By ABC-7 Reporter Ashlie Rodriguez
At Restlawn Memorial Parkon Monday there was sadness, and anger. Lopez went through an extensive licensing process that took months to complete.
“She was an innocent little baby and this should not have occurred,” said Jayla's grandmother, Mary Beckley.
Becoming a foster parent takes on average three-to-four months, extensive interviews, home visits and background checks and Antonio Lopez passed all of them with flying colors. Lopez has been charged with capital murder after he allegedly stomped Jayla's chest, resulting in her death.
“All foster homes in Texas have to be licensed and there is a very stringent screening process,” said CPS spokesman Paul Zimmerman. “They have to go through home studies, through background checks, FBI checks, extensive training before they ever receive a license.”
Lopez was licensed by El Paso Center for Children on June 18, 2012. Three days later, the 27-year-old and his wife received Jayla. Shortly after that, a teenage foster child was placed in the home.
To be certified by the state meant Lopez applied, shared past and present personal information about his lifestyle, provided references, agreed to home visits, underwent a background check and an abuse and neglect check on family members.
Not only that, but he had to attend 20 training hours a year. During this period,
the Dept. of Family Protective Services assesses whether the applicant should become a foster parent, and Lopez passed.
"It's so important for people to realize if they are considering becoming foster parents, that they do it for all the right reasons,” Zimmerman said.
CPS has admitted some people get into the foster business for money. On average, people can be paid $22-$49 a day, on top of $150 clothing allowance, or around $1,000 a month per child.
Not a dollar of this assistance is taxed and foster children come with healthcare and food stamps, giving people incentive to open their doors.
Just what Lopez's intentions were are under investigation. Although police say it was Lopez who killed Jayla, it's Child Protective Services that Beckley trusted.
“We have people that are supposed to take care of our children, but they don't. Child Protective Service, what does that mean? What does it mean?”Beckley said. “I'm crying out to every parent, every grandparent that has children in Child Protective Service, straighten yourselves out and get your kids out of there because they're not doing what they're suppose to do.”
There are several licensing agencies in El Paso. ABC-7 contacted five and none would answer questions about the process. CPS said they hope to prevent the wrong people from becoming foster parents.