HOUSTON - A teen who was living in a CPS office was killed after she left the facility and was hit by a car in northwest Harris County.
This is the first time a child has died in state care while waiting for a foster home.
Deputies said the girl was walking alongside of the road with five other kids around 3 a.m. on Sunday.
They said the teen was standing too far in the roadway when she was hit by a van.
Authorities haven’t identified the girl, but the crash report stated there was no next-of-kin to notify when she died. She was an orphan.
"It was definitely a terrible tragedy, and we're doing an internal review to see if there is any changes that need to be made,” said Tiffani Butler from the Department of Family and Protective Services.
A state official said the girl was temporarily staying in one of Harris County's Department of Family and Protective Services offices. They often double as motels after business hours.
Each of these locations are the places where sometimes a dozen or more kids go to bed each night.
During our tour of this DFPS office in south Houston, we got to see for ourselves how a space between two walls is converted into a bedroom for a homeless kid.
With a blow-up mattress on the floor and a privacy blanket hung from wall-to-wall with push-tacks.
There's a modest commissary with necessities and some food. Also, a shower and toiletries for the kids who are passing through.
"We simply do not have enough foster homes, especially with our teenagers, when we have foster parents who only want to take care of smaller children,” said Butler.
The girl was one of about 3,000 kids in the foster care system. Only about one-third of them can get a permanent home.
State officials said the majority of the ones who don't get placed are older, many of them considered "high needs."
When they want to leave a CPS office where they're sleeping, there's nothing stopping them. CPS workers can't restrain the kids or keep them from leaving.
A state official said there were two supervisors looking after the girl who died out here yesterday morning,
Neither of them have been suspended or terminated, but the incident is still being investigated.
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