Brown County struggling to handle CPS caseload
BROWN COUNTY, Texas - Brown County officials say they can't keep up with the staggering number of Texas Child Protective Services cases making their way through the courthouse.
Brown County Judge Ray West told KTXS the increase in cases has forced him to amend the budget that commissioners passed last week.
"We didn't budget enough," West said. "We'll have to amend our budget based on the last month or two of attorney fee vouchers."
West said county commissioners only budgeted $200,000 for court-appointed attorney fees in CPS cases. West and Brown County Attorney Shane Britton refused on-camera interviews because they weren't wearing ties, but they did speak with us.
Brown County is within region six in the Texas Office of Court Administration. Brown, Mills, San Saba, Llano, Blanco, and Gillespie counties all fall under the Child Protection Courts of the Hill Country.
"Brown County unfortunately has the most pending CPS cases in any county in that region," West said.
According to Brown County court data for August, 133 out of the 283 total pending cases in the county were CPS cases. Moreover, 11 new CPS cases were filed last month while only seven of them were closed.
West said Britton spends half of his time at work prosecuting CPS cases.
"The money we're spending on the system in Brown County is out of control," Britton said.
Britton said "aggressive" enforcement is one of the factors that may contribute to the high number of those cases in Brown County.
"We do just aggressive investigation and prosecution of those cases," Britton said.
According to CPS data, 20 children were removed from Brown County homes last month.