It is possible for a teenager to be a part of a CPS investigation as both the subject of the investigation as a parent as the child who was potential abused or neglected by their parent. If you are a teenage parent then you have the same responsibilities to parent your child like any other parent who may be older than you.
There is no sliding scale based on your being a young parent. It is possible that an allegation could be made against you and that your child could be removed from your home. Termination of your parental rights in extreme circumstances may be warranted as well.
What sort of assistance is available to you as a teenage parent in a CPS case?
As a teenager, you may be able to get assistance in finishing high school and earning a degree. If you are having to work instead of complete your education you may be able to discuss with CPS getting a tutor or aide in helping you stay current in your studies while holding down a job outside of school.
Secondly, if you have not been able to go about starting your life as an “adult”- setting up a bank account or finding a place to live- CPS has access to the resources you will need to complete these life steps.
What if you are incarcerated? How can you protect yourself in a CPS case?
If you are serving time in jail or prison it is not possible for you to be as involved in your CPS case as you could have had you not been behind bars. Your rights and duties to your child are the same as those parents who are not serving time, however.
You will still be notified of any court dates involving your case. Whether or not you can attend the hearings is up to the persons who are in charge of your confinement. If your child has been neglected or abused then you will be able to provide updates to investigators by being interviewed and giving information to CPS personnel about other relatives that you are aware of whom may be able to house your child temporarily while the issues in the investigation are being sorted out.
A large part of any CPS case is a safety or service plan that is created to help ensure that your child is safe. You have the right to be made aware of these plans and the progress being made in achieving the stated objectives of each plan. The CPS caseworker involved in the case can travel to the facility where you are residing in order to provide you with these objectives, or he or she may mail you updates.
Keep in mind that your being in prison does not absolve you from wrongdoing in a CPS case. Just as the parent who did not do enough to prevent the abuse or neglect can have their parental rights terminated, you can as well. The argument to doing so would be that your being in prison allowed your child to be in a situation w]here abuse or neglect was possible. Your being incarcerated is a risk in and of itself to your child.
Helping yourself in a CPS case while in prison
If you are in prison then you still have a role in providing information to CPS if your client’s current home is unsafe. For instance, if you know of persons who would be well suited to house your child for the duration of the CPS investigation that you should provide that information to CPS. It should be a weight off your shoulders to know that your child will reside with a family member or friend during this difficult time.
In prison, you may also have access to the sort of programs that allow you to meet the requirements for the safety plan laid out in the case. If you need to take counseling, parenting classes or other classes then your facility may offer those to you. When you sign up and complete the coursework make sure to let your attorney know so that updates can be filed with the court.
Staying up to date on your case and visiting with your child while in prison
Don’t let being incarcerated be an excuse to keep from being up to date. When documents are mailed to you and you need to be able to read through that documentation. You should also ask your caseworker if it is possible to see your child. If your being in prison has nothing to do with the case and you offer no threat of harm to your child it is likely that you will be allowed to visit your child on a limited basis. Your being in prison should not in and of itself limit your ability to see your child.
You should take any classes made available to you in prison in order to increase your chances of being awarded visitation time. There are parenting skills courses that help you with issues like conflict resolution, dealing with stress and teach you age-appropriate methods of discipline.
Terminating your parental rights while in jail
It is possible that your parental rights may be terminated as a result of your being incarcerated. Yes, it is enough to simply be behind bars during an investigation. If your crime involved harming a child the odds of having your parental rights terminated in the present CPS case go up considerably. If your prison term is longer than two years then you may have a termination suit on your hands as a result of the CPS case.
Whatever the court decides to do, it must do so after determining that it is in the best interests of your child.
How to go to court hearings if you are in prison
Depending on where you are staying in Texas, the rules are different than concern allowing you to attend hearings while in prison. A warrant can be issued in some counties that allow you to leave prison and attend these courtroom hearings in person. It is up to you to request that such a warrant be issued. Notify your attorney as soon as you are able so that he or she may notify the court.
In some instances, you may attend a hearing by telephone or other electronic means. You may have to file a motion and have it approved by the judge in order to do so, so be sure to mention this request to your attorney so that he or she may proceed to request an alternative means of attending the hearing on your behalf.
What if you do not speak English well
Not being able to fluently speak English will be a problem that you have to deal with head on if you want to successfully manage your CPS case. Each time you go to court you need to make sure that your attorney has requested an interpreter so that anything said in court can be translated to your native tongue.
This is a critical step in the process and cannot move forward until an interpreter is made available to you.
Have you been a victim of domestic violence? Be sure to read tomorrow’s blog post
The attorneys and staff of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC would like to thank you for your time and attention in reading today’s blog post. We hope that what you have read is informative and helpful to you as you learn how to manage a CPS case in a successful manner. You may not have all the answers right now, but with our office’s help you can learn and apply your knowledge to your child’s CPS Case.
If you have questions for an attorney please do not hesitate the contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Did you know that we offer free of charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney? We do that, and more, as we will work to educate you on the issues surrounding your child’s case. We hope to see you again tomorrow.
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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 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