Child Protective Services Fort Worth TX
When Child Protective Services (CPS) becomes involved with a family’s case, emotions run high and many people feel anxious about what will happen to their families. Will their children be taken from them? Will the investigators at CPS misunderstand something?
It’s important to remember that CPS is on the side of the child. Their only interest is in protecting the rights of the child and ensuring that he or she is well cared for. When you know more about CPS, you’ll see how CPS is really trying to protect your children and hoping to make your home a safer, happier home, regardless of your familial situation.
What is CPS?
The goal of CPS is to investigate allegations against parents and caregivers for child abuse and neglect. This department is solely interested in protecting the rights of children and ensuring that they are well cared for. They also handle cases where children are acting out in dangerous ways, such as skipping school or running away.
CPS usually gets involved with a family after someone files a report with the CPS program of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or any type of law enforcement agency. Once the allegation is made, CPS must investigate it.
When a caseworker comes to investigate an allegation, he or she will:
- Interview the child who is allegedly being abused or neglected. This will be either videotaped or recorded to insist that nothing is forgotten or misheard. The interview will take place at a reasonable place and time, sometimes at school.
- Notify the parents or caregivers of the details of the allegations within 24 hours of the interview with the child.
- Go over the report and ask for explanations of any of the documented injuries, concerns for safety, and potential risks of neglect or abuse that the child could experience.
Caseworkers will also be able to investigate further. They can interview children in the home and observe the living condition. They can also interview anyone with information about the allegations or those who have witnessed any abuse or neglect. Additionally, a caseworker will also have access to any mental health records and request that medical, psychological, or psychiatric evaluations be done on the child or parents.
CPS deals with more than allegations of abuse and neglect. In some cases, they become involved when a child is acting out of control. In these instances, CPS wants to help mediate the situation and get to the root cause of the poor behavior.
Remember, the goal of CPS is to help the family grow stronger and happier. In many cases, CPS tries to get at-risk families help. They might recommend counseling services or parenting classes to help parents learn how to better care for and discipline children.
What is a Child Safety Plan?
If a caseworker or supervisor feels that your child is not safe in the home or is potentially in danger of abuse or neglect, they will meet with you to form what is known as a Child Safety Plan. Sometimes these plans are made as a result of a Family Team Meeting.
During these Family Team Meetings, parents and family members meet to discuss what can be done to keep the child safe and any other issues that may be at play. Parents can decide which family members and friends will be able to attend these meetings, and by the end, they should have come to an agreement about certain safety measures and precautions.
A Child Safety Plan is often the result of that meeting, though parents and caseworkers can create these plans sooner and without the meeting. This is a written agreement that caseworkers and parents collaborate on to lay out a plan to keep the child safe. While this is a voluntary agreement, the document may outline several consequences that will be enforced if you do not uphold an end of the agreement.
In some cases, the Child Safety Plan will move the children out of the homes of the parents and into a family member or trusted friend’s home. This is not a permanent arrangement, and it can be reversed. The idea is to get the child into a safe environment until the investigation can be resolved.
When Do I Need A Family Law Attorney?
All parents and caregivers have the right to legal counsel at any point in the investigation. In many ways, having a lawyer on your side can help you navigate the broad powers of CPS and see that your rights are protected. If your case does result in a lawsuit, then you will definitely need legal representation.
The Law Office of Wendy Hart has plenty of experience dealing with CPS cases. We know what legal rights you are entailed to, and we want to see that your children get the upmost care during this difficult time. Contact our law office and start working towards a brighter future for your family.