AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week, the Texas Tribune reported more than half a dozen child abuse investigators have resigned or are actively looking for a job as a result of one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s directives earlier this year.
The directive asked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of transgender children for child abuse if they seek gender-affirming care, which can range from going to the doctor’s office for social transitioning advice to treatments like puberty blockers.
As KXAN reported last month, Child Protective Services investigations supervisor Randa Mulanax testified to a Travis County judge this directive is part of the reason she decided to resign from her role.
“I have always felt that at the end of the day the department has children’s best interests at heart and the families’ best interests at heart,” said Mulanax. “I no longer feel that way with this order.”
Mulanax, who has recently resigned from CPS, said she’s not testifying on behalf of the department but as a concerned, public citizen.
Mulanax said the new provisions mean DFPS is overreaching its responsibilities. She said the department isn’t qualified to intervene in medical decisions made between parents, their children and doctors.
“They’ve already recommended these treatments,” Mulanax said. “It is not our position to step in and say that they’re incorrect.”
She added the directive puts the agency in a compromising situation, to which the state’s attorney said, “Your personal opinion of the law doesn’t change what the law is.”
Now, with eight investigator positions that have been posted on the state’s job board since the governor’s directive came out Feb. 22, there’s concern this could lead to even more strife for foster kids in the system.
“According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ youth mental health, 19% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ, well above the representation in the general populace. And these youth are already at much higher risk than their other peers for a suicide attempt, in last year, three times higher than LGBTQ youth who are not in foster care,” Casey Pick with The Trevor Project said Tuesday.
“Now having an overburdened system, with even fewer resources to see to their needs and protection, it is incredibly concerning and deeply harmful to these youth,” Pick continued.
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.
“Our research has shown that nearly 40% of trans and nonbinary youth in foster care report having been kicked out, abandoned or running away due to treatment based on their LGBTQ identity — that’s more than twice the rate of their cisgender LGBTQ peers in foster care,” she said.
KXAN requested a statement from DFPS on the recent resignations. The agency stated:
“In all investigations we follow state law to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred, and we will continue to do so.”