Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper Punished for Being Poor: The Relationship Between Poverty and Neglect in Texas.

“Removing a child from their home is a traumatic event that has been shown to cause long-lasting negative effects,” said Nikki Pressley, a policy analyst with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “In Texas, over 90% of foster cases in 2018 cited neglect as a contributing reason for removal. While chronic, intentional neglect is serious and requires intervention, allegations of neglect are often a misguided reaction to situational instances caused by poverty.”

Key Points:

  • The majority of children who enter foster care enter due to allegations of neglect, and 75% of the victims of child maltreatment in Texas were victims of neglect only.
  • Neglect has an overly broad definition that leaves room for families struggling to meet their basic needs to be unnecessarily involved in the child welfare system due to economic circumstances.
  • Previous research found that families in poverty are more likely to become subjects of child maltreatment reports, whether substantiated or otherwise.
  • Texas county-level data suggest there is a statistically significant relationship between child poverty and allegations of neglectful supervision.
  • Texas must amend the definition of neglect to allow CPS to focus on children in imminent and immediate risk of harm and protect families from being punished for experiencing poverty.

To read the paper in full, please visit: