Questions about Child Protective Services (CPS)
Talk to a Lawyer that Handles CPS Cases as Soon as Possible
- What should I do when a CPS worker calls me and wants to meet with me to talk about my children?
- Should I get lawyer I meet with CPS?
- What is a “Safety Plan” and should I agree to sign one?
- What do I do now that CPS has done an “Emergency Removal” and placed my children into foster care?
- Should I get a lawyer now that I received a notice or letter that tells me I have a court hearing to decide temporary custody of my children?
- How do I handle a case where CPS says my children have been sexually abused?
- How do I handle a case where CPS says my child has been abused?
- I don’t want to ask my family for help because I am embarrassed and these allegations aren’t true?
- Should I agree to a drug test if CPS asks me to take one?
- Now that my children have been removed by CPS, will I ever get them back?
What should I do when a CPS worker calls me and wants to meet with me to talk about my children?
Be cooperative. Agree to meet. Call your lawyer. Refusing to cooperate can substantially damage your case, and may result in an immediate emergency removal of your child. We understand that conversations with a CPS investigator can be stressful. When possible it’s important to speak with an attorney about your situation before the interview. If you don’t have time to retain an attorney before your interview, try to keep these tips in mind:
- be polite and helpful
- show genuine concern for your children
- listen to what the investigator has to say and take notes
- ask for specific information from CPS, including the alleged actions and your investigator’s contact information
- do not make up answers, lie or provide half answers
- do not say statements such as “______ would never do that”, “I don’t believe you” or “my child is lying”.
- provide the investigator with contact information for friends or family members who are credible references and could possibly be placements for your children if placement becomes necessary
- At the end of the conversation ask the CPS Investigator to summarize her discussion with you, her findings, any actions she is considering taking and her reasons for taking those actions.
Keep any documentation or paperwork that the CPS worker gives you. It will be helpful to give this to the attorney you get to handle your CPS case. If CPS is contacting you, it is a serious situation and you need to call a lawyer as soon as you can. Cofer Law, P.C. has lawyers skilled in handling CPS cases. You can call or visit their downtown Fort Worth location. To learn more about the attorneys taking CPS cases at Cofer Law, please visit their profiles: Cody L. Cofer.
2. Should I get a lawyer before I meet with CPS?
Yes, if you can. Meetings with a CPS investigator or caseworker can be very stressful, confusing, and set the tone for the entire CPS process. So it’s important to retain a lawyer even during the earliest stages of an investigation. Unfortunately, a lawyer who is not familiar with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services structure may do you more harm than good. An experienced CPS lawyer can help to clarify the issues, present your case in a positive manner, and minimize the risk of your children being taken into foster care. Even if the allegations are completely false CPS involvement can leave stain on your record for the rest of your life, and unfortunately sometimes CPS investigations lead to the wrong result.
Call to schedule a consultations with a Cofer Law CPS attorney. It’s best to call and make an appointment with one fo the attorneys that handles CPS cases, because we’re often in court during the day. But you are welcome to stop in our Downtown Fort Worth office. Our office is within walking distance from most of the Tarrant County Courthouses.
3. What is a “Safety Plan” and should I agree to sign one?
A Safety Plan is a CPS created document that tells you the steps you must take in order to keep your children in your home or to have your children returned to your home. For instance, the Safety Plan may instruct you to participate in substance abuse counseling, protect your children from an abuser, or take a parenting class.
When deciding if you should sign the safety plan, you must ask yourself whether you can follow the Safety Plan. Next, you must make sure that both you and CPS understand the exact goals the Safety Plan requires you to accomplish and when the safety plan expires.
The Safety Plan is largely going to be the standard of conduct you are held to during the CPS investigation. This is one important reason you need to have a lawyer involved from the beginning of the investigation. The Safety Plan needs to be specific, precise, and workable. Many people sign Safety Plans and paint themselves into a corner because following the plan is impractical. If you think the CPS worker is going to be understanding if you can’t follow the Safety Plan, you’re wrong.
It’s better to set the bar low in a Safety Plan and take extra measures on your own. To talk about this and other strategies you should contact a lawyer experienced with CPS cases. Directions to Cofer Law, P.C.
4. What do I do now that CPS has done an “Emergency Removal” and placed my children into foster care?
Provide the investigator with contact information for credible friends and family members that may be willing to provide a temporary home for your child. Under Texas law, CPS is required to attempt to place a child with friends or family members designated by a parent if the placement passes a home study and background check, BUT a parent must provide contact information sufficient to identify and locate the named individuals.
In the mean time, try to provide the CPS investigator with as much information as possible to make your child comfortable. Tell the worker about any medications your child is taking, any eating habits they may have and make arrangements to provide the worker with some of the child’s possessions to make him feel more secure.
Ask for a visit with your child. Typically, you will get a one hour visit once per week. Always show up to your visits with a positive attitude and in compliance with your safety plan. Making the most of your contact with your child is extremely important.
BE POLITE to the person supervising your visit. They’re not just there to supervise, they are there to observe you and report about: how you’re interacting; whether you were on time; what your appearance is; and anything else they observe.
When your child has been taken out of your home you are fighting an uphill battle.
