A new report has been filed by the court-appointed monitors of Texas’ foster care system in the ongoing lawsuit M.D. v. Abbott, brought by Children’s Rights on behalf of children in permanent foster care in Texas. The report finds that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) rushed its investigation into The Refuge, a state-contracted foster care facility where employees have been accused of sex trafficking children. The monitors found evidence of abuse, neglect, and exploitation at the center, which housed youth survivors of sex trafficking.
In response, Samantha Bartosz, Deputy Litigation Director, issued the following statement:
“What the monitors found during their investigation into allegations of sex trafficking at The Refuge is deeply alarming, but even more troubling are the lapses in managerial oversight and responsiveness that seem to pervade DFPS and some of the state’s providers.
Nearly a generation of children have entered and exited the foster care system since our lawsuit was filed. Since that time, Judge Jack and the Fifth Circuit both agreed that the constitutional rights of these children were being violated. Their most recent revelations underscore the important role the court monitors play in shining a light on the problems at The Refuge specifically and throughout the larger system. As has been the case for years now, children are safer because of the diligent, thorough reporting of the monitors.
A panel of highly-qualified experts has provided a roadmap for the state and I remain deeply concerned that the state isn’t acting with the urgency needed to correct long standing deficiencies that continue to put the health and safety of children in foster care at risk. I urge leaders from Governor Abbott down to correct these failures once and for all.”