Our team is focused on two major fights: Passing a Texas Parental Rights Constitutional Amendment & The Kalinec Case.

Texas Parental Rights Constitutional Amendment

FFP is launching our most significant parental rights campaign of all time with the prioritization of a Parental Rights Constitutional Amendment. 

In the 2023 legislative session, FFP’s team of experts will push for the passage of an amendment to the Texas Constitution that will enshrine protections for parents and families for generations to come. 

Many people do not realize that the rights of Texas parents currently rest almost entirely in the hands of unelected federal judges. The constitutional rights of parents are currently recognized in federal constitutional case law which interprets the US Constitution to protect the right of parents. 

However, these rights are not specifically mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. As a result, at any time federal judges could change their opinion of whether parental rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution and these rights would be lost. 

Passing a Parental Rights Amendment to the Texas Constitution is critical to the protection of parental rights in Texas for two reasons. 

First, it would significantly shrink the power of the federal government over questions of parental rights. This is because those rights would rest in the Texas Constitution, rather than in federal constitutional case law. 

Second, it would ensure the protection of these rights into the future because while case law can change quickly with the replacement of a single judge, an amendment to the Texas Constitution would be extremely difficult to repeal. 

FFP’s team is prioritizing the passage of a constitutional amendment that would specifically protect the right of parents to make decisions regarding the care, custody, control, education, upbringing, moral and religious training, and medical care of their child.

The passage of the Parental Rights Constitutional Amendment is FFP’s top priority for the 2023 Texas legislative session. 

In 2020, FFP’s legal team helped secure the most significant parental rights victory before the Texas Supreme Court ever achieved. 

In the case of CJC, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that parents have a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution to make decisions for their children, and that a court must presume that a parent is a fit parent who is acting in the best interest of their child.

As a result, courts across Texas began issuing new opinions protecting parental rights where they had often been trampled in the past. However, in the wake of that decision, courts began asking an important legal question that had not been addressed by the CJC case. At what point should a judge be allowed to overrule the decision of a parent in order to protect a child?

Enter Family Freedom Project. For the last decade, our team has been fighting in the Texas legislature to enshrine a legal standard clarifying that a court is not allowed to overrule a parent’s decisions for their child unless it is necessary to protect the child from significant harm. 

This legal standard is already used as the default standard in many areas of Texas law, but has never been comprehensively adopted as the required standard for overruling parental rights.

Currently, the Texas Supreme Court is considering this exact question. In Kalinec, the court has been asked to decide what legal standard is required before a judge may overrule the decisions of a parent. This case could have sweeping implications for all Texas parents. 

The father in the case, Kalinec, is having his rights over his children threatened even though nobody contests that he is a fit parent. Several years ago, Kalinec’s family was investigated by CPS. During that investigation, the children were sent to live temporarily with their maternal grandmother. 

Kalinec was eventually cleared by CPS and the court and the children were sent home to live with him. However, the maternal grandmother argued that because the children had lived with her during the CPS case, and because Kalinec had been investigated by CPS (even though the children had been returned), she should have just as much right to raise the children as their own father. 

She sued for custody of both children. 

Having won his battle with CPS, Kalinec found himself in a second battle for his children, except this time it was with his in-law. FFP has recruited and coordinated a legal team to represent Kalinec before the Texas Supreme Court and file amicus briefs in his defense. 

Our position is simple: courts may not overrule the decisions of a parent regarding their children unless it is necessary to protect the child from significant harm. A mere parenting disagreement between the parent and a third party, or even between a parent and the judge, is not enough. 

If the court rules in Kalinec’s favor and adopts the standard suggested by FFP’s team, the protections for parental rights at every court in Texas will be substantially reinforced.

Our team has spearheaded major parental rights victories in Texas Courts and the legislature for more than a decade.

With a network of expert attorneys across the state, we have taken up numerous precedent setting cases that have solidified the right of parents to raise their children in Texas. We have also been on the cutting edge of defending the rights of parents in the Texas legislature.

Our full-time legislative team that lives and works in Austin during the legislative session and has blocked innumerable threats to parental rights over the years and has been the architect of the greatest parental rights legislative victories in Texas history.

Whether in the legislature or in the courts, FFP will continue tirelessly in our mission to protect the right of families to raise their children.

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