Child Protective Services (CPS)
Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies were first introduced in 1974 in response to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. This Act mandated that all states should establish procedures to investigate alleged acts of child mistreatment. The agency was charged with promoting the welfare of children by helping to establish a more stable home life for families.
In recent years, CPS has gained media attention for wrongly removing children from the care of their parents and making it nearly impossible to get them back. Being targeted by an agency like CPS can cause immense strain on the family unit. Having the guidance of an experienced and compassionate Austin family law attorney can help put your mind at ease.
Parental Rights and Texas Child Protective Services
The Texas Family Code states that CPS can investigate reports that a child has been or is being abused or neglected. These investigations should be prompt and thorough, and may require the assistance of local law enforcement. As a parent, you have the right to show the CPS investigator that you can maintain the safety of your child.
Evidence procured from knowledgeable parties can prove invaluable. Family members and neighbors can tell the CPS investigator that you are not a neglectful or abusive parent. Your child’s teacher, doctor, or anyone with a close relationship to them can be a good resource for this kind of information.
While child abuse and neglect are unforgivable offenses, CPS may overreact to complaints in a manner that is unjust to the parents. Behavior like this has led to countless court cases challenging the agency’s authority and actions. Common CPS myths include that parents have little to no rights when CPS is involved and that parents must be abusive if there is a complaint. An investigation must be undertaken to find facts backed by evidence in order for CPS to take action.
Since parents can advocate for both their child as well as themselves, understanding the Texas CPS investigative process is incredibly important.
What to Expect From a CPS Investigation
Under Texas law, when child abuse or neglect is reported to CPS, a caseworker must visit the home to determine if there is evidence to support claims of abuse. Some of the most common reasons for a CPS investigation include reports of:
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- Drug use in the child’s residence
- Domestic violence in the child’s residence
Following a CPS investigation, a caseworker will determine:
- That there is reason to believe reports of abuse or neglect
- That the claims will be ruled out as “erroneous”
- That the investigation was unable to determine whether or not neglect had occurred
What Happens if CPS Removes My Children?
No matter if the accusations against you as a parent are false, if CPS opens an investigation, both you and your child are at risk. This is because CPS has enormous discretionary powers that include child removal.
After a tip concerning child abuse or neglect, a caseworker may begin an investigation in as little as 24 hours. Following an investigation, CPS may remove a child from your home with or without a court order and place them into the care of a relative or foster care. If this happens, the parent will receive a court order containing the date and time of a child removal hearing. If a judge denies your claim to keep custody of your children and elects to revoke your parental rights, this could forever break the parent-child bond.
Austin Parental Rights Attorneys
At The Law Office of Ilana R. Tanner, we understand just how intimating and frustrating the Texas court system can be when your parental rights are in danger. Our family law firm strives to make the process easier while ensuring parental rights are fairly represented in court. Instances involving CPS are incredibly serious and require the insight and assistance of a family law attorney with related experience. Contact The Law Office of Ilana R. Tanner today to discuss your case. We are here to help.