Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book. 2021 version

Legal Overview of Investigations
A. Initiation of Investigations
B. Making a Report
C. Fourth Amendment Requirements in an Investigation
D. Orders in Aid of Investigation
Alternatives to Removal
A. Order Seeking Removal of Alleged Perpetrator of Physical or Sexual Abuse
B. Order for Required Participation
C. Protective Orders
D. Relinquishing Custody of Child to Obtain Certain Services
E. Child Safety Check Alert List
Best Interest
A. Factors in Determining Best Interest of Children
B. Hearings Requiring a Best Interest Determination
C. Court Decisions Requiring a Best Interest Determination
D. DFPS Decisions That Must Consider Best Interest
Legal Overview of Removal of Children
A. Removal or Conservatorship of a Child
B. Jurisdiction, Venue, and Transfer
C. Emergency Removal With a Court Order
D. Emergency Removal Without a Court Order
E. Expedited Hearing and Appeal
F. After Ex Parte Order Authorizing Removal
G. Service of Citation
H. Evaluation of Identified Relatives and Other Designated Individuals
I. Placement
J. Visitation Schedule
K. Placement When Child Victim of Human Trafficking
Burden of Proof
A. Sufficient Evidence to Satisfy a Person of Ordinary Prudence and Caution
B. Preponderance of the Evidence
C. Clear and Convincing
D. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Service of Citation
A. Service of Citation
B. Notice
Adversary Hearing
Legal Overview of Adversary Hearing
A. Hearing After Emergency Removal With or Without a Court Order
B. If Court Does Not Remove the Child or Continue DFPS Conservatorship
C. Mandatory Appointment of Attorney for Parent
D. Transfer
E. Placement with Relatives or Designated Caregiver
F. Placement When Child Victim of Human Trafficking
G. Aggravated Circumstances
H. Decisions Regarding Education Required at Adversary Hearing
Status Hearing
Legal Overview of Status Hearing
A. Timing and Notice
B. Mandatory Findings
C. Court Shall Advise/Warn Parents
D. Court Review of the Service Plan
E. Court Review of Visitation Plan
F. Child Placement Resources Form
G. Permanency Planning Meetings
H. Placement of a Child in Qualified Residential Treatment Program
I. Assessments
J. Inquiry Regarding Child's Native American Heritage
Permanency Hearing Before Final Order
Legal Overview of Permanency Hearing Before Final Order
A. Permanency Hearing Before Final Order
B. Hearing Notice is Mandatory
C. Permanency Plan for Child is Required
D. Permanency Progress Report is Required; Contents
E. Procedural and Due Process Issues
F. Mandatory Actions, Findings, and Considerations
G. Mandatory Child-Specific Considerations
H. Best Interest
I. Medical Consent
J. Children Who are Missing or Victims of Sex Trafficking
K. Notice of Significant Events
Final Hearing
Legal Overview of Final Hearing
A. Case Must Be Dismissed Within One Year
B. Court May Extend Dismissal Date if Extraordinary Circumstances
C. Monitored Return
D. Final Hearing
Permanency Hearing After Final Order
Legal Overview of Permanency Hearing After Final Order
A. When Permanency Hearing After Final Order is Conducted
B. Notice of the Permanency Hearing After Final Order
C. The Child Shall Attend the Permanency Hearing After Final Order
D. Permanency Progress Report After Final Order
E. Conducting a Permanency Hearing After Final Order
F. Court Orders Related to Permanent Managing Conservatorship
G. Foster Youth Bill of Rights and Ombudsman's Office
H. Transitional Services
I. Extended Jurisdiction for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Legal Overview of Appeals
A. Specific Grounds Must Be Stated In Trial Court Judgment
B. Parent Deemed Indigent on Appeal
C. Attorney Ad Litem Required to Remain on Case
D. Trial Court Clerk Has Specific, Time-sensitive Duties
E. Application of Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code ยง 13.003 Prohibited
F. Effective Assistance of Counsel
G. Order or Judgment Cannot Be Suspended During Pendency of Appeal
H. Notice of Appeal and Appellant Duties
I. Case Law Update
Legal Overview of Adoption
A. Petition for Adoption
B. Documentation Required
C. Hearing
D. Final Order
Reinstatement of Parental Rights
A. Petition for Reinstatement
B. Hearing
C. Order
A. Introduction
B. Direct Contempt
C. Indirect Contempt
D. Remedies for Contempt
E. Civil / Coercive
F. Criminal / Punitive
G. Burden of Proof
H. Jury
I. Authority
J. Orders of Contempt
De Novo
A. Objection to Associate Judge
B. De Novo Hearings
C. De Novo Hearing vs. Trial De Novo
D. Judicial Action on Associate Judge's Proposed Order or Judgment
Evidence in CPS Cases
A. Applicability of Rules of Evidence
B. Facilitating Child Testimony at Trial
C. Video Testimony of Certain Professionals
D. Allegations of Abuse and Neglect and Attorney-Client Privilege
E. Testimony of Children's Ad Litems
F. Prohibition of Certain Testimony Not Applicable in DFPS Cases
G. Business Records Exception to Hearsay
Extending Foster Care for Transitioning Youth
A. Extended Jurisdiction
B. Trial Independence
C. Supervised Independent Living
D. Resources
Family First Prevention Services Act (Ffpsa)
