Bill looks to change Texas foster care

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A house bill filed by Rep. James Frank, (R) Wichita Falls, may benefit children in the Falls'.

House Bill 6 looks to expand community-based care. Child Advocates CASA said it will give cities, like Wichita Falls, more a say on how to care for their foster children.

CASA Executive Director said the huge size of Texas sometimes hurts foster children.

"Sometimes our children in Wichita Falls have to be placed in Dallas, Houston or San Antonio because there are not enough local foster care homes to meet their individual needs," said Grimsinger.

H.B.6 also looks to make the Department of Family and Protective Services into an independent executive-level agency. Rep. Frank says with the current system it takes to long to make critical decisions.

Grimsinger said children in smaller communities are affected the most.

"Children from our community (Wichita Falls), their needs are not always met with the same rules as children from Houston, for example," said Grimsinger.

The legislation filed by Rep. Frank is trying to change all that by expanding the community-based care.

"By bringing it to a local level it will enable us to recruit and cultivate more homes in our local community," said Grimsinger.

With more local foster care homes Rep. Frank expects the children to stay in the Falls.

"Kids will stay in their homes," said Rep. Frank.

More than 30 percent of Fall's foster children end up in cities away from their family, friends and neighbors.

Grimsinger said moving children away from their hometowns hurts them even more.

"Once they've been removed from their families, that trauma is pervasive and to take them away from their home communities only compounds that trauma," said Grimsinger.

According to CASA parents of the children in foster care will be able to easily visit them and they hope that will lead to the families to reunite.

Seven counties in Fort Worth run a similar program known as Foster Care Redesign.

Rep. Frank said he expects community-based care to expand when the state legislature votes next month.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.