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HB 2053 would require that if the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is unable to find a child that is under an investigation assigned the highest priority in relation to child abuse or neglect that the investigator should notify the Department of Public Safety. The notification would include the description of a motor vehicle that the child was suspected to be transported in, the case number assigned by the department, the telephone number of the investigator for DFPS, the specifics on when and where the child was seen, and any other relevant information. This bill would also change the way the law enforcement officer would respond to a child safety check alert. An officer who encounters any individual or motor vehicle described in the safety check would detain those involved, but not more for six hours or move them from the location (unless they were being placed under arrest).
Due to recent scandals related to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), our legislators have made a priority to use the power invested in them by Texas voters to more closely regulate an agency. This bill is also an appropriate step of the Legislature to provide better direction for this agency and to promote the personal responsibility of DFPS workers to cooperate with the Department of Public Safety to combat child abuse or neglect.
This bill allows DPS to work in coordination with DFPS to locate a child who is suspected of having been abused or neglected, but is carefully crafted to protect against abuses of parental rights by limiting the length of a potential detention and making sure that people involved are not needlessly arrested.
We support this bill.