Gov. Perry Signs Reforms to Protect Vulnerable Children, Adults
Reforms Will Improve Safety Net for Texans at Risk of Abuse and Neglect
Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law the major overhaul of protective services passed by the Texas legislature, Senate Bill 6. In January, Perry designated protective services reform an emergency issue and put forward strong recommendations for reform, which the legislature largely adopted.
"Today Texas is taking a significant step to restore hope to our most vulnerable citizens by mending our protective services safety net for children and adults at risk for abuse or neglect," Perry said. "I am proud to sign Senate Bill 6 into law because it will put thousands of new protective service workers on the job who will be better trained, better compensated and better focused on the primary mission of protecting the vulnerable."
Perry noted that at CPS, salaries will go up, and caseloads will go down by 40 percent. The amount of time spent on paperwork will be slashed by 58 percent and investigators will be free to spend 38 percent more time with children and families. APS workers will see caseloads drop to an average of 28 per month and a new education incentive program will help more employees develop advanced skills.
"Simply put, these reforms will save lives and ensure that every Texan can live a life of dignity," Perry said. "And I am proud to put my name on a bill that will renew hope for those who have lost it as a result of neglect and abuse."
Perry also noted that the reforms invest more in technology and provide caseworkers with digital cameras and tablet computers. These new tools will enable caseworkers to quickly assess whether a person is in danger and get them help as soon as possible. The reform measures also increase the number of support staff to help with administrative work so that investigators will be free to focus more attention on at risk children and adults.
"By improving management and oversight, and by establishing lines of authority that are clearer and tied to strict accountability, these reforms will ensure that investigators and caseworkers have the tools and help they need to protect the lives of those at risk of abuse, neglect and lasting harm," Perry said.