Tribpedia: Child Protective Services

Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates reports of abuse and neglect of children and steps in to remove kids from dangerous homes. The agency provides services to children and families in their homes, places kids in foster care and provides services to help kids in foster care transition into adulthood.

In Fiscal Year 2008, CPS opened about 165,000 ...

Analysis: On child protection, the money might be the hardest part

Women "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Pimps gather nearby in fast food and strip mall parking lots as potential johns circle and standard traffic passes through.
Women "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Pimps gather nearby in fast food and strip mall parking lots as potential johns circle and standard traffic passes through.

The safety net for Texas children has some big holes in it, and most lawmakers want that fixed. But it's going to cost money — a harder sell in a conservative Texas Legislature.

Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown listens to questions asked by Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin during a February 15, 2017 Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown listens to questions asked by Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin during a February 15, 2017 Senate Committee on Health and Human Services

Child welfare bill heads to Senate floor

Senate Health and Human Services Committee members voted unanimously Wednesday morning to send a bill aimed at overhauling the state's child welfare system to the full Senate for a vote.

People who care for sex-trafficking victims have a common refrain: It's not if they'll run away, but when.
People who care for sex-trafficking victims have a common refrain: It's not if they'll run away, but when.

Analysis: Sex trafficking series shows Texas vexed by long-term challenges

State officials have done a lot of work to stop sex trafficking in Texas, but the results revealed by the Tribune's Sold Out series are demoralizing. The state's own safety net is part of the pipeline for victims of trafficking.

Mercedes Bristol, 62, of San Antonio, at the Capitol with her five grandchildren after testifying to the House Human Services Committee on Feb. 20, 2017.
Mercedes Bristol, 62, of San Antonio, at the Capitol with her five grandchildren after testifying to the House Human Services Committee on Feb. 20, 2017.

House committee hears bills on child welfare

Advocates and families testified all day in front of House Human Services members as legislators buckled down to look at key bills that would overhaul how the state takes care of endangered children.

Yvette, 24, was convicted of trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2015. She is serving a 23-year sentence at a prison in Gatesville, Texas.
Yvette, 24, was convicted of trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2015. She is serving a 23-year sentence at a prison in Gatesville, Texas.

She was a sex-trafficking victim, but Texas law labeled her a pimp

Laws the state uses to put sex traffickers behind bars can sweep up their prey, too. A few years in age can mean the difference between a chance at rehabilitation and a lengthy prison sentence, as Yvette learned.

17-year-old Lena waits to be released from the Harris County Jail, with a small bag of her possessions. Her mentor gave her a blue jumpsuit to wear over her skimpy clothes.
17-year-old Lena waits to be released from the Harris County Jail, with a small bag of her possessions. Her mentor gave her a blue jumpsuit to wear over her skimpy clothes.

Texas couldn’t help this sex-trafficked teen, so authorities sent her to jail

No one wanted Lena behind bars. She was not a prostitute; she was a child who had been sexually exploited. But teenage sex-trafficking victims in Texas end up in jail for one simple reason: There's nowhere else for them to go.

Jean, pictured in her mother’s home in East Texas, was one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care when she ran away and was taken in by a Dallas pimp.
Jean, pictured in her mother’s home in East Texas, was one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care when she ran away and was taken in by a Dallas pimp.

When foster care couldn't help this 16-year-old, she ran to a pimp

After her father raped her, Jean became one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care, a system that often leaves children more damaged than when they arrive. For Jean, selling sex seemed like a safer bet.

Pimps send their victims to "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Anti-trafficking efforts in Texas have focused more on putting pimps in prison than rehabilitating their prey.
Pimps send their victims to "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Anti-trafficking efforts in Texas have focused more on putting pimps in prison than rehabilitating their prey.

How hollow rhetoric and a broken child welfare system feed Texas' sex-trafficking underworld

Texas leaders have publicly battled sex trafficking for more than a decade, but they’ve devoted hardly any resources to helping victims.

