Statement of Senator Leticia Van de Putte
Senator Van de Putte said the following regarding filing Senate Bill 113 to provide Pre-K for foster care children
"Today I filed Senate Bill 113 that will allow any Texas child under the age of 4 who is in our foster care system to participate or continue participating in our pre-kindergarten programs.
"Although Texas law allows children in our foster care system to attend pre-k, there are key problems with the law as it is currently written. If a foster child is adopted before he or she is able to enroll in pre-k, he or she no longer qualifies. If a child is attending a pre-k program, is adopted during the school year, and then has to move out of his or her current school district, he or she would no longer be eligible. S.B. 113 corrects these problems.
"Texas created the opportunity for children in our foster care system to participate in our pre-k programs because we consider them to be "at risk". We consider these children "at risk" because we recognize that they begin life with disadvantages that, fortunately, most of us never have to endure. Through no fault of their own, they have started life without the stability of one home, one family - a place to belong. Our intent was to give these kids a fair chance. We know that children who have attended quality pre-k programs score higher in later years on standardized tests of reading and math. They are better behaved in class, less likely to repeat grades or need special education, more likely to graduate, less likely to end up in jail, and more likely to support themselves as adults.
"Adoption alone cannot rescue these vulnerable children from being "at risk". Those wonderful adoptive families and fortunate children need support so that they can heal; so that they can take advantage of the wonderful opportunities our public education system has to offer; so that they too can become active, productive citizens of our great state. Our pre-k programs help provide them with this support and S.B. 113 helps make sure that those foster children fortunate enough to find a family will also be fortunate enough to get that support - as we all intended."