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Texas foster placement agency closes, citing increased state scrutiny and citations

 Texas Foster Care and Adoption Services
Paul Flahive
Texas Foster Care and Adoption Services

Texas Foster Care and Adoption Services was the subject of TPR's 'Justice Ignored' series, which learned that an executive at the agency was accused of raping his grand niece but kept his job for months even after the state found it likely happened. TFCAS said the state didn't tell them about the abuse.

The San Antonio-based nonprofit Texas Foster Care and Adoption services (TFCAS) is shutting down.

The foster placement agency received roughly $2 million a year in state funds to place youth and monitor foster homes. It has been under scrutiny about how it handled sexual abuse allegations against one of its executives, since TPR reported on it in September.

After TPR's report, the state increased its scrutiny and citations, said CEO Karen Perez. TFCAS had been under “heightened monitoring” for two years due to previous infractions, and she said they had expected to soon be coming out of those restrictions.

“Our offices and your homes were immediately flooded with state monitors,” she wrote in a letter to foster family clients this week. “We began receiving multiple citations at each visit. These citations have resulted in a placement hold for the agency.”

A placement hold is an informal hold on additional foster children being placed through the TFCAS. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission had immediately launched an investigation into the agency in September but has not made the results public.

Neither HHSC nor the Department of Family and Protective Services responded to TPR's requests for comment.

Perez confirmed the organization would shut down but said it was not because of TPR’s story.

TPR reported three months ago that Jerry Monroe, chief financial officer at Texas Foster Care and Adoption Services, was found by Child Protective Services to have likely sexually abused his grand niece, Shawna Rogers. The “Reason to Believe” or RTB was issued in June 2020 but he remained employed at TFCAS until December of that year.

“The state failed to inform Texas Foster Care that our former CFO received an RTB for sexual abuse,” Perez wrote.

TFCAS told the state it fired Monroe in December 2020 after he had been arrested by Austin police for the alleged abuse. Monroe denied any sexual activity between the two took place. The case against him — which languished for months — was dropped in early 2022 after Rogers died in a car accident.

A former manager at the nonprofit disputed the timeline provided by TFCAS to TPR that tracked when leadership knew about the abuse allegations. Perez called the former manager's accusations false.

IRS documents TPR reviewed also called into question the role Monroe had in the agency after he was terminated. They showed that 11 months after his termination, his address was still used on tax documents, and he was still listed as the custodian of records. One former IRS official described to TPR that TFCAS tax documents suggested Monroe still had a significant relationship with the organization.

“All of our records were inspected [by the state] and financials as well and all found to be in order.  The listing you are referring to was a result of our CPA and not our company,” said Perez in an email to TPR on Wednesday.

In addition to the foster placement hold and increased citations, Perez noted that one active foster family had been forwarding emails from TFCAS to a former staff member.

“After much deliberation, it was decided that we can no longer serve foster children working under these conditions. It is not financially possible and is not fair to the children, or foster families or our staff,” Perez wrote.

According to the email, TFCAS is helping people transition to another placement agency and expects to be out of business near the end of February.

Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Paul Flahive is the accountability reporter for Texas Public Radio. He has worked in public media across the country, from Iowa City and Chicago to Anchorage and San Antonio.