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Child Abuse Deaths Rose Despite Promises to Fix System

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AUSTIN — Shortly after Gov. Greg Abbott took office in 2015, he promised to overhaul the state’s child welfare system and made an ambitious goal: no more child deaths.

To that end, Abbott placed the Department of Family and Protective Services under his thumb.

Abbott’s office pledged an additional $40 million for child safety, tightened restrictions on placing abused kids with family members, replaced the leadership, and embedded aides who track the daily work of DFPS and its parent agency, the Health and Human Services Commission.

The commission’s communications staff and DFPS leaders have diligently fed information to the governor’s office on gruesome child deaths, relentless caseworker turnover and dangerous case backlogs to keep Abbott abreast of looming crises and subsequent bad press.



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