SINGLETON, District Judge:
This civil action is a challenge to the constitutionality of portions of Chapters 11, 14, 15, 17, and 34, Title 2, Texas Family Code, seeking declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. The plaintiffs in the Sims case are two adult parents and their three
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281, 2284, a three-judge district court was convened to determine the constitutional issues. The court has carefully considered the extensive briefs, the arguments of counsel, and the evidence presented, and concludes that the case is properly before the court for determination, that certain portions of the Texas Family Code are violative of minimal constitutional standards, and that appropriate declaratory and injunctive relief is necessary.
The threshold issue is that of abstention in light of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971), Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd.; 420 U.S. 592, 95 S.Ct. 1200, 43 L.Ed.2d 482 (1975), Juidice v. Vail, 430 U.S. 327, 97 S.Ct. 1211, 51 L.Ed.2d 376 (1977), and Trainor v. Hernandez, 431 U.S. 434, 97 S.Ct. 1911, 52 L.Ed.2d 486 (1977). Having viewed the instant case with an eye to the notions of comity and federalism which underlie Younger's policy of equitable restraint, this court concludes that abstention is not warranted and would be improper under the unique and compelling circumstances of this case.
A chronology of the events which precipitated the filing of this suit is necessary. In March, 1976, the Sims children lived with their parents in Montgomery County, Texas, and attended the John G. Osborne Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District, located in Harris County, Texas. On March 25, 1976, the Harris County Child Welfare Unit received a telephone report from the school that Paul Sims was possibly the victim of child abuse. In response to that call, caseworker Rex Downing visited the school and, on the same date, took possession of the three Sims children pursuant to Section 17.01 of Title 2 of the Texas Family Code.
On March 31, 1976, the plaintiff-parents sought to present to Judge Lowry a motion for modification of the March 26 Order, pursuant to Section 17.06. Although that section requires that a hearing be held on the motion, no hearing was in fact held. Rather, evidence before this court on May 5, 1976, indicates that the motion was not presented to Judge Lowry because of his temporary absence and was returned to counsel for the parents. Later on March 31, 1976, counsel for the parents filed with the Juvenile Court Number One, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Cause No. 1,069,341.
On April 5, 1976, a hearing was held before Judge Lowry on the parents' petition for a writ of habeas corpus. This was the first time since their seizure that the children were brought before the court for any hearing and the first time the parents were given any opportunity to appear. However, the merits of the dispute were never addressed. At the April 5 hearing, Judge Lowry determined that the children were residents of Montgomery County and, despite their custody in Harris County, transferred the matter to Montgomery County. Later on April 5, at Judge Lowry's direction pursuant to Section 17.05(b)(2), the Harris County Child Welfare Unit filed a "Suit affecting the parent-child relationship" in Harris County. This second petition by the current defendants was filed in the same Cause No. 38,295 as the original emergency suit filed under Chapter 17. Finally, on April 5, 1976, Judge Lowry issued another ex parte temporary order pursuant to Section 11.11.
On April 6, 1976, the "Suit affecting the parent-child relationship" (Cause No. 38,295), which supplanted the emergency suit, and the habeas corpus action (Cause No. 1,069,341) were officially transferred to the District Court of Montgomery County and assigned to the docket of Judge Ernest A. Coker, Sr. The transfer was apparently made sua sponte under Section 11.06(a) despite the requirement that it be transferred upon a timely motion.
The Juvenile Court on May 14, 1976, established a temporary managing conservatorship for the child and set a hearing for May 21. On May 21, upon the motion of the plaintiffs, the managing judge of the three-judge panel temporarily enjoined the hearing in Montgomery County. Subsequently, after a hearing, the three-judge court extended the restraining order and enjoined any further state proceeding under the challenged statutes pending determination of the plaintiffs' constitutional challenges.
I. ABSTENTION ISSUE
As a preliminary matter, the parties are in dispute as to whether there is a pending state action. Although the Chapter 15 action filed on May 14, 1976, was obviously not pending on the date the federal action was instituted, the original "Suit affecting the parent-child relationship" which was filed on April 5, 1976, and transferred to Montgomery County from Harris County on April 6 was pending on April 19 and, along with the action filed on May 14, remains on the docket of the District Court of Montgomery County. The plaintiffs' argument that there is no pending proceeding because the temporary orders have expired is therefore without merit. See Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 94 S.Ct. 1209, 39 L.Ed.2d 505 (1974); Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 332, 95 S.Ct. 2281, 45 L.Ed.2d 223 (1975). Although, as we note infra, there is no pending state judicial proceeding with regard to some aspects of the plaintiffs' complaint, abstention must still be addressed because of the proceeding filed on April 5, 1976.
