UPDATED: Monday, May 7, 2012 - 12:00pm
WACO -- They're the first ones on the scene when a child is abused or neglected, but now The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is facing a crisis of their own, not enough investigators.
"We know that that is a high turnover position. It's very stressful and it's just plain hard, but it's one that has many rewards too," CPS spokesperson, Julie Moody said.
"Helping kids heal and have hope and be protected, putting families back together. And so the reward I guess is greater than the stress or the risk so to speak," Michelle Carter, Executive Director for Children's Advocacy Center of Central Texas said.
In 2011, 3,294 child abuse cases were investigated in Bell County alone. That would be as if all the children in about 6 elementary schools were investigated for abuse. There were 946 confirmed cases of abuse, and one child death at the hands of its parents.
"One child being abused or neglected is too many. But yes, Bell County does have an issue with child abuse and neglect, but really the whole state of Texas does," Moody said.
Bell County is trying to hire 12 new investigators.
But thanks to the current shortage, CPS has had to pull resources from other counties.
"When there is a shortage of case workers in a county, we call in other case workers from other counties. But we are getting the work done. it just may be a little bit slower," Moody said.
"Even under staffed they still do an amazing job and work really hard to protect kids," Carter said.
If protecting children is your calling, go to their website at:
To find out how you can become a CPS investigator.