Texas Bright Family

Bright family. Photo: Michael Ciaglo, Houston Chronicle

by Mike Hixenbaugh and Keri Blakinger
Houston Chronicle


Six months after a Harris County judge hit Child Protective Services with a rare $127,000 sanction for wrongfully removing a Tomball couple’s children, the state agency has abandoned its appeal and agreed to pay what may be an unprecedented sum for its handling of the case.

But the agency still hasn’t admitted wrongdoing, a fact that irked the family and their attorneys.

“To this day, they just can’t admit that they screwed up — to me that’s the saddest part for all of the children in Harris County,” said Stephanie Proffitt, one of the attorneys representing Melissa and Dillon Bright.

“They could have at least said we may have messed this one up and we’ll do better next time. Instead they’re basically taking no responsibility. Shame on them.”

It’s not clear what prompted the agency to drop the appeal, though in a statement a spokesman cited the need to focus resources on other local children.

Had the court of appeals ruled against them it could have set a precedent that would make it easier for other families to win sanctions in similar cases.

The Bright case drew statewide attention and raised concerns about the process CPS follows after receiving a report of abuse from a child abuse pediatrician, a small but growing medical subspecialty.

The doctors are based at major children’s hospitals across the nation and work closely with child welfare agents and law enforcement officials in cases of suspected abuse.

Read the full story at the Houston Chronicle.

See Also:

Texas Judge Sanctions CPS $127K for Wrongfully Taking Couple’s Children and Lying to the Court

New Proposed Texas Bill would Stop Child Protective Services from Falsifying Records

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