State Agency Budget Requests Summary

82nd Legislative Session

Prior to the start of each legislative session, the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Office of Budget, Policy and Planning jointly issue instructions to each Texas state agency regarding how to develop their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR). An agency’s LAR is their budget request to the Legislature to operate their programs over the next two-year biennium – Fiscal Years (FY) 2012-2013. In addition to a base budget request, an LAR usually includes exceptional item requests for priorities that the agency considers of great importance in addition to the base budget. Below is a simplified summary of the key items included in various agencies’ LARs that may impact people with developmental disabilities.

Department of Aging and Disability Services

The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) administers long-term services and supports for people who are aging or who have cognitive and physical disabilities. DADS also licenses and regulates providers of long-term services and supports programs. DADS programs include home and community-based Medicaid waiver programs, ICFs/MR, nursing facilities, and state supported living centers (SSLCs).

Base Budget Request

DADS base budget request would reduce the number of people served in community-based Medicaid waivers by 13,368 individuals. The FY 2010–2011 budget expanded the number of people served in community waiver services. The FY 2012–2013 base budget request would reduce the number of people served overall and truncate any expansion efforts that occurred in FY 2010–2011. Additionally, Community MR Services and In-Home Family Support Services would be funded below their FY 2011 levels.

Exceptional Items Request

Maintaining FY 2010–2011 Service Levels: Several exceptional items would allow DADS to continue to serve the same number of individuals in community waiver programs that are served in FY 2011. These exceptional items would account for the replacement of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, maintaining expanded service levels, etc. These items would impact Medicaid waiver services, community MR services, and the In-Home and Family Support Services.

Promoting Independence: An exceptional item requested by DADS would fund:

  • 500 Home and Community-based Services (HCS) waiver slots for individuals in large ICFs/MR and SSLCs,

  • 192 HCS waiver slots for foster children aging out of care,

  • 240 crisis slots for people at imminent risk of entering an ICF/MR, and

  • 100 slots for individuals at imminent risk of entering a nursing facility.

Also, this item would fund Behavior Intervention Teams (BIT) in nine areas of the state to provide intensive behavioral support to individuals with behavioral needs.

Specialized Residential Behavioral Services: This item would create residential services for individuals with intensive behavioral needs who require short-term services to remain in the community.

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services

The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) provides vocational rehabilitation (VR) and independent living (IL) services to people with disabilities. DARS also operates the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program for children with developmental delays.

Base Budget Request

ECI: The base funding reflected in DARS FY 2012-2013 LAR does not include one-time stimulus funding of $44.5 million in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C federal stimulus funds or $11.7 million in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) stimulus funds to support operations in ECI. Additionally, DARS FY 2012 General Revenue (GR) baseline is below the IDEA Part C Maintenance of Effort (MOE) level by $1.3 million because of the way baseline is calculated. Not meeting the MOE can result in the loss of a $39.7 million IDEA Part C grant award. The base request would provide an average of two hours of direct services per child per month to approximately 27,000 children. DARS must narrow eligibility and serve fewer children if only base funding is received.

VR: DARS requested a 3% increase in base funding for VR services. For its VR federal grant, DARS requested state revenue to match expected growth in the federal grant of 3.6%. This VR grant draws down four federal dollars for every one dollar of state match. The request would enable DARS to outsource certain important non-core functions to allow existing VR Counselors to carry higher caseloads and would increase employment outcomes by more than 1,000 customers for the biennium. This is for both VR-Blind and VR-General programs.

Exceptional Items Request

ECI: Two exceptional items would allow DARS to narrow ECI eligibility less significantly and serve approximately 34,527 children with two hours of services per month. Another exceptional item would allow DARS to provide four hours of services per month per child to approximately 17,000 children each year of the biennium. This would be achieved with a significant narrowing of eligibility for the program.

VR: DARS is requesting $4 million in state funds to draw $14.8 million in federal funds, increasing the number of individuals receiving VR services by 1,000 for the biennium.

Department of Family and Protective Services

The mission of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is to protect children, older adults, and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by involving clients, families, and communities. DFPS operates Child Protective Services (CPS), which investigates reports of abused or neglected children. CPS also provides services to children and families in their homes, places children in foster care, helps youth in foster care transition to adulthood and places children in adoptive homes. DFPS also operates Adult Protective Services (APS), which is responsible for investigating abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are older or have disabilities, including adults who live in their own home or adults who live in long-term care facilities. DFPS also licenses and regulates all childcare operations in the state and establishes the minimum standards of caring for children.

