Dr. Monica Faulkner, associate director of the School of Social Work’s Child and and Family Research Institute, authored the op-ed piece “CPS Child Deaths: It’s Your Fault Too,” published in the Austin American Statesman Thursday, February 13, 2014. The op-ed responded to an article published in the Statesman the previous week about child deaths in Texas and their relation to mistakes and oversights from Child Protective Services caseworkers.
In her op-ed, Faulkner argues that it’s misguided to place responsibility for child deaths on caseworkers that are underpaid and overworked, and part of a state child welfare system that has been chronically underfunded. She points out that Texas has 1,277 child welfare investigators who completed 166,211 investigations in 2011, and an additional number of 1,539 workers who monitor the roughly 27,000 children who are in foster care.
Faulkner encourages all in the community to share responsibility for the wellbeing of children, and to take action by voting, contacting child welfare advocates, supporting nonprofits that work with youth, adopting or fostering a child, and supporting child welfare workers by stocking their “rainbow rooms,” where they accept donations of clothes, diapers, and other basics materials needed by children.