FAMILY CODE


TITLE 5. THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP AND THE SUIT AFFECTING THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP


SUBTITLE E. PROTECTION OF THE CHILD


CHAPTER 263. REVIEW OF PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN UNDER CARE OF DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 263.001. DEFINITIONS. (a) In this chapter:

(1) "Advanced practice nurse" has the meaning assigned by Section 157.051, Occupations Code.

(1-a) "Department" means the Department of Family and Protective Services.

(2) "Child's home" means the place of residence of at least one of the child's parents.

(3) "Household" means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.

(3-a) "Physician assistant" has the meaning assigned by Section 157.051, Occupations Code.

(4) "Substitute care" means the placement of a child who is in the conservatorship of the department or an authorized agency in care outside the child's home. The term includes foster care, institutional care, adoption, placement with a relative of the child, or commitment to the Texas Youth Commission.

(b) In the preparation and review of a service plan under this chapter, a reference to the parents of the child includes both parents of the child unless the child has only one parent or unless, after due diligence by the department in attempting to locate a parent, only one parent is located, in which case the reference is to the remaining parent.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 108, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.36, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 4, eff. May 23, 2009.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 204 (H.B. 915), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.002. REVIEW OF PLACEMENTS BY COURT. In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which the department or an authorized agency has been appointed by the court or designated in an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights as the temporary or permanent managing conservator of a child, the court shall hold a hearing to review:

(1) the conservatorship appointment and substitute care; and

(2) for a child committed to the Texas Youth Commission, the child's commitment in the Texas Youth Commission or release under supervision by the Texas Youth Commission.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 109, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 5, eff. May 23, 2009.

Sec. 263.0025. APPOINTMENT OF SURROGATE PARENT. (a) If a child in the temporary or permanent conservatorship of the department is eligible under Section 29.003, Education Code, to participate in a school district's special education program, the court may, when necessary to ensure that the educational rights of the child are protected, appoint a surrogate parent who:

(1) is willing to serve in that capacity; and

(2) meets the requirements of 20 U.S.C. Section 1415(b) and Section 29.001(10), Education Code.

(b) In appointing a surrogate parent for a child, the court shall give preferential consideration to a foster parent of the child as required under Section 29.015, Education Code.

(c) If the court does not appoint a child's foster parent to serve as the child's surrogate parent, the court shall give consideration to:

(1) a relative or other designated caregiver as defined by Section 264.751; or

(2) a court-appointed volunteer advocate who has been appointed to serve as the child's guardian ad litem, as provided by Section 107.031(c).

(d) The following persons may not be appointed as a surrogate parent for the child:

(1) the department;

(2) the Texas Education Agency;

(3) a school or school district; or

(4) any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 688 (H.B. 2619), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.003. INFORMATION RELATING TO PLACEMENT OF CHILD. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), not later than the 10th day before the date set for a hearing under this chapter, the department shall file with the court any document described by Sections 262.114(a-1) and (a-2) that has not been filed with the court.

(b) The department is not required to file the documents required by Subsection (a) if the child is in an adoptive placement or another placement that is intended to be permanent.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 856 (S.B. 2385), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 263.004. NOTICE TO COURT REGARDING EDUCATION DECISION-MAKING. (a) Unless the rights and duties of the department under Section 153.371(10) to make decisions regarding the child's education have been limited by court order, the department shall file with the court a report identifying the name and contact information for each person who has been:

(1) designated by the department to make educational decisions on behalf of the child; and

(2) assigned to serve as the child's surrogate parent in accordance with 20 U.S.C. Section 1415(b) and Section 29.001(10), Education Code, for purposes of decision-making regarding special education services, if applicable.

(b) Not later than the fifth day after the date an adversary hearing under Section 262.201 or Section 262.205 is concluded, the report required by Subsection (a) shall be filed with the court and a copy shall be provided to:

(1) each person entitled to notice of a permanency hearing under Section 263.301; and

(2) the school the child attends.

(c) If a person other than a person identified in the report required by Subsection (a) is designated to make educational decisions or assigned to serve as a surrogate parent, the department shall file with the court an updated report that includes the information required by Subsection (a) for the designated or assigned person. The updated report must be filed not later than the fifth day after the date of designation or assignment.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 688 (H.B. 2619), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.005. ENFORCEMENT OF FAMILY SERVICE PLAN. The department shall designate existing department personnel to ensure that the parties to a family service plan comply with the plan.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 943, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 263.006. WARNING TO PARENTS. At the status hearing under Subchapter C and at each permanency hearing under Subchapter D held after the court has rendered a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator, the court shall inform each parent in open court that parental and custodial rights and duties may be subject to restriction or to termination unless the parent or parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 80, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Sec. 263.0061. NOTICE TO PARENTS OF RIGHT TO COUNSEL. (a) At the status hearing under Subchapter C and at each permanency hearing under Subchapter D held after the date the court renders a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator of a child, the court shall inform each parent not represented by an attorney of:

(1) the right to be represented by an attorney; and

(2) if a parent is indigent and appears in opposition to the suit, the right to a court-appointed attorney.

(b) If a parent claims indigence and requests the appointment of an attorney in a proceeding described by Subsection (a), the court shall require the parent to complete and file with the court an affidavit of indigence. The court may hear evidence to determine whether the parent is indigent. If the court determines the parent is indigent, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the parent.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 810 (S.B. 1759), Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.007. REPORT REGARDING NOTIFICATION OF RELATIVES. Not later than the 10th day before the date set for a hearing under Subchapter C, the department shall file with the court a report regarding:

(1) the efforts the department made to identify, locate, and provide information to the individuals described by Section 262.1095;

(2) the name of each individual the department identified, located, or provided with information; and

(3) if applicable, an explanation of why the department was unable to identify, locate, or provide information to an individual described by Section 262.1095.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.008. FOSTER CHILDREN'S BILL OF RIGHTS. (a) In this section:

(1) "Agency foster group home," "agency foster home," "facility," "foster group home," and "foster home" have the meanings assigned by Section 42.002, Human Resources Code.

(2) "Foster care" means the placement of a child who is in the conservatorship of the department or an authorized agency and in care outside the child's home in an agency foster group home, agency foster home, foster group home, foster home, or another facility licensed or certified under Chapter 42, Human Resources Code, in which care is provided for 24 hours a day.

(3) "Foster children's bill of rights" means the rights described by Subsection (b).

(b) It is the policy of this state that each child in foster care be informed of the child's rights provided by state or federal law or policy that relate to:

(1) abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination, and harassment;

(2) food, clothing, shelter, and education;

(3) medical, dental, vision, and mental health services, including the right of the child to consent to treatment;

(4) emergency behavioral intervention, including what methods are permitted, the conditions under which it may be used, and the precautions that must be taken when administering it;

(5) placement with the child's siblings and contact with members of the child's family;

(6) privacy and searches, including the use of storage space, mail, and the telephone;

(7) participation in school-related extracurricular or community activities;

(8) interaction with persons outside the foster care system, including teachers, church members, mentors, and friends;

(9) contact and communication with caseworkers, attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem, and court-appointed special advocates;

(10) religious services and activities;

(11) confidentiality of the child's records;

(12) job skills, personal finances, and preparation for adulthood;

(13) participation in a court hearing that involves the child;

(14) participation in the development of service and treatment plans;

(15) if the child has a disability, the advocacy and protection of the rights of a person with that disability; and

(16) any other matter affecting the child's ability to receive care and treatment in the least restrictive environment that is most like a family setting, consistent with the best interests and needs of the child.

(c) The department shall provide a written copy of the foster children's bill of rights to each child placed in foster care in the child's primary language, if possible, and shall inform the child of the rights described by the foster children's bill of rights:

(1) orally in the child's primary language, if possible, and in simple, nontechnical terms; or

(2) for a child who has a disability, including an impairment of vision or hearing, through any means that can reasonably be expected to result in successful communication with the child.

