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Current law requires the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) to provide monetary assistance to a foster parent for a foster child if the department verifies the foster parent has attempted to find "appropriate day-care services for this foster child through community services, including Head Start programs, prekindergarten classes, and early education programs offered in public schools" or if the department determines the verification would prevent an emergency placement that is in the child’s best interest.
The bill would strengthen the language in Chapter 264 of the Family Code by requiring DFPS to provide monetary assistance to a foster parent for day care for a foster child, regardless of the type of day care chosen by the foster parent. The bill would forbid DFPS from denying monetary assistance to the foster parent based on the number of hours the foster parent works each week. These two provisions would also apply to relatives and designated caregivers.
The purpose of the legislation is to allow foster parents, relatives, and designated caregivers to receive monetary assistance regardless of the number of hours they work each week and the day care services they select for their foster children.
According to the statement of purpose in the bill analysis provided on Texas Legislature Online, this is needed because the current system only allows reimbursement for full-time but not part-time daycare services for foster children and that making this change would save money because parents who only need part-time daycare would no longer need to send a foster to full-time daycare just to get the financial assistance.
However, the $16 million negative fiscal impact would increase the size and cost of government rather than decreasing it as predicted in the statement of purpose. Due to these limited government concerns, we oppose HB 1268.
It is worth further noting that foster children are best placed with families that can afford to care for them and that daycare is already federally subsidized to a degree because it is tax deductible up to a certain point based on the income level of the parent or parents.