The extent to which Younger principles apply to a case where the pending state action is civil in nature is still unclear. The first acknowledged extension of Younger to civil cases involved a nuisance proceeding which was "more akin to a criminal prosecution than are most civil cases." Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., supra, 420 U.S. at 604, 95 S.Ct. at 1208. However, more recently, in Juidice v. Vail, 430 U.S. 327, 97 S.Ct. 1211, 51 L.Ed.2d 376 (1977), and in Trainor v. Hernandez, 431 U.S. 434, 97 S.Ct. 1911, 52 L.Ed.2d 486 (1977), the Supreme Court extended the coverage of Younger to an even broader range of civil cases. In each of the two most recent decisions, the court has reserved the issue of whether Younger principles apply to all civil cases. We believe that the facts of the instant case do not require abstention and, moreover, the nature of the constitutional challenge lodged against the questioned statutory scheme presents a compelling reason for this court to serve as the "primary and powerful" source for vindication of federally protected constitutional rights. Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 464, 94 S.Ct. 1209, 39 L.Ed.2d 505 (1974).
In Huffman the Court emphasized that the fact that the state's criminal process was not involved was not determinative. Rather, a federal court considering an injunction against a pending state proceeding must carefully weigh the notions of comity and federalism and allow the state to effectuate its own policies through "a forum
Since Huffman, this court has received the Supreme Court's guidance in Juidice and in Trainor, both expanding the original narrow application to civil cases in a manner requiring this court to carefully reflect on its judicial responsibilities with respect to the vindication of these plaintiffs' constitutional rights.
In Juidice v. Vail, supra, Younger principles were held to prevent a federal court from enjoining a state judicial contempt proceeding on the basis of the weight to be given "a State's interest in the contempt process, through which it vindicates the regular operation of its judicial system." 430 U.S. at 335, 97 S.Ct. at 1217, 51 L.Ed.2d at 384. Acknowledging that such an interest is perhaps "not quite as important as is the State's interest in the enforcement of its criminal laws, . . . or even its interest in the maintenance of a quasi-criminal proceeding such as was involved in Huffman," the Court labeled the interest in contempt proceedings as "of sufficiently great import." 430 U.S. at 335, 97 S.Ct. at 1217, 51 L.Ed.2d at 384. In finding that "the contempt power lies at the core of the administration of a State's judicial system," 430 U.S. at 335, 97 S.Ct. at 1217, 51 L.Ed.2d at 384, the Court continued to concern itself with a pending state action which, like a criminal prosecution or nuisance proceeding, was unique to the governmental role of a state.
In Trainor v. Hernandez, supra, the Court appears to have expanded the types of state civil proceedings requiring the application of Younger principles. In Trainor the State of Illinois brought a civil action against the appellees seeking a return of welfare payments alleged to have been wrongfully received and sought a writ of attachment. The three-judge court enjoined the attachment and declared the Illinois Attachment Act to be unconstitutional. In remanding to the lower court for consideration of whether the attachment statute provides a debtor with a proper forum for his constitutional challenge, the Supreme Court noted that the principles of Younger and Huffman apply to injunctions against actions "brought by the State in its sovereign capacity," 431 U.S. at 444, 97 S.Ct. at 1918, 52 L.Ed.2d at 496, rejecting the argument that attachment was not a remedy unique to the state and emphasizing, instead, that the state was a party to the attachment in its underlying role of administering public assistance programs. The Court concluded that a federal injunction's "disruption of suits by the State in its sovereign capacity, when combined with a negative reflection on the State's ability to adjudicate federal claims" dictated abstention unless "extraordinary circumstances were present." 431 U.S. at 446, 97 S.Ct. at 1919, 52 L.Ed.2d at 497.
It is in this legal and factual setting that this court decides that Younger and its progeny do not require application of their principles to the current dispute between these plaintiffs and the State of Texas. Although Juidice and Trainor have expanded the types of civil cases to which Younger extends, it is clear that neither decision purports to apply Younger principles to all civil litigation between a state and its citizens.
