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What happens after a CPS case where your child is left in the permanent care of the agency?

It could happen that as a result of your Child Protective Services case, the judge will find that it is in the best interests of your child to remain in the permanent care of CPS after your case has concluded. Your child will have previously have been removed from your home and will have been living in foster care for the duration of the case. The state would have liked to have placed your child in the permanent care of a family member but that is not always possible. 

When it is not possible, and whether or not your parental rights are terminated in relation to that child, hearings will be held periodically after the final hearing of your case that will relate to finding a place for your child to live permanently. The needs of your child will almost surely change as he or she grows up. It is likely that the State will not be in the best position to provide for your child throughout these years. The judge must do their due diligence in finding a new place for your child to live if this occurs. 

In any post-final orders, permanency hearing that is held your child will be expected to attend. Progress Reports will be filed by the Department prior to any permanency hearing that will detail the efforts that the state has gone to in order to find a more suitable, permanent living situation for your child. Basically, the needs of your child from a safety and well-being perspective will be analyzed by the judge. Are their needs- medical, psychological or any other-being met by the state?

What do court orders look like regarding permanent managing conservatorship?

Permanent managing conservatorship refers to a relationship with your child where you are legally able to make decisions for your child on a permanent basis. A possessory conservatorship, on the other hand, is a situation where a parent or other person only holds visitation rights to the child with limited decision-making capabilities. 

When you as a parent to your child is still involved in the case, the judge may order the Department to provide you with services for not more than six months after the date of a permanency hearing if your child has not been placed with a relative or other person, including a foster parent, who is seeking permanent managing conservatorship of your child. 

Additionally, the court would need to determine that further efforts to attempt to reunify you with your child are in the best interests of your child and are likely to result in the return of your child to your home. 

Termination of your parental rights in conjunction with a denial of a prior petition to terminate

A judge can terminate the parent-child relationship between yourself and your child even after it has previously denied attempts by the state to do so. This can be done under the following circumstances:

-the petition to terminate your parental rights is filed after the date the order denying the termination was issued

-the circumstances of your child, you, or any other party affected by the order denying the prior termination request have materially and substantially changed since the date that order was issued

-termination of your parental rights must be determined to be in the best interests of your child

Appealing a CPS case where your parental rights are terminated

Appealing a final order in relation to a Child Protective Services case is usually handled in an expedited fashion. This means that, compared to other kinds of civil case appeals, your case should be handled quicker. If you were previously declared to be indigent in the initial CPS case, the same assumption will be in play for your appeal. Additionally, the attorney ad litem that was appointed by the court to represent you will remain on for the appeal. 

What are some examples of why your parental rights may have been terminated?

For any of you out there who are concerned about whether or not your parental rights may be terminated in conjunction with a CPS case, I would like to share with you some examples of reasons why other parents have had their parental rights terminated. If you would like to go over your specific circumstances with an experienced family law attorney please contact our office. 

With that said, here are some scenarios from other Texas CPS cases that have led to parents’ parental rights being terminated:

-A father’s parental rights were terminated when it was found that the father voluntarily left his child alone without providing adequate support and remained away for at least six months

-a mother knowingly placed or allowed her child to live in conditions that endangered their physical or emotional well-being. In this instance, the mother took drugs that affected her ability to stay awake and care for her child, thus putting the child’s safety in danger

-a mother’s coaching of her daughter to make false sexual abuse outcries against her father were found to be reason enough to terminate her parental rights. This was done in violation of a prior court order and the supervised visitation rules that had been in place for that mother

What is in the best interests of a child when it comes to terminating their parent’s parental rights?

It is a hard situation for a judge to be in when it comes to determining that terminating your parental rights is in the best interests of your child. This is something that seemingly goes against nature, given that a child’s parents are the last people whom it would normally be said would do anything that goes against that child’s best interests. However, if your circumstances warrant further examination of this subject, here are some factors that a judge will consider before making a decision. 

