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CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 8: Court Process and Planning for a Permanent Process 1

If your children have been removed and a judge has determined CPS has enough evidence to maintain temporary custody, the next year of your life will be filled with a series of meetings and court hearings.    

Several times throughout the case you and your attorney will meet with CPS for Permanency Planning Team Meetings.  These gatherings are attended by representatives for your child and the CPS caseworker.  Your kids might also be there if they are older than 7.  This should be a cooperative experience between all parties involved.  The department will have a list of services they believe will help you become a better parent.  Suggested services should address the issues that led to the removal of your children in the first place.  Be ready to discuss the Service Plan  and check that you understand what is being asked of you.  Also be prepared to talk about permanent living situation.  While most parents ask for their children to return home, other choices include a relative, family friend, adoption and foster care.  In conjunction with the primary Permanency Plan an additional backup plan will be in the works in the event your children are not able to return home or a preferred alternative placement does not work out.  There are several team meetings during the case.  Use this opportunities to mention any issues you are having.  

Throughout your case you and your attorney will also appear in court several times.  At your first court date, called the Adversary, 262 or Show-Cause hearing, the judge will determine if CPS has provided sufficient information to make their case.  The judge usually rules in favor of CPS who will then be given temporary custody.  

Your first Status Hearing will take place roughly two months after removal of your children.  By now you have already met separately with CPS and developed your Service Plan so the judge will confirm you understand the steps you need to take and ask what headway you have made so far.   

Approximately four months later you will have your first permanency hearing.  Parties involved with the case file reports for the judge to review.  His interest is in the improvements you are making and how the kids are doing under the current living arrangement.  It is possible, although unlikely, custody could be returned to you at this time.  It is more likely, but still not guaranteed, he may choose to do so at the Second Permanency Hearing which takes place after an additional four months and follows the same format.  If after the Second Permanency Hearing you still have not made adequate progress a Final Hearing is scheduled.  At the final hearing if you can’t prove that you are able to provide a safe life for your children the court can decide to terminate your parental rights.   

Tips for Success:

Show up to Everything:  You are given ample time to make arrangements before hearings and meetings.  Arrange time off work and transportation.  

Be Proactive:  In order for you to be successful you need to be proactive.  Do come to your court dates early and dressed appropriately.  Do keep in touch with your attorney, they are there to help you navigate the system.  Do follow up on all service referrals even if you don’t see the validity.  You have an opportunity to debate the necessity of a service at the planning meeting.  Do not procrastinate.  Waiting too long can lead to frustrations from expired referrals and inability to complete services in a timely manner.  

Keep Making Progress:  Each time you meet with representatives of CPS and/or the judge you need to be able to show improvement.  Make sure you understand the Service Plan and that you can abide by it.  

Be Patient:  Although the judge may dismiss the case early your case will probably last a full year.  It takes time to prove that the concerns of CPS have been addressed.  

Child Protective Services Parent Resource Guide 2015

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at attorney@okohlaw.us

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