Texas Faces A Daily Fine Of $100,000 Over Foster Care System Abuse

(NewsSpace.com) – There are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. This vulnerable population relies on their respective states to ensure they end up in good homes and have their basic needs met. However, that’s not always the case, and with so many in the system, many tend to fall through the cracks. In Texas, a judge is now holding the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services liable, fining it a stunning $100,000 per day for violations.

US District Judge Janis Graham Jack issued a 427-page ruling on Monday, April 15. The judge blasted the agency, an arm of the Health and Human Services (HHS) department, holding it in contempt for its continued failure to investigate complaints made by children in the state’s system. It’s the third time the agency has been held in contempt since the case started with a lawsuit dating back to 2011. She said the fine will be lifted when Texas demonstrates its investigations are in compliance.

The state has approximately 9,000 in its foster care system. Many have come forward with complaints about how they’re treated with claims of neglect, exploitation, and abuse. One girl was allegedly raped by a worker in a residential facility and left there for a year while a dozen investigations piled up. Paul Yetter, an attorney who’s representing the children in the case, says that “given the shocking evidence,” Judge Jack’s “ruling is measured but urgent.” He further claims that “innocent children are suffering every day” and questions “When will state leadership get serious about fixing this disaster?”

Lawyers for the state, on the other hand, say that state officials have complied with the ruling while acknowledging there is always room for improvement. Texas appealed the ruling and the appeals court temporarily halted the $100,000 per day fine while it is doing so.

The Department of Family and Protective Services has been supervised by court-ordered monitors since 2019. They have said that children aren’t informed how to report sexual abuse and the like, and caseworkers are properly trained to identify these victims.

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