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Should you talk to CPS without a lawyer?

And extremely daunting in nerve-wracking experience. That is how most parents that I've ever worked with will describe a CPS case. A CPS case is one where a report of abuse or neglect has been made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. This is the state agency that is charged with keeping children and vulnerable adults safe. When to report comes into CPS basic research into the matter will be conducted to determine whether there is enough information to proceed with an investigation.

CPS may make phone calls, interview people, or look up police reports. If it is determined that there is enough information and that it is likely that abuse or neglect has occurred, they will conduct a more thorough investigation which likely involves reaching out to you and your family. This may be done over the phone but more likely where do you come to your home to ask you questions about your child and the nature of the report that was made. The actual reporter will remain anonymous. Likely, you will never find out who made the report initially to CPS. Rather, your role in the process is to do what is in the best interests of your children and two work to ensure that CPS completes its investigation and is no longer a part of your life.

The trouble with that, however, is that getting CPS out of your life for good can be easier said than done. Once it is determined that an investigation needs to be had CPS can utilize a great deal of its authority to investigate you and your family. This may include interviewing you, members of your household, and even your child. It is possible that CPS can even interview your child without your permission if the interview occurs at the child's school. This can be a lot for any parent to consider and is undoubtedly a stressful time. For most people, you will have more questions than you do answers during this time.

On top of that, the questions that you have maybe exacerbated by other concerns. For example, you will still half to go to work to earn a living for your family during this time. Next, your other children will still demand just as much of your time during a case. Any other commitments you have in your life will also be considered. All in all, the responsibilities of your daily life can seem to be overwhelming in and of themselves while you also face the challenges of the CPS case.

This will be a good time for you to consider what kind of support system you have in place to balance out these concerns. Do you have friends or family members that you can turn to and lean on during difficult times? What about trusting people in your life three your church or other local organizations that she can turn to if you need someone with a listening ear in a patient approach to family problems? These are the sort of questions that you need to be asking yourself. To be sure, a CPS case is a challenge. However, it is a challenge best met with family and friends by your side.

Outside of family and friends, you then need to consider whether having a family law attorney by your side could also be of some assistance. You may be wondering what health an attorney can provide you in a circumstance involving CPS. Do new family law attorneys help with CPS cases? I can answer that question with the resulting, yes, they do. Family law attorneys do help with CPS cases. The question that you need to consider is whether a family law attorney is best positioned to help you and your family in whatever circumstances you are facing regarding a CPS case. 

In today's blog posts from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I'm going to do my best to share with you some coherent thoughts on CPS cases, and well there are not having an experienced family law attorney could be of some assistance to you. Understanding that every family and every CPS case is different, I would like to approach this subject has been one that may be different for different types of people. The best way for me to help you learn more about CPS cases is to simply walk you through the process and provide you with basic information that can help you find out what you are facing and then make decisions that suit you and your family for the best.

Why would CPS be investigating you? If CPS has initiated an investigation into you and your family, it is because an anonymous person has made a report to CPS that he or she believes your child has been abused or neglected. Abuse typically means physical harm to your child. That harm could be in the context of disciplining him or her, it could be the context of sexual abuse or any other type of physical harm. This includes pinching, biting, striking, slapping, and other types of physical harm. 

Neglect involves placing your child into a situation where physical harm or emotional abuse is likely. By the same token, it can also mean failing to remove your child from a circumstance that should have given you a reason to believe that physical abuse, emotional harm, or sexual abuse may have resulted. No harm needs have occurred to your child for neglect finding to be made against you. the example that I like to give is when a parent leaves their four-year-old child home alone for a period this is neglect. It doesn't matter if the child watched television for the entire time and nothing adverse happened to him or her. This would still count as neglect because it is foreseeable that some harm could have occurred to your 4-year-old by leaving him or her alone without supervision for an extended period.

As we mentioned earlier, you probably will not know who made the report to CPS. The CPS report could have been made by a teacher, administrator, principal, pastor, neighbor, friend, or even a family member of yours. The general rule of thumb that I apply to these cases is that even if you find out who made the report to CPS you should not attempt to confront him or her about it. I understand that your natural inclination may be anger, frustration, or even betrayal. However, if you attempt to resolve some issue with him or her directly it could lead to significant adverse consequences for your child and your case. Rather, you should devote your time and energy to ending the CPS investigation and moving towards the resolution of your case.

CPS looks into every allegation of abuse or neglect which comes into their office. The report will be assigned to the local CPS field office for your area After the initial report is made. This is where a CPS caseworker or investigator may meet your family. In the information collecting phase of a case, CPS will attempt to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to be able to conduct a full-fledged investigation. As I'm sure you could imagine CPS receives all sorts of reports of abuse and neglect against children. Some are made of five people who simply want to disrupt the lives of another person. However, many more involve actual concerns about the well-being of children.

