HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A Child Protective Services employee in Texas is out of a job after cellphone video taken by a 14-year-old client showed the child welfare worker encouraging the girl to pursue sex work to afford food.
According to The Texas Tribune, the girl was being housed at a Harris County hotel while awaiting placement in the state’s foster care system and asked the employee for food.
KRIV obtained cellphone footage that the child recorded of her asking the employee for food and being told to become a prostitute if she wanted to eat.
“The person in the video – who was employed as [child protective services] support staff — was dismissed from her position August 10,” Marissa Gonzales, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said in a prepared statement obtained by the Tribune.
“The safety and appropriateness with which children in care must be treated is our paramount concern. Nothing less will be tolerated,” she added.
Keisha Bazley, the girl’s mother, told KRIV that she has nine children and turned to CPS, the agency responsible for investigating abuse and exploitation of children, to help with her daughter, who she said was running away and causing trouble at school.
“My daughter told me that the worker had been telling her she should do these things, so she said she decided to video her,” Bazley told the TV station. She also filed a formal complaint with the department.
“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,” Bazley added.
According to KRIV, CPS Commissioner Jamie Masters traveled from Austin to Houston to apologize personally to both Bazley and her daughter.