Texas Supreme Court Rebuffs CPS

The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding the decision of the Texas Court of Appeals (see previous post regarding appeals court ruling), with three of the justices concurring in part and dissenting in part from the opinion.

The Supreme Court addressed the removal of the children from the ranch:

  • “The Department [Texas Department of Family and Protective Services] took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order.”
  • “[The Department] never located the girl Sarah who was the subject of the March 29 call.”

Essentially, the Court concluded that CPS acted extralegally and also acknowledged that the cause of the raid was never substantiated.

The Supreme Court then reviewed the district court’s adversary hearing, concluding:

Having carefully examined the testimony at the adversary hearing and the other evidence before us, we are not inclined to disturb the court of appeals’ decision. On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted. The Department argues without explanation that the court of appeals’ decision leaves the Department unable to protect the children’s safety, but the Family Code gives the district court broad authority to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care.”

The Supreme Court also acknowledged that other aspects of this case may come to their jurisdiction:

Although the SAPCRs (Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship) involve important, fundamental issues concerning parental rights and the State’s interest in protecting children, it is premature for us to address those issues.

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