The good news is that your child is back in your home after a long absence due to an ongoing CPS case. The not-so-good news is that you are now going to have to make adjustments to how you did things previously. The successful integration of your child back into your home is the objective you are aiming to accomplish.
Focus on your child's health by learning about the medical care they've received
Many people do not think that a step at the outset of your child's return to your home would be to contact any physician who has treated your child throughout the investigation and request updated medical records. Your child may have been put on public health insurance, so you should determine if that is still active, and if it is, you should determine when the coverage expires.
Your child may not have seen their average pediatrician during the case, so you should find out where they were going for medical care. This is important, especially if your child is taking medicine that you need to be knowledgeable about. Calendar important dates like when medicines are set to run out or when your child has an appointment to see their pediatrician.
The role of CPS after your child has returned to your home.
CPS will probably continue to keep an eye on you and your family during the immediate period after your child has been returned to your home. CPS will come to your home and see how your child is doing, and your home looks. Hearings will be set up periodically for the judge to see how everything is going and if any additional services need to be in place for you and your child. This period can last for up to six months, so you should mentally prepare yourself for the continued involvement of CPS. Once a judge feels satisfied that your child is safe and you no longer need CPS support, your case will be dismissed.
Keep in mind that if CPS finds a problem with your child's care during these six months, your child can be removed again to ensure that their safety is maintained. The consequences that you face for having your child be re-removed from your home can be severe. If your child is removed, the case will need to be concluded within six months, which means you will not have near the time you did previously to explain to a judge why your child needs to be returned to you. CPS services will still be available, but you will not have as long a period to take courses or attend counseling as you did before.
CPS doesn't have to be a constant presence in your life- here's how to move on from your case
You are likely frustrated at this stage in the game, as can be with CPS. You grew impatient with them when your child was removed; you disliked attending meetings and court hearings during the case. Once you found out that the judge was going to allow your child back into your home, you were overjoyed at the thought of never having CPS caseworkers in your home again.
Repeat offenders is a term you may have heard to be utilized regarding people who consistently break the law and end up in jail multiple times. The same general concept applies to parents who have become cyclically involved in CPS cases involving their children. I hope you never become involved with CPS again after going through what you have gone through with your initial case.
To avoid having CPS be a constant fixture in your life, you should take steps to learn why CPS was involved in your life in the first place and how to ensure best that you will not be seeing their caseworkers in your life moving forward.
If your child has special needs- be they physical, mental, or behavioral you should seek all the assistance you can find to avoid having CPS become the sort of fixture in your life that they had become over the prior year. The same advice applies if you have mental or physical difficulties. When these difficulties are exacerbated by stress, you may not pay as close attention to your child as is needed. This sets you up to get involved in a vicious cycle where your health problems lead to CPS involvement when your level of care begins to slip.
Drug and alcohol abuse should be avoided at all costs if you do not want CPS to reappear at your door in a few months. I realize that it is easy for me to type this but difficult for any person dealing with addiction to manage that addiction by staying sober and focused on their parenting. With that said, it is no excuse to have a problematic addiction to manage, which takes over your life and impedes your child's parenting. Attend counseling and narcotics/alcoholics anonymous courses with regularity. Find support in your family and church.
Finally, consider moving yourself and your child to an area where you have a more comprehensive safety net available to you. If you live away from family that could assist you in difficult times, consider finding employment and housing in a new area so that you and your child are not one missed paycheck from living on the streets. Speak to your family about the possibility of coming to stay with them for a short time while you find work and a place to live that you can afford. These are the people that can make a massive difference between your being a part of multiple CPS cases and you're being able to raise your child well and in the presence of friends and family.
Remember your number one objective is to keep your child safe from harm.
The entire reason why CPS became involved in your life in the first place is that there were allegations made against you that you were not doing enough to keep your child safe from abuse or neglect. The steps that I've outlined in the previous section are not to constantly remind you that you have made mistakes or disrupted your life any more than it has been. It reminds you of the child that you owe a great deal of responsibility to.
If you do need to take time to better yourself in rehab, counseling, or therapy of some sort, take the time and effort to ensure your child can remain someplace safe- preferably with a relative. This way, you can see that you are kept clean and sober while your child is safe with a relative. CPS will not need to be involved here in that case.
Likewise, choose your relationships well and decide if you would want to introduce someone into your child's life. Your new partner may bring people into your home that you do not approve of, but at that point, it may be too late. Decide what kind of people you will want to associate with before you engage in relationships. Your child will thank you for doing so.
Managing a CPS case and staying organized- tomorrow's blog post topics
Tomorrow, we will begin a discussion on keeping yourself organized and staying on top of your CPS case. If you have questions for the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, I would recommend that you contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney six days a week.
Our attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas just like you, and we take pride in our advocacy and representation of our client's rights under challenging situations. We would be honored to speak to you about doing the same for you and your family.