What are the desires of your child?

The age of your child will have an impact on how much the judge considers what your child wants when it comes to making a decision whether or not to maintain your parental rights to that child. The older your child is the more of an impact this factor should have on the judge. Keep in mind that courts have found that continued damaging consequences that your child suffered through from the time that your child spent with you are relevant when considering the desires of your child.

What are the emotional or physical needs of your child?

This question will be asked by your judge in relation to emotional and physical dangers are that are posed by allowing you to retain your parental rights to this child. Criminal convictions (misdemeanor versus felony), the failure to protect your child from drug use due to your being incarcerated, allowing a lapse of their health insurance coverage and mere evidence of an improvement in their living conditions are examples of factors related to the emotional or physical needs of your child that will be considered.

What are your parental abilities?

Nobody is asking you to be the parent of the year. You may not be able to offer your child some of the advantages of other parents in your community, but you need to be able to establish a baseline of care and consideration for your child. Perfection is not attainable but being able to keep your child out of harm's way, keep unsafe people away from your child and providing the essentials for a living are something most any parent can do.

With that said, if it is shown that you have been unable to learn or develop new parenting skills despite having attended parenting classes, this is something that the judge will likely be concerned with. Allowing your own frustrations with your parenting to have an impact on how you parent your child is relevant, as well. I am aware of the circumstances in which a frustrated mother actually asked their child to run away from home. The child did just that, and the mother was brought to court by CPS for having done so. Her parental rights were terminated as a result of imploring her teenage child to leave the home.

What to know about adoption as a result of a CPS case

Adoption, as it relates to Texas Child Protective Services cases, Is to create a parent-child relationship between a child and his/her adoptive parent(s). The parents who adopt a child are assuming the permanent role of providing care, custody, and control of that child. These new parents are making a commitment to the court and more importantly to that child that they will be there to provide whatever that child needs moving forward from a well-being standpoint. Unlike what we have seen in the above circumstances when a child is placed into the care of the State, adoption is the end of the road for a child. There will be no further following up by the court or the Department of Family and Protective Services. 

If you are interested in adopting a child, then you have come to the right place to learn about this process. It is possible to adopt a child a few different ways in Texas but doing so in conjunction with a CPS case is one of those choices that I would like to spend today discussing with you. 

Petitioning to adopt a child

The Texas Family Code allows for a lawsuit to be filed in which adoption is requested. The suit must be filed in the county where the child resides or in the county where you and your spouse reside. If you plan on filing a petition to adopt a child and are also married, your spouse must join with you in petitioning the court to adopt the child. In the event that you and your spouse file for divorce subsequent to petition to adopt a child, that petition will be dismissed unless you or your spouse amend the petition and seek to adopt the child as an individual.

What documentation is required when asking to adopt a child?

Before your adoption petition can be granted, the court will require the following information to be provided to it:

-a criminal history report for you and your spouse. The judge in your case will order that you and your spouse obtain your own, individual criminal history reports. Any prior criminal history report can be used so long as the information contained in the report is no more than one year old

-social studies of your home will be conducted before the adoption and after the child is placed into your home. The purpose of these studies is to determine whether your home is a suitable residence for a child and to see how you and your spouse interact with, discipline and parent the child 

-if the child you are seeking to adopt is over the age of twelve, he or she will need to write a statement that provides their consent to allow you to adopt him or her; the Department of Family and Protective Services will have to do the same since they are the likely managing conservator of the child at that time

Interested in learning more about adoption orders from foreign counties? Read tomorrow’s blog post 

If you are interested in learning more about adoption orders from foreign countries and how they are treated in Texas family courts, please read tomorrow's blog post for more information on this important subject.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the content of today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week here in our office. These consultations are a great opportunity to ask questions about your particular circumstances and to learn more about our office in the process. 

Our attorneys serve our clients in courtrooms across southeast Texas and do so with a great deal of pride. Thank you for your time and consideration in reading today’s blog post. 

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