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Ruling Allows TX Agency to Probe Transgender Child Parents

Texas’ child welfare agency remains blocked from investigating the family of a transgender teen that sued the state, but can once again investigate other families that provide gender-affirming care after the Supreme Court of Texas struck down a statewide injunction, the Texas Tribune reports. Though it overturned the injunction on procedural grounds, the high court raised questions about why the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) opened the investigations in the first place. The court affirmed in Friday’s ruling that neither Attorney General Ken Paxton nor Gov. Greg Abbott had any grounds to direct the agency’s actions.

In February, Paxton issued a legal opinion that equated certain medical treatments and procedures for transgender teens with child abuse. Abbott then sent a letter to DFPS directing the agency to investigate parents who provided gender-affirming care to their transgender children. “The Governor and the Attorney General were certainly well within their rights to state their legal and policy views on this topic, but DFPS was not compelled by law to follow them,” said Friday’s ruling. The ruling notes the myriad “informal mechanisms” through which elected officials can influence a state agency, but “ultimately, however, one department or another has the final say.” In this case, the ruling said, DFPS was responsible for deciding whether the investigations aligned with current state regulations and will now have to decide whether to continue these investigations and allow new ones to be opened.


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