Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Judge ordered murdered children out of foster care in 2013

By Terri Langford

Nearly two years before the murder of six Houston siblings, a state district judge denied a request by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to keep them in foster care, according to a memo sent to members of the Legislature on Tuesday.

Six children belonging to Valerie Jackson were taken into foster care on Sept. 19, 2013. But nearly a month later, they were ordered returned to their mother, according to an email sent on Tuesday to Texas lawmakers.

"On October 10, 2013 Judge Glen Devlin court ordered the children back home with their mother Valerie Jackson," Jamie McCormick, external relations manager at the Department of Family and Protective Services, wrote to lawmakers. "The judge denied the Department request to continue legal intervention due to cooperation from the parents."

On Saturday, Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies discovered the children: Nathaniel Conley, 13; Dwayne Jackson Jr., 10; Honesty Jackson, 11; Caleb Jackson, 9; Jonah Jackson, 6; and Trinity Jackson, 7; along with their 40-year-old mother and father to all but the oldest, Dwayne Jackson, 50, fatally shot in their north Houston home. David Ray Conley, father of the oldest child, was charged Sunday with multiple counts of capital murder.

A court coordinator for Devlin told The Texas Tribune that the judge could not comment on the case and referred questions about the case to the children's attorney, Donna Everson of Houston. A call to Everson's office was not immediately returned.

McCormick's email also notified lawmakers that court-ordered services for the family included participating in individual counseling, family counseling, domestic violence counseling, and random drug tests for the parents.

Court-ordered services were terminated in March 2014 and the agency's note to legislators noted that "Ms. Jackson and Mr. Conley completed parenting, counseling, and domestic violence classes (victim and perpetrator classes)."

The agency noted that "Ms. Jackson planned to continue counseling through Medicaid at case closure in May 2014."

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune. 

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