Base Budget Request

The CPS foster care program is considered an “entitlement” program, therefore the DFPS LAR includes funding for the growth in foster care caseloads in the base request, approximately $75.8 million GR. Other programs such as adoption subsidies for children in protective care, as well as the DFPS caseworkers in all programs including foster care, were not considered entitlements and were therefore not included in the base budget request.

Existing program staff were able to manage the requirements from several legislative initiatives passed during the 81st legislative session involving APS and facilities-based investigations, specifically reforms to investigations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation allegations at SSLCs and community-based services. However, it is too early to know the full extent of workload increases, especially those involved with investigations in the community system of services for people with intellectual disabilities.

Exceptional Items Request

The adoptions subsidies program, funded with Title IV-E entitlement funds, was not identified as an Article II entitlement program and therefore could not be included in the baseline request. If the adoptions subsidies program is not funded through GR it could mean not all current adoption assistance agreements could be honored, putting adoptive families at risk of economic hardships. The average number of adoption subsidies is predicted to grow by 9% in FY 2012 and 8.2% in FY 2013. Without the funding of the adoption subsidies program there will not be enough sufficient financial support for children with disabilities who are adopted, there would be fewer children adopted, and these children would remain in the care and custody of DFPS. At the end of June 2010, for FY 2010, there were 27,311 children in open substitute care, and of those approximately 4–6% were noted as having some type of developmental disability.

The baseline request for foster daycare services currently exceeds the FY 2010-11 appropriations. Inadequate funding will increase the number of children entering the foster care system and put a strain on current foster home capacity. Funds needed to address this baseline issue are included in an exceptional item request.

Regulation of child-care centers and requesting additional resources for Child Care Licensing operations is also included as an exceptional item request. This request is due to the growth in the child population in Texas along with the number of childcare centers opening in Texas and their capacity. Child Care Licensing must regulate the childcare industry by requiring minimum safety and protection standards. With the increase in centers and children’s attendance, this will require more time and effort by department staff to regulate.

Department of State Health Services

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) administers the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) program, community mental health (MH) services, in-patient psychiatric services (State Hospitals), and other community health programs.

Base Budget Request

The DSHS LAR base budget request includes reductions in the CSHCN program, Community MH Crisis Restoration Services (CRS), Substance Abuse Treatment Services, and State Hospital capacity.

CSHCN: This program covers children who are not eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid and have special health care needs. It also covers adults with cystic fibrosis. Children are connected to health and related services to keep them healthy and prevent further disability. CSHCN currently provides 5,555 individuals with case management and 2,248 individuals with medical services. The average cost per client in medical services is $13,077. There is a waiting list for this program. A 10% cut means 837 fewer children with special health care needs would receive services.

CRS: An average of 16,647 individuals per year receive CRS. Providing intensive and emergency MH crisis services diverts people with serious mental illness from law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms. Children are included in these services. A 5% ($5.3 million) reduction over the biennium would mean 2,694 individuals per year would not receive services. A 10% reduction proposal for DSHS ($7.5 million) would result in 3,842 individuals per year not receiving MH crisis services and 1,666 clients would not receive community crisis transitional services.

MH Services for Adults: An average of 52,484 individuals receive MH services per month, including 21,032 who require and receive new generation medications. A 5% ($16.9 million) reduction would cut MH services for 8,471 individuals per year. A 10% ($25 million) reduction would mean 5,922 adults each year would not receive MH services. DSHS contracts with 39 Community MH Centers and NorthSTAR to deliver MH services in communities across Texas. Over 60,000 individuals per year receive community MH services through NorthSTAR. A 10% cut in NorthSTAR means 5,966 fewer individuals would receive services over the biennium. Community interventions can eliminate or manage symptoms and promote recovery for individuals with serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. MH services provide an integrated approach that merges clinical and rehabilitation staff expertise, including psychiatric, substance abuse, employment, and housing.

MH for Children: In 2009 an average of 12,664 children per month received MH services. This number dropped to 12,206 in 2010 and will remain stagnant with the 2012–13 LAR. A 5% ($ 4.4 million) cut in GR would mean that 1,094 individuals per year would not receive services from MH professionals. A 10% ($9.6 million) cut would mean 2,377 children with serious mental illness would not be served. Texas families without access to services are turning their child over to CPS and relinquishing parental rights just to get their child help.

State Hospitals: A $45.3 million cut over the biennium would take away 193 beds. This means 1,428 fewer patients would be served in State Hospitals in FY 2012–13.

Substance Abuse Screening Services: Nearly $2 million reduced from Outreach, Screening, Assessment and Referral would mean that 40,811 individuals would not receive these front door substance abuse services each fiscal year.

