Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s management of the state’s foster care program is coming under scrutiny as reports of child abuse, medical errors and unlicensed placement are probed by court-appointed investigators, the Texas Tribune reports.
More than one quarter of state-licensed facilities are under increased monitoring because the children in their care received incorrect medications or other issues of child safety. More than 29,000 children are in the Texas foster care system.
The state has lost hundreds of foster care beds in the previous years as courts have ordered facilities to improve conditions or close. Investigators have discovered that some children have been housed in hotels rather than licensed facilities because of the shortfalls.
“There is no question that the operations that qualified for Heightened Monitoring had serious child safety problems,” the monitors wrote. In 2020 and 2021, facilities under heightened monitoring accounted for “a total of 631 substantiated allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of children entrusted to their care over the five-year period included in the analyses, and 14,227 minimum standards violations, of which 12,558 (88%) were for minimum standards ranked high, medium-high, or medium.”
Presiding over the hearing, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack pushed Texas government administrators to find a solution to the ongoing problems. “All I want us to do is get together and find solutions,” Jack said. “I’m not interested in sanctions or putting feet to the fire anymore. I just want these children to be safe.”