A New Texas Law Will Create a More Private Foster Care System (2023)

Texas Standard spoke withKaysie Taccetta of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Servicesabout the new “community-based model” for foster care in the state. One service provider in north Texas is already working withinthe model. The Standard paid the group a visit. Listen tothat part of the story below.

On September 1, hundreds of new laws took effect in Texas. A number of those were aimed at improving the state’s child welfare system. Failure to do so was not an option.

In December of 2015, after a wave of reports about Texas kids dying from neglect and abuse while in foster care, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack found the state’s foster care system was unconstitutional, and deemed it “broken.”

Fast forward to May of 2017 when Gov. Greg Abbott signed a number of bills to overhaul that system.

“I think the judge should be pleased that Texas did our constitutional and legal duty on our own to implement landmark legislation that will completely transform the system in ways that make it better and the case should be dismissed,” Abbott said.

Spoiler alert: the case hasn’t yet been dismissed. But one of the major changes to the foster care system that lawmakers approved during this year’s legislative session was already in the works before Texas was sued in 2011.

It was originally called Foster Care Redesign – and now that Senate Bill 11 has taken effect, it establishes a model that increasingly privatizes the foster care system. The program will begin rolling out across the state soon. But the term model is a bit misleading, since the redesign is not a one -size fits all program.

Kaysie Taccetta is director of conservatorship services with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. She has been working on foster care redesign, now called the community-based model, for the state.

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Taccetta says the goal of the new modelis to bring resources closer to the communities they serve.

“[We are ] moving from a statewide foster care model to one that is community-based, that can take advantages of the strengths of each particular community in Texas, since it’s so big, build off of those strengths and have a real, targeted local approach to providing foster care and services,” Taccetta says.

Taccetta says the community focus extends to where foster children are placed within the state.

“One of the things that our commissioner at the time was really looking to affect was the fact that we have so many children that are placed in other parts of the state than where they are removed from,” she says.

Not all foster placements are created equal, Taccetta says.

“It’s not necessarily about having, just, open beds or open homes. It’s having the right type of services that support those homes, too,” she says. “We were looking for a model that would support making sure communities had the right services in place, so that when children are removed from their homes, we can keep them in the same school, keep them placed with their siblings, with their friends, and all their positive support systems while we work with their families to try to reunify them.”

Community-focused programs, and the opportunity to privatize services are also intended to improve the distribution of foster care providers around the state. Providers include child-placement agencies, residential treatment centers that serve special needs children and facilities that function like emergency shelters

“We would let these large, statewide procurements and open enrollment processes, but there wasn’t a set, designated geographic area,” she says.“So we ended up having places in the state where there are pockets of providers, and then in other parts of the state we don’t have as many foster care providers.”

Community-based contractors that manage a range of services are seen as a way to reduce the complexity and bureaucracy of the existing state system.

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“I think it takes the state out of having to manage…over 300 contracts, which is what we’re doing now, and allows us to focus in on contracting with what we’re calling ‘single source continuum contractors,’” Taccetta says. “That contractor’s responsible for developing the foster care system and the foster care network of services that best meets the needs of children from their area.”

Taccetta says the cost of moving to the community-based modelshould be measured in terms of opportunities to add new services, and the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of providers’ programs.

“There are some things that we are purchasing in foster care redesign or community-based care that we hadn’t purchased before,” she says. “The legislature was really good to us in providing resources, but then another major change with community-based care is we moved to performance-based contracting. We outline the outcomes that we expect for children and families served by this contractor within the community, so we’re holding them accountable for reaching those outcomes.”

The state is currently divided into 11foster care service regions. With redesign, that number would grow to 17, if the redesign model were to be deployed statewide.

Community-based care in practice

The foster care model envisioned by Senate Bill 11 is already in use by one community provider. In fact, ACH Child and Family Services in north Texas has been at it for three years. The model is popular with some longtime foster parents, too.

Steve Clinkscales was a little reluctant to become a foster parent when his wife DeEdra first brought up the idea. But lots of prayers, nearly 11 years and about 70 foster kids later, the couple have become outspoken advocates for taking care of the state’s most vulnerable children. They even traveled to Austin earlier this year to talk with state lawmakers face-to-face.

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“And they got to hear our stories and you could definitely see the compassion that they had…and Governor Abbott hit a homerun,” Steve Clinkscales says.

