Drug Addiction
Substance abuse is one of the usual cracks in the pavement that can be hard to cover up, especially once it affects people beyond those of the abusers. For example, a rebelling teenager who abuses drugs and alcohol could have his or her parents worried sick over his or her lack of control with addiction and therefore affect them in numerous ways that may be unnoticeable. However, it is so much worse the other way around, especially if it involves underaged children. Since most parents who fall prey over substance abuse tend to do so by neglect of responsibilities, the chances of also neglecting their children during this time will be high. This neglect, in turn, could be considered as child abuse and would thereby allow the authorities to take actions against you.  It is written in most state laws that should any expecting or experienced parent be caught doing substance abuse must be reported to the authorities immediately. Usually, child protective services are alarmed for this cases to ensure that the children of substance abusers are in much safer hands than they were before. Assessments automatically follow after the authorities have been notified.  There are only two overarching harms parents could do to their children while under substance abuse. One is exposing the unborn child to the addiction, which means that the mother has taken illegal drugs or uncontrollable amounts of alcohol during the pregnancy. The second is unintentionally or intentionally exposing them to any illegal drug activity inside the home and surrounding environment while they are growing up. Written below is a list of the frequent reasons and possible circumstances that parents could be charged by the child protective services for: Creating illegal substances in the midst or presence of a child Allowing a child to be in […]

CPS Investigations and Drug Use

CPS Parent Resource Guide Cover
Maintaining A Good Relationship With Your Caseworker   CPS (child protective services) caseworkers are extremely valuable people to your case. They are hardworking, caring people, with only the best interests of your child in mind, and they have chosen their job for a reason.  In fact, your CPS caseworker is probably the most important person on your case, because he or she is the person you will work with the most to coordinate any services you are ordered to get. This includes and is not limited to: arranging visits with your child, talking to a therapist or parenting coach about how you are doing with your services, and he or she will report to the judge how you are doing with your services, your visits, housing, employment, etc. In the alternative, he or she will also report to the judge when you are doing or NOT doing well with your services, visiting with your children, seeking and finding housing, working at a job for money so you can take care of your kids. If your case goes to trial, your caseworker will be the person telling the judge why your parental rights should be terminated. Additionally, while keeping a good repertoire with your CPS worker, it is important to remember that that they too are extremely busy people. It is normal to get aggravated or feel slightly ignored if the CPS worker does not respond to your calls right away or remember every detail of your case as well as you think they should. However, caseworkers work with many families, have lots of cases just like yours that they must pay attention to, and like everyone, caseworkers sometimes make mistakes. CPS workers care a lot about the job they do and have chosen this job for a reason! Keep this […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 11: Working With CPS

CPS Child interview
A divorce can get complicated when there are children involved. As the State of Texas will always reiterate, the safety of the children is their primary concern. In many CPS cases, the CPS (Child Protection Service) will, specifically, want to interview you or your children.  This may cause some concern on your part. However, lawyers would recommend you to be calm as they share the nature and purpose of these interviews.  Are all children required? The CPS will conduct an interview with any child old enough or capable enough to communicate and express his thoughts. This is necessary especially if there is even just a hint or allegation of abuse or neglect.  Where will the interview be conducted? The venue of the interview can be any place where the child would be able to comfortably express themselves. The CPS would ask permission to conduct it in your house. If you refuse, they can have an interview at their office or the child’s school. The key element is that the investigator will talk to the child in private. This means even you, the parent, would not be privy to the conversation. What exactly is a CPS investigator interested in? In essence, the CPS investigator would want to find out if the welfare of the child is compromised. Once there was an incident, they can confirm whether the alleged incident actually took place. If it didn’t, they might ask the child what actually happened.  When there are no specific incidents and allegations, the investigation could begin with the general feeling of the child. Does the child feel safe and secure? The investigator would then probe the reasons behind the child’s “yes” or “no” response. It would then expand on whether they believe that their parent/guardian or parent’s new partner would be capable […]

Handling a CPS Interview with your Child

CPS Parent Resource Guide Cover 1
This section is an important one to pay attention to for anyone who is going through the investigation stages of a CPS process (or hopefully even before it). There are quite a lot of misconceptions about this process, but one main point is the importance of giving the investigators enough information to rule out allegations, while not oversharing and getting into trouble. Investigators are very good at getting information out of parents, either by making threats, or by making it seem like they are on your side. The important thing to remember is that everything you say and do can and will be used against you, just like in a criminal process. That said, if you choose to stonewall them completely, they can and will ask the court to order you to comply with their investigation. The exact amount of information to turn over is very fact specific, and it is important to talk to your lawyer about it, but if a CPS investigator is truly concerned about something going on, they are very few ways to hide that information from them. Remember, that if an investigator is talking to your family, they have already received a referral from somewhere, and it is important to give them enough information to rule out that referral while making sure to not give them additional cause to be concerned. Make sure your house is clean and free from anything that could reflect negatively on you. Many CPS cases start because of a referral for something random, and then a CPS investigator comes over and finds drugs of some kind, so be aware that even if their referral is for one thing, it doesn’t mean they can’t find other reasons to get involved in your life. One other key deadline in this section is […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 6: The CPS Investigation

