Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Texas

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Citation: Family Code § 263.307(b) 

The following factors should be considered in determining whether the child's parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment:

  • The child's age and physical and mental vulnerabilities
  • The frequency and nature of out-of-home placements
  • The magnitude, frequency, and circumstances of the harm to the child
  • Whether the child has been the victim of repeated harm
  • Whether the child is fearful of living in or returning to the child's home
  • The results of psychiatric, psychological, or developmental evaluations of the child, the child's parents, or other family members
  • 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
  • Whether there is a history of substance abuse by the child's family or others who have access to the child's home
  • Whether the perpetrator of the harm to the child is identified
  • 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
  • The willingness and ability of the child's family to effect positive environmental and personal changes within a reasonable period of time
  • Whether the child's family demonstrates adequate parenting skills, including providing the child and other children under the family's care with the following: 
    • Minimally adequate health and nutritional care
    • Care, nurturance, and appropriate discipline consistent with the child's physical and psychological development
    • Guidance and supervision consistent with the child's safety
    • A safe home environment
    • Protection from repeated exposure to violence even though the violence may not be directed at the child
    • An understanding of the child's needs and capabilities
  • Whether an adequate social support system consisting of an extended family and friends is available to the child

Citation: Family Code § 263.307(a), (c)

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 interests. 

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

  • 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 
  • Whether this transition is in the best interests of the child

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