Uresti passes Foster Children's Bill of Rights
AUSTIN, TX -- Senator Carlos Uresti celebrated unanimous Senate passage of the Foster Children's Bill of Rights today. This landmark legislation codifies and restates existing protections for children in foster care, and requires that these rights be made available to children upon their placement in a foster home.
"Senate Bill 805 is one the most important bills I have authored this session. During the past year, I was honored to work with foster children, foster care alumni, and their advocates to write this legislation. The creation of S.B. 805 was driven by children who are currently in the foster care system, or those who have been through it. They are speaking through this bill to assert their rights in a complex system that can, at times, lose sight of the individual children it was designed to protect," Uresti said following the Senate's enthusiastic support for the legislation.
"Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) congratulates Senator Uresti and the Texas Senate on the passage of the Foster Children's Bill of Rights. The impetus for this bill comes from foster youth who attended a Texas Foster Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit last fall. Summit participants discussed their ideas for improving the foster care system and talked about their lack of knowledge about how the child protection system is supposed to work. The youth recommended a Bill of Rights for Texas foster youth like other states have. The Foster Children's Bill of Rights will not only equip foster youth with critical knowledge of the system, but empower them to improve their experiences in foster care and increase their chances of becoming healthy, productive and self-reliant adults," said Andrea Sparks, of Texas CASA.
Texas joins several other states, including Alabama, California and Kansas, in establishing a bill of rights for foster youth.
Senate Bill 805 provisions include:
- the right to be free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, or sexual orientation;
- the right to be free from corporal punishment or demeaning discipline;
- protections against the improper use of restraints and confinement;
- the right to be appointed an attorney ad litem who will competently and zealously represent the child's interests; and
- the right to be placed with siblings or the right to visit siblings if placed apart from them.
S.B. 805 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. H.B.1752, by Rodriguez, is the companion bill.
For more information, please contact Ryan Sullivan at 512-463-0119.