Major Changes In Place For Foster Care System 8/29/13
CBS 7 News
August 29, 2013
Texas is moving forward on a mandate to make sweeping changes to its foster care system. Midland/Odessa and surrounding areas are the first to experience the changes where the $15 million dollar project gives a private company a big role.
The unprecedented changes place the foster care program in the hands of a private company -- all in an effort to make things better for the 31,000 kids statewide stuck in the system.
"We’ve had children in foster care for up to 12 years,” said Jalynn Hogan, a therapist at High Sky Children’s Ranch, a prominent shelter and foster placement agency in our area.
A senate bill forced the Texas Department of Family and Protective services to look for a way to overhaul their system--it's now here in the form of the $15 million contract with Abilene-based Providence Service Corporation for our area.
"There is a more active push for kids to move through the system faster," Hogan said.
The new system changes the way foster families are paid for their children -- the old system gave more money to families who reported more problems with their children. Kids who improved would actually receive less money.
"As the child got better they drop you’re reimbursement rate, so you were penalized for showing improvement in the children’s behavior and helping them get better,” Hogan said. "Every child is now paid at the same rate and if you have more difficulties with children, you are given more services, not more money."
The redesign also pushes to include biological parents by offering support to them directly from the new provider. In the past, CPS would refer parents to outside sources.
"You would get this hodgepodge of services, which hasn’t been effective,” Hogan. “So what we will do is pull these all together."
Providence says that at the end of the day, it's about placing kids in homes.
"We're trying to make the system more efficient while improving care and outcomes for children,” said Rob Hartman, the executive director of the Texas Foster Care Initiative.
The program is already rolled out in regions 2 and 9, which includes Midland/Odessa Abilene and San Angelo.
To find out more about how to foster, please visit the DFPS website at dfps.state.tx.us.