FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/26/2015
Wu Announces Bills to Protect Kids and Modernize the Child Welfare System
AUSTIN - Representative Gene Wu (Houston) has filed a number of bills to improve and modernize the child welfare system. House Bill 418 would help rescue children who are victims of human trafficking.
"We need more tools and better services to help child victims of human trafficking," said Wu. "When children are identified as victims, it is critical that we are able to place them in a safe setting as soon as possible."
Currently, child victims of human trafficking cannot be taken into protective custody without a court's order. The process to procure a court order takes time and provides an opportunity for children to run away; or, in worse cases, enables the traffickers to find the child and take them away. By allowing children to be immediately moved to a safe place, we could close this time gap.
HB 418 would allow law enforcement and Child Protective Services to immediately take suspected child trafficking victims into protective custody and place them into care. The bill has been referred to the House Human Services Committee and is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, March 2, 2015.
Wu's other child protection proposals would protect children during legal proceedings and ensure that foster children receive proper support. HB 331 would protect the privacy of children by sealing electronically filed CPS records, and HB 656 would ensure that supportive funding for foster placements follows the child.
"The State of Texas is responsible for protecting children in CPS care," said Wu. "My proposals would help ensure that our system not only protects our most vulnerable children, but provides them with the proper resources and support."