P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2011
AUSTIN — The Texas Senate today passed SB 218, legislation authored by Senator Jane Nelson redesigning the foster care system to help displaced children remain in their home communities where they have access to valuable support networks. The bill now goes to the Texas House.
"We have hundreds of providers but they are often located far from the child's home or they do not provide the services a child needs, resulting in children being placed in foster homes far away from their siblings, schools and vital support network. This bill expands our efforts to ensure that safe, loving foster homes are available to help children achieve their full potential," said Senator Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
Senate Bill 218 contains the following key provisions:
- Directs the Department of Family and Protective Services to redesign placements to keep youth in their home communities, and to pay providers based on their performance instead of on the child's level of need;
- Clarifies investigation protocols when the department discovers a child has a sexually transmitted disease;
- Authorizes the department to remove an alleged perpetrator from the home instead of removing the child; and
- Authorizes the department to conduct criminal background checks on supervised independent living providers caring for foster youth who are 18 and older.
Senator Nelson said the new system should minimally impact individual foster families.
"We love and appreciate our foster parents and we understand they need assistance and guidance from the state to provide the best care for these children," said Senator Nelson.