During each stage of the Child Protective Services (CPS) case process, CPS is required to meet various burdens of proof. The type of intervention that CPS seeks at the hearing determines the amount of evidence that CPS is required to produce.

When CPS removes a child from his or her home, they must appear at a hearing 14 days later to provide evidence supporting the removal. The standard of evidence required at this hearing is literally the lowest standard of evidence in the Texas Family Code and amounts to nothing more than “probable cause.”

For context, the standard most commonly used is “preponderance of the evidence,” which requires that at least a majority of the evidence support the claim being made. The current standard used for removal of a child requires less than 50 percent of the evidence to support the claim.

Under the current law, therefore, a child may be removed from his or her family for more than a year even if a judge believes that it is more likely than not that no abuse or neglect occurred. Before the traumatic removal of a child, it is reasonable to require that at least a majority (preponderance) of the evidence support the removal.

Among other reforms, the Child Trauma Prevention Act remedies this problem by changing the evidentiary standard in CPS cases to align with the default standard used elsewhere in the Texas Family Code. This change would require that at least a majority of the evidence indicate abuse or neglect before a court may order the removal of the child.

This bill is one of THSC’s top legislative priorities during the 2019 Texas legislative session. We believe that families have the God-given right to raise their children. Children should only be removed when it is necessary to protect the child from imminent harm.

The THSC Watchmen work nonstop to defend family rights this legislative session. THSC partners with you for Keeping Texas Families Free!

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