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Foster Parents may Intervene Prior to Twelve Months Under Certain Circumstances
Foster Parents may Intervene Prior to Twelve Months Under Certain Circumstances

On March 3, 2022, the Beaumont Court of Appeals issued an order in the case of In the Interest of C.E.L., 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 1460, 2022 WL 17834491 (Tex. App. Beaumont, March 3, 2022). You can read the case here.

In this case, the foster parents intervened in an ongoing CPS suit pursuant to section 102.005 of the Texas Family Code. The foster parents, at the time of their intervention, had the one child in their home for 10 months and the other child for 4 months.  The trial court struck the intervention based on arguments and a Motion to Strike filed by the Department (aka CPS). On appeal, the Appellate Court reversed the ruling to strike the foster parent intervention and held that the clear statutory text permitted foster parents to file suit, or file a derivative intervention, based on the Section 102.005(3).

In the appellate decision, the Court of Appeals considered each of the arguments made by The Department, including:

(1) foster parents can’t “maintain standing under section 102.005(3) because section 102.003(a)(12) grants standing specifically to foster parents”;

(2) “102.005 does not apply because the Department, not Foster, had actual control of the child”;

(3) “the Legislature did not intend to convey standing to foster parents in section 102.005(3)” and

(4) “foster-family specific amendments to Section 102.003 and 102.004 of the Family Code demonstrate the Legislature’s intent to exclude foster parents from section 102.005(3)”.

The Court of Appeals rejected each of these arguments based upon the clear statutory text and the established rules of statutory interpretation. The Court of Appeals went on to specifically hold that the foster parents properly established standing under 102.005(3) and the trial court erred by granting the Department’s motion to strike and dismissing the petitions in intervention. The case was remanded back to the trial court to allow the foster parents to participate fully as parties to the suit. 

This case is significant for foster parents who may want to become formally involved in CPS litigation. Many participants in the child welfare system (attorneys, case workers, ad litems, foster care agencies) wrongfully believe that foster parents cannot intervene in CPS litigation until the children have been in their home for 12 months. Although there is a statute in the Texas Family Code that presents a bar to foster parent interventions prior to 12 months, that statute is not applicable in all circumstances. This case out of the Beaumont Court of Appeals is a prime example of this, and the Beaumont Court of Appeals properly applied the law.

If you are a foster parent and you are interested in formally joining ongoing CPS litigation for whatever reason, be sure that your attorney understands this case. The procedural manner in which a foster parent  intervenes is critical to whether or not the foster parent has standing to join the litigation. 


Family law can be complicated.

This blog contains some of the most common questions that our family law attorneys receive. Search or click below to learn more about common family law issues regarding divorce, child custody, adoption, and CPS.


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