Andrew C. Brown, JD, is the distinguished senior fellow of child and family policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

In 2018, the federal government enacted one of the most dramatic overhauls of child welfare policy in over 30 years. Known as the Family First Prevention Services Act, this landmark legislation aims to prevent children from entering foster care by focusing efforts on family preservation and reduce reliance on placing children in institutional settings. These goals represent a sea change in child welfare practice and are an important step toward creating a more compassionate and effective system.

Family First implementation presents a unique opportunity, but also a number of challenges. As the October 2021 compliance deadline approaches, the 87th Legislature is facing several critical decisions for how Texas will respond. House Bill 3041 provides a thoughtful, fiscally responsible path toward not only complying with Family First, but also sustaining long-overdue transformation.

Testimony Submitted to the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee