Annette Rodriguez to resign as president and CEO of The Children’s Shelter

State put placement hold on shelter in April, citing unacceptable conditions and capacity issues

The Children's Shelter President and CEO Annette Rodriguez. (Scott Ball, San Antonio Report)

SAN ANTONIOUPDATE - This article now includes a statement from The Children’s Shelter confirming Rodriguez’s resignation

Annette Rodriguez, the much-maligned president and CEO of The Children’s Shelter, will resign from the organization, an agency spokesman confirmed to the KSAT 12 Defenders Thursday.

Rodriguez submitted her resignation Wednesday and will officially depart the organization Feb. 17, according to a press release sent Thursday afternoon.

The departure of Rodriguez, who led the nonprofit for the past decade, caps off a tumultuous year for the organization.

In April, citing unacceptable conditions and ongoing capacity issues at the shelter’s emergency shelter, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services officials issued a placement hold on The Children’s Shelter.

The hold required the shelter to remove all of the children in its care and move them to foster homes and other shelters.

Weeks later, Family Tapestry, the wing of The Children’s Shelter responsible for its community-based care initiative, canceled its contract with DFPS.

The move, ironically, came two weeks after shelter leadership submitted an action plan to the state in order to keep its contract from being terminated by DFPS. That plan aimed to improve its operations and ensure “safe placements for children in its care.”

Shelter officials were forced to lay off its entire Family Tapestry division of 93 full-time employees, whose employment with the nonprofit ended in mid-July.

A second shelter facility, the Whataburger Center for Children and Youth, closed earlier this year amid heightened monitoring from the state and while facing numerous allegations of abuse, neglect and standards violations, according to a federal report filed by court-appointed monitors.

The Whataburger Center campus, which sits on High Ridge Circle in the Medical Center, opened in February of 2019 to provide temporary residential care for children and young adults.

According to the federal report, one of the investigations, which was opened in April 2019, included allegations that a 16-year-old boy was having a sexual relationship with a female staff member.

The Whataburger Center was repeatedly cited “for violations after it was placed on heightened monitoring,” according to the report.

Several abuse or neglect investigations were also opened after the center was placed on heightened monitoring, including a 12-year-old girl’s report in 2020 that she had been sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old boy. The incident resulted in three citations.

In September 2020, the Whataburger Center was placed on probation and it was no longer allowed to accept children.

In January, the Whataburger Center voluntarily relinquished its license as a General Residential Operation and closed as state regulators were getting ready to revoke its license.

According to DFPS, Family Tapestry continued to use the Whataburger Center to temporarily house children despite it not being a licensed facility.

A spokesman for The Children’s Shelter released the following statement Thursday:

The Board of the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio accepted the resignation of CEO and President Annette Rodriguez on November 17th with an effective date of February 17th. During the transition period, Annette will work together with the Board and staff to ensure the continuity of operations as the organization continues to serve children and families.

Jessica Gonzalez, Board Chair, stated, “We deeply appreciate Annette’s 24 years of service to the organization and the leadership she has provided for the development of preventive services, mental health care and emergency shelter care for the neglected, abused, and abandoned children of Bexar County. We believe this transition period gives us an opportunity to continue the work of transforming our organization to effectively serve our mission of restoring innocence and strengthening families for many years to come.”

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.