Judge orders sweeping changes to Texas foster care system

Attorney general to appeal ruling

DALLAS - A judge has ordered Texas to make sweeping changes to its foster care system two years after she found the system unconstitutionally broken.

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack on Friday issued her final order in the case regarding those in long-term foster care. 

Jack told the state an overhaul must include improvements in record keeping, caseworker visits and where children are placed.

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The ruling follows her December 2015 opinion, in which she wrote that those labeled permanent wards of the state "almost uniformly leave state custody more damaged than when they entered."

Jack then appointed two experts to help craft an independent overhaul. 

State officials have fought the judge's oversight, saying they've been working on their own changes.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed notice of appeal shortly after Jack's order Friday.

"The Legislature approved and Gov. Abbott signed landmark legislation last year to fund improvements in Texas' foster care system. Unfunded and unrealistic mandates ordered by an unelected federal judge are misguided. We will immediately appeal this unfortunate decision," Paxton said.

Read the ruling below:

texas-foster-care-system-ruling.pdf by David Ibanez on Scribd

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