A joint investigation is continuing into a possible abuse case involving a 5-month-old boy who was staying at Bryan’s House, the well-known nonprofit that began as a facility to care for AIDS babies.
The Texas Child Protective Services division removed 18 children in the state’s custody from Bryan’s House last week after it was discovered that the infant had a broken collar bone and leg.
It could be months before the investigation conducted by CPS, the Dallas Police Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services is complete. And Bryan’s House Executive Director David Thomas said officials from the facility planned to discuss on Thursday, March 29, whether to accept other, non-CPS children into its residential program in the meantime.
The residential program, which has a capacity of 20, has been empty since the CPS children were removed.
“We really haven’t had a chance to make a decision,” Thomas said. “I think we’re going to be taking other kids.”
Bryan’s House, which celebrated its 20th anniversary Tuesday, March 27, today treats not only children with HIV, but also those with other serious medical conditions and the children of parents with HIV and other conditions.
In addition to the residential program, Bryan’s House operates a day care with a capacity of 108 that continues to serve about 30 to 40 children, Thomas said.
“It’s going right ahead as usual,” he said.
Lt. C.L. Williams, supervisor of DPD’s crimes against children unit, said detectives have been interviewing employees and volunteers from Bryan’s House since the infant’s injuries were discovered.
DPD is trying to establish a time frame for when the injuries occurred so that it can focus on who had access to the infant. The time frame is critical because Bryan’s House has 40 full-time employees and uses some 1,000 volunteers annually.
DPD also has not ruled out that the injuries occurred accidentally, Williams said.
“We honestly don’t know what we have,” he said. “It’s a slow and tedious process.”
Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Family and Protective Services, which is over CPS, said her agency’s investigations typically take 30 days. Depending on the results, the investigation could also be followed by an appeal process.
Gonzales said the children were removed as a precautionary measure and no CPS children will be placed at Bryan’s House until the investigation is complete.
Both Williams and Gonzales stressed that the facility has no other history of abuse cases.
“I’m not aware of any problems that we’ve ever had with them in the past,” Gonzales said.
One unexpected benefit of the investigation and associated media coverage was a larger-than-expected turnout at the 20th anniversary celebration, which drew around 150, Thomas said.
“You find out who your friends are,” he said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 30, 2007