AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Top Republican leaders have given preliminary approval to a dramatic overhaul of the Texas welfare system that protects abused and neglected children by hiring more than 800 state workers.

Under terms of the plan approved Thursday and promoted by Texas Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman, the hiring of the additional workers could begin this week.

About 6,000 case workers would receive a pay raise of $12,000, and approximately 1,100 managers and others also would see salary increases.

The cost of the measures is roughly $150 million.

The Legislative Budget Board must agree to the plan, which could happen Friday.

Texas Child Protective Services for years has been plagued by high turnover and low morale among workers overwhelmed by a rising number of children they must monitor and protect.