Columba Wilson Texas CPS Abuse

Columba Wilson and her 12-year-old grandson, Cristian Martinez, who is autistic and experienced abuse at school, listen to speakers at a rally supporting legislation that addresses Child Protection Services at the Texas Capitol in February 2017. Photo courtesy of

Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Two years ago (January 2016) Health Impact News reported that U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack had ruled against the State of Texas stating that the foster care system, named in a class action lawsuit on behalf of Texas foster children, was unconstitutional.

In her 255 page ruling, Judge Jack wrote:

Texas’ PMC (Permanent Managing Conservatorship) children have been shuttled throughout a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication, and instability are the norm.


Judge Condemns Texas Foster Care System that Abuses Children as Unconstitutional

The judge was very clear that the existing Texas “Child Protection Services” and foster care system needed to be abolished, and a new one formed with real reforms.

We also reported how the State of Texas, rather than comply with the judge’s order and make changes to protect Texas children, instead fought back to keep the status quo, as Governor Greg Abbott’s Attorney General, Ken Paxton, chose to fight the decision rather than implement the reforms the court was requiring.

Today, more than 2 years later, it appears that almost nothing has changed in Texas in terms of protecting abused children (even though the State legislature has passed some very nominal reforms), and Judge Jack has ruled again, and ordered Texas officials to adopt almost 100 changes in the Texas foster care system.

Once again, the State of Texas, through State Attorney General Ken Paxton, is resisting these changes.

Child Safety a Non-partisan Issue


As we have documented many times here at Health Impact News, child welfare today has become a multi-billion dollar child trafficking business where everyone participating in the system, except for those it is supposedly designed to protect, profits.

Texas, being a “conservative” red state, is doing no service to thousands of children suffering terrible abuse in its corrupt system, if they try to paint this as a political problem with partisan finger-pointing at “liberals.”

One of the key national legislative actions that allows much of today’s abuses to happen in child welfare through state incentives to put more children in foster care and adoption, is the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, signed into law by then President Clinton.

While it is easy to point fingers and criticize the Clintons for this horrible piece of legislation, few point out that it was a Republican majority in Congress led by Newt Gingrich at the time that handed this bill to President Clinton to sign. The Republicans had a majority in both the House and the Senate at the time, and could have easily defeated the passage of this law, but they did not.

So whether Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, there is plenty of blame to go around to all politicians that continue to allow such a horrible system to stay in place, while collecting BILLIONS in federal funding, which fuels hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide.

It doesn’t take strong investigative skills to determine why those running this system in each state are so reluctant to admit the corruption and abuses that so clearly exist.

At least one local media source in Texas is standing up for the rights of abused children in foster care. The American-Statesman in Austin Texas has published an editorial exposing the abuses documented by Judge Jack, and how the State is fighting to prevent these reforms from happening rather than implementing change.


Judge Janis Graham Jack.

Texas should follow — not fight — mandates to improve CPS

by Editorial Board – Special to the American-Statesman


A child needs much more than shelter, food and clothing to establish a healthy life. Children need a good education, positive experiences, life skills and a nurturing environment to have a chance at becoming productive adults. Most children in Texas get what they need, but the majority of children in the state’s Child Protective Services system do not.

The mission of CPS is to protect children from abuse, neglect and exploitation. But the system is broken and has been for too long. Texas needs dramatic reform — and it’s time for state leaders to step up and make it happen.

A federal judge ruled four years ago that CPS causes more harm to children in a system where studies show children are repeatedly abused.

Last week, the same federal judge — U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi — ruled that the Texas foster care system remains broken and continues to place children at risk. She ordered Texas officials to adopt almost 100 changes, including reduced workloads for caseworkers, a ban on children sleeping in state offices and steps to better monitor and reduce sexual abuse, the American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell reported.

It’s embarrassing that in a state led by lawmakers who pride themselves for holding a belief that all life is sacred, more urgent efforts aren’t being made to give Texas’ most fragile children a system that provides a haven respectful of their lives.

As expected, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly pounced on Jack’s order, calling it “incomplete and impractical” with “unrealistic mandates.”

We disagree.

Records show a continued unwillingness by CPS officials to address critical faults in the system.

Jack has ordered caseworkers to immediately begin monthly meetings with foster children without their foster family or caregiver present. The requirement comes after records show that “former foster children testified at trial that they were unable to report abuse to a caseworker because the abuser — often the caregiver — was present during caseworker visits.”

Meanwhile, state officials are being required to create within the next 30 days a plan to address missing medical and mental health records for foster children. Within four months, state officials must also develop a plan for an integrated computer system containing complete records for each foster child, including medical and mental health history, education and court records. Poor record-keeping has contributed to sexual and physical abuse, undiagnosed developmental disorders and other problems, Jack said.

State officials may not like Jack’s ruling and her timeline to turn the department around, but it is hard to be sympathetic when, as the federal judge pointed out, Texas has ignored 20 years of evidence pointing to the failings of the state’s foster care system.

Brandon Logan with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, said the ruling undermined last year’s legislative efforts that had “set Texas on the right path.”

That’s only true if state leaders refuse or aren’t brave enough to take the necessary steps to build on those small successes. Jack’s mandates are a clear road map for reform.

Following the mandates — instead of putting up costly fights — is the right move. And it’s a wise investment for Texas.

Read the full article at

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