Child Welfare Reform
Governor Abbott made it known in January of 2017 that improving Child Protective Services and Texas’ foster care program was one of his top priorities, and Dr. Stucky agreed. The program is designed to protect our most at-risk Texans, and it had been underperforming for years because of an inefficient state bureaucracy.
In an effort to overhaul the entire system, the legislature passed House Bill 4, House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 11 (Dr. Stucky co-authored the two House bills) which provided additional support for “kinship care”, where families take in abused children, establishes the Department of Family and Protective Services as its own agency rather than being under the umbrella of the Health and Human Services Commission, and expanded community based foster care.
The 2017-2019 budget also added $508 million for child protection. This included funds to hire almost 600 new CPS caseworkers, to enhance foster care provider rates, and to provide additional support for kinship care.