Texas may soon resume “child abuse” investigations of parents and legal guardians of transgender children.
On Thursday, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) said the agency would investigate all abuse allegations – just days after the Texas Supreme Court overturned a statewide injunction preventing state officials from investigating families of transgender youth for child abuse.
“DFPS treats all reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation seriously and will continue to investigate each to the fullest extent permitted by law,” the statement read, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Although the agency did not explicitly mention investigations into families of young transgender people, its statement implied that these would now continue, following last week’s decision.
The department declined to provide details, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Earlier this year, the state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state agencies to conduct a “prompt and thorough” investigation into gender-affirming care for transgender youth. His directive came just days after state Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion stating that such “procedures and treatments” could legally constitute “child abuse when performed on minor children”.
The guideline directly contradicts guidelines issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which state that “gender-affirming care improves the mental health and general well-being of gender-diverse children and adolescents” – an assessment supported by major medical associations in the United States, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics.
In March, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of the parents of a transgender child and a doctor who treats trans youth.
On Friday, the state’s highest court overturned a lower court injunction that halted investigations, while keeping order in place for the family named in the lawsuit.
The ruling also raised questions about why DFPS opened the abuse investigations in the first place, noting that neither Paxton nor Abbott had the authority to order the agency to investigate the provision of health care for trans youth – a decision seen by the civil rights groups behind the lawsuit as “a victory for our clients and the rule of law”.
“The Texas Supreme Court has made it clear that the Attorney General and Governor do not have the authority to order DFPS to take action against families who support their children by providing the highest standards of medical care” , the groups said in a joint statement. shared with the Daily News.