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Embattled Texas Child Protection Agency to Restructure, Lawmakers Say

Representatives in the Texas House announced on Monday that they intend to make major changes to the agency charged with protecting abused and neglected children.

The state’s politicians, media, and the general public have the agency under the gun.

Republican and Democrat representatives have been working on a legislative solution for the troubled agency. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), or “CPS” (Child Protective Services) as it is commonly referred to, has been plagued with problems. A class action lawsuit filed in a federal court is still ongoing.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Representative Richard Pena Raymond, chairman of the Human Services Committee (D-Laredo), announced they have been working on a solution to address the problems. The Texas legislators have decided that the best way to deal with the issues in CPS and the foster care system is to move DFPS out of the umbrella of the Health and Human Services Commission and make it “a stand-alone agency.”

Under the new proposal, the agency would answer directly to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The commissioner of the agency would be a direct appointee and the agency would operate more locally.

“Speaker Straus, the Governor and Lt. Governor, as  well as countless Legislators have indicated making sure Texas has one of the best CPS and Foster Care systems in the country is one of the top priorities for this Legislative Session,” said Chairman Raymond in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.

Those working to get the agency where it needs to say they will introduce bills in the next few days but will continue to work on other legislative solutions.

In addition to the reorganization of the agency, expanding “Kinship Care” placements in the foster care system is another solution that will soon be proposed. Placing children with family members and with close friends of the family (referred to as “fictive kin”) has been one of the best ways to help children who are in the foster care system they say. Families and fictive kin would receive a monthly payment, not a lump sum, to help with the children’s care.

In addition to Chairman Raymond, Representatives Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso), Gene Wu (D-Houston), Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park), Rick Miller (R-Sugarland), Toni Rose (D-Dallas), James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands), and Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio), serve on the DFPS workgroup.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

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