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5560 Involuntary and Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

Federal law requires that DFPS request termination of parental rights if a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months, unless certain exceptions apply.

42 U.S.C. §675(5)(E)

In most counties, DFPS requests termination of parental rights as an alternative in the original petition filed at the time of removal. This puts the parents on notice from the beginning of the case that if the problems that lead to removal are not resolved, DFPS may ask the court to terminate parental rights.

Ultimately, if the parent’s performance in establishing a safe home for the child is inadequate, DFPS may consider asking the court to set a final hearing at which DFPS seeks termination of parental rights.

5561 Terminating Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

Termination of parental rights is a serious outcome in a DFPS case. Following termination, the parent and child no longer have a legal relationship. Conversely, terminating parental rights is a prerequisite to adoption and broadens the array of permanency outcomes available to the child.

Whether termination is voluntary or involuntary, it is weighed seriously for each parent and child. In general, if DFPS pursues termination, it does so for both parents.

In rare circumstances, after conferring with the attorney representing DFPS, DFPS may determine that termination on only one parent is appropriate because one parent is such a danger to the health and safety of the child that the parent’s legal avenues to the child must be closed.

In assessing best interest, caseworkers always bear in mind the emotional effect that termination may have on a child.

Before DFPS asks the court to terminate parental rights, the child’s caseworker must confer with:

  •   the supervisor and the program director;

  •   the county or district attorney or other attorney representing DFPS in the case; and

  •   the regional attorney, when necessary to resolve special questions.

5561.1 Providing Services to the Parents

CPS March 2018

Even if the parent has executed an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights, the caseworker must continue to provide services to the parents, unless:

  •   there is a finding of aggravated circumstances; or

  •   the court has rendered an order terminating the parent’s rights.

The caseworker must consult with the attorney representing DFPS about how to best structure services for parents, depending on the case circumstances.

See also:

6220 Permanency Planning Process

6300 Services to Families

5561.2 Searching for Missing Parents

CPS March 2018

If either or both of a child’s legal parents are missing, the child’s caseworker must conduct a diligent search for them, as specified in 5233 Exercising Due Diligence to Locate Missing Parents and Other Relatives.

5562 Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

5562.1 Circumstances in Which Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights May Be Appropriate

CPS March 2018

DFPS does not accept voluntary relinquishments of parental rights as a means for children to enter DFPS conservatorship. For a child to enter DFPS conservatorship, DFPS must determine that there are grounds to remove the child.

If, in the course of a conservatorship case, a parent decides to voluntarily give up his or her parental rights, the caseworker must pursue an affidavit of relinquishment only if:

  •   the parent voluntarily wishes to permanently discontinue the parent-child relationship; and

  •   permanently discontinuing the parent-child relationship is in the child’s best interest.

Texas Family Code §161.103

The caseworker must inform the parent that, if a child is a Native American child as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, the parent (including a parent who is not a Native American) must follow the specific procedures for relinquishing parental rights in court as explained in 5743 Legal Requirements If the ICWA Applies.

While the parent’s consent to the child’s adoption is no longer legally necessary once parental rights are terminated, the caseworker must inform the parent that:

  •   the child may be placed for adoption;

  •   an adopted child has new legal parents; and

  •   DFPS no longer provides reunification services to the parent of an adopted child.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1104

5562.2 Requirements for Termination of Parental Rights Based on a Voluntary Affidavit of Relinquishment

CPS March 2018

The affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights is irrevocable and must comply with:

  •   the requirements of §161.103 of the Texas Family Code; and

  •   any additional specifications of the attorney handling the case.

If the voluntary relinquishment results from either informal or formal mediation, the caseworker must ensure that the applicable requirements explained in 5572 Agreeing to Accept DFPS Conservatorship Without Termination of Parental Rights are followed.

In particular, the caseworker must ensure that:

  •   the affidavit is not the result of fraud, duress, or coercion; and

  •   the parent is free of undue pressure to relinquish parental rights, as described in 5573.3 Parent Must Not Be Pressured to Relinquish Parental Rights.

