Do you believe federal oversight would help improve Texas foster care or should the state handle that entirely on its own?
The current tug of war being played by U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack and our Attorney General Ken Paxton, is likely a distraction and a diversion of resources from finding the best solutions and funding sources for our foster care system. However, one cannot help but feel that the State put itself in this position by failing to provide adequate services in the first place, so it has little choice but to work with some level of federal oversight. The larger questions for all of us is, regardless of where proposals for improving our foster care system come from, are: 1) how do we fund those improvements? 2) how real is the constraint of not being able to compel our largely private system to provide more capacity?
As I understand it, even with increased funding we still have funding shortfalls that will need to be addressed. Likewise, we may have to revamp our current system of private sector providers. If the State feels that it has limited power to compel private sector providers to expand capacity, then it has to re-evaluate whether the private sector model is a sufficient model to meet this public service to begin with. If elected I will evaluate the business model for private sector providers, to determine whether it can provide the flexibility to scale services and decide at that juncture what structural changes may be needed.
Above these issues, we always have the overarching consideration of where to place this budgetary need in our overall state budget. Again, as a candidate pushing structural change, we will have to place our foster system, along with other State services, in the context of evaluating whether our system can generate enough overall resources to meet diverse public-sector goods and services.