In the wake of stunning tragedies that revealed systemic problems in the state’s Child Protective Services and foster care systems, conservatives have been calling for major reform.
Today, State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) issued a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature asking for the governor to officially declare CPS reform as an “Emergency Item”—enabling it to be taken up during the first 60 days of the 85th Texas Legislature which begins in January.
“Understanding the urgency of this crucial issue, I am respectfully requesting that you officially declare CPS reform as an “Emergency Item” to be taken up during the first 60 days of the 85th Legislative Session,” wrote Leach. “While our state faces many challenges ahead, I do not believe there to be a more pressing challenge than the comprehensive reform and restructuring of this troubled agency.”
For citizens looking for ideas on what CPS reforms might look at the report and recommendations for agency and procedural improvements authored by Leach’s colleague, Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), last month.
But it isn’t just members of the Texas House working to address the issue. State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) has formed a workgroup to seriously review the agency and implement a zero-based budget review.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also marked CPS reform as one of his top priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
So far this fall, Abbott has spoken strongly for reforming CPS, ending sanctuary cities, and passing ethics reform, but has yet to explicitly mark any emergency items.
Last session the governor released five emergency items in February and ultimately passed all but one—ethics reform which was killed in the Texas House by State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).