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House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues - 87th R.S. (2021)

Committee Members
Victoria Neave, Chair
Valoree Swanson, Vice Chair
David Cook
James Frank
Jeff Leach
Ana-Maria Ramos
James Talarico
Cody Vasut
Gene Wu
Charges
  • Monitor the impact of children, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the Texas-Mexico border on the juvenile justice system, including gang violence. Identify any particularized services that children, including unaccompanied minors, will need and assess the costs of providing these services.
  • Examine current caseloads and capacity issues for courts handling matters related to the Texas-Mexico border. Evaluate the preparedness of the court system to handle increases in caseloads that may result from the border crisis response and make recommendations to ensure the continued fair and efficient administration of justice in the state in addressing any increased caseloads. (Joint charge with Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence)
  • Review the ongoing development of federal laws, rules, and regulations associated with the distribution of the federal pandemic recovery funds, including reporting requirements, and make recommendations to the House Committee on Appropriations for use of the funds to respond to the Texas-Mexico border crisis.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
    • HB 4544 87th R.S., relating to providing children committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with certain documents on discharge or release, authorizing a fee.
  • Complete study of assigned charges related to the Texas-Mexico border issued in June 2021.
  • Examine obstacles to the reporting of domestic violence and how these obstacles contribute to the difficulty in obtaining and enforcing a protective order. Examine new technologies that could facilitate domestic violence reporting without putting victims at risk of further violence and harm.
  • Explore ways to modernize the juvenile justice system for youth on probation and incarcerated youth. Review statewide resource allocation, including available staffing, and identify potential geographic limitations. Investigate the best practices of smaller specialized facilities for youth committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department while leveraging the Department's current facilities and staff. Analyze the current gaps in county-level services and funding and make recommendations to address those gaps.
  • Examine workforce issues at state and local juvenile correctional facilities and consider the state's incentives to recruit quality staff. Consider the geographic areas where specialty providers are concentrated and the viability of opening specialized facilities for the state's youth with the highest therapeutic need to relieve the state's current rural facilities struggling with staffing. Consider consistent investments the state can make in local probation to encourage their facilities to divert youth from the juvenile justice system.
  • Study how child support is calculated and administered in Texas and how the Texas method compares to other states' plans for calculating child support, including identifying modern trends across the country for calculating child support. Consider how alternative methods for calculating child support affect each parents' share of responsibility for child support, health care, childcare, and other matters in other jurisdictions compared to Texas.

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