(d) A child placed in foster care may, at the child's option, sign a document acknowledging the child's understanding of the foster children's bill of rights after the department provides a written copy of the foster children's bill of rights to the child and informs the child of the rights described by the foster children's bill of rights in accordance with Subsection (c). If a child signs a document acknowledging the child's understanding of the foster children's bill of rights, the document must be placed in the child's case file.

(e) An agency foster group home, agency foster home, foster group home, foster home, or other facility in which a child is placed in foster care shall provide a copy of the foster children's bill of rights to a child on the child's request. The foster children's bill of rights must be printed in English and in a second language.

(f) The department shall promote the participation of foster children and former foster children in educating other foster children about the foster children's bill of rights.

(g) The department shall develop and implement a policy for receiving and handling reports that the rights of a child in foster care are not being observed. The department shall inform a child in foster care and, if appropriate, the child's parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the method for filing a report with the department under this subsection.

(h) This section does not create a cause of action.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 791 (H.B. 2170), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.

Redesignated from Family Code, Section 263.007 by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 161 (S.B. 1093), Sec. 22.001(17), eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.009. PERMANENCY PLANNING MEETINGS. (a) The department shall hold a permanency planning meeting for each child for whom the department is appointed temporary managing conservator:

(1) not later than the 45th day after the date the department is named temporary managing conservator of the child; and

(2) not later than five months after the date the department is named temporary managing conservator of the child.

(b) At the five-month permanency planning meeting described by Subsection (a)(2), the department shall:

(1) identify any barriers to achieving a timely permanent placement for the child; and

(2) develop strategies and determine actions that will increase the probability of achieving a timely permanent placement for the child.

(c) The five-month permanency planning meeting described by Subsection (a)(2) and any subsequent permanency planning meeting may be conducted as a multidisciplinary permanency planning meeting if the department determines that a multidisciplinary permanency planning meeting will assist the department in placing the child with an adult caregiver who will permanently assume legal responsibility for the child and facilitate the child's exit from the conservatorship of the department.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), the department shall make reasonable efforts to include the following persons in each multidisciplinary permanency planning meeting and notify those persons of the meeting:

(1) the child, if the child is at least seven years of age;

(2) the child's attorney ad litem;

(3) the child's guardian ad litem;

(4) any court-appointed volunteer advocate for the child;

(5) the child's substitute care provider and any child-placing agency involved with the child;

(6) each of the child's parents and the parents' attorney, unless:

(A) the parent cannot be located;

(B) the parent has executed an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights; or

(C) the parent's parental rights have been terminated;

(7) each attorney ad litem appointed to represent the interests of a parent in the suit; and

(8) any other person the department determines should attend the permanency planning meeting.

(e) The department is not required to include a person listed in Subsection (d) in a multidisciplinary permanency planning meeting or to notify that person of a meeting if the department or its authorized designee determines that the person's presence at the meeting may have a detrimental effect on:

(1) the safety or well-being of another participant in the meeting; or

(2) the success of the meeting because a parent or the child has expressed an unwillingness to include that person in the meeting.

(f) The department shall give the notice required by Subsection (d) by e-mail if possible.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1324 (S.B. 534), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

SUBCHAPTER B. SERVICE PLAN AND VISITATION PLAN


Sec. 263.101. DEPARTMENT TO FILE SERVICE PLAN. Not later than the 45th day after the date the court renders a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator of a child under Chapter 262, the department or other agency appointed as the managing conservator of a child shall file a service plan.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 43, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 263.1015. SERVICE PLAN NOT REQUIRED. A service plan is not required under this subchapter in a suit brought by the department for the termination of the parent-child relationship for a child who has been abandoned without identification and whose identity cannot be determined.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 7, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Sec. 263.102. SERVICE PLAN; CONTENTS. (a) The service plan must:

(1) be specific;

(2) be in writing in a language that the parents understand, or made otherwise available;

(3) be prepared by the department or other agency in conference with the child's parents;

(4) state appropriate deadlines;

(5) state whether the goal of the plan is:

(A) return of the child to the child's parents;

(B) termination of parental rights and placement of the child for adoption; or

(C) because of the child's special needs or exceptional circumstances, continuation of the child's care out of the child's home;

(6) state steps that are necessary to:

(A) return the child to the child's home if the placement is in foster care;

(B) enable the child to remain in the child's home with the assistance of a service plan if the placement is in the home under the department's or other agency's supervision; or

(C) otherwise provide a permanent safe placement for the child;

(7) state the actions and responsibilities that are necessary for the child's parents to take to achieve the plan goal during the period of the service plan and the assistance to be provided to the parents by the department or other authorized agency toward meeting that goal;

(8) state any specific skills or knowledge that the child's parents must acquire or learn, as well as any behavioral changes the parents must exhibit, to achieve the plan goal;

(9) state the actions and responsibilities that are necessary for the child's parents to take to ensure that the child attends school and maintains or improves the child's academic compliance;

(10) state the name of the person with the department or other agency whom the child's parents may contact for information relating to the child if other than the person preparing the plan; and

(11) prescribe any other term or condition that the department or other agency determines to be necessary to the service plan's success.

(b) The service plan shall include the following statement:

TO THE PARENT: THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. ITS PURPOSE IS TO HELP YOU PROVIDE YOUR CHILD WITH A SAFE ENVIRONMENT WITHIN THE REASONABLE PERIOD SPECIFIED IN THE PLAN. IF YOU ARE UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO PROVIDE YOUR CHILD WITH A SAFE ENVIRONMENT, YOUR PARENTAL AND CUSTODIAL DUTIES AND RIGHTS MAY BE RESTRICTED OR TERMINATED OR YOUR CHILD MAY NOT BE RETURNED TO YOU. THERE WILL BE A COURT HEARING AT WHICH A JUDGE WILL REVIEW THIS SERVICE PLAN.

(c) If both parents are available but do not live in the same household and do not agree to cooperate with one another in the development of a service plan for the child, the department in preparing the service plan may provide for the care of the child in the home of either parent or the homes of both parents as the best interest of the child requires.

(d) The department or other authorized entity must write the service plan in a manner that is clear and understandable to the parent in order to facilitate the parent's ability to follow the requirements of the service plan.

(e) Regardless of whether the goal stated in a child's service plan as required under Subsection (a)(5) is to return the child to the child's parents or to terminate parental rights and place the child for adoption, the department shall concurrently provide to the child and the child's family, as applicable:

(1) time-limited family reunification services as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 629a for a period not to exceed the period within which the court must render a final order in or dismiss the suit affecting the parent-child relationship with respect to the child as provided by Subchapter E; and

(2) adoption promotion and support services as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 629a.

(f) The department shall consult with relevant professionals to determine the skills or knowledge that the parents of a child under two years of age should learn or acquire to provide a safe placement for the child. The department shall incorporate those skills and abilities into the department's service plans, as appropriate.

(g) To the extent that funding is available, the service plan for a child under two years of age may require therapeutic visits between the child and the child's parents supervised by a licensed psychologist or another relevant professional to promote family reunification and to educate the parents about issues relating to the removal of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.38(a), eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1406 (S.B. 758), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 263.103. ORIGINAL SERVICE PLAN: SIGNING AND TAKING EFFECT. (a) The original service plan shall be developed jointly by the child's parents and a representative of the department or other authorized agency, including informing the parents of their rights in connection with the service plan process. If a parent is not able or willing to participate in the development of the service plan, it should be so noted in the plan.

(a-1) Before the original service plan is signed, the child's parents and the representative of the department or other authorized agency shall discuss each term and condition of the plan.

(b) The child's parents and the person preparing the original service plan shall sign the plan, and the department shall give each parent a copy of the service plan.

