THSC worked with legislators and attorneys experienced in CPS law to create an extensive CPS reform bill addressing various priority issues in the Texas CPS system. This was important to help children put in harm’s way and to protect parental rights. The product of everyone’s hard work is the Parent-Child Protection Act.
Champions of parental rights, Sen. Bryan Hughes and Rep. Dustin Burrows, are each authoring the Parent-Child Protection Act in their respective chambers. Sen. Hughes filed the Parent-Child Protection Act as SB 1415 in the Texas Senate and Rep. Burrows filed HB 3297 in the Texas House of Representatives.
What does the Parent-Child Protection Act do?
This bill protects children and families from unnecessary and harmful investigations. It also addresses children removed from the home through these impactful changes:
- Clarifies the standards that must be met before a child is removed from his or her home
- Closes loopholes in the current law that allow investigators to bypass deadlines and other necessary mandates without specific measures of accountability
- Provides additional protections to families and parents by reforming the legal procedure, allowing families to have an effective defense while presumed to be innocent until proven guilty
Specific Reforms Included in the Parent-Child Protection Act
The Parent-Child Protection Act contains seven specific reforms. These address abuse that families often experience during CPS investigations. In summary, the reforms contained in the bill protect parental rights by:
- Allowing the court to postpone a show cause hearing – if good cause is shown – for up to a week when requested by the parent or the parent’s attorney.
- Disallowing the termination of parental rights for both parents when there is evidence of abuse against only one parent.
- Prohibiting courts from requiring parents to pay child support costs during the pendency of a suit.
- Disallowing the use of broad-form jury charge and requiring that parents be convicted of a specific allegation agreed upon by the jury before terminating their parental rights.
- Requiring all cases related to the same children and same CPS incident to be heard by the same judge/court.
- Enforcing the current one-year deadline on CPS cases by automatically dismissing the suit without a court order if the case is not completed by the deadline.
- Prohibiting hearings from being held without the parents present unless specifically authorized in the Family Code.
Reforms contained in the Parent-Child Protection Act are necessary to curb abuse found in the CPS system and to protect Texas parental rights.
This is also true for the Child Trauma Reduction Act (HB 3316) filed by Rep. James Frank that incorporates elements from the Parent-Child Protection Act. Texas lawmakers like Rep. Frank are committed to protect children and parental rights in CPS cases.
Alongside experienced legislators and CPS attorneys, the THSC Watchmen are working tirelessly to pass the Parent-Child Protection Act in order to continue Keeping Texas Families Free!
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