December 11, 2014  |  Statewide

New Child Abuse Prevention Structure Moves Forward

The Sunset Advisory Commission approved a recommendation to consolidate child abuse prevention programs under a proposed new Health and Human Services Commission division focusing on medical and social services.

The move would consolidate all home visiting programs, including those currently under the Prevention and Early Intervention division of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

Advocates across the state, including TexProtects and members of the Child Protection Roundtable, led the charge to consolidate prevention programs and move them away from DFPS. Many felt that DFPS was not a good home for these programs since they are not all focused on prevention of child abuse. Furthermore, those programs that do address child maltreatment also work on multiple health, behavioral, educational and social issues.

Additionally, the Sunset Commission created a work group, chaired by Senator Charles Schwertner, to take up DFPS recommendations on statutes in the Texas Family Code.

The Sunset Commission had instructed DFPS to review the statutes that govern the agency with an eye to reducing statutory barriers. DFPS recommended modifying and deleting 189 provisions in the Family Code; provisions that govern everything from psychotropic medication for foster youth, eliminating the vacancy replacement “hire-ahead” and reducing the educational requirements for caseworkers to response rates to reports of child abuse.

View DFPS’ recommendations here.

Learn more about the Sunset Advisory Commission here.