family team meetings

Family Team Meetings and Group Conferences during a CPS Case


Child Protective Services Program

The Child Protective Services Program is one of the programs of the government which aims to look after children who are victims of abuse and neglect. The personnel of this program handles the investigation of reports pertaining to any alleged abuse or negligence to a child. They are the ones responsible for knowing the validity of these allegations. And if needed, this branch of your social services department can intervene in some family matters of the child. They may get rid of the abuser or take the child away from home. These procedures, however, must follow the laws of the state where the child resides. 

Temporary Custody of Child

This social program, although aiming for the safety and security of the child, might still get stressful for family members and, sometimes, for the child. As a last resort, the CPS personnel may take temporary custody of your child. During this period, problems may arise among family members. It will be difficult for the child, the parents, or the other siblings. This could lead to a bigger family crisis. Experts say it is best to involve the family in Family Team Meetings or in Family Group Conferences.

Family Team Meetings

These meetings are usually held at the time before the CPS takes your child for temporary custody. Take note that this happens before the filing of the petition of the CPS in court to take custody. All throughout this meeting, the members of your family, who serves as your social support, meet the CPS caseworker. This caseworker is responsible for the custody of your child. The reason for this meeting is to hear out both sides and share helpful insights. It can also address the concerns of the child at a much earlier stage.

Family Group Conferences

Unlike the Family Team Meeting, which does not require the family to attend and meet together with a CPS personnel, Family Group Conferences are scheduled group discussions that happen after the child has already been taken out of your home. In this instance, experts such as teachers, social workers, or guidance counselors, as much as possible, should be present in the meeting. Other friends and relatives who can share important advices or information can also join the program. Both of these meetings share the same goal of taking into account the safety and security of the child and planning ahead of the possible circumstances that would improve the child’s well-being.

These conferences and assemblies involve a lot of information-exchange and goal-setting so things such as service plans are developed. This is usually done with the help of the CPS caseworker of your child. It includes a to-do list of the things that should be improved within yourself and your family so that you would be ready when your child comes back home. It could be some sort of training and rehab if you have habits that could be the reason behind the abuse. 

In the duration of this case, it is best to have a family lawyer who could help you in giving the proper legal advice. This is important since court proceedings are going on at this time. Do not hesitate to consult the experts as they can assist you throughout the Child Protective Services case.

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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.

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