Nonprofit shelter for foster girls in Conroe under investigation for child abuse

Photos of The Treehouse Center were taken April 5. (Screenshot via Montgomery County's affidavit for search warrant.)
Photos of The Treehouse Center were taken April 5. (Screenshot via Montgomery County's affidavit for search warrant.)

Photos of The Treehouse Center were taken April 5. (Screenshot via Montgomery County's affidavit for search warrant.)

A Conroe nonprofit is under investigation for alleged child abuse, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney's office.

The Treehouse Center is a residential shelter for girls in foster care located in Conroe. According to its website, the center was founded in 2009 to provide therapeutic care for girls between the ages of 5 and 14.

However, on Nov. 10, 2020, an investigator from Montgomery County District Attorney's office was assigned to investigate allegations of injury to a child or child endangerment at the center, according to a search warrant from the attorney's office. Allegations made against the staff include staff members hitting, dragging, improperly restraining and encouraging fights between the girls.

Between Nov. 10 and April 5, the investigator received more than 30 reports from Child Protective Services, according to the search warrant, which was issued April 5.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, The Treehouse Center had 49 deficiencies, or failure to meet minimum standards, that were cited in the last five years. Of these deficiencies, 17 were weighted as High, 18 were Medium High, 12 were Medium, 1 was Medium Low, and 1 was Low.

Deficiencies were recorded in areas such as prohibiting restraints that twist or place the child's limbs behind their back; providing necessary level of supervision to ensure each child's safety and well-being; not using corporal punishment, such as hitting or spanking; and providing necessary medical care.

All 49 deficiencies were corrected, according to HHS, although deficiencies pending review are not included in the five-year history.

Sine April 26, 2020, deficiencies have resulted in two serious injuries, according to HSS.

The district attorney's office declined to comment for the story because the investigation is ongoing.

Kathleen Clark Tanner is listed as the administrator/director of The Treehouse Center under the HSS database. Tanner did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment for this story.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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