This session, lawmakers are trying to fix one of the biggest gaps in the troubled foster care system: The training requirements for the majority of foster parents, kinship caregivers and adoptive parents are minimal, and the state doesn’t know how closely private placement agencies are adhering to the standards.

House Bill 781, authored by state Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Garland), would require additional oversight of the 340 private, nonprofit and for-profit agencies that recruit and train foster parents. Burkett introduced the bill Monday evening to the House Committee on Human Services. State child welfare advocates say the bill is a first step in furthering the transparency of the system. Thirteen children died last year while under the protection of licensed caregivers.

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