Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti on Child Abuse Prevention
The youngest of eight children, Uresti grew up on San Antonio’s southside and graduated from McCollum High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University and later enrolled in law school.
In February 2017, FBI agents raided his law firm as part of an investigation into FourWinds, a fracking company. He subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
Child Abuse Prevention
SAN ANTONIO — April is child abuse prevention month. It’s a cause that State Senator Carlos Uresti of District 19 has long championed. He says he knows all too well the grim statistics: 60,000 confirmed cases of abuse and neglect in Texas last year; 150 children killed.
Primary prevention efforts are aimed at whole populations, such as billboard campaigns or talk to school groups. Secondary prevention aims to improve parenting skills with home visitation programs like the Healthy Families and Nurse-Family Partnership initiatives. Tertiary prevention involves changing the attitudes of people who have already abused or neglected a child, to prevent future abusive behavior.
Intervening in a case of abuse or neglect once it occurs is demanding, disruptive and costly to the affected child, the involved family and society. Preventing abuse and neglect from happening in the first place is a far more cost-effective strategy. That is why the CDC works to identify and promote effective prevention strategies at the individual, family, community and policy levels.
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Carlos Uresti, the former state senator who pleaded guilty to bribery charges, was released from prison Friday. His attorney, Mikal Watts, confirmed the release, saying that the former lawmaker checked into a halfway house.
According to the federal indictment, between January 2006 and September 2016, Uresti received approximately $10,000 a month as a consultant. Half of the money was paid to Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo in exchange for his official actions regarding a contract for medical services at the jail.
In addition to the bribery case, Uresti was accused of sexual misconduct. In December, Annie’s List, a Democratic group that supports women candidates, called on Uresti to resign from the Senate following several sexual-harassment reports. The alleged incidents included a woman telling the organization that she was groped by Uresti during an event at the Capitol.
As a former member of the community and an attorney representing clients, senator uresti knows that access to health care is a basic human right. He has sponsored legislation that aims to improve access to health care in Texas.
In addition to his work on behalf of his constituents, the senator is an active community activist. He serves on the board of Communities-in-Schools and hosts a back-to-school and health fair in San Antonio each year.
He also sponsors a scholarship program for students graduating from high school who want to attend law school. He is a vice chair of two Senate committees and is a member of the Energy Committee.
In the Senate, he has made child abuse prevention a top priority. He has also pushed for reform of the Texas Child Protective Services, saying the agency needs better management practices and lower caseloads per worker as well as higher salaries.
His district is one of the state’s largest, covering 35,000 square miles and all or parts of 17 counties. He’s able to reach out to his more remote constituents by holding school supply drives and holiday toy collections.
His departure leaves a seat in the state Senate that will have to be filled by a special election. Helen Madla, a longtime Southside political watcher who is the chair of the dysfunctional, politically-divided South San Antonio Independent Schools board, has said she plans to run. But few believe she will prevail.