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Relating to the reinstatement of the parent-child relationship with respect to a person whose parental rights have been involuntarily terminated and to certain requirements in relation to the termination of the parent-child relationship or placement of a child in substitute care.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 2926 would create a path to reinstatement of parental rights after a court has terminated the parent-child relationship.
HB 2926 would authorize petitions to reinstate the parental rights of a person who had their parent-child relationship terminated by a suit filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services. The Department, the child’s single source continuum contractor or attorney, or a parent of the child would be able to submit the petition. At least two years would have to have passed and the child must not have been adopted for such petition to be filed. If the child is 12 years of age or older, the petition would have to have their written consent.
HB 2926 would require a hearing within 60 days of the filing of a valid petition that would place the burden of proof on the petitioner to prove their fitness and willingness. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that reinstatement is in the child’s best interests, the parent has remedied the conditions that were grounds for removal of their parental rights, and the parent is capable and willing to perform parental duties, the court would be able to approve the petition.
HB 2926 would require a court, after terminating the parent-child relationship in a suit filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services, to notify relatives and qualified individuals of the termination and their right to file a suit for possession of the child. The Department would have to notify relatives to the fourth degree of the child rather than the existing third degree. HB 2926 would also create a hierarchy of preference when the Department is placing a child into the possession of another party.
Texas Action supports HB 2926 because it would expand the liberty of parents to regain parental rights over their children after those rights have been terminated by a court. It would also increase the liberty of children to be reunited with their parents. The state ought to have a well-regulated process for such parents to demonstrate that they have remedied whatever caused the relationship with their child to be terminated. HB 2926 would create such a process, which could reduce the strain on the state's foster care system and help to reunite broken families.