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5400 From Removal to the Adversary Hearing

5410 Types of Court Orders and the Process for Obtaining a Court Order for Removing a Child

CPS March 2018

DFPS must obtain a court order before removing a child, except in cases involving exigent circumstances. The Texas Family Code 262 Subchapter B allows DFPS to obtain a court order authorizing a child to be removed from his or her parents or caregiver:

  •   during an emergency removal, with a court order issued before the removal;

  •   during an emergency removal, with a court order issued after the removal;

  •   during a non-emergency removal.

The caseworker determines which circumstance applies.

See:

5411 Obtaining a Court Order Before Conducting an Emergency Removal

5412 Conducting an Emergency Removal Before Obtaining a Court Order

5413 Conducting a Nonemergency Removal

In some cases, if DFPS plans to take legal action to affect a parent’s rights, the child may already be placed with a relative. In this type of legal removal, the child does not physically change placements and the removal is considered a constructive removal.

5411 Obtaining a Court Order Before Conducting an Emergency Removal

5411.1 Standard for Obtaining a Court Order Before Conducting an Emergency Removal

CPS March 2018

Before conducting an emergency removal, the caseworker must prepare and submit an affidavit, containing sufficient evidence to satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that:

  •   there is an immediate danger to the child’s physical health or safety, or the child has been the victim of neglect or sexual abuse or trafficking;

  •   remaining in the home of the adult the child is being removed from would be contrary to the child’s welfare;

  •   there is not sufficient time to hold a full adversary hearing, without jeopardizing the child’s physical health or safety; and

  •   reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the child’s safety, have been made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.

Texas Family Code §262.101

5411.2 Basic Process for Obtaining a Court Order Before Conducting an Emergency Removal

CPS May 2018

Once the caseworker determines that an emergency removal supported by a court order is necessary and the caseworker receives program director approval, the caseworker takes the following steps:

  •  immediately asks the attorney representing DFPS to file a petition seeking relief and requesting an emergency hearing. The caseworker must submit legal documents to the attorney within 24 hours or on the first business day after the legal staffing;

  •  follows 5421 Requirements for Completing a Removal Affidavit and prepare an affidavit with evidence sufficient to satisfy the standard explained in 5411.1 Standard for Obtaining a Court Order Before Conducting an Emergency Removal;

  •  participates as a witness, if needed, in the ex parte emergency hearing. See Texas Family Code §262.102;

  •  removes the child;

  •  prepares for the adversary hearing, which must take place no more than 14 calendar days after the child was removed, unless the court orders an extension. (At the hearing, the child’s parents or caregivers have the opportunity to challenge DFPS’s evidence supporting the emergency removal. See 5430 Adversary Hearing.)

5412 Conducting an Emergency Removal Before Obtaining a Court Order

5412.1 Standard for Conducting an Emergency Removal Before Obtaining a Court Order

CPS March 2018

Only in limited circumstances can DFPS remove a child first and then go to court to request a court order.

DFPS must not remove a child without a prior court order, unless the caseworker demonstrates personal knowledge of all of the following:

  •   There was an immediate danger to the child’s physical health or safety because:

  •   the child was a victim of sexual abuse or trafficking under specified Penal Code sections;

  •   the parent or person with possession was using a controlled substance which constituted an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child; or

  •   the parent or person with possession permitted the child to remain on premises where methamphetamine is manufactured.

  •   It is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home of the parent or adult the child is being removed from.

  •   Reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the child’s safety, were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.

Texas Family Code §262.104

5412.2 Basic Process for Conducting an Emergency Removal Before Obtaining a Court Order and for Filing a Petition After an Emergency Removal

CPS September 2018

Once the caseworker determines that it is necessary to make an emergency removal before obtaining a court order, the caseworker must obtain approval from the supervisor and program director. Upon receiving approval, the caseworker must:

  •  take possession of the child;

  •  immediately ask the attorney representing DFPS to file a petition seeking relief and requesting an emergency hearing. The caseworker must make the request immediately to enable the court to hold the emergency hearing on or before the first workday after the child is removed. If the initial hearing is not held within the time required, the child must be returned to the parents or person who has custody of the child. See Texas Family Code §§262.105(a)(3) and 262.106;

