The Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 2091 seeks to clarify standards in the Family Code that DFPS and the courts rely upon when making life-altering decisions concerning the removal of children into foster care and termination of parental rights. Research has shown that children suffer trauma when they are separated from their parents and placed into foster care—even for a short time. Since 2009, the number of Texas children removed into foster care has increased by nearly 71 percent. These removals are primarily driven by findings of “neglectful supervision,” which are often rooted in issues of poverty.
SB 2091 aims to reduce the harm caused to children by unnecessary separation from their parents, prioritize support for families over removal, allow children in foster care to either return home or be adopted more quickly, and protect the fundamental rights of families against unconstitutional government intervention. The committee substitute incorporates feedback provided by a number of stakeholders including the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Children’s Commission.