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The Brief: Foster Care Pressures Mean Longer Psych Stays

Time spent in psychiatric facilities by abused children is up from six years ago, an effect of increased federal scrutiny of the foster care program and new restrictions on placing abused children in the care of relatives.

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The Big Conversation

Time spent in psychiatric facilities by abused children is up from six years ago, an effect of increased federal scrutiny of the foster care program and new restrictions on placing abused children in the care of relatives.

Those restrictions, the Tribune’s Terri Langford reported, has helped create a 37 percent increase in Child Protective Services removals from January 2015 to January 2016.

One effect is an increase in the number of children forced to sleep in agency offices. Another is the increase in time spent in psychiatric facilities, “which can cost $650 a day just for that child's room and board,” Langford wrote.

She added, “The Tribune first asked the state for foster care psychiatric stay data in November and received it in late March. It shows that children as young as two years have been hospitalized for mental illness once taken from abusive homes. (Department of Family and Protective Services) did not provide information on exactly how much these overstays cost the agency.”

On the federal side, two special masters are overseeing the state after a federal judge found the state’s long-term foster care system unconstitutional in December.

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The Day Ahead

•    The Libertarian Party of Texas kicks off its three day 2016 state convention today at the Norris Conference Center in San Antonio. 

•    The 139th Cattle Raisers Convention, the biggest ranching industry event in Texas and Oklahoma, begins its three day meeting today at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Forth Worth.

•    GOP strategist Karl Rove will be the featured speaker at the Republican Party of Bexar County Lincoln Day Celebration in San Antonio. A reception and book signing will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the event programming at 7 p.m.

Elsewhere

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New York Daily News to Ted Cruz: ‘Take the F U Train’, Austin American-Statesman

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Quote to Note

“I call him a steady Eddie. He might not be the most fun to have a drink at the bar with, but America needs a designated driver.”

Mica Mosbacher, a Ted Cruz fundraiser, explaining why Republicans should rally behind the Texas senator even though he was not their first pick for president

News From Home

•    Tune in for the latest episode of The Ticket, a co-production of the Tribune and KUT. KUT’s Ben Philpott dives into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and how conservatives might use Alexander Hamilton to stop him. Philpott also talks with Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey about whether or Trump’s rise to GOP frontrunner can be blamed on journalists.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on April 13 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine

•    A Conversation with Dawn Buckingham on April 21 at the Austin Club

•    A Conversation on San Antonio & the Legislature: The Issues in the Interim on April 26 at the University of Texas at San Antonio

•    A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston

•    The Texas Tribune's third Texas-centric Trivia Night on May 1 at The Highball in Austin

•    A Conversation on Mental Health Matters on May 10 at KLRU Studio 6A in Austin

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