Child Protective Services (CPS) is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), a State Agency set up by law to make sure children are safe and help families create a safe environment for their children. When investigating a report of abuse or neglect, CPS seeks active involvement from the children’s parents and other family members to help solve issues that lead to abuse or neglect. The objective of CPS is to re-join parents and children whenever possible. If reunification is not possible, CPS will seek to terminate the parent-child relationship to develop permanency for the child in a safe and secure home.
When investigating abuse or neglect, CPS will do one of the following:
- Prevent further harm to the child and keep the child with their family when possible. If this objective cannot be attained, CPS will consider removing the child from the family and the child’s placement with substitute families or caretakers.
- Place the child in substitute care while helping to resolve family dysfunction so that the child can be returned to the family. If this objective cannot be attained, CPS will recommend the termination of the parent-child relationship and the permanent placement of the child with another family or caretaker.
- Recommend termination of the parent-child relationship or other legal remedies that would permanently authorize the child to be placed with another family or caretaker.
Not all children involved in CPS investigations are removed from their homes. In some circumstances, CPS may determine that the immediate threat of harm has been removed. The family will be asked to work services or attend various programs to ensure that the threat that started the investigation of the family has been addressed. However, if CPS determines that abuse or neglect has occurred to the child, the child may be removed from the home.
CPS typically concludes a removal is necessary when:
- There is a present danger of serious harm to the children in the home.
- The caregiver’s protective capacities are insufficient to keep all the children safe from the harm.
- There are no reasonable efforts that CPS can make to prevent removal that would be consistent with the safety of the children.
If your child is removed from your home, you will be notified in writing, and you will receive a copy of the paperwork that has been filed with the court. One of the forms you will receive is called a petition. The petition is a court pleading that is created after a report is received and investigated by CPS. The petition will name the parent or guardian of a child as a respondent. This is the term used by the Child Protection Court for the parent or guardian in a child abuse and neglect case. The petition will list one or more allegations (allegations are located in the Affidavit attached to the petition) — statements of what happened and why your child needs to be in the custody of CPS.
You must stick with the terms of the safety plans and work together with your caseworker. The technicalities surrounding this type of legal case do not give room for any tardiness. Additionally, it is advised that you cooperate with your caseworker, as they can make or break your case depending on your compliance and disposition towards it.
If you need further information on the intricate details of the safety plans of Child Protective Services or need legal representation during the CPS investigation, contact our experienced family law firm today at 361-578-7200.