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East Texas Senator, Wichita Falls Representative File Bill Reducing Trauma In Foster Care

Senator Bryan Hughes of Mineola

From the Office of Sen. Bryan Hughes and Representative James Frank:

Senator Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, Chairman of the Senate Committee on State Affairs, and Representative James B. Frank, R-Wichita Falls, Chairman of the House Committee on Human Services, filed joint legislation. They aim to reduce the cycle of trauma that many children experience in foster care by clarifying standards in the Family Code related to removing children from their families.

“It is undeniable that children are traumatized whenever they are removed from their homes. There are, of course, occasions where removal is necessary because of an imminent threat to the health and safety of those children,” Sen. Hughes and Rep. Frank said. “However, it is equally true that too many Texas children are removed from their homes unnecessarily and the rights of these children and their families are trampled on. This harm stays with these families forever. Our legislation will clarify standards for DFPS caseworkers, protect due-process for parents, and ensure families here in Texas remain united when possible.”

Specifically, the bill seeks to protect children and families from severe actions by the Department of Family and Protective Services, including removing children from their families and termination of parental rights—for normal activities by amending the state definition of “neglect” in the Texas Family Code.

It also aims to increase minimum due-process rights for parents in child welfare cases before a family can be forced into court-ordered services and ensure fair adjudication of rights for non-offending parents.

Finally, the legislation clarifies procedures in child protection cases, including that such claims are subject to specific pleading requirements under the Rules of Civil Procedure. It establishes a deadline for the rendition of a final order in parental termination cases.

“Clear, uniform legal protections are essential for children and families. They are also a huge benefit to the men and women who work at DFPS,” Hughes and Frank continued. “The Senate State Affairs Committee and House Human Services Committee have listened to the heart-wrenching testimony of children unnecessarily removed because rules and laws were not consistent across the state. SB 190 and HB 567 will reduce these tragic mistakes and protect Texas children.”