(c) If the department or other authorized agency determines that the child's parents are unable or unwilling to participate in the development of the original service plan or sign the plan, the department may file the plan without the parents' signatures.

(d) The original service plan takes effect when:

(1) the child's parents and the appropriate representative of the department or other authorized agency sign the plan; or

(2) the court issues an order giving effect to the plan without the parents' signatures.

(e) The original service plan is in effect until amended by the court or as provided under Section 263.104.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 598 (S.B. 218), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.104. AMENDED SERVICE PLAN. (a) The service plan may be amended at any time. The department shall work with the parents to jointly develop any amendment to the service plan, including informing the parents of their rights in connection with the amended service plan process.

(b) The amended service plan supersedes the previously filed service plan and takes effect when:

(1) the child's parents and the appropriate representative of the department or other authorized agency sign the plan; or

(2) the department or other authorized agency determines that the child's parents are unable or unwilling to sign the amended plan and files it without the parents' signatures.

(c) A parent may file a motion with the court at any time to request a review and modification of the amended service plan.

(d) An amended service plan remains in effect until:

(1) superseded by a later-amended service plan that goes into effect as provided by Subsection (b); or

(2) modified by the court.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 598 (S.B. 218), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.105. REVIEW OF SERVICE PLAN; MODIFICATION. (a) The service plan currently in effect shall be filed with the court.

(b) The court shall review the plan at the next required hearing under this chapter after the plan is filed.

(c) The court may modify an original or amended service plan at any time.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 44, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.106. COURT IMPLEMENTATION OF SERVICE PLAN. After reviewing the original or any amended service plan and making any changes or modifications it deems necessary, the court shall incorporate the original and any amended service plan into the orders of the court and may render additional appropriate orders to implement or require compliance with an original or amended service plan.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 598 (S.B. 218), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.107. VISITATION PLAN. (a) This section applies only to a child in the temporary managing conservatorship of the department for whom the department's goal is reunification of the child with the child's parent.

(b) Not later than the 30th day after the date the department is named temporary managing conservator of a child, the department in collaboration with each parent of the child shall develop a visitation plan.

(c) In determining the frequency and circumstances of visitation under this section, the department must consider:

(1) the safety and best interest of the child;

(2) the age of the child;

(3) the desires of each parent regarding visitation with the child;

(4) the location of each parent and the child; and

(5) the resources available to the department, including the resources to:

(A) ensure that visitation is properly supervised by a department employee or an available and willing volunteer the department determines suitable after conducting a background and criminal history check; and

(B) provide transportation to and from visits.

(d) Not later than the 10th day before the date of a status hearing under Section 263.201, the department shall file with the court a copy of the visitation plan developed under this section.

(e) The department may amend the visitation plan on mutual agreement of the child's parents and the department or as the department considers necessary to ensure the safety of the child. An amendment to the visitation plan must be in the child's best interest. The department shall file a copy of any amended visitation plan with the court.

(f) A visitation plan developed under this section may not conflict with a court order relating to possession of or access to the child.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 191 (S.B. 352), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.108. REVIEW OF VISITATION PLAN; MODIFICATION. (a) At the first hearing held under this chapter after the date an original or amended visitation plan is filed with the court under Section 263.107, the court shall review the visitation plan, taking into consideration the factors specified in Section 263.107(c).

(b) The court may modify, or order the department to modify, an original or amended visitation plan at any time.

(c) A parent who is entitled to visitation under a visitation plan may at any time file a motion with the court to request review and modification of an original or amended visitation plan.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 191 (S.B. 352), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.109. COURT IMPLEMENTATION OF VISITATION PLAN. (a) After reviewing an original or amended visitation plan, the court shall render an order regarding a parent's visitation with a child that the court determines appropriate.

(b) If the court finds that visitation between a child and a parent is not in the child's best interest, the court shall render an order that:

(1) states the reasons for finding that visitation is not in the child's best interest; and

(2) outlines specific steps the parent must take to be allowed to have visitation with the child.

(c) If the order regarding visitation between a child and a parent requires supervised visitation to protect the health and safety of the child, the order must outline specific steps the parent must take to have the level of supervision reduced.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 191 (S.B. 352), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2013.

SUBCHAPTER C. STATUS HEARING


Sec. 263.201. STATUS HEARING; TIME. (a) Not later than the 60th day after the date the court renders a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator of a child, the court shall hold a status hearing to review the child's status and the service plan developed for the child.

(b) A status hearing is not required if the court holds an initial permanency hearing under Section 262.2015 and makes findings required by Section 263.202 before the date a status hearing is required by this section.

(c) The court shall require each parent, alleged father, or relative of the child before the court to submit the proposed child placement resources form provided under Section 261.307 at the status hearing, if the form has not previously been submitted.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 8, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 81, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 26, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 45, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.37(a), eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.202. STATUS HEARING; FINDINGS. (a) If all persons entitled to citation and notice of a status hearing under this chapter were not served, the court shall make findings as to whether:

(1) the department or other agency has exercised due diligence to locate all necessary persons, including an alleged father of the child, regardless of whether the alleged father is registered with the registry of paternity under Section 160.402; and

(2) the child and each parent, alleged father, or relative of the child before the court have furnished to the department all available information necessary to locate an absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child through exercise of due diligence.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, a status hearing shall be limited to matters related to the contents and execution of the service plan filed with the court. The court shall review the service plan that the department or other agency filed under this chapter for reasonableness, accuracy, and compliance with requirements of court orders and make findings as to whether:

(1) a plan that has the goal of returning the child to the child's parents adequately ensures that reasonable efforts are made to enable the child's parents to provide a safe environment for the child;

(2) the child's parents have reviewed and understand the plan and have been advised that unless the parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment, even with the assistance of a service plan, within the reasonable period of time specified in the plan, the parents' parental and custodial duties and rights may be subject to restriction or to termination under this code or the child may not be returned to the parents;

(3) the plan is reasonably tailored to address any specific issues identified by the department or other agency; and

(4) the child's parents and the representative of the department or other agency have signed the plan.

(b-1) After reviewing the service plan and making any necessary modifications, the court shall incorporate the service plan into the orders of the court and may render additional appropriate orders to implement or require compliance with the plan.

(c) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2011.

(d) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2011.

(e) At the status hearing, the court shall make a finding as to whether the court has identified the individual who has the right to consent for the child under Section 266.003.

(f) The court shall review the report filed by the department under Section 263.007 and inquire into the sufficiency of the department's efforts to identify, locate, and provide information to each adult described by Section 262.1095(a). The court shall order the department to make further efforts to identify, locate, and provide information to each adult described by Section 262.1095(a) if the court determines that the department's efforts have not been sufficient.

(g) The court shall give the child's parents an opportunity to comment on the service plan.

(h) If a proposed child placement resources form as described by Section 261.307 has not been submitted, the court shall require each parent, alleged father, or other person to whom the department is required to provide a form to submit a completed form.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 111, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 27, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 46, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 306, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.38(b), eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.39, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.203. APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY AD LITEM; ADMONISHMENTS. (a) The court shall advise the parties of the provisions regarding the mandatory appointment of an attorney ad litem under Subchapter A, Chapter 107, and shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of any person eligible if the appointment is required by that subchapter.

(b) The court shall advise the parties that progress under the service plan will be reviewed at all subsequent hearings, including a review of whether the parties have acquired or learned any specific skills or knowledge stated in the plan.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1071 (S.B. 993), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2011.

SUBCHAPTER D. PERMANENCY HEARINGS


Sec. 263.301. NOTICE. (a) Notice of a permanency hearing shall be given as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, to all persons entitled to notice of the hearing.

