A teenager can be a part of a CPS investigation as both the subject of the investigation as a parent and the child who was potentially abused or neglected by their parent. If you are a teenage parent, you have the same responsibilities to parent your child like any other parent who may be older than you.
There is no sliding scale based on your being a young parent. It is possible that an allegation could be made against you and that your child could be removed from your home. Termination of your parental rights in extreme circumstances may be warranted as well.
What sort of assistance is available to you as a teenage parent in a CPS case?
As a teenager, you may be able to get assistance in finishing high school and earning a degree. If you have to work instead of complete your education, you may be able to discuss with CPS getting a tutor or aide in helping you stay current in your studies while holding down a job outside of school.
Secondly, if you have not started your life as an “adult”- setting up a bank account or finding a place to live- CPS has access to the resources you will need to complete these life steps.
What if you are incarcerated? How can you protect yourself in a CPS case?
If you are serving time in jail or prison, you can’t be as involved in your CPS case as you could have had you not been behind bars. Your rights and duties to your child are the same as those parents who are not serving time, however.
You will still be notified of any court dates involving your case. Whether or not you can attend the hearings is up to the persons in charge of your confinement. Suppose your child has been neglected or abused. In that case, you will be able to provide updates to investigators by being interviewed and giving information to CPS personnel about other relatives you are aware of who may be able to house your child temporarily. At the same time, the issues in the investigation are being sorted out.
A large part of any CPS case is a safety or service plan created to help ensure that your child is safe. You have the right to be made aware of these plans and the progress being made in achieving the stated objectives of each plan. The CPS caseworker involved in the case can travel to the facility where you are residing to provide you with these objectives, or they may mail you updates.
Remember that your being in prison does not absolve you from wrongdoing in a CPS case. Just as the parent who did not do enough to prevent the abuse or neglect can have their parental rights terminated, you can as well. The argument to doing so would be that your being in prison allowed your child to be in a situation w] where abuse or neglect was possible. You’re being incarcerated is a risk in and of itself to your child.
Helping yourself in a CPS case while in prison
If you are in prison, you still have a role in providing information to CPS if your client’s current home is unsafe. For instance, if you know of persons who would be well suited to house your child for the duration of the CPS investigation that you should provide that information to CPS. It should be a weight off your shoulders to know that your child will reside with a family member or friend during this difficult time.
In prison, you may also have access to the sort of programs that allow you to meet the requirements for the safety plan laid out in the case. If you need to take counseling, parenting classes, or other classes, then your facility may offer those to you. When you sign up and complete the coursework, make sure to let your attorney know so that updates can be filed with the court.
Staying up to date on your case and visiting with your child while in prison
Don’t let being incarcerated be an excuse to keep from being updated. When documents are mailed to you, you need to read through that documentation. You should also ask your caseworker if it is possible to see your child. If your being in prison has nothing to do with the case and you offer no threat of harm to your child, you will likely be allowed to visit your child on a limited basis. Your being in prison should not in and of itself limit your ability to see your child.
It would help if you took any classes made available to you in prison to increase your chances of being awarded visitation time. There are parenting skills courses that help you with issues like conflict resolution, dealing with stress, and teaching you age-appropriate methods of discipline.
Terminating your parental rights while in jail
Your parental rights may be terminated as a result of your being incarcerated. Yes, it is enough to be behind bars during an investigation. If your crime involved harming a child, the odds of having your parental rights terminated in the present CPS case go up considerably. If your prison term is longer than two years, you may have a termination suit on your hands due to the CPS case.
Whatever the court decides to do, it must do so after determining that it is in the best interests of your child.
How to go to court hearings if you are in prison
Depending on where you are staying in Texas, the rules are different than allowing you to attend hearings while in prison. A warrant can be issued in some counties that allow you to leave prison and attend these courtroom hearings in person. It is up to you to request that such a warrant be issued. Notify your attorney as soon as you can notify the court.
In some instances, you may attend a hearing by telephone or other electronic means. You may have to file a motion and have it approved by the judge to do so, so be sure to mention this request to your attorney so that they may proceed to request an alternative means of attending the hearing on your behalf.
What if you do not speak English well
Not speaking English fluently will be a problem that you have to deal with head-on to manage your CPS case successfully. Each time you go to court, you need to ensure that your attorney has requested an interpreter so that anything is said in court to your native tongue.
This is a critical step in the process and cannot move forward until an interpreter is available.
Have you been a victim of domestic violence? Be sure to read tomorrow’s blog post.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the attorneys, and staff would like to thank you for your time and attention in reading today’s blog post. We hope that what you have read is informative and helpful as you learn how to manage a CPS case successfully. You may not have all the answers right now, but with our office’s help, you can learn and apply your knowledge to your child’s CPS Case.
If you have questions for an attorney, please do not hesitate the contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Did you know that we offer free-of-charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney? We do that, and more, as we will work to educate you on the issues surrounding your child’s case. We hope to see you again tomorrow.
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”
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- Reporting child abuse and neglect in Texas
- If domestic violence is occurring in your home can your children be removed by Child Protective Services?