More than 16,000 Texas children are presently in foster care. This crucial safety net for thousands of the state's most vulnerable residents has experienced challenges in recent years and is in the process of evolving in an innovative manner to better meet the needs of the affected young people at a critical juncture in their lives. While the primary consideration in any conversation related to transforming the foster care system must always be the well-being of the children and families who are affected, improvements also involve quantifiable economic benefits in the form of reduced social costs and increased earnings and productivity. Analyzing these economic benefits can help inform discussion of future strategic plans, particularly given the reality of tight budgets for social services.
In addition to the very real and often lifelong effects on the individuals involved, child maltreatment also imposes substantial economic costs which can be quantified in a comprehensive manner. When properly measured, child maltreatment drains literally trillions of dollars in long-term business activity.
We have reported frequently on the state's troubled Child Protective Services and Foster Care system, and Dr. Perryman says it is important for the legislature to get serious about finding ways to make it perform more efficiently.