Victory for Kids in Texas Foster Care

Children’s Rights is thrilled to share a huge victory for children in Texas.

Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Texas’s child welfare system puts children at risk of serious harm. Children’s Rights and Texas co-counsel Haynes and Boone, LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP brought this suit on behalf of the 12,000 children in permanent foster care in the state.

Simply put, children in Texas foster care are not safe. The court found that their constitutional rights are being violated because the state is failing to provide adequate care. And now, because of Children’s Rights and our partners, the court has ordered the state to make significant reforms. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • More caseworkers: Currently, too-few caseworkers and unmanageable caseloads mean that children are falling through the cracks. 
    • With the court-ordered reforms, kids will have more caseworkers making sure they are kept safe and healthy. 
  • Investigating abuse: The court has agreed that children are at risk of harm due to the state’s poor investigation practices into allegations of abuse, with error rates sometimes as high as 75%. Plus, the court found that the child welfare agency was aware of these risks and had taken no clear steps to address them. 
    • Now, the state will be required to adequately investigate reports of abuse and take the necessary actions to protect the children in its care.

“What we proved at trial and what the circuit court affirmed is Texas has failed to protect vulnerable children,” our co-counsel Paul Yetter told the Houston Chronicle. “There are too few caseworkers and there is an inadequate system to monitor foster placements.”

This decision is a vindication for the thousands of children in Texas foster care who have been victimized in the very system meant to protect them.

On behalf of all the children we fight for, thank you! Children’s Rights couldn’t do this work without your support.


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