More Texas Foster Children Sleep in State Offices, While CPS Struggles to Speed Initial Checks of At-risk Kids

AUSTIN -- The number of abused and neglected children sleeping in state offices and hotels because no foster-care bed is available continued to climb last month -- by 20 percent, the Department of Family and Protective Services said Thursday.In May, 84 children spent at least two consecutive nights in a Child Protective Services office or hotel, said department spokesman Patrick Crimmins. He said the increase was partly seasonal, resulting from child-welfare authorities' reluctance to change children's placements near the end of the school year. Nevertheless, it was the fourth consecutive monthly increase in "children without placements," Crimmins acknowledged."We continue to suffer due to the lack of capacity for high-needs kids," he said. Department leaders, though, are "extremely encouraged" by the Legislature's decision to increase foster-care reimbursements by $85 million over the next two years, he said."We believe it will translate into additional capacity," he said.Also Thursday, CPS confirmed it has failed to meet a deadline for increasing how often it lays eyes on the most at-risk kids mentioned in maltreatment tips in a timely fashion, as state law requires.Though it was supposed to see 90 percent of children in "Priority 1" cases within 24 hours by May 1, CPS fell short of that -- by as much as 2.3 percentage points, according to weekly reports on "face to face" performance through May 20. That's the latest date for which numbers are available.  Continue reading...

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