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Review: CPS Inconsistent with Policies

Updated: Monday, 14 Dec 2009, 9:30 PM CST

Published : Monday, 14 Dec 2009, 1:18 PM CST

HOUSTON – Approximately 200 children die of abuse or neglect in Texas each year; a growing number of those children who die had a prior history with Child Protective Services.

There has been outrage that prior visits were failing to detect warning signs in order to protect children.

A review of the Houston CPS region was ordered in July by the state, after several deaths of children who had a history with CPS. The results from that review were released on Monday.

A team of people with the Department of Family and Protective Services were deployed to Houston for the review. They researched records and cases and did extensive interviews with staff.

The review team concluded that CPS caseworkers are not spending enough time with families and that is partly due to extensive workloads.

Caseworkers missed some risk and safety issues when conducting home visits during investigations, according to the review. In almost half the cases, risk and safety were evaluated appropriately.

Review team members also said that investigative caseworkers are only reviewing and using CPS history in approximately half the cases and need more training in mental health issues.

Reviewers found that cases were transferred out of investigations before all steps had been taken to to fully assess risk and safety, which has left regular caseworkers at a disadvantage and the child potentially unsafe.

Decisions made in case reviews lacked sufficient follow-up by caseworkers and supervisors, according to the review.

Reviewers added that in the Family Based Safety Services program, newly reported incidents of alleged abuse or neglect were addressed with families only half the time.

One recommendation made by reviewers is for CPS to hire all the 116 family-based safety service program caseworkers allocated in the previous legislative session and also reviewing whether more employees need to be shifted to this area.

Reviewers also recommended strengthen practices to keep children safe when parents voluntarily place them outside of the home with relatives or family friends.

Gaps in the transfer of cases from investigations to the Family Based Safety Service program need to be eliminated, reviewers said.

The review team also recommended that investigators be given more immediate access to critical case history and information.

On the Web: Child Protective Services Region 6 Operational and Management Review (.pdf) —


Review: CPS missed warning signs

Investigation shows family history of abuse missed in half of cases

Caseworkers for Texas Child Protective Services have regularly missed warning signs that Houston-area children were in danger, including failing to thoroughly investigate a family’s previous history of abuse or neglect, according to a report released on Monday.

“In only half the cases, risk and safety were evaluated appropriately,” the report’s investigators — a review team from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in Austin — concluded. “Investigative caseworkers are reviewing and utilizing CPS history in only about half of the cases.”

The team’s report is based on a review of 95 randomly selected child abuse investigations, a fraction of the 16,107 investigations completed between February and July in Harris and 12 surrounding counties.

The review was part of several regional reviews scheduled this year. However, the review here was expedited following the deaths of three Houston-area children who died of child abuse: 4-year-old Emma Thompson, of Spring, David Tijerina, 3, of Conroe and Katy infant Amber Maccurdy.

All three died either during or shortly after CPS investigated complaints of abuse involving their care and the children were allowed to remain in their homes. In the Maccurdy and Tijerina cases, there had been several visits to their families regarding abuse or neglect.

The caseworker in the Amber Maccurdy case walked away after the girl’s mother refused to let her examine the child. Amber died of a staph infection shortly after that visit.

In David Tijerina’s case, CPS workers had visited his home at least four times. He died of a beating.

Passing cases

In Emma Thompson’s case, the girl’s doctor called CPS after finding what appeared to be a genital herpes outbreak on her. Three weeks later, she was dead. An autopsy determined she had been sexually abused and suffered a skull fracture and more than 80 bruises.

The report also noted that child abuse cases in this region were passed too quickly from investigators to Family-Based Safety Services caseworkers — those assigned to help the family eliminate risk of abuse — leaving “the child potentially unsafe.”

With the exception of the removal of 439 children from their polygamist parents in 2008, CPS officials have strived to remove children from abusive households only when there is immediate risk to the child.

“We’ve always tried to keep children safely in their own homes or with their extended family, if possible,” CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.

But at least one children’s advocate says this latest report shows once again that CPS’s goal of keeping families together often runs counter to keeping the child safe, which is the agency’s ultimate mission.

“Investigative and (Family Based Safety) have different focuses,” said Randy Burton, executive director of Justice for Children. “And these coordination challenges of keeping families together has led to the deaths of these children.”

No surprises

CPS insists the issue is not that clear-cut.

“Whether a child is removed from the home, whether or not there is a voluntary placement with family members or not, those are decisions made to ensure a child’s safety, not decisions made solely to keep families together,” Crimmins said.

