Nine children died while in Texas foster care in 2014. So far this year, three have died in foster care. The most recent death is two-month-old Justice Hull. Little Justice was voluntarily placed with family friends through the Department of Family and Protective Services after her mother was arrested and sent to jail.
The voluntary caregiver contacted CPS asking for help with daycare and stating that she was no longer able to care for the children in her home. Yet the request was denied.
Justice was drowned by a 14-year-old girl in the home. Authorities are working towards having the girl charged as an adult.
The governor is asking for an additional $40 million to increase safety for children who are in state care. Increased measures would:
- Require CPS regional management to enforce policies regarding face-to-face visits with children and caregivers in both foster care and safety placements.
- Require CPS staff to provide families, caregivers, and stakeholders with information to support child safety in a variety of ways including: firearm safety, safety around water, vehicle safety, and safe sleep practices.
- Develop and implement a Parent-Child Safety Placements (PCSP) caregiver/home screening tool to thoroughly assess the appropriateness and ability of each potential PCSP caregiver.
- Develop and implement a policy to prohibit closing a PCSP investigation without wrap-around or follow-up services in place.
- Research and implement new policies as needed to address recidivism related to safety of children in PCSP placements.
- Establish a practice and protocol for conducting a thorough review of all child fatalities or critical injuries resulting in hospitalization; ensure that findings are used in a truly meaningful way to improve CPS policies and practices.
- Improve the performance evaluation and re-certification process for foster care contractors to ensure the safety and well-being of foster children is in the hands of true quality providers.
- Establish and implement caseworker protocols to educate foster children about how to anonymously report abuse and neglect.
The full story may be read here.