by Trent Ashby
With Thanksgiving Holiday coming to a close, we’re reminded of the importance of gratitude. Gathering around the table with friends and family serves as a perfect opportunity for us to recenter our lives in the present and acknowledge the countless blessings God has given us. With December fast approaching, I hope we all strive to carry over the gratitude and love we shared over Thanksgiving as we enter the Christmas season.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges.
House Interim Charge: Human Services
The House Committee on Human Services is comprised of nine members and has jurisdiction over some of the most critical issues facing our growing population, such as access to healthcare in underserved areas, promoting safe and healthy families, reforming state programs that deal with mental and intellectual disabilities, and protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Additionally, the Committee has legislative oversight of the Department of Family and Protective Services, the Health and Human Services Commission, and the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council.
Throughout the interim, the Committee on Human Services will oversee the implementation of
legislative efforts to support the Healthy Texas initiative. Last legislative session, the Texas House passed several healthcare-related bills designed to lower healthcare costs, expand access to care, and improve the overall health and well-being of Texans. The Committee will also monitor HB 3041, which established the Family Preservation Services Pilot Program as an alternative for children at imminent risk of entering foster care.
Another area of focus for the Committee will be to evaluate the condition of our foster care system.
More specifically, members have been charged with examining the placement process of foster children, increasing the recruitment of foster families, identifying methods to strengthen and support Child Protective Services, and prioritizing family preservation. The Committee will also study the relationship between our foster care system and the juvenile justice system and make recommendations to the Department of Family and Protective Services on how to mitigate the frequency of children entering the criminal justice system from foster care.
The Committee will also examine our system of long-term care, which includes a variety of services that assist our fellow Texans living with a disability or chronic illness. Members have been asked to study workforce challenges, patient safety at senior living facilities, and the overall quality of our long-term care system.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.