Monday’s review offered several remedies, from reallocating workers from investigations to the family caseworker unit to using more of the agency’s “special investigators,” those workers with a law enforcement background, to help locate families more quickly, thereby getting the child help more quickly.

Burton said none of the findings were a surprise.

“These are things we have known for a long time,” he said.


CPS review of Houston cases targets caseworkers

AUSTIN, Texas — Risk and safety were properly evaluated in only about half of the Child Protective Services cases in the Houston region during an internal review.

Details are from a review of 95 randomly selected caseworkers conducted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The report, released Monday in Austin, found caseworkers regularly missed warning signs that children were in danger.

CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins says workers always tried to keep children safely in their own homes or with their extended family, if possible.

Suggestions for improvement included using more of the agency’s “special investigators,” those workers with a law enforcement background. Another recommendation is to enroll parents more quickly in parenting classes and substance abuse treatment.

Reports on other CPS regions of Texas are expected next year.


    • Cristy
    • Posted December 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm
    • Permalink

    Here is a good one for the houston area…the cps put my neice and her 2 little sisters in the home of a convicted child molester, instead of my mothers loving home..or my home. How can they legaly do this???

    • Aimee
    • Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm
    • Permalink

    My 3 boys were removed by cps in October 2009 from my mothers home when she got ill and passed away 2 days prior to a finalized adoption. My rights were terminated in 2008 for my 2 younger boys due to my history and I volunteered relinquishment of my rights for my teenager. Now the babies are not allowed to see their older brother and the state placed him in a state home for boys when there has never been a case against me with him. The same cps worker who moved to terminate my rights for my younger boys is moving to terminate with my teenager. I have her on tape yelling at me and telling me how my past is what will indicate my future when she has had no contact with me in almost 2 years. I also have her on tape manipulating the case file and can prove her lies. Please tell me how this is legal? In any other court this would be considered a conflict of interest. Also the 2 younger boys have been cut off from their entire family and are not allowed any contact per the foster parents. Also cps refuses to place them with their paternal grandmother because of previous case notes, which we all know are lies! How can the stare literally steal all my boys? At no point have they even tried reunification with any of us!


    • Jeannette Ruddell
    • Posted October 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    • Permalink

    I’ve tried for the last seven or eight years to get two of my great granddaughter’s out of house where the mom was a drug addict/alcoholic and step father. When the youngest girl was about 2 or 3 she told me her biological daddy had hurt her “down there” and I told all the family I could since I’m only the step grandmother no one listened to me but I’m a survivor of childhood molestation from the age of 8 to 16, I could see the signs. Well I learned yesterday that the biological dad had molestated her, raped her and gave her a STD!!!! WHERE WAS CPS WHEN I WAS BEGGING FOR HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You drop the ball and I hope to tell any and every one I can about it. CPS needs to do it’s job oh I know they’re under staffed, overworked, and a lot more excuses. Sorry don’t buy it all. I feel like I let my granddaughter down but I wrote CPS,the governor, and anyone who would give me the time of day but I failed because NO ONE WOULD LISTEN TO ME. Her life is ruined and her childhood has been taken away from her at the age of 2.

    • Tysen Ebelt
    • Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:21 am
    • Permalink

    My Son and Daughter were living with there mother and her boyfriend ; a known drug dealer and a three time felon with open cases against him . CPS had been involved for three months . Neither one of theses adults could ever pass a UA . The last visit in April 2009 Mrs. Brown (CPS caseworker still would not remove my children ; even after reporting that she had several bruises on her head. March 1st 2009 my Daughter Zoey Rene Ebelt passed away . Then they would not allow my son to come home to me or my family . I went through a year and a half of fighting and alot of money to finally get him back . I am still seeking JUSTICE for my Baby Girl . Her death was claimed inconclusive .

    • Anonymous
    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:34 am
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    My sons were removed from my home after there daycare reported my 6year old had black eyes I brought pictures of my a few of my aunts and pictures of him when he was four. With the same blackness which runs in our family raccoon eyes is the slang term..the issue was dropped so they talked with my sons who told them that there only punishment is getting pops specifically on the behind but cos says they can’t come. Home because it may harm there case not because they are in danger when are we as parents going to come together to protect our children and each other even my judge says he agrees with corporal punishment on the rear now my sons are misbehaving because they want to come home but getting blamed for that.. I command a curse upon there heads in the name of jesus untilmy children and all children wrongfully kept away from parents are returned home safely…


  2. My daughter is left in the middel of the night by herself,her mother locks her out of the house from morning till night ,her mothers favorate thing is to meet guy’s on line cps was called they never ivestigated the complaint from a neighbor that turned her in and CPS said they found no fault.then the lady that turned her mother in called in and said I threatened her when I never met or talked to the lady.But now in is in the CPS records that it is just about custody.

