If Child Protective Services (CPS) in Texas ends up at your door on a tip from a relative or neighbor saying that your children are abused or neglected, what are the odds that CPS will remove your children from your home?
It turns out that the answer isn’t the same for everyone. The answer may depend largely on where you live — and the color of your skin.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services issued a report that shows a sharp divergence between the way that families of color and white families are treated by the system. Throughout the state, it’s far more probable that African-American and Latino families will be reported for suspected abuse or neglect than Anglo families in the first place. Once CPS becomes involved in a case, nonwhite parents are also far more likely to see their children pulled into foster care than Anglo parents — even when there is substantially less reason to be concerned.
The severity of the problem varies from county to county within the state. For example, the state average indicates that African-American children run twice the risk that Anglo children do of being put into foster care. However, for African-American children in Travis County, that figure goes up to eight times as often!
When you take into account the fact that data consistently indicate that race has no connection to neglect and abuse, it becomes pretty evident that families of color are still fighting racial bias. The bias is evident in how often CPS gets reports on families of color as opposed to white families. It’s also evident in how CPS responds to those reports.
Once CPS gets involved with your family, it can spell disaster — even if there’s no valid reason for the agency to be involved. If your children get pulled into the foster care system, you may find the whole system tilted against your efforts to get them back out. A family law attorney can protect your rights and look after your interests — and that may also help combat any racial bias you’re experiencing.