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 ...

Some foster kids in Harris County with nowhere else to go have to spend the night here, at an office that was never set up to be a child-care center. 
<p>Some foster kids in Harris County with nowhere else to go have to spend the night here, at an office that was never set up to be a child-care center.&nbsp;</p>

For troubled foster kids in Houston, sleeping in offices is "rock bottom"

No child is supposed to sleep or spend more than a few hours at the Harris County Youth Services Center's Point of Entry in Houston. But Texas' foster care placement crisis has forced some of the state's most troubled teens to sleep in a place that isn't equipped to care for them. 

State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, listened to testimony about how researchers use fetal tissue on April 28, 2016.
State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, listened to testimony about how researchers use fetal tissue on April 28, 2016.

House panel hears testimony on child welfare religious liberty bill

House State Affairs Committee members heard testimony Wednesday afternoon on House Bill 3859, which would allow faith-based organizations to exercise their “sincerely held religious beliefs” when participating as providers in Texas’ child welfare system. 

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.

Watch the Texas House debate child welfare overhaul

The Texas House is in the middle of an intense debate over a proposal that would bar undocumented Texans taking care of abused or neglected children in their families from receiving state funds that would be available to other families.

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.

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

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.