The Texas foster care system has faced a number of setbacks in recent months. This year alone, there was a decrease of at least 1,000 beds for foster children, as reported by the Texas Tribune.
With the addition of COVID-19 last year, the placement opportunities for foster kids have dramatically reduced.
Placement shortages, such as these, have resulted in a number of foster children staying in unlicensed homes.
Placement shortages have become commonplace for a number of reasons, primarily being the lack of proper funding. The federal foster care lawsuit has created major funding issues for the Texas system. The federal foster care lawsuit currently at play was filed in 2011, condemning the Texas system for “an unreasonable risk of serious harm”.
With increased payments necessary for placement agencies to remain operating, lawmakers hope to provide the system with additional funding.
During the regular session, Texas Republicans failed to pass any foster care reforms. The current special session only contains one bill on the agenda on this topic, House Bill 261, which provides caretakers with an additional 40 percent of the current reimbursement rate. With Texas Democrats breaking quorum recently, the bill is currently being put on hold.