Texas Senate passes bill to raise payments for relative foster parents


Highlights

A family that makes up to $73,800 would receive about $4,200 a year to care for a relative foster child.

The Senate made a change to the bill that would stop payments to foster parents after a year or 18 months.

The Texas Senate has approved a priority House bill that would increase payments for people who foster children who are their family members.

“There is, in general, a recognition that kinship care is a superior method of caring for a child versus foster care,” said Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, who presented the bill.

Under House Bill 4, a family that makes up to $73,800 would receive about $4,200 a year to care for a relative foster child. Currently, kinship foster parents only receive a one-time $1,000 payment and $500 per year. Such arrangements are called kinship care, which results in better outcomes for children including fewer behavioral problems, fewer placements and more stability, according to supporters.

“Data shows us that when children must be removed from a dangerous home situation that they usually have better outcomes when placed with relatives who already know and love them rather than strangers in foster care,” said Madeline McClure, head of TexProtects, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children.

READ: Texas House debates unauthorized immigrants and House Bill 4

The Senate made a major change to the bill on Monday that would stop payments to kinship foster parents after a year or 18 months under the discretion of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which oversees the foster care system.

Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, who proposed the change, said the provision would discourage kinship foster parents from keeping the child because of the money they would receive from the state. He said the average amount of time children stay in kinship care is about a year anyway.

“We need to be careful, because I think unfortunately we’re creating some incentive … for a few people to act in a nefarious manner and to harm the child to enrich themselves,” Taylor said.

Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, pushed back on the measure, saying that foster parents have very little say in whether a child should stay in the foster care system. The caseworker’s input carries more weight, he said.

“When you sit up and say that you believe that they’re going to have some sort of perverse motive to keep the money and keep the child, I think that does a disservice to those that would take on a child that’s the subject of an abuse and neglect claim coming out of someone’s home,” West said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

'Unknown' veteran's funeral draws hundreds of strangers 
'Unknown' veteran's funeral draws hundreds of strangers 

He may have been an unknown soldier in life, but Glenn McCoy Shelton’s death brought hundreds of strangers together to honor the former Marine with a dignified sendoff. Shelton, 68, a Vietnam veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, died Nov. 26, WXIN reported. Indiana Funeral Care organized Saturday’s gathering by spreading the word...
Power outage reported at Atlanta airport
Power outage reported at Atlanta airport

Power is out at Hartsfield-Jackson international Airport and all flights are being held, officials said Sunday  The airport is currently holding all inbound flights until at least 4 p.m. and departure delays are averaging nearly an hour and a half, according to  FlightAware. The outage was first reported about 1:15 p.m. Flyers should...
Austin medics respond to multiple calls of K2 overdoses Sunday
Austin medics respond to multiple calls of K2 overdoses Sunday

Austin-Travis County EMS has taken two men to Dell Seton Medical Center for K2 overdoses, the second incident today at the same location involving multiple people needing medical care after taking the synthetic drug, authorities said. Both incidents, the first at roughly 11:30 a.m. and another about an hour later, happened beneath the Interstate 35...
Study: Uber reduces ambulance usage nationwide
Study: Uber reduces ambulance usage nationwide

A study by a pair of university researchers has concluded that Uber and other ride-booking services have caused a drop in ambulance usage nationwide, The San Jose Mercury News reported.  A research paper released Wednesday is believed to be the first study to measure the impact of Uber and other ride-booking services. The study...
BREAKING UPDATE: APD officer shot stabbing assailant after dispute
BREAKING UPDATE: APD officer shot stabbing assailant after dispute

2 p.m. update: An Austin police officer shot and wounded a man who stabbed and critically injured another man outside a home in Northwest Hills on Sunday, officials said. According to police, the officer shot a 59-year-old man who refused to drop his knife and advanced toward him after stabbing a 69-year-old man. Both men are in the hospital, and the...
More Stories