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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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Advocacy Alert - C@R Interim Charges Assigned to Committees
Children at Risk

November, 2015

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The Texas House of Representatives only meets in session every two years. In the time in-between (after a much-needed break) the various House committees study the issues that the legislature will focus on, and the interim charges handed down by the Speaker of the House determine exactly what these issues will be.  These charges help the Texas House begin the important work of preparing for the 85th legislative session in 2017. CHILDREN AT RISK (C@R) is pleased to announce that several of the charge areas that we presented to the Texas House of Representatives have been assigned to committees, and we look forward to seeing significant legislation emerge from these charges to improve the lives of all of our children.  
 
The charges submitted by C@R which were subsequently issued by the Speaker of the House are below. To see all of the interim charges sent to the committees of the Texas House of Representatives click HERE.
Parenting  
Parenting and Early Education
At CHILDREN AT RISK we often say that being a parent doesn't come with a handbook, and we've been working hard to increase evidence-based parenting programs across the state of Texas as well as ensure children have access to quality early education.  The House Committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues will be looking at these issues and determining where and how improvements can be made in the areas of access, quality, and cost effectiveness so that Texas kids have the best chance of success possible.

Postpartum Depression
Good news for new Texas mothers! C@R has been a longtime advocate of improving how Texas identifies and supports mothers who experience postpartum depression and we are pleased to report that the House Committee on Public Health will be reviewing these services, along with studying how to improve birth outcomes and prenatal care.

Human Trafficking
 
Texas stands at the forefront when it comes to tough anti-trafficking laws that penalize those that prey on our children, but we can do so much more to help these victims once they are rescued and to identify them before they are ever exploited.  To help remedy this, the House Committee on Human Services and the House Committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues will be studying how youth are recruited into human trafficking, specifically, the pipeline of potential victims from foster care.  Along with this, the Committee will be evaluating the services available to these victims and will make recommendations to the Department of Family and Protective Services to assist them in identifying, recovering, serving, or caring for children and youth who are victims of human trafficking prior to placement in foster care.
 
The federal government recently enacted the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act which not only strengthens our federal anti-trafficking framework, but can also help Texas specifically by increasing the amount of funds we receive to combat modern-day slavery and assist victims. The House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence will be examining how Texas can take advantage of this powerful new resource.  In addition, they will examine strategies for tracking the demand for commercial sex in Texas and the feasibility of creating a statewide reporting system.


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