In the ongoing federal lawsuit against the Texas foster care system, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack held a virtual hearing on Sept. 14, 2021. Several child placing agencies from all across Texas were in attendance along with Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Commissioner Jamie Masters and Assistant Attorney General Eric Hudson.
During the hearing, there was much contention around whether heightened monitoring has influenced the number of children in unlicensed facilities/without placement. The court-appointed monitors’ report rebutted suggestions that providers with good records are starting to turn away children, out of concern they’ll hurt their own compliance records.
The court-appointed monitors also noted that none of the overnight staff supervising children in offices had been trained in administering psychotropic medications. Concerns about sex trafficking were also brought up in the hearing. The court-appointed monitors’ report revealed instances of runaway youth being sexually assaulted before eventually being found by law enforcement and returned to a detention center or psychiatric setting.
The hearing concluded with an agreement to find solutions through mediation between state officials, the plaintiffs and the court-appointed monitors.