- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A key state House panel has unveiled two proposals aimed at mending Texas’ troubled foster care system.

The work group appointed by Republican House Speaker Joe Straus says it wants to restructure the state agency in charge of foster care and help facilitate more “kinship” adoptions by providing a monthly stipend to families who adopt a relative.

The bi-partisan panel of lawmakers announced the proposals Monday.

A federal judge has ruled a portion of the state’s foster-care system unconstitutional because of alleged continuing abuse. Texas has appealed the ruling.

Already, state leaders have approved more than $100 million in emergency funding to hire 800-plus workers and give pay raises to 7,000 employees. That was meant to address staffing shortages and high turnover rates within Texas’ child welfare agency.

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