Problem With Texas Human Services Agencies Is Inadequate Funding

RECEIVED Fri., July 16, 2004

Dear Editor,
   The governor's call to investigate CPS for their mishandling of several cases with horrific consequences is less about identifying and correcting the problems and more about giving the appearance of doing something ["Perry Calls for CPS Probe," News, July 9]. We have seen this pattern all too often in our leaders. Undoubtedly they will find some breakdown in procedure, blame staff, and propose new rules. They will make a big deal about more funding, but any increase will quickly disappear as focus turns to some new crisis. Little to nothing will be done to address the underlying issues, such as low wages, ever-increasing case loads, high turnover, and never-ending pressure to close cases when budgets are stressed.
   Problems at CPS and other essential Human Services agencies have been around for years. In 2002 my niece was nearing the end of a one-year program for abused and neglected children. All indications were that CPS was going to have her placed in foster care. This suddenly changed and she was sent back home. CPS was $20 million over budget. My niece died within six months of going home from a kidney infection treated too late.
   How can the governor with a straight face say that he will address the problems of Child Protective Services, CHIPS, school funding, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, and the myriad of other inadequately funded programs while at the same time calling for a 5% cut in all programs to buy voters via a tax break? It disgusts me.
Frank Feuerbacher
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