The Texas Family Code requires that a child in the conservatorship of DFPS attend all permanency hearings. This section also requires that if the court determines it is in the best interest of the child, and the child is older than four, that the court must consult with the child in a developmentally appropriate manner regarding the permanency plan. However, Texas courts do not consistently require children to attend permanency hearings.
Why aren’t children attending the hearings?
The code has an exception that states that judges can make an individual determination that excuses a child from attending a specific hearing. Apparently, many judges are deciding that it is not necessary for the children to be at the hearings. Of course, issues with school attendance and actually getting children to court are factors that contribute to children not being able to attend permanency hearings, but options like video conferencing and the fact that a child attending court while in foster care is an excused absence should help to alleviate any of these problems.
Why is it important for my child to be at the CPS hearing?
By having the child at the hearing, the child is given an opportunity to have their desires and opinions about the case heard and this can be an important part of the healing process in a CPS case. The child also has the opportunity to hear directly from the judge what the decisions in their case are if they are in court. Additionally, because case workers and other parties in CPS hearings change routinely, being in court gives the child an opportunity to confirm that everything being said at a hearing is accurate.
Contact Guest & Gray today to schedule your family law consult. We can discuss any CPS issues you may have, how this case might affect your case, and what your options are. We look forward to meeting with you.