In Texas, thirteen foster children died last year while in the care of the state. That is thirteen too many. Representative Cindy Burkett of Garland, Texas, initiated House Bill 781, which will require increased oversight of the hundreds of agencies that train foster parents. “Countless measures have been implemented to assure the safety of children who are in custody of the state,” Burkett said. “We want to feel confident that the best providers are being approved to provide services to children in foster care, and we also want to ensure they acquire the knowledge needed to take on these important roles.”
There is currently no system in place for the state to monitor the number of training hours or the specific training that private agencies use. There is also no way to measure the effectiveness of the training. Although the state requires some specific training, such as CPR and the administration of medication, there is no guidance on just how much of that training is required.
With passage of Bill 781, all agencies — both non-profit and for-profit within the state — will have the same requirements. Additionally, with uniform requirements it will be easier to analyze the effectiveness, then make changes as the analyses come in.
All children deserve the best that any state has to offer. Representative Burkett and other proponents of the bill believe that this is a good start to a better future.
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