This website will be unavailable from Friday, April 26, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, April 29, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

 
 
  H.B. No. 730
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to policies and procedures regarding certain suits
  affecting the parent-child relationship, investigations by the
  Department of Family and Protective Services, and parental child
  safety placements.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 261.301, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (l) to read as follows:
         (l)  After the 60th day after the date an investigation is
  closed, the department may not reopen the investigation or change
  the department's finding in the investigation to find abuse or
  neglect occurred. Before the 60th day after the date an
  investigation is closed, the department may reopen a closed
  investigation and change the department's finding in the
  investigation only for good cause shown. The commissioner by rule
  shall establish procedures for reopening a closed investigation as
  authorized by this section.
         SECTION 2.  Section 261.303, Family Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (b) and (c) and adding Subsections (f), (g),
  and (h) to read as follows:
         (b)  If admission to the home, school, or any place where the
  child may be cannot be obtained, [then for good cause shown] the
  court having family law jurisdiction shall order the parent, the
  person responsible for the care of the children, or the person in
  charge of any place where the child may be to allow entrance for the
  interview, examination, and investigation if the court:
               (1)  has good cause to believe that the child is in
  imminent danger of being subjected to aggravated circumstances as
  described by Section 262.2015(b); or
               (2)  has probable cause to believe that admission is
  necessary to protect the child from abuse or neglect not described
  by Subdivision (1).
         (c)  If a parent or person responsible for the child's care
  does not consent to release of the child's prior medical,
  psychological, or psychiatric records or to a medical,
  psychological, or psychiatric examination of the child that is
  requested by the department, and if the court having family law
  jurisdiction has probable cause to believe that releasing the
  records or conducting an examination of the child is necessary to
  protect the child from abuse or neglect, then the court shall[, for
  good cause shown,] order the records to be released or the
  examination to be made at the times and places designated by the
  court.
         (f)  A hearing for an order under this section may not be ex
  parte unless the court has probable cause to believe there is no
  time, consistent with the physical health or safety of the child,
  for a full hearing. 
         (g)  A court order described by Subsection (b) or (c) must
  include the court's findings regarding the sufficiency of evidence
  supporting the order.
         (h)  On request of a party to the suit, the court shall
  provide a copy of an order rendered under this section to the party.
         SECTION 3.  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 parent or with the alleged perpetrator,
  provide to the person:
               (1)  a written 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; and
                                 (c)  an explanation that any statement
  or admission made by the person to anyone may be used against the
  person in a criminal case, as a basis to remove the child who is the
  subject of the investigation or any other child from the person's
  care, custody, and control either temporarily or permanently, or as
  a basis to terminate the person's relationship with the child who is
  the subject of the investigation or any other child;
                           (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;
                           (vii)  the rights listed under Subdivision
  (2); and
                           (viii)  the known allegations the department
  is investigating;
               (2)  a verbal notification of the right to:
                     (A)  not speak with any agent of the department
  without legal counsel present;
                     (B)  receive assistance from an attorney;
                     (C)  have a court-appointed attorney if:
                           (i)  the person is indigent;
                           (ii)  the person is the parent of the child;
  and
                           (iii)  the department seeks a court order in
  a suit filed under Section 262.101 or 262.105 or a court order
  requiring the person to participate in services under Section
  264.203;
                     (D)  record any interaction or interview 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)  refuse to allow the investigator to enter the
  home or interview the child without a court order;
                     (F)  have legal counsel present before allowing
  the investigator to enter the home or interview the child;
                     (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; and
                     (J)  consult with legal counsel prior to agreeing
  to any proposed voluntary safety plan;
               (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 investigator shall document that the
  investigator provided the verbal notification required by
  Subsection (a)(2).
         (d)  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.  The department shall provide a true and
  correct copy of the signed form to the person who is the subject of
  the investigation or that person's attorney, if represented by an
  attorney.
