More than 210 minors in the care of the state became sex slavery victims after they went “missing.”

How is it that an agency in the essential chain of receiving reports of predators employed by government schools has failed hundreds of children?

In May 2023, Texas Scorecard’s investigative series “Destroying Souls” (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) examined how the Lone Star State is a hotbed of sex slavery. It is a trade that targets the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

This is a topic around which more alarms are sounding, as proven by the recent release and surprisingly strong box office performance of the independent film “Sound of Freedom,” starring Jim Caviezel. Texas Scorecard reviewed the movie, which is based on the true story of former Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Tim Ballard’s quest to save two children from the slave trade. He would later co-found Operation Underground Railroad, which works to rescue children from sex slavery.

The establishment media’s hostile response to this movie further highlights that special interests are determined to keep attention away from the issue.

One key battleground in the war to protect children is government schools. As previously reported, scandals of sexual assault and grooming have exploded statewide at these supposed institutions of learning. Reportedly, a citizens research project found that school district superintendents are not reporting incidents of grooming and sexual abuse to the Texas Education Agency through the agency’s reporting portal.

State law requires superintendents to submit such reports to the state agency. TEA replied that those reports can also be submitted via fax, postal mail, etc. and claimed that the agency itself is following and enforcing the law.

But that is just one of many requirements. Reportedly, superintendents must also send a report to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Records reveal another chink in this system that is supposed to protect our kids.

Sex Trafficked Minors

In multiple investigative series launched in November 2022 and March 2023, Texas Scorecard has examined the scandal-plagued DFPS, the parent organization of Child Protective Services. After CPS illegally took a 4-year-old child from his parents in 2019, the agency’s reputation has continued to sink. In 2023, a father and a married couple claimed their children were wrongfully taken from them. They provided what appeared to be DFPS documentation that reversed the original findings that led to the seizures. DFPS would not comment on these documents.

A Texas Senate December 2022 report highlighted shoddy investigative work done by DFPS from 2010 to 2020. DFPS also reportedly has defied state law.

But are children in the care of DFPS safe? Can parents trust this agency to help purge predators from government schools?

In March 2023, Texas Scorecard requested from DFPS records of how many kids in their care were reported as runaways. We also asked how many were identified as sex trafficking victims after running away. A record was received in May.

The provided data states that—from Fiscal Years 2019 through 2022—more than 210 “children and youth” who went “missing from DFPS conservatorship” were identified as having been sex slaves during their “missing” period. Peak enslavement was Fiscal Year 2020—during the government lockdowns—at 68. It dropped to 43 in FY 2021 but climbed back to 56 in FY 2022.

There is a possibility that the number of reported enslaved minors may not be the actual number. In Texas Scorecard’s May investigative series of sex slavery in Texas, Jaco Booyens, who leads a ministry that combats sex slavery, said that reported numbers of sex trafficking in the state and nation do not capture the full picture. “We’re dealing with a crime where 1 percent of the crime is reported,” he said. “Sex trafficking victims do not self-report.”

DFPS’ reported total of 213 sex enslaved “children and youth” is out of the more than 6,600 who went “missing” and were recovered during that time period. But DFPS records report that 790 “children and youth” remained “missing.”

This data did not surprise Krista McIntire, a CPS consultant and parent advocate who has long been a critic of the agency. McIntire noted that there are repeated pleas for more taxpayer funding of the agency. As previously reported, state taxpayer funding of DFPS has exploded since Fiscal Year 2014 and rose to $1.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 (a more than 92 percent increase). The argument given is that more money equals agency success.

McIntire doesn’t agree. “Year after year, child welfare professionals and their partners are failing families, most notably the children they’re attempting to save. In my now eight years as a parent advocate and consultant, the only winning party is the child welfare business as a whole,” McIntire told Texas Scorecard. “From the innocent families wrapped up in the chaos, to the families with real problems, the agency is incompetent, corrupt, and the No. 1 perpetrator of the irreversible trauma these families experience.”

This record is one of many DFPS scandals. It was widely reported in 2022 that a CPS staffer in Houston encouraged a 14-year-old girl in CPS care to prostitute herself. This suggests DFPS is not an agency that prioritizes children’s safety. If these stories of abuse weren’t enough, in 2022 bureaucrats led a deep state rebellion against public servants’ attempts to protect kids from gender mutilation procedures.

Texas Scorecard asked DFPS for comment, but no response was received before publication.

Both State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) and State Rep. James Frank (R–Wichita Falls) chair committees that oversee DFPS. Neither responded to a request for comment.

Failed Defense Network

So far, three major flaws have been identified in the system that should be protecting our children. As previously reported, incidents of school district employees grooming, sexually assaulting, or harassing students are not required by state law to be reported to district parents. Reportedly, superintendents are not reporting incidents to TEA.

The third is DFPS’ failure to protect minors in their care. They are one of the agencies to which superintendents are required to report these immoral acts. This is added to the list of their ongoing systemic failures.

It is clear the system is broken and is set up to stifle the abused.

Brave, singular voices can join together to topple organizations and individuals who have been free to prey on the innocent for decades. Texans need to hear directly from parents who have been affected by abusers.

If your child or a child you know has been groomed or sexually assaulted by a government school employee, please email rmontoya@texasscorecard.com or kmarshall@texasscorecard.com. We will protect your identity upon your request.

This article has been updated since publication. 

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.

RELATED POSTS

7/19/24 The Federal Land Grab Coming for Texas

-Texas and New Mexico Lawmakers Push Back Against Federal Land Grab -Patrick Forms Committee to Scrutinize Utility Companies’ Preparedness for Hurricane Beryl -New Research Pushes for Equal Treatment of All Children in CPS