Child Protective Services Handbook Revision
May 1, 2007

This revision of the Child Protective Services Handbook was published on May 1, 2007. Summaries are posted below. Specific edits follow the summaries, with significant changes noted in red. Not displayed are minor copyediting and formatting changes.

Abortion and Medical Consent (PATS 1412)

The following items have been revised to reflect legislative changes made effective on September 1, 2005, regarding medical consent for an unemancipated minor seeking an abortion and medical consent policy as it relates to abortion.

See:

2393 Intake Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family, and its subitems.

2394 Abuse/Neglect Investigations Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family, and its subitems.

2395 Removal Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing

6521 Medical Consent

6521.17 Including Medical Information in Court Reports

6521.4 Medical Consent by Youth

6562 Minors Who Are Pregnant, and its subitems.

Only grammatical changes and other minor revisions were made to the following:

2393.2 Regional Action on the Intake

2394.3 Authorizations Required for Disclosure

2394.5 Concurrent Judicial Bypass Proceedings

2394.51 Assisting the Minor in Applying for Judicial Bypass

2395 Removal Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing

3178 Family-Based Safety Services Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing

5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion

5510 DFPS Appointed as Guardian Ad Litem in Judicial Proceedings to Bypass Parental Notification of Abortion

5511 Role and Responsibilities of the DFPS Guardian Ad Litem

5512 Appointment as Guardian Ad Litem of Minor in DFPS Conservatorship

5513 Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

6562.2 DFPS Appointed as Guardian Ad Litem for Minor in Conservatorship for Judicial Bypass Proceedings

6562.3 Documenting Abortion-Related Information for Minor in Conservatorship

2393 Intake Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family

CPS June 2002 May 2007

Policies in 2100 Intake regarding taking a report and deciding whether to assign it for investigation are applied to reports of abuse or neglect of a minor who wants or has had an abortion without telling her family, except when Section 2390 contains a different policy, unless otherwise specified.

2393.1 Statewide Intake Procedures Regarding Abortion-Related Information

CPS September 2002 May 2007

Additional Information to Obtain

If the reporter indicates that the minor wants or has had an abortion, the intake worker must try to determine whether the minor:

    has told or does not want to tell her family about the abortion-related information; or

    is considering obtaining or has obtained a court order to get the abortion without telling her family.

Recording of Abortion-Related Information

The intake worker must record information that a minor wants or has had an abortion (and information about the associated pregnancy and any judicial bypass proceedings) in the Person Notes for the reporter on CAPS IMPACT. In the intake narrative, the worker must indicate that investigation staff need to review the Person Notes for the reporter.

Sensitive Case Designation

Intake staff must designate the case as Sensitive on CAPS IMPACT when a minor is seeking or has had an abortion. In the Comment field for the Sensitive designation, enter the phrase "Abortion-related information." Intake staff must notify the appropriate regional program director of the report.

Priority

If the reporter indicates that the investigation information will be needed for a judicial bypass proceeding when the minor seeks to obtain an abortion without notice to a parent, conservator, or guardian, then the report must be made a Priority 1. See 2394.5 Concurrent Judicial Bypass Proceedings.

Law Enforcement Notification

Statewide Intake does not notify law enforcement of the intake. Rather, Statewide Intake indicates in the intake report that the local staff must provide the law enforcement notification.

See 2393.2 Regional Action on the Intake for redaction of abortion-related material.

2393.2 Regional Action on the Intake

CPS September 2002 May 2007

Assignment of the Case

The program director notified of the report must identify which local unit should receive the case.

Review of Person Notes

The supervisor in the local unit must review the Person Notes for the reporter before closing a report without assignment when the report is of alleged abuse or neglect of a minor seeking an abortion.

Law Enforcement Notification

The local unit must fax the Law Enforcement Notification report to law enforcement after redacting the abortion-related information from the Person Notes for the reporter, Sensitive Case comments at the bottom of the intake narrative, and any other place in the report.

2394 Abuse/Neglect Investigations Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family

CPS June 2002May 2007

In an investigation of abuse or neglect of a minor who wants or has had an abortion without telling her family, staff must follow policy in 2000 Intake, Investigation, and Assessment, except when Section 2390 contains a different policy, unless otherwise specified.

2394.1 Reviewing the Intake

CPS June 2002May 2007

When reviewing the intake, investigation staff must review the Person Notes for the reporter when the intake narrative indicates the need to do so.