The court must hold a hearing and order termination of parental rights to the child based on:

  •   the affidavit of voluntary relinquishment; and

  •   a finding that termination is in the child’s best interest.

Texas Family Code, §161.103

5563 Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

In most cases, DFPS requests termination of parental rights at the time of removal, as an alternative to be pursued only if family reunification does not succeed. Later in the case, the caseworker decides if termination of parental rights is an appropriate goal for a child.

Determining if termination is appropriate is complex, and the outcome has far-reaching consequences.

To fully consider the issue, the caseworker must:

  •   carefully review the guidance on termination of parental rights, as explained in 5560 Involuntary and Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights;

  •   carefully review the entire case file;

  •   follow up to obtain any missing information (such as the disposition of a criminal case, and the recommendations of therapists, the guardian ad litem, and the attorney ad litem); and

  •   confer with the supervisor and attorney representing DFPS.

The caseworker must also consider if:

  •   the parent presents a threat to the child’s safety and stability, if rights are not terminated;

  •   adoption is in the child’s best interest;

  •   there are grounds for termination; and

  •   the case was mediated and an agreement could not be met.

5564 The Legal Basis for Termination of Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

If termination of one or both parent’s rights is a permanency goal, the caseworker must confer with the attorney representing DFPS to assess if there is sufficient evidence to support termination.

In order to support a request to terminate parental rights, the caseworker must be able to present clear and convincing evidence that:

  •   termination is in the child’s best interest (see 5220 The Child’s Best Interest); and

  •   one or more grounds for termination exist.

The attorney representing DFPS decides which of the many grounds for termination of parental rights to use in each specific case. While only one termination ground is necessary, lawyers typically plead and prove more than one ground to increase the likelihood of success at trial or on appeal.

The caseworker must:

  •   understand and be able to explain the facts and evidence; and

  •   identify and follow up on any missing information.

5564.1 Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights
5564.11 Endangerment

CPS March 2018

The most common grounds for termination of parental rights are exposing a child to conduct or an environment that endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child. See Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(D),(E).

Many types of conduct that create safety hazards for children can contribute to a finding of endangerment, including:

  •   substance abuse;

  •   criminal acts;

  •   exposing a child to sexual predators; and

  •   failing to attend to a child’s basic needs (food, clothing, medical attention, and supervision).

Much of the conduct described in other grounds for termination (such as abandonment and criminal activity) also supports a finding of endangerment.

If a parent’s rights were previously terminated on the grounds explained in §161.001(b)(1) (D) or (E) (or their equivalent in another state), that is also a ground for termination of parental rights.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(D),(E), and (M)

5564.12 Abandonment

CPS March 2018

There are seven grounds for termination of parental rights because of abandonment.

The following factors can affect which, if any, of the grounds for abandonment might apply:

  •   The place where a child is left

  •   How long a parent is gone

  •   What the parent said (or did not say) when leaving the child

  •   Whether the mother is pregnant when a father leaves

  •   Whether the parent provides for the child during the time the child is left.

A specific abandonment ground is applicable in the case of a child left safely at a designated emergency infant care provider (that is, a Baby Moses case).

The constructive abandonment referenced in §161.001(b)(1)(N) does not refer to a parent physically leaving a child behind, but rather to the failure of a parent of a child in foster care to:

  •   stay in contact with the child; and

  •   take steps to provide the child with a safe environment.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(A),(B),(C),(G),(H),(N),(S)

5564.13 Failure to Support a Child

CPS March 2018

A parent’s failure to support a child to the extent of the parent’s ability for at least one year ending within six months of the filing of the petition for termination is a ground for termination of parental rights.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(F)

Failure to support is difficult to prove. DFPS must show that the parent had the ability to provide support during this period, even if there is no court order requiring payment of child support.

