Adoption in Texas

Rick Perry Proclaims November To Be Adoption Month

When a child in Texas is being abused, neglected, exploited, or is at risk of being abused, neglect, or exploited the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) takes action to protect that child.  DFPS reported that in 2011 Child Protective Services (CPS) received 255,575 calls alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation of Texas children.  After screening the initial information CPS assigned 222,541 of those calls to be investigated by more than 2,000 CPS Workers responsible for protecting children.  In 2011 CPS reports confirming 65,948 victims of abuse and neglect in Texas.  Actions taken depend on the circumstances but can and do include removal of the child from their family and placement into the foster care system.  DFPS reports that 17, 108 children were removed from their families in 2011 and placed into substitute care placements.  During the course of 2011 DFPS was legally responsible for 46,063 children with more than 31,000 of those children being cared for by the foster care system.

 

CPS develops a “permanency plan” for each child who is removed from their family’s care.  The idea being that removal is temporary, uprooting, and not permanent.  A permanency plan directs those working to protect the child and helps them care for the child’s needs so they may return the child to an appropriate permanent living arrangement as quickly as is safe and reasonable.  When a child is removed from their family and placed in substitute care or foster care CPS works diligently with the family to repair their circumstances.  The system is focused on reuniting that child with their family, but will only do so when it is reasonable to believe that the risk of abuse and neglect is gone.  In 2011 DFPS reports that 5,372 children were reunited with the family that they were removed from and that 4,441 were returned to a relative.

When CPS and the family are unable to remove the risk of abuse and neglect to the child the permanency plan frequently changes from reunification to adoption.  In these cases CPS will petition the courts to terminate the child’s parents’ rights to parent that child or in some cases the parents will voluntarily relinquish their rights, foregoing trial.  Following termination or relinquishment, DFPS is usually assigned as the child’s permanent managing conservator and following several appeals time frames the child is considered to be legally free to be adopted by a relative or non-relative.  In 2011 DFPS reports that 1,848 children were adopted from substitute care relatives and 2,787 were adopted by non-relatives.  Unfortunately, at the end of 2011 there were still 6,342 children who were legally free to be adopted and who were waiting to be matched and placed in the care of an adoptive, forever family.