AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County District Judge Amy Clark Meachum granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday to block the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating the parents of a transgender teen.
A week ago, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a directive for DFPS to pursue child abuse investigations of parents who help their transgender children get gender-affirming care.
On Tuesday, the parents of a 16-year-old trans child along with Houston-based psychologist, Megan Mooney, Ph.D., filed a lawsuit against the governor, DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters and DFPS. This was after they were informed they were being investigated by the agency. According to the complaint, this family has had an investigator already arrive at their home.
The lawsuit stated “defendants are also endangering the health and wellbeing of transgender youth by depriving them of medically necessary care. Defendants’ actions are ultra vires, invalid and violate separation of powers and due process. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief.”
Judge Meachum heard from Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU of Texas) and the ACLU, who are representing the plaintiffs.
According to Lambda Legal, the court’s ruling stops DFPS from investigating the parents named in the lawsuit, because they are working with medical professionals to provide their adolescent child with medically necessary treatment.
“We are relieved that — at least for now — the threat of a child abuse investigation is no longer hanging over the heads of the family members in this case,” said Paul Castillo, Lambda Legal senior counsel. “It is unconscionable for DFPS to still pursue any investigation or inflict more trauma and harm. We look forward to continuing the fight for all Texas families.”
This temporary restraining order only focuses on the plaintiffs’ case. The judge has scheduled a hearing next Friday, March 11 at 10 a.m. to decide whether to block the governor, commissioner and DFPS’ actions statewide.
“We appreciate the relief granted to our clients, but this should never have happened and is unfathomably cruel,” said Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas attorney. “Families should not have to fear being separated, because they are providing the best possible health care for their children.”
KXAN reached out to DFPS, and a spokesperson said the agency is aware of the lawsuit filed by the ACLU but has no comment.
The spokesperson did tell KXAN last week DFPS confirmed three reports had been filed after the issuance, but with the litigation naming DFPS as defendants, the agency won’t be updating the number of reports.
KXAN is still waiting to hear from the governor’s office.