Texas Child Protective Services has failed to check on thousands of possibly abused children, according to a report published via Dallas News. In their reporting, the newspaper found that their are over 3,400 cases filed in the last two months where a case manager did not see the child even one time. Of those cases, nearly 700 of them are classified as Priority 1 where death may be imminent. In about 10 percent of Dallas county cases, a caseworker does not see the child within the state mandated 72 hour window that can be shortened to 24 hours where imminent danger is suspected. Conditions are even worse in Harris County where 13 percent of Priority 1 cases are never seen and where a caseworker does not see about 22 percent of all reported cases. In Harris county, nearly 30 percent of the cases where the child has never been seen by a caseworker have been open more than 60 days.
There are many reasons that these children are not being seen in a timely manner. Governor Greg Abbott has promised reforms to the system starting with the appointment of former Texas Ranger Hank Whitman to head the department where currently about 57 percent of Dallas county caseworkers quit on an annual basis. In attempting to correct the problem, the state has sent 65 master investigators to Dallas county. Caseworkers say that the problem will not be corrected, despite a federal judge’s ruling that Texas must improve, until more caseworkers are hired, they are better paid and the caseload is lowered. Another problem that the system must overcome is where to place these children with many sleeping in chairs within caseworker’s offices.