Dr. Candice Matthews Addresses Texas Senate Committee on Child Protective Services Regarding Compliance Inaccuracies and Fabrications
AUSTIN, TX / ACCESSWIRE / May 14, 2022 / Fabricated and flawed processes in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services were exposed by Dr. Candice Matthews at a May 3 special meeting of the Texas Senate Committee on Child Protective Services.
Dr. Candice Matthews serves as the CEO and Executive Director for the Children of Diversity Foster Adoption Agency located in the Houston, Texas area, and she chronicled a history of inaccurate compliance reports on file at DFPS and a history of retaliation against providers when protests against the mishandling of information are mounted.
Dr. Candice Matthews Labels Mishandling of Information as “Mockery”
In a lengthy opening statement presenting a compilation of facts established via annual compliance reports, Dr. Matthews created a firm case for not only mismanagement of the DFPS investigations but also retaliation efforts against minority providers and the targeting of smaller providers – largely minority and woman-led – with stiff fees for ongoing investigations.
While fees should be returned when an investigation is determined to not have merit, Dr. Candice Matthews said this practice is not firmly in place and leaves providers paying the price for administrative backlogs within DFPS and the legal system.
Matthews described the backlog of investigations, the targeting of minority providers, and the inaccuracies across compliance reports as “making a mockery of the Texas administrative code as it relates to due process.”
Through detailed reports, Matthew chronicled the reductions in her annual census of referrals to Children of Diversity as she began to protest inaccuracies in reporting.
“It is well-known referrals are being sent to preferred agencies of the department,” Matthews explained. “The issue is not that there are not enough referrals in general. The issue is that the department is playing favorites and systemically trying to put certain providers out of business simply by reducing their placements.”
When this is coupled with punitive fees, many agencies do not have the ability to fight back. Matthews explained to the committee that fees are assessed based on “reason to believe” investigations of an organization. The investigation can sit in administrative review with no conclusion, and the fees that were charged prior to the investigation launching remain on hold.
If findings are overturned, funds are theoretically returned, but backlogs leave agencies facing critical financial shortfalls and budgetary constraints.
Matthews described the systemic issues as denying providers their due process via records tampering of compliances reports, assessing fees, and increasing monitoring of providers while these processes unfold due to manpower shortages.
“It’s not our problem,” Matthews explained, “It’s a structural problem”
Dr. Candice Matthews also told the committee, led by Senator Lois Kolkhorst, that the problem creates the most difficulties for children who need placement and referral via a provider best able to address their needs.
In recent years, Matthews said she consistently received referrals outside of the placement types Children of Diversity is designed to handle.
“That does not benefit anyone, and it clearly does not benefit the child,” Dr. Candice Matthews said.
Matthews said this is amplifying a care crisis in the state of Texas, particularly for minority children who face more difficulties in the adoption process and foster placement.
The May 3 hearing is one of multiple special committee meetings focused on generating new reforms in DFPS and increasing results, such as adoption, for children receiving care through the foster system.
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SOURCE: Dr. Candice Matthews
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