First, the action taken by the State of Texas against the plaintiffs is multifaceted. Unlike a criminal prosecution, or a nuisance, contempt, or attachment proceeding, there is no single state proceeding to which the plaintiffs may look for relief on constitutional or any other grounds. Many of the challenged actions taken by the state do not and will not involve any judicial proceeding.
As a second independent basis for the inapplicability of Younger principles, we note that the plaintiffs' constitutional challenge is directed primarily at the legality of the children's seizure and detention for a 42-day period without a hearing. It is clear that because this issue cannot be raised as a defense in the normal course of the pending judicial proceeding, abstention would be inappropriate. See Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 108 n. 9, 95 S.Ct. 854, 43 L.Ed.2d 54 (1975). The denial of custody of the children pending any hearing regardless of the result of the hearing, is in itself sufficient to prevent the application of Younger. Cf. Newton v. Burgin, 363 F.Supp. 782 (W.D.N.C.1973), aff'd, 414 U.S. 1139, 94 S.Ct. 889, 39 L.Ed.2d 96 (1974).
Even if the nature of the state action and the constitutional challenge were such as to require the application of Younger principles, it is clear that there exists here circumstances where, even though the principles are otherwise applicable, a federal court should not abstain. Certainly, the threatened injury to the plaintiffs is both great and immediate. As we note infra the constitutional issues raised by the plaintiffs reach the application of due process in an area of the greatest importance to our society, the family. The constitutional infirmities recognized by this court, if uncorrected, would cause an injury to these plaintiffs far greater than a deprivation of a mere property interest. Furthermore, it has been recognized that where, as here, the plaintiff may not raise all of his constitutional claims as a defense in a single state proceeding, the necessary irreparability is present.
Of course, we realize that the mere facial invalidity of a statute does not in itself justify federal interference. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. at 54, 91 S.Ct. 746 (1971); Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. at 602, 95 S.Ct. 1200 (1975). While it is clear that intervention is warranted where a statute is "flagrantly and patently violative of express constitutional prohibitions in every clause, sentence, and paragraph," Watson v. Buck, 313 U.S. 387, 402, 61 S.Ct. 962, 967, 85 L.Ed. 1416 (1941), such a finding is not the only justification for federal action. In Younger the Court explained:
401 U.S. at 53-54, 91 S.Ct. at 755.
In addition to this court's finding, infra, that several sections of the Texas Family Code are "flagrantly and patently" violative of federal constitutional requirements, the "unusual" circumstances referred to in Younger are present here and compel this court to grant equitable relief. Recognizing that more than a "highly unusual factual situation" must be present, Trainor v. Hernandez, 431 U.S. at 442, 97 S.Ct. at 1917-1918, 52 L.Ed.2d at 494-95 n.7 (1977), we find the confusion, the procedural irregularities, and the absence of a fair opportunity to present constitutional claims at a meaningful time to be such as to justify federal equitable relief even if Younger principles did apply.
As a general expression of the extraordinary and compelling circumstances present here, this court finds an absence for these plaintiffs of "an opportunity to fairly pursue their constitutional claims in an ongoing state proceeding." Juidice, 430 U.S. at 338, 97 S.Ct. at 1218, 51 L.Ed.2d at 396 (1977) citing Gibson v. Berryhill, 411 U.S. 564, 577, 93 S.Ct. 1689, 36 L.Ed.2d 488 (1973).
The plaintiffs' having sought through diligent efforts an opportunity to be heard in
In addition to the apparent procedural futility of requiring the plaintiffs to proceed with the pending suit, the statutory scheme on its face fares no better. The very nature of the constitutional challenge here is to the fairness of the state procedure. Such being the case, especially when compounded by the irregularities present here, it "plainly appears" that the state forum would not offer these plaintiffs adequate protection in their challenge to the state procedures, even assuming all matters could be raised in a defense to the pending "Suit affecting the parent-child relationship." Gibson v. Berryhill, 411 U.S. 564, 569, 93 S.Ct. 1689, 1693, 36 L.Ed.2d 488 (1973).
Therefore, because of the failure of the state to follow its procedures and because of the futile efforts of the plaintiffs to seek relief in the state system,
Accordingly, this court holds that abstention is not required because Younger principles do not apply to this dispute between the plaintiffs and the State of Texas and, even if such principles do apply, there exist extraordinary circumstances which compel this court to provide a federal forum for the vindication of these plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Having so decided, we must address the merits of the plaintiffs' case.
