Foster Care & Courts - Key Accomplishments

Legislative gains

  • 2023: SB 1379 implements a pilot program to ensure youth aging out of foster care are provided a checking and savings account. Foster youth aging out of care are faced with providing for themselves at a young age. Not having a bank account makes this already challenging transition even more difficult. Many foster youth are currently unable to get bank accounts because they do not have a reliable parent or guardian who can serve as a co-signer. 
  • 2021: Successfully advocated for HB 80, which disallows fines or fees for foster children who are charged with a Class C misdemeanor offense.
  • 2021: Successfully advocated for HB 1315, which requires the continuation of appointment for a guardian ad litem and an attorney ad litem, or an attorney serving in a dual role, for as long as the child remains in the conservatorship of the Department of Family & Protective Services. The change this bill makes is a long time coming, as it was contained within our recommendations that were made in Texas Appleseed’s original foster care report in 2010. Our partners on this bill included Texas CASA, Texans Care for Children, and TexProtects, along with many others.

Key work

  • Over the last few years, more than 500 foster children in long-term care have found permanent homes when judges and others changed their practices as a result of the advocacy of Appleseed and others.
  • More than 400 judges, prosecutors, attorneys and others now trained in best practices so that more foster children find permanent homes.

Training judges and others in improving outcomes for children in Long-term Care. Permanency Summit

  • 2014: Participated in five local training for CASA advocates, attorneys, judges and DFPS workers on Permanency Values
  • 2012: Co-sponsored a Permanency Summit with the Supreme Court of Texas’ Children’s Commission & the Texas Center for the Judiciary on how courts and stakeholders can improve outcomes for children in the state’s foster care system.

Major research on improving court practices for children in long-term care

  • December 2010: Released a major report commissioned by the Supreme Court of Texas’ Children’s Commission on the role of the courts and judicial system in helping improve the lives of children in long-term foster care.
  • 2012: Released a follow-up report on the costs and impact of using of targeted promising court practices to move children out of foster care.

Assisting older foster youth

  • 2014: Created a prototype for youth who leave care to have a safe, permanent way to electronically store copies of their vital documents, through a civic Hack-a-thon, the Austin Civic Hack for Change.
  • 2009: Helped secure passage of legislation to extend court jurisdiction for foster children receiving services beyond age 18, to allow youth the choice of staying in care if they want or need services.