As of 2015, the Texas Child Protective Services handbook states that children may be removed from the home without a court order if evidence of abuse or neglect is present and the child's immediate safety is threatened. In non-emergency situations, the organization must make a reasonable effort to resolve family problems before removing the child. The organization's objectives include allowing the child to remain with his biological family whenever possible.
The guidelines outlined in the Texas Child Protective Services handbook also state that a hearing is scheduled when abuse or neglect is suspected but the child isn't in immediate danger. Guidelines allow for the immediate removal of a child under the age of 11 when the child tests positive for a sexually transmitted disease.
The handbook states that, in some cases, removal of the perpetrator of abuse is sufficient to allow the child to return to his biological family. A restraining order is typically taken out against the perpetrator if a persistent threat is posed to the child.
Child Protective Services must follow court orders when determining whether to return a child to his legal guardians. Guidelines are general, and determinations are often made on a case-by-case basis.
Some guidelines that are considered when choosing removal or reunification with the family include whether the family has taken steps to resolve the issues that resulted in the abuse or neglect and whether other children have died as a result of the abuse or neglect.