The worker and supervisor must staff the case before beginning the investigation and as needed during the investigation with regard to law enforcement and persons involved in the investigation.

Law Enforcement

If serious sexual abuse is alleged, staff must determine whether law enforcement should be informed immediately of the abortion-related information so they can have the opportunity to gather evidence of criminal offenses in a timely manner. See 2392 Definitions.

Persons Involved in the Investigation

Staff must determine:

    to whom they need to disclose the abortion-related information to be able to address allegations, assess risk, and provide for the safety of the children; and,

    for those persons who need to be informed, what exceptions to confidentiality can be found as a basis for disclosing the abortion-related information to them. See 2394.1 Reviewing the Intake and 2394.3 Authorizations Required for Disclosure.

2394.2 Interviewing the Minor

CPS June 2002May 2007

In the initial interview with the minor, the worker must ascertain the minor's plans for the pregnancy and whether she is still considering an abortion. The worker should seek to determine whether her parents and other family members already know she is pregnant and seeking an abortion. The worker must determine if the minor is concerned about telling or notifying her family that she wants an abortion and if she is seeking assistance in applying for a judicial bypass (see 2394.51 Assisting the Minor in Applying for Judicial Bypass).

The physician of an unemancipated minor must obtain written consent from her parents to perform an abortion, unless:

    the minor has obtained a court order; or

    the minor's physician determines that an immediate abortion is needed in order to avoid death or serious impairment to the minor. (See Texas Occupations Code 164.052(a)(19)).

After the worker and supervisor have identified the persons who should be involved in the investigation, the worker must talk with the minor about the need to investigate and provide for safety for the minor and other children in the home. The worker must explain which persons involved in the investigation need to be informed of the abortion-related information.

The worker may need to determine whether the minor is willing to consent to CPS disclosing the abortion-related information to persons whom DFPS needs to involve in the investigation. If she is, the worker must obtain her written consent. See 2391 Exceptions to Confidentiality of Abortion-Related Information for information about confidentiality and use of the Consent and Waiver of Confidentiality form.2393.2 Regional Action on the Intake

2394.3 Authorizations Required for Disclosure

CPS June 2002May 2007

In conducting the investigation interviews with parents, alleged perpetrators, siblings, other family and household members, and collaterals, the following approvals apply.

Exceptions to Disclosure

The worker must not disclose abortion-related information to a person outside DFPS during the investigation without prior supervisor approval. If the information needs to be disclosed, the supervisor must ensure that one of the required exceptions in 2391 Exceptions to Confidentiality of Abortion-Related Information applies for each person to whom the information would be disclosed.

Disclosure of Information Under the Safety Exceptions

The supervisor must obtain program director approval to disclose abortion-related information to any person under the safety exception in 2391 Exceptions to Confidentiality of Abortion-Related Information.

If the program director approves disclosure of abortion-related information to one or more persons based on the safety exception, but the minor has declined to consent to disclosure to those persons, the worker must inform the minor before the disclosure of the information. If informing the minor before the disclosure would threaten the child's safety, the worker must inform her as soon as possible after the disclosure.

2394.4 Other Investigation Activities

CPS June 2002May 2007

As needed, the worker may make a collateral contact with the physician performing the abortion to determine any efforts the physician has made to notify obtain written approval from a parent, conservator, or guardian, including whether a waiver was provided or the abortion was performed as a medical emergency.

Staff must consult with the regional attorney if staff find reason to believe that a person is a perpetrator of abuse or neglect and the only or primary evidence is the abortion-related information, but DFPS did not disclose the abortion-related   information to the alleged perpetrator when making the finding.2393.2 Regional Action on the Intake

2394.5 Concurrent Judicial Bypass Proceedings

CPS June 2002May 2007

If a judicial bypass proceeding occurs during the investigation, the court may order DFPS to provide information from the investigation. If court-ordered, staff must inform the court of the investigation findings or the status of the investigation at that point in time.

If the worker is appointed as the minor's guardian ad litem in a judicial bypass proceedings, see 5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion.

2394.51 Assisting the Minor in Applying for Judicial Bypass

CPS June 2002May 2007

If the minor indicates or appears to need help during the investigation to apply to a court for an abortion without notice to a parent, the worker must provide her with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) pamphlet So You're Pregnant, Now What? (stock number 19-3, English, and 19-3A, Spanish).  Staff may order the abortion-related pamphlet, which references parental consent through DSHS's online publications form.

