Suspension at foster care agency creates overflow issues at othe - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Suspension at foster care agency creates overflow issues at others

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Lutheran Social Services of the South is the second largest foster child placement agency in the state of Texas.

"He had placed the infant's head on the ground and used his knee and put his knee on the child's head," said Capt. Darlene Lewis with the Cedar Park Police Department.

Effective immediately, Lutheran Social Services of the South is no longer allowed to place children in any of their 57 Austin foster homes after an 11-month-old baby girl died in October.

"If the families that are already working with Lutheran Social Services are not able to accept children for the time being, then that means the other agencies who are placing children need to have families at the ready," said Burch.

Julie Burch, with the Austin Children's Shelter, admits the rest of the Texas child placing agencies are not equipped to handle the overflow.

Burch added, "There's always a shortage of foster families."

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ordered the suspension at Lutheran Social Services of the South after learning the approved foster mother had been lying to case workers about her boyfriend, Jacob Salas, living in her Cedar Park home.

"Austin Children's Shelter has a long history of going far beyond minimum standards. It's not enough. We meet those and we far exceed them," Burch said. "We transfer that same kind of high standards to our Foster in Austin program."

According to the order from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there are concerns Lutheran Social Services of the South did not meet the minimum standard rules or law concerning the infant's case.

Thirty-two-year-old Salas is charged with injury to a child and is behind bars in Williamson County.

"These children are important and we need to step forward and do everything we can to help them succeed and help them move past the trauma they've been through," said Burch. "We do have a great need for foster parents, and, not just anyone, we are looking for people who share the same values that we share."

The Department of Child Protective Services confirms that eight foster children died from abuse or neglect in the 2013 fiscal year.

The foster program at the Austin Children's Shelter just started this past summer.

They have six children placed in two foster homes and five more families going through the screening process.

LINK:

Austin Childrens Shelter

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