The Texas Family Code authorizes Child Protective Services to remove children from homes that investigators believe to be physically, mentally, and / or emotionally unsafe for them. If this happens to you, you will be understandably distraught and tempted to do something rash. Control the urge, as violent or aggressive behavior can only get you arrested and create problems later on.
Here are 6 tips for parents whose children were removed by CPS. Following them can maximize your chances of reuniting your family.
Tip No. 1: Hire an Attorney
When you are trying to get your children back, an attorney familiar with CPS cases will be your best asset. They will assist you in mounting a defense to the allegations of neglect or abuse, represent you at all court appearances and hearings, prevent you from unwittingly incriminating yourself, and provide advice that can help restore your children to your custody.
Tip No. 2: Ask Questions
In many instances, the investigator will attempt to be vague regarding the allegations against you. Be polite, but firmly insist that they tell you what actions you are accused of committing. Both federal and Texas state law require that CPS investigators tell you the exact nature of the accusation, so do not settle for vague responses like “neglect”. Knowing the answers will make it easy to present a sound defense.
Tip No. 3: Be Careful What You Say
Do not discuss the situation with anyone except your attorney. When you have done nothing wrong, it is natural to want to explain the allegations away. The problem is that CPS agents are on the alert for evidence to support the accusations, and anything you say can be used against you.
Tip No. 4: Prepare for the Adversary Hearing
In Texas, an Adversary Hearing will be held within 14 days after the children were removed to determine if the allegations of neglect or abuse are founded. It is important that you prepare thoroughly for the hearing, because if you win, the court will order your children returned to you. If you lose, the children could remain in the custody of CPS for at least a year.
Tip No. 5: Cooperate with CPS Directives
While your children are in CPS custody, you will be required to submit to psychological testing, attend individual and family counseling sessions, take parenting classes, and allow CPS to carry out inspections of your home. You may think all of these measures are punitive and unnecessary, but if you don’t comply, you could lose your children. Focus on doing what it takes to reunite your family.
Tip No. 6: Have a Family Member Ready to Help
Some CPS investigators try to intimidate parents by threatening to put the children in foster care if they don’t admit guilt, etc. The reality is that they are required to attempt to place the children with a family member first, such as grandparents or an aunt and uncle. If your children must spend time out of your custody, it’s better that they do so with people you know and trust, so ensure that you have relatives who are willing and ready to provide temporary care.
If your children have been removed by Child Protective Services in Texas, call the Hollwarth Law Firm at (903) 234-0711 today. Our compassionate team of expert family law attorneys will do everything possible to bring your family back together.