The Clinkscales live in Cleburne, 30 miles south of Fort Worth. Steve says, before the community-based care model was put in place, they used to get kids from all over the state. These days, the kids they foster hail from seven nearby counties like Tarrant, Palo Pinto and Parker. In fact, some of the kids are from so close by that when it came to one mother who had her kids removed by Child Protective Services, “I bumped into her at the grocery store with the two little girls that we had,” he says.

And since CPS reunited the girls with their mom, DeEdra says now that mom is a dear friend.

“When I struggle with am I doing the right thing by taking care of someone else’s kids, she’s always there to give me that pat on the back and say ya know, please continue to do this. I never worried one time when I was in your house once I met you and started talking to you,” DeEdra says.

This is what community-based-care is supposed to do – keep foster kids close to their home communities, so they can stay in their schools, still see their friends and even increase the likelihood that they’re reunited with their families when appropriate.

Wayne Carson thinks taking a more local approach to foster care makes sense. He’s the CEO of ACH Child and Family Services.

“Nobody cares more about the safety of our kids more than we do,” Carson says. “I know that our folks in Austin are very concerned about the safety of our kids and rightly so. But we’re the ones taking care of the kids and they’re the ones who feel responsible to them.”

Carson’s organization has been pioneering the community-based-care model in Texas since 2014. That’s when the state turned over management of foster care in a seven-county region around Fort Worth to ACH. It’s known as Region 3b.

It was ACH’s job as the lead agency (officially called a Single Source Continuum Contractor) to get more than 40 organizations that serve foster kids and families in those counties to work together as one network. That program is known as Our Community Our Kids.

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Since ACH began managing foster care in Region 3b, they’ve increased the number of foster families in their area by 20 percent. Carson says that because this model is tailor-made to the community’s needs, it’s easier to respond to crises faster than a solely state-run system could, especially in a place like Texas, where one size doesn’t fit all.

“The solution to these problems is going to look very different in El Paso than it looks in Fort Worth, or it’s going to look very different in Tyler than it does in San Antonio,” Carson says. That’s the beauty of the model is that with good leadership communities can identify, ya know what resources do we already have in place that we can use and what additional resources need to be built.”

That’s why lawmakers voted to move Texas’ foster care system in this direction. But people like State Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) worry it might be hard to replicate ACH’s success. Wu also got his own comprehensive CPS reform bill through the 85th Texas Legislature.

“If there is some way we could clone desire and clone this love of doing public service, we would be doing great,” Wu says.

Carson thinks the state has crafted a great, performance-based contract that allows lead agencies like his to innovate while still meeting state standards. But ACH did a few things that went above and beyond what the state required.

“In doing our due diligence for this project, we did go to other states to see how other states are doing this because the idea for this model is not new,” Carson says.

With this extra effort in mind, Wu, who voted in favor of expanding community-based foster care, expects two types of groups to apply to provide services. Counties are one.

“And the second one is organizations who are willing to take a hit,” Wu says.

Over the last three years, the non-profit ACH actually lost money. Carson says they spent $6 million building up services in the region they managed.

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Considering this extra investment, does the state really need to privatize the foster care system to get better results, or did it just get bad results because it was underfunded for decades?

“I think more resources certainly would have helped,” Carson says. “I’m not convinced some of the things we’ve done were even possible to do in a statewide model.”

ACH’s three-year contract with the state ended on August 31 and they are renewing it. Carson emphasizes that ACH is committed to seeing this model succeed in Texas. And so is the state, itself. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services already announced that it will be setting up the community-based care model in a series of West Texas counties next.


Is Texas privatizing foster care? ›

The state is in the process of privatizing the foster care system. It will still continue to do investigations, but will leave placement and case work to private organizations divided into regions. SJRC Texas is now one of those main organizations. For 40 years, SJRC was mainly a large residential foster care campus.

How many foster kids are in the system in Texas? ›

Data Type All
LocationData Type2019
TexasRate per 1,000 children ages 0-176.9

What state has the highest foster care rate? ›

Texas, Florida, Indiana, and Illinois rounded out the five leading states for children in foster care in that year.
Number of child abuse victims who received foster care in the United States in 2020, by state.
CharacteristicNumber of children
9 more rows
27 Jan 2022

How much do foster parents get paid monthly in Texas? ›

Being a foster parent comes with no monetary compensation.

Texas foster parents aren't left on their own. Find out more about the help they can receive. You are not compensated when you choose to open your home. Each month, you aren't slipping a check into your pocket to help you pay your existing bills.

