The Settlement Home for Children : foster care redesign and the fate of a 100-year institution
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For almost 100 years, the Settlement Home for Children has provided an anchor of stability in the uncertain lives of hundreds of abused and neglected Texas children and young adults. The child welfare organization has evolved to fit the needs of the Central Texas community, transforming programs or overhauling its system of care when legal or social changes in child welfare called for reform. Advocates and state officials have lauded the Home as a model of innovation in statewide foster care services. Today, however, this century-old establishment faces an uncertain future as the state implements its long-awaited Texas Foster Care Redesign. Some Settlement Home staff said the redesign could change the entire structure and operation of their programs. It will cut state funding to child placement agencies. Redesign eliminates the list of criteria used to place children in appropriate care, and could change how – and to whom – the Home provides care. The privatization of the entire foster care system is the foundation of redesign and will alter the Home's relationship with the state, potentially forcing the Home to close down as a child placement agency.