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Communicating with Child Protective Services employees during an investigation

You may consider yourself to be a friendly, outgoing person but that does not necessarily mean that you possess the communication skills that are needed to be able to communicate with a CPS case investigator.

The reason for this is that CPS workers are trained to analyze a situation based on things that they see, hear and perceive. When a CPS caseworker or investigator speaks to you, it is to learn more about you and your family. Being aware of how to communicate effectively with your caseworker is probably the most important skill you can develop throughout an investigation.

Know their contact information

It goes without saying that if you need to speak to your caseworker that you should also have their phone number handy. Get their office phone number, cell phone number and email address during your initial consultation with him or her. It is also going to be helpful to have their supervisor’s phone number and email address in case you are having trouble getting a hold of your caseworker.

It does happen that CPS caseworkers get very busy and you may not hear back from your caseworker as often as you would like. This does not mean he or she is ignoring you, but you should give the person the benefit of the doubt at first- as hard as that may be.

Learn your caseworker’s schedule to increase your ability to speak to him or her

If your caseworker is never available on any day from 10 am to 2 pm it is in your best interest to learn that.

These folks have schedules that can change often, but it is probable that he or she has at least a few hours a day where they are available to make and take phone calls. Learn what time works for the caseworker. You will not only increase your chances of speaking to him or her but you will also gain approval in that most people would never think to ask them this.

Be specific when you leave a CPS caseworker a voicemail message

When you call a friend, and they don’t answer you may not even have to leave them a voicemail to get a quick return phone call. Caller ID will tell your friend the time that you attempted to reach him or her. You may even follow up the missed call with a quick text message just to confirm that you were trying to reach them. This is very informal because the nature of your relationship is informal as friends.

Your relationship with your CPS caseworker will not be this informal. You will need to take the approach that this will be among the more formal relationships that you have had in your adult life. For instance, when a phone call goes to voicemail make sure that you identify yourself before leaving a brief message with your phone number included. Specify when you are going to be available to speak on the phone.

You are best off keeping a log of each time you contact your CPS caseworker.

This can apply to phone calls that you make that are returned or phone calls that are not returned. If communication with your CPS caseworker becomes an issue in your court case, you can utilize the call log to speak more specifically to the judge about your efforts to speak to your caseworker regarding your child. At the very least this shows a judge that you are diligent about the case and your child.

Rely on your caseworker’s supervisor to ensure prompt callbacks

If it becomes habitual where you make phone calls to your caseworker and those phone calls are not returned then you should bring the caseworker’s supervisor into the situation by alerting her to the unreturned phone calls. Again, I will point out that CPS caseworkers are legitimately busy and are often unavailable to speak to you when you attempt to contact them.

However, this is not an excuse for failing to call you back within a reasonable amount of time. Do not feel like you are tattling on your caseworker by calling the supervisor. It is important that you have information about your child investigation and the best point of contact to do so is your CPS caseworker.

Additional tips for working with your CPS case supervisor

Being motivated to take seriously the allegations made against you is perhaps the most essential characteristic that you can possess during your CPS investigation. If you are being accused of neglecting or abusing your child, it is not something to take lightly.

With that said, you can show a judge that by participating and cooperating in the investigation that you understand that your child’s safety is potentially at risk and that it is your primary responsibility to see to it that your child is kept safe from harm.

Tell the truth in any situation (even if it is going to hurt you)

Giving false information to a CPS caseworker is a bad move. For one, CPS is going to work to verify any statement you give to them by asking many other people for their “stories” about a particular event. It is unlikely that CPS will take your word for it as it pertains to a matter that involves the investigation.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between lying to a CPS investigator and holding back on your answers until you can speak to your attorney. If you can answer the question of a CPS caseworker in a brief, concise and honest fashion you are better off doing so. Additional information can be provided down the road but you ought to speak to your attorney before discussing anything sensitive.

Showing respect is a courtesy that the CPS caseworker will appreciate

CPS caseworkers have a job that allows them to see sides of people that are not all that flattering. These folks encounter people on the worst days of their lives and then have to step further into that world that is made up of anger and frustration. If you show the caseworker respect that respect will be returned to you in how the caseworker treats you and your family.

Respect can also be shown not only in how you treat another person and by how you speak to him or her, but by keeping your appointments and being punctual to meetings. When you have a scheduled time to see, your child make sure you arrive on time as agreed.

Phone ahead to CPS if you are going to be late for any reason. Remember that CPS workers are busy just like you are. Keeping them waiting with no explanation as to why can be extremely frustrating. What’s more- if you miss meetings this will be documented, and the judge will have questions as to what else you had to do that was more important than this investigation and case.

Visiting with your child during an investigation- tomorrow’s blog post topic

Being with your child under adverse circumstances is an unfortunate reality in a CPS investigation. It is not easy to have to meet with your child while a caseworker or other person is nearby but learning how to take advantage of the time you do have with your child during an investigation is critical for your and your child’s relationship. We will discuss this topic in greater detail in tomorrow’s blog post.

Any questions about CPS investigations or any subject in family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney. We would be honored to speak to you regarding your situation and how our office would be able to help you and your family.

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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.

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