A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Texas foster care system for nearly 30,000 children is unconstitutionally broken, saying that kids rescued by one of the largest child protection agencies in the U.S. often leave state custody in worse shape than before.
The decision is another blow to the troubled Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which has cycled through seven leaders in the past decade and could now be on the verge of another lengthy, costly and politically volatile round of modifications.
U.S. District Judge Janis Jack ordered sweeping changes that include reducing “impossible” workloads for caseworkers and an immediate halt to placing kids in group homes that lack round-the-clock supervision. She said an outside expert will be appointed to lead the overhaul and report back to her.
“Years of abuse, neglect, and shuttling between inappropriate placements across the state has created a population that cannot contribute to society, and proves a continued strain on the government through welfare, incarceration, or otherwise,” Jack wrote in a 260-page opinion. “Although some foster children are able to overcome these obstacles, they should not have to.”