Texas is in the middle of a foster care crisis. More than a dozen children died while in foster care placements in the last several years. Gov. Greg Abbott and the state’s leading lawmakers say fixing the foster care system is a top priority during this legislative session.

The issue rose to be a top item for lawmakers, after 2015 ruling by U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack called the system “broken” and unconstitutional. This series aims to get at the root of the challenges facing foster care in the state. We’re going to pick the system apart piece by piece, looking at groups involved with and affected by the system: foster children, caseworkers and lawmakers.

What Led to the ‘Broken’ Foster Care System in Texas

Lawmakers, advocates, the court system and state agencies have been taking steps to improve Child Protective Services and foster care. But critics of the system say more will need to be made to ensure the safety of children.  To better understand the challenges ahead, we must first look at how children have fared living within the system.

The Only Certainty is Instability: A Teenager Navigates the ‘Broken’ Texas Foster Care System

After his father was deported, Christian Enriquez entered the Texas Foster Care system. He says he experienced its dysfunction first hand. He bounced from emergency shelters to Residential Treatment Facilities (RTCs), to foster homes, to homelessness. Now he’s finally found a home at LifeWorks, a non-profit organization in Austin that advocates for and provides housing to youth aging out of the foster care system.