AUSTIN, Texas — Civil rights activists are calling on Texas lawmakers to investigate why children are dying in the state's care.
They're frustrated after a recent report from the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) shows 104 children have died in the child welfare system since 2020.
Most of the deaths were related to pre-existing medical conditions or abuse that happened before the children were in the State's system. Some of the causes of death include drowning, suicide and COVID-19 complications.
Parents and child advocates met at the Texas Capitol Thursday to call for change.
"They take them from their family and they put them in a worse situation. So if you are in the system, do not be afraid. Speak up. Because if you don't, then nobody will," said Sarah Alonzo, a mother and former foster child.
The activists want an outside agency to investigate DFPS. They're also urging the state to pay caseworkers more.
In the meantime, leaders with DFPS said the agency is working on a performance system for providers.
Right now, providers don't know how their foster care facility stacks up to others.
This report card will give them a way to compare operations.
DFPS data shows the state needs more than 1,600 extra beds to care for abused or neglected children. Their latest report shows more than 160 children are in another state due to the lack of places available to care for them in Texas.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: