Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit after a U.S. District Court issued a ruling this afternoon that fails to deliver concrete and realistic recommendations to address challenges in Texas’ foster care system.
“Texas has a solemn responsibility to care for children removed from their homes due to neglect and abuse of all kinds, and last year the Legislature approved landmark changes in the foster care system. When unelected judges improperly assume control of state institutions, Texas officials cannot make the policy they’ve been entrusted to make,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The judge and special masters acted outside of their legal authority and ordered a plan that is both incomplete and impractical. We are asking the Fifth Circuit to correct this error.”
Even after spending two years and more than $1.4 million, the Special Masters’ plan detailed in the order fails to improve the realistic operations of the foster care system, and it causes actual harm to current families. The plan would place an immediate cap on the number of children currently in foster homes. Foster homes would have to decide which children should be uprooted from their homes. Case workers would also be bogged down with administrative work rather than maintaining their focus on providing care to children in the program.
Responsibility for determining policy priorities and implementing best practices lies with the legislative and executive branches of government, and future lawmakers must have the flexibility to adapt as needs change. This plan effectively binds all foster care options in favor of the opinions of the Special Masters.