CPS advocates testify while ’emergency funding’ in negotiation

FILE - Children playing with toys (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Children playing with toys (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lawmakers will soon hear testimony on how Child Protective Services is failing abused and neglected children and what can be done to fix the department.

State leaders are negotiating how much money and when the struggling agency will receive it. Last month, the Department of Family and Protective services released information on how CPS failed to see hundreds of Texas children every day where a call came in of abuse or neglect. Even more were seen by a child caseworker after it was too late.

State leaders directed DFPS to come up with an immediate plan to see the children. Hank Whitman, DFPS Commissioner, returned with a request for 550 new employees and $62 million dollars to pay for the new hires with raised salaries.

A Texas Senate work group agreed that a $12,000 yearly raise for caseworkers was a necessity to stop the staggering turnover rate. DFPS says four caseworkers quit the department every day.

But the team of senators is only recommending 100 out of the 550 new employees. Their report asked DFPS to fix a “punitive” work environment that leads to turnover before they have a massive influx of people.

The House Committee of County Affairs will hear from Commissioner Whitman and the public on the need for the funding and an update.

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