Texas is struggling with too many foster children and too few placements. A state court judge has sanctioned the state, while a federal court judge wants new solutions. It is hard to figure out what the state can do, given that people don’t have to work with children. Prospective foster parents can decide that the risks of criminal charges and later civil lawsuits just aren’t worth the trouble. Organizations can decide that the costs of liability insurance and potential lawsuits are too great to stay in business. Even organizations that can stay open are having trouble finding enough quality people who want to put themselves in the line of fire working with traumatized children. There is no magic solution, even for judges. When a society makes an occupation toxic, then it will be hard to find good people to do that job. We can blame the state bureaucrats all we want for not coming up with some magical solution. In the real world, however, the more hurdles we create for people working with children, the more children we will have falling through the cracks.
For years, Children Without Placement, or CWOP, have had to spend time living in offices, hotels and other unlicensed facilities when DFPS cannot find them placement in a foster home, shelter or treatment facility. However, state data shows a huge spike in 2021. . . . [DFPS officials] have cited a lack of placement options after the state lost 1,000 beds for foster children this year. Many of these were beds in residential treatment facilities and shelters that opted to close due to a lack of funding or because of increased scrutiny from a decade-long federal lawsuit against the foster care system.