Rep. Roberts of Houston files bills to promote foster care options

 

State Rep. Kevin Roberts, R-Houston, filed two bills relating to foster care in early January.

House Bill 871 instructs the Department of Family and Protective Services to work with nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations, to provide services and information about services to families in crisis.

HB 872 states that a child placed under the care of a relative or other person by the child’s parent is not considered to be placed in foster care, and the parties with whom the child is placed are not subject to laws governing foster care providers.

This allows local organizations to accept volunteer custody of the child during the CPS review process as opposed to the child being sent to foster care, according to a statement from Roberts' office.

"As the Legislature has investigated CPS throughout the course of the interim, there have been many heartbreaking stories where improper supervision led to children being harmed," Roberts said.

Roberts said both pieces of legislation are designed to help create more options for voluntary guardianship and  keeping children out of group homes.

If approved by the 85th Texas Legislature, the bills will allow caseworkers to temporarily transfer guardianship in certain instances, Roberts said.

"My legislation is meant to increase the services available to CPS caseworkers and parents," Roberts said. "No two situations are exactly alike when it comes to families."

He said after talking to area residents, he has discovered the solutions come from the local level.

"I believe after talking to many folks in our community that there is a true desire to come alongside and help families that are hurting," Roberts said. "By allowing  faith-based organizations and nonprofits to actively engage in assisting families in crisis, more families are going to hear about the help that is out there for them."

Both bills would become effective Sept. 1 if approved.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.