Friday, June 27, 2008

CPS Chief Abandons Ship; 14-day hearing transcrips from Polygamist Roundup now online

In the wake of the botched Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup, the head of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Cary Cockerell, has announced he would retire at the end of the summer. Some legislative committee needs to hold a hearing before he leaves and get Mr. Cockerell on the record about what went wrong with the YFZ Ranch raid.

Meanwhile, the blogger at I Perceive has posted the transcripts from the 14-day hearings for YFZ Ranch kids, see here and here.

Indeed, I Perceive has been keeping much closer track of the case than I have in recent weeks, and those tracking the story should check there regularly. And as always, The Common Room continues to follow the story closely.


Anonymous said...

Apparently Texas needs its own versions of the (California) Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act and Ralph M. Brown Act. The commission overseeing DFPS/CPS for the TXSC didn't hear public comments on its agenda items.

Anonymous said...

I've known Carey for 25 or more years and know him to be a good man. an innovator and excellent administrator. Sometimes people just get caught up in shit and this seems to be the case in this matter. When the record of this affair is written, I have confidence Carey will not be the villan. For all you 'pound of flesh' vulchers, hide and watch or at least watch and learn.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

That may well be, Plato, but I'd like for Mr. Cockerell to be put on the record about what went wrong before he leaves the job. That way, "when the record of this affair is written" it will include his side of the story, and under questioning, not in some future essay upon his retirement.

I don't see him as a primary villain, and even the CPS workers who did the most harm (e.g., Angie Voss) did so out of good intentions. But neither did Cockerell rein in his people when they were pretty obviously over the line. I don't doubt he's a "good man," but in the Eldorado case he made some serious errors of judgment. If he'd ever once stood up an said "this isn't right," a lot of this mess could have been avoided. No one needs to wait to learn that lesson.

kbp said...

Where does the buck stop?

As far as responsibility for CPS's involvement, at the desk of none other than...

Cary Cockerell

We now know the Texas Rangers persuaded CPS to leave poor Sarah hangin' in danger for five days, after she first reported the dangers she faced daily, so all of the state, from the Governor and AG down to multiple sheriff offices, could formulate a master plan that did NOT have any thing to do with 'saving Sarah'..

Cockerell is guilty of either going along with the master plan that had nothing to do with a CHILD's PROTECTION, or he was never qualified to hold the position that controlled the CPS.

Either way, he is a failure IMO.


Scott, I was a little surprised at part of your comment. Was it an error resulting from a rush in typing?

Angie Voss's "good intentions", if they ever existed, quickly transformed into the BS CYA testimony she gave about "beliefs"... which provided ZERO reasons to keep the children (as the 3rd ruled), or to have taken them off the ranch EVER (scared by the big bad tank and the massive number of law enforcement officers present?).

Quoting her testimony:

- "I'm a supervisor for INVESTIGATIONS at Child Protective Services."

- "I've been supervisor for just over six years."

- [prior] "...investigator of child abuse, SPECIALIZING in serious physical abuse cases... and sexual assault cases."

Lack of experience isn't an excuse.

If we allow "good intentions" be an explanation for her acts in this case, then we need to also attribute her failures in this case to agendas that have evidently developed in her subconscious over the many years she has been in this career.

Her bachelor's degree in psychology, masters degree in counseling psychology and years of searching for victims must have grown to provide her the ability to find that all children are victims one way or another.

That "good intentions" comment resembles how the "good faith" argument always starts out.

We might have found that topic I disagree with you on!

Anonymous said...

"Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones." --- George Bernard Shaw.

Anonymous said...

The Texas Rangers had an agenda for sure. They wanted to make sure no one was harmed during the raid on the XYZ Ranch. They believed it was the Federal officers that botched the raid on the Branch Dividian Compound and they were adamant about not making the same mistakes.

The Texas Rangers were focused on showing the FED how to do it right. Beyond that, they didn't give a hoot!

I absolutely agree that everyone deserves to know who did what and when. Just to say "mistakes were made" isn't going to inform the public in a way that will prevent CPS from running roughshod over people's rights.

Anonymous said...

Oops! YFX Ranch.

Anonymous said...

Oops again! YFZ........Typing too fast.

Anonymous said...

Heh, so many acronymous compounds, so little time.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits, some of us don't see him, or any of the CPS/DPS workers as villains at all, reserving that for those that have abused children.

We see the CPS/DPS workers as good people, trying their best to protect the children when faced with lies and deception from the parents and the children themselves.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Villain" was Plato's word, bluesy, not mine.

OTOH, since CPS has identified no one who it could prove to the court "abused children," perhaps there are no villains? Just losers. ;)

That said, the "lies and deception" that started all this didn't come from FLDS parents, and I DO absolutely think Cockerell's agency intentionally misled the public about what was going on, particularly overestimating pregnant teens, etc.. There was a LOT of lying going around, and just pinning that label on the FLDS folks won't fly IMO.

I said I believe Cockerell had good intentions. I didn't say he or his agency were blameless.

TxBluesMan said...

I can agree that they weren't blameless - they should have gotten more evidence into the record.

Anonymous said...

tx is willing to assign blame to CPS for failing to get more evidence in the record. Evidence of WHAT, tx? C'mon, you put your foot in it, now describe it. Tell us what do you know of the "evidence" which was not entered into the record.