How long does a CPS safety plan last Texas? ›

Safety Plans and Family Based Safety Services can be from 60 – 90 days or longer, depending on what is needed. If you have a Safety Plan and your child is placed with someone else, the placement should last no more than 90 days, although you can reach an agreement with CPS that it continue for 6 months or longer.

Is CPS a government agency in Texas? ›

CPS is an acronym for Child Protective Services. In Texas, Child Protective Services is a branch of the Department of Family and Protective Services or DFPS.

How much do foster parents get paid in Texas 2022? ›

Foster Parenting in Texas: According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the minimum amount of money that a child-placing agency must reimburse its foster families on the basic level of service is $27.07 per day.

Are there orphanages in Texas? ›

Only a few children's homes remain part of the foster care system in Texas. These are now known as residential treatment centers (RTCs), and primarily serve teens displaced by repeated, failed foster placements.

How many children are waiting for adoption in Texas? ›

Information on children

In August 2021 there were 28,753 children in foster care in Texas and 5,925 children waiting for adoptive families. Find out more.

What is a Level 3 foster carer? ›

Diploma in Advanced Skills in Foster Care (Level 3)

This Diploma provides a comprehensive practice base for foster care, focusing on child development, issues of attachment and trauma, and team working.

Who has the best foster care system in the world? ›

Best Countries Rankings
  • #1. Switzerland.
  • #2. Germany.
  • #3. Canada.
  • #4. United States.
  • #5. Sweden.
30 May 2018

What state has the best child welfare system? ›

Study ranks best, worst states for child well-being: Massachusetts tops list, New Mexico trails.

Do foster kids need their own room in Texas? ›

Unless they're under the age of 1, foster children absolutely cannot reside in the same room as their foster parents. They can reside in a shared bedroom with siblings, however, they do need their own bed and dresser.

Do you get a monthly check when you adopt a child in Texas? ›

The monthly adoption assistance payments are determined based upon the child's special needs and the adoptive family's circumstances. Assistance is considered for the following types of special needs: Exceptional initial placement expenses. Special maintenance.

How long does a parent have to get their child back from foster care? ›

If the child remains in foster care for 15 out of 22 months, in most cases, the law requires the child welfare agency to ask the court to terminate parental rights (end the legal parent/child relationship). During this 15-month period, however, States are required to work to bring parents and children back together.

Can CPS drug test you in Texas? ›

Drug Testing

If your children have not already been removed, the drug test that is performed is typically a swab or urine test. If you test positive, the CPS caseworker will ask you to voluntarily sign a safety plan that places your children with another friend or relative.

How do you beat CPS in Texas? ›

In many circumstances, the best way to beat the case is to go for a dismissal. In Texas, a Child Protective Service case may be dismissed should the judge deem there to be a lack of evidence to warrant such an investigation or indictment, or if CPS is satisfied that certain circumstances are met.

Can CPS take your child? ›

CPS has the right to legally remove your kids from your home under particular circumstances. They must have a court order or be able to prove that your child is in imminent danger in order to take your child from you.

How much does CPS pay foster parents in Texas? ›

Minimum Daily Amount to be Reimbursed to a Foster Family *
Service LevelPayment Rate
Treatment Foster Family Care$137.52
1 more row

What are the 4 types of child neglect? ›

  • Physical Neglect. The failure to provide necessary food, clothing, and shelter; inappropriate or lack of supervision.
  • Medical Neglect. The failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment.
  • Educational Neglect. ...
  • Emotional Neglect.
27 Dec 2018

Can brother and sister share a room in Texas? ›

Contents. A very common question that arises in custody litigation is whether it is illegal for a brother and sister to share a bedroom. The short answer is: No. It is not illegal in any state for opposite-sex siblings to share a bedroom.

How much do group homes make per child in Texas? ›

In Texas, foster parents get a monthly payment between $812 and $2,773 for every child they care for. You do get a larger check by caring for multiple kids at once, but Texas law limits foster care households to 6 total children, including kids who are already living at your home.

How much money do you get for kinship care in Texas? ›

Monthly payments are $400 - $545 per month, depending upon each child's needs.

Can a single person be a foster parent in Texas? ›

To qualify to become a foster parent in Texas, you must: Be single or married (if married, for a minimum of two years) Be retired or employed. Be 21 years of age or older.

