CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Two parents in Benavides, Texas, were arrested on several counts of child abandonment and endangerment this week. Such situations often leave people wondering, what happens next to the children?
33-year-old Jose Gonzalez and 36-year-old Michelle Vasquez both face felony charges of child abandonment and endangerment of a child. The next step, according to Cynthia Vera with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, is for her organization to begin their own investigation.
"We'll have a team of caseworkers that will go out, depending on how many children," Vera said. "Investigators will go out and sort of assess the situation to see what's going to happen with the children."
While it's not clear if the child in Benavides was removed or if the two people arrested were their parents, Vera said Child Protective Services workers investigate the conditions of the home and people inside to make that decision.
"Are the basic needs of the child being met? Is it okay for them? Do they have a place to lay their head down? Do they have a place to eat? I mean, is there food?" Vera said.
Then, CPS workers look for a trusted and safe family member or friend to place the child, using the foster care system as a last resort.
Vera said no two cases are the same, but their goal is to work with parents to try for family reunification.
"We try to make the transition back home very smoothly for children, so we don't want to punish anybody," Vera said. "We want to make sure that we're keeping children safe and so long term, that's what we're looking for."
If you suspect a child is being abused, you can call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.
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