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Comptroller's Desk
One Heartbroken Grandma

My recent investigation into the state's foster care system turned this One Tough Grandma into One Heartbroken Grandma.

I am calling for a massive overhaul of the foster care system in a special report, Forgotten Children, which details a widespread crisis in the Texas foster care system.

They are everybody's children and nobody's children. They are the forgotten children. Some of them find homes with caring foster parents, or in treatment centers with experienced and caring providers, and some do not.

Some have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused while in the system; some have run away and joined the ranks of the missing. A few have even died at the hands of those entrusted with their care. I am appalled at the conditions too many of our foster children must endure.

I challenge any defender of the status quo to put their child or grandchild in some of the places I've seen for one day, much less for a lifetime.

We must raise the bar on quality, make the foster care system more accountable, ensure the health and safety of all foster care children, and provide a brighter future for foster children.

Fortunately, I did find facilities that treat children well.

In each and every instance where children were getting the best care, the caregivers are working closely and openly with the community. Each facility needs that close relationship and support from the communities they serve. Otherwise, the children suffer.

Any society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members. My investigation shows that Texas can and must be judged harshly.

I will monitor changes made--or not made--as a result of this special report, and for the sake of our forgotten children, I will report back to the people of Texas in six weeks and six months and as long as it takes to fix this broken system and save all of our children.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn
Texas Comptroller