Application forms and rules for the judicial bypass procedure are available at any court clerk's office and online through the Texas Supreme Court.

Assisting a Minor Who Is Not in DFPS Conservatorship

If a minor who is not in DFPS conservatorship needs further assistance, the worker may help her with any of the following:

    Provide her with a referral to a community resource for help completing the application and with transportation, if necessary.

    Help her develop another plan for completing the application and proceeding with the application process, if necessary.

    Provide an interpreter, if necessary.

Assisting a Minor Who Is in DFPS Conservatorship

The worker may give the pregnant minor information about how to obtain a judicial bypass, including providing her with the DSHS pamphlet entitled So You're Pregnant, Now What?

However, it would not be appropriate for DFPS, as the minor's conservator, to assist her in other ways to apply for a bypass court order which would constrain DFPS from telling her parents or caretaker about the abortion. See 6562.1 Notification of Abortion Desired by a Minor in DFPS Conservatorship.

Caution: The worker must not participate in or seek to influence the minor's decision about whether or not to get an abortion.

2395 Removal Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing

CPS September 2002May 2007

The minor who wants or has had an abortion without telling her family may have siblings in the home who may need to be removed to protect them from further abuse or neglect. The abortion-related information may be crucial evidence in obtaining conservatorship.

When preparing the court case (see 5224 Preparing the Court Case), staff should work with the regional attorney to find ways to get the abortion-related information into evidence if necessary to obtain the removal, even when the exceptions to confidentiality in 2391 Exceptions to Confidentiality of Abortion-Related Information do not appear to apply.

The worker may need to obtain a copy of a judicial bypass court order, when it would be helpful in bringing about the removal. Although the bypass order is confidential, the law allows disclosure to a government agency seeking to protect the interest of the minor.

3178 Family-Based Safety Services Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing

CPS June 2002May 2007

In general, Family-Based Safety Services staff must follow the policies listed below when applicable:

    2391 Exceptions to Confidentiality of Abortion-Related Information for keeping abortion-related information confidential or disclosing it.

    2395 Removal Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing for removing children when abortion-related information may be crucial evidence.

5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion

CPS June 2002May 2007

Texas Family Code Chapter 33 provides a process by which a pregnant minor who is not emancipated may apply to a court for judicial approval of the minor consenting to an abortion without notification to a parent, guardian, or conservator.

The minor can utilize this court process without having to pay any fees or court costs. The minor may file an application for a judicial bypass in a county court at law, court with probate jurisdiction, or district court, including family court (not limited to a court having jurisdiction due to conservatorship issues) in any part of the state.

The court must immediately appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor. If the court appoints a DFPS staff member, the policies in 5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion and its sub-items apply. The court must also appoint an attorney for the minor, if the minor does not have one.

The court must rule on the application no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second business day after the date the application is filed with the court (unless the minor consents to a delay), or the abortion may proceed without the required notification as if the application had been granted. The clerk issues a certificate that the minor's application has been granted. If the court denies the application, the minor may appeal.

All court proceedings under Chapter 33 must be conducted in a manner that protects the anonymity of the minor. An order of the court under Chapter 33 is confidential and privileged and not subject to disclosure except to:

    court-appointed participants;

    a person designated by the minor; or

    a governmental agency or attorney in a criminal or administrative action seeking to assert or protect the interest of the minor.

5510 DFPS Appointed as Guardian Ad Litem in Judicial Proceedings to Bypass Parental Notification of Abortion

CPS June 2002May 2007

Under Texas Family Code Chapter 33, a court may appoint DFPS (or a DFPS staff member), among others, to act as guardian ad litem for a minor who has applied for judicial authorization to avoid notifying a parent, managing conservator, or legal guardian before having an abortion.

5511 Role and Responsibilities of the DFPS Guardian Ad Litem

CPS September 2002May 2007

The role of the guardian ad litem (GAL) is to serve and assist the court in arriving at a determination about:

    whether the minor is mature and sufficiently well-informed to make the decision to have an abortion without notification to either of her parents or a managing conservator or guardian;

    whether notification would not be in the best interest of the minor; or

    whether notification may lead to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of the minor.

