Policy UpdatesTexas House Committee on Human Services – Interim Charge 2.1

Texas House Committee on Human Services – Interim Charge 2.1

SUMMARY – During the 86th Legislative Interim, in October 2020, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute provided the Texas House Committee on Human Services with a response to their Request for Information related to Interim Charge 2.1.

In November 2019, Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen issued a suite of interim charges, focused on building on success and legislative accomplishments of the 86th Regular Session, including implementation and associated rulemaking of legislation passed earlier in the year. Additionally, the charges tasked to each committee also reflect issues and priorities that members had requested to study and review in preparation for the 87th legislative session in 2021.

86th Legislative Interim Charge 2.1

Review how Texas is preparing for state and federal budgetary changes that impact the state’s health programs, including:
2.1) The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). In particular,

  • Identify and make recommendations to ensure compliance with the requirements of the FFPSA; and
  • Identify and make recommendations related to efficient implementation of the optional portions of FFPSA in concert with Community-Based Care

Our Response

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute provided a response to the request for information which laid out background to the FFPSA, outlined historic challenges and barriers and provided anticipated outcomes with the investment in FFPSA prevention services.

Through the FFPSA, Texas has the option to use federal Title IV-E funding for evidence-based practices (EBPs) for children and youth at-risk of foster care placement and their families. Drawing down federal dollars for evidence-based prevention services would enable Texas to address historical barriers that have stymied efforts to reduce child welfare caseloads.

MMHPI recognizes that building the statewide capacity to deliver evidence-based prevention services will entail significant upfront investment, as well as close coordination at the state and local level. However, over the long-term, the infrastructure is likely to significantly decrease childhood trauma resulting from removal and save the state in foster care expenses. It is also likely that creating a system of payment based on the delivery of EBPs will improve the services all Texans receive, establishing a social services framework that is more efficient and cost-effective.