AUSTIN – The U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee released draft language for the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) that incorporates language recommended by a coalition of child welfare reform advocates, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation. This coalition, known as United Family Advocates, is a bipartisan group of advocates for the rights of families and children unjustly harmed by the existing child welfare system. Andrew Brown, the director of TPPF’s Center for Families and Children, serves as co-chair of United Family Advocates.

“We applaud the House Education and Labor Committee for its commitment to minimizing the trauma experienced by children caused by unnecessary removal into foster care,” said Brown. “The language included in the CAPTA reauthorization bill recognizes that too many children are entering foster care for reasons unrelated to child safety, and is a significant first step toward limiting harmful government overreach into the private realm of the family.”

The recommended language incorporated into CAPTA recognizes that federal child welfare policy and funding has created perverse incentives that result in the unnecessary removals of children into foster care. Provisions added to the bill address the problem of unnecessary removals by requiring evidence that there is an imminent risk that a child will be harmed if allowed to remain in their home and curtailing the practice of separating children from their families based on symptoms of poverty.

Last year, more than 20,000 Texas children were removed from their families and placed into foster care. Roughly 70-percent of these children were removed for neglect, which is often rooted in conditions of poverty.