How much does it cost to adopt a foster child in Texas? ›

Adoption through CPS in Texas is one of the least expensive ways to grow your family. It can cost little to nothing. Typically, you will only pay fees to your agency, attorney and other administrative fees, with an average total cost of less than $5,000.

What benefits do foster parents get in Texas? ›

A: Financial reimbursement, along with medical and dental coverage, will vary dependant on the needs of the child or children in your care. On average, foster families will receive around $675 per child per month.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Texas? ›

Many factors can influence the overall cost of child adoption in Texas, so there is no clear-cut answer. The total cost includes expenses and fees for adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and other professional services. However, the average private adoption in Texas can cost between $60,000 and $65,000.

What percent of foster parents are white? ›

Race/Ethnicity: (edit)
CaliforniaRate per 1,000
American Indian/Alaska Native20.7
Asian/Pacific Islander1.0
2 more rows

How long does a parent take a child back from foster care in Texas? ›

Court Resolution: Within 12 months of giving CPS temporary legal responsibility (temporary managing conservatorship) for a child, the court will either return your child to you or give permanent custody to a relative, a close family friend, or to CPS.

What percent of babies put up for adoption are not adopted? ›

In domestic infant adoption, the answer to, “How many children go without getting adopted?” is zero. The adoption process, while unique for each person, follows these basic steps: Step 1: Work with an adoption specialist to create an adoption plan.

What is a Level 1 foster carer? ›

When you first start fostering, you will be given an induction and be expected to attend basic core training courses as well as gaining some experience of caring for foster children. During this period you will be on level 1.

Do foster carers get paid when they don't have a placement? ›

As a foster carer, you are paid on a fortnightly basis, while you have a child in placement. It is important to consider that you will not be paid any fees or allowances for any period that you do not have a child in placement.

How much do foster carers get a week? ›

For foster carers working with an Independent Fostering Agency the allowance and fee is set by the individual agency. The total payment can be dependent on age and level of care, however is a minimum average £450 a week per child placed rising to £1000 for specialist placements like Mother and Baby.

What do foster kids need the most? ›

Some children enter foster care with few or no belongings, so welcome boxes can contain a variety of items:
  • Cozy blanket.
  • Pajamas.
  • Socks.
  • Underwear.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Toys or stuffed animals.
  • Coloring or activity books.
26 Feb 2021

What country has the best child welfare system? ›

Children's rights are best preserved and respected in Iceland, Switzerland and Finland, but Tunisia and Thailand also fare well, says a new United Nations-based study.

Which country has the best child rights? ›

KidsRights Index 2022. In the KidsRights Index 2022, Iceland continues to rank first in the Index, followed by Sweden and Finland. Chad, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone are at the bottom of the 2022 Index.

What state has the best foster care? ›

Massachusetts took the top spot in the KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual survey from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, while Mississippi ranked 50th.

What state in the US has the most orphans? ›

West Virginia has the highest share of children in foster care, 1.97 percent, which is 8.6 times higher than in New Jersey, the state with the lowest at 0.23 percent.
States with the Most Underprivileged Kids
1. Mississippi11. Nevada
5. Louisiana15. Missouri
6. Oklahoma16. Wyoming
7. District of Columbia17. Ohio
6 more rows
11 Aug 2021

What state is easiest to adopt from? ›

Some states require more scrutiny of the adoptive parents than others.
For example, some of the friendliest adoptive states seem to be:
  • Minnesota.
  • Nebraska.
  • New Hampshire.
  • New Mexico.
  • Oklahoma.
  • Oregon.
  • Tennessee.
  • Utah.

Can a foster child share a room with your child in Texas? ›

Each foster child must be provided with a separate bed, except two related children of the same sex over the age of one and under 12 may share a double or larger bed. No foster child six years of age or older may regularly share a bedroom with another child of the opposite sex.

At what age does a child need their own room legally? ›

While it's not illegal for them to share, it's recommended that children over the age of 10 should have their own bedrooms – even if they're siblings or step-siblings. We know this isn't always possible. If kids are sharing, try to have regular conversations with them about how they're feeling.

Can a foster child share a room in Texas? ›

In general, children may share rooms with other children of the same gender and infants may sleep in a caregiver's room in a crib. I'm single. Single individuals may be licensed as foster parents with most child placing agencies.

Do adoptive parents get paid in Texas? ›

Because limited finances are one of the reasons why many women feel unable to parent their child in Texas, you may have also wondered, “Do you get paid for putting a baby up for adoption in Texas?” Payment for the placement of a child into an adoption is illegal.

