When you are working your way through a Child Protective Services investigation the time that you are afforded with your child is precious. Having a child removed from your house was an ordeal that you hope will never be repeated and whatever your faults are when it comes to parenting your child you’ve vowed to not repeat them moving forward.
Whether your visitation session with your child is supervised and unsupervised, parting ways with your child at the conclusion of a session will prove to be difficult. With that said today’s blog post will include information and advice on how to end a visitation session with the least amount of difficulty for both you and your child.
In the concluding sections of the blog, we will go over some miscellaneous pieces of advice that our attorneys have collected over the years in representing parents like you in CPS cases.
Quick isn’t always easy but it is for the best
While it is human nature to want to hold on to your child (literally and figuratively) after the conclusion of your visitation session, the best advice that I can give is to allow your child to leave with their caregivers/CPS and for you to go your separate ways as soon as the visitation time has ended.
It is a great idea to use your remaining minutes together to plan your next visitation session in advance. This way your child (and you) have something to look forward to.
Get feedback from any person who supervised your visitation period
If you are still at the point in your investigation where supervised visitation is necessary it is a good idea to speak to the supervisor after your child has left the room. If you can improve in any one area or make changes to your behavior you can inquire about this. Next, ask for a general assessment of how you did during the visitation session.
All parents have “blind spots” when it comes to their parenting. You may be doing something that feels natural but in practice is a not something that should be done. The only way you can learn these things is to ask. You are in a unique position to learn from other people what your strengths and weaknesses are as a parent. You would be well served to take advantage of the resources available to you.
Finally, remember that visitation sessions do not need to occur at the CPS office unless you do not have another location where a qualified adult can host. Ask your family and friends if any of them would be willing to consider hosting you and your child. Extend the list of people you are considering beyond friends and family to teachers, neighbors or extended family. So long as CPS approves of the person you will be in a position to get your child out of the CPS office.
What to do during a CPS visitation session with your child
Your child is interested in you and what you are doing in connection with your investigation- even if he or she does not seem like they are. It is up to you to make the first move of letting him or her know of any progress made in the safety or service plan. For instance- did you start to attend anger management or alcohol abuse counseling?
You can also ask your child about their experiences since being removed from your home. Ask your child about new friends that she has made or experiences he has been able to share with their foster parents.
A piece of general advice that I find to be helpful for parents in these situations is to ignore your phone as much as possible. Leave it in your car or turn it off completely when you are in the room with your child. It is so common that we probably don’t even notice it much any more when parents and children are out at dinner and nobody is talking to one another but instead are staring intently at something on their cell phones.
You may not even notice it when a brief glance at your phone turns into a few minutes straight of ignoring everything and anyone in the room with you. To avoid any notion that your phone is more important to you than your child simply leave your phone in the car before coming inside any building to see your child. Use your free time to look at your phone. Use your time with your child to spend time with your child.
Be a source of comfort in your child’s life
Remember that your child is going through more turmoil and stress than you are. Theoretically, you are able to deal with change better than a child who has known only one way of living for their entire life. Make sure to reinforce the belief in your child that everything is going to be ok, that you still love him or her and that you are doing everything you can to make it so you and he/she will be reunited as soon as possible.
Crying in a young child can mean a lot of different things, most notably that he or she misses you a great deal and is seeking your attention and affection in the best way he or she knows. Do not take tears as a sign of anger, but rather as a sign that you are a necessary part of your child’s life.
Keep your own emotions in check during a visitation session
By all means be calm with your child during a visitation session.
While your emotions may be at full tilt, you cannot put those emotions on display. If your child needs to be disciplined you may do so but be sure to calmly go over with your child what aspect of their behavior was unwarranted and how that behavior can lead to undesirable consequences.
Discuss the good things that have come about during your child’s absence from your home
You may be so stressed out and overwhelmed due to the investigation that you are looking for any person out there who will be willing to talk to you about your problems. Instead of doing this with your child as well, share with him or her a couple of good things that have between the time of your child’s removal and the current date. This allows your child to see that your life has not completely stopped during the time period that he or she has been gone.
Finally, talk through your child’s feelings with him. Make sure that he understands that however, he feels he is justified in feeling that way. Share your own thoughts and feelings so that your child beings to learn how to process those important emotions that have possibly been bottled up for some time.
Getting comfortable with your child again may take some time so do not get frustrated if you and your child do not “click” right off the bat. You can use this time as a means to reassess your relationship and build an even better foundation than you had before.
Question on CPS cases? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
A CPS case is a hard thing to go through on your own. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC in order to learn more about your case and to see what our office can do for you. Did you know that our office represents clients across southeast Texas? We want to help you become aware of the issues that affect your family law situation and will work to communicate those to you in a free of charge consultation.
Thank you for your time and consideration in reading this blog post and we hope to have you back tomorrow to further discuss the subject of CPS investigations.
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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.