Once again, a federal judge has chastised the state’s foster care system. The most recent criticism, which was sharp, came nearly four years after the same judge declared the system broken and constitutionally flawed and ordered an independent overhaul.

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack said Tuesday she no longer finds the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “credible,” and that the state had “lied” to her “at almost every level.” She held the state in contempt of court.

Dave Mathews: 409-683-5258; dave.mathews@galvnews.com

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(7) comments

Paul Hyatt

Just going by your article it was hard t discern what all of the issues were. You only explained (a little) what 1 issue was, but I think there is far more than what we are hearing.....

Jim Forsythe

Nov. 5, 2019 If the state fails to guarantee that foster children living in group settings have 24-hour, awake supervision by Friday, the state will face fines of $50,000 per day, the judge ruled. Later this month, that fine will double to $100,000 if the state has not verified with the state's monitors that the fixes have been made.


An exasperated U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack found the state in contempt of court for failing to comply with some of her earlier orders in the wide-ranging lawsuit filed on behalf of Texas foster children. The issues include the following (next post) from a earlier rulering which the state had not complied with.

Jim Forsythe

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack set a hearing in the case for Nov. 5 in Dallas to include upcoming hearing in Dallas, judge’s request that the state provide cost estimates on computer-system improvements.

Jack in her order scheduling the Dallas hearing asked the state to be prepared to discuss cost estimates for an integrated computer system -- one of the items in her original remedial order that was struck by an appellate-judge panel as overreaching. There is speculation Jack may want to apply the $6 million that would’ve gone to the private law firms toward a modern database that would make educational, family history and health care records of foster children instantaneously available to CPS caseworkers and others involved in setting a child’s care plan.

In coming days, the state is expected to file replies to the plaintiffs’ request for punishment as well as their Oct. 11 request for $22.6 million in legal fees and costs.

Of the $22.6 million accrued since the case was filed in 2011, $6 million is what the two Texas firms working pro bono in the case — Haynes & Boone of Dallas and Yetter Coleman LLP of Houston — would have made if they were charging, the plaintiffs said.

The state has spent at least $10 million fighting the lawsuit and “even asked for another $10 million from the Legislature for future litigation costs associated with this case,” plaintiffs wrote, arguing that their fees are reasonable.

AUSTIN — Plaintiffs in a long-running legal battle over Texas foster care have asked a federal judge to hold the state in contempt of court, citing in a motion many “false statements” about nighttime watches of kids and a recent blown deadline for crafting a workload study.

Also at issue is the department’s alleged failure to meet the judge’s Sept. 28 deadline for proposing guidelines for a workload study that will be used to help determine how many youngsters a Child Protective Services conservatorship caseworker should supervise.

On Friday, plaintiffs alleged that in an Oct. 9 conference call, under questioning by Jack, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Stephens acknowledged that some general residential operations and residential treatment centers have lacked all-night adult supervision. Previously, the state admitted to lacking it at only a few group homes

Citing alleged “false statements” going back to a 2014 trial in Corpus Christi, plaintiffs wrote, “Few revelations in this case have been as shocking as this.” On Aug. 8, she reminded state lawyers that they “lost” the 8 1/2-year-old class-action suit. “For an indefinite period of time,” Jack noted, she’ll supervise the system, using the masters as her eyes and ears.

“The longer and stronger the state resists these court orders, the costlier it’s going to be for the state,” Jack said. “Any delays may clearly result in possible rape, other serious injury and death to these vulnerable children.”


Bailey Jones

“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” - Hubert Humphrey

Texas has failed the test.

Charles Douglas

Allow me to say a few words here. I am very dissatisfied with the diligence and focus most folks use in doing their jobs nowadays! Many people must think someone owes them a paycheck! It has been to many times I've made a take-out order at a fast food or a regular restaurant only to get home to fine my order was not complete, wrong, or one belonging to someone else. I can state others, but this example is just an indication of how some people have changed their work attitudes and work habits over the years. They expect top wages and salaries wthout the efforts of top performace. The writer of this Op-ed said Judge Jack waited FOUR YEARS, before calling the State and Child Protective Services in contempt. Think on this, how many kids were injured or killed during this time of no accountability? I call my first witness: "LITTLE MILEAH DAVIS of Houston Texas"

Maleah Davis, 4, and her two brothers were removed from their home and placed with a relative last year after allegations of abuse, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services told CNN.

"A judge ordered their return home in February and called for child protective services to visit the home at least once a month to check on the family." Allow me to fill in the gaps. MILEAH had troubling injuries to the head and scars which nobody cold explain. This was Why MILEAH and her brothers were removed, Only to be returned to the same abusive people under the same roof, and she was KILLED there, and her body was transported to ARKANSAS, and dumped in the woods! You tell me, who is responsible for this? This is disgusting!

Bailey Jones


Paul Hyatt

We were foster parents and the last 2 that we had, we were reporting to CPS issues that these children were telling us during the 2 months that we had them, and then one day they called us and said we will be there in 3 hours have them packed and ready to go home. What broke our hearts is that the boy asked me "Papa, would you pray for us"? Sometimes CPS is so ready to reunite the children with their parents that IMO they put children back with parents who are not capable of being the parents that those children want and need....

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