McLennan County CPS sees increase in child removals - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

MCLENNAN COUNTY

McLennan County CPS sees increase in child removals

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MCLENNAN COUNTY - Increases in drug use and domestic disputes have caused a surge in the number of cases for Child Protective Services workers.

When more kids are removed from unstable homes, there are both short and long term effects. It doesn't just impact those kids and families, it also impacts the legal system.

Every Tuesday, CPS holds multiple removal hearings in 74th District Court in Waco.

Judge Gary Coley decides if a child needs to be removed from their home and where they go.

"These cases that have come before the court have been legitimate cases that have been instances of severe abuse, severe neglect that have put the kids in real danger in that living environment," says Judge Coley.

CPS Program Director Tamikia Jackson says these removals have been happening more often.

"In the past few months, we have seeing a slight increase in removals mainly by contributed to cases where was have increased meth use coupled with domestic violence, mental health issues and lack of support for families," says Jackson.

There have already been 15 more cases in McLennan County this fiscal year than this time last year, leading to more than 200 kids being removed. Including last year, there are now more than 500 kids in some type of alternative care.

Jackson says removals are always the last resort.

"Before they come into care we do everything we possibly can to not remove the kids so they can stay in family situation and not have to come into foster care," says Jackson.

What happens to the kids once they're removed depends on their situation. Some are sent to emergency shelters, foster homes or taken in by willing relatives.

While there's been an increase in cases in McLennan County, the number of removals in Bell and Coryell Counties have declined.     

Judge Coley says the uptick could cause problems in the future because CPS cases have to be resolved within a year

"Seven, eight, nine months from now we're going to have to have a way to process this significant increase of cases through the court system and it impacts everybody,” says Judge Coley. “It impacts caseworkers from CPS, the prosecutors from the DA's Office, the appointed attorney's for the children and for the parents and the court docket."

Click here to report child abuse.

Click here for information on how to become a foster parent.
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