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Texas child welfare agency fires employee for encouraging a foster child to consider sex work

Department of family protective service.JPG
Eddie Gaspar
/
The Texas Tribune
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has fired an employee for proposing sex work to a 14-year-old in the state’s care.

A spokesperson told The Texas Tribune that all employees are trained before supervising youth. DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters apologized to the child and her mother.

A state agency responsible for investigating abuse and exploitation of children has fired an employee for encouraging a 14-year-old in the state’s care to do sex work, a spokesperson with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said Sunday.

The child in the state’s foster care system was being housed at a Harris County hotel while awaiting placement. She was asking for food when the staff member proposed sex work. The child recorded the interaction in a video obtained by Fox 26.

This is only the latest controversy to befall the state’s child welfare department, which has been under years of scrutiny for its inadequate care of some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

A federal judge has repeatedly slammed the state for failing to properly punish or shut down unsafe child care placement facilities. U.S. District Judge Janis Jack has also criticized the state for its inadequate background checks of caregivers, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

A quarter of children who DFPS identified as victims of sexual abuse were victimized or revictimized after entering foster care, according to court-appointed watchdogs.

Texas ordered a state-contracted shelter to close in March after a court revealed that staff members were trafficking the children in their care. Nine staff members are accused of subjecting seven children to sexual and physical abuse, neglectful supervision and medical neglect. One caretaker accused of selling nude photos of two teenage victims of sexual abuse at the shelter was previously fired from a nearby state juvenile facility for having inappropriate relationships with children in her care, state records show.

And most recently, Jack ordered Texas to develop a plan to remove foster care kids from out-of-state facilities run by organizations facing a federal child abuse investigation.