Federal Court Blocks Texas’ $100K Daily Fine

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The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked an order that would fine Texas $100,000 daily over foster child abuse.

U.S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi ruled Monday that Texas would face daily fines due to its apparent failure to properly investigate reports of abuse and neglect of children in its foster care system, as reported by The Dallas Express.

The 427-page ruling detailed numerous first-hand accounts of alleged child abuse from foster children in the Texas foster care system.

At a three-day hearing in December 2023, the then 18-year-old Jackie Juarez recounted stories from her time in foster care.

Juarez told the court that at age 15, her case worker gave her an iPod for Christmas that could receive texts, and a male staff member began to text her flirtatious messages several times a day. When she reported the incident, child welfare officials did not fire the staff member but instead took away her iPod, she claimed, per KSTX.

During the same hearing, a report was presented in which a child recalled experiencing a dozen instances of neglect, sexual abuse, and physical abuse while residing at a foster care facility called C3 Christian Academy. The child claimed to have had their jaw broken and been tasered.

This is the third time the State of Texas has been held in contempt of court since the lawsuit was filed more than a decade ago.

In June of 2022, a federal court questioned leaders from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services regarding multiple cases reported of child abuse in the foster care system.

One of the cases reviewed shares the experiences of two girls who were allegedly assaulted. A caretaker reportedly left the young children alone in a motel and asked two men to check in on them. The men are believed to have assaulted the children, as previously reported by DX.

Another situation discussed involved The Refuge Ranch, a residential treatment center in Bastrop County for children who have been victims of human trafficking. A worker at the facility was accused of engaging in sexual behavior with the children staying there. The same worker also allegedly sold naked images of the children to buy alcoholic beverages and illegal narcotics for the kids.

At least one employee at The Refuge Ranch was arrested due to the allegations.

Upon Monday’s ruling, the state appealed and asked for a stay in the case to avoid the accruing fines. However, Jack denied it.

Now that the Fifth Circuit has blocked the order and thus the fines, while further district court proceedings have been temporarily paused.

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