Tribpedia: Dept Of Family And Protective Services

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is charged with protecting children, the elderly, and adults with disabilities from abuse, neglect and mistreatment. The agency monitors care and conditions in private homes and in state facilities, investigates abuse and neglect, and licenses group homes and day-care centers.

DFPS, which has 6,800 employees in 250 offices across the ...

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.

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.

Briana Dovi, who graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, is one of the few foster youths in Texas that has taken advantage of the free tuition waiver provided by the state.
Briana Dovi, who graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, is one of the few foster youths in Texas that has taken advantage of the free tuition waiver provided by the state.

Texas foster youth struggle to get college degrees

Although Texas offers free tuition waivers and other benefits to ease foster youths' transition to higher education, the number of students using the resources has declined.

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. 

Henry "Hank" Whitman, new head of the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services and a former Texas Ranger, testifies July 12, 2016 to the House Committee on Human Services about his new vision for the troubled agency.
Henry "Hank" Whitman, new head of the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services and a former Texas Ranger, testifies July 12, 2016 to the House Committee on Human Services about his new vision for the troubled agency.

Child Protective Services chief: We need 550 more caseworkers

“Texas children remain at risk," Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman wrote. "This is unacceptable."

Hank Whitman, commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, took office May 1.
Hank Whitman, commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, took office May 1.

Pay Caseworkers and Fosters More, Chief Says

In a wide-ranging interview, Hank Whitman, the new commissioner overseeing Child Protective Services, explains how he thinks he can turn around a child welfare agency crippled by low morale, high turnover and a spate of high-profile child deaths.

Bari Greenwood, who adopted her daughter after she was removed from her biological parents by Child Protective Services, stands at the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care in Plano, Texas, May 4, 2016. Greenwood and her family received services at the center.
Bari Greenwood, who adopted her daughter after she was removed from her biological parents by Child Protective Services, stands at the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care in Plano, Texas, May 4, 2016. Greenwood and her family received services at the center.

For Foster Kids, a Push to Ensure Medical Care Treats Psychological Pain

State officials hope a new network of clinics will better connect foster children with trauma-informed behavioral health care.

Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.
Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.

State Sued for Licensing Detention Center

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A nonprofit organization has sued the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for issuing a temporary child-care license to an immigration detention facility that hold women and children from Central America.

DFPS Commissioner John Specia appears before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at the Texas Capitol on April 20, 2016.
DFPS Commissioner John Specia appears before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at the Texas Capitol on April 20, 2016.

Lawmakers Hear Litany of Foster Care Woes

The state’s child welfare agency faces a $40 million budget shortfall, a critical shortage of good homes for foster children and overwhelming caseloads for staff, agency leaders told state lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday.

Gov. Greg Abbott greets Zavala Elementary schoolchildren in the hallway of the east Austin school on the first day of classes August 24, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott greets Zavala Elementary schoolchildren in the hallway of the east Austin school on the first day of classes August 24, 2015.

Emails Show Abbott’s Involvement at Child Welfare Agency

Six days after Gov. Greg Abbott took office, he faced the first death of a child under state care. Emails obtained by The Texas Tribune capture his staff's efforts, and frustrations, trying to fix the state's embattled foster care system.