With a legislative session around the corner, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services is under the microscope with good reason. While lawmakers and advocates are looking for ways to improve an agency that is failing Texas children and taxpayers alike, the corruption is finally coming to light.

When an agency has caseworkers averaging less that $35,000 a year and a daily caseload of over a dozen cases, it shouldn’t come to a surprise that the turnover rate within the first 12 months of being hired is 46 percent.

In a recent confidential memo leaked to the Austin American Statesman, DFPS proposed a salary increase to top- level agency bosses, to a minimum of $100,000.

Instead of increasing the average salary for caseworkers and proposing an overhaul of the agency’s policies, they would prefer to throw money into already failing leadership.

Once this information had surfaced, the DFPS made their plan of action to go on a witch hunt with the Inspector General for the employee whom leaked the information. Before this story could surface for the general public, the agency changed the figure to a 10 percent raise for regional directors.

Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission defended their actions to the Statesman saying, “Big picture, this is about principle”.

Texans will have to determine what principle, precisely, that would be.

If the status quo is more about exposing reckless government spending of taxpayers’ dollars than protecting Texas families a DFPS overhaul should be inevitable this spring when lawmakers meet.

Legislators are seemingly in agreement that change must happen. The question is: will the legislature once again propose simply giving a broken state agency more money or will they insist on fundamental reforms designed to put families ahead of high-level bureaucrats?.

Ashley Davis-Nelson

Ashley Davis-Nelson is the Development Associate for Empower Texans. Ashley is a native Houstonian, and an alumna of University of Houston, where she studied Hospitality. While at UH, she participated in fundraising for Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy, Breast Cancer Awareness and Education, served as Vice President for College Republicans, and was a Senator in Student Government Association.