What is Child Protective Services (CPS)?
Child Protective Services is one of the services provided by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) which is a government agency that provides protection to children from abuse or neglect, even from their parents. Some states may use other names, but in Texas, we use “Child Protective Services” or simple “CPS”.
When the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) receives reports of child abuse and/or neglect, the DFPS starts an investigation. If the allegations prove to be true and parents are unwilling to solve the problem, the child protective services will ensue.
Most parents are scared when they get a CPS case. It’s perfectly reasonable to be so because if the worst case scenario happens, parents may lose parental rights and custody over the child if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child.
What happens to you and your family in a CPS case?
Once a report has been filed, you and your family will be investigated by the DFPS. A case worker will come to your home and ask you and your family questions in order to find out if there are threats or hazards to the safety and well-being of your child. The questions could be very unpredictable. They will assess your family situation and try to see if the report they received are baseless or not. Whatever the investigator finds will determine what happens next. If there’s no sufficient evidence of abuse or neglect, the case will be closed and that would be the end of it.
However, if they find that there’s enough evidence to substantiate the allegations of abuse or neglect, you and your spouse will be referred to Family Based Social Services (FBSS). The parents or parent will be given a chance to make the necessary changes to make sure that there are no threats or hazards to the safety and well-being of the child.
Depending on the results of finding of the DFPS, your child may even be placed in the temporary care of the CPS until the problem is resolved. If they find that the problem is minor, the child can continue to stay in the family home.
If the result of the CPS investigation shows that there is a clear and present danger to the safety and well-being of your child, CPS will take your child with them and they will have temporary managerial rights over him or her. It is important that you have an attorney to represent you and your family. Many things could have gone wrong at whatever stage of the investigation and you have every right to fight for your child and your custody. In the event that you find that CPS is correct in its findings, you have the option to terminate your parental rights voluntarily.
To win in a CPS case, you have to show that your home is a conducive environment for your child to grow in and that you and the rest of your family do not pose a threat to the child. They also need to see that you are willing and capable of rearing a child and that you have the resources to do so.
I don’t know what stage of a CPS investigation you are in but it is a very serious situation, but, you are not helpless. I understand that being involved in this situation can be very frustrating but you don’t have to give up. Even temporary custody can mean forever to a child and may greatly affect your family.
If you are in Texas, what I would suggest is that you call an attorney to get some advice before doing or signing anything. Many offer free consultations, and even if they can’t help you directly, they may be able to give you some reassurance that your choice is the correct one.
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