Women "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Pimps gather nearby in fast food and strip mall parking lots as potential johns circle and standard traffic passes through.
Women "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Pimps gather nearby in fast food and strip mall parking lots as potential johns circle and standard traffic passes through.

Help us report on sex trafficking in Texas

Over the past five months, The Texas Tribune has investigated the hidden world of sex trafficking. Now, we want to hear about your experiences.

State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, speaks at a rally in support of overhauling Texas' child welfare system in front of the state Capitol in Austin on Feb. 7, 2016.
State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, speaks at a rally in support of overhauling Texas' child welfare system in front of the state Capitol in Austin on Feb. 7, 2016.

Texas legislators urged to "get it right" on child welfare at rally

Standing in front of the Capitol in 80-degree heat, attendees gathered at a rally sponsored by Child Protection Roundtable of Texas and the Texas Home Visiting Coalition urging legislators to make long awaited changes to how the state handles abused and neglected children.

Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman testifies July 12, 2016, to the House Committee on Human Services about his plans to reform the agency.
Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman testifies July 12, 2016, to the House Committee on Human Services about his plans to reform the agency.

Texas lawmakers fired up about state CPS and foster care woes

On Monday, the Senate Finance Committee scrutinized Department of Family and Protective Services budget requests while the House Workgroup on Child Protective Services floated a proposal to make the department a standalone agency. 

First Lady Cecilia Abbott with Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush at a Texas Alliance for Life rally on Jan. 24, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.
First Lady Cecilia Abbott with Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush at a Texas Alliance for Life rally on Jan. 24, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.

Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott asks religious groups to help foster families

In a joint letter released Thursday, Abbott and the Department of Family and Protective Services urged congregations to rally a “network of nurture” to support foster families with donations and other activities. 

Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013. With Donald Trump's election to the White House, the health law faces an uncertain future.
Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013. With Donald Trump's election to the White House, the health law faces an uncertain future.

Trump, women's health, child welfare top Texas news in 2016

Here’s a look at the top health and human services storylines The Texas Tribune tracked this year.

Henry "Hank" Whitman, new head of the Dept. of Family and Protective Services, greets visitors to the House Committee on Human Services July 12, 2016 prior to his testimony on his vision for reform at the agency.
Henry "Hank" Whitman, new head of the Dept. of Family and Protective Services, greets visitors to the House Committee on Human Services July 12, 2016 prior to his testimony on his vision for reform at the agency.

Child Protective Services funding gets final OK — with restrictions

A board of lawmakers has given final approval for $150 million in funding to help pull the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services out of its crisis mode — but there are strings attached. 

Hank Whitman, former head of the Texas Rangers and new chief of the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services, speaks to a guest at the House Committee on Human Services meeting July 12, 2016 prior to his plans for the troubled agency's future.
Hank Whitman, former head of the Texas Rangers and new chief of the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services, speaks to a guest at the House Committee on Human Services meeting July 12, 2016 prior to his plans for the troubled agency's future.

Senate panel proposes $75.3 million to start fixing Child Protective Services

A workgroup of the Texas Senate Finance Committee was willing to give Child Protective Services caseworkers $12,000 raises but balked at hiring all the new workers Commissioner Hank Whitman requested.

Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman testifies July 12, 2016, to the House Committee on Human Services about his plans to reform the agency.
Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman testifies July 12, 2016, to the House Committee on Human Services about his plans to reform the agency.

Report says Child Protective Service workers are overloaded, urges overhaul

The long-awaited report comes almost a year after U.S. District Judge Janis Jack ruled that Texas’ long-term foster care system violated children's civil rights. 

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Henry "Hank" Whitman waits to testify during a October 26, 2016 Senate Finance Committee hearing.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Henry "Hank" Whitman waits to testify during a October 26, 2016 Senate Finance Committee hearing.

"Beat on me," foster care chief tells lawmakers. And they do.

Hank Whitman, appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to fix the state's dangerous and dysfunctional foster care system, says he needs more money to get the job done. Some lawmakers aren't convinced.