Child Protective Services (CPS) fired an employee last week after cell phone footage surfaced of the worker telling a hungry 14-year-old-girl in foster care to become a prostitute in order to feed herself.
“If you gonna be a ho — be a real ho,” the unidentified CPS employee said in the video recorded by the teenage girl.
Keisha Bazley, the teenager’s mother, told Fox 26 that the CPS employee encouraged her daughter to prostitute herself to make money because she used to “do the same thing” to make ends meet.
“When I saw the video with the lady,” Bazley said. “It’s like — like my soul left my body.”
Bazley, who has eight other children, said her daughter had displayed behavioral problems, prompting her to turn to Child Protective Services.
However, after discovering how one of its employees advised her daughter, the family brought the case to a judge.
Mike Schneider, the family’s attorney, told Fox 26 that the CPS employee said the child, who lived in a hotel before moving into a foster home, could “basically” make $1,500 a day if she sold her body for sex.
The family law attorney said that CPS had hoped to dismiss the case and get the teenager out of the state’s care. Still, when speaking to the judge, the agency said nothing about the video’s existence during a recent court hearing.
“I think they’re threatened by the fact that this video even exists,” Schneider said. “They know about it.”
“The fact that they didn’t think it was relevant that their own agency is trying to prostitute a child, that’s incredibly disingenuous, to have a hearing and not bring that to the court’s attention,” he added.
Officials from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) apologized to Bazley’s family and issued a statement to Fox 26 regarding the employee and the video.
“DFPS is aware of the video and has taken action,” Melissa Landford told Fox 26. “The person in the video – who was employed as CPS support staff — was dismissed from her position August 10.”
“The safety and appropriateness with which children in care must be treated is our paramount concern,” she added. “Nothing less will be tolerated.”
Texas family law labels compelling or encouraging children to engage in sexual conduct through trafficking and prostitution as a felony in the third degree.
According to the agency’s website, DFPS employs more than 12,000 workers and trains more than 4,200 volunteers in 328 local offices in 11 regions and a state headquarters in Austin.