DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES
The Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has attorneys assigned to represent the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS, formerly CPS) for child protection cases in Kaufman County. Legal representation is provided for cases where DFPS has determined that abuse and/or neglect of a child has occurred. These attorneys work with child protection staff to determine what legal intervention is appropriate.
When legal intervention is necessary, a petition is filed seeking to name DFPS as conservators of the child. Once DFPS is named a conservator of a child, the lawsuit will remain pending for 12 – 18 months. These lawsuits can move in many different directions: family reunification, relative placement, termination of parental rights or permanent custody to DFPS. For cases ending in termination or permanent custody to DFPS, legal representation continues until the child is either adopted or turns 18 years old.
The Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office represents the State of Texas in Civil Mental Health Commitments. These cases are filed when individuals have a mental illness and become a danger to themselves or others. The Texas Mental Health Code provides a process for the State to protect the public safety interest while balancing the individual’s right to refuse treatment. The mental health prosecutors are charged with the duty to represent the State’s interest in ensuring the public safety by seeking involuntary mental health treatment through trials held in the Kaufman County Statutory Probate Courts. The assistant district attorneys prepare between 50 and 60 cases per week for trial; this includes interviewing civil and law enforcement witnesses, psychiatrists, social workers and family members. The courts appoint attorneys to represent proposed patients and to protect the proposed patient’s rights to remain at liberty and refuse treatment.0.
The Mental Health prosecutors of the Criminal District Attorney’s Office also represent the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Adult Protective Services, in emergency protective order removals. These cases are filed when it is determined that there is an imminent danger to the health and safety of an incapacitated elderly or disabled individual that is suffering from abuse, neglect or exploitation. These cases allow for the emergency protection and medical treatment of individuals that are in life threatening conditions.
The Mental Health attorneys of the Criminal District Attorney’s Office also represent the State of Texas in cases that require commitment orders to provide necessary services for individuals with intellectual disability. When individuals incapacitated with an intellectual disability require the care and services of a state supported living center, a commitment order must be obtained through the Kaufman County Courts at Law.
Resources for additional information regarding mental illness:
Juvenile prosecutors in the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office review and prosecute cases involving crimes committed by children ages 10 through 16. These cases include all felony offenses (up through Capital Murder), as well as all Class A and B misdemeanors, and certain status and other offenses such as truancy and runaway.
Juvenile prosecutors review offense referrals and work with the Kaufman County Juvenile Court, the Kaufman County Juvenile Probation Department, and other public and private agencies and service providers, in an effort to protect the public, to punish criminal acts, and to emphasize the accountability and responsibility of both the parent and the child for the child’s conduct, and control the commission of unlawful acts by children. Texas laws require Juvenile prosecutors to place children who are in need of redirection and rehabilitation into programs and services that will lead them down the path to becoming productive citizens, all while maintaining public order and safety. Available programs and services include in-home programs such as deferred prosecution, probation supervision, various job- and parenting-skills programs, and the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program, as well as out-of-home placements such as boys and girls ranches, drug rehabilitation facilities, and mental health facilities. For juvenile offenders in need of the highest levels of supervision and intervention, placement in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department is also possible under certain circumstances.
The Juvenile prosecutors of the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office are committed to the safety of our community, to the well-being of our children, and to the protection of all citizens of Kaufman County from juvenile crime.