CHILD ABUSE REPORTING
THE ULTIMATE GOAL--CHILD SAFETY
IT IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY
TO REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE!
Child Protective Services
Reference: Texas Family Code – Chapter 261 - http://law.justia.com/texas/codes/fa/005.00.000261.00.html
Who Should/Can Report ChildAbuse/Neglect?
1. Generalduty to report abuse/neglect – this includes anyone
“A person having CAUSE to believe that a child’s physical ormental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by anyperson SHALL immediately make a report” (TexasFamily Code 251.101)
2. Professional duty to report abuse/neglect –
Professional duty to report abuse/neglect – includes
“An individual who is licensed or certified by the state orwho is an employee of a facility licensed, certified or operated by the stateand who, in the normal course of official duties or duties for which a licenseor certification is required, has direct contact with children. The termincludes teachers, nurses, doctors, day-care employees, employees of a clinicor health care facility that provides reproductive services, juvenile probationofficers, juvenile detention or correctional officers” (Texas Family Code 261.101)
“If a professional has CAUSE to believe that a child hasbeen abused or neglected or may be abused or neglected…the professional SHALL [must or may risk losingcertification/license] make a report [toCPS] not later than the 48th hour after the hour theprofessional first SUSPECTS [theprofessional is not the investigator; IF there is CAUSE to believe, theprofessional SHALL make a CPS report] that the child has been or may beabused/neglected…A professional may not delegate to or rely on another personto make the report” (Texas Family Code261.101)
Ways to Report Abuse
1. Callthe Abuse Hotline toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nationwide –
2. Make the report through a secure web site; you will receivea response within 24 hours. CPS cannotaccept e-mail reports of suspected abuse or neglect. - www.txabusehotline.orgor http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/report_abuse.asp
What To Report
1. child’s name and address (if known)
2. name and address of person/s responsible for the care, custody,or welfare of the child (if known)
3. any other pertinent information concerning the allegedor suspected abuse/neglect
What Happens After the Report is Madeto CPS?
CPS investigates. CPS assigns priorities and prescribesinvestigative procedures based on the severity and immediacy of the allegedharm to the child. This is out of the reporter’s hands; CPS assigns a “level ofcare” once the report is made. There are three (3) levels of care:
1. IMMEDIATE –involves circumstances in which the death of the child or substantial bodilyharm to the child could result if CPS does not immediately intervene
2. Within 24hours – highest priority other than immediate
3. Within 72hours – 2nd level of concern
Most CPSvisits take place at school; parents do not have to be informed by reporter orby CPS in order for CPS to question children. Reporter will remain anonymous tocaregiver (Texas Family Code 261.301).
What Happens After Investigation?
CPS has three options after investigation:
1. Rule it Out – after investigation, there is noevidence of danger to the child
2. Unable todetermine – after investigation, there is not enough evidence to rulethat the child is in danger of abuse/neglect
3. Reason toBelieve Child is in Danger - If CPS determines there is danger to thechild in his/her current home setting, CPS will remove the child from thecurrent setting. The parent or person having legal custody of the child isgiven a proposed child placement resources form to identify three (3)individuals who could be relative caregivers or designated caregivers. Theparent/caregiver is screened for drugs upon removal. If drugs are found in theparent’s/caregiver’s system, the parent/caregiver must attend drug court inwhich the foster parents are invited to attend. Depending on the county, thisdrug court takes place weekly.
4. The family will be provided with in-home and/orout-of-home services (Texas Family Code 261.307).
If sufficientgrounds for filing a suit exist, CPS will submit the investigation report andrecommendations to the court, the district attorney, and the appropriate lawenforcement agency. Once the report and recommendations are received, the courtwill direct CPS to file a petition to request appropriate relief – (time line –30 days) (Texas Family Code 261.308).
A governmentalentity with an interest in the child may file a suit affecting the parent-childrelationship – known as a suit affecting a parent-child relationship (SAPCR).
What is Standard?
The FederalAdoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (AFSA), 42 USCA 678, requires that theparamount concern in protective services cases is the CHILD’S HEALTH &SAFETY – not the rehabilitation of a dysfunctional family. In other words, theagency must act in the best interest of the child.
The Ultimate Goal - Child Safety
1. Petition for the parent/caregiver to participate inservices to help the child (counseling)
2. Plea for state custody of the child
3. Request for the termination of parental rights
1. Shall be held not later than the 14th dayafter the date the child was removed
2. The child MUST be returned to the parent unless
a. Court finds sufficient evidence that
i. the child was in physical danger
ii. the person entitled to the possession of the childfailed to protect the child from danger
iii. the child must be removed immediately in order to beprotected
iv. CPS has made reasonable efforts to return the child tohis/her home, but there is a substantial risk of danger if the child isreturned
After the Hearing
1. The court will enter a temporary order that requiressubmission of the child’s placement resources form.
2. A scheduling order is given determining all upcomingcourt dates.
1. Must take place within 60 days after the temporaryhearing.
2. A service plan is developed
a. Returnthe child to the child’s home if the child has been in foster care
b. Letthe child remain in the home while providing in-home or out-of-home services tothe family (counseling, drug court, family intervention)
c. Providea safe, permanent placement for the child
1. 120 day intervals – one at six months and one at ninemonths
2. Foster parents can attend and must receive a ten day’snotice
3. Child shall attend unless the judge deems childattendance unnecessary
Permanency Plan & PermanencyProgress Report
The initial hearing is not later than the180th day after the date the court renders a temporary orderappointment.
1. End of one year
2. Choices include
a. returningchild home
b. terminationof parental rights
c. custodyto relative
e. permanentcustody to the state
o voluntarilyleft the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent andexpressed an intent not to return;
o voluntarilyleft the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent withoutexpressing an intent to return, without providing for the adequate support ofthe child, and remained away for a period of at least three months;
o voluntarilyleft the child alone or in the possession of another without providing adequatesupport of the child and remained away for a period of at least six months;
o knowinglyplaced or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or surroundingswhich endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child;
o engagedin conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conductwhich endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child;
o failedto support the child in accordance with the parent's ability during a period ofone year ending within
o sixmonths of the date of the filing of the petition;
o abandonedthe child without identifying the child or furnishing means of identification,and the child's identity cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonablediligence;
o voluntarily,and with knowledge of the pregnancy, abandoned the mother of the childbeginning at a time during her pregnancy with the child and continuing throughthe birth, failed to provide adequate support or medical care for the
o motherduring the period of abandonment before the birth of the child, and remainedapart from the child or failed to support the child since the birth;
o contumaciouslyrefused to submit to a reasonable and lawful order of a court under SubchapterD, Chapter 261;
o beenthe major cause of:
o thefailure of the child to be enrolled in school as required by the EducationCode; or
o thechild's absence from the child's home without the consent of the parents orguardian for a substantial length of time or without the intent to return;
o executedbefore or after the suit is filed an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit ofrelinquishment of parental rights as provided by this chapter;
o beenconvicted or has been placed on community supervision, including deferredadjudication community supervision, for being criminally responsible for thedeath or
o seriousinjury of a child under the following sections of the Penal Code or adjudicatedunder Title 3 for conduct that caused the death or serious injury of a child
o violationof one of the following Penal Code sections:
§ indecencywith a child
§ aggravatedsexual assault
§ injuryto a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
§ abandoningor endangering a child
§ prohibitedsexual conduct
§ sexualperformance by a child
§ possessionor promotion of child pornography