From FB: DCFS/CFS workers accused of lying in court- disgusting!

professional licensed case workers abuse your kids, remove them for no reason and then claim “absolute immunity” or “limited immunity” this this has to end.!

Dozens of CPS caseworkers caught lying, falsifying documents

Misconduct cases, while rare, indicative of intense workloads and pressure to close cases

  •  CPS officials say such violations are rare, but they have no way to track them. 
  •  Wrongdoing can stem from intense pressure to close cases quickly. 
  •  CPS discipline for misconduct can be inconsistent. 

By Andrea Ball and Eric Dexheimer / Published January 13, 2015

Houston CPS worker Michelle Robinson testifies during her trial at the Harris County Courthouse in October. Robinson was convicted of falsifying records, sentenced to a year probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine.Dave Rossman / For American-Statesman

When Child Protective Services received a complaint that a Harris County father had choked his teenage daughter, caseworker Michelle Robinson said she hurried to the house, conducted a thorough investigation, determined there was no merit to the allegations and closed the case.

Except she didn’t. In October, a Harris County jury convicted Robinson for falsifying CPS records, concluding that she’d lied when she said she’d interviewed key sources in the case and that she left the young girl in danger. Robinson was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine.

It wasn’t an isolated case. Since 2009, at least 50 CPS workers have been caught lying to prosecutors, ignoring court orders, falsifying state records or obstructing law enforcement investigations, according to an American-Statesman review of state and court documents.

At least four former CPS employees are currently facing criminal charges for their alleged misconduct.

State officials insist those cases are rare. The employees accused of misconduct found by the Statesman represent a fraction of the 3,400 investigators and foster care workers in the agency.

But the agency cannot definitively say how often it happens since it does not comprehensively track the number of people who were fired for such offenses. It also doesn’t count the number of CPS employees who were punished, but not fired, for such misconduct, because that information is stored only in employees’ personnel files, said Patrick Crimmins, spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Officials do have some sense of the scope of the problem because they receive reports of violations that have been confirmed by the Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General, the commission’s in-house watchdog. But those numbers don’t include misconduct that CPS handles internally.

Through a series of open records requests, the American-Statesman identified numerous employees accused of wrongdoing by CPS or the inspector general who were referred to local law enforcement agencies. The majority of those referrals were for lying on government documents to cover up sloppy casework, with caseworkers often saying they had visited children they had not. In other cases, employees failed to cooperate with law enforcement, lied on their travel reimbursement forms or refused to comply with a judge’s orders.

I think I’ve been very clear. In cases where you falsify documents, that’s a firing offense.

John Specia, commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services

State officials say they take swift action when they find such misconduct. John Specia, commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services, said lying by caseworkers is never acceptable.

“I think I’ve been very clear,” he said. “In cases where you falsify documents, that’s a firing offense.”

Yet consequences doled out by CPS are inconsistent. Some employees have been fired, but others were not punished at all, the paper’s analysis showed.

Additionally, some supervisors who meted out discipline to troubled workers were later accused of their own misconduct, which some child welfare advocates said contributes to poor morale on the front lines.

Former CPS investigator Dimple Patel, now a research associate at advocacy group TexProtects, says she saw caseworkers falsify documents “a great deal” during her time at the agency.

“Once, a supervisor actually changed a worker’s documentation to state that the worker interviewed the children when they actually did not,” she said. “That supervisor was caught as the printed documents did not match up with the things changed in our computer database. … They both still work for the agency.”

When Specia arrived in 2012, the commissioner made it very clear that he has a zero tolerance policy for such behavior, and indeed it seemed to happen less frequently, Patel said. But records show it still happens.

Pressure to close cases

While each case is different, one clear theme emerges in the personnel and investigation records: An unmanageable workload and intense pressure to close cases compels workers to cut corners.


Austin American-Statesman

In 2009, Texas’ Legislature ordered Child Protective Services to publicly record every abuse- and neglect-related death in the state – but those reports have not been thoroughly analyzed to help identify patterns to prevent future deaths until now.

Caseworkers obviously don’t enter the profession with the intent to lie about the safety of children, said Randy Burton with Justice for Children. But pressure to close investigations “come hell or high water” has plagued caseworkers for years and can lead to wrongdoing, he said.

“I think that pressure has also directly resulted in sloppy casework and finding any excuse by caseworkers to close cases,” said Burton, whose Houston-based nonprofit advocates for child safety. “Once falsification of records begins, it tends to become a pattern. The only way to cover up a lie is with another lie.”

