Services to At-Risk Youth Under Subchapter D, Chapter 264, Family Code


Services to At-Risk Youth Under Subchapter D, Chapter 264, Family Code

Why?

Section 264.302 provides that an “At-Risk Youth” or a parent of the youth may be referred to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (DPRS) by municipal courts in Texas as part of sentencing. Such services require that there be a contract for services with the DPRS within the county. If there is a contract for services, and the court orders that services be provided, then the DPRS “shall provide services for the child and the child’s family.” Municipal courts also have broad authority to make further orders for the best interest of the child and in order to obtain compliance of the court order.

Article 45.057 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure also grants municipal courts broad authority to make orders to increase the likelihood that children and their families will comply with court orders that are designed to lower recidivism and address the underlying behavior highlighted by the commission of the crime.

It is critical that courts have a method for creating a broad referral base in order to avail the court of the ability to increase compliance with the court’s orders and the laws of the State of Texas.

What?

The services available for the court to order include, crisis family intervention, emergency short-term residential care for children 10 years of age or older, family counseling, parenting skills training, youth coping skills training, advocacy training, and mentoring. (Sec. 264.302 (f)(1-7), Family Code)

Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 45.057, a court may enter orders addressing the concerns and issues presented by Section 264.302(f) but may also enter an order requiring that the child attend a special program the court determines to be in the best interest of the child. Where there are services which have been approved by the county, the court may enter an order that includes rehabilitation, counseling, self-esteem, and leadership, work and job skills training, job interviewing and work preparation, self-improvement, parenting, manners, violence avoidance, tutoring, sensitivity training, parental responsibility, community service, restitution, advocacy, or mentoring. (Art. 45.057(2), Code of Criminal Procedure).

The court may also enter orders requiring the parents to take classes, attend school classes and functions, and refrain from behavior provided the court makes specific findings of the need for the orders in order to insure compliance of the courts orders. See Art. 45.057(3), C.C.P. The court may order the parent to incur the costs of such programs not to exceed $100 to pay for the costs of the program. See Art. 45.057(4), C.C.P.