Three Texas leaders including Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services Wednesday demanding the organization take specific steps to address the backlog of children not seen within statutory guidelines.
Last week KVUE reported that in more than 40 percent of child abuse cases from September in Travis County, CPS workers did not visit within the critical time period of the first few hours.
In September of this year, DFPS in Central Texas had almost 15,000 cases of child abuse or neglect.
They divide those into two priorities.
- For a more urgent call, Priority 1, case workers should respond within 24 hours
- In Priority 2 calls, workers should respond within within 72 hours
But that's the deadline many case workers are missing.
In the letter from Gov. Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus, they outlined the following steps DFPS must take to eliminate the current backlog ahead of the 85th legislative session:
- Develop a plan to hire and train more special investigators, building on their law enforcement backgrounds and utilizing the safety and risk assessment tools available to find the children that the agency has been previously unable to locate
- Develop a plan, including a strategic hiring and training schedule, which will ensure DFPS is staffing an increased number of the necessary caseworkers to account for the increase in workload and system backlog of serving children and families
- Reinforce the culture of accountability at all levels of management by inspiring the DFPS workforce to rise to the challenge and embrace the commitment to the safety and risk assessment tools as an aid in their critical decision making
- Build upon ongoing efforts to enhance more partnerships with local faith-based communities
Go here to read the full letter.