Texas Standard For March 23, 2021

The number of foster kids sleeping in state offices reaches an all-time high. A long running crisis in the foster care system, now worse than ever? We’ll explore. Other stories we’re following: a surprise move in South Texas by a Democratic Congressman, one some see foreshadowing a national fight for control of the U.S. House. Abby Livingston of The Texas Tribune with details. And: A COVID variant found in a dog and a cat in Texas. Why this news has researchers watching closely. Also: Addressing racial inequity in vaccine distribution. Plus: What an author and scholar describes as a “Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics.” All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMarch 23, 2021 9:28 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Foster Care Measures At The Legislature

For years, Texas has lived with an underbuilt foster care system that has resulted in kids having to spend the night in state offices or hotels. This year, state lawmakers are once again proposing a slew of measures designed to add more beds in foster care facilities. But unless there’s a real funding increase, children’s advocates say efforts to create more space in the foster care system might go in vain. Dallas Morning News reporter Bob Garrett talks to the Standard.

Rep. Filemon Vela Not Running For Reelection

Texas Congressman Filemon Vela has announced he will not be seeking reelection in 2022. While the South Texas Democrat says he doesn’t want to overstay his time in Congress, his district has also been targeted by Republicans in 2022 after a favorable performance by former President Donald Trump there in the 2020 election. Texas Tribune Washington DC correspondent Abby Livingston talks to the Standard.

Black Church Giving During The Pandemic

The pandemic has exposed a digital divide in Black churches. As KERA’s Elizabeth Myong reports, North Texas churches that have embraced their online presence are thriving. Others are being challenged as attendance and donations fall. And a handful have closed their doors.

Student Mental Health

A Pearland teen was surprised to learn from her fellow students about how so many of them think about suicide. But the findings in her informal Google Docs survey mirror what mental health professionals are saying: teens are facing a mental health crisis. Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall has more on how young people are struggling – and how federal funding might help.

Research On COVID-19 And Pets

A dog and a cat from Brazos County are the first two recorded animals to contract the UK variant of the coronavirus, a discovery that was made in part by Sarah Hamer, a professor of epidemiology, a veterinarian, and the principal investigator for the Texas A&M COVID-19 and Pets study. She talks to the Standard.

‘Sports Revolution’ Author Interview

Texas has played an outsize role in shaping the sports culture of the nation. That’s the focus of a new book, “Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics,” out today. Author Frank Andre Guridy, an associate professor of history and African-American and African diaspora studies at Columbia University, talks to the Standard.

Racial Equity In Vaccine Distribution

Vaccination rates for Black and Latino Texans are lower than the state’s other racial groups, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Dr. Jewel Mullen, the associate dean for health equity at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, speaks to the problem and what can be done about it.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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