Data Shows CPS Caseworkers Missed Thousands of Check-Ins with At-Risk Children

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 5, 2016 12:26 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

New data shows that Texas Child Protective Services caseworkers failed to visit thousands of children thought to be most at risk for sexual or physical abuse. In fact, the numbers show that in the last six months alone, caseworkers missed 16,000 check-ins with these vulnerable children.

Patrick Crimmins, a spokesperson for the Department of Family and Protective Services, says there’s no excuse for this, but he notes this data set omits one factor:

“It is important to note that CPS does make hundreds of attempts to see families – the data doesn’t represent that,” he says. “That wasn’t included in this particular report, sometimes the families are not home, but oftentimes they’ve moved…and sometimes there are families that just don’t want to be found, so I think the numbers in terms of the children not seen would be better if you include the number attempts workers have made.”

Crimmins says if you include those attempts, about 3 percent more children would have been seen by caseworkers.

Tis the season for air pollution – at least in Houston. Eddie Robinson from Houston Public Media explains the impact spiking air pollution levels are having in the city:

“In the past few days, smog has been at unhealthy levels in Houston for children and the elderly,” Robinson says. “It’s also exceeded a new tougher limit the federal government is asking cities to meet for ozone.”

Loren Raun, an environmental scientist at both Rice University and the City of Houston says ozone is definitely associated with health effects. Using data from 911 calls, Raun found that when ozone reached even moderate levels the number of people with asthma attacks and even heart attacks increased.”

Researchers found that the risk for both heart and asthma attacks rose by up to 45 percent.

Baylor University’s first full-time Title IX coordinator has strong criticism for her former employer. Patty Crawford appeared on CBS This Morning after stepping down from her position at the school earlier this week.

“I think Baylor set me up to fail from the beginning, in November of 2014 when I came, and I continued to work very hard and the harder I worked, the more resistance I received from senior leadership,” Crawford says. 

When Baylor announced Crawford’s resignation late Monday, the statement basically said she was disappointed with her role implementing recommendations from an outside report. The school had asked for an independent investigation into how it handled cases of sexual assault – and the results were damning.

Crawford said the university is still systematically failing to address sexual violence and rape.

“I filed a complaint to the federal government, the Office for Civil Rights last week and to human resources,” she says. “And it led me to a place on Monday where I had to make a decision, was I going to remain part of the problem or be part of the problem or was I going to resign?”

That complaint alleges that the university prevented Crawford from doing her job as the Title IX coordinator.

Baylor said it was surprised by Crawford’s actions, and the school claims she asked for $1 million and book and movie rights. Crawford’s lawyer countered that the university broke Texas law by publicizing details of their mediation and are attempting to smear her.