The Number of Children Sleeping In CPS Offices Is On The Decline

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By Becky FogelJune 29, 2017 12:34 pm

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

In May, 84 Texas foster children spent at least two consecutive nights sleeping at state offices or hotels because Child Protective Services (CPS) couldn’t find a placement for these typically high-needs kids.

That figure was up from 70 in April.

The number of kids who slept in a CPS office or hotel in June hasn’t been released yet, but Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau reporter Bob Garrett says there’s been “noticeable improvement.”

This week Garrett spoke with Kristene Blackstone, the head of Child Protective Services, and she explained the factors behind that improvement.

“The governor had made some emergency grant money available for them to hire some beds and they’ve done that in Dallas and in San Antonio,” Garrett says. “They’re negotiating other contracts. That’s eased some of the pressure. We know that in the first three weeks of May they were averaging 15 a night and last weekend they were able to get it down to one.”

That one child was a 17-year-old in Houston who didn’t want to move to the placements that CPS had identified for him.

Despite this recent drop in kids sleeping in hotels or state offices, Garrett says it’s not clear if this will continue.

“Whether it will be lasting, I don’t know because part of what Kristene Blackstone said was a factor here was the end of school – there had been some residential treatment centers holding onto kids so they could finish the school year, so then these were kids that were ready to go to a family setting and they held on to them just to help them out to finish school and then that created some openings,” he says. “So those openings won’t necessarily be there later in the year but hopefully the state’s effort to contract with more providers will ease some of them problem.”

Last month Gov. Greg Abbott announced his criminal justice division would provide about half-a-million dollars in federal and state funds to find placements for these high needs foster kids.

Abbott also authorized the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to spend more money on this issue.

The Texas oil industry is feeling a little less optimistic than it was earlier this year.

Houston Public Media’s Travis Bubenik explains the findings of a new energy survey: 

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas surveyed oil companies and they found production is still up but it slowed a bit. Hiring is up as well particularly in oil field services sector.

But companies are a bit more nervous, thanks to oil prices recently dipping below $45 a barrel.

The jitters though, [are] probably not enough to make companies change their plans for the rest of this year.

Southwest Airlines is scaling back its flights between the U.S. and Cuba.

The Texas-based carrier said the change has to do with a lack of passengers on the flights, and cooler relations between the countries under the Trump administration.