Child Protective Services 101
Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) is a branch of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
The five major programs of DFPS care:
- Adult Protective Services. Protects the elderly and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation through investigations and services.
- Child Protective Services. Protects children from abuse and neglect through services, foster care, and adoption.
- Child Protective Investigations. Investigates reports of child abuse or neglect to determine if any child in the family has been abused or neglected. If the children aren't safe, the investigator starts protective services.
- Prevention and Early Intervention. Manages community-based programs that prevent juvenile delinquency and child abuse and neglect.
- Statewide Intake. Takes reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation from across the state through its Texas Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-5400) and through the website TxAbuseHotline.org 24-hours a day, every day of the year.
Protecting the Vulnerable
Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect, but fails to report it, can be charged with a misdemeanor or state felony.
If a child appears to be in immediate danger, call 911.
Child Protective Services Defense
If your family is being investigated for abuse or neglect, you could lose custody of your kids. Our skilled attorneys can help defend you in court.
How Investigations Are Handled
Anyone making an allegation will be asked specific questions related to the type of abuse and neglect (emotional, sexual, medical care, physical care, supervision).
There also are some basic general questions anyone making an abuse or neglect report will be asked:
- What happened?
- Who abused or neglected the child?
- What is the role of the parent/guardian?
- What else is happening in the family?
CPI examines reports of child abuse or neglect and may interview family members and others with knowledge to get enough information to make safety decisions. At the end of the investigation, a ruling –called a disposition – is made about the allegations.
Possible dispositions include the following:
- Reason to believe. Abuse or neglect occurred based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means when all evidence is weighed, it is more likely than not that abuse or neglect occurred.
- Ruled out. Staff determines that it is reasonable to conclude that the abuse or neglect has not occurred based on the information available.
- Unable to Complete. The investigation cannot be concluded. This is usually because the family could not be located to begin the investigation; or the family was contacted but later moved and could not be located to complete the investigation; or the family refused to cooperate with the investigation. DFPS policy outlines several actions that the investigator must complete to make this disposition.
- Unable to determine. DFPS concludes that none of the dispositions above are appropriate.
- Administrative closure. DFPS intervention is unwarranted based on information that comes to light after the case is assigned for investigation.
Removing Children from a Home
If the investigator concludes the children are unsafe because of significant safety threats and risk factors or if the family appears unable or unwilling to use family and community resources to ensure the safety of the child or children, action is taken. DFPS can file a petition to initiate civil court action to protect the victim. These court actions could include removing children from the home and possibly ending parental rights.
If your child has been removed from your home by CPS a hearing will be set in Court within 14 days of the removal. The purpose of the initial hearing is to determine whether or not the child will remain in foster care or will return to your custody.
Your Rights in a Child Protective Case
You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney and receive government assistance for food or housing, you would likely qualify to have an attorney appointed to you.
You have the right to be informed about the case. CPS must tell you the nature of their investigation into you, your family, and your home. You must be given notice, explaining the reasons your child was taken into their temporary custody, as well as a description of your rights.
Your child can be placed with a relative. You have the right to provide CPS with the names of relatives with whom your child could potentially reside for the duration of your CPS case.
A court makes the ultimate decision. Whether your child will be able to return to living in your home will be decided by a judge in court. Your cooperation and diligence in improving your life are crucial elements to having your child returned to your home.
Our firm can help defend you against accusations of neglect and abuse. If CPS is threatening to terminate your parental rights, we can help.
Contact us at (281) 810-9760 or by using our online form. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call us at (281) 810-9760 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Are you considering a family law case? If so then you may be familiar with the most important components of a family law case
How much do you know about Child Protective Services cases in Texas? I'm willing to bet that the answer to that question is not very much.
It can be extremely disconcerting and worrying to receive a knock at the door only to find someone from Child Protective Services on the other side of your front door.
One of the most intimidating sites as a parent must be seeing Child Protective Services show up to your door unannounced one morning.
Within a Texas CPS case, you may be asked to sign certain documents throughout your experience with CPS.
Of all the different family law cases that you and your family could go through, I think the most frustrating and oftentimes disheartening is a Child Protective Services case.
Picture this: your one-year-old child is just starting to walk and has toddled into the kitchen looking for a snack.
Working within a Child Protective Services case means that you will be responsible for understanding the process so that you can make decisions and give input when needed.
If you are a father of a child going through a Child Protective Services (CPS) case, then you may feel a bit left out of the process
An unfortunate reality of some Texas Child Protective Services cases is that the parental rights you hold about your children can be terminated due to the case.
I have been in contact with many parents and many families who are facing CPS cases in my time as a family law attorney.
It could happen that as a result of your Child Protective Services case, the judge will find that it is in the best interests of your child to remain in the permanent care of CPS after your case has concluded.
In a CPS case originating in Texas, it takes some effort to intervene in a case.
We hear a lot in the media about recidivism when it comes to men and women who go to jail or prison one time, and that one time becomes two, three, or four future stays in prison.
Other than the fear of being investigated yourself by CPS for having committed a neglectful or abusive act against your child, one of your biggest concerns as a parent may be the possibility of your spouse being investigated for having done so.
Having another person oversee the interactions that you have with your child is downright awkward. Imagine having a stranger sitting in your living room on Christmas morning while you and the kids opened up presents.
Your lawyer will be the best resource that you have during your Child Protective Services (CPS) case to answer your questions and generally guide you throughout your case.
As part of the CPS investigation into your child's safety and well-being, you will be asked to come up with a safety plan along with your support system and CPS.
It would not be out of the ordinary for a person involved with a CPS case to have warrants out for his or her arrest.
The most sickening and nerve-wracking experience connected with a CPS investigation is the concern that you likely share with any other parent who has been through this process- whether or not Child Protective Services can remove your child from your home.
There is nothing more invasive than a state agency knocking on your door and asking you for access to your life.
You probably have a fair amount of questions concerning any investigation that Child Protective Services (CPS) begins about your family.