Despite Federal Efforts, Texas Foster Care System Is Worsening
After months of scrutiny and controversy, the foster care system in Texas appears to be worsening instead of improving, according to The Texas Tribune. Abused children are being left in psychiatric facilities far past the eight to 10 days covered by Medicaid. In fact, that’s an understatement: As of August, children were being held for an average of 768 days.
Compassionate considerations aside, these hospitalizations are a huge drain on the Lone Star State’s economy; it costs $650 a day for a single child's room and board.
Children as young as two years have been hospitalized for mental illness and have waited long periods to be adopted. The agency recently tightened its foster care restrictions, which would otherwise allow certain children to stay with extended-family members. Since the enation of the new restrictions, The Tribune has discovered that some abused children have even been sleeping in the offices of CPS employees.
Much of the trouble stems from Texas’s refusal to comply with U.S. District Judge Janis Jack’s ruling that the Texas foster care system is illegal, robbing abused children in Texas of their constitutional rights. Judge Jack has appointed two special masters to oversee the state's cleanup of the system, but attorney general Ken Paxton has fought the ruling at every step.
In her ruling, Judge Jack said of the system: “Years of abuse, neglect and shuttling between inappropriate placements across the state has created a population that cannot contribute to society, and proves a continued strain on the government through welfare, incarceration or otherwise.”