News Roundup: Community-Based Foster Care Model Is Coming To More Texas Counties

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 13, 2018 4:08 pm

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

Texas will launch a new foster care model in a 30 county-region including Abilene and Wichita Falls. 

It’s called ‘Community Based Care.’ It allows private organizations to take over some of the state’s responsibilities for kids in the foster care system. That includes finding them foster homes and other supportive services.

Right now, this model is only being used in one area – in and around Fort Worth. But in 2017, the Texas Legislature called for this model to be expanded to more parts of the state.

“And so really what we’re trying to do is break the state up into smaller, more accountable regions, and we do know how things are going in the seven counties around Fort Worth. I can’t always tell you that in other parts of the state, it’s very hard to get information. So what we’re really trying to do is decentralize and improve the foster care system,” says State Rep. James Frank who championed the expansion of the Community-Based Care model. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services awarded a contract to two organizations, Texas Family Initiative LLC and New Horizons Ranch and Center Inc., which will manage foster care in parts of his district.

The Wichita Falls Republican says while these organizations are only expected to serve about 2,000 kids and families – he’s a little concerned about the expanded size of this region.

“Ya know, it’s one thing to measure the number of people. It’s another thing to measure the number of miles, because, ya know, the further you are away from people the more difficult communication is,” Frank says.

Frank explains he’ll measure success based on getting better outcomes for kids… like placing foster children closer to their home communities. Frank says, currently, about 30 percent of the kids in this 30-county region are placed in other parts of the state.

“Where the community-based is rolled out around Fort Worth, they’ve got it down to almost 10 percent, almost all of the kids are staying in the region, because that organization is responsible for making sure foster homes are available,” he says.

Frank adds that he’d like to see this model rolled out in a few more areas of the state, so that lawmakers have more data during the 2019 legislative session to figure out whether it’s working. At this point, they won’t have much to go on, since community-based care will only be rolled out in this second region in December.

The Houston area is set to receive more than $40 million for local flood control efforts.

But as Houston Public Media’s Travis Bubenik reports, officials there are still waiting on hundreds of millions more dollars they requested after Hurricane Harvey.

More than $18 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going to repairs at the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, a project that was ongoing even before Harvey. But on Tuesday, the flood control district’s Russ Poppe told commissioners the county is still waiting for about $260 million it applied for after Harvey. 

“… we are still waiting on responses on a good number of our applications, that is correct,” Poppe says.

Separately, the Army Corps is also giving the Houston Ship Channel more than $38 million for dredging.

After a bad batch of buns, In-N-Out Burger is reopening today – making it just a little bit harder on anyone following a low or no-carb diet like Whole30 or Atkins. The California-based chain closed down all their Texas locations Monday, saying the quality of their buns wasn’t up to snuff.