Foster Care Services in the Big Country Speak on Current Legislature

New Bills Could Change the Foster Care System

ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)- Over the past 6 years, there has been an increase in the amount of children waiting to be adopted in the Big Country.

With the Texas Legislature focusing more on changing the CPS system, local foster care and adoption agencies are having more hope.

According to the Texas DFPS website, during the 2016 fiscal year, more than 1,600 children were in substitute care compared to about 1,200 back in 2010, just in the Big Country.

Currently there are 180 children in Region 2 which covers Abilene and the Big Country that are waiting for adoption.

"We have kids that are literally sleeping in CPS offices statewide." Explained Michael Redden, the CEO of New Horizons.

With House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 11, local foster care agencies are excited to see a change.

"Were just really excited to see the legislature is looking into these is considering these issues and working hard to increase the attention paid to foster care and our foster youth." Said Cathy Earley, the Regional Director for Pathways Youth and Family Services.

According to Redden, SB 11 and HB 6 are geared more towards community based care.

"If you shift the majority of the responsibilities to the private sector  you're going to have better community engagement that is going to make a much better difference later on." Added Redden.

Apparently, Region 2  already been collaborating with the community and according to Earley, they are doing an excellent job.

"It's about changing a system to allow us to do a more effective job because were able to engage communities better hopefully and we have more flexibility to change the system." Explained Redden.

Although SB 11 will effect the way the foster care system delivers their services, Earley told KRBC that she hopes they will continue to work hard as many of them are by reaching out to local providers and experts in the field and seeking out local opinions.

House Bill 6 has been postponed but Senate Bill 11 was recently placed on the Emergency Calendar for Thursday, May 18th.

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