THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN adopted in Texas surpassed 6,000 in fiscal year 2019, marking a new record for the state, according to data released this week by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
More than 20,000 children left foster care in 2019, including the 6,000 adoptions, more than half of which were by relatives. And the number of children leaving the system surpassed those entering foster care by more than 1,700, according to a press release issued by DFPS. As of Wednesday, the agency said there were approximately 31,000 children in state foster care.
“Additional resources combined with a tenacious work ethic have led to unprecedented success for the DFPS this year,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said in the release. “Texas is better because a record number of children have been adopted in 2019 and are experiencing the joy of a loving home this Christmas season.”
State lawmakers increased spending for community-based foster care by $67 million during the legislative session that ended in May, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times. The state allotted approximately $3.8 billion for CPS during the two-year budget cycle that started in September 2019.
This is the first time over the past four years that the number of children leaving the foster care system outpaced those entering it. The number of children entering the system dropped from nearly 20,700 in 2018 to approximately 18,600 in 2019, while the number of children who were adopted increased from nearly 5,700 to approximately 6,100. Over the last decade, the number of adoptions in Texas has increased by 25%, according to DFPS.
More than 400 children were adopted in Texas during November, which is National Adoption Month and the busiest month for adoptions, the press release noted.
Kate Murphy, a senior policy associate for Texans Care for Children, a nonprofit advocacy group, told the Caller Times that there is still some information missing from the DFPS data.
“We don’t know how many children exited foster care because they aged out of care without finding a home, although we do know this is a huge problem that the Legislature needs to tackle,” Murphy said, adding that the data also doesn’t show how many children were returned to the homes from which they were removed by CPS.