Texas Senate Bill 1407 authorizes caregivers to provide permission-without prior approval of the CPS caseworker or Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) – to allow a child in their care to participate in normal childhood activities based on a reasonable and prudent parent standard. This standard is the standard of care that a parent of reasonable judgment, skill, and caution would use to make parental decisions intended to maintain a child’s health, safety, and welfare while encouraging the child’s emotional and developmental growth. When using the reasonable and prudent parent standard a parent should consider the following factors:

  • the child’s age and level of maturity;
  • the child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development level;
  • the child’s behavioral history and ability to safety participate in the proposed activity;
  • the child’s overall ability;
  • whether the activity is a normal childhood activity for a child of that age;
  • the child’s desires;
  • the surrounding circumstances, hazards, and risks of the activity;
  • outside supervision of the activity, if available and appropriate;
  • outside supervision of the activity, if available and appropriate;
  • the supervision instructions in the child’s service plan; and
  • the importance of providing the child with the most normal family-like experience possibile.

A “normal childhood activity” includes extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities. They include activities that take place away from the placement or are overnight activities. Caregivers are allowed to approve activities that require the youth to be away from the home for up to 72 hours. Foster parents, designated caregivers, child placing agencies, and general residential are not liable for injuries to the child that result from the child’s participation in a normal childhood activity appropriately approved by the caregiver using the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

This guide exists to provide caregivers with some guidance to and in deciding if a child should participate in a normal, age appropriate, childhood activity. In making such decisions the caretaker should always follow the standard of care of a reasonable and prudent parent. Examples are as follows:

Childhood Activity Category                            Green – Examples of normal childhood                    Red – Examples of childhood activities

activities that caregivers can approve                          that caregivers can approve

Independently.                                                              or seek a court approved.

*Recreation                                                         *Movies                                                                       *Any events or activities over 72 hours

Please note that children should                        *Community events                                                      * Hunting

be closely supervised and use                           *Family events

appropriate safety                                              *Camping

equipment for water activities.                           *Hiking

*Swimming

* Boating, rafting, tubing, or other water

activities

* Biking (must wear a helmet)

* Supporting activities. (must use appropriate

protective equipment)

* less than 72 hours

Social & Extracurricular Activities               *Less than 72 hours

* Camps including simple unsupervised                               *Any of the aforementioned activities that

visits such as school dances                                              require the youth to be away for more than

*Dating                                                                                    72 hours.

*Spending the night away from the caregiver’s

home

Driving                                                         A youth under age 18 may take driver’s education                  The youth’s caregiver may make the

courses or apply for a driver license at any time.                     request on behalf of the youth and the

CPS caseworker must conduct an

assessment.

Travel                                                           All travel within Texas and bordering states                             *All travel more than 72 hours

less than 72.                                                                           *All out-of-country travel

Employment/Babysitting                           Youth who are not of working age may seek                             Youth is 13 years of age of younger

opportunities to earn money, such as mowing

grass or assisting with small tasks.

Youth may also babysit other children for

short periods of time, so long as the youth

providing the supervision does not have

have a history of sexually aggressive or

physically assaultive behavior.

Youth who are legally  eligible to work

may:

*Seek employment

*Interview for positions

* Continue employment, so long as it does

not interfere with school.

Religious Participation                            Attend a religious service of the child’s choice                                   Caregivers must notify caseworkers

and preference or choose not to practice a religion                           if there are conflicting choices in beliefs.