And explain why the abuse created by CPS and inflicted on the YFZ kinds and parents doesn't draw your scorm. You leave the impression that you are ok with state-inflicted child abuse.

Spin can take you only so far, tx, then you gotta rely on facts.

Anonymous said...

My only concern about Cockerell resigning goes along with the expression about the enemy you know being better than the enemy you don't know.

Any man that strips 27% MORE parents of their children via adopting the children out, does not deserve our praise.

And don't expect me to buy the CPS chant of 'it's in the children's best interest.' They lost the trust on that one when we read about the abuse in their care facilities figures and saw with our own eyes the newscasts and reports wherein they've LIED repeatedly.

Not enough money in the world to entice me to be a person to destroy families.

I hope Cockerell is resigning because he really does have a conscience and he knows what the CPS agency does is wrong from the lowliest case worker to the head - Governor Perry.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy, not only should they have brought more evidence into court, they should have:

A) Not told lies about numbers of pregnant teens nor released misleading data like the "broken bones."

B) Not overridden their SOPs by removing the women and kids and leaving the alleged abusers (the men) at the ranch.

C) Not have argued in court that FLDS religious beliefs constituted per se abuse, which was clearly unconstitutional on CPS' part.

D) Not have claimed the entire ranch was one household, a decision which caused most of the overreach and clearly violated historic interpretations by the agency and courts.

E) Only seized kids where they found actual evidence of abuse instead of presuming from the parents' religious beliefs.

That's just for starters, I'm sure KBP and others could add to the list. That's why I think Cockerell needs to face a committee of legislative questioners before he retires for a thorough post mortem. I'm sure he's not a bad guy, but he's got a lot to answer for.

At least he's not resigning immediately and skulking out without answering questions like Dwight Harris at TYC.

Anonymous said...

I would strongly encourage Carey to appear before the appropriate committees questions before he walks out the door. No problem with that.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't very clear for a Sunday morning. Carey should appear and answer all committee questions before he leaves.


Anonymous said...

Cockerell is resigning now so he can keep his huge retirement. He KNOWS it was wrong and is leaving before he can be convicted of the horrible crimes inflicted on the FLDS. He's a rat leaving a sinking ship! Does anyone remember CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS???

Anonymous said...

In related news, Anthrax 'suspect' settles law suit

Anonymous said...

Carey Cockerell is a dedicated public servant whose retirement is well deserved. He has devoted more than three decades to serving Texas' most vulnerable population. His departure from public service will leave a void that will be difficult to fill.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: He should have quit when he was ahead.

Anonymous said...

To say Carey is a good man and a fine "public servant" is just meaningless and irrelevent to the corruption, by design.
Could not the same thing be said for the train engineer who pulled the boxcars of jews and undesirables to Auschwits? To read the transcript of the hearing and consider anything that has transpired from the beginning as resembling law, the spirit of the law, rules of court and civil procedure is to be criminally insane. The entire lot of "public officials" should be hanged.

kbp said...

"I can agree that they weren't blameless - they should have gotten


into the record."


We're still waiting on ANY evidence. Skipping past the "save Sarah" AND "beliefs" BS, were limited to 4 "teenagers pregnant or with a child" in which we do not even know whether or not any of them are evidence of a crime.


Cockerell is either in the dark and guilty of being incapable of handling his job, or guilty of being a part of the problem from the start.

His record in office has put Texas in the top 3 of the states that have increased children available for adoption and children adopted, leaving an increase also in the number of children taken into foster homes that are NOT adopted.

Add that to his administration of the DFPS/ CPS department responsible for the LARGEST child custody raid in American history, which was a TOTAL FAILURE and imposed on the rights of 440+ children and their parents.

Quite a legacy for that fella with "good intentions"!!

Source 1
Source 2

Hat Tip to SoreToes

Gritsforbreakfast said...

When you're doing watchdog stuff on law enforcement of any brand, KBP, you find two general types of wrongdoing. Actual self-dealing where a person is literally corrupt, or over-the-top zeal in which enforcers come to believe the end justifies the means.

The latter is much more dangerous than the former, though based on "good intentions." I didn't say that to excuse Cockerell's decisions nor those under him, only to acknowledge that I understand the mindset that undertakes such endeavors and how it justifies itself.

I don't think Cockerell was self dealing or a crook. I think he was a do-gooder who too zealously wielded what should be discretely used authority, and ultimately got bench-slapped for it.

rericson said...

I have a really hard time seeing laurels and kudos heaped on any person empowered to make real and meaningful change that has failed to do so. Anyone given the kind of authority that Cockeral was given, who did so little to improve a failing system, is not deserving of anything but a swift kick through the door......
You, Texas, have a massive children's residential system...ina day and age where we know that is not best practice, or even good practice....
You have not even begun to come up to speed in your ability to provide Family Group Decision Making for each family that comes through the public service door....
You have extremely punative Juvenile Justice facilities, including boot camps and 'kiddie prisons'....
You have a very limited capacity for multi-systemic therapy, a model we know is effective with violent, repeat offender youth...
the saga goes on and on....
Cockerel could have made a difference...he didn't....who is going to hold his sucessor accountable????????
And to the first commentor....yes, Texas would do well to have some sort of 'sunshine' laws in place.....isn't perfect, but it sure as hell raisees the accountability bar a tad.......