|House Interim Committee on Juvenile Justice
and Family Issues
Study adoption practices and determine the
need for changes to promote the public interest.
Allow the court to order termination
of a father's parental rights if the father was convicted of a
rape or incest which resulted in the pregnancy.
Require judges to immediately
hear petitions for termination of parental rights.
Allow termination of parental
right petitions to be heard any time a court is in session.
Prohibit a direct or collateral
attack on the validity of a termination order after six months.
Require the home study to
be completed before a child is placed in a home, except in intra-family
Consider transferring the
voluntary adoption registries from the Department of Protective
and Regulatory Services to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Prohibit all "Baby Wanted"
advertising related to adoptions, except for licensed child placement
Review the comprehensive changes of the juvenile laws made by
the 74th Legislature. The review should include recommendations
to address: (a) new juvenile justice problems; (b) reports of
the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), Texas Juvenile Probation Commission
(TJPC), and Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council made pursuant
to H.B. 327; and (c) errors, omissions, and conflicts in current
4 Continue funding
for the construction and operation of 2,084 TYC beds in FY 97.
Increase the funding to support the construction and operation
of 400 more beds in FY 97.
Increase funding for implementation
of the progressive sanctions model administered by the TJPC.
Increase funding to offset
additional costs to counties which resulted from the implementation
of the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEP).
Provide funds to counties
for operating post-adjudication detention facilities.
Provide increased funding
to allow expansion of Services to At-Risk Youth (STARS) services
Limit the requirement to provide
STARS services to counties which have a provider available.
Designate funds to support
the Criminal Justice Policy Council in performing ongoing evaluation
of the STARS program and the Community Youth Development Grant
Define first and second DWI
offenses as delinquent conduct rather than conduct in need of
Authorize law enforcement
to videotape a juvenile's statement and give warnings to the juveniles,
if a magistrate could not be found conveniently.
Simplify the warning procedure
Prohibit a juvenile who is
a first-time misdemeanor offender or commits only a technical
violation of misdemeanor probation from being committed to TYC.
Allow law enforcement agencies
to keep a copy of information concerning a child (whose records
are required to be destroyed after successful completion of a
first-offender program) for the sole purpose of avoiding sentencing
that child to a first offender program more than once.
Clarify laws regarding the
retention, confidentiality, and destruction of a juvenile's records.
Clarify sentencing issues
in the progressive sanctions model.
Limit the removal of a student
to an alternative education program for "off campus"
felony offenses to offenses involving violence, felony drug violations
(other than those requiring expulsion), and weapons offenses.
Clearly define "serious
or persistent misbehavior."
Clarify the placement and
funding for the placement of students into a JJAEP.
Provide that JJAEP employees
are immune from liability as are school district employees, and
authorize graduation from a JJAEP.
Study methods to improve the collection and distribution of child
4 Move the child
support function in the Office of the Attorney General to a free
standing, independent agency called the Texas Family Support Commission,
governed by a six-member board appointed by the governor with
operations falling under an executive director named by the commission.
This recommendation was made on a 4-3 vote of the committee.
Clarify several issues in
the license suspension program for overdue child support.