In the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s final installment covering Texas Family Lawcourts we will discuss Child Protective Services (CPS) and how a court case involving this agency will proceed if you and your family become involved in one.
Yesterday, we discussed the process involved if CPS removes your child from your home and how a hearing will need to be set within fourteen days of this occurring in order to allow you to present evidence to a judge that allows your child to return to your home. Today we will continue to walk through a CPS case starting with a Family Group Conference.
A CPS court case after the Adversarial Hearing
Once a hearing has been had wherein you have had an opportunity to present evidence to the judge and CPS has done the same, a group meeting will occur with you, your spouse, CPS officials and any other party involved in the case attending.
It is not a legal proceeding and is informal. The goals associated with the case from the perspective of CPS will be discussed and input from you and your spouse will be considered as well. The next steps in the process to have your child returned to your home, if possible, will be outlined so that you understand what is needs to be accomplished.
If CPS has specific requirements outlined for you and your spouse in order to have your child returned to your home they must file what is called a service plan with the court no more than 45 days after the full adversarial hearing. This plan will outline specifically what is expected of you in order to reach whatever goal was set forth in the family group meeting.
Shortly thereafter, no more than 60 days after the full adversarial hearing, a status hearing will be held in which CPS updates the judge on where all parties are in terms of completing the service plans outlined by the agency.
If you are cooperating and participating in the programs outlined in your service plan then you will be in good shape to regain permanent conservatorship of your child.
Family Group Meeting #2
A second family group meeting follows the status hearing and precedes a first permanency hearing. This meeting will typically occur around the fifth month that the child is in the care of CPS.
All the steps taken by you to regain possession of your child will be gone over in this meeting. The goals set forth in the first meeting can be amended if necessary based on the changing needs of the child or the performance of you and your spouse in completing your service plan.
Shortly before your permanency hearing, a progress report will be filed with the court outlining your progress in completing the service plan and what else is needed at this time for either the child or yourself. This information will be provided to you and your spouse as well so that you are able to track the progress being made in the eyes of the CPS caseworker.
An Initial Permanency Hearing- What this means to you and your family
Within six months after the full adversarial hearing having occurred the initial permanency hearing occurs. The purpose of this hearing is to have the judge take a look at how your child is doing in the care and conservatorship of CPS.
Your status as a parent attempting to win back conservatorship of your child will also be evaluated by the judge. Your attendance at family group meetings as well as performance in regard to the service plan will be the center-points of the judge’s evaluation of you.
If the judge determines that you have done everything asked of you and that the child is not at risk of harm in your home it is possible that your child can be returned to you with no additional proceedings necessary.
However, you can expect if you have not followed your service plan exactly as outlined for you or have missed meeting dates or otherwise been unhelpful in some regard the return of your child to your home will be unlikely.
A second permanency hearing will have to occur within 120 days of the initial permanency hearing. Subsequent permanency hearings will occur within 120 days of the one that preceded it. This pattern occurs until a final trial is set.
What you need to know once your child is placed in the custody of CPS
Once your child is removed from your home and CPS wins temporary custody of him or her, you have the right to be notified of every hearing, status meeting or other conference related to your case. Each of the steps outlined above has to be made known to you and your spouse in advance of each one occurring.
In some cases, CPS will recommend that your parental rights be terminated and that an adoptive parent is located in order so that adoption may be pursued as an option. If this is true for you then you can request that the court appoint you an attorney to represent you and your interests.
Your contact will be limited with your child moving forward but you can visit with him or her unless the court has ordered no visitation based on the particular circumstances of your case. Ultimately if you qualify to be appointed an attorney or if you hire a private attorney you will need all the help and support that you can get during this difficult time.
You have rights in the context of a CPS case. It may not seem like it, and CPS will almost certainly do nothing more to help you than they are statutorily forced to do, but you can fight to keep your child.
Questions on Texas family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
Thank you for your interest in Texas family law courts and the types of cases that go before judges in our State. If you have questions about any particular subject that we’ve discussed please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. One of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week to meet with you in a free of charge consultation where your questions can be answered.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Grandparents can find themselves in a tough spot when raising a child in response to a CPS investigation
- What to know about Child Protective Services
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3
- Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families
- What can be done if CPS has taken possession of your child in Texas?
- CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Texas Child Visitation Modification
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1
- Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
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 defenselawyers 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.