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Senator Jane Nelson at the Press Conference, surrounded by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Senators Van de Putte, Janek and Shapleigh
Senator Nelson Filed Senate Bill 6, the Protection Act for Children and Adults
AUSTIN -- Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, today filed Senate Bill 6, the Protection Act for Children and Adults, in response to ongoing revelations about serious deficiencies in Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services and the state's foster care system.
"Reading the newspaper of late has been like reading a horror novel with case after case of child abuse, seniors living in deplorable conditions and foster children as young as 3 years old being placed on adult psychiatric drugs," she said. "This legislation provides much-needed cohesiveness among Texas' network of defenders for our most vulnerable citizens. CPS cannot do it alone, and this bill ensures that they have plenty of backup."
The Texas Legislature convenes for its 79th Regular Session from Jan. 11 to May 30 in 2005. Senate Bill 6 and other legislation may be reviewed online via the Texas Legislature online at www.capitol.state.tx.us. Following are highlights of SB 6:
Child Protection Provisions of SB 6:
- Improve technology and require law enforcement-style training for CPS.
- Give law enforcement a leading role and require CPS and law enforcement to co-locate in counties of 75,000 population or greater.
- Enhance prevention and early intervention efforts by partnering with Child Advocacy Centers, community and faith-based services.
- Reiterate legislative intent that cases must be resolved within 12 months.
Foster Care, Adoption and Psychotropic Drug Provisions of SB 6:
- Contract all foster home recruitment and management, along with adoptive home recruitment services and case management for children in permanent managing conservatorship.
- Quarterly performance measures for safety, permanency, and well-being.
- Performance measures for foster family recruitment and retention.
- Collaborate with faith-based and community organizations, and utilize foster grandparent programs.
- Require foster care providers to undergo drug testing and criminal background checks, including a review of registries in other states.
- Clarify the individual authorized to provide informed consent for psychotropic medications for foster children.
- Use multi-disciplinary teams to review certain cases in which foster children are receiving three or more psychotropic medications.
Adult Protective Services Provisions of SB 6:
- Use multi-disciplinary teams to coordinate service delivery for elderly with multi-agency needs who require protective services.
- Develop an memorandum of understanding to provide temporary emergency homes for elderly persons while APS works on a long-term protective services solution.
- Ensure investigations with criminal allegations are referred to law enforcement immediately.
- Provide better training to caseworkers.
- Contract all guardianship services to community providers.
Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, represents District 12, which includes parts of Tarrant and Denton counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.