AUSTIN, Texas — Morgan Davis is getting some work done while keeping an eye on the Texas State Capitol.
Davis is optimistic about change and equality when it comes to anti-trans legislation from state officials. Specifically, laws and directives he believes are targeting transgender youths.
“I’m an adult. Come after me, don’t come after the kids,” said Davis.
Davis is a proud member of the transgender community and works as a CPS investigator at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Davis says he took on the role in an effort to be the advocate he never had growing up.
“It’s a deep need here in Travis County, especially in our foster care system and our child protective services. We need more education in the LGBTQ [community] and for us to reach out to the children in a loving and respectful manner so they can hear that their voices heard by someone who has been through what they are going through,” said Davis.
Davis put in his resignation earlier this month following a directive from Gov. Greg Abbott. The directive called for case workers in Texas to investigate families seeking gender-affirming care as claims of child abuse.
“To be asked to go into a home that I know to be exemplary and question them, I couldn’t fathom that. And at that point, I know I couldn’t move forward,” said Davis. “Some people kindly pulled me aside and said, ‘By your presence, even if you’re on their side, it might send a message that you approve,’ and I don’t.”
Shelby McCowen is also a CPS investigator with DFPS who turned in her resignation days before this interview. She called the directive the final straw, among other internal issues within the DFPS that prompted her to resign. These issues include impossible workloads and policy, or the lack of policy when it comes to investigating the cases surrounding gender-affirming care.
“From my viewpoint, every case is handled a little bit differently and they are definitely stretching the policy to encompass what’s going on,” said McCowen. “The state office has openly said that Texas doesn’t recognize gender-affirming care even though it’s in the DSM5 and something that is treated by medical professionals.”
Spectrum News 1 reached out to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
According to a spokesperson from the department, around 1,800 employees resigned from investigative positions since January 2021, with over 160 resignations taking place since Abbott’s directive in late February of this year. The department noted there is no way to track why employees are quitting or if the directive played a role in their decision.
Davis believes the directive is a major factor and fears the problem will only get worst.
“Because of this directive, we’re losing case workers at a rate that is alarming. That should hopefully send a red flag that something needs to happen, and it needs to happen now,” said Davis.
Davis says he will continue his work as CPS investigator with DFPS through mid-May.