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Crucial Details Regarding Child Removal in Child Protective Services Cases

As an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, I encounter various situations, including rare instances where a parent might say, “I need my child removed from my home,” due to specific circumstances. In these cases, and when others inquire about how Child Protective Services (CPS) might remove their child during an investigation, it’s important to understand that CPS doesn’t automatically remove every child. Instead, they assess each situation individually.

Often, they may explore options that don’t involve removal, such as addressing certain issues within the home or removing individuals who pose a risk, thereby allowing your child to safely remain with you. This approach aims to ensure the child’s safety while keeping the family unit as intact as possible during the CPS investigation.

Maintain composure and cooperation during child removal

If you must have your child removed, thinking ahead and remaining calm during interactions with CPS is crucial. Naturally, you may feel upset about the removal, but this does not justify violent behavior towards CPS or assisting law enforcement officers. Keep in mind, the court will scrutinize your actions concerning your child’s removal. The situation is already serious, and you don’t need the added burden of defending extra actions.

CPS aims to avoid force or aggression when removing a child. However, law enforcement might assist CPS during this process. Reacting aggressively towards CPS or law enforcement could provoke a similar response, potentially endangering the CPS employee, the officer, and, most importantly, your child.

The worst-case scenario involves physically refusing to hand over your child to CPS, leading law enforcement to intervene. While I haven’t encountered this situation with a client, it has happened in CPS court cases. It’s best to use sound judgment. Allowing CPS to conduct their investigation doesn’t mean giving up on your child. Instead, it signifies your understanding of the need to prepare for court and legally reclaim custody of your child.

It is best to prepare your child for removal if given the opportunity

The circumstances surrounding the removal of a child from one’s home are complex. It’s evident that what may be suitable for one family may not necessarily be effective for their neighbors, illustrating the individual nature of these situations. However, based on my experience, if CPS provides even half a day’s notice that they will be removing your child from your home, it’s best to prepare your child as thoroughly as you can.

If your child is of an age where she understands what this will mean for her, speak to her honestly about what will happen and how hard you will work to get her back into your home. Answer questions as straightforward as possible but not to the extent that you frighten or intimidate your child. Remember that she will be more nervous and on edge than you will, believe it or not. Children cannot understand every issue you do, so keep that in mind when speaking to your child.

Packing their clothes, favorite games, toys, and any keepsake that you think will help her get through this period can be very helpful. My advice would be to couch the conversation to reassure your child that she did nothing wrong and that you will use the time spent apart to make sure that her house is the happiest and safest place it can be.

What should you pack up for your child before she leaves home?

If you know that removal of your child is going to occur, it is worth packing up warm clothes like a jacket and long pants. Even in the summertime, it can be cool inside buildings that pump A/C constantly. If nothing else, your child will have an extra few sets of clothes if they get dirty during the day if it is too warm to use the cold weather clothes. The necessities like toothpaste, toothbrush, and small toys can go a long way towards reassuring your child that everything will be ok.

It does not always happen that CPS will give you a warning of the removal of your child and instead will surprise you by either coming to your home unannounced or by calling you after the removal altogether. In situations like this, where you have not been granted the opportunity to pack up your child’s belongings, CPS should furnish all the necessities that you would typically handle.

Where will your child be taken once removed from your home?

The options are pretty comprehensive where CPS will take your child once removed from your home. The biggest thing for the CPS worker to have in mind is that your child needs to be safe and in a place where you cannot swoop in and remove your child from their new, temporary home.

It’s even possible that when your child is removed from your home, CPS may not even know then where your child is going to remain. A foster home, a group foster home, a temporary shelter, or the home of a relative of yours or your spouses are all possible places where your child could take up temporary residence during the CPS investigation.

If you have multiple children who have been removed, CPS will exert every effort to keep them together. Space poses a substantial concern in CPS cases because group homes and foster families can become overcrowded. In these situations, your children may require placement in separate homes, but CPS will work diligently to arrange frequent visitations between them.

Provide the contact information for family members to CPS

When CPS determines that your child cannot remain in your home, they prefer to have someone from the individuals listed on your paperwork house your child. In such cases, the CPS caseworker will reach out to these individuals and assess their willingness to provide housing for your child, as well as their ability to ensure your child’s safety in their care.

A judge will make the ultimate determination as to where your child will be living during the investigation. CPS may determine that you have no appropriate relatives with which your child can stay, but you may disagree. If you have strong convictions about this, ensure you discuss it with your attorney. Your attorney can then present an argument to the judge explaining why a specific relative is a suitable caregiver, even if CPS has reservations.

Questions on foster care? Come back tomorrow to read more on this subject

We frequently hear “foster care” and “foster homes,” but these things are not always well known. Tomorrow’s blog post will discuss foster care, foster homes, and their potential impact on your CPS case.

If you have any questions about the subject matter that we covered today, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to answer your questions regarding this and any other subject in the field of family law. Consultations are free of charge and can go a long way towards answering questions you and your family may have.

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