    • melba mojica
    • Posted July 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm
    • Permalink

    what about the children who are removed from their homes who are not and have not been abused but the family was falsely acused by a phone call my great granddaughter has been in foster home 5 months and every time we go to court they have a new excuse for not letting her come home sounds like coruption to me for state funds.

    • Anonymous
    • Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm
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    the problem may be the case load but what are the cases involving? Half the time they spend all their time harrassing families where no actual abuse is happening… just because you report it doesn’t mean it is true!!! If they spent a half of the time they do on their bottoms over the phone, crap paper work and actually visit the homes and speak with the children they may learn quickly that there are not as many cases as they thought. I know from personal experinces with them! I have never abused my son or put him in harms way and I have had 3 seperate cases on me alone, due to custody battles. I suffer from a mental illness due to tramatic things done to me as a child and would never do any to repeat the cycle of abuse, but I would like to stop being harrasssed by CPS and others who may not agree with my personal decissions or parenting style.

    • Jane
    • Posted July 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm
    • Permalink

    My boyfriend is fighting a CPS case right now and is being told that due to his involvement with meth even as a one time use he proves to be a safety hazard to his children. Unfortunately he has two members in his family that also have a history of sexual abuse one of which had post traumatic stress syndrome when he returned from Vietnam war which was his grandfather and he raped his oldest daughter. After everything was said and done he was forced to go through 7 years of family therapy individual counseling and so forth and the case was esponged. And he has a cousin that is a registered sex offender. Due to the fact that they are a part of his family they are judging him as his family that he will not be able to provide a safe environment for his children because he had regular contact with his grandfather on a monthly basis prior to all the allegations and issues revolving in the case. So Mike moved 15 miles away from his grandfather and lives 60+ miles away from his cousin. And yet they continue to say he is a safety threat to the children due to his relatives. He has completed his family plan as outlined for him to do as well as made some life changes such as applying the things he learns in NA to some use and doing the 12 step program of sponsorship, and divorced his wife of 11 years to permanently remove himself from the situation of drug related situations since she has difficulties with giving up the drugs, gotten his own counselor to whom he pays $120 per visit as well as completed a parenting class and gotten certified. In light of all the hoops he is willing to jump through and do for his 2 children he was told today that due to 2 biased professionals psychologists that no matter what he does from this point forward they feel he is high risk due to his past of even touching meth and will not allow his children to be returned to his care as well as the fact they keep harassing him to sign a settlement agreement. What can be done it feels as though his lawyer is giving up as well especially since her last email to him said you don’t have to sign anything you cant live with.

  3. This fake website brought to by Justice for Children. Tom Burton JD, PaP , Rbb(Passive Agressive Pedophile) Randy’s Bottom bitch. CPS is cool now our fake websites worked. We tried going after Gal and Amicus, we found it easier to go after judges. We send in Randy’s bottom bitch and he subs in with a bat shit nuts mom and pull so much shit until the judge freaks and then our “cause begins” we are activists the family law mafia yo. Our people our way, you want in? You best pay son, you gits in our education plans by velvet jones phd (pimpin hoes degree) after you pay you get on the track and work those tricks. Mutha fuckers be payin to get their chillin back. They give you no never mind you keep your pimp hand strong and we got the hookup with CPS-po po s will sweat them bitches hard. Now go gets my money bitch-I gots to gets paid. It’s kinda hard out there for a pimp

    • tt
    • Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:35 pm
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    The cps is also known for lying on parents and their families just to get custody of children. My neice Amyre, Creshawn, and Aaliyah were wrongfully tooken away from us in 2008. Getting teary eyed but who fights the state for their wrong doings? We had no $ for a lawyer.

    • Stuttering Dick
    • Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm
    • Permalink

    I feel saddened for all of you Guys that have CPS cases in the Texas system, especially the inept idiots at their Plano office. You will absolutely get no justice and satisfaction.

    If you can, please use the FOIA to get copies of the lies that they have in your files. It’ll be an eye opener I’m sure.

    They’re a criminal organization in my opinion.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] this mom alone and go focus on the Texas CPS workers who are failing to do their jobs. So many children have died in Texas after CPS involvement and now […]

  2. By Where There Is A Need | on 31 Oct 2011 at 2:28 am

    […] websites like Fight Texas CPS, Serenah’s Angels, Lone Star Watchdog, CPS Victims Unite, Stop Corrupt DSS, Parenting News Network, KidJacked and Family Rights wouldn’t exist. These websites represent […]

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