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What happens if I ignore CPS?

Many people are aware of the saying that you have the right to remain silent if you are ever stopped and asked questions by a police officer. This line is part of the list of rights that are included in the so-called Miranda warnings. Information that you tell law enforcement can potentially be used against you in criminal proceedings. The purpose of the Miranda warning being read to you is to remind you of the rights that you possess under the US Constitution so that you do not inadvertently violate your rights.

When it comes to being in a position like this, you may feel pressured to answer questions and talk to people who appear to be in positions of authority. Consider what you would do if you were at home minding your own business, I would like to have a police officer knock on your front door and begin to ask you questions about something. Many of us would simply react to the situation much like we would any person asking us a question or initiating conversation in our daily lives. The major difference is that what you say to a police officer can have an impact on any pending or future criminal charge brought against us.

Although not the same type of circumstance, if Child Protective Services began an investigation into possible abuse or neglect of your child then you may be facing something similar. When a Child Protective Services employee such as an investigator or caseworker comes to your house and begins to ask you questions how do you think you would respond? Many people would simply answer questions without a second thought. However, I have also been in situations where people that our law practice has worked with have completely ignored and disregarded questions from Child Protective Services for various reasons.

To begin with, you are under no obligation to speak to anyone from CPS. This is true even if they try to pressure you to do so or even utilize your child as a bargaining chip to enter a conversation with them. Intimidation and misplaced concerns over their ability to remove your child from your home have led many people to unnecessarily answer questions and engage in conversations with CPS much as we saw in the example of law enforcement from earlier in today's blog post. While you are certainly able to speak to CPS if that is your decision, you should also be aware that there is no obligation for you to do so.

What are the consequences of your ignoring CPS?

However, just because you are within your legal rights to ignore CPS if they come knocking on your door does not mean that there are no consequences for you deciding to do so. It is most likely true that if CPS is attempting to get a hold of you regarding a matter involving your child that a report came into CPS involving potential incidents of abuse or neglect. CPS receives anonymous reports of abuse and neglect of children every day. These reports are made to the agency and then followed up on by caseworkers and investigators from the agency daily. The agency will attempt to decide whether abuse or neglect has occurred.

To make this decision the agency will attempt to investigate the allegation itself. CPS can conduct interviews of you or any other family member in your home including your child, potentially access medical and school records, and perform research on social media. All this is done to help make it determination about whether the allegations of abuse or neglect have a basis in reality. Depending on the type of information that can be discovered CPS will either decide to open a full-fledged investigation or even decide whether abuse or neglect has occurred. The result of that investigation in the finding by CPS can have a dramatic impact on your life, that of your child, and your relationship with him or her.

It is not a given that anything will happen regarding your child and CPS. For example, CPS could open an investigation into how it gay shuns abuse or neglect involving your child and simply determine that there is insufficient evidence to decide one way or the other. In that case, an unable to determine the outcome would result and CPS would close its investigation. This is the result of many cases where a credible allegation has been made by someone but for whatever reason CPS was not able to substantiate the allegation.

Next, CPS can also rule out the abuse or neglect of your child if they can collect sufficient evidence and determine that abuse or neglect of every child did not occur. In this case, they would be able to close out their investigation and you would potentially have greater Peace of Mind that future investigations would not occur. It can be difficult to withstand a CPS investigation but there are circumstances where it may be in your best interest to participate in the investigation by answering questions and providing information. Many families deal with CPS allegations of abuse and neglect regularly, some without merit. By participating in these types of investigations you can ensure the safety of your child and eliminate the risk of CPS involvement in the future.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to participate in a CPS investigation depends upon your specific circumstances. It would be near impossible for me to give you an opinion on your circumstances without knowing exactly what they are. In this situation involving CPS, you are best served by seeking the advice and perspective of experienced CPS defense attorneys so that you can know the best course of action to take for your family. In this situation, you are facing information as your friend. Do not take for granted to what extent you can learn a lot about yourself and your family simply by asking questions.

What can happen after your child is removed from your house in a CPS investigation?

Ultimately, one of the consequences of ignoring CPS is that your child may be removed from your home because of the investigation. Bear in mind, however, that This is not a certainty. Rather, CPS will only choose to remove your child if it believes doing so is in your child's best interests and that your child is at risk of abuse or neglect in an immediate sense where he or she is left in your home. The agency would have to be able to make an argument that leaving your child in your home would be dangerous to your child's physical health or mental well-being.

However, let's walk through a hypothetical situation in which your child is removed from your home because of a CPS investigation. When your child is removed from your home you may or may not be in the home. CPS would obtain a court order signed by a judge that permits them to remove your child from the home. The court order would be all CPS needs to remove your child from the home. CPS would come to your home with a police officer, sheriff's deputy, or constable to facilitate the removal of your child. Attempting to interfere with the removal of your child may be a reasonable response to have is apparent but it almost assuredly will hurt you in the long run and could even prevent you from regaining custody of your child in the short term.

