News Roundup: Hundreds File Complaints Against The Texas Foster Care System

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 13, 2018 3:57 pm

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

Texas foster youth, their families, and providers filed hundreds of complaints about their care in fiscal year 2018. That’s according to a report the Ombudsman for Children and Youth in Foster Care released this month.

This independent body completed 241 investigations of more than 600 complaints. It found violations of policies, rules, or children’s rights in 71 of those cases. Kate Murphy is with the advocacy group, Texans Care for Children. She talks through the variety of complaints the ombudsman hears.

“They receive some that wind up being allegations of abuse and neglect but some that relate to things like placement issues, or caseworkers not responding to phone calls, poor documentation. So there are a lot, but the very most common was related to the rights of children and youth in foster care,” Murplhy says.

Murphy adds this report demonstrates that state lawmakers and the Department of Family and Protective Services need to take more steps to improve foster care.

“And we really need to focus on when we decide to remove a child from their biological family for safety reasons that children are safe when we place them in foster care,” Murphy says. “And there’s obviously some work that needs to be done on that front.”

The areas of the state that saw the most substantiated complaints related to the treatment of youth in foster care were Dallas and San Antonio at 17 apiece.

Hearing live music at airports might not seem especially controversial, but the Houston City Council took hours to agree to keep funding the Houston Airports Performing Arts Program. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider has more on the program, which was first launched in 2015.

The $3 million for the program will come from airline fees, not taxes. Still, the price tag caused several council members to balk, among them Greg Travis.

“I think when people go to the airports, they look for things like clean bathrooms. They look for things like, ‘Can I charge my phone?’ ‘Can I get the Wi-Fi?’ and ‘Do they have good restaurants?’ I think music may be up in that category, but I don’t think it’s that high up,” Travis said.

But Robert Gallegos, whose district includes Hobby, noted the airlines themselves had asked for the music. In the end, the vote was 11-to-6 in favor. The money will pay for 18 performing arts groups to play dozens of concerts at both Hobby and Bush Intercontinental.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has announced he’s forming an exploratory committee to look into a possible presidential campaign.

He talked about the decision in a video released Wednesday:

“So, I’m taking a lesson from my mother – if we want to see a change in this country. We don’t wait, we work. We make our future happen,” Castro said.

Castro, who also served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, says he will make an announcement on January 12. Fellow Texan and Democrat, U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of El Paso has said he’ll decide whether to run once he leaves Congress on January 3.