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What to Know About Child Protective Services

Regrettably, instances of child abuse and neglect perpetrated by caregivers or other adults are far too common. In response to this pervasive issue, Child Protective Services (CPS) operates under the umbrella of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). What is the goal of CPS? Their primary objective is to safeguard the well-being of children across Texas and provide support to families in creating nurturing and secure environments. By intervening in cases of suspected abuse or neglect, CPS aims to protect vulnerable children and educate families on strategies for fostering loving and safe homes. Through their efforts, CPS endeavors to mitigate harm and promote the welfare of children throughout the state.

It’s possible that if you’re reading this blog that you were at one time a part of a CPS investigation. Maybe you are part of an active CPS investigation that is currently ongoing.

If either of these situations applies, then you know that CPS actively encourages the participation of the parents of a child who allegedly suffered abuse or neglect. The remainder of this blog post will discuss the purpose of a CPS investigation as well as the goals CPS aspires to achieve in each investigation it commences.

The goals associated with a CPS Investigation

When a report of abuse or neglect of your child comes in to CPS, an investigation begins in which a case worker will likely contact you to set up an interview. The overarching goal of CPS associated with your investigation is to ensure that your child is safe from abuse or neglect and then to return your child to your home as soon as possible.

However, until authorities determine your home to be safe, CPS will likely remove your child from the home and place them in the care of another family—perhaps a relative of yours or your spouse if one is available.

What does CPS do during the actual investigation? A CPS investigation will typically follow one of these three paths:

  1. Take steps to create a safe environment for the child, hopefully allowing your child to remain in your home. CPS will only opt to remove your child from your home as a last resort and will not do so until and unless they determine your home to be unsafe for your child to continue residing in. Family members or a temporary home with persons outside your family are potential landing spots for your child.
  2. Help to find a substitute home for your child to live in while CPS works with you and your spouse to help ensure that your home is going to be a safe environment for your child to reside.
  3. If necessary, CPS will seek legal recourse to ensure the safety of your child. This can range from filing a family lawcase to place your child with another family on a temporary or permanent basis. The most extreme example of a mechanism that CPS can use to ensure the safety of your child is to file a petition to terminateyour parental rights.

A CPS Investigation does not mean that your child will have to live apart from you

Just because CPS opens an investigation against you does not mean that your child is going to be removed from your care. The potential risk of harm apparent in your home is what CPS will look to in order to determine whether or not it is appropriate to leave your child in your care.

Even if your child is removed there are steps that you will be asked to take, including attending classes and other training programs that will allow you to regain your child once you complete the coursework and counseling.

What happens if a CPS Investigation results in a finding against you?

If CPS investigates and determines that abuse or neglect has occurred, your child will be removed from your home. Additionally, understanding how CPS defines abuse and neglect is crucial, as their definition may differ from yours, potentially affecting the outcome of your case. According to Child Protective Services, abuse includes acts or omissions causing physical or mental harm, with mental injury resulting in observable and substantial impairment of a child’s development.

Examples of omissions leading to abuse include allowing a child to be in harmful situations or failing to remove them from preventable harm. Physical injuries also qualify as abuse if they result in substantial harm or threat thereof, with accidental injuries or reasonable discipline exceptions. Additionally, sexual conduct or abuse related to sex acts constitutes abuse as per the Texas Family Code, detailing multiple offenses. Familiarizing yourself with these definitions can aid in navigating CPS investigations and protecting your child’s well-being.

Conclusion

CPS plays a crucial role in safeguarding the welfare of children across Texas. Additionally, with the goal of ensuring their safety and promoting loving and secure homes, CPS intervenes in cases of suspected abuse or neglect. Furthermore, by providing support and education to families, CPS strives to create nurturing environments where children can thrive. Despite the prevalence of child maltreatment, CPS remains dedicated to mitigating harm and advocating for the well-being of children throughout the state, demonstrating a commitment to their mission of protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

The definitions of neglect and the parties to your CPS investigation to be discussed tomorrow

Please come back to the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC to learn about the different definitions of neglect that CPS applies. Also, I will go over the parties to most any CPS case so that you can learn about the role of each and their impact on the investigation.

If you have any questions that this blog post did not cover please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to answer your questions in a free of charge consultation.

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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- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3
  4. Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families
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  6. What can be done if CPS has taken possession of your child in Texas?
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  11. Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1
  12. Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
  13. An Overview of the Texas Foster Care System
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