A Status Hearing is one of the most important steps of a CPS case. It is held after a service plan has been prepared by CPS. Within two months of your child being placed into the temporary care of CPS, this hearing will be held in order to discuss the plan and decide whether or not the plan will become the orders of the court.
The judge will want there to be some sort of plan in place so that all parties, including you, understand what the expectations are moving forward in your case. For you, the importance of abiding by whatever plan the court implements is critical. Your child will not be returned to your home until the plan is completed. Whatever plan has been in place will be monitored by the judge and any progress made will be checked on by the judge at this hearing.
Just as with every other step in the process of a CPS case, your attendance at this hearing is required. Your rights as a parent hang in the balance at this stage. If you fail to abide by the plan and do not successfully complete the steps your rights as a parent can be severely curtailed or terminated outright.
The Permanency Hearing occurs within 6 months of the time that CPS is named the managing conservator of your child on a temporary basis. Whatever plan was arrived at in your case will be evaluated at the Permanency Hearing as the court will be looking to move your case towards a resolution of some sort by this time.
Have you been following the service plan? That is the number one question that a judge will be asking at this step in the case. For that matter- is CPS doing what it is supposed to be doing in the case as far as their responsibilities of communicating with parties and ensuring the safety and well-being of your child?
Changes may need to occur in your service plan and if any party asks the court for changes the judge will ask questions to determine if those changes are justified or necessary. If they are, the judge will amend the service plan to reflect the changes that you or any other party requested.
The importance of providing a safe environment for your child
Once you have made it to this point in your case, the judge will make sure that you understand how critical it is for your child to be provided with a safe environment to live. This is really the first time in your case that you stand a strong chance to have your child returned home to you. Any additional service plans, dates for the next hearings and a dismissal/trial date may also be set at the Permanency Hearing.
It is only if your child is not returned to you at the first Permanency Hearing that additional Permanency Hearings may be scheduled. This is basically the judge buying you time in order to get your act together and provide your child the safe environment that is needed and to complete whatever steps in the service plan that you have not.
Is placement with a relative on a permanent basis now in your child’s best interests? What about putting your child up for adoption? These are all possible revisions to the service plan that a judge can order at any subsequent permanency hearing.
The final step in the process of a CPS case is Trial. The first Monday after the one year anniversary of CPS becoming the temporary managing conservator of your child is the last date that a trial can occur.
The purpose of the trial is to create Final Orders in your case that state where your child will be residing and who will have conservatorship rights and duties associated with him or her. Your child can be placed in your home or with a relative of the child. CPS can be named as the permanent managing conservator of your child- with you either having possessory conservatorship rights or with your rights to the child being terminated permanently.
A story about a former client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
In large part, your behavior during the case will be examined to determine what sort of effort you were willing to put into the case and what sort of deficiencies (if any) were apparent. In a recent case, a father living in New Jersey hired our office to represent him in a CPS case involving his teenage son. The story is interesting and illustrates just how important communication and commitment to the service plan are in CPS cases.
Our client and his son’s mother divorced from each other in 2013 and lived separately from that point forward. His ex-wife had primary conservatorship rights to his son which meant that the boy lived with his mom during the week and had weekend visitation with his father. Our client took advantage of the time that he had with his son but his ex-wife was experiencing difficulties with her mental health and with drug use. This is where Texas becomes involved in the lives of our former client and his son.
Prior to his ex-wife checking herself into a mental health facility in Texas, she flies down to the Houston area with her son to stay with her sister and brother in law. The mother checks herself into a therapy program and enrolls her son in school. One problem- our client had no idea any of this was happening. He found out about the situation from his former mother in law who was still living in New Jersey.
Understandably furious, our client sought assistance from the judge in New Jersey who presided over their divorce case. While he was able to issue an Order to the mother mandating that she return the child to New Jersey, no additional action was taken on the part of our client. A CPS court in Texas notified our client of his son’s pending legal action in Texas but he never responded or contacted CPS. CPS was working with the boy’s uncle and aunt to name them managing conservators for the child.
The steps that we just went through in regard to CPS cases were followed by the court and our client never acknowledged the requests made for him to appear in Texas. His excuse, that he had no money to do so was understandable but difficult to make considered his income was solid. He ended up hiring us after the initial permanency hearing and prior to attending mediation with CPS and the other persons involved with his son’s case.
By that time it was largely too little, too late. Our client had failed to participate in any prior proceeding or service plan. His opinion was that if he couldn’t have his son returned to him it did not matter what happened after that.
Being inflexible, unwilling to participate in the process and ignoring attempts to allow his participation had left a mark on his cause. At the final trial, we contacted him by phone so that he could present evidence but his failure to abide by the service plan was his demise. His parental rights were not terminated but the uncle and aunt were named the primary conservators of the child.
CPS case assistance needed? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
For help with CPS cases and any other type of family law issue please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. Our attorneys are available to meet with you six days week for a free of charge consultation. Answering your questions and helping you to problem solve in regard to your case are just a few of the services we offer in these meetings.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Family Law Cases in Texas: Examining the steps in a Child Protective Services case
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- Texas Family Courts: Child Protective Services, Part Two
- How to present yourself and testify well in court during your divorce case, Part Two
- What to know about Child Protective Services
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
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- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas CPS defense Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding CPS, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX CPS defense lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our cps defense lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles cps cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.