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Texas Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse laws criminalize physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of minors and also require certain third parties with knowledge of the abuse to report it to the authorities. In Texas, professionals with access to children (such as teachers and pediatricians) are required to report suspected cases of child abuse. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigates reports of child abuse (and neglect) in the state.

The following table touches on the basics of Texas child abuse law. See Child Abuse Overview to learn more.

Code Section Family 261.001 et seq.
What Constitutes Abuse Inflicting or failing to reasonably prevent others from inflicting mental or emotional injury impairing child's growth, development, or psychological functioning; physical injury resulting in substantial harm, or which is at variance with explanation given; sexual abuse, exploitation, use of controlled substance resulting in mental or physical harm to child
Mandatory Reporting Required By "Professionals" including teachers, nurses, doctors, day care employees, employees of state-licensed or certified organizations with direct contact with children, clergy, mental health professional, attorney, reproductive health clinic worker, any person
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect
To Whom Reported Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Class B misdemeanor Physical injury resulting in substantial harm; mental or emotional injury; failure to prevent injury; harmful sexual conduct or pornography; failure to prevent use of controlled substance by child False report: Class A misdemeanor

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Texas criminal defense attorney or a Texas family lawyer, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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