Gov. Abbott announces pilot program to fix foster care system needs

Program could help at-risk foster youth

Gov. Greg Abbott is recommending a pilot program to provide care to around 500 foster care children across the state with the highest needs.

The $8 million program would mean those with multiple hospitalizations – including residential treatment centers – over a 12-month period would qualify for the High Needs Conservatorship Pilot Project.

The Department of Family and Protective Services must state a child is a victim of a crime in order to get help from the program. Abbott said no child will be turned away for any reason including mental health.

Advocates with The Texas Association for the Protection of Children told KVUE Wednesday around 30,000 children are currently in the system, with a little over 1,000 in Travis County. Lee Nichols with the organization said they've been debating with state leaders for years to do something about this.

"What we hope is going to happen is that we'll have a broader ray of specially trained foster parents who already know in advance how to treat the physical or behavioral health issues that these children have," Nichols said.

The program will roll out in four different pilot sites throughout the state, however those sites have not been named as of yet. If it works, more will be added.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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