The consequences can be devastating. In April 2013, a Corsicana infant was seriously injured by his parents after a CPS investigator failed to check out a neglect allegation against the family but said that she had.

“When CPS investigators don’t investigate those cases and lie about it in their reports, not only are they breaking the law but they are putting the children they are supposed to protect in danger,” said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Adam Muldrow, who prosecuted Robinson.

Neither Robinson nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

Investigating investigators

Allegations of wrongdoing come to the agency in a number of ways. Officials can receive complaints from prosecutors, defense attorneys, teachers or parents. CPS supervisors also have discovered misdeeds through mistakes in travel reimbursement forms, which raised questions about whether caseworkers actually saw the children.

From there, the agency scrutinizes the allegations. It also sends complaints to the Office of Inspector General, which launches its own investigation. If evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing is discovered, the case is referred to the local district attorney’s office.

While the inspector general’s work hasn’t resulted in a slew of arrests, CPS sometimes relies upon those investigations as a justification to punish or fire its employees. In one case, the office determined that a CPS investigator was working as a small-town police chief on state time. CPS fired the investigator.

Some regional offices have been accused of misdeeds multiple times. In Smith County, which includes Tyler, prosecutor Tiffani Wickel has reported at least six employees for wrongdoing in the past two years. In one case, three workers were accused of forging a signature on a removal affidavit to the court because the investigator said she was out of the office when it was due. The investigator quit, and two other employees were disciplined.

Wickel did not respond to questions about whether the women were charged and prosecuted for their alleged misconduct.

Police detectives leave Abilene’s CPS office during an investigation into mishandling of a severe neglect case. Police said the investigation was difficult because of the department’s relationship with CPS.Nellie Doneva / Abilene Reporter-News

In another case, three Abilene-area CPS workers were accused of obstructing a criminal investigation into the 2012 death of Tamryn Klapheke, who starved to death days after a CPS caseworker closed the case without visiting the child.

In that situation, former CPS regional director Bit Whitaker signed off on disciplinary action against a supervisor accused of subpar work involving the child. Whitaker, however, was later accused of wrongdoing in the same case. She was put on paid leave and allowed to retire while the Abilene Police Department investigated allegations that she concealed documents and medical records involving Tamryn and her sisters.

In July, a Taylor County grand jury indicted Whitaker on charges of tampering with physical evidence, a third-degree felony. Sgt. Lynn Beard with the Abilene Police Department says more indictments could come against other CPS employees.

Bit Whitaker was indicted on charges of tampering with physical evidence.

“It was very difficult,” Beard said. “We had to investigate people we know.”

In 2013, three CPS workers in Greenville — Laura Ard, Natalie Ausbie-Reynolds and Rebekah Thonginh-Ross — were criminally charged with tampering with evidence in the death of teenager Alicia Moore, who police say was murdered by her uncle after CPS had been warned the girl was in danger. Prosecutors say the three workers falsified documents to justify closing the case without conducting a thorough investigation.

Thonginh-Ross told officials she did it because she was under pressure to close cases and that she was only following Ard’s orders, according to a report by an Office of Inspector General investigator. Ard then blamed her supervisor for issuing an edict to reduce the office’s backlog of investigations, the document states.

“Ard said that the ‘state office’ was aware of the manner in which CPS was working,” the inspector general report states. “Ard also said that as long as CPS employees are paid at their current levels that this is the standard of work that could be expected from them.”

Contact Andrea Ball at 512-912-2506.

Next: State hopes analytics prevent child abuse deaths

Part 1: Gaps in protection

  • Missed signs could have prevented child deaths

  • State undercounts child abuse-related deaths

  • Agency warned 23 times before Brandon White death

  • Family on state radar in many child abuse deaths

Part 2: Stumbling blocks

  • Many child abuse death cases drag on for years

  • In some child abuse deaths, family can’t be found

  • Parents’ unmarried partners can pose threat to children

Part 3: Inside CPS

  • Many caseworkers caught lying, falsifying records

  • State hopes analytics prevent child abuse deaths

  • For CPS employees, danger not uncommon

  • Stress, low pay contribute to caseworker turnover

  • Officials say overhaul focuses on internal issues

Ongoing coverage

  • Placements with family members can be deadly for abused children

    At least 86 Texas children died after being abused or neglected by non-parent relatives over five years.

