Senator Jane Nelson: “We Have to Get It Right on CPS”

October 27, 2016

AUSTIN – The Texas Senate Finance Committee met yesterday to discuss reform ideas to Child Protective Services and ideas to ensure timely contact with children at immediate risk of abuse of neglect, and other proposals to improve child safety. A recent report issued by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services highlighted that roughly 1,000 of the state’s “highest priority” children were never even checked on by a CPS investigator.

“We have to get it right on CPS,” said Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson (R- Flower Mound). “We need to better understand what investments are working and what improvements are needed. We need an action plan that will keep children safe.”

A recent letter by Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Dan Patrick, and Speaker Joe Straus directed Hank Whitman, the department commissioner, to develop a plan to train and hire more special investigators to address the backlog of kids who have not had an in person meeting with Child Protective Services. As noted during testimony, the Texas Legislature allocated a roughly $315 million in additional funding, in all funds, for CPS over what they received last year.

“The current system has terrible turnover of needy kids in the CPS programs,” said Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston). “A terrible turnover of kids, a terrible turnover of employees, and a terrible turnover of taxpayers dollars does not benefit anyone. You cannot hire your way out of the problem. The more people you bring on without training, the more it makes the matter worse.”

The Department of Family and Protective Services announced a plan to hire an additional 550 front line investigators, special investigators, and caseworkers, however turnover remains a large problem with the department. Statistics from the Department of Family Protective Services for Fiscal Year 2015 showed that there were 2,133 caseworkers, and had a 25% turnover rate for the full agency. The turnover rates went higher in other departments, as investigators saw a 33% turnover rate, and, per Senator Uresti (D- San Antonio), there was an overall 46% first year attrition rate. “This means you are losing four employees a day, and 550 new employees would only buy you 125 days. This is not a solution. We need to look at retention,” added Senator Bettencourt.

This sentiment was further highlighted by Senator Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) who added, “The environment and the climate in which case workers do their job are the first and second reason for case workers to turnover. Until those are fixed, this is like filling up a pail that has a hole in the bottom.”

During the hearing Committee Chair Jane Nelson announced that she was appointing a workgroup to study additional recommendations that would be made tomorrow by CPS Commissioner Whitman. Senator Schwertner will chair the workgroup, and Senator’s Whitmire, Watson, Kolkhorst, and Birdwell will join him.

Senator Nelson concluded, “You know how I feel about zero based budgeting. I am asking this group to take the budget down to $0 and look at every single penny of the $2.8 billion, and give their feedback on whether this plan addresses the current crisis that we are facing.”

The workgroup, appointed by Senator Nelson, will meet today.

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I have a special religious liberty message for the Easter Weekend. I am proud of all my 19 Republican Collegues that voted to provide Texas license holders some protection for deeply help religious beliefs.

We were joined by Senator Lucio (D-Brownsville) as well because this common sense law is supported by the vast majority of Texans. Discrimination should not apply to any person in Texas in the 21st Century!

Speaking in favor, elegantly, is Senate Bill 17 author, Senator Perry (R-Lubbock) as well as Senators Paxton (R-McKinney) and Hancock (R-North Richland Hills). Listen to them now and read more about the bill here:

Chair Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
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Good idea. Wish you folks felt as strongly about the 2nd Amendment. But the caucus is clueless and stupid when it comes to representing those that elected you. Caring only about business special interests.

The Texas Senate Republican Caucus held a joint press conference with U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick on Caucus Chair, Paul Bettencourt’s, Senate Resolution 535 that declared the Crisis at the Texas-Mexico International Border an Emergency.

Senator Bettencourt (R-Houston) remarked, “The Texas Senate recognizes the obvious, the obvious is that there is a crisis on the border.” Senator Cornyn (R-TX), commented on the rising interdictions, “When it hits 200,000 will that be enough to acknowledge the obvious?” Senator Cruz (R-TX) pointed out that, “In six months we have seen nearly as many people apprehended in all of the preceding year.” Lieutenant Governor Patrick (R-TX) stated, “Since 2011 we have documentation of 1,761 dead migrants that we have recovered in Texas, many in Brooks County.”

State Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston), stated, “35,000 unaccompanied children, vulnerable to the sex trade, arrived in the last year.” State Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), commented, “Over 100,000 migrants crossed our border illegally just last month, that is a crisis.” State Senator Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) added, “We and our constituents are at our wits end. The border today is not the border of my youth.”

When asked what the difference was between Democrats and Republicans on this issue, Chairman Bettencourt responded, "That we voted for the Resolution and we took a stand on the crisis at the border."

Read the full resolution here:
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Where’s Abbott at

Yes sir way way too much ch talking

I look at the border wall as Black Friday as entering the store for good deals....... rush in before they are gone........ e.g. social security, health benefits........only difference is ONES FREE THE OTHER NOT!!

Good grief. Use a brain cell or two. Stopping immigration is not the purpose of a wall. It is to make people use the gate so the immigration can be controlled and LEGAL

Maybe a little less talk and a lot more action is in order? Time to put a stop to illegal entry into the United States!

It’s been a crisis since 1968

So they just now recognise there is a crisis? Most people saw this coming months ago and knew something needed to be done then. I guess better late than never.

Proud of Texas and NM people for trying to stop the invasion of illegals!

Call out the NATIONAL GUARD. Or let the MILITA tack charge

Save lives on both sides of the border. Build the wall protect us all.


Love to see Made in America again!!!

Didn’t see anything in the Houston Chronicle about this. The media is pathetic, a million people could come across in a day and they would not report.

Let’s face it !! No body is listening to the people who pay taxes and vote,! Politicians are out for themselves to be millionaires!!😡😡(Ronnie )

Oh please !! A wall will do nothing to stop migration!!

Then do something . MASS DEPORTATION

Closed the border and build the wall now

About dam time !!!

I remember years ago calling John Cornyn’s office to let him know he would never get my vote again and guess what it was over? The border wall and he would not vote for it. These jokers think the American public forgets over the years so they keep on getting elected.

Question: if the Empress and her cohorts don't care whether a pre-born or surviving aborted child lives or dies, why would they care about illegal border crossers?

having their little convention to figure how they are going to screw the people more

Cornyn, you haven’t done jack about this problem except stand behind individual Mitch McConald in congress at photo ops.

Cornyn, you haven’t done jack about this problem except stand behind individual Mitch McConald in congress at photo ops.

Get with plan John Cornyn

Cronyn probably dealing with Drug Cartel all about Money 😡

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