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Child Protective Services and their ability to impact your child's life

As a parent, you have the responsibility to raise your child and to provide the basic necessities of life for him or her. Part of this responsibility is to see to it that he or she are protected from harm.

This can be the harm in the form of physical abuse or neglect, emotional trauma or even sexual abuse. When it comes to issues like these if you are not able to do so Child Protective Services (CPS) is empowered by the law to intercede and conduct an investigation into your child, you and your family.

I have spoken to many parents who have had to get through a CPS case involving their family and one concern that each parent has had is over how CPS can wield as much power and authority as they do.

The state of Texas vests in parents the ability to make the majority of decisions in a child’s life. These rights extend into areas like your child’s education, their medical treatment, and psychiatric treatment. After taking care to make sure that your child has been provided for as best as possible you are now being told that CPS can take away that authority over a single phone call alleging abuse or neglect of your child. How is this even possible?

The State of Texas has responsibilities to your child as well

Just as you do, the State of Texas has responsibilities in regard to your child as well. First and foremost the right of your child not to be abused or neglected by any person. The state must take steps to prevent this from occurring again if it becomes aware that prior incidents of abuse or neglect are being alleged. This is where anonymous reports come into CPS detailing those incidents in order to allow CPS to conduct an investigation into their validity.

The State has the power to conduct interviews with people involved in your child’s life but cannot remove your child from your home without a court order. This means that a CPS attorney must go before a family court judge to seek an order that allows CPS to remove your child from your home. If there are risks of imminent harm to your child, CPS can bypass this requirement and remove your child from your home without the permission of a judge.

If your child is removed from your home without the permission of a court order CPS will need to set a hearing with a judge to present evidence as to why the removal was merited. The judge will need to decide if sufficient evidence was presented to justify the removal. Was your home so unsafe as to justify your child being taken without a court order?

The role of a judge if your child is removed from your care

Regardless if the judge gave CPS permission before or after your child was removed from your home, the effect of a removal is that the judge will now play a major role in your case.

Whether or not your child is returned to your care will be dependent upon the judge. You will become familiar with the judge as your case will have many hearings over the course of your case history. From beginning to end a CPS case can last up to one year.

It is necessary to point out that you should be in attendance for each hearing, no matter the day or time the hearing is set for. You will not be able to re-schedule a hearing because of a work commitment or issue with transportation.

You will need to act in advance and plan for problems ahead of time. Ensure that you will be present for each hearing. A CPS case involves CPS employees and the judge deciding if you are committed to bettering yourself and your home in order to have your child returned to you.

What is contempt of court?

If there is a court hearing in which the judge issues orders that involve you, it is necessary that you do what has been ordered to do. These are not suggestions or options for you to choose from as far as your habits are concerned.

Rather, you are being ordered to do something. If you fail to abide by a judge’s orders you are in contempt of court. This means that you can be fined or sent to jail for having done so.

The cast of characters in your CPS drama

Beyond just you, your child and your CPS caseworker there are many other people who will be involved in your case. It is not wise to think that you need only concern yourself with your child and you. All of the different persons in your case have a role to play and all can impact whether or not your child is eventually returned to your home. Learning about each person and their role can serve you well as you attempt to navigate a process that is likely unfamiliar to you.

A CPS investigator will likely be the first person that you come into contact with in your case. This person will be sent by CPS to your home to speak to you after a report of abuse or neglect has been made. The investigator will interview you, your family members and your child as well in order to learn whether or not the allegations of abuse or neglect have any validity.

This investigator will attend court proceedings as well. The results of their investigation will be testified about in the hearing and he or she will be questioned by CPS’ attorney about your involvement in the case.

Family-Based Social Services

In many instances, your child will not be removed from your home and you instead will have an opportunity to work with a Family-Based Social Services employee. This person will work with you and your family to help make your home a safer environment for your child. This is usually a step that is taken when there is no immediate risk of harm to your child and your child is either living in your home or is residing with a relative of yours.

Temporary Conservatorship employee

On the other hand, if your child is removed from your care then your case may be assigned to a Conservatorship caseworker. This person will be working with you as long as your case is involved in courtroom proceedings.

This person will be the liaison for the court to CPS as they will have temporary conservatorship rights over your child. This that the rights and duties that you had in your child will now be shared with CPS as long as they are in temporary possession of your child.

CPS Supervisor

The person responsible for approving all actions in your CPS case is a CPS case supervisor. This person is the main point of contact for yourself as you begin to become more and more involved. He or she can answer questions about how the case is proceeding, how the caseworkers are handling your case and can provide additional information on any subject related to your child’s case.

It is important to keep in mind that the CPS employees are not working for you or against you. They are merely seeking to do what is best for your child. Their methods may seem impractical or unfair to you but the law gives them a great deal of authority when it comes to helping your child remain safe. It is unwise to act disrespectfully towards a CPS employee.

The other persons involved in your CPS will be discussed in tomorrow’s blog post. Stay tuned to learn more.

Questions regarding a CPS investigation? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

If you have an interest in learning more about a CPS investigation that involves you and your family do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. One of our licensed family law attorneys can meet with you in a free of charge consultation to discuss any questions or concerns that you have. Our office represents clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and yours.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Help your child and yourself in a Child Protective Services case by remaining actively involved
  2. Maintaining a positive outlook during a CPS investigation in Texas
  3. Help your child and yourself in a Child Protective Services case by remaining actively involved
  4. Family Law Cases in Texas: Examining the steps in a Child Protective Services case
  5. Managing a Family Law case in Texas
  6. Texas Family Courts: Child Protective Services, Part Two
  7. How to present yourself and testify well in court during your divorce case, Part Two
  8. What to know about Child Protective Services
  9. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
  10. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
  11. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3

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 cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, 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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