Something important that you may not be aware of is that every person has a duty to inform CPS of potential abuse or neglect of a child. There is no consequence if you or another person make an allegation of abuse or neglect where none has occurred. The state of Texas wants to encourage people to perform these acts on behalf of children. The thought is that if civil or criminal penalties were associated with making reports of obesity and neglect that were not substantiated then people may be less willing to stick their neck out and try to protect children.

What sort of power does CPS have during an investigation?

Just how invasive is a typical CPS investigation? The CPS investigator will attempt to gather information about your child. That information should be based upon a well-intentioned attempt to discover whether abuse or neglect has occurred. The safety of your child and their best interests is at the heart of these investigations. When CPS becomes a part of your life it does so under certain circumstances and with a goal in mind to protect your children. Even though it may not seem like it at times the agency does have limited means to discover helpful information. Investigating in collecting basic evidence in this regard is an important part of their function and duty.

There are multiple ways that CPS can investigate matters related to your family. Let's walk through some of those ways right now. The most direct way to obtain information regarding your case will be to talk to people you have information about the subjects related to abuse and neglect. This would include the type of people who are closest to you and your children. Your neighbors, your family, your friends, teachers, and doctors may all be interviewed. It also may include members of your household including any adult and yourself.

Teachers are an especially important source of information in most cases. This is since teachers can have access to your children while you are not with them. They can see a side of your child that many other people are not able to get. As a result, they may be able to offer a viewpoint on the situation that is significantly different than what neighbors or even family members might be able to provide them with. Although this is not guaranteed to happen CPS may also interview your children without your permission if the interview takes place at school and they are given permission by a person who works at the school such as an administrator or counselor.

It is common for CPS to take photographs of your home during an investigation. There may be a defect in the home that is causing the threat of harm to your child. A loose handrail on the staircase, exposed wiring in the house, or firearms or other weapons that are not properly put away could be the basis for a CPS investigation. Fortunately, these conditions can be remedied simply by taking precautions in the home like locking up weapons or fixing a loose handrail. 

CPS caseworkers are also trained in identifying physical signs of abuse through bodily scans. CPS caseworker may do a basic examination of the child to see if there are any visible or outward signs of violence or abuse. Examples would include marks on your child like bruising or signs of malnutrition like an overly gaunt physique. This is all firsthand information and evidence that can be used to determine whether or not abuse or neglect has occurred.

It is also likely that CPS would work to obtain documents that are potentially related to your case. She's getting clewed any history that your family has had with CPS. For example, have you had investigations with CPS in the past? Have you or any other family members ever been found to have abused or neglected a child? If so, then this would be potentially relevant information for an investigation into your case. Police reports or medical records may also be relevant if they exist. This documentary evidence can be used in combination with interviews to provide the caseworker with a basic understanding of were there or not abuse or neglect is likely to have occurred.

What can you do during a CPS investigation? 

For the entirety of today's blog post, we have been discussing the role that CPS plays in a CPS investigation. However, you are likely wondering what it is you can do during a CPS case to help end the investigation and position yourself well to make sure that your relationship with your child is not harmed. The bottom line in a CPS case is that you need to be able to show that you can keep your children safe from harm. This may frustrate and anger you- to learn that someone out there is questioning whether you can keep your child safe from harm. 

The most important thing that you need to determine is whether you would like to hire an attorney to represent you during the CPS investigation. You have the right to talk to a lawyer at any point during their investigation. During the investigation phase of a case, you will have the ability to hire a lawyer, but one will not be provided to you by the court. After that, if your case proceeds to the courtroom and there is a chance that your parental rights may be terminated then a court-appointed attorney will be made available to you.

Let's walk through some tips on how you can show CPS that you can keep your children safe from harm. One of the simplest things you can do to show them that you are a competent parent is to provide them with a list of credible people in your life who can speak to your skill, and experience in your desire to be a good parent. Start to think about family members or friends who would be willing to step into this role and provide Context to a CPS investigation. Consider the names because CPS will likely conduct a background investigation into the people you provide them with. 

Providing CPS with information of this sort can be especially important because there may be real questions about how the injury would occur two-year a child. It may even be the case that your child was never actually injured but it simply appears that he or she is. In that case, you should Make certain that there is someone available who can speak to CPS that can vouch for your position. You may want to speak to any people like this with your attorney before they engage directly with Social Security.

The other piece of advice that I can give to you in this regard is to always keep your calm and not lose your cool when it comes to interacting with a caseworker. Ultimately, a CPS caseworker will not take anything personal against you. Rather, simply put The CPS caseworker will Job professionally. If you can do the same, then you give yourself the best chance to conclude an investigation quickly and efficiently. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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