Internet In Uproar Over Texas CPS Bill, But It Probably Shouldn't Be

Beware, Texas parents! With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Perry may soon give CPS the power to pick up your kids without your consent.

That's why groups like the Texas Center for Family Rights, the Free Market Foundation and the Texas Republican Liberty Caucus are angry about SB 1440, which is awaiting Perry's signature. (They're fired up - Google "Texas SB 1440" and see for yourself.) The bill features a last-minute amendment tacked on by Democratic Rep. Patrick Rose that gives CPS the power to transport a child for purposes of an investigation without a hearing or parental consent -- the agency needs only an affidavit that says there's a "fair probability" of abuse.

But Joan Jenkins, a Houston lawyer and president of the Texas Family Law Foundation, says SB 1440 doesn't fundamentally change the game.

"Whoever is expressing concerns probably doesn't understand the full extent of the power of the court right now and CPS right now," Jenkins tells us. "To me, this bill does nothing except to give CPS an alternate manner in which to get a child who needs to be interviewed to the proper location if the parents are not cooperating."

Jenkins says the amendment to SB 1440 simply streamlines the inevitable.

"As a practical matter right now, if a CPS worker goes out to interview a child, and the parents come to the door and say, 'No, you can't see little Jimmy,' all [CPS has] to do is call the police and tell the police they need to go by for a welfare check," she says. "There are all kinds of remedies already in the family code that probably do as much or more than this legislation."

We should add that Jenkins isn't rehashing some established position -- she wasn't familiar with the amendment before we asked for comment and took some time to review it before offering her professional opinion. It's a perspective omelet made from the freshest of expertise eggs. (We should probably be investigated for cruelty ourselves if any kids happen to be exposed to that metaphor.)

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Blake Whitaker
Contact: Blake Whitaker