We have been busy as the Texas 83rd Legislative session gets into full swing! On January 22nd, TNOYS advocacy staff and members of the advocacy committee visited 10 Senate and House Offices to stand up for the STAR program. The reception was encouraging, and several offices told us they expected STAR to continue to be funded at the current levels. DFPS has requested that the cuts from last session be reversed, and we would love to see an increase, but that initiative is competing with a few others for a very limited amount of funds. As some of you know, the Legislative Budget Board has recommended all PEI programs, including STAR and CYD to be moved into the Juvenile Justice Department. TNOYS strongly opposes this initiative, and so far no legislator has acted on this proposal.
Youth Voice for Justice, our group of youth that have spent time in the juvenile justice system, met last week at the Capitol. The youth identified some positions to discuss with legislators, took a tour of the Capitol, and met with the staff of Representative Turner’s office- who tweeted a picture of the group to her boss!
Finally, Representative Dawnna Dukes has asked us to testify this Tuesday, February 19, in support of a bill that would create an IDA (Individual Development Account) program for Foster Youth in Texas. You can find more info on how these accounts work here: http://www.jimcaseyyouth.org/savings-and-asset-building. That same day, we will also be testifying in support of some limits on psychotropic medications and other foster care improvements. If you or any youth you work with want to get more involved with advocacy this session, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Duncan Cormie, TNOYS Policy Specialist on Friday, February 15, 2013.