(b) The following persons are entitled to at least 10 days' notice of a permanency hearing and are entitled to present evidence and be heard at the hearing:

(1) the department;

(2) the foster parent, preadoptive parent, relative of the child providing care, or director of the group home or institution where the child is residing;

(3) each parent of the child;

(4) the managing conservator or guardian of the child;

(5) an attorney ad litem appointed for the child under Chapter 107;

(6) a volunteer advocate appointed for the child under Chapter 107;

(7) the child if:

(A) the child is 10 years of age or older; or

(B) the court determines it is appropriate for the child to receive notice; and

(8) any other person or agency named by the court to have an interest in the child's welfare.

(c) If a person entitled to notice under Chapter 102 or this section has not been served, the court shall review the department's or other agency's efforts at attempting to locate all necessary persons and requesting service of citation and the assistance of a parent in providing information necessary to locate an absent parent.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 10, eff. Jan 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 5, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 83, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 849, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 843), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.302. CHILD'S ATTENDANCE AT HEARING. The child shall attend each permanency hearing unless the court specifically excuses the child's attendance. A child committed to the Texas Youth Commission may attend a permanency hearing in person, by telephone, or by videoconference. The court shall consult with the child in a developmentally appropriate manner regarding the child's permanency plan, if the child is four years of age or older and if the court determines it is in the best interest of the child. Failure by the child to attend a hearing does not affect the validity of an order rendered at the hearing.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 11, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 84, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1304 (S.B. 759), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 6, eff. May 23, 2009.

Sec. 263.3025. PERMANENCY PLAN. (a) The department shall prepare a permanency plan for a child for whom the department has been appointed temporary managing conservator. The department shall give a copy of the plan to each person entitled to notice under Section 263.301(b) not later than the 10th day before the date of the child's first permanency hearing.

(b) In addition to the requirements of the department rules governing permanency planning, the permanency plan must contain the information required to be included in a permanency progress report under Section 263.303.

(c) The department shall modify the permanency plan for a child as required by the circumstances and needs of the child.

(d) In accordance with department rules, a child's permanency plan must include concurrent permanency goals consisting of a primary permanency goal and at least one alternate permanency goal.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 7, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 85, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 809, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 620 (H.B. 2331), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 939), Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 263.3026. PERMANENCY GOALS; LIMITATION. (a) The department's permanency plan for a child may include as a goal:

(1) the reunification of the child with a parent or other individual from whom the child was removed;

(2) the termination of parental rights and adoption of the child by a relative or other suitable individual;

(3) the award of permanent managing conservatorship of the child to a relative or other suitable individual; or

(4) another planned, permanent living arrangement for the child.

(b) If the goal of the department's permanency plan for a child is to find another planned, permanent living arrangement for the child, the department shall document that there is a compelling reason why the other permanency goals identified in Subsection (a) are not in the child's best interest.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 939), Sec. 5, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 263.303. PERMANENCY PROGRESS REPORT. (a) Not later than the 10th day before the date set for each permanency hearing other than the first permanency hearing, the department or other authorized agency shall file with the court and provide to each party, the child's attorney ad litem, the child's guardian ad litem, and the child's volunteer advocate a permanency progress report unless the court orders a different period for providing the report.

(b) The permanency progress report must:

(1) recommend that the suit be dismissed; or

(2) recommend that the suit continue, and:

(A) identify the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter;

(B) provide:

(i) the name of any person entitled to notice under Chapter 102 who has not been served;

(ii) a description of the efforts by the department or another agency to locate and request service of citation; and

(iii) a description of each parent's assistance in providing information necessary to locate an unserved party;

(C) evaluate the parties' compliance with temporary orders and with the service plan;

(D) evaluate whether the child's placement in substitute care meets the child's needs and recommend other plans or services to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(E) describe the permanency plan for the child and recommend actions necessary to ensure that a final order consistent with that permanency plan, including the concurrent permanency goals contained in that plan, is rendered before the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter;

(F) with respect to a child 16 years of age or older, identify the services needed to assist the child in the transition to adult life; and

(G) with respect to a child committed to the Texas Youth Commission or released under supervision by the Texas Youth Commission:

(i) evaluate whether the child's needs for treatment and education are being met;

(ii) describe, using information provided by the Texas Youth Commission, the child's progress in any rehabilitation program administered by the Texas Youth Commission; and

(iii) recommend other plans or services to meet the child's needs.

(c) A parent whose parental rights are the subject of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, the attorney for that parent, or the child's attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem may file a response to the department's or other agency's report filed under Subsection (b). A response must be filed not later than the third day before the date of the hearing.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 112, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 13, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 8, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 86, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 172 (H.B. 307), Sec. 24, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 7, eff. May 23, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 939), Sec. 6, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 263.304. INITIAL PERMANENCY HEARING; TIME. (a) Not later than the 180th day after the date the court renders a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator of a child, the court shall hold a permanency hearing to review the status of, and permanency plan for, the child to ensure that a final order consistent with that permanency plan is rendered before the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter.

(b) The court shall set a final hearing under this chapter on a date that allows the court to render a final order before the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter. Any party to the suit or an attorney ad litem for the child may seek a writ of mandamus to compel the court to comply with the duties imposed by this subsection.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 113, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 14, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 9, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 87, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 263.305. SUBSEQUENT PERMANENCY HEARINGS. A subsequent permanency hearing before entry of a final order shall be held not later than the 120th day after the date of the last permanency hearing in the suit. For good cause shown or on the court's own motion, the court may order more frequent hearings.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 15, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 10, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 88, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Sec. 263.306. PERMANENCY HEARINGS: PROCEDURE.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 191, Sec. 5


(a) At each permanency hearing the court shall:

(1) identify all persons or parties present at the hearing or those given notice but failing to appear;

(2) review the efforts of the department or another agency in:

(A) attempting to locate all necessary persons;

(B) requesting service of citation; and

(C) obtaining the assistance of a parent in providing information necessary to locate an absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

(3) review the efforts of each custodial parent, alleged father, or relative of the child before the court in providing information necessary to locate another absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

(4) review any visitation plan or amended plan required under Section 263.107 and render any orders for visitation the court determines necessary;

(5) return the child to the parent or parents if the child's parent or parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment and the return of the child is in the child's best interest;

(6) place the child with a person or entity, other than a parent, entitled to service under Chapter 102 if the person or entity is willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment and the placement of the child is in the child's best interest;

(7) evaluate the department's efforts to identify relatives who could provide the child with a safe environment, if the child is not returned to a parent or another person or entity entitled to service under Chapter 102;

(8) evaluate the parties' compliance with temporary orders and the service plan;

(9) determine whether:

(A) the child continues to need substitute care;

(B) the child's current placement is appropriate for meeting the child's needs, including with respect to a child who has been placed outside of the state, whether that placement continues to be in the best interest of the child; and

(C) other plans or services are needed to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(10) if the child is placed in institutional care, determine whether efforts have been made to ensure placement of the child in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child;

(11) if the child is 16 years of age or older, order services that are needed to assist the child in making the transition from substitute care to independent living if the services are available in the community;

(12) determine plans, services, and further temporary orders necessary to ensure that a final order is rendered before the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter;

(13) if the child is committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or released under supervision by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, determine whether the child's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and education are being met; and

(14) determine the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter and give notice in open court to all parties of:

(A) the dismissal date;

(B) the date of the next permanency hearing; and

(C) the date the suit is set for trial.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 204, Sec. 4


(a) At each permanency hearing the court shall:

(1) identify all persons or parties present at the hearing or those given notice but failing to appear;

(2) review the efforts of the department or another agency in:

(A) attempting to locate all necessary persons;

(B) requesting service of citation; and

(C) obtaining the assistance of a parent in providing information necessary to locate an absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

(3) review the efforts of each custodial parent, alleged father, or relative of the child before the court in providing information necessary to locate another absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

(4) return the child to the parent or parents if the child's parent or parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment and the return of the child is in the child's best interest;

(5) place the child with a person or entity, other than a parent, entitled to service under Chapter 102 if the person or entity is willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment and the placement of the child is in the child's best interest;

