Waco Child Protective Services Lawyers
Child Protective Services (CPS) in Texas is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services whose only purpose is to investigate reports of alleged child neglect or abuse. Anyone can make a report to CPS, including neighbors, extended family members, teachers, coaches, and others and will remain anonymous. Doctors, pastors and other clergy, lawyers, and therapists can also make reports and are legally required to do so when suspecting that a child has been abused or neglected.
CPS will then begin an investigation and has the authority to remove children from homes in which they deem to be unsafe or harmful. Because of this, it is vital that parents facing investigations or adverse rulings by CPS turn to a law firm that handles these cases. Unfortunately, CPS has become known for removing children from their homes and making it difficult, if not impossible, for parents to get their children back. For many parents, being targeted by the CPS can become a terrifying situation which calls for the legal protections of a parental rights attorney.
How the Child Protective Services Works
Once a report of alleged child abuse or neglect is received by CPS, they screen it and determine if it should be investigated. These investigations can be extremely stressful and even traumatic for parents and children with the threat of being separated hanging over them. In many cases, CPS will even try to intimidate you, especially if you are uninformed about your basic parental rights. That is why you need to understand those rights and how to fight back against false accusations and overzealous actions on the part of CPS caseworkers.
Examples of reported child abuse that CPS may investigate or look for include:
- Threat of or actual physical harm done to a child
- Allowing or encouraging a child to use harmful drugs
- Allowing a child to engage in sexual conduct
- Failing to reasonably prevent physical harm or sexual conduct committed against a child
- Allowing a child to suffer mental or emotional harm
Examples of reported child neglect can include failing to provide children with food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, leaving a child unsupervised or attended, leaving a child in a situation that could result in physical, emotional, or mental harm, or that carries a risk of bodily injury or sexual misconduct.
Once CPS receives a report, they generally have 30 days to complete an investigation. If they deem that your child(ren) are not safe with you, they can remove your child(ren) and initiate court proceedings. Following this, a court hearing will be scheduled to determine the final outcome which is called an adversary hearing. At this hearing a judge will determine if your child(ren) should be returned, be put in the care of a family member or friend, or be put into foster care. You will also be given a plan to correct whatever safety issues have resulted in the loss of your child(ren) that may allow you to have them ultimately returned to your custody.
Hutson & Harris Will Fight for Your Parental Rights
Going up against a governmental agency like the CPS can be frightening. However, you have certain Constitutional rights and Texas family courts operate under the guideline that children are best kept with their parents. If you are facing the threat of losing your child(ren) or they have already been removed, we strongly urge you to consult with an attorney at Hutson & Harris to learn more about your situation, your options, and what can be done to defend yourself.
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