Recently on our divorce forum a user asked, “I am in the process of divorce, but there has been a report of abuse in our home. CPS investigated and is in the process of removing our children. Will I be allowed to have contact with my child if they are not in my care and who decides?”
Who is CPS?
Child Protective Services within the State of Texas will investigate all reports of abuse or neglect. Their goal is to resolve the issues without forced removal of a child from a home through counseling, day care, homemaker services, evaluation, treatment, and parenting classes.
If this is not possible, however, they have the legal authority to remove a child from the parent’s custody. They will not take this action, however, without first interviewing the child and all parties involved, performing a physical and mental evaluation of the child, and reviewing the criminal background of any parties who allegedly abused the child.
Will I be charged with a crime?
CPS is required under Texas law to report substantiated charges of abuse and neglect to Texas law enforcement. If the police perform a criminal investigation and find that there is evidence of abuse or neglect they have the legal right to charge you with a crime. This case is separate from the CPS case and should be discussed with a criminal lawyer.
Will CPS remove my child?
CPS makes every effort to avoid removing a child from their home, but if they determine the child is at risk they have the legal right to remove a child. At the time of removal, however, they will allow you to complete a Child Caregiver Resource Form, which allows you to identify family members or friends who can temporarily and safely care for your child.
If CPS decides your child should be removed from your custody they have the legal authority to withdraw your child, even without a court order. If your child is removed without a court order, however, a judge will review your case, generally within 2 weeks from the date of removal.
Can I contact my child after he or she is removed from my care?
Now back to the question regarding contact. If your child is removed whether or not you will have contact with the child and the type of contact allowed will be determined by the caseworker and their supervisor. After the court hearing the judge may also have input regarding the type and amount of contact.
If you have concerns about contact it’s best to talk to your caseworker and discuss any issues. You are also allowed to notify the judge of your concerns at the hearing. Keep in mind; the decisions made at the hearing or initially by the caseworker may be modified later as the case progresses.
Another option is to discuss your concerns with a family law lawyer. Not only will they have experience dealing with similar cases, but they can also raise your concerns in court.
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