STATE AGENCY SCANDAL #2: CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT CONTINUE UNDER REPUBLICAN RULE
November 13th, 2009
Texas Republicans’ embrace of pay-to-play politics has led to years of neglect for our Child Protective Services (CPS) system. Since 2004, 1,227 children in Texas have died of abuse or neglect – approximately 200 each year. Of those children, forty-two percent were visited and had cases with Texas Child Protective Services – a number that has not changed in the five years since Governor Rick Perry and the Republican-controlled Legislature made drastic cuts to Texas’ CPS budget. (Source: Dallas Morning News)
In 2003, Texas Republicans – led by Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst – enacted state budget cuts that shredded Texas’ Child Protective Services system. Among the cuts was the consolidation of twelve of the state’s health and human service agencies – including CPS – into five. Texas Republicans who wrote and passed the disastrous legislation then engaged in one of the worst pay-to-play political schemes of the decade – and one that Texas children are still paying for today.
As soon as the final gavel fell on the 2003 Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, the same Texas Republicans who wrote the legislation consolidating Texas’ state agencies received thousands of dollars in contributions from a private consulting firm, the Deloitte PAC. Almost immediately after those contributions were made, Texas Republicans awarded a $1.8 million contract to the exact same private consulting firm – Deloitte Consulting – and put them in charge of the consolidation scheme Republicans had passed only weeks before. (Source: Dallas Morning News)
The overhaul of CPS that resulted from Texas Republicans’ egregious pay-to-play profit scheme caused massive turmoil for CPS workers, weakening the agency’s ability to address serious abuse and neglect problems for thousands of Texas’ children:
- Since 2003, Texas has led the nation in child abuse deaths. (Source: Amarillo Globe-News)
- Since 2004, the “number of families with previous CPS histories has consistently increased from 40 percent of all abuse deaths investigated…to 48 percent today” – which means that 516 children who have died of abuse or neglect have come from homes with CPS histories. (Source: San Antonio Express-News)
- In 2003, the Republican-controlled legislature slashed general revenue funding for CPS by nine percent. (Source: Center for Public Policy Priorities) Along with the budget cuts, Republicans shred the regulatory and management structures of the agency. Child advocacy groups have noted that new legislation and policies aimed at improving CPS “will only be effective if they are successfully implemented” – a task made extremely difficult for an agency still suffering from the unnecessary overhaul in 2003. (Source: Center for Public Policy Priorities)
Texas Democrats have worked hard in recent years to fix the massive budget and regulatory problems created by Rick Perry and Texas Republicans’ pay-to-play politics in 2003. Thanks to Democrats’ strong leadership, CPS has been able to decrease its caseloads per worker and added 2,500 more case workers, creating the opportunity for better work to be done for Texas’ children.
Unfortunately, it has not been enough. The agency cuts made by Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, and Texas Republicans have set back the Texas CPS system by a decade. As long as Texas’ state agencies are left to the influence and corrupt mismanagement of Texas Republicans, Texans and their children will be left to suffer the consequences.
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To read more about Republican mismanagement, corruption, and pay-to-play politics, visit the TDP’s “Top Ten State Agency Scandals” campaign by clicking here.