Released by the Office of State Rep. Dan Flynn
So often we hear the phrase "do it for the children." Even more often, members of the Legislature justify increased spending and unsubstantiated testing requirements on children in an attempt to fulfill personal agendas and in the end claim they were "doing it for the children."
This past week I presented a piece of legislation that would require the Department of Family & Protective Services to consider the emotional and physical well being of a children when considering moving them from the home of a foster parent. It would require the department to stop and consider the emotional bond the child has developed and the implications of removing them from a setting that has given that child structure and security. HB 165 originated from numerous cases of emotional anguish by foster parents in House District 2. Constituents serving as foster parents were refused the opportunity to intervene in cases where they cared for and provided for a child during the early stages of his/her life. At the point in which the department was able to locate a biological relative or parent, regardless of the relationship previously established between the child, the foster parents were forced to give the child back to the department for placement with the family member.
When the bill was presented Tuesday afternoon, I was met with overwhelming opposition by department officials and CPS representatives. Each believed that allowing foster parents the right to intervene in a parent child suit would create a delay in the placement process of a child to their biological family. So often, "doing it for the children" is used as a means to achieve something other than what the presented intention is for. Tuesday, my bill introduced legislation that focused solely on the children and what is in their best interest, and I was met with opposition so strong I began to wonder if these requirements and departments were really there to protect the children.
What concerns me greatly is the failure of these agencies to communicate their concerns with the legislative body. HB 165 was publicly filed in November, 2012. For 3.5 months this legislation was available for the review of any interested party, yet my phone never rang and my door never opened. If the interest of the children remains the main focus and priority of these state agencies, I am baffled that not one call was made to my office to discuss compromise or invite collaboration on revised language.
It seems that when we as a society finally have the opportunity to "do it for the children", we fail to follow through. If churches followed Scripture like they should, caring for God's children would be of the utmost priority. However, we have a real problem and we are choosing to ignore it.
I put my hand on the bible and I swore to protect the citizens of Texas. If I see a problem, it is my responsibility to address the issue and offer change where I can. In the case of foster parents rights to legal standing in parent-child suits, I felt it was my responsibility to begin the conversation through legislation.
I met with the DFPS and we are in agreement that there are changes that need to be made, continuity within the department and cohesion between each level. DFPS & CPS have an incredible service that serves a wonderful need and it is my intention to work with them closely to develop language that will accommodate the needs of my constituents, the agency, foster parents throughout Texas, but most importantly, for the children.