Recently DFPS (Department of Family and Protective Services) issued an update to the CPS (Child Protective Services) Handbook which affects foster parents who wish to home school their foster children. As THSC has received some questions about the rule change, it seems appropriate to provide an update and background information on the changes.
Who do the changes impact?
These changes do not affect everyone. These two sections deal only with cases where the child is already in the conservatorship of CPS and they affect whether or not the foster parents may home school their foster child.
The sections of the CPS Handbook that have been changed are sections 15220 and 15221. Previously, CPS policy was that foster parents who wanted to home school must apply for a waiver from CPS, which could be accepted or denied as CPS saw fit.
Recognizing the capricious nature of the rule, THSC and the Watchmen worked during the 84th legislative session on a bill with Representative Jonathan Stickland requiring CPS to allow foster parents to home school. Although the bill by itself did not pass, it was added on as an amendment to a larger CPS bill by Representative Mark Keough late in the session, and that larger bill was passed and signed by the governor.
The new rules resulting from this legislation are a notable improvement upon the old system. As the rules read now, when a foster parent wishes to home school their foster child, they still must apply for a waiver. Now, however, CPS may only deny the waiver for one of three reasons:
- The right of CPS to allow the education of the child in a home setting has been specifically limited by court order;
- A judge, in a hearing, finds through good cause shown to the court that home education is not in the best interest of the child;
- The department determines that federal law requires another school setting.
If none of these three reasons apply to the situation, CPS is required to allow the foster parents to home school the child. These changes help to hold CPS accountable and further protect parental rights, allowing more foster parents in Texas to home school foster children. Additionally the changes will help open up the foster care system to hundreds of thousands of home school families in Texas for whom foster care was previously infeasible because of the tendencies of CPS to promote public education.
How can we continue keeping CPS accountable?
- Please pray for the work of THSC as they continue to fight the battles to Keep Texas Families Free.
- Stay informed with the latest information and points for prayer through email notifications.
- THSC could not fight for and guard your freedom without your financial support. Please consider supporting the work of protecting home schoolers against capricious laws with a financial gift.