WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Texas Legislatures passed House Bill 567 which addresses inconsistencies in child removals across the state by the Department of Family and Protective Services.
It was first introduced by State Representative James Frank who said the biggest concern is to reduce the trauma in the children and by defining neglect.
Franks emphasizes being poor is not neglect neither is living in a dirty house.
“There’s a whole lot in the bill but the biggest question about the immediate danger, are the children in danger or do you just not like the way they are being raised,” Frank said. “We have kids around the state being removed for things like their parent are smoking Marijuana and while that is illegal and I don’t advocate it, that is not neglect so bad that you should have a child removed in my opinion.”
If passed in the senate, the bill will also ensure children are returned home safely and more quickly.
“You have some places in the state that are removing at ten times the level of other places and it’s usually on the neglect side,” Frank said. “About 25% to 30% are abuse cases those are really straightforward and shouldn’t be impacted by this bill at all. The other 70% to 75% are neglect cases and so we’ve tried to tighten up the definition of what actually is neglect.”
It also ensures minimum due process standards are met before a family can be forced into court-ordered services and non-offending parents are able to keep their children with them.