(6) evaluate the department's efforts to identify relatives who could provide the child with a safe environment, if the child is not returned to a parent or another person or entity entitled to service under Chapter 102;

(7) evaluate the parties' compliance with temporary orders and the service plan;

(8) review the medical care provided to the child as required by Section 266.007;

(9) ensure the child has been provided the opportunity, in a developmentally appropriate manner, to express the child's opinion on the medical care provided;

(10) for a child receiving psychotropic medication, determine whether the child:

(A) has been provided appropriate psychosocial therapies, behavior strategies, and other non-pharmacological interventions; and

(B) has been seen by the prescribing physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse at least once every 90 days for purposes of the review required by Section 266.011;

(11) determine whether:

(A) the child continues to need substitute care;

(B) the child's current placement is appropriate for meeting the child's needs, including with respect to a child who has been placed outside of the state, whether that placement continues to be in the best interest of the child; and

(C) other plans or services are needed to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(12) if the child is placed in institutional care, determine whether efforts have been made to ensure placement of the child in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child;

(13) if the child is 16 years of age or older, order services that are needed to assist the child in making the transition from substitute care to independent living if the services are available in the community;

(14) determine plans, services, and further temporary orders necessary to ensure that a final order is rendered before the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter;

(15) if the child is committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or released under supervision by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, determine whether the child's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and education are being met; and

(16) determine the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter and give notice in open court to all parties of:

(A) the dismissal date;

(B) the date of the next permanency hearing; and

(C) the date the suit is set for trial.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 688, Sec. 5


(a) At each permanency hearing the court shall:

(1) identify all persons or parties present at the hearing or those given notice but failing to appear;

(2) review the efforts of the department or another agency in:

(A) attempting to locate all necessary persons;

(B) requesting service of citation; and

(C) obtaining the assistance of a parent in providing information necessary to locate an absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

(3) review the efforts of each custodial parent, alleged father, or relative of the child before the court in providing information necessary to locate another absent parent, alleged father, or relative of the child;

(4) return the child to the parent or parents if the child's parent or parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment and the return of the child is in the child's best interest;

(5) place the child with a person or entity, other than a parent, entitled to service under Chapter 102 if the person or entity is willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment and the placement of the child is in the child's best interest;

(6) evaluate the department's efforts to identify relatives who could provide the child with a safe environment, if the child is not returned to a parent or another person or entity entitled to service under Chapter 102;

(7) evaluate the parties' compliance with temporary orders and the service plan;

(8) identify an education decision-maker for the child if one has not previously been identified;

(9) determine whether:

(A) the child continues to need substitute care;

(B) the child's current placement is appropriate for meeting the child's needs, including with respect to a child who has been placed outside of the state, whether that placement continues to be in the best interest of the child; and

(C) other plans or services are needed to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(10) if the child is placed in institutional care, determine whether efforts have been made to ensure placement of the child in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child;

(11) if the child is 16 years of age or older, order services that are needed to assist the child in making the transition from substitute care to independent living if the services are available in the community;

(12) determine plans, services, and further temporary orders necessary to ensure that a final order is rendered before the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter;

(13) if the child is committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or released under supervision by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, determine whether the child's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and education are being met; and

(14) determine the date for dismissal of the suit under this chapter and give notice in open court to all parties of:

(A) the dismissal date;

(B) the date of the next permanency hearing; and

(C) the date the suit is set for trial.

(b) The court shall also review the service plan, permanency report, and other information submitted at the hearing to:

(1) determine:

(A) the safety of the child;

(B) the continuing necessity and appropriateness of the placement;

(C) the extent of compliance with the case plan;

(D) whether the child's education needs and goals have been identified and addressed;

(E) the extent of progress that has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating the placement of the child in foster care; and

(F) whether the department has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect for the child, including the concurrent permanency goals for the child; and

(2) project a likely date by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the child's home, placed for adoption, or placed in permanent managing conservatorship.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 114, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 16, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 11, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 89, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 47, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 306, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 849, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 8, eff. May 23, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 939), Sec. 7, eff. June 19, 2009.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 191 (S.B. 352), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 204 (H.B. 915), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 688 (H.B. 2619), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.307. FACTORS IN DETERMINING BEST INTEREST OF CHILD. (a) In considering the factors established by this section, the prompt and permanent placement of the child in a safe environment is presumed to be in the child's best interest.

(b) The following factors should be considered by the court, the department, and other authorized agencies in determining whether the child's parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment:

(1) the child's age and physical and mental vulnerabilities;

(2) the frequency and nature of out-of-home placements;

(3) the magnitude, frequency, and circumstances of the harm to the child;

(4) whether the child has been the victim of repeated harm after the initial report and intervention by the department or other agency;

(5) whether the child is fearful of living in or returning to the child's home;

(6) the results of psychiatric, psychological, or developmental evaluations of the child, the child's parents, other family members, or others who have access to the child's home;

(7) whether there is a history of abusive or assaultive conduct by the child's family or others who have access to the child's home;

(8) whether there is a history of substance abuse by the child's family or others who have access to the child's home;

(9) whether the perpetrator of the harm to the child is identified;

(10) the willingness and ability of the child's family to seek out, accept, and complete counseling services and to cooperate with and facilitate an appropriate agency's close supervision;

(11) the willingness and ability of the child's family to effect positive environmental and personal changes within a reasonable period of time;

(12) whether the child's family demonstrates adequate parenting skills, including providing the child and other children under the family's care with:

(A) minimally adequate health and nutritional care;

(B) care, nurturance, and appropriate discipline consistent with the child's physical and psychological development;

(C) guidance and supervision consistent with the child's safety;

(D) a safe physical home environment;

(E) protection from repeated exposure to violence even though the violence may not be directed at the child; and

(F) an understanding of the child's needs and capabilities; and

(13) whether an adequate social support system consisting of an extended family and friends is available to the child.

(c) In the case of a child 16 years of age or older, the following guidelines should be considered by the court in determining whether to adopt the permanency plan submitted by the department:

(1) whether the permanency plan submitted to the court includes the services planned for the child to make the transition from foster care to independent living; and

(2) whether this transition is in the best interest of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

SUBCHAPTER E. FINAL ORDER FOR CHILD UNDER DEPARTMENT CARE


Sec. 263.401. DISMISSAL AFTER ONE YEAR; EXTENSION. (a) Unless the court has commenced the trial on the merits or granted an extension under Subsection (b), on the first Monday after the first anniversary of the date the court rendered a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator, the court shall dismiss the suit affecting the parent-child relationship filed by the department that requests termination of the parent-child relationship or requests that the department be named conservator of the child.

(b) Unless the court has commenced the trial on the merits, the court may not retain the suit on the court's docket after the time described by Subsection (a) unless the court finds that extraordinary circumstances necessitate the child remaining in the temporary managing conservatorship of the department and that continuing the appointment of the department as temporary managing conservator is in the best interest of the child. If the court makes those findings, the court may retain the suit on the court's docket for a period not to exceed 180 days after the time described by Subsection (a). If the court retains the suit on the court's docket, the court shall render an order in which the court:

(1) schedules the new date on which the suit will be dismissed if the trial on the merits has not commenced, which date must be not later than the 180th day after the time described by Subsection (a);

(2) makes further temporary orders for the safety and welfare of the child as necessary to avoid further delay in resolving the suit; and

(3) sets the trial on the merits on a date not later than the date specified under Subdivision (1).

(c) If the court grants an extension but does not commence the trial on the merits before the required date for dismissal under Subsection (b), the court shall dismiss the suit. The court may not grant an additional extension that extends the suit beyond the required date for dismissal under Subsection (b).

(d) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866, Sec. 5, eff. June 15, 2007.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.40, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 5, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 263.402. LIMIT ON EXTENSION; WAIVER. (a) The parties to a suit under this chapter may not extend the deadlines set by the court under this subchapter by agreement or otherwise.

