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Grounds for terminating parental rights in Texas

Many in San Antonio may have a preconceived idea of what qualifies as child neglect, and how often such neglect actually happens. Those ideas may not jive with the national statistics reporting such neglect. According to its report on child maltreatment in the U.S. in 2015, the Administration for Children & Families states that child protective services agencies from across the country were called in to investigate the cases of 3.4 million children that year. Over 75 percent of those cases were reported to involve neglect. 

What can happen to neglectful parents? In Texas, they might see their parental rights involuntarily taken away. Section 161.001 of the Texas Family Code lists the following as reasons why someone might be stripped of his or her parental rights: 

  • Voluntarily leaving a child alone or in possession of another (who is not the other parent) with an expressed intent of not returning
  • Voluntarily leaving a child alone or in possession of another (not the other parent) without an expressed intent of returning or providing adequate support for three months
  • Voluntarily leaving a child alone or in possession of another (not the other parent) without providing adequate support for six months
  • Knowingly placing a child in dangerous conditions or engaging in activity (or entrusting a child with others engaging in activity) that creates such conditions
  • Failing to support a child according to one's ability
  • Abandoning a child without identification, or knowingly abandoning a pregnant mother and failing to support her or the child

Not enrolling a child in school, failing to adhere to the requirements needed to recover a child from state custody, substance abuse and other specific criminal activity can also result on one losing his or her parental rights. So too can leaving a child with a designated emergency infant care provider without an intent to return. 

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