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Obtaining The Right to File Suit

In short, when it comes to their foster children, foster parents have little to no legal rights.  In order to become a party to the lawsuit, a foster parent must either file an original suit or file a suit for intervention.  Once a foster parent becomes a party, they have every right to participate in the lawsuit and advocate to the court for their requested relief.  In order to have the right to participate in the legal suit, a foster parent must first obtain standing to file suit.

Standing to File Original Suit

The Texas Family Code provides "a person who is the foster parent of a child placed by [CPS] in the person's home for at least 12 months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition" has standing to file an original suit.  Moreover, the time necessity for standing does not have be continuous and uninterrupted for standing to vest.   

Standing to File Intervention

In addition to the standing requirement for filing an original petition, a foster parent may seek to intervene in an existing CPS suit under the "substantial past contact" provision found in section 102.004(b).  Recent appellate law has held that a foster parent can intervene into an existing lawsuit if they can show that they have had substantial past contact with the child and naming the child's parents managing conservators would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development.