A federal court recently questioned leaders from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) regarding various issues that have resulted in unsafe situations for children in foster care.

Among the various cases reviewed was one where two girls were allegedly assaulted. The case involved a caretaker who reportedly left the young children in a motel while she traveled to another state. The caretaker asked two men to check in on the girls while she was gone, and the men are believed to have assaulted the young children.

Another incident discussed involved a minor who apparently was able to successfully take a gun from an on-duty supervisor who had fallen asleep.

The police report obtained by Fox 4 reads, “the alleged perpetrator was the overnight staff tasked with supervising the four children. One of the children allegedly removed the gun from the alleged perpetrator’s vehicle while it was parked at the facility.”

After posting a picture with the gun online, the child and three others “returned to the facility later in the night, and one of the children returned the gun to another staff member; law enforcement arrested the child who posted the picture to social media.”

In addition, the court also heard upsetting details regarding the deaths of children in state care. One was a 5-year-old child who died after drowning at a beach party, and the other was a teenager who allegedly suffered abuse from his foster family. The teenager was later run over by a car in what may have been a suicide attempt.

Federal Judge Janis Jack condemned DFPS leaders’ actions while expressing disappointment that there are no safeguards to prevent personnel who had been charged with a crime at one DFPS location from being rehired at another site.

Another situation discussed involved The Refuge, a shelter in Bastrop, Texas, for children who have been victims of human trafficking, where a facility worker was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with the shelter’s inhabitants. The worker allegedly sold naked images of the children and then used the money to buy alcoholic beverages and illegal narcotics for the minors.

The federal court expressed confusion about why there was no record in the state database to indicate that the worker had previously been fired from a past position in the state juvenile system.

DFPS executives told the court in response that state law restricts their access to specific data, so they cannot view such information.

It is anticipated that the state will reply to recommendations made during the hearing within the next two weeks.