  •  follow 5421 Requirements for Completing a Removal Affidavit and prepare an affidavit with evidence sufficient to satisfy the standard explained in 5412.1 Standard for Conducting an Emergency Removal Before Obtaining a Court Order;

  •  participate as a witness, if needed, in the ex parte emergency hearing (that is, in a hearing attended by only one party; in this case DFPS). The hearing must take place on or before the first working day after the child is taken into possession. If the court is unavailable on the first working day, the hearing must take place on the next available working day, but no later than the third working day after the child is taken from the home. See 5412.3 Standards for Court’s Decision at the Ex Parte Emergency Hearing and Texas Family Code §262.106;

  •  prepare for the adversary hearing, which must take place no more than 14 calendar days after the child was removed, unless the court orders an extension. (At the adversary hearing, the child’s parents or caregivers can challenge DFPS’s evidence supporting the emergency removal. See 5430 Adversary Hearing.)

5412.3 Standards for Court’s Decision at the Ex Parte Emergency Hearing

CPS March 2018

If DFPS seeks to prevent the child being returned to the parent, DFPS must be prepared to provide sufficient evidence to prove to the court that:

  •   one of the following conditions exists:

  •   there is a continuing danger to the child’s physical health or safety if the child is returned to the parent or person with possession of the child, or of the child has been a victim of sexual abuse or labor or sex trafficking and the child is at substantial risk of this type of sexual abuse or trafficking in the future; or

  •   the parent or person with possession of the child is currently using a controlled substance and the use constitutes an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child; or

  •   the parent or person with possession of the child has permitted the child to remain on premises used for the manufacture of methamphetamine;

  •   it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home;

  •   there was not sufficient time, consistent with the child’s physical health or safety to hold an adversary hearing; and

  •   reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to prevent or eliminate need for removal.

Texas Family Code §262.107

In order to demonstrate to the court that there is a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child, DFPS may also present evidence that the household to which the child would be returned includes a person who has:

  •   abused or neglected another child in a manner that caused serious injury to or the death of the other child; or

  •   sexually abused another child.

Accordingly, the caseworker must include in the removal affidavit any critical information from the family’s history that would support a conclusion of either serious abuse or neglect or prior sexual abuse by a person in the household. See 5421 Requirements for Completing a Removal Affidavit.

5412.4 Process When an Emergency Hearing Is Not Held Within the Required Time Frame

CPS March 2018

If an emergency hearing cannot be held within the required time limits (on or before the first business day after the child is removed; or the first business day the court is available, but no later than the third business day after removal), DFPS must return the child and provide whatever services it can in the home to protect the child from further harm.

Texas Family Code §262.106(c)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1103

Before Returning the Child

Before returning the child, the caseworker must notify the supervisor and the program director and explain the reasons why the child will be returned.

If the Child Is in Danger

If the child is in danger of further harm in the home, the program director must contact the county or district attorney, in writing, to discuss legal options.

The written notice must:

  •   clearly describe the danger to the child;

  •   include a request for a new emergency removal, if needed; and

  •   be approved by the program administrator.

5413 Conducting a Nonemergency Removal

5413.1 Standard When Conducting a Nonemergency Removal

CPS March 2018

DFPS must notify the parents or caregiver about the removal hearing unless any of the criteria in 5414 Obtaining a Waiver of the Requirement to Provide Notice of Removal are met.

DFPS must submit sufficient evidence, in the form of an affidavit, to prove to the court that:

  •   there is continuing danger to the child’s physical health or safety caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession;

  •   it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home; and

  •   reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.

Texas Family Code §262.113

5413.2 Basic Process When Conducting a Nonemergency Removal

CPS May 2018

Once a caseworker determines that a nonemergency removal is necessary and obtains program director approval, the caseworker takes the following steps:

  •  asks the attorney representing DFPS to file a petition seeking relief and requesting a hearing. The caseworker must submit legal documents to the attorney by the deadline the supervisor sets or within three business days after the legal staffing, whichever is sooner;

  •  follows 5421 Requirements for Completing a Removal Affidavit and prepares an affidavit with evidence sufficient to satisfy the standard for a nonemergency removal;

  •  notifies the parents (or other party from whom DFPS seeks to remove the child) about the hearing, once the court schedules the hearing;

  •  participates in the hearing as a witness. At the hearing, the child’s parents can challenge DFPS’s evidence supporting the requested removal;

  •  conducts the removal, if the court orders removal based on a finding that reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal and it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home.

