On a frigid morning, officers from the Dallas police department responded to a possible child neglect call at the site of the “Occupy Dallas” protests. The officers reported that there were complaints from other protesters about a baby who had been crying all day and night. They located the 9-month-old infant who had been living in a tent, along with its parents. The officers, along with officials from Child Protective Services (CPS), believing that the baby was in danger of freezing to death, took the baby into custody.
Losing Child Custody in Texas
The parents, who are homeless, said that the reason that they were losing custody of their baby was that CPS determined the “Occupy Dallas” camp – where the family was living – to be an unfit environment for the infant. A spokesperson for CPS said the child’s living conditions and the mother’s mental health were factored in their decision to take custody of the infant.
The couple went to court, seeking custody of their child. The court ordered that the couple attend parenting classes and undergo drug testing and counseling. Although the court did not immediately return the custody of the infant to the parents, it granted temporary custody to a friend of the family. The court also said that the parents could visit their baby regularly, while fulfilling their court-ordered duties.
In Texas, a child generally may not be removed from their family without a court order, unless CPS determines that there is an immediate danger to the child. CPS’ decision to remove a child immediately is based upon its judgment and is not final. Only a court can make a final determination of child custody. An attorney can examine your specific situation, explain your legal rights and help you determine your best options.