Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book

2023 version: As effective November 1, 2023

B. Domestic Violence and Disproportionality

The intersection of disproportionality, child welfare, and domestic violence is impacted by the criminal justice and mental health systems. The child welfare system sometimes relies on other systems to help assess parents' abilities to care for and protect their children. The criminal justice and mental health systems are two of these systems, and families of color may experience disproportionate and disparate impacts[224] or be fearful of the impact of using these systems to assess their protectiveness. Regarding the criminal justice system, families of color may be reluctant to seeking such relief as calling law enforcement, requesting a protective order, or testifying against the perpetrator. The mental health system is especially connected to survivor parents involved in the child welfare system as mental health professionals are often asked to assess the mental health of survivor parents. Trauma survivors (both child and adult) experience a wide range of issues related to trauma exposure and may at times experience co-occurring mental health issues stemming from their experiences, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For a discussion of disproportionality, see the Disproportionality and Equity chapter in this Bench Book.