Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Budget Update

We are closing in on the budget process. While the state budget will most likely not be finalized for another month or so, this week the Senate voted out its version of the budget. Now we await to see who will be on conference committees to discuss and finalize the budget for the next two years. Chairman Zerwas has appointed Representative Davis as the Health and Human Services conferee, with Representatives Bonnen, Walle, and Longoria also serving as conferees for other budget areas. Once the Senate has appointed its conferees, discussions will begin between the House and Senate to reconcile the budget differences recommended by each chamber. Alliance staff is busy working on final items to recommend budget increases for to House and Senate members and will be discussing the importance of prevention and early intervention programs, foster care rates, and Community Based Care, among other items with the budget conferees.

Senate Bill 781 “RTC Bill” Update

SB 781 was voted out of Committee and will most likely be heard and discussed on the Senate Floor early next week. The TACFS team wants to ensure that our members understand what this bill does in its current form in comparison to the bill as filed. As a reminder, this bill is not final. It still has to be voted out of the Senate, voted out of the House, and then it moves to the Governor’s desk. Please let us know your questions and comments on this bill.

  • Runaways: This bill requires The Department of Family and Protective Services to develop trauma-informed protocols for runaways while balancing child safety, decision making regarding normalcy and the reasonable and prudent parent standard. This bill does NOT require a state agency to monetarily penalize RTCs or GROs when a child or youth runs away.
  • Three Strikes: This bill NO longer has the three-strikes provision in it.
  • Operational Plan: The bill requires a potential RTC to have an operational plan to obtain an RTC license. HHSC cannot hold a hearing until it approves the operational plan. This operational plan includes:
  • Community engagement plan which includes the RTCs discussions with local law enforcement, local health, therapeutic, and recreational resources available to support children at the operation.
  • Summary of opportunities children in the RTC will have for social interaction in the community.
  • Educational Plan which includes whether the RTC will provide for public or private education of the children, a statement from the local school ISD on the impact of the proposed services with an RTC coming into the community or explanation of why this statement was not able to be obtained.
  • Bill also allows HHSC to consider community support, school district impact statements on how the operation will affect the services in the district, and any evidence gathered through HHSC’s review process.
  • Bill allows HHSC to deny a license for an RTC if HHSC determines the community has insufficient resources to support the children, granting the license would significantly impact the local school district and adversely affect he children proposed to be served in the RTC, or granting the license would have a significant adverse impact on the community and would limit opportunities for social interaction for the children proposed to be served by the RTC.
  • Bill allows for a community hearing during a license renewal upon county commissioners’ request. 

Committee Hearings Next Week

Below are the bills being heard in Committees next week. Please let the TACFS team know if you would like more information on any of these bills. As a reminder, here is our bill chart to follow along with the Texas Legislative process.

House Human Services

3/16/19, 8:00 a.m.

Hearing Agenda

HB 474 Howard | et al.          

Relating to a Department of Family and Protective Services plan to address the substitute care capacity needs in certain department regions.

HB 475 Howard | et al.          

Relating to information for foster children who are pregnant or minor parents.

HB 2866 Deshotel                

Relating to certain investigation and evaluation information regarding certain child-care facilities, homes, and programs.

HB 3614  Rose                    

Relating to caseworker visitation standards for certain child protective services caseworkers.

HB 3830       Sherman, Sr.             

Relating to a study on the adequacy of resources provided to foster parents by the Department of Family and Protective Services.

House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues

3/17/19, 10:30 a.m. or upon final adjournment

Hearing Agenda

HB 743 Davis, Yvonne

Relating to the appointment and duties of an attorney ad litem for certain relatives in certain suits affecting the parent-child relationship.

HB 3277 Wu

Relating to the sealing of juvenile records.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee

3/16/19, 8 a.m.

Hearing Agenda

SB 560 Kolkhorst

Relating to a plan and report on court-ordered representation for certain suits affecting the parent-child relationship.

Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services | www.tacfs.org