The Texas Freedom Caucus will support legislation in the Texas House of Representatives today aimed at reforming the state’s Child Protective Services system, including HB 4 and HB 5. These bills are emergency items, and should receive expedited passage.
“The Child Protective Services system in Texas is broken, and innocent Texas children are suffering as a result,” said Rep. Jeff Leach, the Freedom Caucus’ Policy Director. “We cannot kick this can down the road. Now is the time to act to structurally reform CPS, for the Texas children of today and tomorrow.”
HB 4, by Rep. Cindy Burkett, makes it easier for children in danger to be placed in the homes of relative care-givers, noting that children placed with relatives generally have better outcomes than children placed with non-relatives.
HB 5 by Rep. James Frank would institute a number of changes in the Department of Family and Protective Services. HB 5 will speed CPS decisions by maintaining DFPS as a stand-alone agency reporting to the Governor, consolidating all investigations of child abuse and neglect under the CPS investigation unit, while still maintaining administrative support functions in the Health and Human Services Commission to provide efficiencies.
The Texas Freedom Caucus will also support any amendments that are aimed at further protecting Texas children, safeguarding the rights of Texas families and increasing transparency and accountability.
“This legislation will hopefully be a first step to reforming Texas’ CPS system, but should not be the end of the discussion,” Leach said. “The Texas Freedom Caucus is committed to protecting the life and welfare of children and we will continue to fight for and support strong legislation to do just that.”