Texas Family Code §262.205

5414 Obtaining a Waiver of the Requirement to Provide Notice of Removal

CPS March 2018

At the initial hearing, DFPS may ask the court to waive the requirement to provide notice of a removal. To do so, DFPS must provide documentation to the court showing that:

  •   the person to be notified could not be located;

  •   the case meets the criteria for a Baby Moses case under Subchapter D of Chapter 262, Emergency Possession of Certain Abandoned Children (see also 2351 Baby Moses); or

  •   there is other good cause for not providing notice.

Texas Family Code §262.109 (d)

5415 Rescinding the Decision for Emergency or Nonemergency Removal

CPS May 2018

If after obtaining program director approval, the caseworker and supervisor determine the emergency or nonemergency removal is unnecessary, the program director must approve the decision to not proceed. The decision not to pursue removal and the reasons why must be documented in IMPACT.

5420 Beginning a Child Protection Lawsuit

CPS March 2018

Regardless of which standard for removal applies, DFPS begins a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR) by filing a petition.

The petition (sometimes called a pleading) tells the court, the parents, and any other party, that DFPS:

  •   is requesting the authority to care for a child temporarily; and

  •   may request termination of parental rights, if efforts to reunify the family are not successful.

The process of preparing to file a suit affecting the parent-child relationship requires close cooperation between the caseworker and the attorney representing DFPS.

The caseworker drafts an affidavit that provides the facts and evidence. The attorney representing DFPS uses the facts and evidence in the affidavit to show the court that DFPS is entitled to the specific court order that DFPS is requesting;

The attorney also generally:

  •   prepares the petition; and

  •   files the petition and affidavit with the court.

5421 Requirements for Completing a Removal Affidavit

CPS March 2018

DFPS must provide sufficient evidence in the affidavit to convince the court to grant a removal order. The evidence that is required depends on the type of removal requested.

Regardless of the type of removal, in every case:

  •   DFPS must inform the court as to whether there is an existing protective order involving a party or child and attach a copy of any such order to the petition; and

  •   if a person alleged to have committed abuse or neglect is on active military duty (or is the spouse of a person on active duty), the caseworker must notify the closest active military base.

Texas Family Code §§102.008(b)(11); 261.301(j)

Unless the local court requires otherwise, the caseworker must use the Sample Removal Affidavit provided under the Affidavit heading in Section 13 of The Texas Practice Guide for Child Protective Services Attorneys.

If a child may be subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the caseworker must use the ICWA removal affidavit provided under the ICWA heading in Section 13 of The Texas Practice Guide for Child Protective Services Attorneys.

The affidavit must contain enough facts, based on personal knowledge, to demonstrate that removal is justified under the applicable standard.

If the affidavit does not contain enough information to justify removal, the caseworker may need to conduct further investigation or there may not be a legal basis for removal.

A court cannot rely on certain kinds of evidence in a finding for removal, including evidence that a parent:

  •   home-schooled the child;

  •   is economically disadvantaged;

  •   has been charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor (other than one listed in Title 5 or 6 of the Penal code or one that involves family violence);

  •   provided or administered low-THC cannabis prescribed for the child; or

  •   declined immunizations for the child for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.

Texas Family Code §262.116

These categories of evidence should be documented, if relevant to an investigation, but cannot be used to justify a removal (or termination of parental rights). See 5563 Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights.

The affidavit must also be complete, concise and organized. The caseworker must review the affidavit before providing it to the attorney representing DFPS and ensure it does not contain typographical or grammatical errors.

5422 Essential Information for the Petition

CPS March 2018

To prepare a petition, the attorney representing DFPS must have basic information about a case.

Local procedures and forms for conveying this information vary, but the caseworker must be prepared to provide:

  •   detailed information about the children, parents, and other members of the household;

  •   the reasons for removal;

  •   the efforts made to locate missing persons;

  •   the response of parents and extended family regarding any Native American family history; and

  •   any specific information requested by the attorney handling the case.

