Daily Archives: December 5, 2016

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Texas Primary Custody

The Importance of Youth Voice in Court Proceedings

The Texas Family Code is clear that children and youth must attend permanency review hearings, and places additional duties on attorneys ad litem, judges, and the child welfare agency to meet with children in advance of court hearings.  Despite many improvements over the past several years, Texas courts still do not consistently engage youth in meaningful participation in the court process. Ensuring that youth voice is heard and considered continues to be a challenge.  This lack of youth involvement results in foster youth feeling disconnected from the process, and judges not reaping the benefit of their input. Q:  What does the law require? A:  Chapter 263 of the Texas Family Code mandates that all children who are in the conservatorship of DFPS attend all permanency hearings.  Specifically, Section 263.302 states that the child shall attend each permanency hearing, unless the court specifically excuses the child’s attendance, and that the court shall consult with the child in a developmentally appropriate manner regarding the child’s permanency plan, if the child is four years of age or older and the court determines it is in the best interest of the child. Q:  Are there any exceptions to 263.302? A:  Yes, the judge can […]