State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) yesterday released a report and recommendations on Texas’ foster care system. In it, he analyzes many of the issues with Child Protective Services including: leadership, technology, infrastructure, caseworkers, foster care, and individual rights.
This session, Stickland plans on being heavily involved within CPS reform and has proposed recommendations to resolve these issues. It is reported that each year taxpayers will spend $46 million to transport children away from their homes. CPS could easily reduce this by updating their technology with a system to better place children within their county.
Retention rates at CPS are monumental, with 46 percent of new hires leaving before 12 months. With an estimated $54,000 to train employees, CPS is costing taxpayers $35.2 million a year. The turnover rate can be attributed to caseworkers simply being over-worked and underpaid.
Stickland suggests setting realistic goals and increasing salaries, which are currently 27 percent behind the market rate.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rates among children exiting foster care are double that for Iraq War Veterans, which is why placement is crucial during the removal process. When reunification is not possible, kinship is the second best option to placement – with foster care being the third. Relative-care placement fell 56 percent from 2015 to 2016 due to increased requirements for kinship placement. Therefore, the system has made it easier to place children in less than ideal circumstances.
Looking at the big picture, CPS is failing Texas children and State Rep. Jonathan Stickland wants change.
“I am committed to being actively involved in the reform process this legislative session, while being a voice for life, liberty, and the rights of the parents and children in the Texas foster care system,” said Rep Stickland.