Child Protective Services is part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. They investigate claims of child abuse or neglect. If you are contacted by Child Protective Services, you need to know how to handle the situation.
Child Protective Services Investigation
Texas law requires that you report any belief of abuse or neglect to a child. If a report have been made about your child, you will be contacted by an investigator with Child Protective Services.
They generally begin their investigation by interviewing your child. The interview must be recorded. It may take place at any reasonable place or time. A reasonable effort must be made to inform you of the interview within 24 hours after the interview.
After this interview, Child Protective Services may interview you, the other children in your home, and/or other people who may have knowledge of any abuse or neglect.
They may visit your home. Your past criminal history will be reviewed. Finally, they may request that your child undergo a medical or psychological examination.
Most investigations are completed within 30 days. Their findings will make one of the following determinations: your child is safe, was abused or neglected, and/or your child is at risk for future abuse or neglect.
Determination of Risk
If it is determined that your child is at risk, there will be other actions. They will generally start by having a family team meeting where you can agree to developing a safety plan.
The safety plan is a voluntary agreement that you make with the agency to improve the safety of your child. Your investigator will work with you to complete the plan. However, if you do not abide by the plan, your child could be removed from your care.
If it is determined that your child is not safe with you, your child could be placed in another home. This may be with a relative or a third party who will take care of your child.
How You Should Act
Child Protective Services has a lot of pull with the judge. In a case of abuse or neglect, the judge will place a lot of weight on the findings of the investigator. Regardless of your personal feelings towards the investigator, you need to be as cooperative as possible.
Just like in most other legal cases, you need to involve your family law attorney right away. Your attorney will help you to navigate the troubled waters of accusations of wrong doing. They will make sure that you understand why Child Protective Services believes the evidence and what decisions are being made.
Your child’s safety should be everyone’s primary concern. With the right team, you will have the best chance to resolve any concerns quickly and with the least interference in your child’s life.