Even though having your child removed from your home as a result of a CPS case is a relatively rare occurrence, the reality is that there exists a possibility your child could be removed from your house. When there is even a possibility of this type of event occurring, then you need to take responsibility for learning as much as you can about the process involved in a CPS case and in the decision-making that will be undertaken that could involve removing your child from your home. This is not just a friendly suggestion or a recommendation. The possibility of having your child removed from your home is serious, and it's something that you need to take seriously.
That's not to say that the situation is hopeless or that you have no chance of having your child returned to your home if they are removed. On the contrary, CPS will work with you on creating a permanency plan for your child after removal occurs, if at all. In that case, the agency will determine how likely you are to work with them and remedy whatever problems led to the removal of your child in the first place. At that point, the agency can determine whether or not it is in your child's best interest that they return to your home in the win. Much of that determination depends upon you and your willingness to protect yourself, your child and to consider to the extent you can involve yourself in a CPS case.
However, in the short term, you may have less control over where your child is taken in for whom should be primarily responsible for raising her child if they are taken out of your house. In many cases, you may have available to your relatives or even a Co-parent capable of caring for your child during this interim. At the same time, you work with CPS on allowing for the safe return of your child to your home. The agency will work with you to determine who in your life can act as a caregiver for your child and whether or not that person is in a position to do so. There are various requirements and tests, including background examinations, that must be conducted for your child to be placed with a relative of yours.
Another option would be to have your child go into foster care with a family outside your social circle. A foster family would be in charge of ensuring your child's safety as long as CPS were in the temporary custody of them period your child would attend school and generally lived with that family until a court determines otherwise. This can be a difficult time for you and your family but can also be an opportunity for you to address issues in your personal life or in your home that lead to CPS involvement in the first place.
One thing that I have learned from sing families go through CPS cases is that the process can be confusing and quite stressful for folks no matter how comfortable you are with the process or the agency and its investigations. You may find yourself in a position where you think you understand what is going on in your CPS case but still have questions. If that sounds familiar, then you have come to the right place. I want to spend today discussing what CPS looks for when placing your child in temporary care after being removed from your home. A great deal of this depends upon the specific circumstances of your case.
At the end of today's blog post, if you have any questions, I would recommend contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys can offer you a free of charge consultation six days a week in which we can walk you through what is CPS cases and how they may impact you and your family based on your specific circumstances. So much of a CPS case involves the specific allegations made against you and the circumstances of your child that a blog post can only do so much to inform you of what you need to be aware of. We offer consultations by phone, in person, and via video.
Your child can be placed in your own home during a CPS case.
Under certain circumstances, your child can be kept in your home even as a CPS case is ongoing. As you could probably guess, the circumstances would need to be a non-emergency, non-life-threatening circumstance to allow your child to remain in your home during a CPS case. CPS caseworkers will monitor your child and your progress in achieving the various goals of your permanency plan and safety plan. Assuming that you work with the agency, accomplish the goals set forth for you in the safety plan, and are generally able to prove that you can keep your child safe, then you will put yourself in a good position to keep your child permanently.
Your child could be placed in foster care or other home settings during a CPS case.
There exists the possibility that not only could your child be removed from your home during a CPS case, but that they could be placed into foster care. On the other hand, your child could also be placed with a parent, relative, or extended family member. If you are not living with your child's other parent, then the agency could look to that parent as someone who could house your child temporarily.
Next, if you provided information about relatives who could house your child during a CPS case, the agency will inquire into those people being viable sources of temporary housing and care. Now, just because you name persons that would be available to house your child during a CPS case does not mean 30 agencies must agree to place your children with those people. Background checks, criminal history checks, and various forms of due diligence will be provided by the agency to ensure that these people are viable candidates to place your children with during a CPS case.
Your children could also be placed in foster care during a CPS case if no Co-parent or relative is found to be a suitable placement. Foster care families are verified to be safe by CPS and are licensed through the state to provide residential child care. These are families who are paid to care for children who are in the temporary conservatorships of CPS. Foster homes can take on various types. Here is a little bit more information about the different types of foster care environments your child may be placed in they are removed from your home.
Traditional foster homes exist much like the home that you lead with your children. This isn't a home environment with an extra bedroom or place for your child to stay. CPS would have checked out that home to verify it is suitable for hosting a child on an extended basis. You will not be able to visit your child in the home, but you will be given opportunities to visit with your child throughout the CPS case.
