Transgender youth: Texas Family Services ‘on the brink of collapse’ in requiring child abuse investigations for gender-affirming care of minors, employees say

The brief cites a “chain of departures” at the agency since the directive was put in place in February, arguing that the remaining workers will be dangerously dispersed.
The amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief was filed with the state’s Third District Court of Appeals, which is considering whether the policy, prompted by an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton and ordered by Governor Greg Abbott , has been legally implemented. The governor and DFPS are appealing an Austin District Court judge’s March ruling that suspended the policy’s application. In May, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the DFPS can continue to investigate families suspected of seeking gender-affirming care while the case is on appeal. At the time, the DFPS confirmed that some nine families were under investigation.
As DFPS social workers leave, those who remain are forced to do more work, the court filing says. They further allege that the agency has been unable to meet its “base of care” for years and that the state’s policy on transgender children has “taken it to a new nadir.” The filing also argues that the directive was illegally enacted because the state failed to follow the formal process required to create a new policy. The state argued that it need not do so because the directive is an interpretation of existing policies and not a new rule.

In the brief, a former DFPS employee alleges that he was ordered to fully investigate all cases of gender-affirming care, even when such treatment was ordered by a medical professional.

Gender affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that uses multiple approaches to help a person transition from their assigned gender – the one that matches the sex the person was assigned at birth – the gender by which she wishes to be known.
Major medical associations have agreed that gender-affirming care is clinically appropriate for children and adults with gender dysphoria, which the American Psychiatric Association is a psychological distress that can occur when a person’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not match.

“Before February 22, 2022, never in DFPS history had parents been investigated for simply following medically recommended care prescribed by a physician and with the child’s consent considered ‘abuse’. of children “”, says the folder.

Half of the DFPS employees who signed the court filing are no longer with the agency, with some having quit in protest at the policy. Most of those still employed by DFPS filed an anonymous request “to minimize the risk of retaliation”, according to the brief. One of the Child Protective Services investigators who quit is a transgender man, the document says.

The brief urges the appeals court to uphold the lower court’s decision temporarily barring the policy’s enforcement, despite the appeal by the DFPS. The Court of Appeal has not yet set a date for oral arguments in this case.

A DFPS spokesperson declined to comment on the DFPS workers’ brief on Wednesday.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.

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