Texas must reform system to help foster children

Texas’ foster care system is overworked and under-regulated, leading to thousands upon thousands of children who end up worse off for the system for the lack of proper care. The worst part of this vicious cycle is that this is not new — the system has been this way, despite constant reevaluations. Every year, it is decided that the entire system needs an overhaul, and it never happens.

John Specia, the overseer of Child Protective Services, will be resigning on May 31. Texas needs to take this opportunity for a fresh start to focus on proper evaluations of its system and implement reforms designed to bring out targeted solutions.

The primary problem with Texas’ foster care system is a lack of proper space and care for children. This leads to many children ending up in group homes, psychiatric wards or even juvenile detention. An estimated 80 percent of children in the foster care system have emotional or behavioral disorders, developmental delays or substance abuse issues, and 65 to 70 percent of children in juvenile detention face the same issues. Many of the 29,000 children in the Texas foster care system end up in juvenile detention, in what is euphemistically called “dual status,” though Texas does not have exact records on this tragic cycle.

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