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 not to repeat them moving forward.
Whether your visitation session with your child is supervised or unsupervised, parting ways with your child after a session will prove to be complicated. 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. 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 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 not something that should be done. The only way you can learn these things is to ask. You are unique 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 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 consider 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 they do not seem like they are. It is up to you to make the first move of letting them 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 shared with their foster parents.
A piece of general advice that I find helpful for parents in these situations is to ignore your phone as much as possible. Please 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 notice it anymore when parents and children are out at dinner. 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 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 can 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 them, and that you are doing everything you can to make it so you and they will be reunited as soon as possible.
Crying in a young child can mean many different things, most notably that they miss you a great deal and seek your attention and affection in the best way they know. 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 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, share with them a couple of good things 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 they have been gone.
Finally, talk through your child's feelings with him. Make sure that he understands that; however, he feels justified in feeling that way. Share your thoughts and feelings so that your child learns 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, to learn more about your case and 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 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 discuss the subject of CPS investigations further.
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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 essential 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 the 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.