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| less than a minute read

Texas Lowers Its Foster Care Population

As my colleague, Tom Rawlings, noted in his recent Substack article, federal Judge Janis Jack is still struggling with the laws of supply and demand in her quest to overhaul Texas's foster care system. There is, however, one bright note in that Texas has been able to lower the number of children coming into the system in the first place. According to child welfare experts in the state, the main reason seems to be that the state has limited its definition of “neglect" and raised its ability to refer families to other resources short of foster care.

Unlike some other attempts in other jurisdictions, the statistics of child maltreatment have not gone up, indicating that Texas is successfully targeting children who aren't in immediate danger and can better be helped by remaining with either biological parents or relatives. With so many horror stories making the news, it's good to see a change than may actually be working to protect kids both from dangerous situations and the system itself.

Child welfare experts and officials in Texas attribute the significant downsizing to a series of policy changes and state legislation — particularly a 2021 law that narrowed the legal definition of child “neglect,” and barred child removals based solely on a parent’s positive cannabis test. State officials also say a growing number of families are being provided “alternative response” pathways that do not involve removing kids from their homes.


youth services law, ausburn_deborah, foster care, insights