|Photo by James Cridland|
The Dallas Morning News reported last week that:
Tens of thousands of infants and children believed to be in imminent danger of abuse or neglect, even death, are not being seen promptly by state child abuse investigators — and thousands of them haven’t been checked on at all. …
Across Texas, on an average day, nearly 700 unseen children are classified as extreme cases — “Priority 1” in the agency’s terms …
But the most staggering numbers come from Harris County, where about 1,300 children who are supposed have already had a face-to-face contact with a caseworker haven’t been seen. The unvisited children account for about 22 percent of all cases referred to that office in March and April, The News’ analysis found.
The reason all these children aren’t being seen? Caseworkers are overloaded.
A Morning News editorial correctly calls this “an emergency.”
Here are some things you should not do in an emergency:
● Texas should not be investigating and taking away children from a Harris County family like this one.
● Texas should not be investigating and taking away children from a Harris County family like this one, either.
● Texas should not be taking away children at a rate we now know is far above the national average, even when rates of child poverty are factored in.
And Texas journalists might want to spend some time watching out to be sure that the new spending required to meet the terms of a federal court decision isn’t stolen from the few things being done in that state that actually work – like this, in Bexar County.
Then, maybe, caseworkers actually would have time to get to all those “Priority 1” children they’re not seeing now.