Senate Research Center   S.B. 1490
By: Ogden
As Filed


Currently, Child Protective Services (CPS) is required to videotape or
audiotape an interview with a child alleged to be a victim of physical or
sexual abuse unless good cause exists for not audiotaping or videotaping
the interview.  Choosing not to video or audiotape an interview or to bar
a parent from the interview may cause problems for both CPS and a parent
who is under investigation.  When CPS investigation procedures are called
into question, one of the main arguments presented is that CPS conducts
its interviews improperly by posing leading questions to the child being
interviewed or by misinterpreting the child's responses.  In cases in
which a child has been removed from the home, a full adversarial hearing
may take place as late as 14 days after the child is removed.  As
proposed, S.B. 1490 requires CPS to videotape or audiotape any interview
unless a parent of the child is able to observe the interview or agrees in
writing to allow the interview to proceed without being taped.  This bill
also creates a process to allow a parent to petition a court for expedited
hearing after initial removal of a child by the court.  


This bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to
a state officer, institution, or agency. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 261.302(e), Family Code, to require an
interview with a child alleged to be a victim of physical abuse or sexual
abuse to be audiotaped or videotaped unless the parents of the child are
present for the interview or a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a
finding of good cause, waives the requirement.  Deletes language stating
that an investigating agency will be the entity to determine good cause
and the considerations that may be included in determining "good cause."
Makes a nonsubstantive change. 

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 261.201(a), Family Code, to authorize the
parent, managing conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker,
or custodian entitled to possession of the child to petition the court to
hold the hearing on a date earlier than the date set by the court under
this subsection. 

SECTION 3.  (a)  Effective date:  upon passage or September 1, 2003.

  (b) and (c)  Make application of this Act prospective.