Brad Messer Commentary • KTSA • Friday, March 19, 2004

Abused Kids Don't Rate

There is enough tax money in Texas to afford limo service for bigwigs. Enough money for the Governor to send out fancy certificates and proclamations. Plenty of bucks in the budget so that we can let lawyers and others skip paying franchise taxes.

What we don't have enough money for is taking evidence photos in all child abuse investigations.

This issue flared up when we learned that a 4-year-old San Antonio boy, Jovonie Ochoa, had starved to death in his grandparents' home. He died on Christmas Day. Child welfare agents hadn't photographed him during their investigations.

An order then went out for pictures to be taken in all child welfare cases. But the Department of Family and Protective Services says it has no money to carry out that unfunded mandate.

San Antonio state representative Carlos Uresti now says he'll try to convince Republican leaders to make some moves to find the money for kid photos.

Don't you get the feeling that if we keep shortchanging our Texas kids on medical care and protection from abuse, that Mississippi will start getting a superiority complex?

Brad Messer Commentary, KTSA.

San Antonio Express-News 3/18/2004
Budget doesn't allow photographing in child abuse cases



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