The Privatization of Foster Care in Texas
Texas has made moves towards a major privatization of what was traditionally a public service or foster care system.
Privatized foster care means the state has contracted an outside agency or organization to handle various aspects of foster care. The employees at these organizations don't work for the state of Texas. The intended goal of these organizations is to reduce spending or manage foster care budgets better, with limited oversight and supervision from the state.
Unfortunately, the intent of reducing money spent on foster care has become problematic because privatization comes with the goal of reducing money the state spends on the system. Some of these organizations have started to cut corners on safe child care. This means staff resources and more are reduced to save a few dollars.
The Case of Amari Boone
We saw this in the case of Amari Boone, a toddler who was monitored by a private foster care organization. His foster parents consistently abused him to the point where he had visible marks of bruising that were noticed by his biological family, his daycare teachers, and even medical personnel. Yet, when his caseworker was called and alerted about this, she did nothing to remove him from this clearly abusive setting.
Young Amari lost his life while in the care and custody of a private foster care agency. The organization that oversaw Amari's care didn't do what they were supposed to do to keep him safe and prevent his death. And sadly, there are still many other cases of overlooked abuse of kids in our foster care system throughout Texas.
Holding the Foster Care System Accountable
At the end of the day, the system of privatized foster care is broken and in need of an overhaul. Yet the state of Texas continues to contract with these private organizations. Our team is working hard to hold these private foster care agencies accountable and give these kids hope.