  • Investigation spurs lawmakers’ call for child protection agency changes

Data explorer

  • Child abuse and neglect fatality database

    See every child fatality report and many of the important data points that were used in this project. Those data points and the associated analysis represents the only comprehensive review of the reports since the state was required in 2009 by lawmakers to generate them.

5 thoughts on “From FB: DCFS/CFS workers accused of lying in court- disgusting!

  1. Hillsborough County Florida
    13th Circuit District Judicial Family Court System these people have ALL falsified court documents to indicate NO ABUSE regardless of my family having 56 pictures of very severe abuse in CPS custody including a chemical burn and strangulation. CPS took my grandchildren on January 22 2017 with No court order or warrant AFTER Jessica Chapel Sold her daughter’s to Maira Martinez of Gulf Coast Family Services for the sum of$1,200. Judge Jack Espinosa signed a court ordered to remove the girls two weeks later. Listed here is EVERYONE who falsified court documents after the initial sale of the children.
    Gulf Coast Family Services
    Jante Medlock
    Maira Martinez
    Paul Penhale
    Paula Berrelis
    Angelina Abbate
    Keanu Robles
    CPS Officer
    Courtney Dennison
    Guardian ad Litem Program
    Omodele Cordero
    Tabitha Lambert
    Attorney General Office
    Chris Phillips and the
    Honorable Kim Vance Hernandez
    GM Tracy Ellis
    Hon. Joel Lazerus
    Gulf Coast Family Services caseworker Jante Medlock facilitated the original abuse of my grandchildren by making them spend four hours a week unsupervised visits with Jessica Chapel and Justin Meckler a pedophile Known to Gulf Coast Family Services as such. Jessica was present when he molested her children. Every complaint was swept under the rug until my Athena came back from a visit and told us that her mother had told her that she Wasn’t hanging out with her daddy this weekend because she was going to have to be selling her ass for $600. The Guardian ad Litem who had been a ghost until after they were illegally removed snapped at me that she didn’t care about my concerns for my grandchildren safety. That was Omodele Cordero. They were immediately placed in the custody of pedophile and child predator Sheila Lee who molested my grandchildren and let her “friends” molest them as well. My grandchildren we’re strangled, stabbed in the head with a fork. Eyes goudged and beaten regularly. My Ivy was left in a dog cage outside in the rain for crying for her Daddy. When Athena was stabbed in the head with a fork my son asked what happened to her. Her eyes filled with tears and she said she fell. Ivy said nuh uh Daddy they hurt us when they take us downstairs. Every injury and disturbing conversation was reported to the courts and the result was that we were all punished by missed visits with no explanation and the children were brought to visits virtually Starving and with bloody wounds. Each and Every Officer of the 13th Circuit District Judicial Family Court System falsified court documents to indicate NO ABUSE regardless of the pictures we have to the contrary.
    This corrupt court thought it Better to send these children to Luis and Julia Chapel who only conversation About the children was that her daughter Should have aborted them. Luis Chapel is a pedophile who molested his own daughter until she grew breasts. My grandchildren we’re purposely trafficked by the Hillsborough County Family Court System and are Still suffering hideously. No Justice or Help for children in this Corrupt Family Court System.

      • I recently had two cases with DCFS investigators that indicated me. My own family brought DCFS into my life and the DCFS investigator lied during my appeal and I never got anything at all for my second appeal that I was charged with after talking to the investigator 1 time and then again never and I was indicated for my brother assaulting me and holding me hostage in front of my two children. Now I’m fighting for my youngest one cuz a judge was bias during my custody case that my brother sided with my baby daddy on. Reading the investigative file there was BS written all over the first case. She lied during the hearing saying that she told me of the second investigation; which I have the entire interview recorded. Sadly, this all stemmed from a jealous and hateful former friend who got my family to side with her and also my youngest sons father and me asking my father for money to help me pay for my rent to keep a roof over my kids head. Instead they call bogusly and claim I abused my 3 year old and my entire family lied. My brother being an attorney (of course he knows how to lie good. He molested me when younger and also physically abused me all my life.) DCFS is evil and they do whatever they want….more so if the people they get the call from have money and a damn title (like my brother and father; who my father is the CEO of a non-profit organization in Chicago) go ahead look up Harold T. Rice, Jr. He has a great smile and speaks of all for family, but yet won’t even help his one child keep a roof over his grandchildren head, but helps the father who has neglected and placed my son in danger on more than 4 occasions….and my father calls me crazy. Ask why his oldest grandson came back home (cuz my father threaten to beat his ass like he did mine when I was younger and laughed about how he got away with it and nothing was ever done to him).

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