AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today applauded a decision by the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals to toss out a lawsuit that challenged state licensing of family residential centers, including the Dilley and Karnes centers in South Texas.
“Texas strives to keep children as safe as possible by providing independent oversight over the family residential centers in the state through its child care licensing program,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The appeals court’s dismissal of the lawsuit against Texas correctly recognizes that the challenge is really about one group’s disagreement with federal policy, and a state court can’t order the federal government to change federal policy.”
State licensing helps ensure the safety and well-being of children by requiring that family residential centers meet Texas’ comprehensive standards for operating a child care center and allows state employees to conduct random inspections, incident investigations, and background checks.
In its lawsuit, the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership challenged a rule that allowed the Texas Department of Family and Protective services to license the Dilley and Karnes family residential centers after they were opened by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Previously, a district court ruled against Texas in the case, although it acknowledged in its decision that state oversight is in the best interest of the children. But that oversight is not possible if the family residential centers are not subject to state licensure. Today’s ruling by the 3rd Court of Appeals reverses the district court’s judgment and dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction.