Foster child runs away from CPS, dies after being hit by car

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Foster child runs away from CPS, dies after being hit by car

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A visitation room is set up wit a bed as a possible solution to the growing number of foster children and pacing the available foster parents needed at a child protective services office in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

A 15-year-old foster girl who ran away from Texas Child Protective Services was killed in Houston on Sunday after she was hit by a car, the Dallas Morning News has reported.

The girl was staying at a CPS office when she and another 17-year-old foster child ran away, the newspaper reported. According to the report, the other girl suffered minor injuries, was taken to the hospital and released.

For more than a year, Child Protective Services has been struggling to find temporary homes for foster children, many of whom are older and have behavioral issues. Because the state has not been able to find them immediately placements, many end up sleeping at CPS officers and hotels.

The Austin American-Statesman reported in October that the number of children staying in such places had skyrocketed. Between January and October 2016, 330 foster children — more than four times as many as last year during the same period — were been forced to stay in hotels or offices.

The last-resort placements has caused numerous safety problems for both children and the CPS employees who care for them.

Last summer, two Austin foster girls stole a CPS caseworker’s car, sped up Interstate 35 at 100 mph and ultimately crashed the car into a fence. No one was hurt.

In July, a girl staying in a hotel broke another girl’s nose while fighting over a Facebook post. The CPS employee jumped in, was hit in the head and suffered a concussion.

That same month, a girl being housed at a hotel was talking to her mother on the phone and got so upset that she started yelling and threatening to hurt herself and other children. The police came and took her to a hospital.

In August, a foster child being driven to a CPS office threw a bottle of water at the driver, tried to grab the keys while the car was running and broke the key in the ignition. Another child threatened a caseworker, then wrote profanities on an office wall.

In October, CPS started using armed security guards to protect caseworkers staying with these children, mostly teenagers, at the main CPS office on Summit Drive.

“We are extremely concerned about the increase in foster youth without placements,” said Patrick Crimmins, spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said at the time. “From the security and safety standpoint, we have to be mindful both for the youth and for the caseworkers who unfortunately are in these less-than-ideal temporary placements. Security personnel, when they are requested, are there only as an extra precaution to protect both the caseworkers and the youth in offices.”

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