Little Lost Boys...and Girls

Is the move to privatize Child Protective Services leaving huge gaps in care?

Scott McCown, head of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, told The Dallas Morning News that the current state of affairs is the worst he's ever seen. "We have grave concerns," he told the Dallas Observer. "Caseloads are way too high. If you don't correct that, then all the money you pour into training is wasted. They quit on you and you can't get anyone with experience. We need to develop a lot more foster care capacity. We could do better with rates, particularly with children who have higher needs."

With all its problems, CPS is now frozen. Privatization has been put on indefinite hold after a pilot program in San Antonio received only two bids. The agency isn't hiring more caseworkers. It can't overhaul the system without knowing what the future holds.

"Nobody knows what is going to happen," McCown says. "The state can't say because it is still in contract negotiations. I think we need to step back and re-evaluate this [privatization]. They really need to review whether they want to sell off our Child Protective Services through this outsourcing."

Kyle T. Webster

Administrator Madison points out that outsourcing Child Protective Services hasn't worked anywhere in the country. But something has to be done. "I don't know what it's going to take to create a sense of outrage," Madison says. She's afraid it will take a tragedy.

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