At the outset it must be noted that there is no dispute between the parties as to the gravity of child abuse and the compelling state interest in quickly and effectively removing the victims of child abuse from their parents. Similarly, the parties agree that where real, immediate, and irreparable physical harm is likely the state has an interest in taking so-called "emergency"
This court has, upon the advice of both parties, carefully viewed the challenged provisions as being interdependent. Briefly, the procedure under surveillance here begins with Chapter 34, which is concerned with the reporting of suspected child abuse and the initial investigative steps by the State Department of Public Welfare. Once suspected abuse is identified under Chapter 34, Chapter 17 enables the State to take possession of the victims for the "Protection of [a] Child in [an] Emergency."
Such a suit, therefore, refers both to a Chapter 14 proceeding, in which the appointment of a conservator is sought, and to a Chapter 15 proceeding, which is entitled "Termination of the parent-child relationship."
In the suit filed by these defendants at the direction of Judge Lowry, pending in Montgomery County, only Chapter 14 relief was being sought at the time the court issued the preliminary injunction. Consequently, the defendants have questioned the standing of the Sims parents to challenge the constitutionality of any part of Chapter 15. This court finds, however, that the spectre of a Chapter 15 suit involving the Sims family is sufficient to confer standing. See O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 94 S.Ct. 669, 38 L.Ed.2d 674 (1974); Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447, 43 S.Ct. 597, 67 L.Ed. 1078 (1923). The caseworker assigned to investigate the Sims family, Rex Downing, testified in his deposition that he would seek permanent termination of the parent-child relationship as part of the Montgomery County action, which is entitled broadly "Suit affecting the parent-child relationship."
It is now clear that there is a fundamental right emanating from the Constitution, which protects the integrity of the family unit from unwarranted intrusions by the state. The Supreme Court in Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d 551 (1972) commented:
405 U.S. at 651, 92 S.Ct. at 1213. See also Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925); Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 64 S.Ct. 438, 88 L.Ed. 645 (1943); May v. Anderson, 345 U.S. 528, 73 S.Ct. 840, 97 L.Ed. 1221 (1953); Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 749, 85 S.Ct. 1678, 14 L.Ed.2d 510 (1965); Cleveland Board of Education v. La Fleur, 414 U.S. 632, 94 S.Ct. 791, 39 L.Ed.2d 52 (1974); Alsager v. District Court of Polk County, Iowa, 406 F.Supp. 10 (S.D.Iowa 1975); Roe v. Conn, 417 F.Supp. 769 (M.D.Ala.1976). Having emphasized the importance of such a right, courts are required to carefully
Reporting Child Abuse. Chapter 34 of Title 2, Texas Family Code is directed at the preliminary investigative powers of the state before any judicial relief is sought. Although recognizing the need to encourage the reporting and investigation of suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, we find that three aspects of Chapter 34 violate minimal constitutional guarantees. First, to the extent that a court order under § 34.05(c)
A second constitutional defect in the system of reporting child abuse appears in Section 34.08, which provides:
Despite assurances from the state that the investigation permitted by Chapter 34 is "nonaccusatory," it is undisputed that the information gathered pursuant to that chapter is used as a basis for further action by the state under Chapter 17, 14, or 15.
Although some intrusion into a family unit is permissible when the state pursues its interest in investigating reports of abuse, there is no compelling reason to deny the family access to the fruits of that invasion or the conclusions reached. Of course, a certain confidentiality must be maintained for sources of information who request such anonymity, but the reports
The injury to these plaintiffs is far greater than the public damage to the plaintiff's reputation in Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 96 S.Ct. 1155, 47 L.Ed.2d 405 (1976). In that case, the Supreme Court held that an interest in one's reputation alone was not a "liberty" or "property" interest requiring due process before it could be altered by the State. The Court carefully distinguished "matters relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationship, and child rearing and education" as being "far afield" from that plaintiff's claim. 424 U.S. at 713, 96 S.Ct. 1155. Therefore, we find that the current use of a central registry for child-abuse reports is unconstitutional.
Summary Seizure. Although the State of Texas has an interest in protecting children from abuse as quickly as possible, that interest is not sufficient to justify removal of the child without notice and an adversary hearing unless there exists an immediate threat to the safety of the child. Chapter 17 is the attempt by the Texas Legislature to deal with such an emergency.
Section 17.01 allows the State Department of Public Welfare to take custody of a child in order "to protect him from an immediate danger to his health or physical safety." Such language represents a constitutionally adequate standard.
