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Child Protective Services and Texas Hill Country Wineries: Houston Matters for Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

Kristopher Sharp entered the foster care system in Texas when he was 10 years old. Until he aged out of the system at 18, he was placed in 20 different foster homes, mostly group homes. Along the way, he suffered abuse. He says face-to-face visits with Child Protective Services caseworkers were rare. On this edition […]

Kristopher Sharp entered the foster care system in Texas when he was 10 years old. Until he aged out of the system at 18, he was placed in 20 different foster homes, mostly group homes. Along the way, he suffered abuse. He says face-to-face visits with Child Protective Services caseworkers were rare.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Sharp, who advocates on behalf of foster kids in Texas, about his experience and about challenges facing CPS, which were highlighted in a recent series of investigative reports by The Austin American-Statesman. Then, we talk with reporters from the American-Statesman about the paper’s investigation into abuse- and neglect-related deaths in the CPS system. (After spending the past six months analyzing nearly 800 reports, Statesman reporters found CPS missed some patterns and key pieces of information that might have helped protect some children). We learn what the newspaper uncovered in their investigation and what they hope the series will accomplish. And we talk with Patrick Crimmins from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services about what steps are underway, and what may still be in store, for CPS, in its effort to more effectively address neglect and abuse cases across the state.

Also this hour: We preview an event called “Speak Your Mind.” It’s a community conversation on teen and young adult mental health taking place Thursday at Clear Springs High School in League City. We talk with social worker Melissa Tucker and teenager Matt Ferree, who works with the Gulf Coast chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and will tell his story at Thursday’s event. We discuss warning signs, steps to take, and resources available here in Greater Houston for young people with mental illness.

And: We welcome back “Wineslinger” Russell Kane. He writes a blog about Texas wines called Vintage Texas, and he’s the author of books about wine, including The Wineslinger Chronicles. We talk with him about his new book, Texas Hill Country Wineries.

(Image Courtesy: Austin American-Statesman)

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