Help, Texas Child Protective Services is Investigating

Help, Texas Child Protective Services is Investigating

It can be scary when a Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigator contacts you. Understanding the investigation process and your rights can help alleviate some of the stress of the situation.
Keep your children safeThe most important thing to know is the if CPS workers are contacting you it is likely that someone has reported to CPS that the health and welfare of your child may be in danger.  If the worker is investigating a situation that involves you as the parent it does not mean that you have done anything wrong or that you will have your children taken away. So remain calm during the investigation, try to understand the situation and learn how a CPS investigation is conducted.

What Will CPS Do During the Investigation?

The CPS investigator is likely to take the following steps:
Interview the children involved:
Interview you;
Investigate the criminal record of the  individual or people accused of the abuse or neglect;
Tell you about the safety concern for the child;
If deemed necessary make a safety plan for the child.
It is also likely that the CPS investigator will want to examine the child’s home, and depending on the type of allegations they may also wish to obtain the child’s medical records.

What Can I Do?

You have the right to show the CPS investigator that you can keep your child safe.  As the parent you have the right to advocate for both your child and yourself.  It is also important to understand the investigative process used by CPS;  find additional information in the  Parent Resource Guide  published by The Supreme Court of Texas.
Make your home safe for the childrenIt may be helpful to provide the CPS investigator with the name of family members or neighbors that can tell the caseworker that you are not neglectful or abusive to your children.  Your child’s teacher or doctor may also be a good source of this information.
If there is a specific incident that has triggered the investigation, provide the CPS investigator with names of individuals that have first hand knowledge of the incident.  If there is a allegation of physical harm or there appears to be physical harm to the child provide name of people who say the injury occur.
The CPS worker may want to ask about your family situation.  Provide with any documentation requested.  This may include documents related to your attendance at meetings, the safety plan activity, or court hearings.  Attend all court hearing schedule related to your CPS situation.  This can be a highly stressful time, but remember to stay calm and respectful throughout the process.

Investigation Outcomes

There is no way to predict the outcome of the CPS investigation, however; being cooperative could be beneficial in certain circumstances.  The children’s safety is the primary goal of both the parent and CPS. If the report of abuse or neglect is unjustified then the investigate you show this.  If the abuse or neglect is unlikely to have occurred then CPS will typically close your case.
If the CPS investigation find that the abuse or neglect may have occurred, the, CPS may work with you to ensure that your family develops a safety plan and gets the resources it needs to keep the children in the home safely.  This may include asking the parent to voluntary place their child with another adult while the parent completes the safety plan.  In the instance the parent is voluntarily giving their child to another person and no court order has been involved.
Remove the child in dangerIn the situation that CPS finds that the child is in imminent danger they can remove the child from the home.  Typically, CPS will get a court order to remove the child from the home, however, CPS does have the legal authority to do so without a court order if the CPS investigator feel that the situation creates imminent danger to the child and immediate removal is necessary.
If your child is removed from your home it does not mean that you will permanently lose custody of your child.  At the stage the court will get involved and will review CPS’s decision to remove the child.  During this process you should work with CPS and the courts to who that you are making changes necessary to provide a safe home and environment for you child.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has published A Parent’s Guide to Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigations. This may provide you with additional information about what the agency is looking for from parents.
If you feel that the CPS worker has made a mistake or done something wrong during the investigation you should first try to resolve with the CPS worker or their supervisor.  If you are unable to come to a solution you can file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-720-7777.

Need Help With a CPS Investigation?

America Family Law Center LogoIf you are going to seek child custody in Texas and feel that you need legal assistance in doing so, you can obtain help from the contact America Family Law Center.

 

 

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