Contractor Serving 1,100 Texas Foster Children Quits

Credit: AP

AUSTIN (August 1, 2014) The state will take over direct management of the care and service of about 1,100 foster children after the contractor it hired canceled its contract Friday.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services promised in a statement Friday that foster children wouldn't be affected by the withdrawal of Providence Service Corp. of Texas.

The company served state foster children in 60 West Texas counties under a five-year, $30 million-a-year contract that took effect Feb. 1, 2013, but on Friday invoked an opt-out clause Friday.

The state had recently advised Providence of several areas in which it had underperformed.

"The care and services for these foster children will not be affected in any way," said Judge John Specia, Commissioner of DFPS.

"This will be a smooth transition."

The agency selected the region Providence served in 2012 as the first for redesign of the foster care system.

The redesign involves shifting responsibility for recruitment and training of foster parents and development of a network of foster-care services in a given area from multiple providers to a single contractor, the agency said, with the goal of allowing foster children to remain closer to their home communities and to be placed with rather than separated from siblings.

"The state remains committed to the principles of redesign because it is clear the system has to improve," Specia said.

A second redesign contract with ACH Child and Family Services of Fort Worth, went into effect Friday, is not affected.

The state's 17,000-child foster system has been under scrutiny since seven foster children died of abuse or neglect in fiscal year 2013.

Only one youngster has died this year.