(b) A party to a suit under this chapter who fails to make a timely motion to dismiss the suit under this subchapter waives the right to object to the court's failure to dismiss the suit. A motion to dismiss under this subsection is timely if the motion is made before the trial on the merits commences.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 48, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 3, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 263.403. MONITORED RETURN OF CHILD TO PARENT. (a) Notwithstanding Section 263.401, the court may retain jurisdiction and not dismiss the suit or render a final order as required by that section if the court renders a temporary order that:

(1) finds that retaining jurisdiction under this section is in the best interest of the child;

(2) orders the department to return the child to the child's parent;

(3) orders the department to continue to serve as temporary managing conservator of the child; and

(4) orders the department to monitor the child's placement to ensure that the child is in a safe environment.

(b) If the court renders an order under this section, the court shall:

(1) include in the order specific findings regarding the grounds for the order; and

(2) schedule a new date, not later than the 180th day after the date the temporary order is rendered, for dismissal of the suit unless a trial on the merits has commenced.

(c) If a child placed with a parent under this section must be moved from that home by the department before the dismissal of the suit or the commencement of the trial on the merits, the court shall, at the time of the move, schedule a new date for dismissal of the suit unless a trial on the merits has commenced. The new dismissal date may not be later than the original dismissal date established under Section 263.401 or the 180th day after the date the child is moved under this subsection, whichever date is later.

(d) If the court renders an order under this section, the court must include in the order specific findings regarding the grounds for the order.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 263.402 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 4, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 263.404. FINAL ORDER APPOINTING DEPARTMENT AS MANAGING CONSERVATOR WITHOUT TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS. (a) The court may render a final order appointing the department as managing conservator of the child without terminating the rights of the parent of the child if the court finds that:

(1) appointment of a parent as managing conservator would not be in the best interest of the child because the appointment would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development; and

(2) it would not be in the best interest of the child to appoint a relative of the child or another person as managing conservator.

(b) In determining whether the department should be appointed as managing conservator of the child without terminating the rights of a parent of the child, the court shall take the following factors into consideration:

(1) that the child will reach 18 years of age in not less than three years;

(2) that the child is 12 years of age or older and has expressed a strong desire against termination or being adopted;

(3) that the child has special medical or behavioral needs that make adoption of the child unlikely; and

(4) the needs and desires of the child.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 263.403 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 263.405. APPEAL OF FINAL ORDER. (a) An appeal of a final order rendered under this subchapter is governed by the procedures for accelerated appeals in civil cases under the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The appellate court shall render its final order or judgment with the least possible delay.

(b) A final order rendered under this subchapter must contain the following prominently displayed statement in boldfaced type, in capital letters, or underlined: "A PARTY AFFECTED BY THIS ORDER HAS THE RIGHT TO APPEAL. AN APPEAL IN A SUIT IN WHICH TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP IS SOUGHT IS GOVERNED BY THE PROCEDURES FOR ACCELERATED APPEALS IN CIVIL CASES UNDER THE TEXAS RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE TEXAS RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE FOR ACCELERATED APPEALS MAY RESULT IN THE DISMISSAL OF THE APPEAL."

(b-1) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

(c) The supreme court shall adopt rules accelerating the disposition by the appellate court and the supreme court of an appeal of a final order granting termination of the parent-child relationship rendered under this subchapter.

(d) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

(e) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

(f) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

(g) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

(h) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

(i) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 176 (H.B. 409), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 526 (S.B. 813), Sec. 2, eff. June 16, 2007.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75 (H.B. 906), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75 (H.B. 906), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 263.406. COURT INFORMATION SYSTEM. The Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System shall consult with the courts presiding over cases brought by the department for the protection of children to develop an information system to track compliance with the requirements of this subchapter for the timely disposition of those cases.

Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 263.404 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 263.407. FINAL ORDER APPOINTING DEPARTMENT AS MANAGING CONSERVATOR OF CERTAIN ABANDONED CHILDREN; TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS. (a) There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent who delivers a child to a designated emergency infant care provider in accordance with Subchapter D, Chapter 262:

(1) is the child's biological parent;

(2) intends to relinquish parental rights and consents to the termination of parental rights with regard to the child; and

(3) intends to waive the right to notice of the suit terminating the parent-child relationship.

(a-1) A party that seeks to rebut a presumption in Subsection (a) may do so at any time before the parent-child relationship is terminated with regard to the child.

(b) If a person claims to be the parent of a child taken into possession under Subchapter D, Chapter 262, before the court renders a final order terminating the parental rights of the child's parents, the court shall order genetic testing for parentage determination unless parentage has previously been established. The court shall hold the petition for termination of the parent-child relationship in abeyance for a period not to exceed 60 days pending the results of the genetic testing.

(c) Before the court may render an order terminating parental rights with regard to a child taken into the department's custody under Section 262.303, the department must:

(1) verify with the National Crime Information Center and state and local law enforcement agencies that the child is not a missing child; and

(2) obtain a certificate of the search of the paternity registry under Subchapter E, Chapter 160, not earlier than the date the department estimates to be the 30th day after the child's date of birth.

Added by Acts 2001 77th Leg., ch. 809, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 263.405 by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(54), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 620 (H.B. 2331), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1035 (H.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283 (H.B. 3997), Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2007.

SUBCHAPTER F. PLACEMENT REVIEW HEARINGS


Sec. 263.501. PLACEMENT REVIEW AFTER FINAL ORDER. (a) If the department has been named as a child's managing conservator in a final order that does not include termination of parental rights, the court shall conduct a placement review hearing at least once every six months until the child becomes an adult.

(b) If the department has been named as a child's managing conservator in a final order that terminates a parent's parental rights, the court shall conduct a placement review hearing not later than the 90th day after the date the court renders the final order. The court shall conduct additional placement review hearings at least once every six months until the date the child is adopted or the child becomes an adult.

(c) Notice of a placement review hearing shall be given as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, to each person entitled to notice of the hearing.

(d) The following are entitled to not less than 10 days' notice of a placement review hearing and are entitled to present evidence and be heard at the hearing:

(1) the department;

(2) the foster parent, preadoptive parent, relative of the child providing care, or director of the group home or institution in which the child is residing;

(3) each parent of the child;

(4) each possessory conservator or guardian of the child;

(5) the child's attorney ad litem and volunteer advocate, if the appointments were not dismissed in the final order;

(6) the child if:

(A) the child is 10 years of age or older; or

(B) the court determines it is appropriate for the child to receive notice; and

(7) any other person or agency named by the court as having an interest in the child's welfare.

(e) The licensed administrator of the child-placing agency responsible for placing the child is entitled to not less than 10 days' notice of a placement review hearing.

(f) The child shall attend each placement review hearing unless the court specifically excuses the child's attendance. A child committed to the Texas Youth Commission may attend a placement review hearing in person, by telephone, or by videoconference. The court shall consult with the child in a developmentally appropriate manner regarding the child's permanency or transition plan, if the child is four years of age or older. Failure by the child to attend a hearing does not affect the validity of an order rendered at the hearing.

(g) A court required to conduct placement review hearings for a child for whom the department has been appointed permanent managing conservator may not dismiss a suit affecting the parent-child relationship filed by the department regarding the child while the child is committed to the Texas Youth Commission or released under the supervision of the Texas Youth Commission, unless the child is adopted or permanent managing conservatorship of the child is awarded to an individual other than the department.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 849, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1304 (S.B. 759), Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 9, eff. May 23, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 939), Sec. 8, eff. June 19, 2009.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 843), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.502. PLACEMENT REVIEW REPORT. (a) Not later than the 10th day before the date set for a placement review hearing, the department or other authorized agency shall file a placement review report with the court and provide a copy to each person entitled to notice under Section 263.501(d).

