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Statement From Speaker Joe Straus on Child Protection in Texas

The Texas House will make it a top priority in next year's legislative session to improve the state's system for protecting and helping abused children. All of us have a responsibility to end the suffering that far too many Texas children are experiencing. This is not a new challenge or a simple one, but the complexity of the problem is not an excuse for inaction. Texas children are counting on all of us.

In the coming months, my office and I will continue to visit with agency officials and employees about action that the Legislature can take to more effectively protect these children. We will also visit with Members of the House to share ideas and hear about specific CPS and foster care challenges in their districts. Last fall, I charged the House Committee on Human Services with examining the state's policies and procedures dedicated to ending abuse and fatalities within the foster care system, and with looking at ways to increase the number of foster care families in the state. The committee will report its finding and recommendations to the House before the 2017 legislative session.

I know that Members of the House want to address these issues. Last year, the Legislature passed a number of reforms to the Department of Family and Protective Services through the Sunset process. In addition, the Legislature increased funding for CPS by $231 million. These changes are taking effect each day, and there are thousands of agency employees doing good work in extremely difficult circumstances. There are also success stories in some regions of the state, such as the Children's Court in Bexar County. But the statewide system is still broken, and the Texas House will work with all parties to fix it.