On April 13, House Bill 730 was voted out of committee in the Texas House after receiving a positive hearing the week before. The bill provides extensive pro-family reforms to Child Protective Services (CPS) investigative procedures. The bill received a very positive reception, which is promising news for Texas families and children.
CPS is a governmental agency tasked with the responsibility of investigating and intervening in cases of child abuse and neglect. The agency has the authority to remove children from their homes if they believe that the child’s safety and welfare are at risk.
However, CPS’s investigative procedures have been a concern for many years. Many cases have been reported where CPS has taken actions that violate the due process rights of families, resulting in irreparable harm to the families and the children involved.
These actions have resulted in innocent families being separated, and children being placed in foster care or with relatives for extended periods without court oversight.
To address these issues, House Bill 730 has been introduced. The bill seeks to provide much-needed due process protections for CPS investigations.
One of several significant reforms the bill proposes is limiting the length of time a child can be placed outside the home under an agreement with CPS without court oversight.
The bill also restricts the ability of CPS to meet with a judge on their own (without a parent or the parent’s attorney present) and request access to a parent’s home or to the parent’s child. Instead, the judge is prohibited from meeting with CPS alone (which is prohibited in virtually any other type of case) unless it is necessary because the situation is urgent and there is not sufficient time to hold a full hearing with all of the parties.
A third major reform included in the bill is a requirement that CPS inform a parent of their legal rights upon first contact with the parent. This is similar to the process police officers are required to use when they read a person their “Miranda Rights.”
The bill was well-received during its first hearing and was favorably voted out of committee. The next step in the process will be for the bill to get scheduled for a vote on the House floor so that it can be sent to the Texas Senate for consideration. If it passes the Senate, the bill will go to Governor Abbott to be signed into law.
The bill’s introduction and positive reception are promising news for families in Texas. The proposed reforms will ensure that families’ due process rights are protected during CPS investigations, providing more transparency and accountability in the investigative process.