A group of concerned citizens gathered together on the steps of Houston’s federal courthouse on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, to voice their concern over how custody decisions are made by Texas Child Protective Services (CPS). They turned out to rally behind an Arizona woman who claims that the state agency did not allow her to retain the custody of her young nephew, but approved for him to be put up for adoption by a foster family instead.
The woman had earlier in the year filed a civil rights lawsuit against CPS with the support of a community activist group. They all maintain that the state agency has long employed a policy of taking black children from their parents and extended families and placing them with white ones. The group argues this has taken away their ability to build kinship families.
In the case of this particular lawsuit, the paternal aunt of a 4-year-old boy was originally granted custody of her nephew after he had been taken from parents. However, when it came to his younger brother, a 3-year-old, she was denied the opportunity to take on custody of him. CPS is alleged to have worked to facilitate his adoption to a foster family instead.
Statistics show that black children live in poverty more than those of any other race in Houston. They are the demographic that has been shown to have the highest risk of being denied familiar placements as well.
One of the individuals, who attended the rally, argues this CPS policy is slowly ruining black communities. Many in attendance also expressed concern over the practice, something they liken to a type of modern-day slavery whereby children are being taken and exchanged for money in the foster care system.
This racially-based type of preferential treatment is not all that uncommon according to a 2013 study done by the Center for the Elimination of Disapportionality and Disparities. It found that in Texas, black children are two times more likely to be taken from their families. Their chance of being placed in foster care is more than four times the rate of either Hispanic or white children.
If you know of a child that has been removed from their home where CPS has expressed an unwillingness to place the child with relatives; then you should seek out the legal advice of a Houston child custody attorney.
Source: chron.com, “Federal lawsuit accuses CPS of discriminating against black children, families,” Gabrielle Banks, May 23, 2017