To provide accurate names and identifying information for the petition, the caseworker must ask the eligibility specialist to provide a screen print of the birth record that the specialist has obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. See 1520 Obtaining Certified Birth Certificates and Screen-Printing Birth Records.

The caseworker must pay specific attention to gathering and sharing information related to the child’s Native American status and if there has been a custody lawsuit in the family’s past.

The caseworker must also gather and provide all of the information necessary to help process-servers locate individuals who are entitled to be served with the relevant citation. See 5230 Service of a Citation to determine who is entitled to be served with a citation for an original suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

5423 Limited Time Before Dismissal

CPS March 2018

A child protection suit is automatically dismissed without a court order one year after the court renders a temporary order appointing DFPS as temporary managing conservator, unless the court has begun trial or granted an extension. Extensions are extremely limited, permissible only if:

  •   the court finds extraordinary circumstances necessitate the child remaining in DFPS temporary managing conservatorship and this is in the best interest of the child;

  •   the court find extension is in the best interest of the child  and either orders return of the child with DFPS to monitor, or orders a temporary order to the child to return home while the parent completes the service plan; or

  •   after a trial, a motion for new trial or mistrial is granted or an appellate case is remanded.

In each case, the court must set a new dismissal date.

Texas Family Code §263.401(b), (b-1); §263.403(b)

Because of the strict limit on any extension of time, caseworkers must be prepared for every hearing. Any delay in locating missing parents and relatives, determining paternity, asking about Native American family history or other essential issues can have a dramatic impact on child safety and permanency.

5430 Adversary Hearing

CPS March 2018

The purpose of the 14-day full adversary hearing is to:

  •   determine whether the child’s emergency removal was warranted;

  •   determine whether continued placement outside of the home is required; and

  •   obtain temporary orders for the protection of the child pending resolution of the suit, if continued placement is required.

As the party asking to restrict a parent’s rights to a child, DFPS has the burden to prove the necessity for the removal and for continued conservatorship of the child.

5431 Requirements for the Adversary Hearing

5431.1 Evidence Required on Request

At any time before the adversary hearing, on request by a parent’s or child’s attorney the caseworker must provide:

  •   names of any persons, other than DFPS staff, who will be called as a witness to any allegations in the petition;

  •   a copy of any offense report relating to the allegations if the report will be used to refresh a witness’s memory; and

  •   a copy of any photo, video or recording that will be presented as evidence.

Texas Family Code §262.014

5431.2 Time Frame for the Adversary Hearing

CPS March 2018

A full adversary hearing must be held within 14 days of taking a child into possession or filing of lawsuit, unless:

  •   the child has already been returned to the home; or

  •   the court has extended the date of the adversary hearing.

Texas Family Code §262.201(a)

5431.3 Standard of Proof in an Adversary Hearing

CPS March 2018

In an adversary hearing, DFPS must rebut the presumption that placing the child with a parent or other person presently entitled to possession is in the child’s best interest.

Specifically, the caseworker must submit evidence sufficient to satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that:

  •   there was a danger to the child’s physical health or safety, caused by an act or failure to act on the part of the parent or the person entitled to possession of the child, and that it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home;

  •   the urgent need for protection required immediate removal, and reasonable efforts consistent with the circumstances and with providing for the child’s safety were made to eliminate or prevent removal; and

  •   despite reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal, there is a substantial risk of continuing danger to the child if the child is returned to the home.

Texas Family Code §262.201(g)

In determining if there is a continuing danger to the child’s physical health or safety, the court may consider if the household to which the child would be returned includes a person who:

  •   abused or neglected another child in a manner that caused serious injury to or the death of the other child; or

  •   sexually abused another child.

Texas Family Code §262.201(i)

Accordingly, the caseworker may submit sufficient evidence of the family’s history to support a conclusion of either serious abuse or neglect or prior sexual abuse by a person in the household or may show continuing danger based on other evidence.

DFPS must also:

  •   place the child with the child’s non-custodial parent or a relative; or

  •   prove that it is not in the child’s best interest to be placed with a non-custodial parent or relative.

Texas Family Code §262.201(n)

Unless there is a prior court order that limits a parent’s rights, or DFPS can demonstrate that placement with a non-custodial parent threatens the child’s safety, a non-custodial parent is entitled to custody of a child removed by DFPS.

