Attorney General Ken Paxton today said his office presented convincing arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans in defense of the constitutionality of the Texas’ foster care system, including last year’s reforms enacted by the Texas Legislature.  

“We appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate that this case raises serious federalism concerns when an unelected federal judge sought to substitute her own individual judgment for that of the people of Texas’ duly elected representatives, executive officers, and judges,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The district court’s misguided directives will irreparably harm the foster care system, uproot many children, and reverse the progress that Texas has made since the Legislature enacted landmark changes to the system last year.”

Even after spending two years and over $1.4 million, the special masters’ plan detailed in the district court’s order fails to improve the realistic operations of the foster care system, and it causes actual harm to current families.

Among other things, the plan would place an immediate cap on the number of children currently in foster homes, forcing the homes to decide which children should stay or be uprooted from their placements. Case workers would also be bogged down with administrative work, rather than maintaining their focus on providing care to children in the program.   

Last month, the U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi ruled that Texas’ foster care system must be overseen by two court-appointed special masters for three years. Attorney General Paxton filed an immediate appeal, and a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit temporarily stayed the ruling so it could hear arguments in the case.

View the district court ruling