Earlier this year, the Texas Tribune’s Sold Out series examined how state policies – including a severely underfunded child welfare system – failed to help child sex-trafficking victims. Since then, lawmakers set aside a budget increase of more than $500 million for the foster care system, and the governor’s office approved new funds for trafficking prevention initiatives — which includes the state's first-ever Director of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation.
Two days after the end of the legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott held a public ceremony to sign four major child welfare bills into law.
After months of calls from advocates, both chambers unanimously passed bills on Wednesday that would change how the DFPS cares for vulnerable children.
“If there was ever a call to action for state officials to get serious about reforming foster care, this was it,” State Rep. Chris Turner said.
Top State leaders have remained silent on whether they'll provide more resources for sex-trafficking victims or more funding for the child welfare system.