Muth v. Voe

New Decision

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a directive instructing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate the families of children who seek medical care for gender dysphoria. Affected families, along with the advocacy organization PFLAG, brought a lawsuit against the Governor, the DFPS Commissioner, and DFPS. The trial court issued a temporary injunction blocking DFPS from implementing or enforcing the directive with respect to the plaintiff families or other members of PFLAG. Defendants appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals.

Juvenile Law Center joined the National Center for Youth Law, Disability Rights Texas, and other advocacy organizations in filing an amicus brief in the Texas Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiffs, arguing that DFPS investigations, even those that do not lead to family separation or court involvement, cause harm to Texas families. The brief argued that increased surveillance of families by child welfare systems does not lead to better outcomes for children and emphasized the many harms of family separation and child welfare system involvement to children. The brief further emphasized that the new directive will disproportionately harm transgender youth as well as communities that already face high rates of investigation and involvement, including families experiencing poverty, families of color, and parents with disabilities. 

The Texas Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s temporary injunction barring DFPS from implementing or enforcing the directive. The injunction restrains DFPS from investigating the plaintiff families or other members of PFLAG based solely on allegations that they are providing gender-affirming care to their children, and from taking any investigatory or adverse actions in open investigations. It will remain in place until all issues in the lawsuit are fully determined.