What They’re Watching: Senator Charles Schwertner

Dr. Charles Schwertner is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss community based solutions for Child Protective Services challenges.

“I’m focused on those populations that are the most vulnerable, children in our CPS system for instance, our mental health patients in Texas, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, essentially our Medicaid population. Medicaid is one of our largest budgetary issues, but it’s also one of the most critical to make sure we have a well-functioning Medicaid system that takes care of those that cannot take care of themselves.

I authored Senate Bill 11, which was hopefully a transformative CPS bill this last time. First and foremost, children that are at risk of abuse and neglect need to be properly identified on a timely basis and removed from a harmful situation. After they’re removed, we need to make sure we have a robust network of foster families to help take care of those individuals. We need to make sure those children are getting the mental health services and physical health services they need and maybe had been neglected when they had been in that abusive or neglected situation. And I think we need to reinvigorate and have our local communities rejoin, this is not just a State of Texas issue, this is a whatever town you live in issue. And those are not just the state’s children, but that local communities’ children as well. And so how does the state try to enlist our local communities to make sure that we are providing a robust Children Protective Services system in our state?”