Accordingly, the caseworker must submit evidence that shows whether placing the child with a non-custodial parent or relative:

  •   is or is not safe; and

  •   is or is not in the child’s best interest.

At every hearing (from removal to permanency hearings) the court must review the placement of any child not placed with a relative or designated caregiver and make a finding as to whether DFPS has the option of placing a child with such a person.

Texas Family Code §262.0022; 263.002(b)

The caseworker must be prepared with current and accurate information as to why a child is not placed with a relative or designated caregiver.

5431.4 Requesting Services and Participation at the Adversary Hearing

CPS March 2018

Orders Regarding Parents

DFPS must work jointly with a child’s parents to develop a service and visitation plan.

For this reason, and because the adversary hearing is conducted early in the legal case, the caseworker must recommend only that the court order the services needed for the parents to address the safety threats that resulted in the child entering substitute care. The caseworker must not recommend services beyond that, as the caseworker needs time to develop a service plan jointly with the parents.

The caseworker must recommend services focusing on interventions that either:

  •   assess the parents’ protective capacities; or

  •   address diminished protective capacities that prevent the parents from safely parenting the child in the home.

If additional concerns arise:

  •   the caseworker must include services to address diminished protective capacities in the family’s service plan and in future court hearings; and

  •   DFPS must recommend the services be entered as an order of the court.

See 5520 The Family’s Service and Visitation Plans: Filing and Review Requirements.

Orders in General

If the court finds that the standard for naming DFPS as temporary managing conservator (TMC) is met at the adversary hearing, the court may issue appropriate orders, including orders regarding services to address the parents’ protective capacities, as described here.

The court may also issue other orders pertaining to the child and basic issues at the beginning of the case, such as the following:

  •   Child support to be paid to DFPS by the parents

      (Although child support is not a safety driven issue, the law requires that child support always be requested. If a parent is truly indigent, the caseworker requests that the parent support the child in some way, such as by providing clothing.);

  •   Visitation by parents (see 5431.5 Temporary Visitation Schedule)

  •   Visitation by siblings

  •   Visitation by relatives or others who are important to the child

  •   Home assessments conducted on persons requesting that the child be placed with them

  •   Medical and psychological evaluations of the child, followed by the services indicated as appropriate by the evaluations

  •   Appointment of a medical consenter, if one has not already been appointed

  •   Restrictions on the type of placement required to meet a child’s individual needs

  •   Assessments of the parents, to aid in development of the family’s case plan

  •   Temporary injunctions against other parties; such as, prohibiting removal of the child from the jurisdiction, prohibiting unsupervised visits, and prohibiting discussions with the child regarding testimony in pending criminal action

  •   Appointment of representatives of the child (such as an attorney, a court-appointed special advocate, and a guardian ad litem)

  •   Payment of discovery and litigation expenses for the child’s representation

  •   Submission of the placement resource form (Form 2625 Child Caregiver Resource) to DFPS, if it has not been previously provided by the parents

For more information on preparing for and participating in the adversary hearing, and additional orders made at an adversary hearing, see the Hearings and Legal Proceedings Resource Guide under Preparing for and Participating in the Adversary Hearing: Tips and Information.

5431.5 Temporary Visitation Schedule

CPS March 2018

The caseworker must establish a temporary visitation schedule early in a case for each child whose goal is reunification. The caseworker must ensure that a parent who is otherwise entitled to possession of the child is able to visit the child no later than five days after DFPS is named the temporary managing conservator unless:

  •   visiting the parent would conflict with a court order relating to possession or access to the child; or

  •   DFPS determines that visitation is not in the child’s best interest, including when:

  •   the court has made or will make a finding of aggravated circumstances, or

  •   the child has been abandoned without identification.

When developing the temporary visitation schedule, the caseworker must use Form 2640 Temporary Visitation Schedule, and must develop it in conjunction with the child’s parents and parents’ attorney to the extent possible.

The caseworker must be prepared to present the temporary visitation schedule at each adversary hearing, whether the hearing follows an emergency ex parte removal, or the child has not yet been removed and DFPS is seeking approval of a nonemergency removal.

The temporary schedule remains in effect until the visitation plan is developed.

