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Here is what you should do when Child Protective Services knocks at your door

Don’t stress out when CPS contacts you about a report of abuse or neglect related to your child. You can take action to protect your family and yourself when CPS comes knocking on your door. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are well-equipped to help you in your time of need.

This overview will act as a great way for you to acclimate yourself to a CPS investigation. Additionally, you can rest assured that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are available to help. Take seriously any phone calls or contact efforts made by CPS. 

Being suspected of abuse or neglect of your child when you have done nothing wrong is not a fun position to be in. Even if that is not what you have done, even a suspicion like this can be enough to cause great stress to your family. Fear not, however. This overview today provided by the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a great place for you to start learning about CPS investigations. Contact our office today for a free-of-charge consultation with an experienced CPS defense attorney. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week and can help you with the questions that you have.

What does Child Protective Services do? 

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a state agency tasked to protect vulnerable children across the State of Texas. People across the state of Texas will make reports to CPS about alleged acts of abuse and neglect. CPS transmits reports made to them to appropriate, local CPS offices. CPS assigns caseworkers to investigate these reports. Investigations begin most quickly when reports relate to an immediate risk of harm to children.

What happens when CPS contacts you and your family?

CPS will contact your family after a report comes in regarding your children. You can decide when first contacted by CPS. Essentially you will do one of two things. First, you can contact CPS and allow them access to your home. The second option is to refuse contact and not allow CPS to interview you, your child, or to see your home. Initially, there is nothing wrong with refusing contact with CPS.

Without a court order or search warrant, CPS cannot force themselves into your house. You are in a position where concerns about the forced removal of your child are relevant. Additionally, people in your life may be talking to you about how CPS is aggressive in trying to make you do things against your will during an investigation. While CPS has been known to throw its weight around you are still in the driver’s seat during an investigation.

What can you do initially to protect your family and set the tone for your CPS case?

It is normal to feel thrown off guard when CPS comes to visit your home. No parent would willingly ask CPS to become a part of their life. You have a family life, work responsibilities, and other endeavors to attend to. Worrying about CPS and their involvement with your family is the last thing that you would seek out. However, now that CPS is on your doorstep (literally) there are steps you can take to protect your loved ones.

Should you allow CPS access to your home?

Consider first whether it is wise to allow CPS access to your home. Your front door represents the main barrier to entry to your family. This is true in a literal and metaphorical sense. This is true since CPS cannot gain entry to your home without going through your front door. It is also figuratively true since CPS cannot speak to you, your child, or any other adult until granted access to your home.

An attorney can assist you when dealing with subject matter related to CPS. Your case is new enough that you can avoid mistakes by receiving good, timely legal advice. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are not only experienced at helping parents in your position but also can provide you with the advice that you seek. We are not attorneys for our clients during business hours. You can reach out to our attorneys around the clock. We aim to serve our clients and their needs and put every effort into doing so.

What allegations are investigated by CPS?

CPS investigates allegations made relating to the abuse and/or neglect of children. Abuse can be sexual, physical, or emotional. Neglect has more to do with placing a child into or failing to remove a child from a situation that foreseeably could lead to harm. Harm does not need to have occurred for you to be found to have neglected your child.

Any adult can make a report to CPS having to do with abuse or neglect of a child. Neighbors report what they see around your home. Doctors or nurses must make reports about abuse or neglect they observe. Teachers are a frequent source of abuse and/or neglect reports to CPS. As a result, any adult who meets your child can make a report on behalf of your child.

Should you try and discover the identity of the reporter?

CPS will not make known to you the identity of the person who makes the report of abuse or neglect. Anonymous are reports made to CPS. You likely have thoughts about who the identity of the reporter is. Making threats or accusations towards a person you think made a report is not a good idea. Rather, your focus during a CPS investigation should be on ending the investigation. Second, your focus should be squarely on ensuring the safety and well-being of your child.

Do not take time during your CPS case to try and seek out the person whom you believe made the report to CPS. It is normal to feel betrayed by this person. However, approaching him or her will do nothing for your child in the immediate sense. Additionally, you will distract from your investigation by going on a side quest to discover the reporter’s identity.

The importance of building a support system during a CPS case

Talk to your family and friends during the CPS investigation. You will need support during this time. Friends and family are here for you during your time of need. Your extended family plays a critical part in a CPS investigation. They are present for you emotionally and physically as a support system. You should talk to them and confide in them as best you can. This is what family is for support during tough times in your life. 

When removal of your children from your home occurs then your family may act as a temporary home for them. Removal of your children can occur because of a CPS investigation. CPS must ask you for family in the area with whom your children can stay. CPS will contact your family members and inquire as to whether they would be willing to house your children.

Your family will undergo a background check and criminal history check. Research regarding their involvement with CPS is important. If they pass these background checks, then your family member may house your child temporarily during a CPS case. Foster care is an option for your child if no family members live in the area. Your family members are the ideal temporary home for your child if they are removed from your home.

