In all of the confusion, stress, and anxiety that surrounds a Child Protective Services case in Texas, one of your most immediate concerns likely has to do with how quickly you can see your child if he is removed from your home.
If CPS wins temporary managing conservatorship from you and your spouse, there are rules in place regarding how quickly they must make your child available to see you. Today’s blog post will center around this subject. Specifically- how, when and for how long you can look at your child and how best to take advantage of the time given to you.
What the law in Texas says about visitation during a CPS case
If CPS wins temporary managing conservatorship rights to your child as a result of an allegation of abuse or neglect against you, the law in Texas is that you must be able to see your child no more than five days after the court awards conservatorship rights to CPS. At this stage CPS should be working with you, through a CPS caseworker, to come up with a visitation schedule, so you have prearranged dates on which you can see your child.
Keep in mind that the individual circumstances of your investigation can play a significant part in how often you can see your child.
For example, if CPS has become aware of an allegation that you have abused your child- and their investigation substantiates that allegation with evidence- it is likely that may not be able to have any visitation with your child until you undergo counseling. The safety and well being of your child is paramount, and it would not be difficult to convince a judge that limited (supervised) visitation is appropriate.
Supervised or unsupervised visitation?
As we just stated, a judge has it in their authority to order either supervised or unsupervised visitation for you and your child.
A judge can set forth where the visits will take place as well as which adult will supervise. If you can visit your child but your spouse is not the judge can state as much and put limiting conditions on your visit.
Always take advantage of the time afforded to you by CPS
Keep in mind that the time you are allowed to visit with your child will be the only times that you get. It is not like visitation with your ex-spouse where you all can work out agreements on the fly and be flexible with one another. CPS will follow the court order to a T and not deviate from it.
By visiting with your child on a frequent basis, you are maintaining the emotional bond between parent and child during the most difficult time in your relationship. CPS will be keeping an eye on whether or not you take advantage of your time to visit with your child.
Telling CPS, you need to see your child and then failing to see your child during the time periods allotted to you is not a winning plan of attack in this CPS case. No matter how “little” time is awarded to you always make sure that you are there for your child.
Let’s spend some time discussing the types of visitation that are available to you under a CPS investigation and how you can maximize that time. While your circumstances may differ from these general scenarios that I am going to layout. I am confident that the principles we discuss will be helpful to you and your family.
What type of visitation is allowed?
If you have supervised visitation with your child, that means that another adult will be watching you and your child interact and talk during your period of visitation.
The impetus for giving you only supervised visitation is that there are legitimate concerns for the safety and well being of your child during these periods of visitation. CPS’ number one goal is to ensure the safety of your child, and the best way to do that is to reduce the chances that you act violently towards the child. It is possible that if your behavior is not appropriate that your visitation period could be ended early.
Even if you are not specifically awarded supervised visitation, your first few visitation periods will likely be supervised by the CPS caseworker.
Subsequent visits will likely be supervised by friends or relatives. After a series of visitation sessions where there are no incidents, there will not be a need for supervised visits. Unsupervised visits likely will not occur for some time, if they ever do at all. This is to be expected and is not necessarily an indication of CPS’ view of your parenting skills.
Managing Supervised visits
You will likely be traveling to a CPS office to undertake your supervised visitation sessions. The caretaker for your child (foster parent or relative) will take your child to the visitation session, and you will provide your transportation to the session. A room will be reserved for your visitation time that will have space for you both to have as normal time together as is possible under the circumstances. Games and toys that are appropriate for a child of your son or daughter’s age will be provided.
CPS will watch the session through a one-way mirror that adjoins the room. Unless told otherwise by a judge’s orders you can be as affectionate towards your child as is appropriate. You do not need to check with the supervisor on what you can say. Depending on who is present to watch the visitation session you should be careful to choose your actions wisely and to interact with your child in an engaging and appropriate way.
The bottom line is that you are being watched and judged. You may think this is unfair. You may think it is unwarranted. That is beside the point. It is happening, and it is up to you how you react and address the challenges that this sort of visitation set up presents to you and your child. Act like your child is the only person on earth for the time that is made available to you.
From experience in representing people in your position, I know that once that session ends and you and your child go your separate ways, you will regret it if you don’t expend as much energy as possible interacting with your child.
An upbeat attitude means a great deal during visitation sessions
Nobody is trying to argue that supervised visitation is easy or fun. It is not either of those things. Part of what makes you an adult is your ability to keep certain thoughts inside your head and out of your mouth.
Before you voice your frustration to the CPS personnel during a visitation session, consider putting that energy into the time you have with your child. Concerns about the session can be addressed to your attorney or your caseworker at a later time. Your child wants to see you and wants you to be engaged with him. Worry about your case with CPS when your child is not with you.
The importance of visitation with your child during a CPS investigation- tomorrow’s blog post subject
To learn more about CPS investigations and how to best interact with your child during one, please come back to the blog tomorrow. We will be sharing tips and information on visiting with your child at that time.
In the meantime, if you have any questions for our attorneys, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations to clients and are always just a phone call away. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Approaching visitation from the perspective of your Child Protective Services case
- Saying goodbye to your child after a Child Protective Services visitation session
- What to Do When CPS Asks for a Drug Test in Texas
- CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC can help
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Texas Child Visitation Modification
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1
- Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
- Texas Parental Relocation
- Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
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.