5564.14 Criminal Activity and Imprisonment

CPS March 2018

Certain specific conduct that causes death or serious injury to a child or adult and results in criminal or delinquency proceedings against the perpetrator is grounds for termination of parental rights. This includes criminal conduct committed in another jurisdiction that contains elements substantially similar to the conduct listed below.

The specific conduct includes:

  •   murder or manslaughter;

  •   certain sexual crimes;

  •   assault;

  •   injury to a child;

  •   injury to an elderly or disabled individual;

  •   child abandonment or endangerment; and

  •   child trafficking.

Other related grounds for termination are:

  •   knowingly engaging in criminal conduct that results in imprisonment for at least two years from the date of the filing of the petition, along with proof of an inability to care for the child; or

  •   conviction for the murder, attempted murder, or solicitation of murder of a child’s other parent.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(L),(Q),(T)

5564.15 Court-Ordered Service Plan

CPS March 2018

A parent’s failure for at least nine months to comply with a court-ordered service plan that specifies the actions necessary to regain custody of a child in DFPS care is a ground for termination. A court cannot order termination on this ground, however, if the parent’s inability to comply with specific provisions is not parent’s fault.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(O); 161.001(d)

5564.16 Drug Use

CPS March 2018

Using controlled substances in a way that endangers a child, coupled with failure to complete court-ordered treatment or continued use, is a ground for termination.

Causing a child to be born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance (other than a prescribed medication) is a ground for termination of parental rights.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(P),(R)

5564.17 Alleged Father

CPS March 2018

The grounds for terminating the parental rights of an alleged father are if the alleged father:

  •   fails to register with the paternity registry (or update his address on the registry), or

  •   fails to claim paternity after being served with a termination petition.

Before terminating parental rights, the caseworker must conduct a diligent search for:

  •   the alleged father who is most likely to be the biological father; and

  •   other relatives.

Texas Family Code §161.002

5564.18 Mental Illness

CPS March 2018

It is a ground for termination of parental rights: if:

  •   a parent has a mental or emotional illness that makes the parent unable to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and mental needs; and 

  •   the illness will, in all reasonable probability, continue until the child’s 18th birthday.

Texas Family Code §161.003

5564.19 Relinquishment

CPS March 2018

A parent’s decision to give up parental rights voluntarily, based on a full understanding of the legal consequences and evidenced by a written document signed by the parent that conforms to specific formalities, is a ground for termination of parental rights.

Texas Family Code §161.001(b)(1)(K)

5564.2 Additional Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

Grounds for termination that are rarely used include:

  •   stubborn refusal to submit to a reasonable court order under Chapter 261 of the Family Code; and

  •   being the major cause of a child either not being enrolled in school or being away from home for a substantial length of time without the parent’s or guardian’s consent and without an intent to return.

Texas Family Code §161.001(I),(J)

5565 The Child’s Best Interest in Regard to Terminating Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

For specific factors used in assessing what is in the best interest of a child, see 5220 The Child’s Best Interest.

In the context of termination of parental rights, it is essential to remember that whether termination is involuntary or voluntary, what is in the best interest of a child must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.

It is not sufficient in deciding to terminate rights that a ground for termination exists. Termination must also be in the child’s best interest, as a stand-alone consideration that must take into account the emotional consequences that can result to a child from termination.

A court cannot rely on certain kinds of evidence in making a finding under Texas Family Code §161.001(b) and ordering termination of parental rights. This includes 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 §161.001(c)

These categories of evidence should be documented, if relevant to an investigation, but cannot be used to support a request for termination of parental rights.

5570 Mediation and Other Forms of Dispute Resolution

CPS March 2018

Dispute resolution is an alternative to resolving a case through litigation in court.

Mediation is the most formal process of dispute resolution, but any meeting or telephone conference that is held outside the court and is an attempt by the parties to resolve either a single issue or the entire case is also a way to resolve disputes.

