GOVERNMENT: State Agencies

Data Effort Aims to Help Reduce Child Deaths

John Specia (left), the commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek testify Feb. 20, 2014, at a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing.
John Specia (left), the commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek testify Feb. 20, 2014, at a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing.

The Department of Family and Protective Services has ramped up its efforts to conduct predictive data analysis and reduce the high turnover of CPS caseworkers, the agency’s commissioner told a panel of senators on Thursday.

Report: Make Transportation Technology a Priority

Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson gets a ride in a Google self-driving car on Feb. 19, 2013, in front of the Hilton Austin.
Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson gets a ride in a Google self-driving car on Feb. 19, 2013, in front of the Hilton Austin.

Transportation officials see emerging technologies playing a role in helping address issues like traffic safety. A new report stresses the need for the state to consider partnering with the private sector on certain initiatives. 

Injured Worker's Ex-Employer Denies Retaliation

The Workers Defense Project and Iron Workers Union organized a demonstration Nov. 23, 2013.
The Workers Defense Project and Iron Workers Union organized a demonstration Nov. 23, 2013.

UPDATED: A 19-year-old Honduran injured on the job is at the center of a workplace safety controversy. The Workers Defense Project says he was fired for speaking to investigators. His former employer says the firing was unrelated.

Congressional Hearing Targets Failures in Foster Care

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U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Beaumont, testifies at a hearing in Washington, D.C., on failures in foster care that lead to sex trafficking.
U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Beaumont, testifies at a hearing in Washington, D.C., on failures in foster care that lead to sex trafficking.

Failures in the foster care system put children in Texas and across the nation at greater risk of falling into the sex trade, activists and lawmakers asserted Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Week Reveals Gap Remains Regarding Climate Change

The Brazos River runs dry in Knox County, Texas, during the summer drought of 2011. At the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, the chairman of the Texas Water Development Board said that water availability models in the state will have to change, though he didn't say whether the state would look directly at possible effects of climate change in the planning.
The Brazos River runs dry in Knox County, Texas, during the summer drought of 2011. At the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, the chairman of the Texas Water Development Board said that water availability models in the state will have to change, though he didn't say whether the state would look directly at possible effects of climate change in the planning.

Days after scientists unveiled a report predicting serious consequences tied to global warming, state officials debated whether the phenomenon is human-induced and whether they can do anything about it.