Foster Care Bill Just Needs Governor’s Signature to Become Law

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 30, 2017 12:36 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A bill that addresses one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s top priorities during this legislative session – child welfare reform – is awaiting his signature.

Senate Bill 11 seeks to address multiple aspects of the state-run foster care system, including the capacity crisis, medical needs and agency accountability, by transforming the system into an increasingly privatized, “community-based model.”

Under this new model, the state would outsource services and cases to local non-profit groups or local government entities.

“We cannot continue to fund a statewide system that does not take into account individualized community supports and services, and further, traumatizes children by moving them from one side of the state to another, away from their siblings, their family and their community,” says Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), one of the bill’s authors.

CPS reform was one of Abbott’s four emergency items for the 85th Legislative session.

A Houston-area school district has disciplined several teachers who passed out mock awards to students last week.

One certificate named a student “most likely to become a terrorist.”

While a Channelview Independent School District spokesman said the certificates were a poor attempt to poke fun, the student who received that award was not amused.

“I was bothered– I was like, I don’t like it,” seventh-grader Lizeth Villanueva told KPRC-TV, a local NBC affiliate in Houston.

Other awards handed out included: “most likely to cry for every little thing” and “most likely to become homeless.”

Villanueva’s family says school officials told them that the teacher who handed out that award was suspended until the end of the year.

The Channelview Independent School District did not name the teachers involved or disclose how they were disciplined. It released a statement saying “the district does not condone the incident that occurred and we are taking this matter very seriously.”

Some parents feel the incident is being taken too seriously.

But others, like parent Ron Patient, told KPRC that it went too far.

“The people that are saying that is a joke – if it had happened to them – they wouldn’t have thought it was such a joke,” he says.

The principal of Aguirre Junior High School, where the incident took place, apologized to parents and students for the offensive mock awards and said an investigation would be launched into what happened.

The congregation at the Victoria Islamic Center has broken ground for the construction of a new mosque.

Members held the ceremony over the weekend at the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

The new mosque is in the same spot where the old mosque burned down at the end of January. The fire was ruled to be arson.

“We thought it was going to be very difficult to have our mosque again but the people in Victoria and surrounding Victoria was amazing,” the mosque’s Imam Osama Hassan told the local ABC station in Houston.

After the devastating blaze, one of the mosque’s members started a GoFundMe page to rebuild it and raised more than 1 million dollars.

That’s not including another $300,000 in mailed checks.

The Victoria Advocate reports all of that money will go toward construction.