Child Protective Services

9 posts

CPS Parent Resource Guide

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 13: Special Topics Part 3

Parents Who Are Undocumented Immigrants   The most important thing to remember is the CPS (child protective services) does not deport parents or their children. CPS is not an immigration agency of the United States. Children and their families are given the benefits, protection, and care of CPS whether or not they are here legally.   However, if a child who is not a U.S. citizen is brought into CPS custody, and is here illegally (undocumented), then the home country will be notified. This is a legal requirement and does not apply only when the child is a citizen of another country AND a U.S. citizen.   Be sure to always give accurate statements, as well as to cooperate with CPS as much as possible, in order to obtain all the benefits and protections that you are rightfully entitled to as an undocumented immigrant with CPS. Finally, remember that the CPS is not an immigration agency and cannot deport you or your child. Parents With Native American/Indian Heritage   The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that protects the best interests of Indian children. If you know or think your child has some Native American/Indian heritage, tell […]

Prevent-Child-Abuse

Foster Care Lawsuit and the Two Faces of CPS

Around the country child protective service agencies are having a hard time.  This includes CPS in Texas.  Case workers in Texas are handling between 21 and 36 children by themselves.  With a number this high, it is beyond the safe level.  Studies have shown the most cases a case worker can handle by themselves is 20.  Such a lack of services is what has led to a recent issue with CPS in Texas. In an ongoing court case, Texas Child Protective Services are insisting that the shortcomings in the system are not as bad as they have been portrayed.  Advocacy groups say that they are lying, though.  Advocacy groups are attempting to sue the state for a lack of coverage for our most vulnerable population. The advocacy groups are also arguing that the state is showing two different faces.  In court, the state is insisting that there are not as limited as the public perceives them to be.  Outside of court (the advocacy group claims), and to the public, Texas CPS is accused of stating that they are understaffed and needing finances. A recent court filing from special masters had suggested major changes to the foster care system for the […]

Child Abuse

Child Abuse in Texas

A closet with a deadbolt, regular wood paddling, nowhere to urinate, and not much room, fed only rice and beans.  These were the conditions that Child Protective Services and Fort Bend County Sheriff’s deputies found seven children in a Richmond, Texas home.  Needless to say, all seven of the special needs children had not been to school, otherwise, the child abuse in Texas would have been caught sooner. In early December, on the 3rd, Paula Sinclair (54) and Allen Richardson (78) were arrested by the Fort Bend County Sheriff.  This came after Child Protective services took a complaint about the adopted children from the home of Sinclair and Richardson.  The charges: aggravated kidnapping and bodily injury to a child.  Both charges are felonies, first and third degree.  The couple is now in the Fort Bend County jail without bond. Allegations of child abuse in Texas had been made and CPS as such launched an inquiry.  This inquiry was to determine if abuse did exist among the seven adopted children in the Sinclair/Richardson home. The children, between the ages of 13 and 16, had been struck with a wooden paddle multiple times, causing injuries that needed treatment.  Each kid was a […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 12: Visitation

The right to visit with your child will be one of the most important rights you have during a CPS (child protective services) case, and it is important to take advantage of the visitation that is allowed/ordered both from a bonding perspective as well as a legal one. Under current Texas law, CPS must arrange for you to visit with your child no later than five days after CPS is granted TMC. CPS should work with you to create a visitation schedule. This right can be limited if the court or the DFPS does not think it is in your child’s best interest to visit with you or if allowing visitation conflicts with another court order, such as a protective order. Visitation is important so your child can see you and it will also 1) help you become a better parent, and 2) Visitation can show CPS that you are working your services and making the changes needed to help you become a safer parent!   Supervised vs. Unsupervised Visitation   A judge can order visitation to be either supervised or unsupervised and order other limits as needed. For example, the judge may order where the visits will occur, who […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide

CPS Parent Resource Guide Part 11: Working With CPS

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 […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide

CPS Parent Resoure Guide Part 9: Family Group Decision-Making

Studies have shown that parents who work  with a support network made up of family, friends, neighbors, community members and teachers are more likely to have their cases successfully dismissed while the children in these cases are less likely to end up in foster care long term.   Family Group Meetings are organized by CPS representatives and can take place either before or after the removal of your children.  You should invite anybody who you think can help you or your kids.  The gathering will also be attended by representatives for the children, the other parent and representatives for the other parent.  Be prepared for a long day as family group meetings can take four or more hours.   The product of the meeting is a Family Plan of Service, or a Service Plan.  Your service plan is a structured plan that will summarize the ways you and your support network plan on addressing the safety concerns of CPS.  It is important that each party involved feels comfortable following through with promises they make.  Parties must hold themselves and each other accountable.  For example, if you are not supposed to visit your kids at school it is important that those […]

CPS Parent Resource Guide

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

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 […]

Free-range parenting

Risks of “Free-Range” Parenting

The Meitiv family in Montgomery County is being investigated for neglect of their children after allowing their 6 and 10 year old children walk home about a mile from the park to their home. What the parents call free-range parenting and lessons on independence, the Montgomery County Child Protective Services call neglect – in Maryland, state law requires that a child under 8 years old be accompanied or supervised by someone of at least 13 years of age in dwellings, enclosures and vehicles. The parents say that this law does not apply to their children as the children were walking home and not indoors. Additionally, the county provides bus services to elementary children only if they live a mile away from the school, implying that the county condones children as young as kindergarten aged walking up to a mile to get to school. Drawing the line between neglectful parents who put their children in harm’s way and free-range parents is very important and unfortunately parents who practice free-range parenting are finding that they are burdened by overzealous CPS investigations. The Meitivs say that their involvement with CPS has been an invasion of their privacy, with police and caseworkers insisting on […]

Statutory rape victim forced to pay child support

Forced Child Support for Rape Victims

The purpose of child support is to ensure that a child is taken care of. This is a social value that tracks from the idea that all children are inherently innocent (true) and thus deserve to be supported even if it creates hardships for the parents. However, some situations create results that are so egregious that this philosophy NEEDS to be altered. Take for example, the case of Nick Olivas. At the age of 14, he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old woman who later became pregnant and had his child. 10 years later at the age of 24, he was served with a lawsuit demanding child support for a daughter he had no idea even existed. There seem to be TONS of issues with this: First, is whether or not the state should be helping to enforce ADDITIONAL consequences on the victim of a sex crime. If that language sounds harsh, good, because that’s how I view the situation. A long time ago, in regards to women, we moved past the idea that it’s acceptable to force victims of sex crimes to deal with the consequences of the non-consensual pregnancy. It used to be the case that women could […]