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The Brief: Texas' Endangered Children Remain Unseen by CPS

Lawmakers hope to pass reforms during the next legislative session.

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The Big Conversation

Nearly 1,000 of Texas' highest-priority endangered children — considered to be at immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse — regularly went unchecked for weeks and months, a new release of Child Protective Services data revealed Tuesday.

In Harris County alone, 267 of the highest-priority kids on any given day never had a face-to-face visit with CPS. This accounts for nearly 30 percent of the 935 total highest-priority kids missed by investigators across the state. These numbers coincide with a funding crunch in the child welfare system — including a $40 million budget shortfall — combined with overworked employees, rapid staff turnover and a shortage of high-quality foster homes.

Following the data's release, Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said the numbers were inexcusable, adding that department employees "have to be better." In an email to the Tribune, Crimmins said that "not seeing kids who may be child abuse victims is not acceptable."

As the Tribune's Edgar Walters and Annie Daniel report, while there appears to be an increase in unchecked kids, the counting method was inconsistent over time and the data remains murky. However, state lawmakers have vowed to enact changes and pass reforms to address these issues when they meet during the upcoming legislative session.

Trib Must Reads

Could Trump’s Comments About Women Cost Him Key Texas Voters?, by Patrick Svitek — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's ability to appeal to women voters — even in a red state like Texas — is under scrutiny in the wake of derogatory comments he made about a former beauty queen.

Man Who Killed Neighbors Set for First Texas Execution in Months, by Jolie McCullough — If Barney Fuller is executed Wednesday for the 2003 shooting deaths in rural East Texas, it will end Texas' longest gap between executions since 2008.

Texas to Revisit Issue of ID'ing Migrants' Remains Near Border, by Julián Aguilar — The Texas Forensic Science Commission macabre will discuss an issue tied directly to the hot-button issue of illegal immigration.

Texas Death Row Appeal Hinges on Racial Testimony, by Jolie McCullough — The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday will hear an appeal from death row inmate Duane Buck, whose trial included racially discriminatory testimony. 

Texas Troopers, Austin Police Will Make Complaining Easier, by Johnathan Silver — The two law enforcement agencies say they will start adding information on filing complaints to the citations they issue. 

The Day Ahead

•    The Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System will meet to discuss the desirability and feasibility of constructing a coastal barrier system during a morning hearing

•    The Senate Committee on State Affairs will meet during a morning hearing to review current ethics laws governing public officials and employees and recommend changes to improve the public’s confidence in a transparent government.  

   The Senate Committee on Business and Commerce will meet during a morning hearing to monitor the number of lawsuits related to property claims filed as a result of weather-related events across Texas and review occupations licensed under Texas law to determine the extent to which continued state regulation and licensure is required to protect public health and safety.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott will attend and deliver remarks to two meetings in Austin. He'll first appear at a luncheon at the Texas Charter Schools Association's conference and will then make an evening appearance at the Texas Alliance For Life’s annual benefit dinner.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Ex-BU Title IX coordinator rejects confidentiality agreement, quits, Waco Tribune-Herald

Racial testimony helped send black man to Texas' death row; will Supreme Court let him appeal?, The Dallas Morning News

Latino voter group reports registering more than 100,000 new voters, The Washington Post 

Dallas Fed reports affordable housing needed in Texas, Houston Chronicle 

Kennedy: When Clayton Williams ’fessed up not paying taxes once, Ann won, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas oil company announces big offshore Alaska discovery, The Associated Press

33 Texas billionaires make Forbes’ list of 400 wealthiest Americans, San Antonio Express-News

Company challenges fed decision to phase out private prisons, Houston Chronicle 

Quote to Note

"I'm proud to support Pete Gallego, who knows firsthand what Texans face as they work hard and fight to earn a place in the middle class and provide for their families. ... He will continue to fight for Texas families, seniors, students, and veterans, and to make sure his son and all of our children have the opportunity to work hard and get ahead."

— Vice President Joe Biden in a statement Tuesday endorsing former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego. Gallego is challenging Republican freshman Congressman Will Hurd in Texas' 23rd Congressional District.

Today in TribTalk

Dual credit: a chance to prepare students for a competitive world, by Raymund Paredes — A collaborative, thoughtful approach to dual-credit expansion will better prepare students either for further academic work at higher education institutions or for the workforce.

News From Home

•    Getting to know you: We’re conducting a survey of Texas Tribune readers. Your responses will help us get to know you — and how we can serve you — better. Do you have 10 minutes to help The Texas Tribune? Take the survey now.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   The Texas Response To Zika on Oct. 18 at BCBSTX Headquarters in Richardson

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep Michael McCaul on Oct. 25 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

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