Request for additional prosecutor reveals unsettling trend in Grayson County

Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 9:30 PM CDT
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In 2016, Collin County, who has a population of over 900,000 people, had 305 active CPS cases.

That same year, Grayson county, with a population of only 125,000, had 316 CPS cases.

That's why Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith requested the county commissioners budget for an additional prosecutor.

"We need to reduce her workload in regards to other things that she is doing now and get her focused solely on doing CPS work," said Smith.

In Grayson county, Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Vaughan is the only prosecutor working CPS cases right now.

"That's not unusual in rural counties, where there may be a higher percentage, population-wise because it is a rural county," said Vaughan.

A study by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire says higher poverty rates and an increased need for child welfare resources in rural areas contribute greatly to the higher percentage of child abuse and neglect cases.

The problem is, there's nowhere to put the kids once they are removed.

"We have children here, Grayson County children, who are being placed in South Dallas or Corsicana or Austin, as ridiculous as that is," said Vaughan.

In June of 2018, Grayson County reported 202 active CPS cases but there are only 36 foster homes, making the need to try these cases quickly even greater.

"We just worked very diligently towards moving cases significantly faster through the court system than we have in the past. We've been trying to think outside the box on how we can achieve permanency for kiddos so they're not staying in our system for so long," Vaughan.

The budget and the new prosecutor position will be finalized in late September.

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