“If DFPS cannot protect vulnerable children, we need to clean house, top to bottom.”
AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued this statement today after establishing the Senate Special Committee on Child Protective Services. The committee will be chaired by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham:
“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, if the charges of abuse are true as alleged, those found guilty of abusing children in their care should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. To abuse the very children they were paid to protect is an unspeakable crime. These children have suffered enough. To think they thought they were protected, only to find their nightmare was not over, is unthinkable.
“Just last year, Chair Kolkhorst passed Senate Bill 1896, and in 2017, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 11, which together, have been hailed by many as the most significant reforms ever passed for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). However, if the agency is not implementing those reforms, nothing has changed. As previously planned, this committee will also be tasked with looking at all of the issues at DFPS relating to past legislative reforms, implementation of these reforms, and all ongoing work at the agency. We must continue to find the best solutions to find loving families for these at-risk children.
The members of the Senate Special Committee on Child Protective Services are:
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, Chair
Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, Vice Chair
Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio
Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston
Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney
Former Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, Ex Officio Member
“Sen. Paxton was adopted into a family and former Sen. Carona has adopted children into his family. Both have expressed great interest in this issue along with the other committee members.
“I have instructed Chair Kolkhorst to pull no punches with agency leadership in these hearings. And if a conservatorship is needed to run the agency, then that is what needs to be done.
“The work to reform DFPS has been ongoing for some time, but after this story, the Texas Senate could not wait any longer to address the serious issues at the agency.”
The Special Committee on Child Protective Services will report their findings to the Senate by December 1, 2022.