See Appendix 5511 Duties of the Guardian Ad Litem in Chapter 33 Proceedings, for suggestions about information that may be pertinent regarding the minor's best interest and maturity level, and whether she is sufficiently well-informed.

The DFPS GAL may not accept any court-ordered payment for fees and expenses.

The DFPS GAL must be familiar with Texas Family Code Chapter 33, requirements and rules of the Supreme Court of Texas and the local court relating to proceedings under Chapter 33.

Anonymity and Confidentiality

The DFPS GAL must not reveal the following to anyone outside of the proceedings:

    the identity of the minor;

    that the minor is or has been pregnant; or

    that the minor wants or has had an abortion.

When possible, the DFPS GAL should refer to the minor as Jane Doe rather than by the minor's name.

Exception

If a report of abuse or neglect is made, the minor's identity, pregnancy, and abortion or desire for an abortion may be revealed to DFPS staff who have a need to know (including the intake worker).

Duties

The DFPS GAL must begin carrying out the duties of the GAL immediately upon being notified of the appointment, since the court must rule on the minor's application no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second business day after the date the application was filed with the court (unless the minor requests an extension).

Immediate Actions

The GAL must take the following actions:

    Notify his or her supervisor of the Chapter 33 GAL appointment.

    Determine whether the minor is in DFPS conservatorship anywhere in the state. If the minor is in DFPS conservatorship, see 5512 Appointment as Guardian Ad Litem of Minor in DFPS Conservatorship.

    Make a diligent effort to contact the minor before the hearing. The GAL may contact the minor as many times as necessary and as time allows before the hearing.

Subsequent Actions

As needed and as time allows, the GAL may take any of the following actions:

    Gather information from persons or entities in addition to the minor or as ordered by the court, in a manner that ensures the privacy of the minor regarding the abortion decision.

    Check DFPS records for prior or current cases involving the minor, her family, or any person she alleges as being likely to abuse or neglect her if notified of the pending abortion.

    If ordered by the court, ask local law enforcement for a criminal records check on any person named by the minor as having abused her or as being likely to abuse or neglect her if notified of the pending abortion.

    Ask the minor's attorney to request that the hearing be postponed so that more information can be gathered, if the postponement is not likely to be contrary to the minor's best interest.

Required Actions

The GAL also must:

    prepare a written report to the court, if requested by the court; and

    attend the Chapter 33 hearing.

5512 Appointment as Guardian Ad Litem of Minor in DFPS Conservatorship

CPS June 2002May 2007

If the minor is in DFPS conservatorship, the DFPS guardian ad litem (GAL) must immediately inform his or her supervisor and notify the regional attorney in the area where the court petition was filed. An inherent conflict of interest is raised when DFPS is the minor's managing conservator and the minor is seeking a judicial bypass to avoid the notification but DFPS has been notified through the GAL appointment.

The regional attorney should immediately notify the court of the conflict and point out that the minor's purpose for seeking the bypass has been violated now that the managing conservator has been notified and that, unless otherwise ordered, DFPS is obligated to notify the minor's parents, foster parent, adoptive parents, relative caretaker, and so on.

5513 Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

CPS June 2002May 2007

If the DFPS guardian ad litem (GAL) learns of allegations of abuse or neglect involving the minor or other children in the minor's family or home during the time of the GAL appointment, the DFPS GAL must:

    report the allegations to DFPS through statewide intake; and

    provide all information pertinent to the situation, including the GAL's role, the judicial proceedings, the minor's name, and the facts regarding the minor's pregnancy and/or abortion.

If the DFPS GAL believes that the investigation information will be needed in the judicial proceedings, the GAL must clearly explain that to the intake worker.

The reports are made pursuant to Texas Family Code �33.009.

Statewide Intake responds to the reports as identified in 2393 Intake Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family.

6521 Medical Consent

CPS September 2006May 2007

Legal Basis

The legal basis for the medical consent policy is found in Texas Family Code Chapter 266. This section of the law requires the court to specifically authorize an individual or DFPS to consent to medical care for each child in DFPS conservatorship.

In most cases, DPFS petitions the court to authorize DFPS to consent to medical care. When the court authorizes DFPS to consent to medical care, DFPS must then designate an individual as medical consenter.

Definition of Medical Care

Medical care includes physical, dental, behavioral, and allied health care (such as, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietetic services, and so on).