A. Prevention Services
B. Kinship Caregivers
C. Congregate Care
D. Older Youth
E. Family Preservation Services Pilot Program
F. Resources
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
A. When Does ICWA Apply?
B. Tribal and State Jurisdiction
C. Required Notice
D. Indian Child Determination
E. Emergency Removal
F. Special Setting Following Emergency Hearing
G. Rights of the Parents, Indian Custodian, and Tribe
H. Placement Preferences
I. Conservatorship or Termination of Parental Rights of Indian Child
J. Who is a Qualified Expert Witness?
K. Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights
L. Related Case Notes
M. Resources
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
A. Purpose of the ICPC
B. ICPC Applicability
C. Jurisdiction vs. Process
D. Court Leadership
E. Expedited Placement Request
F. Visits vs. Placement
G. ICPC and Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking
H. The Indian Child Welfare Act and the ICPC
I. Additional Resources
Interventions in CPS Cases
A. Standing
B. Standing to Intervene in a Pending Suit
C. Foster Parent Interventions
D. Limitations on Standing
E. Petitions to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship
F. Practical Considerations
G. Resources
Joint Managing Conservatorship
A. Background
B. Questions Presented
C. Discussion
D. Conclusion
A. The Establishment of the Parent-Child Relationship
B. Presumed Father
C. Alleged Father
D. Acknowledged Father
E. Adjudicated Father
F. Paternity Registry
Children with Disabilities
A. What Laws and Policies Protect Individuals with Disabilities?
B. What Resources are Available?
Community-Based Foster Care
A. What is Community-Based Foster Care?
B. The Single Source Continuum Contractor
C. The Effect of CBC on Courts and Court Process
D. Monitoring of the SSCC by DFPS
E. The Role for Judges in Community-Based Care
F. Community-Based Foster Care Resources
Disproportionality and Equity
A. In Texas
B. Addressing Equity
C. Additional Resources
Domestic Violence
A. Background
B. Domestic Violence and Disproportionality
C. Judicial Responses to Child Welfare Cases Involving Domestic Violence
D. Batterers Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPP)
E. Protecting Privacy
F. Firearm Safety and Addressing Known Lethality Factors
G. Intersection of Child Welfare Cases and Child Custody
H. Resources
A. Education Data
B. School Stability
C. Roles and Responsibilities Related to Education
D. School Transitions
E. Attendance and School Experience
F. Special Education and Section 504
G. Eligibility for Special Programs
H. Post-Secondary Opportunities
I. Resources
Family Visitation
A. Court Duties
B. DFPS Best Practice Guide
C. Stages of Supervision
D. Parent Information and Observation Form
Health Care for Texas Children in Foster Care: STAR Health
A. Unique Features of STAR Health
B. Physical Healthcare Benefits Provided by STAR Health
C. Behavioral Health Benefits Provided by STAR Health
D. Transitioning Youth
E. Child and Family Assessments
F. Medical Consent
G. Admission of a Child in DFPS Custody to an Inpatient Mental Health Facility
H. Monitoring Psychotropic Medications
I. End of Life Medical Decisions
J. Health Passport
K. Court Orders for Medical Services
L. References
M. Who to Contact with Health Care Questions
Human Trafficking
A. Definition of Human Trafficking
B. Trafficking and Child Welfare
C. Risk Factors and Indicators
D. CPS Reporting Requirements Regarding Child Sex Trafficking
E. Children Who are Missing or Who are Victims of Sex Trafficking
F. Secure Agency Foster Home
G. Resources
Mexican Consular Relations
A. Background
B. Definitions
C. Required Procedures
Permanency Care Assistance (PCA)
A. What Is Permanency Care Assistance?
B. What Should Courts Do?
C. How Does PCA Affect Older Youth?
D. What About Social Security Administration Benefits and Child Support?
E. Resources
Psychotropic Medication
A. Medical Consenter
B. Agency Oversight
C. Parental Notification of Certain Medical Conditions
D. Judicial Review
Relative and Other Designated Caregiver (Rodc) Program
A. What is the Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Program?
B. Who Qualifies?
C. How Much is the Monthly Payment?
D. How Long Can the Caregiver Receive Payments?
E. Examples of Circumstances that Justify Good Cause for Payments to Go Beyond 12 Months
F. What if the Child Moves?
G. How is the RODC Payment Dispersed?
H. Should Relatives Still Apply for TANF before Receiving the RODC Payment?
I. What if a Caregiver Receives PMC of the Child?
J. What Can Judges Do to Support RODC Payments?
K. DFPS Must Keep Track
Substance Use Disorders
A. Statewide Overview of Substance Use
B. Substance Use Among Women
C. Pregnant Women and Relapse Prevention and Safety Plans
D. DFPS Response to Substance Use Disorders
E. Resources
Trauma-Informed Care
A. Trauma
B. Trauma Impacts a Child's Development and Health
C. Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System
D. Statutory Requirements for Trauma-Informed Care Training
E. Emergency Behavior Interventions
F. Trauma Work in Texas
G. National Resources
H. Training Resources
Child and Youth Voice
A. Presence in Court
B. Child and Youth Engagement
C. Talking with Children and Youth in Court
D. Normalcy
Jurist in Residence Letters
Jurist in Residence Letters
Common Acronyms and Abbreviations
Common Acronyms and Abbreviations
Long Checklists
1. Adversary Hearing
2. Status Hearing
3. Permanency Hearing Before Final Order
4. Final Hearing
5. Termination Grounds
6. Permanency Hearing After Final Order
7. De Novo Hearing
8. Foster Youth Education
9. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
10. Medical and Mental Health Care for Foster Youth
11. Human Trafficking
12. Disproportionality Bench Card
13. CCC Bench Card
14. Permanency Care Assistance - Key Issues for Judges
15. ABA Child Interview Bench Cards
Short Checklists
1. At a Glance
2. Adversary Hearing
3. Status Hearing
4. Permanency Hearing Before Final Order
5. Final Order
6. Permanency Hearing After Final Order
7. Foster Youth Education
8. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
9. Medical and Mental Health Care for Foster Youth
10. Human Trafficking
11. Disproportionality Bench Card
12. Remote Hearing Checklist