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The Texas Children’s Commission recently put out a great guide for parents navigating the CPS system, and I thought it might be beneficial for some parents to do a multi-part series revolving around it and how to use it to its fullest potential, as it is quite lengthy and has a lot of information. I am going to attempt to follow the organization of the guide itself, and begin each post with the first hand material and then go into any additional notes I have afterwards in the hope that more people read and see this guide that clearly has had a ton of work put into it by a huge amount of people. A link to the full text will be at both the beginning and end of each part and I encourage everyone to print out a copy for themselves. Click to access Pages-from-Child-Protective-Services-Parent-Resource-Guide-2015-Introduction.pdf The main thing I want to draw attention to in this section is the last page. Ultimately, taking care of yourself is often the best and first step in dealing with CPS, though it is also something that people neglect the most. Even more important is the PERCEPTION that people have of you as a result of taking care of yourself. If you can present yourself well, people inevitably will have a much better opinion of you, which can make the entire process much more painless. ANY involvement with CPS is a traumatic time for a family, and it is important to have sources of support to lean on to decrease the chances of having a breakdown in front of a CPS worker (which gets documented). If you can stay positive and composed during the process, the people involved will know that you can stay positive and composed in other stressful circumstances as well, […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 1: Introduction

foster care
It is unfortunate that many children are born in less than ideal situations. Some have been results of abuse or teenage pregnancy. In any case, the parents may not be ready or capable to take care of the child. The State of Texas is always concerned with the welfare of all children regardless of circumstance. Thus, they have facilities and implemented guidelines for foster care. Child Protective Services (CPS) Rights in Foster Care Every child that is placed in foster care in Texas has defined rights. They have been placed into different categories: Safety and Care Every child has the right to: An explanation on why he/she is in foster care A briefing on what will happen to him/her while they are in the foster care facility Be informed on what will happen to the rest of his family (brothers and sisters) Be told what the CPS is planning for his/her future The foster care facility also needs to provide a family-like setting. The child should receive proper care and treatment and be placed in a safe, healthy and comfortable place. It is also a basic right for a child to be treated with respect and be given personal privacy when the situation calls for it. For the foster home, the employees must have no record of abuse, exploitation or harassment. They must also state the rules clearly and implement them in a fair manner. Family and Contacts If the child sent to foster care has brothers and sisters who are also under foster care, they must live together in the facility. If this is not the case, the caseworker has an obligation to offer a compelling reason for this.   If the child has existing family (parents, siblings) outside of foster care, they should maintain regular contact with them […]

Children Placed in Foster Care in Texas

When there is an instance of divorce, the big task is to determine who should be the custodian of the child. The court is faced with a crucial decision and every factor should be considered. In certain situations, the Child Protective Services are needed to ensure that the child will not be placed in a home where there are tendencies of abuse or neglect. The reason for the divorce could be a basis for CPS investigation. If one of the ex-spouses filed a divorce on the basis of abuse in any form, it is a logical precautionary measure to investigate the spouse in question. In other cases, the Child Protective Services carry out an inspection when there is a report, confidential or otherwise.  The Interview An integral part of a CPS investigation is the interview. Unless your child is too young or unable to communicate, they will interview your child. This interview may be conducted in you or your ex-spouse’s home, the CPS office or your child’s school or daycare facility.  It should be noted that the CPS officers and staff are not empowered to enter your home without your permission unless they are accompanied by a police officer and they are in possession of a court order.  Home Inspection A home inspection is also part of the CPS process to make its recommendation. In the same manner, like the interview, the CPS also cannot conduct their inspection unless you give them permission. However, if you refuse them, the CPS can also note that you have not cooperated, and this could result in an adverse impression. The CPS home inspection officers are looking for signs of possible abuse and neglect, also whether the home presents a safe environment for a child to grow. In this case, it is recommended to […]

What You Need to Know About A Child Protective Services Investigation

CPS Parent Resource Guide Cover
The sheer number of people involved in a CPS case can be daunting at best. Often, it seems like parties who may be aligned as filling the same role, but in reality they serve distinct purposes and it is important to tailor your behavior regarding each of the parties differently. Rather than go over each of the specific people directly (which the guide does a great job of already), there are some general categories that are good to be aware of. The first category is people who are employees of CPS. This includes investigators, caseworkers, kinship workers, supervisors, etc. All of these people may have slightly different roles, but realistically when it comes down to it, they will act in lockstep according to the company line. You may occasionally get some dissent from a worker here or there, but realistically they act based on edicts that come from higher in the bureaucracy. They act in what they believe is in the best interest of the children, but often have their hands tied by policies. They also are responsible for reunifying children with their families, and setting up services to achieve that goal. The second category is the guardian ad litem. This is a role that is overwhelmingly taken by a group called CASA. They are not affiliated with the department, and can have differing opinions from them in regards to best interest. Don’t assume that because you tell your caseworker something that the CASA will know it too, communication between parties is not always as it should be. You will likely have interactions with a supervisor to start with, who is a staff member of CASA, and then eventually be assigned a volunteer. These volunteers can be very influential, and are often one of the best parties to “get on […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 4: Who are all the people working on my case?