One-third of Texas foster care caseworkers left their jobs last year as the agency continued putting kids in hotels
The Department of Family and Protective Services has increasingly relied on housing foster kids in hotels when it can’t find them a home. In the 2022 fiscal year, after record staff turnover, more than 1 in 4 caseworkers had less than one year of experience.
New Texas laws favor parents in child abuse investigations as legislators try to limit number of kids in foster care
Legislators also passed bills that will provide foster kids entering the troubled system with duffel bags or backpacks and those aging out of the system with help setting up bank accounts.
Judge admonishes Texas foster care officials, saying they don’t properly monitor facilities housing kids
A U.S. district judge has long presided over a court case that found Texas’ foster care system unconstitutionally harms kids. Tuesday’s hearing was the first appearance by the state’s new team of defense attorneys.
Bond set at $10K for grandfather accused of leaving 5 kids home alone without food, air conditioning amid scorching heat
A grandfather is in the Harris County Jail accused of leaving five of his grandchildren home without food or running air conditioning as temperatures reached triple digits on Monday.
Texas will create new database to screen child care workers after alleged abuse, expands mandatory reporting requirements
The legislation came after The Refuge, a Bastrop foster care facility, hired a caretaker without knowing she had a history of sexual misconduct with children at a state juvenile facility. Coworkers also concealed evidence of the abuse, which further put the foster girls at harm.
Federal judge says Texas’ use of psychotropic drugs puts foster kids at serious risk
Residential facilities did not refill medications in a timely manner, failed to follow psychiatric orders and, in several instances, violated state guidelines, court monitors documented after site inspections. The lawyer representing the foster kids said it could be “the tip of the iceberg.”
Texas Senate votes to close employment loophole after Refuge foster care scandal
The upper chamber unanimously passed Senate Bill 182 after The Texas Tribune reported that a state-licensed foster care facility hired a caretaker whom the Texas Juvenile Justice Department previously fired for having inappropriate relationships with children.
Texas should tell parents their rights when it investigates child abuse claims, lawmaker proposes
Most reports of child abuse or neglect turn out to be unfounded. But while under investigation, parents with little understanding of their rights or the process often make decisions that could impact the fate of their families.
Federal judge again threatens contempt-of-court fines for Texas’ slow progress on foster care reforms
The judge warned the state could be held in contempt of court for not following through with three mandates: youths not knowing their rights, not adequately responding to abuse allegations and still having too many children without placement.
After alleged sexual assault of two children living in state care, another foster shelter closes
Two girls in the care of Child Protective Services were allegedly sexually assaulted in October after sneaking out of a facility run by the state agency. Advocates say it’s a symptom of the Texas foster care systems’ problems.
Family of 3-year-old who was found dead in Liberty County has history with Child Protective Services, DFPS says
Child Protective Services confirmed Monday it is investigating the death of a three-year-old boy from Liberty County after law enforcement ruled the circumstances surrounding his death as “suspicious.”
Texas’ child welfare agency told staffers to keep quiet about gender-affirming care investigations, documents show
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services leaders instructed employees to avoid written communications about the cases and barred low-level employees from handling the investigations, according to internal agency communications.
Head of embattled Texas child abuse investigations resigns after less than a year
During Robert “Rich” Richman’s short tenure, he oversaw the investigation of parents who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children and the mishandling of allegations of sex abuse at a foster care facility.
Document reveals Texas agency investigated family of malnourished 8-year-old girl four times prior to her death
The agency investigated the family just five days prior to the girl’s death in 2020 after the child arrived at school with a black eye. That was one of four previous occurrences in which Texas DFPS investigated the family dating back to 2018 with cases in both Bexar County and Harris County.
Lack of communication between child welfare and juvenile justice systems hurts foster kids, court monitors say
The court-appointed watchdogs expressed concern after learning that a caretaker accused of exploiting children at a state-licensed facility in Bastrop had been previously fired from a state juvenile justice facility for misconduct.
Bastrop shelter caretaker accused of exploiting girls was fired from previous job for misconduct with children
State records show Iesha Greene was fired in 2020 from a state juvenile facility for having inappropriate relationships with children. The Refuge said it was aware of her previous work there, but it never requested her publicly available personnel records.
Over 100 children have died in Texas’ child welfare system since 2020, report says
Most of the deaths were attributed to “preexisting medical conditions” or abuse suffered before the children entered the system, according to the DFPS report. The numbers are on par with those reported in previous years.
Judge loses trust in Texas’ child abuse investigation of foster care facility and calls for federal inquiry
U.S. District Judge Janis Jack said she is seeking a federal criminal investigation into allegations that children were sexually abused and trafficked at The Refuge, a state-licensed foster care shelter for victims of sex trafficking.
Texas child welfare official resigns, saying top agency leaders scapegoated employees
The former child care investigations director said there are agency-wide communication issues that led to a breakdown in relaying key information, but two of his staff members are the ones who suffered the consequences.
Texas CPS department’s culture kept worries about now-shuttered foster care facility from being addressed, official says
It was also revealed at a special Texas Senate committee meeting that the Texas foster care worker who allegedly sold nude pictures of girls is also accused of dating a child trafficker.
Texas Rangers confirm investigation into nude photos of children at Bastrop shelter but find “no evidence” of sex abuse
An attorney representing foster care children in a suit against Texas said Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw’s conclusion that there was no evidence of sexual abuse despite the investigation into the photos was “both surprising and extremely troubling.”
State-licensed shelter where sex trafficking victims were reportedly abused ordered to close
The Refuge, which closed Friday, said it fired an employee accused of coercing the victims to sell nude photos as soon as it found out. The Bastrop-based shelter has not addressed the other eight staff members also accused of causing harm to the girls.
TribCast: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigates the families of trans children
In this week’s episode, Matthew speaks with Eleanor and Sneha about Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to open child abuse investigations into families providing gender-affirming care for their children.
Texas’ child welfare agency ordered to investigate trans kids’ families has been in crisis for years
The Department of Family and Protective Services has been under federal court monitoring for over a decade for violating the civil rights of kids in foster care. Now, the short-staffed agency has to investigate parents who provide their children with gender-affirming care.
Kids in foster care who’d been victims of sex trafficking endured fresh abuse at a state shelter, report says
The children were sexually abused and neglected while at The Refuge, a facility located in Bastrop contracted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, according to a report from a current employee.
State report shows multiple investigations prior to abandoned 8-year-old’s death
A 12-page child fatality report shows Child Protective Services was involved, at multiple points, in the life of a family that included an 8-year-old boy whose corpse was found among his living siblings back in October 2021.
Texas foster care children exposed to sexual abuse, given wrong medication and neglected in unlicensed placements, new report says
The federal judge overseeing the decadelong lawsuit against Texas for conditions in its foster care system cut this week’s hearing short. She proposed all parties involved, including the governor, “cut to the chase” to identify solutions.
Parents arrested after 1-year-old daughter found dead in neighbor’s pool in Liberty County, deputies say
DAISETTA, Texas – The parents of a 1-year-old girl who was found dead in a neighbor’s pool in Liberty County have been arrested, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. It was initially reported that the child was found in the family’s pool but it was later discovered that the child was in the neighbor’s pool. On Wednesday morning, the parents, Londell Laviene and Bonnie Tarrant, were charged with interfering with public duties and also with resisting arrest. Both were placed in the Liberty County jail. AdChild Protective Services and their fatality investigation unit is also investigating the incident because the parents had another child drown in 2015 in Liberty County.