There are two types of mediation in which CPS staff participates:

  •   formal, court-ordered mediation; and

  •   other forms of dispute resolution, as well as any associated requirements.

See the items under the following:

5571.1 Court-Ordered Mediation

5571.2 Informal Dispute Resolution

5571 Requirements for Mediations and Other Dispute Resolutions

CPS March 2018

Whether the caseworker participates in a court-ordered mediation or confers with the parties and their attorneys on the telephone, the resulting agreement may be binding on DFPS and may become an order of the court.

The court may only modify the resulting agreement in limited circumstances; therefore, any resulting agreement must:

  •   ensure the child’s safety;

  •   be in the child’s best interest;

  •   not create barriers to achieving the child’s permanency goal; and

  •   comply with the applicable requirements in 5571.1 Court-Ordered Mediation or 5571.2 Informal Dispute Resolution.

5571.1 Court-Ordered Mediation
5571.11 Overview of Court-Ordered Mediation

CPS March 2018

A court-ordered mediation:

  •   may be requested by any party to the suit;

  •   is prearranged, structured, and formal;

  •   is facilitated by a neutral party, referred to as a mediator; and

  •   may occur at any time during a conservatorship case, though it occurs more frequently in anticipation of a final order.

An agreement reached during formal mediation is referred to as a mediated settlement agreement (MSA). It is binding on the parties and may be entered as an order by the court.

Due to the confidential nature of a court-ordered mediation, information learned during the mediation must not be introduced in court as evidence at any subsequent hearing. If new allegations of abuse or neglect are disclosed during the mediation, the new allegations must be reported as required by the Texas Family Code Chapter 261 Subchapter B.

5571.12 Who Must Attend Court-Ordered Mediation

CPS March 2018

The caseworker and the caseworker’s supervisor must attend all mediations.

The caseworker must notify or verify that the following persons have been notified about the mediation:

  •   All parties to the suit, including but not limited to:

  •   the child’s biological mother;

  •   the child’s biological father;

  •   the child’s presumed and alleged father (if listed as a legal party to the case);

  •   any person named as possessory conservator;

  •   any person who may have intervened in the suit;

  •   all attorneys appointed for the parties to the suit; and

  •   the child’s court appointed special advocate (CASA) or an individual appointed as guardian ad litem.

  •   Any person who is not a party to the suit but is proposed as a permanent placement for the child, such as a relative or fictive kin (referred to as a kinship caregiver) who is seeking permanent managing conservatorship of the child.

5571.13 When a Named Person Cannot Attend Court-Ordered Mediation

CPS March 2018

If a person who is proposed as a permanent placement for the child but is not a party to the suit is unable to attend mediation, the caseworker must:

  •   speak with that person before or during the mediation to discuss any recommendations that will affect the person; and

  •   obtain information from that person before DFPS enters the mediated agreement affecting that individual.

For example, when the parties in a case have identified a relative or fictive kin (such as close family friends) to be named as permanent managing conservator, but the relative or kin has not yet been named as a party to the suit, the caseworker must obtain a response from that relative or kin before DFPS enters the mediated agreement.

5571.2 Informal Dispute Resolution

CPS March 2018

Often the parties in a conservatorship case resolve issues in a less formal setting, with or without a mediator.

These informal settlement conferences may take place in any setting, such as by telephone or at the courthouse outside the presence of the judge.

Once the attorneys and parties reach an agreement on some or all of the issues, the agreement becomes an order of the court. This agreement is often called a Rule 11 Agreement.

To be entered into the orders of the court, a Rule 11 Agreement must be:

  •   made in writing, signed by the attorneys and parties, and filed with the court; or

  •   made verbally by the attorneys and parties in open court and entered into the record.

5571.3 Requirements Before Entering Into an Agreement in an Informal Mediation

CPS March 2018

The conservatorship caseworker must obtain the supervisor’s approval and consult with the attorney for DFPS before agreeing to a mediated settlement agreement or a Rule 11 Agreement which may be used at any point in a lawsuit. Like a MSA, a Rule 11 agreement must be written and once accepted by the court becomes binding an enforceable.

Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11

If the case has not yet been transferred to the conservatorship unit, the removal caseworker must confer with the conservatorship caseworker and supervisor before entering into any such agreement.

The caseworker and supervisor must ensure that any person who is not a party to the suit is consulted about, and agrees to the terms of, any agreement that would affect him or her.

5572 Agreeing to Accept DFPS Conservatorship Without Termination of Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

The program director must approve in advance any agreement to make DFPS the permanent managing conservator (PMC) without terminating the parents’ rights. Discussions about whether it is an acceptable outcome that the caseworker can agree to, as well as any other discussions about permissible outcomes, must occur before the agreement is finalized.

In the rare circumstance that permanent managing conservatorship without termination of parental rights is first proposed unexpectedly during mediation or settlement conference, the caseworker or supervisor must contact the program director for approval.

Before recommending that DFPS be named as permanent managing conservator without termination of parental rights, the caseworker must:

  •   review the child’s permanency goals (see 6200 Case Planning for Positive Permanency) to identify the goal that is in the child’s best interest;

  •   review the grounds for termination of parental rights (see 5564.1 Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights and its subitems, and Texas Family Code Chapter 161 Subchapter A Grounds) to determine which, if any, grounds for termination are applicable;

  •   review with the attorney representing DFPS any applicable grounds for termination; and

  •   ensure that the terms of the mediated agreement do not interfere with attaining the permanency goals set for the child. See 5573 Actions Prohibited When Negotiating for Conservatorship.

The caseworker should keep in mind that adoption is the preferred goal when a child cannot return home, and that a child with a legal status of permanent managing conservatorship to DFPS without termination of the rights of both parents is not eligible for adoption.

5573 Actions Prohibited When Negotiating for Conservatorship

CPS March 2018

When negotiating with parents who are being asked to terminate their parental rights, caseworkers are prohibited from taking certain actions.

See:

5573.1 The Termination of Parental Rights Agreement Must Comply With Law, Rule, and Policy

5573.2 Visitation May Not Be Used to Encourage Agreement to Termination of Parental Rights

5573.3 Parent Must Not Be Pressured to Relinquish Parental Rights

5573.4 An Agreement to Relinquish Parental Rights Must Reflect a Child’s Permanency Goals

5573.5 Joint Managing Conservatorship and Mediation

5573.1 The Termination of Parental Rights Agreement Must Comply With Law, Rule, and Policy

CPS March 2018

Caseworkers must not enter into an agreement on behalf of DFPS that violates federal or state law and regulations, the minimum standard rules, or DFPS policy.

Prohibited actions include but are not limited to:

  •   agreeing to place a child in a placement if there is not a current, approved kinship home assessment or foster or adoptive home screening in place;

  •   guaranteeing to provide an adoption subsidy or permanency care assistance (PCA). Caseworkers may agree to pursue such funding as options, but cannot guarantee that a family will qualify for and receive the funding.

5573.2 Visitation May Not Be Used to Encourage Agreement to Termination of Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

Caseworkers must not leverage parent or child visitation as a condition to encourage parents to agree to the terms of a mediated agreement.

Caseworkers must consider the following factors for visitation:

  •   Visitation is a right of both the child and parent. The caseworker must base decisions regarding visitation solely on the child’s safety and the child’s best interests. A caseworker must only agree to visitation as part of a mediated settlement if he or she believes that visitation is safe for the child. The caseworker must not agree to visitation if he or she does not believe that visitation is safe.

  •   Visitation must not interfere with achieving the child’s permanency goals, including preparing the child to enter into a permanent living situation, such as adoption. See 5573.4 An Agreement to Relinquish Parental Rights Must Reflect a Child’s Permanency Goals.

