[Hpn] Child Protection in Bush's Texas

wtinker wtinker@fcgnetworks.net
Fri, 07 Jul 2000 19:16:10 -0400

A Brother 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tony Hearn" <thearn@sprintmail.com>
To: "Bill Tinker" <wtinker@fcgnetworks.net>
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2000 8:52 PM
Subject: Child Protection in Bush's Texas

 Latest update of the continuing true story by retired journalist Tony
Hearn involving a young illegal immigrant girl, her family, the
short-staffed Texas Child Protective Services agency, and George W. Bush
who brags about his record as Governor of Texas
 . . . . By early July, there had been some unfortunate developments with
the two boys, Emelda's brothers. The living arrangements which CPS
worked out for them in Zapata were coming apart. As of 4 p.m., Friday,
July 7, the school teacher, at Sara's request, had been on the phone to
Travis County offices of Child Protective Services. He was not happy!
He had also been on the phone to the state headquarters of the Texas
Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. Here's what was
troubling him. 
 Emelda's brothers are still living in Zapata, roughly 400 miles south,
the Texas border with Mexico. They are supposed to be living in the
home of Sara's sister-in-law who was approved by CPS inspectors to be
the custodian of the boys. Because CPS has dragged out restoring the
boys to Sara's custody, even after nine months, the sister-in-law has
wearied of caring for these very active young boys. Without approval
from CPS, the sister-in-law has "farmed" the boys out to other relatives
 who have not been approved by CPS: the younger boy to an aunt, and the
older boy to his paternal grandfather who is a widower living alone in a
delapidated house. He has a drinking problem. In other words, the state
agency which took the children away from a mother has now allowed the
same children to land in unapproved care. Who's minding the boys?
What was the point of CPS' involvement if this is the result? And this
all costing the taxpayers a bundle. 
 Sara has called the relatives often to ask about the well being of her
boys, only to learn that the older boy has taken to staying out late on
street with older boys. She has been very upset. This is why she asked
teacher to help her regain custody of her boys or at least get them
in approved, safe custody. The teacher did get involved again. This is
how the teacher has learned that things are not as they should be at
Protective Services. 
 Any right-thinking person's eyebrows would arch a little if that person
discovered that within the space of nine months, three CPS caseworkers
in succession have supervised placement and care of the boys. A fourth
caseworker, to replace the last one who quit, has yet to be appointed.
the case file is on the desk of an overloaded unit supervisor. In phone
communication with the teacher, this supervisor told the teacher that
is so short-handed staffwise that she is having to do much of the case
work herself. 
 After calling around, that is, being passed around, to higher-eschelon
officials of the Child Protective Services county and state bureacracy,
the school teacher decided to start playing hardball. On Friday
he called the office of Gov. George W. Bush. "Do you know that the
Travis County Child Protective Services operation is in disarray?" he
asked one of Mr. Bush's aides. "Do you know that the rate of turnover of
staff there will leave you dizzy? Do you know that a child taken from a
homeless mother by CPS is now able, under CPS's lax control, to roam
the streets living outside of approved care? Do you know that a New
York Times reporter covering Mr. Bush's campaign for the presidency
may be interested in learning what I know about the Travis County
CPS?" the school teacher asked. 
 The governor's aide responded: "You've made it clear!" "Good," I said.
"Now get him to do something about it, because my next call will be to
 The New York Times political desk!" 
 The school teacher hates having to play hardball. The next update will
concern when and if the CPS starts mending the fraying strands of this
story and replaces Sara's boys in safe circumstances pending the August
3 "final resolution" hearing in a Travis County District Court. The
school teacher will be there. Emelda is scheduled to receive permanent
placement in foster care. The school teacher has communicated to the
judge that concrete steps should be taken immediately to resolve her
undocumented status. If not, her chances of ever getting anything other
than an "illegal" menial job are non-existent. Higher education is
blocked because scholarships are unavailable to undocumented students,
and tuition for foreign students is prohibitive. Whether Sara regains
boys on August 3 is problematic. The next update should cast some light
on these difficult circumstances. 
 This is the latest update of the continuing story "Illegal in El Norte."
The full story is available at
 Tony Hearn
Whirl Headquarters for 
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