LUBBOCK, Texas – Back in 2017, Texas Lawmakers passed laws effectively changing the roles of Child Protect Services. CPS still oversees investigations, but the case managements are intended to pass over to private nonprofits like Saint Francis Ministries.
The State also divided the cases between 11 regions across Texas, and established a three stage transition phase from CPS to private providers. Currently, one out of eleven regions are in the second stage; Lubbock is one out of those two.
When asked about laws passed over five years ago and the efforts to transition over to the new system, Texas Senator Charles Perry said that it’s been a long and frustrating process.
“Nothing’s changed. We still have kids not getting placed, we still have kids in environments that we wish they weren’t,” Perry said. “We’d hoped to have these systems in place to look back and see what we need to tweak, adjust, or make recommendations for different approaches. But we got no data, because the system hasn’t been in place. So, as a legislator, I’m extremely frustrated.”
To add another layer that possibly has added further strains on the transition is that nonprofits that are coming in to take over and manage these cases are taking over at their own expense. For nonprofits like Saint Francis Ministries, other than stepping in for a good cause, these contracts are not financially profitable.
Saint Francis Ministries Vice President of Family Services Christian Garcia said they’re funding is primarily community raised.
“We actually do this work with less funding than our counterparts do, and at the end of the day, it’s up to us to go fundraise in our communities to help support those additional items that are needed to support families and get them in a better situation. So, it’s about giving this back to who truthfully owns it, the community support,” Garcia said.
However, Perry said that the State has had plenty of time to move at a faster pace, and have things a lot further along than where it currently stands.
“There’s no excuse why we should be sitting here near 2023 without those laws implemented,” Perry said.“ We’ve just had an agency that has failed to deliver– plain and simple. And there’s a lot of repercussions from that. And whereas the legislature have had our belly full of that, to be just perfectly frank, we’re done. And we’re going to get action. With or without the leadership that’s in there. We’re going to take action as a legislature. If it comes down in my recommendation, day one has been to micromanage this agency until this gets done, have an accounting every week of things we told him to do and what they did.”
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