New TX law affects parents struggling with addiction

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A new Texas child protective law, House Bill 85, is stricter on parents relapsing from substance abuse.

More than half of cases that Court Appointed Special Advocates of Red River workers said they deal with are drug-related.

There are around 350 children in the system right CASA of River covers.

"Addiction is a tough thing to overcome especially with a lot of families we serve," CASA Volunteer Coordinator James Bodling said.

If a parent relapses after finishing rehab, the court can apply for termination of their rights to their children.

"I think we would have more children come into foster care and I think fewer children go back home or unification," Bodling said.

George Latham works with people addicted to drugs searching for help at Wichita Falls Victory Ministries Inc. He said he understands their struggle because he was addicted to methamphetamine for 23 years. He has been sober for eight years.

"There was no other life," Latham said. "There was nothing else and I would die to do that."

He said like many parents struggling with addiction it destroyed his family.

"It's honestly my own fault but once I was separated from my kids I felt like what else do I have?" Latham said.

He said his faith saved him and is helping him reunite with his family. He relapsed multiple times until he was able to control his addiction. With the new law, other families might not get that opportunity.

"I see them come in and get right the first time," Latham said. "I see them come in and struggle for four or five, six times."

Latham said it is always amazing to see families reunite once the parents overcome their addiction.

"The difference between being in foster care and being with their mother, well, you just see the glow on their face," Latham said.

Bodling said even though it took effect in September of last year. The effects in Texoma are still six months away.

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