When I testified in front of the Human Services committee a few weeks ago regarding HB 6, I focused on whether or not the proposed Bill complied with Judge Jack’s order dated December 17, 2015 which held that the foster care system in Texas is unconstitutional. I argued that HB 6 did not comply and, therefore did not seek to protect the constitutional rights of Texas foster care children. One member asked if I knew that there were many Bills in process regarding Texas foster care, implying that other legislation did comply with the December 17 Order.
Tomorrow, the Juvenile Justice & Family Issues committee will hold public hearings on HB 596, an Act relating to the duration of an appointment of a guardian ad litem or an attorney ad litem for a child in foster care. The Bill seeks to expand the appointment(s) for long as the child is a ward of the State. Judge Jack ordered on December 17, 2015 that not only should these appointments be expanded for the duration of foster care, foster care children are entitled to a guardian ad litem AND an attorney ad litem. HB 596 misses the mark to protect Texas children’s constitutional rights and to comply with Judge Jack’s Order. I will continue to look for the committee member’s implied legislation that does comply and does protect Texas foster care children.