AUSTIN (AP) - Travis County judges are ordering a stop to the practice of having foster children sleep in state offices when there's nowhere else to place them.
Ten district judges on Friday served the Department of Family and
Protective Services with the standing order.
The mandate takes effect July 1.
Since January, when the state began keeping track, 474 children have stayed at a state office. The children who stay there are watched by state workers who are paid overtime.
The order says that the only reason children should be placed in an office is in an emergency involving the initial removal of a child from the home.
Even then, the order says, the stay should be for no longer than eight hours as state workers locate "appropriate and safe placement."
In some cases, children have stayed in offices for more than one night.