Resource Letter:
For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
August 26, 2021
Back to School Reminders for 2021-2022 School Year
As schools embark on the 2021-2022 school year, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be on the minds of parents, students, teachers, and administrators throughout the state. As students return to the classroom, there may be questions regarding health standards and guidelines. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) developed a support and guidance webpage related to public health and safety, including resources related to mental health support. Caregivers can also inquire about whether virtual learning is an option available through the school district or charter school. TEA created a Remote Conference FAQ to help address questions and concerns regarding this learning option.

Pre-kindergarten: New Legislation
Under House Bill 725 (87th Regular Legislative Session), effective September 1, 2021, children who currently are placed in Texas who are ages 3, 4, and 5 who are or were in DFPS conservatorship after an Adversary Hearing or in the foster care system in another state or territory besides Texas are now eligible for free Pre-kindergarten (Pre-k) through their local school district. The Pre-k program will be half day or full day depending on the age of the child. Texas DFPS eligibility is verified by the regional CPS Education Specialist by email [email protected]. For Pre-k eligibility questions involving children who are or were in foster care outside of Texas, caregivers can contact their local school.

K –12 Supplemental Special Education Services Program: New Legislation
For students with significant and complex disabilities, Senate Bill 1716 (87th Regular Legislative Session) authorizes credits of up to $1500 per student in Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES). Families with eligible students can use an online account to obtain special education resources and supplies. The funds are used to offer supplemental support for a student’s continued educational progress. TEA has an online application process and Q&A available on the Supplemental Special Education Services webpage.

Postsecondary Education
For youth and young adults currently or formerly in foster care pursuing postsecondary education, Education Reach for Texans offers resources and guidance for financial, academic, and other supports. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-. 260) offers a temporary expansion of the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) aid due to the pandemic, and youth or their caregivers should contact BCFS Health and Human Services to determine eligibility. More information about funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act is available in the Children’s Commission’s Resource Letter from May 5, 2021.

Additionally, $500 in Pandemic Relief Funds (PanAid) is available for qualifying youth who aged out of foster care in Texas if they were born between born between April 30, 1993 and September 30, 2001. Applications and qualifying details can be found on the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services website. Deadline for youth to submit their applications is September 15, 2021.

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For a complete list of Resource Letters, please visit the Children's Commission webpage. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. The Children’s Commission website is not equipped to facilitate dialogue or conversation about matters related to the information in this communique. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our website.