In the face of the deaths of several children in state mandated foster care over the past few years, The Texas Department of Children and Family Services is instituting tough new rules governing foster homes, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The rules cover new and existing foster homes and apply to all of the 220 foster child-placing agencies, which are licensed by DFPS to operate networks of foster homes and to recruit, screen, train and monitor the homes.
Among the new rules...any family members who move into the home after the foster children are placed there will have to undergo screenings. Two additional interviews of neighbors, clergy, school employees and other community members will be needed before a child is placed.
Also...all adult children of individuals who want to take in a foster child will be interviewed. The 'personal relationships' of foster parents will be examined, as will the household finances of foster parent applicants.
The agency will also review all law enforcement agency calls to the foster home for the previous two years.
"These new rules significantly strength protections for our foster children," said Judge John Specia, who is the Commissioner of DFPS. "Our focus is ensuring that we know who is in these homes and who may be around these children that could post an unacceptable risk."
Eight foster children died from abuse and neglect in Fiscal Year 2013, compared to just two in FY 2012.