Making Medical Decisions Until Court Hearing

In the interim between a child's removal and the initial hearing when temporary orders are requested, the caseworker can:

    consent to medical care until the court hearing; or

    designate a professional staff member of the emergency shelter or the live-in caregivers with which the child is placed to consent to medical care until the court hearing.

See 6521.11 Selecting Medical Consenter and Back Up Medical Consenter.

Exception for Inpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment

The medical consenter may not consent to the voluntary admission of a child in foster care to a facility operated by the Department of State Health Services for inpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment (such as, state hospitals or facilities that treat substance abuse).

If the child does not agree with the admission then DFPS must seek involuntary commitment.

Texas Health and Safety Code ��572.001(c), 462.022(c)

Exception for ECI and ISD Services

The medical consent policy outlined here in 6521 Medical Consent does not apply to diagnostic testing or services provided by the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program or an independent school district (ISD).

Federal law governs the provision of informed consent for these services. For the initial evaluation to determine whether a child in DFPS conservatorship has a disability, a DFPS employee may consent.

20 USCA �1414(a)(1)(D)(iii)

However, once the initial diagnosis is determined, the foster parent or surrogate parent appointed by the school district must consent to ongoing diagnostic testing and services provided by ECI or the ISD.

If the court authorizes DFPS to consent to medical care for a child in DFPS conservatorship, the caseworker provides to the medical consenter:

    the child's known medical history;

    copies of available medical records; and/or

    information about previous health care providers who have treated the child.

Exception for Abortion

Neither DFPS staff nor medical consenters designated by DFPS to consent to medical care for a child in DFPS conservatorship may consent to an abortion.

However, the parent of a child whose parental rights have not been terminated may provide written consent.

For an investigation case, see:

2393 Intake Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family

2394 Abuse/Neglect Investigations Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Informing Her Family

2395 Removal Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing

For a family based safety services case, see 3178 Family-Based Safety Services Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing.

For a child in DFPS conservatorship, see:

6562 Minors Who Are Pregnant

6562.1 Notification of Abortion Desired by a Minor in DFPS Conservatorship

6562.11 DFPS Requirement to Inform Parents and Caretakers about Abortion-Related Information

6562.12 Abortion Notification by Physician for Minor in Conservatorship

6562.2 DFPS Appointed as Guardian Ad Litem for Minor in Conservatorship for Judicial Bypass Proceedings

6562.3 Documenting Abortion-Related Information for Minor in Conservatorship

6521.17 Including Medical Information in Court Reports

CPS September 2006May 2007

At each hearing under Chapter 263 of the Texas Family Code, or more often if ordered by the court, the court reviews a summary of the medical care provided to the child since the last hearing.

Texas Family Code �266.007

The caseworker includes a summary of medical care provided to the child in each court report, including court reports for status, permanency, and placement hearings.

In order to provide the court with a summary of the child's medical care, the caseworker must be kept informed of the medical care provided to the child. The caseworker requests that the medical consenter and back up medical consenter keep the caseworker informed either:

    verbally; or

    by completing Form 2094 Summary of Child's Medical Care.

The caseworker must request the information from the medical consenter in sufficient time to complete court reports in a timely manner.

The caseworker completes the Summary of Medical Care section in the court report using information about the child's medical care. The information is obtained from the medical consenter:

    either verbally; or

    in writing from Form 2094 Summary of Child's Medical Care.

Abortion

If a minor in conservatorship has an abortion, the caseworker includes the abortion-related information in the court report for that reporting period unless:

    there is risk of harm or abuse to the minor that may result from that information; or

    a court has ordered DFPS not to inform the parents or caregiver.

6521.4 Medical Consent by Youth

CPS September 2006May 2007

A youth in foster care who is at least 16 years old may consent to receiving medical care if the court with continuing jurisdiction determines that the youth has the capacity to consent to medical care.

