This website will be unavailable from Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, June 3, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

  87R18152 MLH-D
 
  By: Cason, Hull, Krause, Dutton, et al. H.B. No. 2298
 
  Substitute the following for H.B. No. 2298:
 
  By:  Frank C.S.H.B. No. 2298
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to notifying an alleged perpetrator of child abuse or
  neglect of the person's rights in connection with an investigation
  conducted by the Department of Family and Protective Services.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 261.307, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 261.307.  INFORMATION RELATING TO INVESTIGATION
  PROCEDURE AND CHILD PLACEMENT RESOURCES. (a) After [As soon as
  possible after] initiating an investigation of a parent or other
  person having legal custody of a child, the department shall, upon
  first contact with the person, provide to the person:
               (1)  a summary that:
                     (A)  is brief and easily understood;
                     (B)  is written in a language that the person
  understands, or if the person is illiterate, is read to the person
  in a language that the person understands; and
                     (C)  contains the following information:
                           (i)  the department's procedures for
  conducting an investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect,
  including:
                                 (a)  a description of the
  circumstances under which the department would request to remove
  the child from the home through the judicial system; and
                                 (b)  an explanation that the law
  requires the department to refer all reports of alleged child abuse
  or neglect to a law enforcement agency for a separate determination
  of whether a criminal violation occurred;
                           (ii)  the person's right to file a complaint
  with the department or to request a review of the findings made by
  the department in the investigation;
                           (iii)  the person's right to review all
  records of the investigation unless the review would jeopardize an
  ongoing criminal investigation or the child's safety;
                           (iv)  the person's right to seek legal
  counsel;
                           (v)  references to the statutory and
  regulatory provisions governing child abuse and neglect and how the
  person may obtain copies of those provisions; [and]
                           (vi)  the process the person may use to
  acquire access to the child if the child is removed from the home;
  and
                           (vii)  the rights listed under Subdivision
  (2);
               (2)  a verbal and written notification of the right to:
                     (A)  not speak with any agent of the department
  without legal counsel present;
                     (B)  assistance by an attorney;
                     (C)  have a court-appointed attorney if the person
  is indigent;
                     (D)  openly or secretly record any interaction or
  interview to which the person is a party subject to the
  understanding that the recording may be subject to disclosure to
  the department, law enforcement, or another party under a court
  order;
                     (E)  request and receive a copy of the
  department's current recording policy;
                     (F)  refuse to allow the investigator to enter the
  home or interview the children without legal counsel present;
                     (G)  withhold consent to the release of any
  medical or mental health records;
                     (H)  withhold consent to any medical or
  psychological examination of the child;
                     (I)  refuse to submit to a drug test;
                     (J)  consult with legal counsel prior to agreeing
  to any proposed voluntary safety plan;
                     (K)  be notified of and attend any court hearings
  related to or arising from the investigation; and
                     (L)  on request, have an interpreter;
               (3)  if the department determines that removal of the
  child may be warranted, a proposed child placement resources form
  that:
                     (A)  instructs the parent or other person having
  legal custody of the child to:
                           (i)  complete and return the form to the
  department or agency;
                           (ii)  identify in the form at least three
  individuals who could be relative caregivers or designated
  caregivers, as those terms are defined by Section 264.751;
                           (iii)  ask the child in a developmentally
  appropriate manner to identify any adult, particularly an adult
  residing in the child's community, who could be a relative
  caregiver or designated caregiver for the child; and
                           (iv)  list on the form the name of each
  individual identified by the child as a potential relative
  caregiver or designated caregiver; and
                     (B)  informs the parent or other person of a
  location that is available to the parent or other person to submit
  the information in the form 24 hours a day either in person or by
  facsimile machine or e-mail; and
               (4) [(3)]  an informational manual required by Section
  261.3071.
         (b)  The child placement resources form described by
  Subsection (a)(3) [(a)(2)] must include information on the periods
  of time by which the department must complete a background check.
         (c)  The department shall adopt a form for the purpose of
  verifying that the parent or other person having legal custody of
  the child received the verbal notification and written summary
  required by this section.
         SECTION 2.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect that is made
  on or after the effective date of this Act. An investigation of a
  report of abuse or neglect made before the effective date of this
  Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the report was made,
  and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.