AUSTIN, TX – Last night the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 7 with overwhelming bipartisan support, and today gave broad initial approval for House Bill 39. Both actions are a victory for comprehensive Child Protective Services (CPS) reform. Each bill includes provisions to improve the existing functions, policies, and procedures for the Department of Family and Protective Services and connected child welfare contract services.
“These reforms are part of a larger effort by this body to fix a system in crisis,” said Wu. “CPS is tasked with taking care of some of our state’s most vulnerable children, and we all have a responsibility to keep them safe, protect them from harm, and help them find loving homes.”
After decades of problems and a court order calling for an overhaul, lawmakers prioritized improvements this session through multiple bills, in addition to appropriating a substantial funding increase in the state’s budget. House Bill 7 addresses court procedures for child abuse and neglect cases, and HB 39 addresses gaps in foster care services. The bills make various changes to the current system to make a more efficient, fair, and transparent process to provide better protection for children, reduce trauma, and improve reunification efforts for children and families.
“Our success would be a big step towards reforming a broken system and I am proud of the bipartisanship the House showed in crafting these bills. After more than a year of work, we were able to accomplish something that includes input from numerous child welfare system stakeholders and experts, along with proposals from both sides of the aisle. We worked together to keep our word and came up with comprehensive legislation to make the necessary reforms we so desperately need.” Wu continued, “I am confident that these reforms will change the lives of vulnerable children and families in Texas and I look forward to working with the Senate to make these comprehensive reforms state law.”