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March 2, 2018      5:52 PM

Abbott makes Whitman permanent at DFPS as new report details child deaths

The new report shows 172 children in Texas died from abuse and neglect during 2017

Gov. Greg Abbott has made the appointment of former lawman Hank Whitman to the Department of Family and Protective Services permanent, even as new reports indicate Texas continues to lead the nation in child abuse deaths.

Commissioner Whitman stands at the intersection of three concurrent events: the state continues to fight federal oversight of Child Protective Services, calling it misguided; the implementation of four major bills, all of which will require significant new regulation; and rebukes from those frustrated with the system, including a judge in Abilene.

As outlined in last session’s House Bill 5, passed last session by Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, Whitman will be appointed to a two-year term, confirmed by the Texas Senate. He also reports directly to Gov. Abbott under the agency’s new configuration.

By Kimberly Reeves

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