On September 1st, a significant legislative change is set to take effect as HB 63, Representative Swanson’s bill, comes into force.

This bill marks a significant shift in how Child Protective Services (CPS) reports are handled, banning anonymous reporting. 

While anonymous reporting has served as a means to protect children in need, it has also opened the door for false and malicious reports, harming innocent families without repercussions.

In the past, anonymous CPS reports have allowed concerned individuals to report potential cases of child abuse or neglect without revealing their identity. Anonymous reports allow for malicious actors to report false information  to attack families (a crime),but avoid punishment because the report was made anonymously. Without the ability to identify the reporter, false accusers could exploit the system and cause harm without facing legal consequences.

It is currently a crime to make a false CPS report, but it can rarely be prosecuted because the reporter’s name and information aren’t always gathered at the time of the report.

This loophole has been a source of frustration for innocent families wrongly accused.

With the signing of HB 63 by Governor Abbott, Texas takes a significant step forward in protecting families. This new legislation ensures that information sufficient to verify the identity of the reporter is collected, enabling authorities to prosecute those who make false reports to CPS. By gathering the name, telephone number, and address of the individual making the report, the bill establishes a crucial safeguard against abuse of the system.

Under the provisions of HB 63, anonymous reporting is explicitly prohibited. 

The report must now include not only the name and address of the child and the person responsible for their care but also the name, telephone number, and address of the individual making the report. This additional information empowers authorities to hold individuals accountable for false reports, protecting innocent families from unwarranted harm.

Alongside the ban on anonymous reporting, HB 63 emphasizes the importance of responsible reporting. When an individual attempts to make an anonymous CPS report, they will be informed that such reports are unauthorized. Instead, they will be advised to report abuse or neglect by calling 911 or contacting local or state law enforcement agencies.

While HB 63 introduces stricter reporting requirements, it also acknowledges the importance of protecting the identity of those making reports. The law establishes confidentiality measures to safeguard the identity of individuals who come forward with concerns. This provision is crucial for encouraging reporting while ensuring that false accusers can be held accountable.

The implementation of HB 63 represents a significant step towards protecting the fundamental rights of parents. 

Texas is paving the way for parental rights, where innocent families are shielded from the harmful consequences of false accusations.