Picture this: You’re a parent going about your daily life, thinking you’ve got it all under control. But suddenly, your world gets turned upside down when Child Protective Services (CPS) enters the scene. Dramatic music intensifies Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it’s a serious matter nonetheless. CPS cases can be confusing, overwhelming, and full of legal jargon that could make your head spin. But fear not! In this blog, we’ve got your back as we dive into the ins and outs of the CPS process, from thrilling status hearings to epic trials.
Short Answer: Wondering what to expect in a CPS case? This blog has you covered!
Reasons to Keep Reading:
Tales from the Trenches: Ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of a CPS case? We’ve got a gripping story to share. Join us as we recount a real-life saga of a father’s fight to regain custody of his teenage son. Trust us, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Demystifying the Status Hearing: Ah, the elusive status hearing. We’ll break it down for you, explaining why it’s a crucial step in the CPS process and why your attendance is paramount. Discover how this hearing sets the stage for the future of your case and why following the court’s plan is of utmost importance.
Permanency Hearing Unveiled: What happens when CPS temporarily assumes conservatorship of your child? The Permanency Hearing takes center stage, and we’ll be there to guide you through it. Find out how this hearing evaluates progress, examines service plans, and even explores alternatives like adoption. Get ready for some eye-opening insights!
The Trial Showdown: Lights, camera, action! Step into the courtroom for the final act in your CPS case. We’ll share everything you need to know about Trials, including their purpose, what’s at stake, and the potential outcomes. Brace yourself for a nail-biting conclusion as the judge delivers the Final Orders.
Whether you’re a concerned parent or simply intrigued by the inner workings of the legal system, this blog is your one-stop guide to CPS cases. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an informative, entertaining, and enlightening journey through the trials and triumphs of navigating the CPS process. Let’s dive in!
Navigating the CPS Maze: From Status Hearings to Trials and Triumphs!
A Status Hearing is one of the most critical steps of a CPS case. It is held after CPS has prepared a service plan. Within two months of your child being placed into the temporary care of CPS, this hearing will be held to discuss the plan and decide whether or not the plan will become the court’s orders.
The judge will want some 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 the judge will check any progress made 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 complete the steps, your rights as a parent can be severely curtailed or terminated outright.
The Permanency Hearing occurs within six months when CPS is temporarily named your child’s managing conservator. Whatever plan arrived 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 of their responsibilities of communicating with parties and ensuring your child’s safety and well-being?
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 in. This is the first time in your case that you stand a solid chance to have your child returned home to you. Additional service plans, dates for the subsequent 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 the judge buying you time to get your act together, provide your child with a safe environment that is needed, and complete whatever steps in the service plan that you have not.
Is placement with a relative permanently 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 subsequent permanency hearings.
The final step in the process of a CPS case is Trial. The first Monday after the first anniversary of CPS becoming the temporary managing conservator of your child is the last date that a trial can occur.
The Trial’s purpose 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 them. Your child can be placed in your home or with a relative of the child. CPS can be named 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, PLLC
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 exciting and illustrates how vital communication and commitment to the service plan are in CPS cases.
Our client and his son’s mother divorced 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 his time with his son, but his ex-wife was experiencing difficulties with her mental health and drug use. This is where Texas becomes involved in the lives of our former client and his son.
Before his ex-wife checks herself into a Texas mental health facility, 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 could issue an Order to the mother mandating that she return the child to New Jersey, no additional action was taken against our client. IN TEXAS, a CPS court notified our client of his son’s pending legal action, but he never responded or contacted CPS. CPS worked with the boy’s uncle and aunt to name them managing conservators for the child.
The court followed the steps that we just went through regarding CPS cases, 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 challenging to make, considering his income was solid. He ended up hiring us after the initial permanency hearing and before attending mediation with CPS and the other persons involved with his son’s case.
By that time, it was primarily 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 participation left a mark on his cause. At the final Trial, we contacted him by phone to 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 child’s primary conservators.
Now that you’re armed with knowledge about the twists and turns of CPS cases, it’s time to put your newfound understanding to good use. Remember, this isn’t just another episode of a courtroom drama on TV; this is real life, and it’s your life at stake!
So, what’s the verdict, you ask? Well, it’s simple: Take charge! Be proactive, engaged, and committed to your case. We’ve seen how one father’s lack of participation and adherence to the service plan led to a less-than-desirable outcome. Don’t let that be your story!
If you’re facing a CPS case, it’s crucial to show up, listen carefully, and follow the court’s orders. Building a strong defense, communicating effectively, and demonstrating your commitment to creating a safe environment for your child are key ingredients for success.
And hey, don’t forget that you’re not alone in this journey. Seek professional legal guidance to navigate the intricacies of the CPS process and advocate for your parental rights. With the right team by your side, you can face the challenges head-on and fight for the best possible outcome.
Remember, this blog has only scratched the surface of CPS cases. The road ahead may be filled with unexpected twists, but armed with knowledge and determination, you’re ready to take on whatever comes your way.
So, let’s raise a virtual gavel and declare: You’ve got this! Your child’s future is worth fighting for, and with the information you’ve gained, you’re better equipped to navigate the CPS labyrinth. Embrace the journey, stay engaged, and never lose sight of the ultimate goal: creating a safe and loving environment for your child.
Short Answer: Ready to take charge of your CPS case? With knowledge and determination, you can navigate the twists and turns towards a brighter future for you and your child. Let’s fight the good fight together!
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Protective Services E-Book.”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, can help
- Take control of your child’s CPS case by following these tips
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- In what circumstances could your child end up living with your relative during a CPS case?
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