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Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Parental Rights Reinstatement

Parents whose rights were terminated in a CPS (Department of Family and Protective Services) case may be able to get their parental rights back.

In this article, learn about termination and reinstatement of parental rights. It explains what these terms are and generally covers the actions you can take to get your parental rights back, or reinstated.

What does reinstatement of parental rights mean?

Reinstatement means that parental rights can be given back to a parent after termination. It means that a person can become a legal parent again and that they can take care of and live with their child again. 

I was previously told that I could never get my parental rights back. When did this law go into effect?

The law for reinstatement of parental rights went into effect in September 2021. Before this, it was not possible for a parent to have their rights reinstated after termination.

Now, all terminations filed by CPS (the Department of Family and Protective Services) are potentially eligible for reinstatement if certain conditions are met.

See Texas Family Code 161.301 through 161.304.

What does termination of parental rights mean?

Termination of parental rights is a specific order that can only be made in court. A termination order ends the legal relationship between a parent and their child. After termination, a parent and a child are legal strangers.

Losing custody of your child or having visit time-limited does not necessarily mean your parental rights were terminated.

If you are still named on a court order as any kind of conservator or a parent non-conservator, your rights have not been terminated. In this case, you may be able to ask that the court orders be changed or modified. A reinstatement is not necessary.

How do I know if my parental rights were terminated?

A final order, or decree, from a DFPS case (often called a “CPS” case) will say clearly if parental rights are terminated. If you are uncertain about this or have not seen the final order, you can get a copy of it from the District Clerk’s office in the county where the order was made.

Am I eligible for reinstatement of my parental rights?

You might be. Please read Requirements for the Reinstatement of Parental Rights to determine if you qualify under the law to file a petition to reinstate parental rights.

Where can I get help with reinstatement of parental rights?

  • You can use the Legal Help Directory to find legal aid organizations serving your area.
  • Family Helpline at Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC) provides callers with reliable legal information about CPS issues from experienced child welfare attorneys.
  • TexasRioGrande Legal Aid runs a Reinstatement Program through its Family Defense Project, which offers legal help to qualifying applicants. 

Related Guides

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    Parental Rights Reinstatement

    How to ask the court to give back ("reinstate") your parental rights after they have been terminated by DFPS.
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