Section 17.02 currently requires that the appropriate petition be filed "immediately on delivery of the child to the court" and requires that the ex parte "hearing" be held "to provide for the temporary care or protection of the child." Two constitutional defects exhibit themselves. First, there is no requirement that the hearing itself be held "immediately." Barring unusual circumstances, the State's interest in the protection of the alleged victims of abuse and the resulting usurpation of parental rights does not justify holding this ex parte presentation to a judicial authority beyond the very day of seizure. Secondly, through what this court assumes to be legislative oversight, the hearing is "to provide for the temporary care or protection of the child" — language which assumes that such care or protection is needed.
It is Sections 17.05 and 17.06 that are fraught with constitutional defects. After the State takes emergency custody of the child and there has been a preliminary ex parte judicial determination of the propriety of the State's act, a full adversary hearing with notice should be held at the expiration of the ex parte order. Section 17.05 currently requires no such hearing at the expiration of the initial order and, instead, places a clearly unconstitutional burden on the parents, via Section 17.06, to seek a modification of the order. In the event the children remain in the custody of the State pursuant to the temporary order, due process requires that in all cases a full hearing be held or that the children be returned to the custody of their parents. The fact that the parents may have been present at the initial temporary "hearing" does not relieve the State of the obligation to conduct the full adversary hearing with adequate notice to the parents. Such notice, of course, includes an adequate statement in the petition of the factual allegations upon which the State is relying to support Chapter 17 relief. Furthermore, to the extent that Section 17.05(b)(2) permits a court to "direct the filing of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship" without having first determined the need therefor in a full adversary hearing, it is an unconstitutional deprivation of due process.
The question remains as to how long the children, under these emergency situations, may be separated from their parents without a hearing. We regard Section 17.05's suggestion of a ten-day period to be constitutionally acceptable although, in the view of this court, the five-day period upheld in Newton v. Burgin, 363 F.Supp. 782 (W.D.N.C.1973), would offer a better solution. The ten-day period, however, may not run from the "date of the [initial] order." Other summary deprivations of a property or liability interest have been upheld for a period measured from the date of the deprivation. See, e. g., Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 95 S.Ct. 729, 42 L.Ed.2d 725 (1975). The record in the instant case reflects that the date of the seizure and the date of the initial orders may not be the same. Therefore, what this court perceives to be the constitutional limit of ten days must run from the date on which the State removed the children from the custody of their parents.
In particular, the State may not obtain a ten-day ex parte order under Chapter 17 and then, through the vehicle of Section 17.05(b)(2), institute a suit affecting the parent-child relationship and obtain another ten-day ex parte order under Section 11.11(a)(4). This "stacking" of ex parte orders may result, under current statutory provisions, in a minimum of a twenty-day period during which the parents may be deprived of the custody of their children without an adversary hearing before an impartial tribunal. This court reiterates that under no circumstances, either under Chapter 17 or under Section 11.11(a)(4), may the State retain custody of the child for more than ten days without a complete adversary hearing with notice to the parents.
At the required hearing, the State must make a clear showing that continued
Standard of Proof. Section 11.15 provides for a preponderance of the evidence standard in any suit affecting the parent-child relationship. While such a suit is not akin to a delinquency proceeding requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt, In Re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 90 S.Ct. 358, 25 L.Ed.2d 368 (1970), the fundamental right to family integrity requires at the very least that the State notify the parents of the allegations and prove its case by clear and convincing evidence. Alsager v. District Court of Polk County, Iowa, supra.
Appointment of Counsel. Section 11.10 provides, in pertinent part:
The plaintiffs have argued that this provision violates the due process clause of the constitution by not requiring the appointment of an attorney for the child. This court agrees. Certainly, "the right to be heard would be, in many cases, of little avail if it did not comprehend the right to be heard by counsel." Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 68-69, 53 S.Ct. 55, 64, 77 L.Ed. 158 (1932). In a suit for the involuntary termination of parental rights, the child's interest is generally distinct from that of either the State or the parents. In In Re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 87 S.Ct. 1428, 18 L.Ed.2d 527, (1967), the Supreme Court recognized the separate interest of a child in a juvenile delinquency proceeding as one deserving of constitutional protection.