(b) For good cause shown, the court may order a different time for filing the placement review report or may order that a report is not required for a specific hearing.

(c) The placement review report must identify the department's permanency goal for the child and must:

(1) evaluate whether the child's current placement is appropriate for meeting the child's needs;

(2) evaluate whether efforts have been made to ensure placement of the child in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child if the child is placed in institutional care;

(3) contain a transition plan for a child who is at least 16 years of age that identifies the services and specific tasks that are needed to assist the child in making the transition from substitute care to adult living and describes the services that are being provided through the Transitional Living Services Program operated by the department;

(4) evaluate whether the child's current educational placement is appropriate for meeting the child's academic needs;

(5) identify other plans or services that are needed to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(6) describe the efforts of the department or authorized agency to place the child for adoption if parental rights to the child have been terminated and the child is eligible for adoption, including efforts to provide adoption promotion and support services as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 629a and other efforts consistent with the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (Pub. L. No. 105-89);

(7) for a child for whom the department has been named managing conservator in a final order that does not include termination of parental rights, describe the efforts of the department to find a permanent placement for the child, including efforts to:

(A) work with the caregiver with whom the child is placed to determine whether that caregiver is willing to become a permanent placement for the child;

(B) locate a relative or other suitable individual to serve as permanent managing conservator of the child; and

(C) evaluate any change in a parent's circumstances to determine whether:

(i) the child can be returned to the parent; or

(ii) parental rights should be terminated;

(8) with respect to a child committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or released under supervision by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department:

(A) evaluate whether the child's needs for treatment and education are being met;

(B) describe, using information provided by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the child's progress in any rehabilitation program administered by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department; and

(C) recommend other plans or services to meet the child's needs; and

(9) identify any placement changes that have occurred since the most recent court hearing concerning the child and describe any barriers to sustaining the child's placement, including any reason for which a substitute care provider has requested a placement change.

(d) If the goal of the department's permanency plan for a child is to find another planned, permanent living arrangement, the placement review report must document a compelling reason why adoption, permanent managing conservatorship with a relative or other suitable individual, or returning the child to a parent are not in the child's best interest.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.41(a), eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 10, eff. May 23, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 939), Sec. 9, eff. June 19, 2009.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 91 (S.B. 1303), Sec. 9.002, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1324 (S.B. 534), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.503. PLACEMENT REVIEW HEARINGS; PROCEDURE.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 204 (H.B. 915), Sec. 5


(a) At each placement review hearing, the court shall determine whether:

(1) the child's current placement is necessary, safe, and appropriate for meeting the child's needs, including with respect to a child placed outside of the state, whether the placement continues to be appropriate and in the best interest of the child;

(2) efforts have been made to ensure placement of the child in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child if the child is placed in institutional care;

(3) the services that are needed to assist a child who is at least 16 years of age in making the transition from substitute care to independent living are available in the community;

(4) the child is receiving appropriate medical care;

(5) the child has been provided the opportunity, in a developmentally appropriate manner, to express the child's opinion on the medical care provided;

(6) a child who is receiving psychotropic medication:

(A) has been provided appropriate psychosocial therapies, behavior strategies, and other non-pharmacological interventions; and

(B) has been seen by the prescribing physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse at least once every 90 days for purposes of the review required by Section 266.011;

(7) other plans or services are needed to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(8) the department or authorized agency has exercised due diligence in attempting to place the child for adoption if parental rights to the child have been terminated and the child is eligible for adoption;

(9) for a child for whom the department has been named managing conservator in a final order that does not include termination of parental rights, a permanent placement, including appointing a relative as permanent managing conservator or returning the child to a parent, is appropriate for the child;

(10) for a child whose permanency goal is another planned, permanent living arrangement, the department has:

(A) documented a compelling reason why adoption, permanent managing conservatorship with a relative or other suitable individual, or returning the child to a parent is not in the child's best interest; and

(B) identified a family or other caring adult who has made a permanent commitment to the child;

(11) the department or authorized agency has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect for the child; and

(12) if the child is committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or released under supervision by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the child's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and education are being met.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 688 (H.B. 2619), Sec. 6


(a) At each placement review hearing, the court shall determine whether:

(1) the child's current placement is necessary, safe, and appropriate for meeting the child's needs, including with respect to a child placed outside of the state, whether the placement continues to be appropriate and in the best interest of the child;

(2) efforts have been made to ensure placement of the child in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child if the child is placed in institutional care;

(3) the services that are needed to assist a child who is at least 16 years of age in making the transition from substitute care to independent living are available in the community;

(4) other plans or services are needed to meet the child's special needs or circumstances;

(5) the department or authorized agency has exercised due diligence in attempting to place the child for adoption if parental rights to the child have been terminated and the child is eligible for adoption;

(6) for a child for whom the department has been named managing conservator in a final order that does not include termination of parental rights, a permanent placement, including appointing a relative as permanent managing conservator or returning the child to a parent, is appropriate for the child;

(7) for a child whose permanency goal is another planned, permanent living arrangement, the department has:

(A) documented a compelling reason why adoption, permanent managing conservatorship with a relative or other suitable individual, or returning the child to a parent is not in the child's best interest; and

(B) identified a family or other caring adult who has made a permanent commitment to the child;

(8) the department or authorized agency has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect for the child;

(9) if the child is committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or released under supervision by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the child's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and education are being met;

(10) an education decision-maker for the child has been identified; and

(11) the child's education needs and goals have been identified and addressed.

(b) For a child for whom the department has been named managing conservator in a final order that does not include termination of parental rights, the court may order the department to provide services to a parent for not more than six months after the date of the placement review hearing if:

(1) the child has not been placed with a relative or other individual, including a foster parent, who is seeking permanent managing conservatorship of the child; and

(2) the court determines that further efforts at reunification with a parent are:

(A) in the best interest of the child; and

(B) likely to result in the child's safe return to the child's parent.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 849, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.; Acts 2009, 81st Leg., Ch. 108, Sec. 11, eff. May 23, 2009; Acts 2009, 81st Leg., Ch. 1372, Sec. 10, eff. June 19, 2009.

Reenacted and amended by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 91 (S.B. 1303), Sec. 9.003, eff. September 1, 2011.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 204 (H.B. 915), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 688 (H.B. 2619), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2013.

SUBCHAPTER G. EXTENDED JURISDICTION AFTER CHILD'S 18TH BIRTHDAY


Sec. 263.601. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Extended foster care" means a residential living arrangement in which a young adult voluntarily delegates to the department responsibility for the young adult's placement and care and in which the young adult resides with a foster parent or other residential services provider that is:

(A) licensed or approved by the department or verified by a licensed or certified child-placing agency; and

(B) paid under a contract with the department.

(2) "Guardianship services" means the services provided by the Department of Aging and Disability Services under Subchapter E, Chapter 161, Human Resources Code.

(3) "Institution" means a residential facility that is operated, licensed, registered, certified, or verified by a state agency other than the department. The term includes a residential service provider under a Medicaid waiver program authorized under Section 1915(c) of the federal Social Security Act that provides services at a residence other than the young adult's own home.

(3-a) "Trial independence" means the status assigned to a young adult under Section 263.6015.

(4) "Young adult" means a person who was in the conservatorship of the department on the day before the person's 18th birthday.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 79), Sec. 11.01, eff. September 28, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 63.01, eff. September 28, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 456 (S.B. 886), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.6015. TRIAL INDEPENDENCE. (a) A young adult is assigned trial independence status when the young adult:

(1) does not enter extended foster care at the time of the young adult's 18th birthday; or

(2) exits extended foster care before the young adult's 21st birthday.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a court order is not required for a young adult to be assigned trial independence status. Trial independence is mandatory for a period of at least six months beginning on:

(1) the date of the young adult's 18th birthday for a young adult described by Subsection (a)(1); or

(2) the date the young adult exits extended foster care.

