CPS Investigations: What Happens When The State Removes A Child & How To Get Them Home
In this article, you can learn about:
- What a CPS investigation entails.
- When CPS automatically removes children from the home, ways to prevent it, and how to get your children returned home.
- What to tell your CPS attorney.
Who Do You Represent In Child Protection Services (CPS) Cases In Texas?
I’ve represented every party you can in CPS litigation: moms, dads, children, and other family members who have thought to intervene in the process as well. Aside from Child Protective Services itself, I have assisted any type of person in these cases.
What Is Involved In A CPS Investigation?
Because the law has changed, we have fewer removals of children from their homes. Today, the law requires an increased burden to prove that there is a danger to a child before CPS takes steps.
A typical catalyst of these cases occurs when parents or guardians test positive for drugs, or when there are allegations of violence or abuse against children.
What Process Does CPS Follow When Investigating Parents Or Guardians Of a Minor Child In Texas?
Some of the most common steps that CPS will take to investigate a child’s safety will include:
- Conducting interviews with the child at their school or a children’s advocacy center;
- Home visits and interviews with parents, guardians, and/or caregivers;
- Drug testing (if the allegations include drug use);
- And more…
Will CPS Automatically Remove A Child Before An Ongoing Investigation Is Complete In Texas?
In certain situations, CPS can seek emergency removal of children. As of 2022, the burden of evidence has been significantly increased for emergency removal of children.
In cases where children are removed, a hearing must be held within 14 days of the removal to determine whether:
- The children should be returned to the home, or
- The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services should be named the temporary custody manager.
If Children Are Removed From A Home By CPS, Who Takes Guardianship Or Where Do They Go?
If there are appropriate family members or family friends, then the children may be able to remain with someone they know, which is always preferable.
If there are no appropriate family members or close friends, then children are placed in foster care. “Foster care” includes both foster homes that operate like a regular family, group homes, or treatment facilities, depending on the child and their situation.
Unfortunately, some children remain in shelters for up to 90 days, as there’s a severe shortage of foster homes in the state of Texas and across the country.
This shortage is causing an increased number of children to remain without placement for extended periods of time. In some cases, we’ve even seen children having to remain in offices or hotel rooms due to a lack of placement.
Can I Get My Children Back While My CPS Case Is Ongoing?
When it comes to CPS intervention, you can get your children back if the case goes to a full-blown removal. In these cases, a service plan is created, so once you complete it, you can ask that the children be returned to your care.
Courts will do that on what’s called a “monitored return”, which is where they will extend the case an additional six months to see how the parent is doing.
These cases have a one-year hard deadline for resolution. However, if a parent’s doing well and the children are returned after some time in the completion of a monitored return, then the case can be resolved before the full six months.
Can Parents Communicate With Their Children After They’ve Been Removed From Their Care?
Parents can communicate with their children when they are in foster care. Parents are also offered visitation, which is usually supervised at an office.
Visitation can be put on hold or delayed, depending on the case, the needs of the child, or if there are any other companion cases. (For example, if there is a criminal case with bond conditions that would prevent that contact.)
What Information And Evidence Are Necessary To Share With My Attorney In A CPS Case?
There is no such thing as too much information to share when talking with your attorney. It is truly never in your or your child’s best interest to say “you don’t know about something” or to make excuses.
You should share everything you can with your attorney, only then can the attorney accurately determine what details should be shared in the context of your case.
Even before consulting with your attorney, you should sit down and write out a timeline with notes that you can take to your lawyer. Additionally, if you have relevant text messages, Facebook posts or messages, or audio recordings that might be important to the case, bring them all.
Complete transparency is necessary, particularly in a CPS case. This is because if a CPS case goes to trial, everything about your life is fair game to present to a judge or a jury deciding on whether or not your children should go home.
For more information on Child Protection Services Cases In Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (903) 865-3803 today.