DALLAS -- A judge has ordered Texas to make sweeping changes to its foster care system two years after she found it unconstitutionally broken.
U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack on Friday issued her final order in the case regarding those in long-term foster care. She told the state an overhaul must include improvements in record keeping, caseworker visits and where children are placed.
The ruling follows her December 2015 opinion in which she wrote that those labeled permanent wards of the state "almost uniformly leave state custody more damaged than when they entered."
Jack then appointed two experts to help craft an independent overhaul. State officials have fought the judge's oversight, saying they've been working on their own changes.
“Abused and neglected children must have a foster system that protects them from further abuse and puts them in the most family-like setting possible," Madeline McClure, CEO of TexProtects-Champions for Children said. "Most importantly, we must increase investment for proven prevention and support for kinship and biological families to keep children from ever needing a foster care system."
The state filed notice of appeal shortly after Jack's order Friday.
Read the ruling here.