What is the placement process like regarding your child in a CPS case?
The state of Texas has various teams in place who will work with and your child for placement purposes. The state will keep an eye on your child's ability to interact with their friends and family members, including you, as well as your child's ability to follow the rules and understand the consequences of violating rules when determining where to place them. An assessment will be performed that detail your child strengths and interest and their connection to your family as far as suitable places for them to stay during your CPS case.
What if your child has a special need?
It may be necessary for your child to have considerations regarding a special need that they have due to a mental impairment or psychological problem. If the agency determines that it is necessary to place your child in a psychiatric hospital, then it must begin with the end in mind. Namely, the agency must have a plan to have your child discharged in a reasonable amount of time and have some benchmarks in mind for determining when it is safe for them to be taken out of care. You will be given notice of where your child is being kept for care and be allowed to visit with them based on the circumstances of your child's case.
What input will you be able to give as far as where your child is placed?
It can be adding insult to injury if your child is removed from your home without your given much prior notice or assisting in providing information and input into where your child will be staying for the duration of the CPS case. At least if your child has to leave your home, you would want the ability to weigh in on where your child will be staying. For the most part, CPS does allow parents to weigh in on this topic.
Through a process called family group decision making, a CPS caseworker should be given the option to speak to you in your household when making important decisions regarding your child being placed in another home or location during a CPS case. This means that you should be prepared with names, addresses, and information about potential relatives or other close relations who could house your child. It is important then for you to speak with these potential placement sources to determine whether or not they are willing and able to step in in this way. Would you please not assume that they would agree to play this role in a case without consulting with their first period?
Also, keep in mind that the CPS caseworker will do everything within their power to make sure that your children can stay together if you have more than one. Primarily, a caseworker will look and see if there are any other siblings not living with you, such as a stepbrother or stepsister, in an attempt to place your children in that home. While this is not always possible, the agency will ensure that the sibling relationships like these are protected even during difficult times.
While it may not always seem this way, from having spoken with CPS caseworkers previously, most understand that you and your spouse or Co-parent have a better understanding of what is in the best interest of your child versus the state agency. This is true no matter what issues you and your family are going through currently. When your child is removed from your home, your caseworker should work to collect as much data on your child's habits. Things like how they sleep, what toys they play with, and foods that they will eat are critical to being able to help your child adjust to whatever circumstance they find themselves in after placement.
Think about it in terms of leaving your child with a parent or babysitter for a night. I know my wife will always talk to my parents or hers with a great deal of information every time we leave our kids with them. While much of the information that she gives probably is redundant, it makes her feel like the caregiver is more prepared to do what is necessary to take care of our kids. I think there are parallels you can draw between this situation and when your kids are left with a new caregiver due to a CPS case.
Simply knowing that this caregiver will understand more about your child after being placed in their home can go a long way towards helping you reduce the level of anxiety and fear that you have regarding your child being taken out of your home. Additionally, this will probably be CPS's best chance 2 get important information from you or your Co-parent in terms of helping to minimize any instability that may occur as a result of the move. Undoubtedly, there is a certain degree of instability inherent in any move. This is especially true when you are considering your child temporarily moving out of your home due to a CPS case. However, there are steps that you and CPS can work on together to mitigate any of those problems.
One of the main issues that I have observed in working with families going through CPS cases is that discipline can be a problem when removing a child from a household and placing them into completely unfamiliar circumstances. As a parent myself, I know that discipline can be difficult even in the best of circumstances. Imagine being an adult trying to discipline another person's child under challenging circumstances. It can be almost impossible to understand what triggers a child in what can cause them to behave appropriately, even in adverse circumstances.
Another factor that I think is worth mentioning in this regard is that the more involved you are at the beginning of your case when it comes to the circumstances and well-being of your child, the better off you will be in the long run. The more involved a parent is at the beginning of a case, the more likely they will be involved throughout the case. You can build up some positive momentum for yourself and see that your child knows you will be involved in their life regardless of any other factor in the case.
As with anything else in a CPS case, I think that parental involvement there's probably the most significant detail when it comes to successful reunifications and overcoming difficult circumstances. The more involved a parent is in a case, the better the outcomes are for everyone involved. Building on successes with placement can cause your child to be returned to your home sooner rather than later in many instances.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family's circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a CPS, child custody, or divorce case.