Examining Harris County’s Flawed Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations and Their Outcomes



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This research project focuses on six Harris County area families who experienced wrongful separation from their children. In their cases, the children suffered from pre-existing health conditions or obtained accidental injuries, which their parents tended to accordingly. They were met with allegations and flawed child abuse investigations due to a single suspicion by a child abuse pediatrician based on the types of injuries. The initial purpose of my research was to learn their stories and examine the sustainability of newly passed Texas legislation concerning incorrect child abuse diagnoses and emergency custody removals by highlighting the lack of trauma care resources in Texas Children's Hospital's medical cases; however, after conducting an in-depth content analysis of existing medical & sociological literature, and news articles that reveal how institutionally-rooted racial and socioeconomic division contributes to the biased design of the child welfare system on a broader scale, I am now focused on working to prevent flawed investigations & disparate outcomes. In the case of the families that I focused on, their Child Protective Services investigations and criminal child abuse charges were dropped. The way that medical facilities and CPS handle cases has been argued to be attributed to race. Recent changes do not seem to be producing substantial improvements. Continuous dialogue and change are necessary. I partially agree with scholars' proposed solution to abolish the child welfare system and reallocate funds directly to families & community care programs only because it is possible that it'll cause an adverse effect.