Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book

2023 version: As effective November 1, 2023

A. Petition for Reinstatement

A petition to reinstate parental rights may be filed by DFPS, a Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC), the attorney ad litem for a child, and the parent whose rights were terminated. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.302(a).

A petition for reinstatement may be filed if:

•   The termination of parental rights resulted from a suit filed by DFPS;

•   At least two years have passed since the issuance of the order terminating the former parent's parental rights and an appeal of the order is not pending;

•   The child has not been adopted;

•   The child is not the subject of an adoption placement agreement; and

•   If the petitioner is the former parent whose parental rights are sought to be reinstated, proper notice is provided. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.302(b).

The petition must include the name of the petitioner, the name and address of the former parent seeking reinstatement, the name, date and place of birth, and residence of the child (if known), and the name, address, and contact information for any party that participated in the termination hearing that has information relevant to the petition. The petition must also include a summary of the termination grounds, a summary of the facts and evidence that demonstrate the former parent's current fitness, a statement by the former parent seeking reinstatement, a statement of the child's consent if the child is 12 years or older, and a summary of the prior requests or motions for reinstatement by the former parent and the petitioner (if the petitioner is not the former parent). Tex. Fam. Code § 161.302(c).

If the petitioner is the former parent, they must provide DFPS with 45 days' notice of their intent to file. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.302(d). Notice of the petition must be served on the child or the child's representative, the county attorney, the child's attorney, DFPS or the SSCC, the former parent whose parental rights are sought to be reinstated (if they are not the petitioner), and the Tribe if the child is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Tex. Fam. Code § 161.302(e).