(c) A court may order trial independence status extended for a period that exceeds the mandatory period under Subsection (b) but does not exceed one year from the date the period under Subsection (b) commences.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), a young adult who enters or reenters extended foster care after a period of trial independence must complete a new period of trial independence as provided by Subsection (b)(2).

(e) The trial independence status of a young adult ends on the young adult's 21st birthday.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 456 (S.B. 886), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.602. EXTENDED JURISDICTION. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (f), a court that had jurisdiction over a young adult on the day before the young adult's 18th birthday continues to have extended jurisdiction over the young adult and shall retain the case on the court's docket while the young adult is in extended foster care and during trial independence as described by Section 263.6015.

(b) A court with extended jurisdiction over a young adult in extended foster care shall conduct extended foster care review hearings every six months for the purpose of reviewing and making findings regarding:

(1) whether the young adult's living arrangement is safe and appropriate and whether the department has made reasonable efforts to place the young adult in the least restrictive environment necessary to meet the young adult's needs;

(2) whether the department is making reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect for the young adult, including a permanency plan for independent living;

(3) whether, for a young adult whose permanency plan is independent living:

(A) the young adult participated in the development of the plan of service;

(B) the young adult's plan of service reflects the independent living skills and appropriate services needed to achieve independence by the projected date; and

(C) the young adult continues to make reasonable progress in developing the skills needed to achieve independence by the projected date; and

(4) whether additional services that the department is authorized to provide are needed to meet the needs of the young adult.

(c) Not later than the 10th day before the date set for a hearing under this section, the department shall file with the court a copy of the young adult's plan of service and a report that addresses the issues described by Subsection (b).

(d) Notice of an extended foster care review hearing shall be given as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, to the following persons, each of whom has a right to present evidence and be heard at the hearing:

(1) the young adult who is the subject of the suit;

(2) the department;

(3) the foster parent with whom the young adult is placed and the administrator of a child-placing agency responsible for placing the young adult, if applicable;

(4) the director of the residential child-care facility or other approved provider with whom the young adult is placed, if applicable;

(5) each parent of the young adult whose parental rights have not been terminated and who is still actively involved in the life of the young adult;

(6) a legal guardian of the young adult, if applicable; and

(7) the young adult's attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, and volunteer advocate, the appointment of which has not been previously dismissed by the court.

(e) If, after reviewing the young adult's plan of service and the report filed under Subsection (c), and any additional testimony and evidence presented at the review hearing, the court determines that the young adult is entitled to additional services, the court may order the department to take appropriate action to ensure that the young adult receives those services.

(f) Unless the court extends its jurisdiction over a young adult beyond the end of trial independence as provided by Section 263.6021(a) or 263.603(a), the court's extended jurisdiction over a young adult as described in Subsection (a) terminates on the earlier of:

(1) the last day of the month in which trial independence ends; or

(2) the young adult's 21st birthday.

(g) A court with extended jurisdiction described by this section is not required to conduct periodic hearings described in this section for a young adult during trial independence and may not compel a young adult who has elected to not enter or has exited extended foster care to attend a court hearing. A court with extended jurisdiction during trial independence may, at the request of a young adult, conduct a hearing described by Subsection (b) or by Section 263.6021 to review any transitional living services the young adult is receiving during trial independence.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 79), Sec. 11.02, eff. September 28, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 63.02, eff. September 28, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 456 (S.B. 886), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.6021. VOLUNTARY EXTENDED JURISDICTION FOR YOUNG ADULT RECEIVING TRANSITIONAL LIVING SERVICES. (a) Notwithstanding Section 263.602, a court that had jurisdiction over a young adult on the day before the young adult's 18th birthday may, at the young adult's request, render an order that extends the court's jurisdiction beyond the end of trial independence if the young adult receives transitional living services from the department.

(b) Unless the young adult reenters extended foster care before the end of the court's extended jurisdiction described by Subsection (a), the extended jurisdiction of the court under this section terminates on the earlier of:

(1) the young adult's 21st birthday; or

(2) the date the young adult withdraws consent to the extension of the court's jurisdiction in writing or in court.

(c) At the request of a young adult who is receiving transitional living services from the department and who consents to voluntary extension of the court's jurisdiction under this section, the court may hold a hearing to review the services the young adult is receiving.

(d) Before a review hearing scheduled under this section, the department must file with the court a report summarizing the young adult's transitional living services plan, services being provided to the young adult under that plan, and the young adult's progress in achieving independence.

(e) If, after reviewing the report and any additional testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, the court determines that the young adult is entitled to additional services, the court may order the department to take appropriate action to ensure that the young adult receives those services.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 79), Sec. 11.03, eff. September 28, 2011.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 63.03, eff. September 28, 2011.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 456 (S.B. 886), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.603. EXTENDED JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE GUARDIANSHIP. (a) Notwithstanding Section 263.6021, if the court believes that a young adult may be incapacitated as defined by Section 601(14)(B), Texas Probate Code, the court may extend its jurisdiction on its own motion without the young adult's consent to allow the department to refer the young adult to the Department of Aging and Disability Services for guardianship services as required by Section 48.209, Human Resources Code.

(b) The extended jurisdiction of the court under this section terminates on the earliest of the date:

(1) the Department of Aging and Disability Services determines a guardianship is not appropriate under Chapter 161, Human Resources Code;

(2) a court with probate jurisdiction denies the application to appoint a guardian; or

(3) a guardian is appointed and qualifies under the Texas Probate Code.

(c) If the Department of Aging and Disability Services determines a guardianship is not appropriate, or the court with probate jurisdiction denies the application to appoint a guardian, the court under Subsection (a) may continue to extend its jurisdiction over the young adult only as provided by Section 263.602 or 263.6021.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, a young adult for whom a guardian is appointed and qualifies is not considered to be in extended foster care or trial independence and the court's jurisdiction ends on the date the guardian for the young adult is appointed and qualifies unless the guardian requests the extended jurisdiction of the court under Section 263.604.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 79), Sec. 11.04, eff. September 28, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 63.04, eff. September 28, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 456 (S.B. 886), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 263.604. GUARDIAN'S CONSENT TO EXTENDED JURISDICTION. (a) A guardian appointed for a young adult may request that the court extend the court's jurisdiction over the young adult.

(b) A court that extends its jurisdiction over a young adult for whom a guardian is appointed may not issue an order that conflicts with an order entered by the probate court that has jurisdiction over the guardianship proceeding.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Sec. 263.605. CONTINUED OR RENEWED APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY AD LITEM, GUARDIAN AD LITEM, OR VOLUNTEER ADVOCATE. A court with extended jurisdiction under this subchapter may continue or renew the appointment of an attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, or volunteer advocate for the young adult to assist the young adult in accessing services the young adult is entitled to receive from the department or any other public or private service provider.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Sec. 263.606. DUTIES OF ATTORNEY OR GUARDIAN AD LITEM. An attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem appointed for a young adult who receives services in the young adult's own home from a service provider or resides in an institution that is licensed, certified, or verified by a state agency other than the department shall assist the young adult as necessary to ensure that the young adult receives appropriate services from the service provider or institution, or the state agency that regulates the service provider or institution.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Sec. 263.607. PROHIBITED APPOINTMENTS AND ORDERS. (a) The court may not appoint the department or the Department of Aging and Disability Services as the managing conservator or guardian of a young adult.

(b) A court may not order the department to provide a service to a young adult unless the department:

(1) is authorized to provide the service under state law; and

(2) is appropriated money to provide the service in an amount sufficient to comply with the court order and the department's obligations to other young adults for whom the department is required to provide similar services.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Sec. 263.608. RIGHTS OF YOUNG ADULT. A young adult who consents to the continued jurisdiction of the court has the same rights as any other adult of the same age.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 96 (H.B. 704), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.