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How to proceed after your child is returned home after a Child Protective Services case

Great news! Your child has been returned home after being away for up to one year. You have done what was needed to improve your home's safety and ensure that your child is your number one priority. CPS probably had you attend many classes that increased your knowledge of parenting and troubleshooting difficult situations regarding your child. You had to hire a lawyer and attend many court hearings, but it was all worth it in the end. After all, your child now gets to return to her room and sleep in her bed.

While you are over the moon excited about your child's return, this will still be a time of transition for you and your child. The fact of the matter is that your child has not been in your home for an extended period and has likely gotten used to whatever their reality was- either living with relatives or with a foster family. For you, you've been focusing on yourself and improving the quality of your parenting and the safety of your home. You have gone to school on these issues and are likely eager to act on what you have learned.

Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will focus on the issues associated with transitioning your child (and yourself) back into a home where you both will be living.

What's new with your child? Quite a bit, possibly

Your child will be older and, depending on their age, could have brand new habits, interests, and friends. Their school may have changed, and you may find yourself having to re-learn how to relate and talk to your child. This is not out of the ordinary, but it can be a bit jarring for parents like yourself to have to deal with at first.

What you will want to do is ease the transition for your child back home. Gradually implementing the tools you learned in your CPS case to ensure that discipline, love, and care are all a part of your child's upbringing is likely the best way to ensure that they thrive once back in your home. To hit the ground running with your child, it is best to think ahead and prepare your home for your child's arrival well before they are back home.

Get to work on your home before your child arrives.

Work with the people in your life to get your home in shape to house your child again. Anticipate that there will be aspects of your life that will need to adjust, given that your child will be living with you soon. If your meals have been on the run or in front of the television, it may be a good idea to start thinking of healthy meals you can cook for you and your child once they are back home. Planning in this area gives you no excuse for saying you didn't have time to cook, and a fast food meal after work and school was the best you can do.

Your attorney should be able to assist you with coming up with ideas on how to ease the transition back home for your child. There may be community resources that your attorney knows of that can assist you with getting the home in order. Many of the crutches you leaned on before: like drugs and alcohol, are now no longer a part of your life. Are preparing yourself mentally for the challenges of parenting a child while sober can be a difficult hurdle for many parents to overcome after a CPS case. However, CPS has placed its trust in you to continue to thrive as a sober parent. If you were to fail in this regard, it is likely that not only would your child be removed from your home but that your parental rights would be terminated.

Where will your child attend school?

It is possible that due to your child needing to live away from your home during the CPS case that they were enrolled into a new school. Now that they will be coming home to live with you once again, you may have questions about where they should attend class. Before your child is home, contact the local school zoned to your home and find out how to enroll them in class. Transportation to and from school is critical as well. Become familiar with the bus routes and plan so that an adult is home after school to spend time with your child.

The bottom line here is that you should not wait to find out information about enrolling your child in school and child care after school. There are often waiting times for many daycare centers, and if you do not think ahead, it may take you a few weeks to find a center to care for your child after school. Remember that sending your child to class is not only crucial to their development, but it is also the law in Texas. Do not put yourself into a situation where your child has to wait for days to attend class once home.

What do your and your child's new schedules look like?

As we alluded to in the beginning portion of this blog post, your life and your child's life will look much different than they did before. As a result, their habits will have changed too- some for the better and some for the worse. It is up to you to observe your child and correct behaviors that you believe to be harmful to your child as soon as you can.

Make sure that your child has a set schedule for eating, sleeping, playing, and doing school work. Their health and education come first when planning time in the day for your child. Getting your child is a routine right off the bat is key to their beginning to feel comfortable and adjusting well to life post-CPS.

Food is the key to a child's heart; I am convinced. If your child's diet has changed, learn what their new diet is like and do your best to prepare meals that consider these changes. As long as their diet is full of nutritious foods, a change in this area does not have to be an intimidating or bad thing. It can even end up being an activity that you and your child engage in. Pick a meal to cook one night, and you and your child can prepare that.

The extracurricular activities that a child is engaged in will begin to shape and mold the sort of young adult your child will become. Many children dealing with a CPS investigation will seek solace in sports, music, or other interests to escape the pain and difficulties associated with a CPS case. You would be well served to learn what these interests are (if any) and engage your child in them. If your community offers free concerts or music performances, why not take your aspiring musician to see a live performance? Your sports nut will be interested in seeing a high school baseball or football team play a game or two, and the cost to do so should be reasonable as well.

Are you interested in more tips for raising your child once back home after a CPS case? Come back tomorrow to read more.

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, would like to thank you for your interest in the subject of CPS investigations. We will be providing you with more advice and information on how to best transition your child back into your home in tomorrow's blog post.

If you have any questions for the attorneys in our office, please consider contacting us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. We can answer your questions and provide you with our thoughts on achieving successful results in whatever family law situation you present to us.

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