A records review by the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune has disclosed that workers at a center for distressed children provoked seven girls with developmental disabilities to fight as staffers laughed and cheered.
The 2008 incident, one of more than 250 recent cases of abuse and mistreatment in state residential treatment centers that were uncovered by reporters, caused bites and bruises but drew no public outcry or criminal indictments.
Reporters reviewed cases that had been documented by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services but not previously disclosed. Among the records, they found documentation that residential treatment center workers had choked and punched residents, that residents were forced to strip down to their underwear, and that staff members and a staffer’s relative had engaged in sexual acts with residents. The centers are paid by the state to provide care. All of them remain in operation today.
“Why I’m outraged is, the department hid this from us,” said state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs. “This is another example of us having to find out about systemic failures through the press, as opposed to proactively from the department.”
Not long after the incident at Daystar Residential Inc. in Manvel, Texas police stumbled on to cell phone videos of workers at a Corpus Christi institution forcing fights between male residents with intellectual disabilities. That case prompted public outrage, criminal convictions for six workers, and enhanced security measures at state institutions.
Earlier posts here.