Houston Newsmakers: Abuse, neglect affecting Texas children -- What can we do?

Also: New Rice University president ready to get to work

Putting a spotlight on child abuse and ways to stop it. (KPRC-Pixabay)

IN THIS EPISODE: After several rough cases involving abuse and neglect in children--including here in Harris County, Host Khambrel Marshall sits down with Dr. Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children At Risk. He believes that much of the abuse and suffering in children can be reduced if the government stepped forward.

Also in this episode: Dr. Reginald DesRoches, the newly-appointed Rice University president announces his plans for the university.

Our children are dying! What can we do about it?

Last week in the Houston region, we saw story after story of children being neglected, being killed, or missing and presumed dead.

There was the mother charged with stabbing her five-year-old to death. The teenage twins who escaped from the laundry room where they said their mother kept them locked up. The man was accused of strangling his common-law wife to death in front of his children and now one of those children, a two-year-old is missing. Horrible instances within just one week.

Local and state government called on to do more

Dr. Bob Sanborn is the President and CEO of Children at Risk, an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children. He says much of the suffering of our children could be reduced if our local and state governments made children a higher priority.

“When you look at this as a whole, this is a failure of our leadership in Harris County and in the state of Texas.,” he said. “We’re not really prioritizing children when we come to legislative initiatives when we come to some of the rules that we’re doing in our state. We completely underfund child safety in our state.”

Dr. Sanborn is joined by Amy Smith, the Senior Director of Operations and Communications for the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. She says children need to learn early on what boundaries they can set for themselves.

“When a parent tells a child… go hug that person. No, they don’t have to hug that person if they don’t know them or don’t want them,” Smith said. “You’re already telling a child., here’s an adult, you have to do what that adult says. Not necessarily!”

New Rice president ready to work and spur university growth!

Dr. Reginald DesRoches, President, Rice University (KPRC)

New Rice president ready to work and spur university growth!

Last week was a whirlwind for Dr. Reginald DesRoches. With at least 70 family members in town and thousands more on the University Quad to celebrate his inauguration as the 8th president of Rice University, he admits his focus was on just getting past the moment and looking ahead to planned growth that will make an already great university even better.

“There are various steps that we’re doing right now,” he said. “I announced at the inauguration that we’re going to hire 200 faculty in the next five years. That’s going to help us with this growth of research and building the graduate programs, but all these steps take years.”

He says he is not concerned with any legacy he might have.

“I want to leave this place better off. I want people to know how great this institution is and I want to make sure we have an impact on all segments of society,” he added.

Dr. DesRoches says he’s proud of the increased diversity of the Rice faculty and that there is still more to be done to make sure a quality Rice education remains within reach.

“Families that make less than 75-thousand get free tuition and board and between 75-thousand and 150-thousand, they get free tuition,” he said. “So we will continue to support students, anybody that has the desire and aptitude to study at Rice, We’ll continue to support them to be there.”

Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall Every Sunday at 10 a.m. right after Meet the Press.

· Bob Sanborn, Ed.D. President & CEO Children at Risk

· https://childrenatrisk.org/

· Amy Smith, Senior Dir. Operations and Communications, Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council

· https://www.hcdvcc.org/

· Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D., President, Rice University

· https://president.rice.edu/

About the Author:

Journalist, meteorologist, community leader and volunteer.