With regard to the appointment of counsel for the parents at any proceeding for the termination of parental rights, it is agreed that the plaintiffs in the Sims case, not being indigent, do not raise the issue. The Woods case was consolidated with the Sims case solely on the right of indigent parents to counsel. This court has carefully studied the arguments of counsel and we concur with the defendants that the named plaintiffs in the Woods case lack standing to raise that issue. The record is clear that both plaintiffs Woods and Troncosa were represented in the termination proceedings by counsel provided by the Houston Legal Foundation, a legal services corporation.
The Woods case is a class action pending before another judge of this court. In light of recent decisions of this Circuit, it appears that our limited consolidation of the Woods case before class certification was ill-advised. See McArthur v. Southern Airways, Inc., 556 F.2d 298 (5th Cir. 1977); Satterwhite v. City of Greenville, 549 F.2d 347 (5th Cir. 1977). Because there has been no decision as to the maintainability of a class in that case, we only consider the standing of the two named plaintiffs and direct that the issue of the right to counsel for parents in the putative class remain pending with the Woods case.
Therefore, for the reasons stated herein, the court finds that the following provisions of Title 2, Texas Family Code — Sections 11.10, 11.15, 17.02, 17.03, 17.05, 17.06, 34.05(c), and 34.08 — are unconstitutional on their face; and the defendants are permanently enjoined from applying and enforcing these provisions. Furthermore, the court finds that the use of CANRIS as provided for in Section 34.06 for information gathering and dissemination of child abuse reports absent a judicial determination of abuse or neglect and the use of Section 11.11(a)(4) in conjunction with Chapter 17 to deprive parents of custody of their children for longer than ten days without an adversary hearing are unconstitutional applications of these provisions; and the defendants are permanently enjoined from so applying or enforcing them.
Finally, the plaintiffs have sought monetary relief in the nature of actual damages and punitive damages for what the First Amended Complaint describes as a "reckless, wilful and wanton disregard" of their rights. Upon careful consideration of the facts of this case, the nature of the constitutional challenge, and the decision of this court, we find no evidence to support the award of any monetary damages.
Section 17.01. Taking Possession in Emergency.
An authorized representative of the State Department of Public Welfare, a law-enforcement officer, or a juvenile probation officer may take possession of a child to protect him from an immediate danger to his health or physical safety and deliver him to any court having jurisdiction of suits under this subtitle . .. The child shall be delivered immediately to the court.
Section 17.02. Hearing.
Unless the child is taken into possession pursuant to a temporary order entered by a court under Section 11.11 of this code, the officer or representative shall file a petition in the court immediately on delivery of the child to the court, and a hearing shall be held to provide for the temporary care or protection of the child.
Section 17.03. Notice.
The proceeding under Section 17.02 of this code may be held without notice.
Section 17.04. Grounds and Disposition.
On a showing that the child is apparently without support and is dependent on society for protection, or that the child is in immediate danger of physical or emotional injury, the court may make any appropriate order for the care and protection of the child and may appoint a temporary managing conservator for the child.
Section 17.05. Duration of Order.
(a) An order issued under Section 17.04 of this code expires at the end of the 10-day period following the date of the order, on the restoration of the child to the possession of its parent, guardian, or conservator, or on the issuance of ex parte temporary orders in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship under this subtitle, whichever occurs first.
(b) If the child is not restored to the possession of its parent, guardian, or conservator, the court shall:
Section 17.06. Modification.
On the motion of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the person of the child, and notice to those persons involved in the original emergency hearing, the court shall conduct a hearing and may modify any emergency order made under this chapter if found to be in the best interest of the child.
(a) In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, the court may make any temporary order for the safety and welfare of the child, including but not limited to an order:
(b) Temporary orders under this section are governed by the rules governing temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions in civil cases generally.
(a) If venue is improperly laid in the court in which a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is filed, and no other court has continuing jurisdiction of the suit, the court, on the timely motion of any party other than the petitioner, and on a showing that venue is proper in another county, shall transfer the proceeding to the county where venue is proper.
(d) If, before the investigation is complete, the opinion of the investigators is that immediate removal is necessary to protect the child from further abuse or neglect, the investigators shall file a petition pursuant to Chapter 17 of this code for temporary care and protection of the child.
The State Department of Public Welfare shall establish and maintain, in Austin, Texas, a central registry of reported cases of child abuse or neglect. The department may adopt rules and regulations as are necessary in carrying out the provisions of this section. The rules shall provide for cooperation with local child service agencies, including hospitals, clinics, and schools, and cooperation with other states in exchanging reports to effect a national registration system.