How Can We Be Ready to Do Better? CDF-TX Proposes Interim Studies to the Texas Legislature

For Texas legislators to make the most of each biennial session, they charge committees with the task of studying various problems during the interim.

What follows is a summary of the 2019 interim charge recommendations that CDF-TX compiled to address the following subjects: education, juvenile justice, and youth civic engagement; mother and child wellness; child healthcare access; and child welfare in Texas.

For additional information or questions please contact Laura Guerra-Cardus, CDF-Texas Deputy Director at


Education, Juvenile Justice, and Youth Civic Engagement

  1. Implement programs that are successful at improving youth civic education and engagement rates.
  2. Recommend measures to improve compliance among Texas high schools with the high school voter registration law (TEX. ELECTION CODE §13.046), such as requiring the Secretary of State to mail voter registration applications to high schools at the beginning of each school year.
  3. Develop a project-based civics curriculum that complies with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for social studies.
  4. Study the impact of House Bill 3 (86 R) on school finance reform and dual language and compensatory education.
  5. Study and recommend ways to make higher education more affordable for Texas students.
  6. Study the various lengths of placement, the quality of instruction, and the physical conditions at disciplinary alternative education programs across the state of Texas.


Mother and Child Wellness

  1. Examine strategies and make recommendations to promote healthy early childhood brain development in Texas’ young children.
  2. Identify potential cost savings and positive health outcomes for women and babies that would be gained by improving access to family planning and preventive health services in Healthy Texas Women (HTW) and the Family Planning Program.
  3. Examine state investments in the health and brain development of babies and toddlers, including Early Childhood Intervention and other early childhood programs for children in the first three years of life.
  4. Monitor the implementation of SB 781 (86R) and SB 355 (86R). Evaluate policy changes and funding required to effectively implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in Texas.


Child Healthcare Access

  1. Provide a comprehensive analysis of the uninsured in Texas pending the litigation in Texas v. United States challenging the Affordable Care Act.
  2. Explore legislative options to address the uninsured rates among children, low-income families, and legal permanent residents.
  3. Determine how Texas’ high child uninsured rate and drop in Medicaid enrollment are affecting rural areas and counties, including rural and safety-net hospitals.
  4. Explore the relationship between school performance and child health insurance and identify ways to eliminate barriers to more Texas children gaining health insurance.
  5. Examine strategies for improving efficiency in Children’s Medicaid processes in order to decrease gaps in coverage for CHIP- and Medicaid-eligible children, avoid related costs to the state and managed care system, and promote quality-based value initiatives in Medicaid managed care.
  6. Examine options for eliminating red tape that results in the erroneous denial of children’s Medicaid coverage, which contributes to higher per-person Medicaid costs and harms the financial viability of rural and safety-net providers across Texas.
  7. Evaluate options to extend Texas’ 1115 Transformation Waiver in a way that will enhance health coverage for low-income Texans as a means to promote prosperity among Texas families and to bolster state efforts to improve health outcomes for infants and mothers.


Child Welfare

  1. Examine ways to improve support for families in crisis and keep more families safely together.
  2. Explore strategies to improve legal representation of and support for children and parents when families become involved with CPS.
  3. Study the humanitarian and fiscal impacts of the presence of asylum-seeking families and children in this state.
  4. Investigate the human and civil rights protections for child and family migrants both in detention and after release, specifically assessing barriers to access to attorneys for asylum and refugee status.
  5. Explore the role that Texas plays in housing families and children seeking asylum in the United States, and examine ways that Texas can provide supportive environments that most resemble a family setting.
  6. Review the conditions in which children and families are held while detained, investigate effective ways to prevent abuse and neglect of detained children, and explore opportunities to ensure these environments promote child health and wellbeing and are trauma-informed.
  7. Study the economic impact a 2020 Census undercount would have on border, rural, and urban communities across Texas, and examine strategies and tools state agencies may implement to mitigate a potential undercount.
  8. Explore and promote best practices used by local Complete Count Commissions to reach hard-to-count populations such as children under 5, students, mobile residents, military families, homeless, migrant, and low-income populations.