In the News
Uresti named Senate's Legislator of the Year by TexProtects
Oct. 7, 2011
Child Protection Roundtable presents Sen. Uresti with Legislator of the Year Award
(AUSTIN) — Sen. Carlos Uresti has been named the Senate's Legislator of the Year by the Child Protection Roundtable for his leadership role on children's issues in the 82nd Texas Legislature.
“Senator Carlos Uresti has been fighting for Texas Children over the course of his entire legislative career," Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said in presenting the award. "He has taken on the epidemic of child maltreatment. He is a legislative leader in finding solutions, including his creation of the local and Statewide Blue Ribbon Task Force."
The Child Protection Roundtable was initiated by TexProtects to bring together research experts, advocates and program providers in the field of child protection in order to develop a legislative policy agenda and advocate for child protection with one voice. It has more than 35 statewide member organizations that actively seek to reduce child abuse in Texas and improve outcomes for abused and neglected children.
Uresti was recognized for fighting against proposed budget cuts for Child Protective Services in the last session and for sponsoring legislation designed to treat and protect children from abuse and neglect.
"This is a great honor, and I deeply appreciate TexProtects for acknowledging the battles that were fought on behalf of Texas children this year, not just by me but many others in the Legislature," Uresti said. "TexProtects was on the frontlines as well and it deserves great credit for the successes we accomplished."
Despite a $27 billion budget shortfall, Uresti and other child advocates in the Legislature managed to get almost full funding for the Nurse-Family Partnership program, protect Early Childhood Intervention funds, and obtain a slight increase for CPS direct delivery staff. Uresti also passed Senate Bill 1154, which continues the work of the statewide Blue Ribbon Task Force until 2013.
Uresti also unveiled CPS' preliminary count of confirmed child abuse deaths in fiscal 2011, which ended Aug. 31. According to the agency, 203 Texas kids died from abuse and neglect last year. Though that number may change depending on the outcome of pending investigations, it represents a decrease from the 227 child deaths confirmed in fiscal 2010.
"Because each young life is precious, you have to say that 24 fewer deaths represent progress," Uresti said. "But we must do better than that. In the next session we will have another opportunity to bring those numbers down. Each of us will have a role to play in that effort, and we must start now."
Senator Uresti represents Senate District 19, a 50,000 square mile area extending from the city of San Antonio in Bexar County to the Lower Valley of El Paso County. The legislative district in the nation, it spans two time zones and contains nine of the 14 border counties in Texas, two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border within Texas, and all or part of 23 counties. Senate District 19 is home to five U.S. ports of entry, three U.S. toll bridges, 62 school districts, seven military sites, six state parks, and two national parks.