We are thrilled to share some significant victories achieved through our collective efforts at the Family Freedom Project, and we want you to know how crucial your support has been in making a positive impact.

Legislative Triumphs

  • Introduced Due Process Protections for Families in the CPS System – In the 88th Legislative Session, the passage of HB 730, the CPS Omnibus Bill, marked a monumental win. Thanks to the hard work of Representative Frank and his team, this bill introduces vital due process protections and ensures that CPS caseworkers inform parents of their legal rights, empowering families within the CPS system.
  • Upheld CPS to Higher Standards of Accountability – Senator Perry and Representative Frank further championed our cause by successfully passing SB 614, elevating CPS responsibility standards and addressing concerns about Parent Child Safety Placements (PCSP), often regarded as a “hidden foster care” system.
  • Increased Service Options Available to Families in the CPS System –  Additionally, HB 793, a CPS Service Options bill, allows families the freedom to choose any qualified service provider, with the state covering associated expenses.
  • Established Accountability in CPS Reporting – We also supported Representative Swanson’s efforts on HB 63, which bans anonymous CPS reporting, safeguarding families from baseless accusations. HB 65, another victory, protects families from false and malicious reports, ensuring accountability in the reporting process.

Triumphs in the Courts

  • Established that a non-parent is never allowed to overrule parental decisions unless it is necessary to protect the child from significant harm –  In January, we celebrated a tremendous victory when the Supreme Court of Texas ruled in Treigh Klinec’s favor, a father from Texas who had been engaged in a legal battle to retain full custody of his children. FFP was honored to stand alongside the Kalinecs and to file a brief defending Treigh and his children.
  • Defended the rights of a biological mother against a former partner with no biological relation – The FFP legal team returned to the Supreme Court of Texas for the sixth time in four years in the case In re NH. The dispute involved a biological mother and a former romantic partner with no biological relation to the child. FFP, represented by Austin-based family law attorney Cecilia Wood, filed a brief addressing the key issue. The Supreme Court of Texas denied the appeal by the non-parent, upholding the Court of Appeals’ opinion that judges cannot interfere in the parent-child relationship unless necessary to protect the child from significant harm.
  • Stepped into the front lines in protecting children from irreversible harm – June 2, 2023, Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, restricting chemical and surgical gender transition procedures on minors. August 25, 2023, a district court in Travis County issued an injunction to prevent the state from enforcing SB 14. The Texas Attorney General swiftly appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX), and FFP is actively involved in the lawsuit. While we absolutely support the fundamental right of parents to make decisions for their children, we must emphasize the need to protect children from irreversible harm. We aim to guide the legal discussion, demonstrating how SB 14 can safeguard children without compromising constitutional parental rights, filing briefs at each stage of the case.
  • Fought for the Courts to establish that termination cannot occur for inconsequential bureaucratic lapses –  This fall, the SCOTX held oral arguments on a case (R.J.G., R.J.G., D.G.M.) that centers on whether Child Protective Services (CPS) can terminate parental rights based on a parent’s failure to fulfill administrative requirements imposed by CPS. The court ruled emphatically that termination cannot occur for inconsequential bureaucratic lapses. Parental rights may only be terminated if a parent substantially fails court-ordered tasks, emphasizing the importance of significant responsibilities rather than minor technicalities. Chris Branson, a Senior Fellow at FFP, filed a brief supporting this perspective, considering it a significant victory for Texas parents.
  • Fighting to narrow the interpretation of endangerment to reduce the risk of wrongful parental rights termination –  In yet another recent hearing in a case (In the Interest of R.R.A., H.G.A., H.B.A.) currently before the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX), Counsel for the TX Department of Family & Protective Services stated, “[The parent’s behavior] can be endangerment even if it doesn’t impair the parent’s ability to care for the children in the immediate moment.” This broad interpretation of “endangerment” increases the risk of wrongful termination of parental rights. The Family Freedom Project has filed a brief in the case urging the court to require that any finding of “endangerment” be linked to an actual risk of harm to the parent’s actual child, not just a theoretical risk of harm to a theoretical child.

Ongoing Challenges and Your Support

While we celebrate these triumphs, the challenges persist. Despite a landmark victory in reducing annual CPS removals by 10,000 since 2017, the odds of a child returning home remain low, with only a 35% chance. Your continued support is vital as we navigate the complexities of the legal landscape to advocate for Texas families.

How You Can Help

As we face ongoing challenges, your support is more critical than ever. Please consider making a donation to help us continue our advocacy, legal efforts, and support for families caught in the CPS system. Your generosity makes a real difference in protecting the rights of parents and ensuring the well-being of Texas children.