Texas Family Code §262.115

5431.6 Designation of an Education Decision Maker and Notification of a Surrogate Parent

CPS March 2018

Either at the adversary hearing or no later than five days following the adversary hearing, DFPS must provide the court with:

  •   the name and contact information for each person that DFPS designates to make educational decisions on behalf of the child; and

  •   the name of any person who has been assigned by a school or the court to serve as the child’s surrogate parent for purposes of making decisions regarding special education services, if applicable.

Texas Family Code, §263.004

The caseworker must file a completed Form 2085-E Education Decision-Maker at the adversary hearing with the required information.

The caseworker must file an updated form with the court any time:

  •   a new person is designated as the person who can make educational decisions;

  •   a new person is designated as the surrogate parent;

  •   a surrogate parent is appointed for the first time.

The caseworker must file the updated form no later than the fifth day after the person is designated or assigned.

Exceptions to the Requirement

The only exception to the requirement to designate an educational decision-maker is if the court order limits DFPS’s authority to make education decisions on behalf of the child, and therefore DFPS has no such authority to delegate.

If a caseworker thinks there may be an exception to the requirement, the caseworker must consult with the attorney representing DFPS immediately.

Texas Family Code, §263.004

Special Education Decision-Making

A foster parent is authorized to act as a “parent” for a foster child with a disability in making special education eligibility and service decisions immediately after the child is placed and is not required to be appointed as a “surrogate parent” by the school or the court to fulfill that role. The foster parent must receive training no later than 90 days after placement and must agree to other requirements.

Texas Family Code §263.0025 (a-1)

Texas Education Code §§29.015(a) and (b)

The caseworker must inform the appropriate school district if the child’s foster parent is unwilling or unable to serve as a parent for special education decision-making not later than the fifth day after the date a child with a disability in enrolled in school.

Texas Education Code §29.015 (d)

The school district must appoint an individual to serve as the surrogate parent for the child if the foster parent is unwilling or unable to serve as the parent for special education decision-making. The court may also appoint a surrogate parent if certain conditions are met.

Texas Education Code §29.0151 (b)(2)

Texas Family Code §263.0025(b)

If the court appoints a surrogate parent and the school district notifies DFPS that the surrogate is failing to properly perform the required duties, DFPS must promptly notify the court. The school must consult with DFPS and the school must appoint another person to serve as the surrogate parent for the child. 

Texas Education Code §§29.0151(f) and (g)

5432 Requirements Following the Adversary Hearing

CPS March 2018

If the court issues an order naming DFPS as the temporary managing conservator of the child, the caseworker must request that the Vital Statistics Unit identify the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction.

Texas Family Code §§262.202 and 155.101

If the court that ordered removal orders transfer of the case from the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction, DFPS must file the transfer order with the clerk of the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction.

Texas Family Code §§155.201; 155.204(i)

If the court does not name DFPS as temporary managing conservator, and DFPS is dismissed, the caseworker and supervisor must decide whether to offer further services to the family.

The decision to offer further services must be based on:

  •   the court order; and

  •   DFPS’s assessment of the child’s safety.

However, the caseworker must keep in mind that, if the court dismisses DFPS’s petition, providing services is voluntary, unless the court later issues an order.

5440 Aggravated Circumstances

CPS March 2018

If a parent has committed specific types of serious child abuse, the court may make a finding that a parent has subjected a child to aggravated circumstances.

If the court makes such a finding, the court may:

  •   waive the requirement to develop a service plan;

  •   waive the requirement to make reasonable efforts to return the child; and

  •   accelerate the trial schedule to result in a final order at an earlier date than otherwise required under the mandatory dismissal deadline.

If the court makes such a finding with respect to at least one parent, the initial permanency hearing must still be held no more than 30 days after the adversary hearing.

Texas Family Code, §262.2015

Examples of aggravated circumstances include a parent who has:

  •   inflicted (or permitted someone else to inflict) serious bodily injury on their child;

  •   sexually abused their child;

  •   promoted pornography or trafficking involving their child;

  •   been convicted of murder, manslaughter or felony assault of their child; or

  •   had parental rights terminated for another child.

For a complete list of aggravated circumstances, see the Hearings and Legal Proceedings Resource Guide, under Aggravated Circumstances.

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