Texas Family Code �266.010

To support a youth determined by the court to be capable of consenting to his or her own medical care, the caseworker:

    educates the youth about his or her medical care and the process for making informed decisions on an ongoing basis. See 6521.41 Educating Children About Their Medical Care.

    informs the youth of his or her right to request a hearing to request authority to consent to his or her own medical care. See 6521.42 Informing Youth About Certain Rights.

    documents in IMPACT when a youth is authorized by the court to consent to his or her medical care. See 6521.43 Documenting Court Authorization for Youth Consent in IMPACT.

    offers ongoing support and guidance to a youth who has been authorized by a court to consent to his or her own medical care. See 6521.44 Offering Ongoing Support to Youth.

    may request a court order authorizing medical care in certain situations when a youth, who has been authorized by a court to consent to his or her own medical care, refuses medical care. See 6521.45 Requesting a Court Order When a Youth Refuses Medical Care.

    includes medical information in court reports on an ongoing basis. See 6521.17 Including Medical Information in Court Reports.

    notifies parents of significant medical conditions. See 6521.18 Notifying Parents About Significant Medical Conditions.

Abortion

If a court authorizes a youth to consent to some or all of her own medical care under Texas Family Code �266.010, the authorization does NOT authorize the youth to consent to an abortion. In order for a youth to consent to an abortion, the court must grant a judicial bypass under Texas Family Code Chapter 33. See 5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion.

6562 Minors Who Are Pregnant

CPS June 2002May 2007

When a minor in DFPS's managing conservatorship becomes pregnant, the worker must take the following steps:

1.  Interview the minor to assess whether she was a victim or incest, sexual abuse, or criminal offense.

2.  Through counseling, help the minor consider ways to deal with her pregnancy. The alternatives normally include:

    raising the infant herself, whether in or out of substitute care;

    placing the infant with relatives;

    placing the infant for adoption; and

    terminating her pregnancy.

      The worker should encourage the minor to discuss the various issues and options concerning the pregnancy with her parents, caretakers, therapists, religious personnel, and so on, unless there are reasons not to do so. The worker should ensure that the minor is aware of her options and community resources. For issues concerning parental notification concerning a minor's abortion, see 6562.11 DFPS Requirement to Inform Parents and Caretakers About Abortion-Related Information.

3.  Help the minor plan for the alternative she chooses, including providing her with referrals to:

    appropriate providers of pre- and postnatal care; and

    a family planning clinic, if appropriate (family planning clinics provide postnatal contraceptive services and also carry out, or make referrals for, abortions).

      Authorization for Abortions: If the minor chooses to have an abortion, the worker must not give authorization or approval for the minor to obtain the abortion nor sign any medical consent forms for this purpose.

      For questions concerning a minor's abortion, the worker may consult with the regional attorney.

4.  Address the plans for the infant in the pregnant minor's plan of service. If the minor chooses to care for the infant herself and to remain in foster care, and if a foster caregiver agrees to accept both the mother and her infant, the worker residential childcare provider staff must:

    ask the DFPS Child-Care Licensing program for a variance to permit the mother to care for her infant in a licensed, certified, or approved facility; and

    apply for foster care assistance for the infant.

      Securing Foster Care Assistance: DFPS can secure foster care assistance for the infant without being appointed as the infant's managing conservator.

5.  Decide whether it is feasible and appropriate to work with the infant's father. If it is feasible, the worker may:

    encourage the father to participate with the mother in considering alternatives for the infant's care;

    help the father participate in planning for the alternative chosen; and

    help him plan for the infant's financial support.

      If the father is in substitute care, the worker must address the plans for the infant in the father's plan of service.

6.  Texas Family Code, Chapter 33, applies to pregnant minors, including those in DFPS conservatorship who may want an abortion, with or without notification to DFPS, the minor's biological family, legal family, foster family, or adoptive family.

      For an explanation of the judicial bypass process, see 5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion.

7.   If a pregnant minor in conservatorship is seeking or has had an abortion without telling her family and there are allegations of abuse or neglect, see 2390 Intake and Investigation Involving a Minor Who Wants or Had an Abortion Without Her Family Knowing.

8.  Refer the minor for health-related training for sexually active minors.

6562.1 Notification of Abortion Desired by a Minor in DFPS Conservatorship
6562.11 DFPS Requirement to Inform Parents and Caretakers About Abortion-Related Information

CPS April 2004May 2007

Federal statutes and state licensing standards require that the minor's medical information be shared with the parents and caretakers unless there are reasons not to do so.

Unless a court order from the Texas Family Code Chapter 33 judicial bypass proceeding specifically prohibits DFPS from disclosing abortion-related information to parents or caregivers, DFPS can, and generally prefers to, share the information with them, unless:

    there is risk of harm or abuse to the minor that may result from disclosure;

    the girl minor expresses an interest in a judicial bypass; or

    a court has ordered DFPS not to inform the parents or caretaker (see 5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion).

