Children in Court

Texas law requires that when CPS takes custody of a child, that child must attend statutory “permanency hearings”.  During permanency hearings the Judge reviews, among other things, how the child is doing in their placement.  The concept is a good one: give the child a voice, an opportunity to see what goes on in court, and for the Judge to put a a real person with a name.  I tell my clients over age 9 that they have the right to come to court to see what happens and to talk to the Judge.  And, I have to admit that my older clients who come to court seem to be satisfied and glad that they were able to speak to the Judge. But, is this really in their best interest? I am conflicted about kids in court. They typically miss school, are placed in a highly confrontational adult situation, and perhaps have a false hope that they will be able influence the Judge’s decision.  Most kids want to go home or, at least get out of foster care so they can be placed with family, and will tell the Judge this.  But, it’s the actions of parents and family members that will determine whether or not a child gets out of foster care.

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