Do you have comments, opinions or any kind of feedback on these recommendations? Please send us an email. You may also call Wanda Pena at state office, (512) 438-3312. Remember, if any of your comments are case-specific, direct them to the caseworkers and supervisors involved with the case.

Region 01/Northwest

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Although children who are home schooled succeed academically, the team expressed concern about the lack of standards and monitoring of home schooling – due to case in which children who were home schooled, who came into foster care, were very academically delayed. None
Concern about delay in providing services due to conflict between agency insistence that a parent accept responsibility for abuse/neglect, and parent’s attorney stance that doing so would subject the parent to criminal charges. None
Regarding an in-home services case in which there were 7 prior referrals, 3 of which were dispositioned as Moved, there was concern about whether or not all allegations were followed up on after the family was located. None
Expressed concern that criminal charges were not pursued on a father who sexually abused his daughter. None

Region 04/East Central

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Staff turnover and heavy workloads continuously impact the general quality of investigative time and actions staff can budget to individual cases. In this case, the non-definitive assessment of medical staff and lack of legal action could have contributed to a premature case decision. Staff need training on conducting effective, targeted collateral contacts.

Region 07/East Central

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Concern that worker did not visit relative’s home before placing child there. Subsequent home study was favorable. Staff training needed on conducting a home visit prior to recommending placement. Barrier discussed was workload impact on decision not to conduct a home visit prior to placement.
Alleged perpetrator was a non-family member/ non-caregiver so was not within CPS jurisdiction to hold responsible for abuse/neglect. None

Region 08/South

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Concern about basic steps in an investigation not taken during the first investigation:
  • No criminal background check on adults in household
  • Unrelated household members were not interviewed in any of the investigations
  • No collateral interviews
  • No checking with other states to determine if there was previous history
  • Law enforcement and CPS worked well together but did not pursue investigation to the extent possible
Stress importance of good data collection and teaching staff to incorporate data in making good, sound assessments of families and situations.
Identifying all persons in a case, and where they may be located in other seemingly unrelated cases. There should be multiple identifiers in the computer system to link clients with cases. An example would be to input a social security number and all persons/cases with that number would pull up for review.

Region 08/South
General Recommendations From 3 Cases

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Similar cases situations (3):
  • Rural
  • Drug abuse
  • Alleged SIDS
  • “Unfit” homes – caregivers sleeping; chaotic

CPS does not have the manpower to adequately keep children safe; and additional staffing and resources need to be provided by the Legislature.

If a baby is born positive for drugs, the parent should not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with the children.

CPS needs to have a statewide protocol for what should happen when a mother/baby tests positive at birth.

Workers need to look closer at multigenerational cases.

CPS should look at the need for programmatic changes to work with substance abusing families in a way that they can provide services to the families and keep the children safe.

CPS workers need to be better trained and have better resources.

Research needs to be done to determine the percentage of child deaths where drug use is a factor in the death.

Adequate funding for TCADA needs to be put in place to help identify drug problems with CPS clients, and in obtaining the resources needed to help them through early intervention using TCADA resources.

Region 09/Northwest

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Child fatality of infant on case that was previously open in substitute care on the older child. Concerns expressed about no safety staffing on other child done at the beginning of the new investigation. None
Law enforcement determined SIDS. Past history of substance abuse, neglectful supervision, criminal history, and parents refusal to be interviewed should have been red flags that further investigation is needed. Review case with Child Fatality Review Team. Recommend team training on overlay and SIDS deaths.

Region 11/South

Issue Addressed Recommendation
Abuse/neglect death of infant. 2 previous investigations on pre-school age child.  
No contact with absent parent on latest investigation. Ensure that absent parents are contacted.

Exploration of risk factors not documented.

  • Do not accept parental/caregiver denial of substance abuse.
  • Workers should not give less attention to cases they perceive to be custody disputes.
  • Until child death, CPS did not know that mother had an alleged miscarriage that she buried in her yard.

Need to explore all potential risk factors during investigations.

Workers need to determine drug use through drug testing.

Workers should routinely ask mothers about the number of pregnancies and the result(s) they have had.

Workers should be encouraged to give a physical description of parents so that marked differences in physical appearance can be noted in the future.

Need for ongoing risk assessment training.

Lack of sustained effort to contact relative collaterals even though regular whereabouts at an ECI program were well known. No mutual coordination of effort between ECI and CPS. Cross-agency cooperation and communication.