May 18, 2021 – On May 15th, the Child Trauma Prevention Act (CTPA) became law in Texas!
What is the Child Trauma Prevention Act?
The CTPA is the product of four years of hard work by the Family Freedom Project (FFP) with other groups to provide significant due process protections for children and families involved in Child Protective Services (CPS) cases.
In 2017, (FFP) worked to pass several major CPS reforms to protect children and families. Although these reforms were some of the most significant CPS reforms passed by the legislature in recent years, one crucial reform failed to pass.
This reform would have required CPS to specifically provide evidence to support each of their claims against parents, rather than the current CPS practice of literally accusing parents of every available offense listed in the Family Code. Unfortunately, this reform failed to pass in 2017 due to state budgetary constraints.
Governor Abbott then commissioned a workgroup (including FFP) to study the issue and determine the best way to solve the problem of CPS requesting termination based on accusations that it does not have evidence to support.
FFP and the workgroup then spent the next four years researching and writing a comprehensive CPS reform bill to solve this and other significant problems in the CPS system.
The bill, the CTPA, solves these problems by:
- Clarifying that CPS attorneys are subject to the same rules as other attorneys and can be sanctioned for making claims they know to be false;
- Protecting children and families from CPS investigation for normal, everyday activities such as playing outside;
- Ensuring fair treatment of parents by requiring that CPS must prove their accusations against both parents in order to remove the child from both parents and that CPS cannot simply take a child from both parents because one parent did something wrong.
- Requiring courts to return children home the moment it can be determined that there is no longer any danger to the child;
- Ensuring that trials in CPS cases must be completed within reasonable deadlines and not drag on endlessly; and
- Ensuring that minimum due-process standards are met before families can be forced by CPS to complete services which are sometimes very difficult for them to schedule.
Last week, the Child Trauma Prevention Act was officially enacted into law! This is a historic success for Texas families, but it isn’t the only success this year.