in the nation in supporting a culture of valuing and maximizing kinship care. We want to express our appreciation for all who participating and will help us realize the results of this collaborative effort.