Archive for May, 2017

The Conservative Case For CPS Reform

May 16, 2017

By Rep. James Frank

The state’s child welfare system is a critical focus for the Texas Legislature during the 85th Legislative Session. Governor Abbott made it an emergency item, and the leadership of the House and Senate has repeatedly pledged to improve the beleaguered Child Protective Services (CPS) system. Hundreds of kids in foster care lack a placement in a home. They end up sleeping in offices or hotels, or they get shipped from their hometown to a foster placement in another part of the state. It is a system that does not or cannot act with urgency to ensure that children who have suffered from abuse and neglect can get services they need and be placed in stable, loving homes.

CPS is in need of transformation by making it more accountable to local communities and the children they serve. As a result, legislators are considering proposals from Republicans in both chambers (HB 6 and SB 11) transitioning CPS to a community-based model where foster care services will be managed regionally, enabling collaboration with local stakeholders in order to deliver more innovative, local services to children in foster and kinship care. Community-based care seeks first and foremost to ensure all children remain safe in care. However, the model encourages innovation throughout the system. It enables features such as prioritizing the placement of kids within reasonable distance of their own communities ensuring that children experience minimum placement disruptions and maintain their connections to family and their culture.

In the past, the Legislature has responded to crises in CPS by throwing more money at the status quo. This time, let us choose a path of real reform.

A longtime resident of Wichita Falls, Representative James Frank is currently in his third term in the Texas House of Representatives. Frank serves as the Vice-Chair of the Human Services Committee and is on the Natural Resources Committee and the Local & Consent Calendars Committee.

Local Control

May 9, 2017

By Rep. Paul Workman

Margaret Thatcher once famously quipped that the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

Austin is fast approaching this condition.

The mayor and city council have mandated to private businesses in and out of Austin how they need to hire ex-offenders. They are spending $200,000 of taxpayer money to help illegal aliens stay in Austin while driving citizens out by curtailing development. They have told private property owners that if they want a development permit more quickly, they must get sign-off from a union front organization. To be “green,” the mayor and council signed a 30-year contract for solar power at almost twice the rate at which electricity can be purchased, costs be damned.

These, along with many other socialist-type ordinances and regulations drive up the cost of living in Texas, compelling me to file a number of bills aimed at reining in the city’s overreaches. After all, Austin exists because of a state-issued charter. The state has an obligation to ensure laws enacted by state-chartered cities do not have negative effects on their citizens or the state.

The state has a duty to step in based on the following principles: when an ordinance of one jurisdiction conflicts with an ordinance from another municipality(s); when ordinances from one jurisdiction affect citizens of another jurisdiction; when ordinances threaten the economic health of our state; and when ordinances infringe on the personal liberties of its citizens. These and other City of Austin ordinances fit more than one of these principles.

Personal liberties and economic health are vital to making our communities great places to live, work and raise a family. In these limited occasions, state action will help encourage city councils to protect the rights of its citizens, not remove them.

Rep. Paul Workman represents House District 47 which includes western and southern Travis County, including about 40% City of Austin constituents.

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