State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, has asked the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics to review how the Department of Family and Protective Services licenses, reviews and oversees residential treatment centers for foster kids. His move follows a Texas Tribune/Houston Chronicle story that revealed that developmentally disabled girls were forced to fight each other at a youth facility in Manvel.
In a letter to committee chair Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, Gallego expressed concern that, although the employees involved in the abuse were fired, there were no formal inquiries into the incident by lawmakers and the agency has chosen to keep certain records — including those that identify the former employees — secret.
"This has developed into a statewide epidemic with serious emotional, physical and mental consequences for some of the most vulnerable citizens of Texas," Gallego wrote. "...I look forward to addressing these issues during the interim so that during the upcoming session we can put an end to the horrific abuse of those who need treatment in our state."
No word yet on a Hopson response.