5573.3 Parent Must Not Be Pressured to Relinquish Parental Rights

CPS March 2018

Caseworkers must not seek relinquishment of a parent’s rights through fraud, duress, or coercion. The parent must be free of pressure to relinquish parental rights.

Texas Family Code §161.211(c)

Prohibited actions include:

  •   agreeing to a placement preferred by the parent in exchange for the parent’s relinquishment of parental rights;

  •   returning one child to the parent in exchange for relinquishing parental rights to another child;

  •   asking the parent to sign a relinquishment of parental rights to be held for future termination, dependent on the parent performing certain acts;

  •   implying or making statements to the parents about potential criminal consequences. Such consequences are speculative and outside the scope of DFPS.

DFPS may agree in good faith to make efforts to achieve an identified goal (such as placing a child with a relative), but must not make a binding commitment.

5573.4 An Agreement to Relinquish Parental Rights Must Reflect a Child’s Permanency Goals

CPS March 2018

Caseworkers must not agree to terms that interfere with achieving the permanency goals established for the child.

Prohibited actions include:

  •   requiring actions to be completed by the parties without also providing the dates by which the actions must be completed;

  •   agreeing to forego future child support when support is appropriate and when it may later be relevant to determining whether to terminate parental rights;

  •   allowing a parent to maintain a level of involvement with the child that would interfere with the child moving on emotionally and achieving his or her permanency goal (for example, the caseworker does not continue visitation with the parents until the child is adopted);

  •   failing to clearly identify the responsibilities of the parties involved.

5573.5 Joint Managing Conservatorship and Mediation

CPS March 2018

During mediation, caseworkers must not agree to share managing conservatorship with another person or entity, barring extraordinary circumstances.

If a caseworker determines that there are extenuating circumstances that warrant shared managing conservatorship, the caseworker must:

  •   discuss the option with the attorney representing DFPS;

  •   obtain approval from the supervisor and program director; and

  •   ensure that the mediated settlement agreement includes an acknowledgment by any foster parents in the case that, during the shared conservatorship, the foster parents may no longer be eligible for foster care maintenance payments.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.1031(d)

5574 Considering Sibling Groups

CPS March 2018

When a sibling group is involved, the caseworker must consider the best interest of each child. DFPS must make efforts to place siblings together.

If it is necessary to separate siblings to achieve the appropriate permanency goal for an individual child, the caseworker must allow the child to have ongoing contact with the other siblings, unless the caseworker determines that ongoing contact is not safe.

See 4114.2 Separating Siblings.

5580 Permanency Hearings After Final Orders for Children Under DFPS Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC)

CPS March 2018

See the Hearings and Legal Proceedings Resource Guide for more information on permanency hearings.

5581 The Purpose of a Permanency Hearing for Children Under DFPS Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC)

CPS March 2018

The court holds permanency hearings for each child who is under the permanent managing conservatorship (PMC) of DFPS.

See the Hearings and Legal Proceedings Resource Guide, under Requirements for the Court in a Permanency Hearing After the Final Order of Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC)

In general, the purpose of the review is to:

  •   review the legal status of the child (review DFPS’s role as the permanent managing conservator of the child);

  •   consider whether DFPS has taken actions to achieve permanency for the child; and

  •   review other information central to the child’s safety, permanency goal, and well-being.

Texas Family Code §§263.002, 263.5031

Permanency hearings also fulfill the federal requirements for conducting reviews every six months and permanency hearings annually, while a child is in the permanent managing conservatorship of DFPS.

42 USC §675(5)(B)(C).

5582 Meeting the Time Frames for Holding a Permanency Hearing After Final Order (PMC)

CPS March 2018

If DFPS has been named in a final court order as a child’s permanent managing conservator, the court must hold a permanency hearing to review DFPS’s PMC every six months until DFPS is no longer the permanent managing conservator (either because the child is adopted, leaves DFPS conservatorship for the managing conservatorship of another individual, or becomes an adult).

