Senate moves forward on Foster Children's Bill of Rights
The Texas Senate adopted an amendment Thursday by Sen. Carlos Uresti that would require the Department of Family and Protective Services to develop a bill of rights for children living in foster care.
The amendment to Senate Bill 69 enumerates a child's rights under state and federal law relating to the full range of their care and well being, including the right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination and harassment; and the right to food, clothing, shelter, education and health care.
"Most of the children in foster care were abused, exploited or abandoned by their birth parents," Uresti said. "While they adjust to foster care and learn how to trust again, this amendment will clearly lay out all the rights available to them under the law and protect their health, safety and other interests."
The amendment was attached to Senate Bill 69, which clarifies foster care processes at DFPS. The amendment enumerates a comprehensive list of rights that the agency would be required to include in a Foster Children's Bill of Rights.
In addition to fundamental rights relating to care and protection, the document must address rights relating to privacy, health treatment, behavior intervention, placement with siblings and contact with family members, participation in extracurricular or community activities; interactions with teachers, church members and others outside the foster care system, and religious activities.
"The lives of kids in foster care are troubled enough as it is," Uresti says. "With this bill of rights they'll know exactly where they stand, and that their suffering need not be endured again."
Carlos Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19 representing over 750,000 residents throughout a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.