The 85th Legislature enacted transformational reforms targeted at making the Texas foster care system more responsive to the needs of children by increasing the role of local private and nonprofit charities in caring for children who enter foster care. Since 2017, the Department of Family and Protective Services has been tasked with rolling community-based care out statewide. Currently, four regions of the state—Region 1 (Lubbock/Amarillo), Region 2 (Abilene/Wichita Falls), Region 3b (Fort Worth), and Region 8a (San Antonio/Bexar County)—are operating under this new, localized mode. A little more than 6,000 children, roughly 12% of the Texas foster care population, are being served under community-based care.
Preliminary results from the four active regions show that community-based care is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Local providers are showing positive gains in key performance indicators such as child safety, placement stability, and placement in the least restrictive setting. According to the most recent Rider 15 Report, released in March by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), 100% of children are safe in their placement, placement stability is meeting or exceeding goals, and more children are being placed within 50 miles of their removal address than prior to community-based care implementation.