CPS Puts Lutheran Social Services On Placement Suspension - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/2/08

CPS Puts Lutheran Social Services On Placement Suspension

A local foster care agency is under fire with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. CPS has put Lutheran Social Services in Lubbock on placement suspension. This means the agency can no longer place any foster kids in homes until the situation is resolved.

NewsChannel 11 learned Wednesday that CPS has no plans to remove the 23 children currently in Lutheran Social Services' foster homes here in Lubbock.  CPS has determined the 23 children are not in any type of danger. The placement suspension revolves around failure on the agency's part to keep up with certain documentation.

CPS has actually had their eye on Lutheran Social Services for the past few months.  "A few months ago the State of Texas informed us that they were not happy with our documentation and so we've started working on that trying to correct it," says Katherine Kerr, the Vice President of Public Relations for Lutheran Social Services.

But just this past week Lutheran Social Services learned the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was not satisfied with their rate of progress. CPS chose to put the agency on placement suspension.

"What we're looking at here is a pause. We're stepping back a minute and saying let's not put anymore kids into the system until we make sure we do everything to make sure its safe," says Greg Cunningham with CPS.

Lutheran Social Services first came under scrutiny after CPS discovered missing documentation several months ago. "Sometimes a signature is missing or maybe a notation was missed on say a medical administration and so again this is strictly documentation issues and not quality of care or safety of the children issues," says Kerr.

But Greg Cunningham says, at CPS, safety and documentation go hand in hand. "Really documentation is crucial, when we go look into a file of a foster home that's the way we know certain steps have been taken to make sure a foster home is safe," says Cunningham.

With more than 400 kids waiting for adoption in Texas and a major foster home shortage, this placement suspension could not come at a worse time for CPS. "The bottom line is more important than numbers is the safety of these foster homes and we can't in good conscience put kids into a foster home unless we know for sure we've done everything we can to make sure they're safe," says Cunningham.

"We've got an aggressive plan of action that we're working and we anticipate to resolving the questions and having the placement hold lifted soon," says Kerr.

CPS has not determined how long Lutheran Social Services will be on placement suspension. The Amarillo Branch was also put on suspension for similar reasons.

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