Texas, CPS, and Kids in Foster Care
As a kid who has been removed from my mother’s care at age 11 and had my father’s rights terminated when I was 14, and lived in several different kinds of family structures, I was very upset when I read this story in the Austin-American Statesman. I do not think it is necessarily a good thing that CPS is caring for fewer children than they used to.
By Corrie MacLagganThe number of Texas children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect has declined following a series of reforms to Child Protective Services, the agency said today.In the 2008 budget year, CPS removed 14,295 children, which is down from 15,920 in 2007 and 17,536 in 2006. That’s a decrease of 18.5 percent.“Generally, children do better if they can remain safely with their families,” CPS spokesman Darrell Azar said. “Foster care is really intended as a last resort.”Lawmakers passed CPS reforms in 2005 and 2007. As part of that, the state invested in programs that help keep families together, including one that provides cash assistance to certain low-income families.“More often than not, neglect is at the heart of the problem,” rather than abuse, Azar said. “Some families are so impoverished, they can’t meet basic needs. The whole theory behind this is working with the family … to help them find the supports they need.”
Does this mean that they are removing kids just because their families are poor? If kids really are better off with their families, then give the family the help they need to not be so poor. Duh!
State officials say the decline in removals is partly due to the reforms and partly to a 5th Circuit Court decision that clarifies that in most cases, CPS must get a judge’s permission before — not after — removing children.Other changes include an increase of children being placed with relatives, a practice CPS officials say is a “safe alternative to foster care.” Between 2005 and 2008, the number of children placed with relatives increased 32 percent, officials said.Caseloads have also dropped for CPS investigative caseworkers, officials said.
Family care is not always safe, and I’ve been removed from THAT too. The state should worry a lot less about the cost of supervision and a lot more about making sure that kids are safe for good. The case load should not be dropping because CPS is failing to make sure that family placements work out. That’s not good for the kids or for the state.