TexProtects Statement on 85th Legislature Budget Proposals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2017
Contact: Lee Nichols, Communications Director
Dallas, Texas — Statement from Madeline McClure, CEO of TexProtects, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, on Tuesday’s dual release of Senate and House budget proposals for the 85th Legislature in Child Protection. (This is revised language from Tuesday’s original statement.)
“I applaud Chair Nelson, Lt. Gov. Patrick and Speaker Straus for initiating the CPS budget appropriation increase of $211 million-$260 million for the biennium. Maintaining the emergency Child Protective Services workforce investments, including the compensation correction and new hires will not only stem the rampant caseworker turnover crisis but will create a stable, responsive and capable workforce to mitigate the damaging effects on abused children, whose outcries for help often go unheeded due to turnover.
“Yet, the budget as introduced falls short in addressing the root cause of our CPS crisis: A 3-5 percent increase in prevention investments is not adequate to address child population growth and child abuse incidence growth of over triple that amount. To truly solve our CPS and foster care crisis, our elected officials must shift their vision from short-term to medium- and long-term and invest upfront in those proven programs that keep children from ever entering the CPS system or needing foster care.
“The number one role of government is to protect its citizens from harm – if we fail to make these investments, then Texas will be abdicating that role and children will suffer life-changing, even life-ending, consequences. Investing less than six percent of our total CPS budget in Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) will not abate the increasing number of children traumatized by the horrors of maltreatment.
“For those children that do enter the CPS system, budget writers must ensure we invest in evidence-based ‘family preservation’ services which have been shown to safely keep children with their families. And if removal is the only option, relative homes or ‘kinship care’ support will lead to far better outcomes than our children languishing as state wards in foster care.
“Our Texas legislative leaders are taking the initial correct steps with the introduced budget, but they must invest significantly more funds in cost-effective child abuse prevention. If they do not, Texas will continue to grapple with an ever-increasing state expenditure of CPS and all the concomitant HHS costs, law enforcement, and criminal justice costs stemming directly from it. That will harm both Texas’ children and its taxpayers.”
TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, was created to tackle issues of Child Protective Services (CPS) reform, prevention and public awareness to bring a collective, organized voice representing the needs of children at risk of abuse and survivors of child abuse and neglect. The organization is autonomous, nonpartisan and nonpolitical, designed to educate decision makers, private funders and the public at large. To date, it is the only Texas organization that has a dedicated focus on the main issues of protection, prevention, and healing of abused and neglected children. For more information, please visit www.TexProtects.org.