Exceptional Items Request

Community MH and Substance Abuse: $18.6 million in GR/$21 million All Funds to fund:

  • the Continuity of Care Task Force and MH Transformation Recommendations for jail diversion,

  • comprehensive prevention and treatment for border communities, and

  • to expand capacity of the clinical management Behavioral Health System.

State Hospitals: $37.8 million, including $22.3 million to:

  • maintain current hospital capacity and provide alternatives to long-term hospitalization for patients,

  • provide stipends for psychiatrists and nurse practitioner residents to fill the gap in shortage of MH professionals, and

  • provide peer-to-peer support specialist services.

$15.5 million is requested for critical equipment, building renovation, and vehicles.

Private Mental Hospital: A $30 million exceptional item would provide 120 beds serving approximately 1,600 individuals per year.

Health and Human Services Commission

The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) provides health services for low-income children and individuals with disabilities through Medicaid and CHIP. In addition to Medicaid and CHIP, HHSC operates:

  • the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps;

  • the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program;

  • indigent health care program;

  • family violence services;

  • refugee services; and

  • disaster assistance.

HHSC also provides administrative oversight for the health and human services system, including DADS, DARS, DFPS, and DSHS.

Base Budget Request

The HHSC base request does not maintain service levels or account for growth in several programs, including child and maternal health care, children and medically needy risk groups, refugee services, and others. The base request also reduces reimbursement rates to Medicaid providers.

Exceptional Items Request

HHSC’s LAR includes requests to expand community services, reducing the time for individuals on waiting/interest lists. This exceptional item would:

  • fund additional waiver slots in Medicaid waivers operated by DADS,

  • reduce the waiting lists for the IL services and comprehensive rehabilitation services programs operated by DARS, and

  • reduce the waiting lists for the community MH services operated by DSHS.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Services (TDHCA) administers programs to assist low-income individuals. TDHCA administers federal housing and community services grants and acts as a housing finance agency for several major housing programs. TDHCA also ensures program compliance with state and federal housing laws and provides essential services and affordable housing to low-income individuals, including people with disabilities. TDHCA also publishes educational material and provides technical assistance for housing, and housing-related and community services matters.

Base Budget Request

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is funded with federal funds. TDHCA’s HCV program contracts with local units of government, community action agencies, and public housing authorities in 29 counties to assist with the administration of approximately 1,000 housing choice vouchers. TDHCA administers the vouchers. Project Access is a collaboration between TDHCA and DADS to assist low-income, non-elderly people with disabilities in transitioning from nursing homes to the community. TDHCA submitted an application to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for additional vouchers for Category 1 Section 8 and Category 2 Project Access and will hear from HUD on October 1, 2011. They will expand Project Access to include individuals transitioning out of State Hospitals and those over 62 transitioning from nursing homes.

Exceptional Items Request

Exceptional Item 1 requests $1.9 million to restore funding to the Housing Trust Fund (HTF). HTF supports the preservation and production of affordable housing and increases opportunities for low-income people to access decent, affordable homes. For people with developmental disabilities (DD), HTF grants through the Amy Young Barrier Removal Program make a home accessible to assist in transition from institutions to the community, and also help individuals to maintain independence and health. The HTF provides an Affordable Housing Match Program that promotes greater access to federal and private funds for housing, including supportive housing for people with disabilities.

Exceptional Item 2 requests $4 million over the biennium to build on and expand the Bootstrap Loan Program, Affordable Housing Match Program, Amy Young Barrier Removal Program, and the other programs of the fund. Home ownership assistance — the Bootstrap Self-Help program — provides low-interest loans to build homes. TDHCA funds are 95% federal funds with required and narrow uses. HTF fills the gaps for housing needs of people with DD that are not adequately met by other federal and local programs.

Texas Education Agency

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) helps guide and monitor activities and programs related to public education in Texas. TEA directly administers several programs designed to improve student performance and improve the quality of education services in Texas.

TEA’s LAR includes the funding requests for programs funded by the agency. Some programs, such as Regional Education Service Centers, provide services to school districts that help districts improve programs for students with disabilities. TEA’s LAR includes funding reductions to some programs that can be achieved through a change in strategy to provide staff development and some instructional materials online. TEA has not included Exceptional Items to offset those proposed reductions.

Local school districts receive money from the state based on a school financing formula which is determined by the Legislature outside of the appropriations process. Therefore, TEA’s LAR does not determine how much money each school district will receive for the biennium. The 81st Texas Legislature appointed the Joint Select Committee on School Finance, Weights, Allotments, and Adjustments to study the current school finance system. This committee will issue a report to the 82nd Texas Legislature on December 1, 2010 and may or may not make specific recommendations regarding changes to the school financing system.