BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – The number of Brazos County children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect has gone up significantly over the last year.
According to data released by the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office, removals are up 68% and hearings are up 96%. From July 1, 2019-July 1, 2020, the DA’s offices caseload was at 54 filings. From July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, filings increased 116% to 117 total filings.
“What we found was that in our Brazos Valley area, all of those cases increased,” said Jarvis Parsons, Brazos County District Attorney. “For example, in Madison County, and Grimes County, there were 10% increases, 50% increases, but nothing was a stark as the amount that we had where we essentially doubled our cases during this pandemic.”
Currently, the district attorney’s office has one prosecutor and one clerk assigned to child protective cases. To help safeguard children, the district attorney’s office has requested the creation of a new CPS attorney position to fortify their stance against abused and neglected children. As part of the proposed 2021- 2022 budget, the district attorney’s office would hire one additional attorney and clerk.
“Hopefully, a new attorney coming in there can take that load off, and then they can have more time to look at these cases and make better decisions as opposed to having one person with a ton of cases,” said Parsons.
The district attorney’s office conducted a survey earlier this year to determine if and to what extent the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office is understaffed. Counties with similar populations of Brazos County have double and, in some cases, triple the staff.
|County||Population||CPS Attorneys||CPS Staff||CPS Investigators|
|Johnson County||180,513||2||1||1 provided by CPS|
|Guadalupe County||170,418||2||1||1 provided by CPS|
Kimberly Martinez, Executive Director of Voices for Children, is thrilled about the new resources coming to the county.
“The stronger the resource there, the higher likelihood that the families are going to continue to receive the services, and their cases are going to be pushed and moved along,” said Martinez.
Martinez says it takes a collaborative effort from multiple agencies to ensure the safety of Brazos Valley children.
“It truly does take all of the agencies working together so that if one can’t do it, maybe the other one can,” said Martinez. “I think is important for our community to know that we do have some wonderful collaborative organizations that work very well together to ensure that that children and families are kept safe.
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