The good news is that your child is back in your home after a long absence due to an ongoing CPS case. The not so good news is that you are now going to have to make adjustments to how you did things previously. The successful integration of your child back into your home is the objective you are aiming to accomplish.
Focus on your child’s health by learning about the medical care they’ve received
A step that many people do not think of at the outset of your child’s return to your home would be to contact any physician who has treated your child over the course of the investigation and to request updated medical records. Your child may have been put on public health insurance so you should find out if that is still active and if it is you should determine when the coverage expires.
Your child may not have been seeing his or her normal pediatrician during the case so you should find out where he or she was going for medical care. This is important to do especially if your child is taking medicine that you need to be knowledgeable about. Calendar important dates like when medicines are set to run out or when your child has an appointment to see their pediatrician.
The role of CPS after your child has returned to your home
It is probable that CPS will continue to keep an eye on you and your family during the immediate time period after your child has been returned to your home. CPS will come to your home and see how your child is doing and how your home looks. Hearings will be set up periodically for the judge to see how everything is going and if any additional services need to be in place for you and your child. This period of time can last for up to six months, so you should mentally prepare yourself for the continued involvement of CPS. Once a judge feels satisfied that your child is safe and you are no longer in need of CPS support your case will be dismissed.
Keep in mind that if CPS finds a problem with your care of your child during this six month period your child can be removed again in order to ensure that their safety is maintained. The consequences that you face for having your child be re-removed from your home can be serious. If your child is removed the case will need to be concluded within six months which means you will not have near the time you did previously to explain to a judge why your child needs to be returned to you. CPS services will still be available but you will not have as long a time period to take courses or attend counseling like you did before.
CPS doesn’t have to be a constant presence in your life- here’s how to move on from your case
At this stage in the game you are likely frustrated as can be with CPS. You grew impatient with them when your child was removed, you disliked having to attend meetings and court hearings during the case. Once you found out that the judge was going to allow your child back into your home you were overjoyed at the thought of never having CPS caseworkers in your home again.
Repeat offenders is a term you may have heard be utilized in regard to people who break the law consistently and end up in jail multiple times. The same general concept applies to parents who have become cyclically involved in CPS cases involving their child. It is my hope that you never become involved with CPS again after going through what you have gone through with your initial case.
In order to avoid having CPS be a constant fixture in your life you should take steps to learn why CPS was involved in your life in the first place and how to best ensure that you will not be seeing their caseworkers in your life moving forward.
If your child has special needs- be they physical, mental or behavioral you should seek all the assistance you can find in order to avoid having CPS become the sort of fixture in your life that they had become over the course of the prior year. The same advice applies if you have mental or physical difficulties. When these difficulties are exacerbated by stress you may not be able to pay as close attention to your child as is needed. This sets you up to get involved in a vicious cycle where your health problems lead to CPS involvement when your level of care begins to slip.
Drug and alcohol abuse should be avoided at all costs if you do not want CPS to reappear at your door in a few months. I realize that it is easy for me to type this, but difficult for any person dealing with addiction to actually have to manage that addiction by staying sober and focused on their parenting. With that said it is no excuse to have a difficult addiction to manage which takes over your life and impedes upon your parenting of your child. Attend counseling and narcotics/alcoholics anonymous courses with regularity. Find support in your family and/or church.
Finally, consider moving yourself and your child to an area where you have a wider safety net available to you. If you are living away from family that could assist you in difficult times consider finding employment and housing in a new area so that you and your child are not one missed paycheck from living on the streets. Speak to your family about the possibility of coming to stay with them for a short time while you find work and a place to live that you can afford. These are the people that can make a huge difference between your being a part of multiple CPS cases and your being able to raise your child well and in the presence of friends and family.
Remember your number one objective is to keep your child safe from harm
The entire reason why CPS became involved in your life in the first place is because there were allegations made against you that you were not doing enough to keep your child safe from abuse or neglect. The steps that I’ve outlined in the previous section are not to constantly remind you that you have made mistakes or to disrupt your life any more than it already has been. It is to remind you of the child that you owe a great deal of responsibility to.
If you do need to take time to better yourself in rehab, counseling or therapy of some sort take the time and effort to ensure your child can remain someplace safe- preferably with a relative. This way you can see to it that you are kept clean and sober, while your child is kept safe with a relative. CPS will not need to be involved here in that case.
Likewise, choose your relationships well and decide if a person is someone you would want to introduce into your child’s life. Your new partner may bring people into your home that you do not approve of but at that point it may be too late. Decide what kind of people you will want to associate with before you engage in relationships. Your child will thank you for doing so.
Managing a CPS case and staying organized- tomorrow’s blog post topics
We will begin a discussion tomorrow on keeping yourself organized and staying on top of your CPS case. If you have questions for the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC I would recommend that you contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with a licensed family law attorney.
Our attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas just like you and we take pride in our advocacy and our representation of our clients’ rights in difficult situations. We would be honored to speak to you about doing the same for you and your family.