Child Protective Services in Texas is tasked with a big responsibility: keeping children safe. That’s why they’re required to investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect without much regard to the truthfulness of the initial claims. This can jeopardize your family integrity, which is why you need to be careful in how you interact with CPS and its employees. If you’re not, then your children could be taken from your care, which could have major implications for both your short- and long-term rights as a parent, as well as any outstanding custody cases you might have with your children’s other parent.
Things to consider when coming into contact with CPS
To successfully navigate your involvement with CPS, you need to keep a few things in mind. Let’s look at a few of them:
- Your statements will be used against you: CPS cases oftentimes become child welfare cases where the State may try to present evidence against you in hopes of keeping a child out of your care and/or ensuring that the State can intervene in your life to provide you with certain services. Therefore, when interacting with CPS workers or law enforcement, try to keep your temperament in check and don’t be so quick to provide information. We know that coming into contact with the child welfare system can be stressful and nerve-wracking, but you don’t want to cause any self-inflicted harm to your family or your rights as a parent.
- Know your rights: You have a lot of protections when it comes to involvement with CPS. For example, you children can’t be removed from your care without a court order or the assistance of law enforcement. Therefore, a CPS worker, on his or her own, can’t remove your children from your care. Also, CPS workers might ask you to provide a lot of information or even submit to a drug screen. During the investigation phase, you’re under no obligation to provide that information or submit to a drug screen. CPS also can’t interview your children without your consent or a court order. It’s helpful to be as cooperative as possible during these investigations, but, again, you don’t want to cause any avoidable harm to your family’s integrity.
- You don’t have to navigate the process alone: The CPS and child welfare systems can seem confusing and stacked against you as a parent. The good news is that you don’t have to face the process alone. Instead, you can choose to obtain the assistance of an attorney who understands this area of the law and how to navigate with your parental rights in mind. This attorney can not only advocate for your best interests, but he or she can also serve as a buffer to a certain extent between you and CPS, which can make things a lot easier on your end.
- CPS involvement can affect your custody case: Although CPS assessments and child welfare cases are separate from your divorce or paternity case, they can have major implications on pending custody matters. Therefore, you need to be cautious in your dealings with CPS and keep in mind the bigger picture of how your words and actions can affect your relationship with your child even after the State is out of your life.
Have experience on your side
Dealing with CPS and the juvenile courts is unlike any other part of the law. That’s why it’s helpful to have someone on your side who is experienced in navigating the system and can assist you in getting past whatever allegations you may be facing. One of these attorneys can help you not only work with CPS and the court as needed, but they can also help build the defense that you may end up needing to protect your rights as a parent and your children’s best interests.