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Child Protective Services Investigation – What to Expect and How to Handle the Situation, Part 3

Following the second part, the third and final installment in the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC’s series of blog posts on Child Protective Services, we will discuss issues surrounding the extent to which CPS can inspect your home.

Finally, the post will conclude by going over what your rights as a parent are to appeal the ultimate determination made by CPS in your case.

CPS is in your home: What can they actually do?

A CPS caseworker can arrive at your home without advance notice so it is important to have your home ready. The other side of the coin is that the caseworker cannot enter without first identifying him or herself and asking your permission to enter your home.

It’s perfectly fine to deny them permission, but keep in mind that they will likely interpret your failure to participate in the investigation as evidence against you.

Keep in mind as well: any adult in the home can provide the permission necessary to allow a CPS employee to enter your home.

Even a child, if the CPS worker determines them to be of sufficient age, can grant the permission necessary to allow entry into the home.

What sort of analysis should you undertake prior to granting CPS permission to enter your home?

Consider the following as to what could happen if you respond with a “Yes” or “No” response:

When to respond with a “Yes”

Granting permission for a CPS investigator to enter your home may foster goodwill.

Reason being is that CPS workers are often treated very poorly by the people that they are investigating.

Remember, your casider is just performing their duties without any personal malice toward you or your family. To put it plainly: a little respect can go a long way.

Basically, you should consider what the investigator will see once they enter your home.

If your home is tidy, has essentials like food, clean clothes, and toys, you might let them in. If there are unfixable issues, it might be wise to refuse entry. Speaking of saying no….

When to respond with a “No”

Denying entry to a CPS caseworker can be seen as obstructive and may negatively impact you. However, CPS can obtain entry through a court order or if urgent circumstances arise.

In cases of immediate danger, CPS might enter with law enforcement without consent or a court order.

Photographing your home and the people in it

The rules that apply to entering your home also apply to taking photographs inside it.

CPS may photograph potentially dangerous conditions in your home. They need your or a mature child’s permission first.

What happens when CPS concludes its investigation?

Once CPS has completed their investigation they will decide to label your case in one of a few ways:

  1. Reason to Believe (RTB): If evidence suggests abuse or neglect occurred, CPS will label the case RTB.
  2. Ruled Out (R/O): If CPS determines no abuse or neglect occurred, CPS will rule out the case.
  3. Unable to Complete: If the investigation cannot be finished, CPS will mark the case as Unable to Complete.
  4. Unable to Determine (UTD): If evidence is insufficient for a clear conclusion, the case will be classified as UTD.

Based on these outcomes, CPS might collaborate with your family to create a Safety Plan, allowing your child to stay at home.

Post-investigation, Family Based Social Services may offer additional support, including recommendations for anger management or other behavioral classes. Recommendations for attending anger management or other behavioral classes may be a part of these services.

If CPS determines a significant enough safety risk to the child, they may remove your child from the home.

Subsequent legal proceedings will decide if your child can return home.

Administrative Review of the Decision from CPS

After being notified in writing of the CPS decision, you have up to 45 days to request a review of the decision. You must follow the instructions included in the decision letter from CPS and have the option to hire a family law attorney to represent you in this review hearing.

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will issue a decision in your case. The ALJ does not work for CPS and will listen to your arguments and review the evidence presented by CPS.

You can also present information that may be helpful to your case.

Additional questions about CPS Investigations? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

If you are in the midst of a CPS investigation remember that you have rights- it’s just a matter of having them enforced. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC to have your questions asked and to learn more about how we can help protect you and your family’s wellbeing.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore

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  1. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
  2. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
  3. Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families
  4. CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC can help
  5. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  6. Texas Child Visitation Modification
  7. 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
  8. Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
  9. Protective Orders in Texas Family Law Cases
  10. Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families
  11. Can a possession order be affected by the mental health problems of a parent?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CPS law in Texas?

Child Protective Services (CPS) law in Texas is a set of legal guidelines and regulations that govern how the state intervenes in cases of child abuse and neglect. It aims to protect children from harm and ensure their safety and well-being.

Can a judge overrule CPS in Texas?

Yes, in some cases, a judge can overrule CPS decisions in Texas. If a family disagrees with a CPS decision, they can request an administrative review or, in certain situations, file an appeal in court. The judge will then review the evidence and make a final determination.

What is Texas version of CPS?

In Texas, Child Protective Services is commonly referred to as “CPS.” It is an agency responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect and providing support and services to families in need to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

What are grounds for CPS to remove a child in Texas?

CPS can remove a child from their home in Texas if there is evidence of abuse, neglect, or imminent danger to the child’s safety and well-being. Other grounds for removal may include the presence of illegal substances or dangerous living conditions that put the child at risk.

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