The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which oversees Texas Child Protective Services, issued a statement noting the failings in the case of Orion Hamilton. Investigators allege the toddler died after her head was crushed by a man living with her foster mother, who had told a case worker the man was not living at the home.
"Although there was clear and repeated deception on the part of the kinship caregiver, there was also available information and indicators of risk that CPS failed to recognize and act upon," DFPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said in the statement. "We are learning from this case as part of our ongoing effort to make foster care safer."
Crimmins declined to offer more details. The state's Inspector General is investigating CPS's handling of the case.
Orion was taken from her mother after being born with methamphetamine in her system. She remained in a foster home until December 2012, when she was placed under the care of her aunt, Heather Hamilton.
Jacob Salas is the father of three of Hamilton's children, and he was living at her home at the time Orion was injured even though he had been barred from being near Orion or his children after the state determined he medically neglected one of his children.
Orion died in a hospital on Oct. 20, after Salas allegedly crushed the toddler's head.
A month before the toddler's death, her father, Brian Hamilton, told CPS that his daughter was in danger and that Salas was living with the foster mother.
When a CPS caseworker asked whether Salas was living in the house, Heather Hamilton said he lived in Colorado. The caseworker believed her and took no action. Hamilton has since admitted to lying to the case worker.
Salas has been indicted for capital murder and is being held at the Williamson County jail. His attorney, Jeremiah Williams, said they plan to prove it was a "terrible, tragic accident."
Williams also disputed the confession allegedly made by Salas to police officers about crushing the toddler's head.
The agency's acknowledgment was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.