|4.29.12||A Lone Star
State Collaboration Success: The Texas Council on Children and Families|
Too often, the best intentions for government to help families with children hit road blocks brought on by bureaucracy or a lack of good communications. In 2009, Texas took steps to address this, with the creation of a
Council on Children and Families. Its purpose is to reduce any fragmentation of services across numerous
state programs for families with children, as well as to reduce duplication of services across
state agency departments.
Other Papers of Interest
|1.25.12||Ensuring Appropriate Psychotropic Medication Usage for Children in Foster Care|
children and youth in foster care appropriate treatment that meets
their needs helps them grow up healthy and better equipped for success.
Unfortunately, a recent report by the United States Government
Accountability Office (GAO) found that children in foster care in Texas
are more likely than foster children in other states to be prescribed
psychotropic medications. Texas can build on its earlier efforts and put
in place safe, appropriate practices to limit foster children's
unnecessary exposure to drugs.
|5.23.11||Ensuring the Child Welfare System Works for All Texas Children |
Disparate treatment exists in some form for all children in Child Protective Services. However, children of color are involved in the child welfare system at higher levels than white children partially because, once they enter the system, they face different treatment. In recent years, Texas has made a concerted effort to reduce "disproportionality," the overrepresentation of certain groups of children within CPS. In particular, this policy paper examines why children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds face differing outcomes within the system--and what Texas is doing and can continue to do to ensure all children receive appropriate CPS care.
|1.15.11||Addressing the School-to-Prison Pipeline|
The public education system is the gateway by which many of the 150,000 Texas juveniles arrested each year first come into contact with the criminal justice system. Schools are increasingly likely to use disciplinary measures that take children out of the classroom for even minor offenses and enter them into the correctional system, a trend advocates term the "school-to-prison pipeline." There are key things, however, that Texas can do to bring more common sense to school discipline and reduce the number of kids unnecessarily being introduced to the criminal justice system for routine misbehavior.
|12.14.10|To Improve Wellbeing for Children, State Policy Matters Most
With the goal of determining why
Texas consistently ranks poorly in child wellbeing, Texans Care for Children examined key indicators identified in two national reports on child wellbeing and the indicators' relationship with various policy issues affecting the 50 states. In particular, the analysis relied on multiple regression analysis and correlations in a dozen data indicators from the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Data Center, the Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation, and the Pew Hispanic Center.
|12.1.10||The Case for Taxing Sugary Drinks in Texas|
The obesity epidemic has become so stark, and the scientific research has built such a clear link between obesity and sugary-drink consumption that now the Institutes of Medicine, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, along with major public health associations and others, all recommend that state and local governments enact a tax on sugary drinks. The United States Department of Agriculture has found that a tax on sweetened beverages could result in the average adult losing an estimated 3.8 pounds per year and the average child losing 4.5 pounds per year, which would begin to reduce rates of obesity and overweight for both children and adults.
Texas families experience all types of poverty at higher rates than families in nearly every other state. Families who lack assets such as homes, savings accounts, and investments that act as a cushion when job loss or illness disrupts income are particularly vulnerable to falling into poverty. Living from paycheck to paycheck can take its toll: children who grow up in poverty are more likely to encounter learning difficulties, are less likely to attend college, and have a greater chance of remaining poor as adults. Fortunately, there are many ways to help families build assets--from making homeownership affordable to incentivizing savings for education or business enterprises to offering lower-cost ways to obtain credit. Texas simply must act to implement regulations like the ones that protect credit consumers in other states, while making a strategic commitment to helping more families achieve and maintain financial stability.
|5.19.10|Creating a Workforce to Support Children's Mental Health
Mental health challenges are common in childhood and adolescence. About 1 in 5 children have a diagnosable mental disorder,and 1 in 10 struggle with symptoms that significantly interfere with their lives at home, in school, or in their communities. Regrettably, almost 80% of children who need mental health supports in Texas do not receive treatment, in part because the state's mental health system is characterized by a severe shortage of children's mental health professionals, as well as high rates of turnover, long delays in putting effective treatments into direct-service practice, and failures to implement proven practices. This paper explores the challenges facing the children's mental health workforce in Texas and ways for the state to capitalize on opportunities to help children grow up well.
|5.6.10|Treatment, Not Punishment: Untangling the Mental Health-Juvenile Justice Knot
With limited resources dedicated to promoting children's mental health, families, schools, and communities often feel they have nowhere to turn to get troubled kids help. As a result, the juvenile justice system is becoming the default mental health provider for youth in Texas. A comprehensive Texans Care for Children summit brought leaders together to examine this issue in depth. Our complete policy report summarizes lessons from the summit, as well as the issues and opportunities for Texas in untangling the mental health-juvenile justice knot. (For our issue brief on this topic, click here.)
|1.20.10|Promoting Children's Social and Emotional Development
The first years of life represent a unique window of opportunity to promote children's healthy social and emotional development. A growing body of research concludes several public programs and policies focused on the early years can be help ward off problems later in life. Texas, unfortunately, has a track record of underinvestment in children's early years, despite that taxpayers pick up exponentially higher costs for missing early opportunities to get children the right start. Our policy paper recommends a number of strategies to help Texas be more strategic and effective in fostering healthy development in the earliest years of children's lives.
Every year, hundreds of Texas kids who were removed from their families' care due to abuse or neglect turn 18 without ever having found a permanent home. Sometimes they leave the state's care with too little guidance and support to make it on their own. This paper examines situations these young Texans face and how our state can ensure all vulnerable youth have the chance to succeed when they become adults.
|8.25.09 |The Recession and Texas Children: How the Lone Star State's Kids are Weathering the Economic Storm
As bad as the year's economy has been for Texas, children in the state are suffering even more. Tens of thousands are threatened by poverty due to an economic downturn that has brought unemployment to its highest level in years. This policy paper discusses the costs of child poverty for Texas, the long-term effects of recession-induced poverty, and challenges kids in Texas uniquely grapple with.
This brief fact sheet shows that Texas is the only state in the nation with a very high population of immigrant children to also rank in the bottom fifth for child wellbeing. Many states that rank poorly in child wellbeing have very low immigrant populations. What they share with Texas is a certain approach to taxation.
|5.7.09|Children's Mental Health in Texas: Running a Diagnostic Test
This paper grades Texas' performance in meeting unmet mental and behavioral health needs in children, examining the state's services and policies pertaining to children's mental health and development and providing recommendations for next steps.