New Foster Care Contracts Focus on Results | KERA News

New Foster Care Contracts Focus on Results

State officials are revamping the foster care system, and presented an update to the Texas House Human Services Committee Monday.

Howard Baldwin, Commissioner of Family and Protective Services, said the foster care system is too fragmented, and sometimes hurts the children the system is trying to help.

“Children have had to travel to services rather than services being brought to them,” Baldwin said. “And sometimes they ended up far away from their home community.” 

Baldwin said the department hopes to finalize the first contracts with private providers in September. Two companies will implement local comprehensive care for foster children in south and west Texas.  Payment to the providers will be based on successful outcomes for the children, rather than strict fee-for-services.

The new system is supposed to streamline the foster care process, save money, and be better for kids.

BJ Austin, KERA News

SMU Names New Athletic Director

SMU has a new Athletic Director, Rick Hart from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

In a statement, SMU President R. Gerald Turner says Hart as “demonstrated a commitment to athletic and academic success, fiscal responsibility, and a focus on the student-athlete experience.”

Turner says Rick Hart has the skills to lead SMU into the BIG EAST for the 2013 season. 

BJ Austin, KERA News

Company fined $5,000 for oil spill in Texas 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Enterprise Crude Pipeline $5,000 for spilling some 4,200 gallons of crude oil into a Texas tributary that feeds into a major river.

The fine announced Monday is roughly $1.19 for each gallon of oil that ended up in Bull Creek, which spills into the Colorado River. The river is a major source of water for Texas, which is recovering from one of the worst droughts in its history.

The EPA reached an "expedited settlement" with Houston-based Enterprise. It says the company "certified it has investigated the cause of the spill" and cleaned it up. Enterprise was fined under the federal Clean Water Act.

Enterprise says it operates more than 5,200 miles of onshore crude oil pipelines.


Dewhurst, Cruz accuse each other of lying

The attacks may come fast and furious when the Republicans vying for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat meet in Tuesday's debate.

But any on-stage fireworks could pale in comparison to the amount of mud both candidates already are slinging at one another.

Tea Party favorite and ex-state Solicitor General Ted Cruz says his opponent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is lying about his record of cutting taxes while overseeing the Texas Senate.

Cruz also says Dewhurst's trying to cover up his past support of a guest worker program for illegal immigrants.

Dewhurst counters that Cruz is misstating his legislative record, and says his opponent's a Washington-trained lawyer.

Their July 31 runoff is seen as a test for the tea party and its support of Cruz against mainstream Republican choice Dewhurst.