Do adoptive parents get paid? ›

Adoptive Benefit is a payment made to a parent who is on adoptive leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks from the date you adopted your child. To get the full 24 weeks of Adoptive Benefit, your adoptive leave must begin on the date of adoption.

Can a single woman adopt a child in Texas? ›

A. Yes, single parent families can adopt and you do not have to own your home to adopt a child.

What is a s31 care order? ›

Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 – Care Order

The court can create a care order under Section 31(1) (a) of the Children Act, placing a child in the care of a designated local authority, with parental responsibility being shared between the parents and the local authority.

What is a section 20 care order? ›

Section 20 care is a voluntary care arrangement, based on agreement between; the person or people with Parental Responsibility (PR), the child or children (once they are old enough to express an opinion) and the local authority.

What age can social services not take a child? ›

When you're over 16, you can ask to have your care order stopped. You'll need to go through the court process to do this. You can talk to your social worker and independent review officer about this, or contact an advocate for extra support if you think that will help you.

How many children are in CPS custody in Texas? ›

Statewide, nearly 15,000 children are in CPS custody. Most of them are in foster homes.

How many kids are in foster care in the US 2022? ›

Include these key points in your messaging to demonstrate the important role relative and kinship caregivers play in supporting family connections that are essential to a child's health and well-being. There are over 407,000 children and youth in foster care, and 34 percent were placed with relatives or kin.

How many kids are in the foster care system in the US? ›

The newly released data indicates the number of children in foster care decreased for the third consecutive year, to an estimated 407,000 at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

How many babies are in orphanages? ›

“So, how many children really live in orphanages around the world?” For many years, we used the figure of 8 million children living in institutions as it was based on the best available estimates from Save the Children.

Do foster kids need their own room in Texas? ›

Unless they're under the age of 1, foster children absolutely cannot reside in the same room as their foster parents. They can reside in a shared bedroom with siblings, however, they do need their own bed and dresser.

What benefits do foster parents get in Texas? ›

A: Financial reimbursement, along with medical and dental coverage, will vary dependant on the needs of the child or children in your care. On average, foster families will receive around $675 per child per month.

How long does it take to become a foster parent in Texas? ›

How long does it take to become a foster parent? Before a child can be placed in your home, the State of Texas requires specific steps be taken to become a licensed foster home. That process can take approximately three months, depending on how motivated you are.

How many kids go unadopted in the US? ›

Of the over 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., 114,556 cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted.

Are there still orphanages in the US? ›

Essentially, no. The adoption process in the United States no longer involves traditional orphanages. Today, there are three primary forms of domestic adoption: a child may be adopted from the foster care system, as an infant in a private adoption or as a relative or stepchild of the adoptive parents.

How many babies are waiting to be adopted in America? ›


On any given day, almost 424,000 children are living in the U.S. foster care system and the number has been rising. Over 122,000 of these children are eligible for adoption and they will wait, on average, four years for an adoptive family.

What man has the most kids? ›

The man who is thought to have fathered the most children of all time is Moroccan Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif (1645 to 1727) with a total of more than 1,000, according to Guinness World Records.

Why do foster placements breakdown? ›

The child's age, emotional disturbance and motivation appear to be key factors in placement breakdown. Gender, ethnicity and disability do not appear by themselves to play a significant role in placement breakdown (3).

What percent of babies put up for adoption are not adopted? ›

In domestic infant adoption, the answer to, “How many children go without getting adopted?” is zero. The adoption process, while unique for each person, follows these basic steps: Step 1: Work with an adoption specialist to create an adoption plan.

Why are there no orphanages in America? ›

By the early 1900s, the government started monitoring and supervising foster parents. And by the 1950s, children in family foster care outnumbered children in orphanages. The government started funding the foster system in 1960. And since then, orphanages in America have fizzled out completely.

Which country has the most abandoned babies? ›

Asia holds the largest number of orphaned children, at 71 million – India alone is home to 31 million orphans. This is followed by Africa, which harbors 59 million. 3. Each day, 39,000 children are forced from their homes alone because of the death of a parent, family illness or abuse and abandonment.

Why do children end up in orphanages? ›


Many experience housing challenges, or live with mental health problems or social exclusion. Some families are coping with disability and other special needs. Breakdowns in relationships, and alcohol and drug abuse are also common.


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