Do not avoid discussions of your case with family members 

It is normal to want to hide details about sensitive material involved in your CPS case. It is not pleasant in a CPS case involving your child. However, for the betterment of your child, you should discuss this subject with your family. Opening up and sharing information about your tough times can strengthen you during this case. When you share information, you build a stronger relationship as a result.

Instead of avoiding conversations like this, you must make known your situation. Your family can help you logistically by helping you plan out how to get your child back into your home. Your family and you can discuss topics such as family life and stress tips. Removal of your child from your home allows your family to act as a safety net.

What are the goals of a CPS investigator during an investigation?

CPS investigators must list certain goals for their investigation. Discoveries made in the case will determine which of the three main goals are sought. First, CPS will pursue reunification with you in your child. Removal of your child from your home and you participate in the investigation- reunification is sought. This means that your child lives outside your home for a period. Then, once you show steps towards meeting mutually defined goals, your child returns home.

Next, placement with a family member of yours is a second goal. This occurs when you are unable to meet certain reunification goals. Not participating in family-based social services or completing a safety plan are examples. Not taking seriously the investigation and the risks to your child are another. Having an experienced attorney at your side prevents this from happening.

Finally, termination of parental rights is goal number three. When you show an absolute lack of parenting acumen with no desire to improve this is an option for CPS. It is an extreme case when termination of parental rights is sought. You must push CPS to its limits to consider this outcome. CPS needs to pursue this goal as part of a legal case in front of a judge. Hiring an attorney can increase your chances of not having your parental rights terminated.

How easily can you contact a CPS investigator?

A CPS investigator provides you with their information during an investigation. You can contact this investigator and their supervisor with questions. The investigator encourages you to do so. However, it is not easy to reach an investigator with CPS by phone or email. CPS investigators are notoriously busy and overworked. These investigators have many cases to work on simultaneously. As a result, you need to work to remain in contact with them.

When you have questions about your case, call the investigator. Removal of your child from your home means you should call the investigator. Interest is shown when you call the investigator after removal. Document each attempt you make at contacting the investigator. Similarly, contact their supervisor when you cannot reach the investigator.

An experienced CPS defense attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help you remain in solid contact with a CPS caseworker. We know how to be diligent in a CPS case. Our attorneys know how to make the most of every conversation. We know the importance of professionalism when interacting with this state agency. Contact us today for a free of charge consultation.

After removal of your child from your home what occurs?

Removal from your home during a CPS investigation is possible. from your home because of a CPS investigation. What would you do? Where would you begin? Where your child goes is important and CPS informs you of that location. Visits with your child will take place. You will work out a visitation schedule between CPS and yourself. Guidelines related to visiting your child exist. No matter how long or short, attend each visitation session provided to you.

Removal of your child from your home means a court date is set up. This initial hearing allows you to present contrary evidence showing why your child should be sent home. Make no mistake, having an attorney for this hearing is critical. Your child may return home with you after this hearing. Or your child remains longer in foster care and out of your home. An attorney helps to present your care most fully and effectively to a judge. Consider your options and contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan for assistance.

Seek out an experienced CPS defense attorney when your child after removed from your home. When removal occurs, filing of a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship results. This petition includes an affidavit that contains all the pertinent information on CPS basing the removal. In their petition, CPS names itself as the temporary managing conservator of your child.

CPS gathers information during their investigation and uses that in their petition. CPS uses information provided in the initial report in this petition. Family-Based Social Services (FBSS) reports back information to CPS utilized in the petition. This happens when you have participated in that process before removal. Either you will voluntarily allow CPS temporary custody or CPS goes to court to obtain that right.

Again, you do not need to agree to the removal of your child from your home. You have the right to fight that removal if it is not in the best interests of your child. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan advocate for children and their families in CPS court daily. A free-of-charge consultation with one of our attorneys can educate you on this subject.

Emergency removals of children by CPS

CPS does remove children without court orders in some situations. In emergency circumstances, this occurs. CPS must file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship after removal no longer than the following business after removal. Hearings where you and your co-parent are not present are ex-parte hearings.

At an ex-parte hearing, the court signs a court order that allows the removal of your child from your home. This order allows CPS to arrive at your home and remove your child from the home. Do not physically attempt to stop removal while it occurs.

The law in Texas is that a hearing must be held within fourteen days of an emergency removal of your child. This hearing determines whether CPS can maintain temporary custody. You have the right to present evidence in this hearing as does CPS. You may testify under oath about why removal is inappropriate.

You should seek out representation before this adversarial hearing. An attorney makes a major difference in your case. You present evidence more succinctly. You argue points more clearly. Your testimony is better rehearsed and more intentional. You may ask the court for a continuance when you have no attorney at the initial hearing. 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan stand ready to assist you and your family. We have experience defending families in front of CPS courts. Trust us with that responsibility and contact us today for more information.

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

If you have questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please 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 to learn more about the world of Texas family law. We also will help you understand the impacts on your family of filing a divorce, child custody, or CPS case.

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