A recent spike in the number of Texas foster children entering state custody without a stable placement threw a spotlight on the state’s struggle to maintain an adequate capacity of foster homes and treatment facilities.

Key points

– Texas continues to struggle with alleviating longstanding problems with its foster care system, most recently losing more than 1,000 placements intended for older youth and those with more complex needs.

– Foster families and child welfare service providers point to an “unnecessarily burdensome and punitive” regulatory environment as one of the driving forces behind the loss of placement capacity.

– Texas child-placing agencies and foster families must navigate multiple layers of oversight from at least three separate agencies.

– The lack of alignment among state regulators creates confusion and inefficiency that ultimately undermines the goal of promoting the safety and well-being of children in the care of the state.

– Several child welfare service providers have made the decision to cease certain operations due to the overly restrictive regulatory environment.