When considering the potential safety risks that could result in your child being removed from your home, domestic violence ranks very high on the list. It is looked upon as being so high a risk and a potential danger to your child's well-being that your being the victim of domestic violence can be viewed as neglect by CPS.
If you are the parent who initiates the domestic violence, you are an abuser of the child's other parent. You have possibly caused mental harm to your children in the form of emotional stress and anxiety. It is not difficult to imagine a situation where your child could be injured in the struggle between you and the child's other parent. Whether you are the abuser or the victim, it is up to you to protect your child from a situation like this. There are programs available to you to help keep your child safe from domestic violence, and you can get the information on these resources from your CPS caseworker.
Suppose you are the victim of domestic violence and take no steps to prevent future harm from occurring or outright leaving the partner abusing you. In that case, you run the risk of having your parental rights terminated. CPS and the court may take it as an indication that you place the relationship above the safety of your children.
Finding a safe area for you and your children away from your home
If the abuser lives in your home with you and your children, you should come up with a place where you all can go for safety purposes if the abusive person acts violently against you or your children. Friends, relatives, or shelters house victims of domestic violence and their families.
You can ask a court for a protective order against the domestic abuser. A protective order can help keep your abuser from accessing your home, your child's school, or your place of business.
Finally, be aware of any person who is in a position to care for your child while you are working if a relative or family friend would allow your child to be in a position where the domestic abuse could harm them, you need to take steps to remove your child from that person's care. Failing to do so could result in a finding of neglect being made against you by CPS.
Going to a shelter does not mean that CPS will have to be alerted
I have been asked more than once if going to a shelter to escape an abusive partner will cause CPS to become involved in an investigation into their lives. If a person makes a report to CPS regarding your family situation, then CPS is obligated to get involved and start an investigation.
Protecting you and your child is the most important thing to keep in mind during your stay in a domestic violence shelter. Various community resources and programs will be made available to you while in the shelter.
Does CPS have to tell other people if you and your children stay in a shelter?
CPS will need to disclose to your child's other parent that an investigation is ongoing but does not have to tell the other parent where you live. The best decision that you can make regarding this issue is to stay up to date on the investigation so that you can protect your child as best as you can.
When you can leave the shelter, it should not be before you have a plan to go somewhere where you and your child will be safe.
This could mean finding a relative to stay with where the domestic abuser cannot get access to you. In the alternative, getting a protective order from a court would be a bold choice to ensure that you and your child are kept safe. Your top objectives should be to keep the abusive parent away from your children and ensure that you keep updated on the progress of your CPS investigation.
What if you are a parent who cannot care for your child?
If you find yourself in a position where you are unable to care for your child due to your age, your or your child's medical or psychological problems, or perhaps a mental incapacity, then you can consider whether or not it is appropriate for you to terminate your parental rights voluntarily.
Suppose your child suffers from a mental impairment or disability that requires care beyond what you can provide. In that case, you may be experiencing problems affording to provide competent care for your child and keeping your child safe in a general sense. It could be that your child needs special care that means CPS needs to take temporary custody of your child.
Beginning to take steps to protect your mentally disabled child
First and foremost, you should keep track of your child's behavior by writing a log. Doctor's visits, problems in school, visits to the hospital, and other pieces of evidence regarding your child's problems should all be written down.
If you have family and friends in the area who can support you and your child during the CPS is involved with you, it is best to make them all aware of what is going on and how best they can assist you and your child. I understand that it may not be pleasant to share information about you or your child that is less than flattering but based on families I have witnessed firsthand go through these problems, it makes a lot of sense to seek the help of others during this challenging time. Do not try to balance your family life and a CPS investigation alone.
Understand that you are not alone in this process. Your child's disabilities may have been something that you have dealt with basically on your own to this point, but now you will have resources, people, and support that you did not have at your disposal before. Be aware that just because there are many people now involved in your life does not mean that you have lost the ability to ask questions. With this newfound level of support, make sure that you ask questions if you are unsure who a particular person is and how they can help you and your family.
A CPS case can last for up to a year- don't get impatient with yourself or the process.
You may complete the objectives and goals outlined in your safety plan or service plan and will be waiting on the other parties in your CPS to provide updates to you. Court appearances occur at pretty regular intervals and cannot be moved up unless an emergency occurs.
Do not get discouraged because the case is taking longer than you anticipated or because you cannot see the progress you thought you would in your child. You are doing as much as you can- possibly putting more effort into bettering your own life and that of your child than you had in any previous time in your or their lives. Trust that you are doing the right thing for your child and yourself.
Handling a CPS investigation as an abuser of drugs/alcohol
If you have problems with substance abuse, you should be aware of the particular circumstances surrounding a case like yours. We would invite you back to the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, to learn more about cases like yours and how you can manage them along with your family.
To learn more about our office, please contact us today. We can offer you a free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys. If you have questions, our attorneys can offer you answers.
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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.