Get familiar with CPS and get a skilled CPS attorney on your side:
Yes! The Court is required to schedule a hearing within 14 days of the date your child was removed from your possession to determine whether there is a continuing danger to your child in your home. The District Attorney will often call the CPS investigator, teachers, doctors or other witnesses to testify against you. It’s important that you hire an experienced attorney before your hearing or request that the Judge allow you more time to retain counsel in order to properly defend against false or inaccurately portrayed allegations.
CPS has a lawyer! The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office has an entire division of lawyers devoted to CPS cases. Lawyers that do nothing but CPS cases. Those lawyers has investigators and law enforcement at their disposal. You’re involved in a serious legal fight. You need to hire the best lawyer you can find and do it as soon as you can. The attorneys at Cofer Law, P.C. are experienced and committed advocates. Don’t make the mistake of going at this alone.
6. How do I handle a case where CPS says my children have been sexually abused?
Allegations of sexual abuse are difficult on any family, and often embarrassing revelations to adults. The most important priority is to ensure that your child is safe and will be protected. Show genuine concern. Ask the CPS investigator what you can do to make sure your child is safe; this includes knowing the alleged abuser is, when the abuse allegedly happened and exactly what the child is reporting occurred. Take every step necessary to become a protective parent and demonstrate that your child is more important to you than the abuser. If you are unable to protect your child it is very likely that the child will be placed outside of your home.
If you are the person that has been accused of sexual abuse call a lawyer NOW. The first question out of your mouth when you’re interviewing a lawyer is, “How many cases like this have you handled?” In addition to potentially losing your children forever, the CPS case may turn into a criminal charge. You could be looking at long prison sentence. Cody Cofer is uniquely qualified to handle cases where CPS cases overlap with criminal cases. You don’t want to have to switch lawyers in the middle of a case. You need an experienced and skilled lawyer from the beginning. In addition to CPS cases Cody Cofer defends citizens accused of sexual crimes. Call for a confidential consultation right now.
7. How do I handle a case where CPS says my child has been abused?
Physical abuse usually occurs in one of two instances: (1) The case of the baby who is shaken or beaten by an adult; or (2) Improper physical discipline of a child.
Cases involving injuries babies and young children are difficult because the victim is unable to speak. Be upfront and honest if you can identify another person who injured the child and do not attempt to cover up the incident, even if it was an accident. This is another area that can quickly turn into a criminal case. That is why it is important to get an attorney on your side as soon as possible. Retaining an attorney is very important for shaken baby or infant injury cases. In addition to CPS cases Cody Cofer defends citizens accused of physically abusing a child. Call for a confidential consultation right now.
Depending on the severity of improper physical discipline, CPS may allow you to keep your child in your home while you are attending parenting classes or counseling. An experienced attorney will be able to examine the facts of your case and advise you of a realistic expectation based on the types of injuries your child sustained.
8. I don’t want to ask my family for help because I am embarrassed and these allegations aren’t true?
If you’re saving favors or money for a rainy day…when CPS knocks on your door, it’s pouring! If your family can help you in any way, financial, emotional, or as a temporary placement for your children, tell them. A CPS case could be the most serious legal matter in your life. It is no time to “go it alone.” Show CPS that you come from a good family and that you have their support — it will make a difference. If there are local options for placement or supervision (in or around Tarrant County) this can be an enormous help during the CPS process.
9. Should I agree to a drug test if CPS asks me to take one?
The decision to take a drug test depends significantly on your individual circumstances and should be determined with the help of your attorney. Generally however, if you are presently using either illegal substances or abusing prescription medications it is important that you begin your road to recovery immediately. CPS will often require parents who either admit to using or fail a drug test to engage in treatment and random screenings as a condition to having their children returned to their home. If you are unable or unwilling to stay clean your children may stay in the foster care system longer than necessary. There are many substance abuse treatment providers in Tarrant County that Cofer Law works with on a regular basis.
10. Now that my children have been removed by CPS, will I ever get them back?
CPS cases are generally resolved within 1 year of the removal of a child. You need an experienced attorney to determine the steps necessary to get your children returned to you and encourage you along the way. In the event CPS is not willing to return your child to you, you need an experienced attorney willing to fight for your parental rights and ensure that the Texas laws governing terminations are followed. CPS cases can change dramatically from day 1 of removal until the final hearing date, but as your attorney my job is to keep you apprised of your cases status and the steps necessary to ensure that the result you desire is accomplished.
Speak with the experienced trial lawyers at Cofer Law, P.C. to learn more about your legal options when you are faced with a CPS court matter. CPS Attorneys Downtown Fort Worth handling Tarrant County CPS cases visit the firm or call (817) 810-9395.
Nothing is more important than protecting your children. When a complaint reaches Child Protective Services, you will have to defend yourself against allegations of abuse or neglect. It is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately for legal representation—even before speaking to Child Protective Services about your case. There is no right to remain silent in CPS litigation, and CPS is not obliged to warn you about your rights. You really need to have an experienced lawyer at your side to make sure that your rights are protected. Your case can be damaged early on by making bad choices when dealing with CPS. You need strategy and focus from the very beginning of your interaction with CPS. Having a skilled CPS attorney represent you from the beginning of the case can help minimize damage and put you in a much better position for the long run.