Panel Recommends Major Changes to ‘Incredibly Inadequate’ Children’s Mental Health Care System – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Child welfare lawyers hope a new set of recommendations can help end a crisis in the state’s care system.

A report by three designated experts released Monday showed that, on average, more than 300 children in foster care each did not have a safe place to sleep and sometimes slept in hotels, caseworkers’ offices and churches. There were 461 children without placement in July 2021. This is an issue that advocates and government workers have demanded that heads of state address for several months.

Experts tasked with assessing the crisis, reviewing thousands of documents and interviewing stakeholders and children about their experiences described the state system as “severely inadequate” and offered solutions to several short- and long-term solutions, such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and Texas Health. and the Human Services Commission should start implementing within the next 30-90 days.

Among the recommendations, panelists suggested the state strengthen its infrastructure and create positions to help DFPS and HHSC better coordinate their efforts to solve the problem, invest in more services to keep children with relatives and kinship placements, improve access to resources and create mobile shelters and overall focus on developing a state-wide children’s mental health system to support children in care and to prevent children from entering the system.

Kate Murphy, Senior Policy Associate for Child Protection at Texans Care for Children, told NBCDFW Anchor Brittney Johnson that she believes improving access to higher quality mental health care resources will benefit families beyond those involved in the child welfare system. She is optimistic about the recommendations in the report.

“We just want to encourage our heads of state to really dig in and follow these recommendations and do what is necessary to support them. So that children in foster care, can be safe, can heal from trauma, can get the mental health services and support it “they need,” Murphy said.

The Dallas Morning News reports that agency executives agreed to review the recommendations and report back to the federal court with their next move. Find out more about the report and the latest update from the court’s supervisors here.

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