Texas Family Courts: Child Protective Services

People going through difficult situations in their personal lives are often frantic. This is understandable. When something isn’t right with a family member, especially a child, your brain can go into emergency mode and the next thing you know you’re looking around for any help you can get.

The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are experienced in working with people like yourself that are going through difficult times and we work that much harder to help bring peace of mind to your lives. With that said- in the immediate sense, when you are facing a situation where your child’s life is at stake you have every right to be frantic in search of assistance.

The most frantic that I see parents is when Child Protective Services (CPS) has become involved in their lives. While the mission statement of CPS involves helping and protecting those (child) who are unable to protect themselves, the unintended effect of CPS’ involvement with a family can be to upset the situation and create a sense of turmoil.

There’s something about the ability to remove children from homes and otherwise turn worlds upside down that has that sort of effect on a person. Maybe you find yourself feeling as if your world has turned upside down, as well. If so, today’s blog post which covers CPS cases is designed with you in mind.

Who and what is CPS?

CPS is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS). This agency receives information regarding possible instances of abuse and/or neglect of children.

The agency will investigate and attempt to determine if those claims can be substantiated with the available evidence. CPS has specific requirements that detail how long an investigation can last and at what point decisions need to be made about the families and children involved in their investigations. The Texas Family Code contains the laws that relate to CPS.

How does CPS learn about possible instances of abuse or neglect

CPS has in Austin its central intake department, essentially a call center where calls regarding abuse or neglect of children are made anonymously. There are methods to make reports online as well. Each phone call that is received will be referred to an investigative employee of CPS in the area in which the allegations of abuse or neglect have come from.

If the situation warrants it CPS can immediately request an order from a judge in the county where the child lives to have the child removed from the home where he or she is residing.

Typically, this does not occur and an investigation will be commenced in order to determine if those allegations of abuse or neglect can be substantiated. If it is determined that they cannot be then the investigation will be closed. If the allegations can be substantiated CPS will work with the family to take steps towards ensuring that the child who is the subject of the report can be protected.

If the family agrees to work with the agency on taking positive steps to ensure the safety of a child then the case will be referred to Family Based Social Services to work on a safety plan.

On the other hand, if this option does not present itself for you or your family it is possible that your child can be removed from your home. This is the situation that I was describing at the outset of this blog which can cause a great deal of worry and angst among the family of the child.

What happens when CPS takes possession of your child during an investigation?

Once CPS gets in possession of your child an emergency hearing will need to be held the following day in court. A petition can also be filed by a CPS attorney prior to taking possession of the child and a hearing had on an emergency basis without you being present. Only the CPS attorney and the judge need to be present for this first hearing.

By this time you will have provided to CPS the names and addresses for family members whom you believe could act as temporary caregivers for your child while CPS conducts their investigation.

The CPS investigators will conduct background checks on the persons you name in order to determine if it is safe to potentially allow these relatives of yours to care for your child. A home study will be conducted to review the home of the persons you’ve listed and determine of placement with the relatives would be appropriate.

Hearings in a CPS case

Within fourteen days of the emergency hearing/removal of your child from your home, a full hearing must be held in open court if the child has not been returned to you during this time period.

The hearing will determine whether or not there is sufficient risk to the child in your home and therefore if CPS has the legal right to continue to have temporary possession of your child.

This fourteen-day window is your opportunity to hire a lawyer if you choose and chart out a plan of action for your case at this hearing. You are able to call witnesses and present evidence to the judge as to why your child should be returned to your care.

There are possible steps after this hearing, but if you present your case well your child can be returned to you that day if the judge rules against CPS’ continued possession of your child.

The remaining parts of a CPS case to be posted tomorrow

In the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s final blog on the subject of Texas Family Law Courts, we will discuss the final stages of a CPS case. In the meantime, if you have any questions about CPS, family law court or anything related to Texas Family law please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

One of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week to meet with you in a free of charge consultation to answer any questions you may have.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Grandparents can find themselves in a tough spot when raising a child in response to a CPS investigation
  2. What to know about Child Protective Services
  3. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
  4. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
  5. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3
  6. Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families
  7. What can be done if CPS has taken possession of your child in Texas?
  8. CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help
  9. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  10. Texas Child Visitation Modification
  11. 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
  12. Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1
  13. 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.

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