You may consider yourself to be a friendly, outgoing person, but that does not necessarily mean that you possess the communication skills needed to communicate with a CPS case investigator.
CBSworkers are trained to analyze a situation based on what they see, hear, and perceive. When a CPS caseworker or investigator speaks to you, learn more about you and your family. Communicating effectively with your caseworker is probably the most critical skill you can develop throughout an investigation.
Know their contact information
It goes without saying that if you need to speak to your caseworker that you should also have their phone number handy. Get their office phone number, cell phone number, and email address during your initial consultation with them. It will also be helpful to have their supervisor's phone number and email address if you have trouble getting ahold of your caseworker.
It does happen that CPS caseworkers get very busy, and you may not hear back from your caseworker as often as you would like. This does not mean they are ignoring you, but you should give the person the benefit of the doubt at first- as hard as that may be.
Learn your caseworker's schedule to increase your ability to speak to them
If your caseworker is never available from 10 am to 2 pm, it is in your best interest to learn that.
These folks have schedules that can change often, but they probably have at least a few hours a day where they are available to make and take phone calls. Learn what time works for the caseworker. You will not only increase your chances of speaking to them, but you will also gain approval in that most people would never think to ask them this.
Be specific when you leave a CPS caseworker a voicemail message.
When you call a friend and don't answer, you may not even have to leave them a voicemail to get a quick return phone call. Caller ID will tell your friend the time you attempted to reach them. You may even follow up the missed call with a quick text message to confirm that you were trying to reach them. This is very informal because the nature of your relationship is informal as friends.
Your relationship with your CPS caseworker will not be this informal. You will need to take the approach that this will be among the more formal relationships you have had in your adult life. For instance, when a phone call goes to voicemail, make sure that you identify yourself before leaving a brief message with your phone number included. Specify when you are going to be available to speak on the phone.
You are best off keeping a log of each time you contact your CPS caseworker.
This can apply to phone calls that you make that are returned or phone calls that are not returned. Suppose communication with your CPS caseworker becomes an issue in your court case. In that case, you can utilize the call log to speak more specifically to the judge about your efforts to speak to your caseworker regarding your child. At the very least, this shows a judge that you are diligent about the case and your child.
Rely on your caseworker's supervisor to ensure prompt callbacks
If it becomes habitual, you make phone calls to your caseworker, and those phone calls are not returned. You should bring the caseworker's supervisor into the situation by alerting her to the unreturned phone calls. Again, I will point out that CPS caseworkers are legitimately busy and are often unavailable to speak to you when you attempt to contact them.
However, this is not an excuse for failing to call you back within a reasonable amount of time. Do not feel like you are informing your caseworker by calling the supervisor. You must have information about your child's investigation, and the best point of contact to do so is your CPS caseworker.
Additional tips for working with your CPS case supervisor
Being motivated to take seriously the allegations made against you is perhaps the most essential characteristic you can possess during your CPS investigation. If you are being accused of neglecting or abusing your child, it is not something to take lightly.
With that said, you can show a judge that you understand that your child's safety is potentially at risk by participating and cooperating in the investigation. It is your primary responsibility to ensure that your child is kept safe from harm.
Tell the truth in any situation (even if it is going to hurt you)
Giving false information to a CPS caseworker is a wrong move. For one, CPS will work to verify any statement you give to them by asking many other people for their "stories" about a particular event. It is unlikely that CPS will take your word for it about a matter involving the investigation.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between lying to a CPS investigator and holding back on your answers until you can speak to your attorney. If you can answer the question of a CPS caseworker in a brief, concise and honest fashion, you are better off doing so. Additional information can be provided down the road, but you should speak to your attorney before discussing anything sensitive.
Showing respect is a courtesy that the CPS caseworker will appreciate.
CPS caseworkers have a job that allows them to see sides of people that are not flattering. These folks encounter people on the worst days of their lives and then have to step further into that world that is made up of anger and frustration. If you show the caseworker respect, that respect will be returned to how the caseworker treats you and your family.
Respect can also be shown in how you treat another person and how you speak to them, but by keeping your appointments and being punctual to meetings. When you have a scheduled time to see, your child makes sure you arrive on time as agreed.
Phone ahead to CPS if you will be late for any reason. Remember that CPS workers are busy just like you are. You keep them waiting with no explanation as to why can be extremely frustrating. What's more- if you miss meetings, this will be documented, and the judge will have questions as to what else you had to do that was more important than this investigation and case.
Visiting with your child during an investigation- tomorrow's blog post topic.
Being with your child under adverse circumstances is an unfortunate reality in a CPS investigation. It is not easy to meet with your child while a caseworker or other person is nearby but learning how to take advantage of the time you do have with your child during an investigation is critical for your and your child's relationship. We will discuss this topic in greater detail in tomorrow's blog post.
Any questions about CPS investigations or any subject in family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney. We would be honored to speak to you regarding your situation and how our office would help you and your family.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas CPS Defense Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding CPS, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX CPS defense Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our CPS defense lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles CPS defense cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.