How to File for Child Abandonment in Texas

By Meredith Jameson - Updated June 20, 2017
Little girl at a table, writing with pen

In the state of Texas, some of the definitions of child abandonment include the prolonged absence of a parent, when the parent’s identity or whereabouts are unknown, if the child is left in circumstances that have caused harm to the child, or the parent demonstrates the intent to leave the child without returning. An individual who feels that a child has been abandoned and wishes to file for official recognition by the state should follow some basic procedures to report child abandonment.

File a claim of child abandonment in the court that has jurisdiction over the custody of the child. To determine the location of the court, visit the local government website for the city of residence.

Contact a lawyer for assistance in filing a claim of child abandonment. Filing a claim of child abandonment can be complicated, and a lawyer who specializes in child custody in the state of Texas will be helpful in navigating the court system.

Find the missing parent, if possible, to serve the paperwork for child abandonment.

Request that the parent in question relinquish their parental rights through the courts, if their whereabouts are known. This will make filing for temporary or permanent custody easier. You may wish to contact a lawyer familiar with child custody issues to assist you.

Contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at (800) 252-5400 to report child abandonment.

Visit the Texas Child Abuse and Neglect online website at to report a claim of child abandonment. Note that this website is not for emergency reporting. All emergencies should be called in to (800) 252-5400 or 911 if a child’s life is in danger.


Note that filing for child abandonment is a serious issue. Record dates of abandonment, information about the current location and custody of the child and any information known about the parent to assist in the process.

About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.

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