Texas protective services officials moved closer Friday to tightening the vetting procedures for prospective foster parents and relatives who provide care. There has been proven to be gaps and loopholes in screening regulations and procedures for these potential foster parents.
John Specia, a former family court judge, hashed out the rule changes with foster care providers in a series of regional meetings.
The new rules are expected to take effect Sept. 1, after a public comment period. Most target foster care, though some take aim at vetting procedures for “kinship care,” where relatives or close family friends take in children in CPS’ care.
These stricter rules for the foster system are finally taking place because of the two recent deaths of innocent children. Alexandria Hill, 2, died in a Milam County home run by Texas Mentor, a for-profit contractor. Orien Hamilton was killed at 11 months in a suburban Austin home that had just been approved as a foster home by nonprofit Lutheran Social Services of the South. Both died as a result of head-slamming deaths.
As a lawyer who has seen some horrific child injury cases, I am relieved to see the state taking charge and taking preventative action for these foster children. Prior to this, there has been a very minimal approval methods for foster parents- some of which get paid by the state and then neglect their foster children.
Children cannot protect themselves against these kinds of people, so it is our duty to ensure their safety. Abusive foster parents will hopefully be run out of the system and will make way for new foster parents who can help these children find a new home. It’s unfortunate that it has taken the deaths of these two young children and many years to make this kind of action happen.