HB 39

85(R) - 2017
House Human Services
House Human Services
Health & Human Services

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Gene Wu

Bill Caption

Relating to the child protective service functions of the Department of family and Protective Services.

Fiscal Notes

From the LBB: Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB39, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($2,194,746) through the biennium ending August 31, 2019. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.

Bill Analysis

This bill would establish a career development and education program for foster children in order to help them obtain high school diplomas, industry certifications, career guidance, information about tuition fees and waivers for institutes of higher education available to foster children, and available programs that provide housing assistance, educational assistance, and any other service to assist foster care youth and former youth with transitioning to independent living.

If an assessment indicates that a child in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services may have an intellectual disability, the department would be required to ensure that a referral for a determination of intellectual disability is made as soon as possible and that the determination is conducted by an authorized provider before the child’s 16th birthday. If the child is already 16, the determination would be required to be conducted as soon as possible.  

The bill would exempt certain information about current and former employees of DFPS from public information requests, and would create an office to serve as liaison to nonprofit contractors working with DFPS.

The bill would require the department to create a caseworker caseload management system that assigns cases based on risk assessments assigned to children in the cases and limits the number of cases with higher risk assessments that can be assigned to one caseworker.

The department would ensure that child protective services caseworkers who interact with children daily receive evidence-based training in trauma-based care.

The bill would create a provision for the department to develop procedures for emergency placement of children for children needing to be placed in foster care for less than 30 days. 

A child taken into the conservatorship of the department for more than three business days would be required to receive an initial medical examination and mental health screening not later than the end of the third business day after they enter into the conservatorship of the department.

The bill would require the department to, subject to the availability of funds, collaborate with current foster and adoptive parents to develop a foster care provider recruitment plan.

The bill would expedite the evaluation of a potential caregiver for a child in order to protect a child from an alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect.

Each regional office of DFPS the provides child protective services would be required to have an employee appointed by the attorney general to serve as a liaison to the department for that regional office.

The department would be required to collaborate with the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System, the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission, and any other appropriate interested party to publish on the department’s website resources for judges, attorneys, and others involved in the child welfare system to support consistent practices statewide. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill would make various procedural changes to the operations of the Department of Family and Protective Services in an attempt to fix this agency in crisis. This legislation lacks explicit protections for freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It also lacks protection to ensure that a child can not be removed from a home because the child is home-schooled or because the family is poor. For these reasons we remain neutral on this bill, however we do support HB 7 which includes the aforementioned protections.