If all parental rights have been terminated, the first permanency hearing of DFPS’s PMC must take place no later than 90 days after the court appoints DFPS as the managing conservator. Subsequent reviews are held every six months thereafter, as they are in cases in which parental rights have not been terminated.

Texas Family Code §§263.501, 263.5031

5583 Filing a Permanency Progress Report With the Court and Parties for Children Under Permanent DFPS Conservatorship

CPS March 2018

The caseworker must file a permanency progress report with the court no later than 10 days before the date set for each permanency hearing after the final order for children under permanent DFPS conservatorship.

No later than 10 days before the date set for the hearing, the caseworker must also provide a copy of the permanency progress report to:

  •   the foster parent, potential adoptive parent, relative providing care, or director or director’s designee of the group home or general residential operation where the child is residing;

  •   each parent of the child (as long as the parent’s rights have not been terminated);

  •   the child’s managing conservator or guardian;

  •   the child’s attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, and volunteer advocate, if the appointments have not been dismissed;

  •   the child, if the child is 10 years of age or older or the court determines it is appropriate for the child to receive notice;

  •   the licensed administrator (or designee) of the child placing agency (CPA) responsible for verifying or supervising the foster home where the child is placed. The caseworker sends the notice to the administrator in care of the child’s CPA case manager;

  •   any other person or agency named by the court as having an interest in the child’s welfare.

These requirements apply unless the court orders otherwise.

Texas Family Code §§263.502(a), 263.0021

5584 Notice Requirements for Permanency Hearings for Children Under Permanent DFPS Conservatorship

CPS March 2018

Caseworkers must refer to 5534 Notice Requirements for All Hearings Prior to Final Order when sending notice of a permanency hearing after the final order.

The caseworker must complete Form 2051 Permanency Hearing Notice Letter to notify persons and entities about the hearing.

Texas Family Code §263.501

5585 Meeting the Content Requirements for a Permanency Progress Report for a Child in PMC

CPS March 2018

Unless a court requires a different format, the caseworker must use Form 2088b Permanency Progress Report to file the report with the court. The form provides fields for entering content required by federal law, state law, and DFPS policy.

In the child’s permanency progress report for a child in DFPS’s PMC, the caseworker must include information required in 5535 Meeting the Content Requirements for the Permanency Plan and Progress Report for a child in TMC, and the following information necessary for the court to make findings and determinations about:

Permanency Plan

  •   if the child is age 16 or older and has a permanency plan of another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA), the intensive, ongoing, and, as of the hearing date, unsuccessful efforts to return the child home or to secure a placement with a relative, legal guardian (permanent managing conservator), or adoptive parent;

42 USC 675a

  •   the appropriateness of the child’s permanency goals;

  •   if DFPS has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan;

  •   if DFPS has identified a family or other caring adult who has made a permanent commitment to the child;

  •   information on any significant changes in the child’s personal life or placement since the last hearing.

Placement Status

  •   for a child in institutional care, if efforts have been made to find the least restrictive placement consistent with the child’s best interest and special needs. See Texas Family Code §263.5031(3)(C);

  •   for a child in another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA), in addition to whether APPLA is the best permanency plan for the child, the compelling reasons why it continues to not be in the child’s best interest to return home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or be placed with a fit and willing relative;

  •   for a child in DFPS’s permanent managing conservatorship for whom parental rights have not been terminated, if DFPS has diligently attempted to place the child for adoption; and

  •   for a child in DFPS’s permanent managing conservatorship for whom parental rights have been terminated:

  •   if placing the child in another permanent placement (including appointing a relative as managing conservator) or returning the child to a parent is appropriate for the child; and

  •   whether to order up to six months of services for a parent, if the court makes the necessary findings about the child’s placement and the possibility of reunification.

Texas Family Code §§263.5031(3); 263.502

5586 Obtaining Approval of a Permanency Progress Report

CPS March 2018

After a caseworker completes a permanency progress report:

  •   the supervisor must approve the report; and

  •   both the supervisor and the caseworker must sign it.

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