Placement of Children With Relatives - Texas

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 264.751; 264.752; 262.0022

The terms used in this subchapter are defined as follows:

  • A 'designated caregiver' is an individual who has a longstanding and significant relationship with a child or the family of a child for whom the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has been appointed managing conservator to whom the following apply:
    • Is appointed to provide substitute care for the child but is not verified by a licensed child-placing agency to operate an agency foster home
    • Is subsequently appointed permanent managing conservator of the child after providing care for the child
  • A 'relative caregiver' is a relative to whom the following apply:
    • Provides substitute care for a child for whom DFPS has been appointed managing conservator, but who is not verified by a licensed child-placing agency to operate an agency foster home
    • Is subsequently appointed permanent managing conservator of the child after providing the care for the child

DFPS shall develop and procure a program to do the following:

  • Promote continuity and stability for children for whom the department is appointed managing conservator by placing those children with relative or other designated caregivers
  • Facilitate relative or other designated caregiver placements by providing assistance and services

At each hearing under this chapter, the court shall review the placement of each child in the temporary or permanent managing conservatorship of DFPS who is not placed with a relative caregiver or designated caregiver. The court shall include in its findings a statement on whether the following applies:

  • DFPS asked the child in a developmentally appropriate manner to identify any adult, particularly an adult residing in the child's community, who could be a relative caregiver or designated caregiver for the child.
  • DFPS has the option of placing the child with a relative or designated caregiver.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 264.753; 264.754

DFPS shall expedite the completion of the background and criminal history check and home study so that the child is placed with a qualified relative or caregiver as soon as possible after the caregiver is identified.

Before placing a child with a proposed relative or other designated caregiver, DFPS must conduct an assessment to determine whether the proposed placement is in the child's best interests. If DFPS disqualifies a person from serving as a relative or other designated caregiver for a child on the basis that the person has been convicted of a low-risk criminal offense, the person may appeal the disqualification.

DFPS shall develop the following:

  • A list of criminal offenses DFPS determines are low-risk criminal offenses
  • A procedure for appropriate regional administration of DFPS to review a decision to disqualify a person from serving as a relative or other designated caregiver that includes the consideration of the following:
    • When the person's conviction occurred
    • Whether the person has multiple convictions for low-risk criminal offenses
    • The likelihood that the person will commit fraudulent activity in the future

In this section, the term 'low-risk criminal offense' means a nonviolent criminal offense, including a fraud-based offense, which DFPS determines has a low risk of impacting a child's safety or well-being or the stability of a child's placement with a relative or other designated caregiver.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Fam. Code § 263.008; Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 700.1309; 700.1327

It is the policy of this State that each child in foster care be informed of the child's right to placement with the child's siblings and contact with members of the child's family.

In regulation: Siblings removed from their home should be placed together, unless such placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.

When siblings are not placed together, DFPS must provide for frequent visits or other ongoing interaction between siblings, unless either of the following applies:

  • The court has ordered otherwise.
  • DFPS has determined and documented in the service plan that frequent visits or other ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings, and the court has not ordered that visits or contact between the siblings occur.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Fam. Code § 162.005

The following relatives have standing to adopt a child:

  • A grandparent
  • A sibling of a parent by birth, marriage, or former adoption
  • A stepparent

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.005; 162.0085

The report on health, social, educational, and genetic history of the child is not required when the child is being adopted by a relative.

The court shall order each person seeking to adopt a child to obtain their own criminal history record information. The person must request the information from the Department of Public Safety, as provided by Government Code § 411.128.