Family is everything to most parents. Nothing can be more upsetting for a mother or father than having their parenting abilities questioned or having their children taken away from them.
What is CPS?
Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) is the program that investigates when there is an allegation that a parent (or other family/household member) is abusing or neglecting a child.
What happens in a CPS investigation?
If you are the parent of a child alleged to have been abused or neglected, you are likely concerned and unsure about what a CPS investigation entails.
A CPS caseworker will interview the child involved and discuss the report with you. A criminal history of the person involved in the alleged abuse or neglect will also be compiled.
Depending on the circumstances, caseworkers may also interview other people who may have relevant information including other children in the home. Additionally, caseworkers may seek access to the mental health records of those involved, or request medical or psychiatric examinations. Caseworkers may also visit the child's home.
It is important to note that CPS should not interview children while they are at school without first obtaining your consent as the parent.
Can a CPS investigation lead to criminal charges?
CPS informs law enforcement agencies of all allegations of neglect, physical or emotional abuse. It is up to law enforcement whether to conduct a separate criminal investigation.
How long does a CPS investigation take?
Generally, investigations take 30 days to complete. The caseworker then makes a determination whether the alleged abuse or neglect occurred, and whether your child's safety is currently at risk.
Is my child going to be taken away?
CPS has the ability to remove children if they determine it is necessary for their protection. A court order (obtained the next working day in some cases) and police assistance is required.
Do I need a lawyer?
As a parent you have rights no matter how severe the allegations against you. It is wise to have a lawyer on your side who will advocate for your interests and make sure your parental rights are protected.
An attorney will help you navigate through the CPS process and facilitate communication among all those involved. An attorney can also assist you in appealing findings by CPS.
Nothing is more important than your child, so having the assistance of an attorney during this emotional and stressful time can be invaluable.