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Defining the "best interests" of children

If you are a Texas resident preparing to adopt the child you have been fostering, there are some things you should know about how the courts view the best interest of the child. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we have helped numerous families navigate the process of determining what is in the best interest of a minor. 

The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discloses openly that a strict definition of "best interests" does not exist. However, the CWIG puts forth a loose interpretation that serves as a guide for those seeking to understand how the courts view the term. What you need to know is when a minor requires care, his or her "ultimate safety and well-being [are] the paramount concern."

The legal perspective takes into account circumstances surrounding children and their caregivers, intending to understand "what types of services, actions, and orders will best serve" them. For foster children, questions asked may surround the environment of the original home compared with your home. The courts may also investigate your "capacity to parent" compared with the ability of the birth parents to continue in their former role. 

The CWIG offers principles that shape the courts' decisions. Knowing the following guidelines may help you prepare for the proceedings when the time comes. As mentioned previously, the "ultimate safety" of a child takes priority, while preserving the integrity of the family is also a strong influencer. The courts aim for children to feel confident they will receive the care they need, and the overall goal is for timely decisions when a permanent change is in the making. 

If you or someone you know is planning to adopt, be sure to learn what you can about how legal decisions serve a child's best interests. For more information on this topic, visit our webpage.

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