Robert Black, Deputy Press Secretary for Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement on Child Protective Services.
"Reforming Child Protective services is a top priority of Governor Perry. That's why he has ordered a statewide investigation of CPS practices, supports new resources for the agency and the hiring of additional caseworkers, and has worked with legislators of both parties and the Health and Human Services Commission to institute immediate reforms. Governor Perry won't rest until this agency is completely reformed, and children at risk are protected."
The following actions have already been taken:
Requiring that families who are unwilling to take the steps needed to protect their child be referred to local prosecutors to determine whether legal action should be taken. Such steps may include court ordered participation in social services or removal of the child and placement in foster care.
Requiring an independent review to close any investigation involving younger children, particularly those 3 and under, when abuse and neglect cannot be ruled out.
Launching an effort to obtain the services of medical professionals for on-call consultation to help CPS caseworkers determine when children need immediate medical care and make other critical case decisions.
Training CPS investigative caseworkers to use digital cameras for forensic photography by November 1, 2004. This will help caseworkers obtain quick and accurate supervisory and medical assessments.
Accelerating the hiring of new positions (123) authorized by the 78th Legislature.
Developing an incentive program to attract and retain experienced investigative staff.