Children’s Protective Services (CPS) Workers across Texas are accused of falsifying records of visits to endangered children. At least two children died after workers failed to visit home.
In two cases during 2015, CPS workers were reported to have falsified their case reports about having face-to-face contact with a child. They did not have the meetings and the two children later died, Dallas Morning News journalists David McSwane and Robert Garret reported.
The reported falsification of records did not stop there. At least 12 other cases were found to have reports that were falsified by CPS case workers across Texas. And, in some cases where children are possibly in immediate danger, the 72-hour visitation deadlines were missed.
People who have complained to CPS about endangered children are understandably upset when the children subsequently die after reports of abuse have been filed.
Just last week, a Grand Prairie, Texas, 4-year-old girl was found beaten to death. The little girl, Leilana Wright, was found dead after her paternal grandmother had filed a complaint with CPS, Breitbart Texas’ Lana Shadwick reported.
“I took pictures and sent them to CPS,” Clakley said in an interview with KXAS-TV (NBC5) last week. “If we had done something sooner, I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Two CPS workers were fired in this case and a third resigned, Shadwick reported.
This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a message across the state by appointing former Texas Ranger Chief Henry “Hank” Whitman to be the new commissioner of the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) that oversees CPS activities. He also appointed a 17-year CPS veteran, Kristene Blackstone to serve as assistant commissioner, Breitbart Texas reported.
“The status quo at CPS is unacceptable,” Governor Abbot said while making the appointments. “Our children are too important to suffer through the challenges they’ve faced. I’ve insisted on overhauling a broken system.”
Abbott added, “I applaud the leadership changes that will provide a new direction and focus that puts protecting children first.”
An inspector general investigation into CPS activities in North Texas revealed a disturbing trend of delinquent child-abuse investigations, the Dallas newspaper reported. Cases are classified as delinquent when no contact has been made for more than 60 days. As more and more case workers have resigned in the Dallas County area, in particular, the case load on remaining workers increases.
“By firing these people, all they’ve done is increase the caseload on the other people,” Craig Clakley, the husband of Leiliana’s grandmother, told reporters.
In the case of Leiliana Wright, case workers were supposed to have visited her, in person, within 72 hours. Records obtained by the Dallas Morning News revealed more than 36 days had passed before case workers finally got around to her.
That worker, who allegedly had a history of mishaps within the department, had 70 cases on his desk. This is almost six times the normal recommended caseload for case workers, according to a leading child-welfare group. That worker has since resigned from the department.
While the falsification of records is a serious matter, DFPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins told the Dallas newspaper that is not the primary reason where workers are disciplined. He said it is much more common that workers are taken to task for doing poor work on a regular basis, making decisions that put children in danger, not making timely visits, and falling behind on deadlines.
A Texas advocacy group, Texans Care for Children, said the blame for the escalating problems in CPS do not fall solely on the case workers who are buried in their heavy caseloads. “When state leaders fail to provide the agency adequate support and the staff is constantly under fire, the job is even harder,” Peter Clark told the Dallas Morning News. “Those who make mistakes should be held accountable, but we need to strengthen CPS, not tear it down.”
Breitbart Texas has reported extensively over the past two years on the horrors faced by children due to the inadequacies, incompetence, and neglect of endangered children by this state agency.