On Friday, KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas, reported that a child protective services worker was caught on camera telling a 14-year-old girl that she should turn to a life of prostitution. The child asked the employee for food, and the CPS worker responded by recommending she become a prostitute to afford her basic necessities.
Keisha Bazley, a mother of nine, turned to CPS for help with her daughter. She reported that her 14-year-old was causing trouble at school and running away.
CPS took the child under its care and placed her in a hotel. Bazley's daughter is one of dozens of children that CPS has living in hotels in the county.
Bazley reported that her daughter had told her that this was not the first time that the CPS worker had suggested prostitution. "My daughter told me that the worker had been telling her that she should do these things. So, she said she decided to video her," said Bazley.
The girl's mother filed a complaint with CPS. "This should not happen to girls in their care. It should not happen. This is unacceptable."
Bazley said, "If me, the parent, was to do something like this to my child, I would be bashed. I would be called a horrible parent. I would lose my kids."
Family law attorney Mike Schneider stated that the worker more than just suggested the child become a prostitute. He said the worker was also "giving her an incentive to do so, and almost a threat of not having her needs being met, if she didn't do what this woman very explicitly told her to do."
The commissioner of CPS, Jaimie Masters, came to Houston to apologize to Bazley and her daughter.
Schneider stated, "I've never seen that happen before where the commissioner of CPS comes in from Austin, just to apologize about something horrible that's been done to a child involved with CPS."
In response to the visit, Bazley said, "I do not believe that that was genuine. I really don't."
"It's bad enough if it's just one bad rogue worker. It concerns me that it may be bigger than that, and they need to make sure it's not just one person, and they've got to find a way to protect these kids," Schneider said.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesperson Melissa Lanford released a statement to KRIV-TV. She stated, "DFPS is aware of the video and has taken action. 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. Nothing less will be tolerated."