Mom gets apology, not child, from CPS

The mother of a nine-year-old girl wants to know when she can get her daughter back. Meanwhile, she's getting apology letters from CPS over a communications failure.

SEAGOVILLE - Words of regret don't always come easily.

"It's very tough to talk about,” said Dana Gibson. “As a parent, there's nothing worse to know that you've caused your child pain."

Last October, Gibson was caught with drugs. The state’s Child Protective Services agency took custody of her nine-year-old daughter.

Gibson cleaned up, and for months has tried to get her child out of foster care.

"I was stunned, actually, to get this letter," she said holding two sheets of paper with an apology from CPS.


They weren't apologizing for taking Gibson's nine-year-old,  but rather for failing to communicate with her about the situation.

Gibson said she complained to the ombudsman, and last week received a letter from CPS admitting it did not maintain contact with Gibson every 10 days as required.

CPS included a second apology as well, according to a copy of the letter reviewed by WFAA. The state agency acknowledged it removed Gibson's child from one temporary home and placed her in another, giving her a removal notification for seven days.

“I have since called the ombudsman office and lodged another complaint, because my daughter was put in therapy on February 1st and I was not notified," Gibson said.

This is another revelation from an already troubled state agency charged with protecting children.

The department recently fired two caseworkers after the death of a four-year-old girl in Grand Prairie who relatives had warned was in danger. Investigators leave CPS at alarming rates, and the regional director just retired.

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It is a crisis, according to state Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas). "We are in crisis mode at CPS in the State of Texas," he said. "Anyone who says anything different is not looking at all the facts."

West questioned what state leaders are doing to address the issue.

"What is the leadership going to do? You've got to ask the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker. What's their plan? And then they need to allow us to work with them to implement whatever plan they come up with," West said.

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke to a convention in Dallas on Wednesday, but his office said he did not have time to talk to reporters about CPS. His press secretary, John Wittman, sent this written statement to WFAA:

"Protecting Texas’ children has been a priority for Governor Abbott. Our commitment remains steadfast, and is bolstered by the tens of millions of dollars in additional funding for [The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services] and our demand that additional measures be taken to reduce and eliminate child abuse, neglect and death. The Governor will continue to work aggressively with the legislature and DFPS toward his stated goal of no more child deaths in Texas."

The bedroom of Gibson’s daughter is the same as she left it at her grandmother's house. Her Christmas presents sit untouched, as this case winds its way through a system facing renewed scrutiny.


 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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