Texas’ Republican attorney general, faced with a mounting crisis in the state’s child welfare system, on Tuesday published a scathing critique of costly, court-ordered reforms meant to improve the conditions of children in the state’s long-term foster care system.
Lawyers for the state argued that the court’s proposed reforms — first ordered by a federal district judge, then laid out by a pair of “special masters” hired, against the state’s wishes, on Texas’ dime — are an example of egregious federal overreach.
The move puts the state’s Republican leaders in a delicate position: While they concede that the foster care system’s underlying problems are a pressing matter, they argue it’s one they can address on their own. That’s despite the fact that the system has been broken — and worsening — for years under their tenure.
In a new legal filing on Tuesday, part of the long-running class-action lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott and the child welfare system writ large, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office objected to the special masters’ recommendations, calling them “over-broad” and saying there is no proof they will work. The special masters have recommended lowering caseloads for child welfare workers and hiring more of them to pick up the slack.