         (e)  If a person who is the subject of an investigation does
  not receive the verbal notification and written summary required by
  this section, any information obtained from the person, and any
  other information that would not have been discovered without that
  information, is not admissible for use against the person in any
  civil proceeding.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter D, Chapter 261, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Section 261.3081 to read as follows:
         Sec. 261.3081.  NOTICE REGARDING CHANGES MADE BY DEPARTMENT
  TO INVESTIGATION REPORT. The department shall notify the following
  interested parties of any edits or corrections, other than edits or
  corrections to remedy spelling or grammatical errors, the
  department makes to the written report prepared by the department
  under Section 261.308:
               (1)  the child's parent;
               (2)  the attorney for the child's parent if represented
  by an attorney;
               (3)  an attorney ad litem for the child appointed under
  Chapter 107;
               (4)  a guardian ad litem for the child appointed under
  Chapter 107, including a volunteer advocate; and
               (5)  any other person the court determines has an
  interest in the child's welfare.
         SECTION 5.  Section 262.206, Family Code, is reenacted and
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 262.206.  EX PARTE HEARINGS [PROHIBITED]. (a)  Unless
  otherwise authorized by this chapter or other law, a hearing held by
  a court in a suit under this chapter may not be ex parte.
         (b)  A court that holds an ex parte hearing authorized by
  this chapter shall prepare and keep a record of the hearing in the
  form of an audio or video recording or a court reporter
  transcription.
         (c)  On request of a party to the suit, the court shall
  provide a copy of the record of an ex parte hearing to the party.
         (d)  The Department of Family and Protective Services shall
  provide notice of an ex parte hearing authorized by this chapter if
  the department has received notice that a parent who is a party is
  represented by an attorney.
         SECTION 6.  Sections 264.203(e) and (n), Family Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (e)  In a suit filed under this section, the court may render
  a temporary restraining order as provided by Section 105.001,
  except that the court may not issue an order that places the child:
               (1)  outside of the child's home; or
               (2)  in the conservatorship of the department.
         (n)  If the court renders an order granting the petition, the
  court shall:
               (1)  state its findings in the order;
               (2)  make appropriate temporary orders under Chapter
  105 necessary to ensure the safety of the child, except that the
  court may not issue a temporary order that places the child:
                     (A)  outside of the child's home; or
                     (B)  in the conservatorship of the department; and
               (3)  order the participation in specific services
  narrowly tailored to address the findings made by the court under
  Subsection (m).
         SECTION 7.  Subchapter C, Chapter 264, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Section 264.2032 to read as follows:
         Sec. 264.2032.  REPORT ON COURT-ORDERED PARTICIPATION IN
  SERVICES.  The department shall report the number of cases in which
  a court under Section 264.203 orders the following persons with
  respect to a child who is placed with a caregiver under a parental
  child safety placement under Subchapter L to participate in
  services:
               (1)  the child's parent;
               (2)  the child's managing conservator;
               (3)  the child's guardian; or
               (4)  another member of the child's household.
         SECTION 8.  Section 264.901(2), Family Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
               (2)  "Parental child safety placement" means any [a]
  temporary out-of-home placement of a child with a caregiver that is
  made by a parent or other person with whom the child resides in
  accordance with a written agreement approved by the department that
  ensures the safety of the child:
                     (A)  during an investigation by the department of
  alleged abuse or neglect of the child; or
                     (B)  while the parent or other person is receiving
  services from the department.
         SECTION 9.  Section 264.902, Family Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e), (f), (g), (h),
  (i), and (j) to read as follows:
         (a)  A parental child safety placement agreement must
  include terms that clearly state:
               (1)  the respective duties of the person making the
  placement and the caregiver, including a plan for how the caregiver
  will access necessary medical treatment for the child and the
  caregiver's duty to ensure that a school-age child is enrolled in
  and attending school;
               (2)  conditions under which the person placing the
  child may have access to the child, including how often the person
  may visit and the circumstances under which the person's visit may
  occur;
               (3)  the duties of the department;
               (4)  subject to Subsection (f), the date on which the
  agreement will terminate unless terminated sooner or extended to a
  subsequent date as provided under department policy; and
               (5)  any other term the department determines necessary
  for the safety and welfare of the child.
