Foster care system being revamped - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Foster care system being revamped

Amarillo, TX - It's a statewide effort to find foster children in Texas a home more quickly and make the transition smoother.

The foster care system is being revamped.

The Texas Department of Family Protective Services is awarding one main contractor per region to place children in programs within that region.

Something that was often not available in the past, forcing children from our area to go to bigger cities as far as Houston or Austin.

Many area agencies say the old system was inadequate and the new one will better meet the needs of foster children in Texas.

"The idea is that these large providers, called single-source continuum contractors, will move kids through the system quickly. The purpose of that is so foster care children don't end up languishing in places for a long time without a home," says Dan Adams, Public/Private Partnership Redesign Committee.

The redesign is ironing out other issues as well.

"The way the system was before, depending on the child's behavior, the provider received more money. So if the child has basic needs, they received one amount and if the child had more extreme behavior the more money the provider would get," says Linda Coronado, CASA.

Agencies say at times this would cause many children to stay in the system longer because some foster care providers or homes would say their child needed more attention.

That's why the system is being changed.

"We took the money of the high-cost kids and the money of the low-cost kids and blended that together and are given one cost for any kid," says Dan Adams, Public/Private Partnership Redesign Committee.

We're told there's a long road ahead but in the end the children will be better served.

"This will keep kids safer, from languishing in the state's care for a long time and try to keep them with extended family if that exists," says Dan Adams, Public/Private Partnership Redesign Committee.

The foster care redesign will be phased in throughout the state over the next few years.

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