AUSTIN – State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and his fellow Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives are calling on Texas Democrats to return to work for Texas foster children. Among the items placed on the call by Governor Abbott for the current special session of the Texas Legislature is a bill to use newly-available funds to direct resources to help vulnerable children in the state’s foster care system.
Last week, more than fifty Texas Democrats fled the Texas Capitol on private jets and are staying in Washington, D.C. in a tactic to keep the Texas House of Representatives from passing any legislation, including this measure to fund the state’s foster care system.
“We have an opportunity to immediately improve living conditions for some of Texas’ most vulnerable youth and a majority of House Democrats are refusing to come to work,” Landgraf said. “They are not only wasting taxpayer dollars by stalling the legislative process, they’re putting handcuffs on the state’s ability to respond to a crisis.”
According to the state’s child protective services office, 415 Texas foster children are currently forced to sleep in office buildings or other unlicensed facilities.
Earlier this year, projections indicated that funds were not available to fully address the issues plaguing the state’s foster care system. The number of children needing to be placed in licensed foster care facilities is growing as the number of available facilities becomes fewer and fewer, in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Texas economy has rebounded faster than expected and projections now show that the Texas Legislature has the opportunity to provide $91 million to foster care programs in Texas to alleviate this problem.
“We’ve been waiting for the Democrats to return for more than a week,” Landgraf continued. “But Texas foster children have been waiting for much longer than that. It’s time for the political stunt to end. We need to do the jobs Texans elected us to do.”
The current special session of the Texas Legislature is scheduled to last until August 7th. If the agenda items are not passed into law, another 30-day session could be called to begin.