Any documentation or paperwork that is filed with the court will be provided to you. The initial filing into a CPS case that will be filed by an attorney for the agency will be known as a petition. Once an anonymous report is made to CPS and an investigation is conducted the agency will need to determine whether it is in your child's best interest to be removed from the home. As we have already discussed this would likely be due to a circumstance involving an immediate threat of harm to your child. It also oftentimes involves circumstances where you display an unwillingness to participate in the investigation or otherwise cooperate with CPS. In that case, CPS may choose to remove your child from the home temporarily to prevent immediate harm to your child. How long your child is ultimately outside of your home depends on several factors specific to your case.

What should you be thinking about as your child is removed from that home?

Undoubtedly, he will have a lot on your mind during a time when your child is removed from your home. You will almost certainly be worried about the future of your relationship with your child and what the removal of him or her will do to that relationship. Many parents fear that removal will forever harm their relationship with their child and can even lead to the automatic termination of their parental rights. While the termination of your parental rights is a possibility as the result of a CPS case that is an absolute last recourse at the agency typically reserved for extreme circumstances. Rather than attempt to terminate your parental rights, the agency would much prefer that you take whatever remedial steps are recommended to maintain a safe home environment for your family.

Something that many people do not realize in conjunction with a CPS case is that you have the right to be represented by an attorney in your CPS case in the event your child is removed. You can simply ask the family court judge to appoint an attorney on your behalf. In circumstances where your parental rights are in jeopardy then you have an absolute right to representation. This is true even if you cannot afford an attorney. You may be required to file a request for representation with the court and even provide information displaying your financial limitations and a need for a lawyer to be appointed in your case. You should find out about all of this from the clerk of the court who may be willing or able to provide you with the documentation to do so. However, only an attorney will ever provide you with legal advice regarding your case.

Even if you choose to participate in the investigation, you still have the right to be able to remain silent or answer questions based on the specific circumstances of your case. Whatever the allegations that are being made against you, you can either say that the allegations are true or that they are false. Guidance on this type of subject matter is incredibly important, however. Having an experienced family law attorney be able to help guide you and provide you with circumstance-specific information and advice can be crucial to your being able to succeed in a complicated CPS case.

Whatever the next steps in your case are as far as a hearing or other court-related appearance, you have the right to be notified of any pending court dates. Bear in mind, however, that while you have the right to be notified of court dates that does not necessarily mean that anyone is going to hold your hand and make sure that you are president for future court dates. Rather, you will be provided with written notice before the next court date, and you will need to make your accommodations for making sure that you arrive at the courthouse on time and are prepared for the next hearing.

Just because your child has been removed from your home does not mean that you have no opportunity to be able to win back custody. On the contrary, you can be able to win back primary custody of your child away from the state of Texas. However, it can take some due diligence on your part and being accountable to the process and your child. Even if you believe that the entire investigation is flawed and then you have done nothing wrong, can you get to the point where think judge is reviewing evidence and making determinations about your child you need to take the process seriously. Otherwise, you may truly find yourself in a position where your relationship as a parent with your child is in jeopardy.

The bottom line in CPS cases is that you will likely find the pace of your case moves extremely quickly. This is important because the learning curve associated with the process is necessarily a fast one. If you cannot learn and understand what is expected of you in this case, you will be at an extreme disadvantage. Even if you are diligent and attempt to learn how to handle this type of case but are unsuccessful you can still have your parental rights terminated. Or the length of the case may be extended unnecessarily where you otherwise would have been able to have the case done and over with rather quickly.

All how important it is for you to be able to have guidance throughout this process. No one is going to try to take advantage of you or harm your child or you during the process. However, the process is what it is and you are expected to be able to cooperate or at the very least understand your rights and those of your child at every stage of the case. Being someone who is good-natured but does not take the time and effort necessary to learn about the process is doomed to be able to suffer certain consequences.

General themes of a CPS case after removal

In most circumstances, if your child is removed from your home then you will work with CPS on a plan to facilitate the reunification of you and your child. This means that there may need to be remedial steps taken by you to allow your child to return home. Usually, this means the removal of certain conditions in your house that may be dangerous to your child or the possibility of you taking parenting classes or another counseling type of work to eliminate a trait of yours that is dangerous to your child in the opinion of CPS.

You will also be able to provide CPS with the names of individuals with whom your child could be placed during the CPS case. A hearing will be held with the judge to determine who is best suited to care for your child during the pendency of a case.

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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  5. How to prevent a second CPS investigation after your first concludes
  6. Family Law Cases in Texas: The final stages of a CPS case
  7. When can CPS remove your child from your home in Texas and what can you do about it?
  8. What to do if you no longer like your CPS service plan?
  9. In what circumstances could your child end up living with your relative during a CPS case?
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  11. What to do if your spouse is being investigated by CPS in Texas for abuse or neglect of your child?
  12. Can CPS photograph your house and request your child’s medical records in Texas?

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 important 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.

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