AUSTIN — When a child goes into foster care, the hope is that they are going to a better situation than before. For some in Texas, it ends up staying the same or sometimes getting worse.
A new report from the state's office of the Ombudsman for Children and Youth in Foster Care reveals that of 241 investigated complaints in Texas foster care in 2018, there were 71 confirmed violations -- including 10 that involved abuse and neglect. There were also four instances of illegal restraint, including choke holds. This comes after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state of Texas doesn't correctly monitor its foster care facilities.
The report said, in some cases, state agencies charged with protecting children are not adequately investigating and addressing allegations of abuse and neglect. It said Child Protective Services (CPS) responded to only 38 percent of situations these watchdogs deemed needing investigation.
It is worth mentioning that children often do not report or are afraid to report abuse in the foster care system, and therefore, those cases would not be covered by this report and the gathered statistics.
The Texas Legislature and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) have taken steps in other areas to improve child welfare during the last two years, such as reducing turnover among caseworkers who investigate abuse and neglect in biological families and addressing wait times for health exams when children enter foster care.