The worker must obtain program director approval for any decision not to disclose abortion-related information to parents or caretakers, and must document those reasons in the minor's case record.

Counseling the Pregnant Minor

The worker should encourage the minor to discuss the various issues and options concerning the pregnancy with her parents, caretakers, therapists, religious personnel, guardian ad litem, attorney ad litem, and so on, unless there are reasons not to do so. At a minimum, the worker encourages the minor to inform (or allow DFPS to inform) at least one parent and the caretaker. The worker should encourage the minor to learn about options and community resources.

The worker gives the pregnant minor information about how to obtain a judicial bypass, including providing her with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) booklet So You're Pregnant, Now What?. However, it would not be appropriate for DFPS, as the minor's conservator, to assist the minor in other ways to apply for a bypass court order that would constrain DFPS from telling her parents or caretaker about the abortion.

If the minor decides to seek a judicial bypass, the worker should tell the minor that DFPS will not inform her parents or caretaker of the pregnancy or her desire for an abortion immediately; but DFPS will inform her parents or caretaker if she fails to receive the bypass within a reasonable period of time.

The following scenarios are examples of how to counsel a minor who has obtained judicial bypass:

Situation A

A pregnant minor in DFPS conservatorship may tell her caseworker that she wants an abortion but does not want her biological parents, her medical consenter, or her caregivers (foster parents, relatives, adoptive parents, and so on) to know.

Although the doctor could proceed with the abortion by giving DFPS the notification required by Chapter 33, the minor must be informed that DFPS staff will share information about the pregnancy and abortion with the medical consenter, caretaker, and parents, unless:

    DFPS decided there were safety or other valid reasons not to share the information; or

    the minor obtained a judicial bypass court order that prohibited DFPS from sharing this information.

Situation B

DFPS learns that a girl in conservatorship, prior to coming into care, obtained a judicial bypass and had an abortion without telling her family. In this instance, DFPS does not disclose the abortion-related information unless the parents, caretakers, or prospective foster or adoptive parents must know in order to provide for the minor's health and safety. The program director must approve disclosure of the information.

If health issues are involved, the worker must tell the minor in advance that DFPS will inform her parents or caretakers. DFPS staff must work with the minor to help her understand why such health-related information needs to be shared with parents or caretakers (including a prospective adoptive family).

Acknowledgement of Notification

Certain abortion providers have requested written proof that they have given DFPS notice as the minor's conservator. Staff can provide only acknowledgement of the date that notice was received; they cannot give approval.

6562.12 When a Physician May Perform an Abortion Notification by Physician for on a Minor in Conservatorship

CPS June 2002May 2007

Physicians may not perform an abortion on a pregnant minor in DFPS conservatorship except when the parent provides written consent, judicial bypass is granted, or a medical emergency exists. See Texas Occupations Code 164.052(a)(19).

Parent Provides Written Consent

A parent whose rights have not been terminated may provide written consent for an abortion for a child in DFPS conservatorship.

Judicial Bypass Is Granted

The abortion may proceed if a court has ruled that the minor may consent to the abortion without notifying DFPS. See 5500 Judicial Bypass to Parental Notification of Abortion.

A Medical Emergency Exists

The abortion may proceed if the physician believes it must be performed without notice because of a medical emergency.

6562.2 DFPS Appointed as Guardian Ad Litem for Minor in Conservatorship for Judicial Bypass Proceedings

CPS June 2002May 2007

A DFPS staff member may be appointed by a court to be the guardian ad litem for a minor in conservatorship who has applied for a judicial bypass. Staff must immediately begin to follow the policies in 5512 Appointment as Guardian Ad Litem of Minor in DFPS Conservatorship.

6562.3 Documenting Abortion-Related Information for Minor in Conservatorship

CPS June 2002May 2007

Abortion-related information includes any information about:

    the minor's pregnancy that is related to the abortion;

    the abortion; and

    any judicial bypass proceedings related to the abortion.

DFPS staff may document abortion-related information in the case record. However, if the minor is successful in getting a judicial bypass that specifically prohibits DFPS from disclosing the abortion-related information, DFPS must redact that information before disclosing any case record information to a parent, caretaker, or prospective adoptive parent.

If the decision is made not to disclose the abortion-related information to the parents or caretaker, the worker must document the reasons in the case record.