         (e)  Before a parent or other person making a parental child
  safety placement and the caregiver enter into a parental child
  safety placement agreement, the department shall notify each person
  of the person's right to consult with an attorney and provide the
  person with a reasonable time in which to do so.
         (f)  An initial parental child safety placement agreement
  automatically terminates on the earlier of the 30th day after the
  date:
               (1)  the agreement is signed; or
               (2)  the child is placed with the caregiver.
         (g)  On the expiration of a parental child safety placement
  agreement, the department may for good cause enter into not more
  than two additional parental child safety placement agreements for
  the child. On entering an additional parental child safety
  placement agreement under this subsection, the department shall:
               (1)  reevaluate the terms and conditions of the
  original agreement; and
               (2)  notify the parents of their right to:
                     (A)  refuse to enter into the agreement; and
                     (B)  be represented by an attorney or a
  court-appointed attorney if:
                           (i)  the parent is indigent; and
                           (ii)  the department subsequently seeks a
  court order to require the parents to participate in services.
         (h)  An additional parental child safety placement agreement
  described by Subsection (g) automatically terminates on the 30th
  day after the date the agreement is signed.
         (i)  Notwithstanding Subsections (g) and (h), the department
  may not place a child outside of the child's home under a parental
  child safety placement for longer than 90 calendar days unless the
  parental child safety placement agreement is signed by both the
  parent and the parent's attorney or a court otherwise renders an
  order regarding the placement under Chapter 262.  This subsection
  may not be construed to affect the duration of an agreement between
  the department and the parent other than a parental child safety
  placement agreement.
         (j)  A parental child safety placement agreement must
  include the following language: "THIS AGREEMENT IS ENTIRELY
  VOLUNTARY.  THE AGREEMENT MAY NOT LAST LONGER THAN 30 DAYS.  THE
  AGREEMENT MAY BE RENEWED NOT MORE THAN TWO TIMES AND FOR NOT MORE
  THAN 30 DAYS EACH TIME.  A CHILD MAY NOT BE PLACED OUTSIDE OF THE
  CHILD'S HOME FOR LONGER THAN A TOTAL OF 90 CALENDAR DAYS WITHOUT A
  SIGNED AGREEMENT BY THE CHILD'S PARENT AND THE PARENT'S ATTORNEY OR
  A COURT ORDER RENDERED UNDER CHAPTER 262."
         SECTION 10.  Subchapter L, Chapter 264, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Section 264.907 to read as follows:
         Sec. 264.907.  INCLUSIONS IN REPORTS OF PARENTAL CHILD
  SAFETY PLACEMENTS. The department shall, where appropriate:
               (1)  include children who are placed with a caregiver
  under a parental child safety placement agreement in any report,
  including reports submitted to the United States Department of
  Health and Human Services or another federal agency, in which the
  department is required to report the number of children in the child
  protective services system who are removed from the children's
  homes; and
               (2)  report the information described by Subdivision
  (1) separately from information regarding the number of children
  removed under a suit filed under Section 262.101 or 262.105.
         SECTION 11.  (a) Section 261.303, Family Code, as amended by
  this Act, applies only to an order rendered on or after the
  effective date of this Act. An order rendered before the effective
  date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date of the
  order, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (b)  Section 261.307, Family Code, as amended by this Act,
  applies 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 child 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.
         (c)  Section 262.206, Family Code, as amended by this Act,
  applies only to an ex parte hearing held on or after the effective
  date of this Act. An ex parte hearing held before that date is
  governed by the law in effect on the date the ex parte hearing was
  held, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (d)  Section 264.902, Family Code, as amended by this Act,
  applies only to a parental child safety placement agreement
  executed on or after the effective date of this Act. A parental
  child safety placement agreement executed before the effective date
  of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the
  agreement was executed, and the former law is continued in effect
  for that purpose.
         SECTION 12.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 730 was passed by the House on May 1,
  2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 139, Nays 3, 1 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 730 on May 19, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 139, Nays 1, 2
  present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 730 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 15, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor