Editorial

25 July 2021

Capitol Update: Working on Behalf of Foster Care Children

As we approach the month of August and the start of another school year, I hope you and your family enjoy the remainder of the 2021 summer vacation. In preparation for the first day, I would like to remind everyone that Texas will host Tax-Free Weekend from August 6-8. Tax-Free Weekend provides an excellent opportunity to get our children ready for school while saving money on tax-exempt items such as clothing, shoes, and school supplies—mark your calendars, as this is a great opportunity to save money.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
Capitol Update
The Texas House is now through its second full week of a shutdown caused by members who have chosen to abdicate their duties as members of the Legislature, in favor of political grandstanding in Washington D.C. Still though, members who have shown up for work are doing what they can to convince their colleagues to come back, including taking part in meetings this week with state agencies and providers which outlined the serious need for increased funding to our state’s foster care system.
The state is responsible for the care of over 15,000 children, but the number of children—415 at the end of June 2021—who are subjected to anxiety-filled nights of sleep in unlicensed facilities, such as state offices or hotels, has grown by a factor of ten since the same time in 2020. This decrease in placement availability is explained by the shelters and facilities forced to close down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a lack of funding to the state’s licensed providers.
Fortunately, with Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s revised Biennial Revenue Estimate identifying more money for the state over the next two years, the Legislature has the unique ability to provide the estimated $91 million needed to increase payments to providers and help these children get the care they need and deserve. Addressing this critical need for our foster care system in Texas would dramatically improve the lives of some of Texas’ most vulnerable children. Still, without a quorum in the Texas House, no movement can be made to appropriate these precious state dollars. Let me again assure you that any time the Texas Legislature is in session, I will be there ready to serve the constituents of my district who expect their voices to be heard.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

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