It can be daunting for a parent to open their door and find an investigator from Child Protective Services (CPS) standing there informing them someone filed a complaint alleging one parent or both parents have either neglected or abused their children. At the Whittemore Law Firm, we stand ready to help you if CPS calls you or visits you informing you of such allegations.
What Happens When CPS Receives a Complaint
CPS, which works under the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, is charged with the duty of investigating all complaints reported about suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected. Those in certain professions; such as health care workers, teachers, attorneys, and clergy, are required to report their suspicion within 48-hours, or they risk losing their professional licenses.
The key word is “suspicion.” So, when a complaint is filed with CPS, the CPS worker opens an investigation. As part of the investigation, CPS workers may interview:
- The parents and children at your home.
- The children at school without the knowledge of the parents.
- The children’s schoolteachers, friends, parents of friends, stepparents, siblings, grandparents and other relatives, neighbors, and anyone the investigator believes may have relevant information.
We advise parents who are contacted by CPS to listen carefully to what the investigator has to say. Workers have the authority to take the following actions:
- Ask you to agree to them removing the children from your home. If you consent, the worker can remove the children without a court order.
- Work with you to allow a family member to take care of the children temporarily.
- Remove the children from the home if the worker believes the children are in immediate danger. If workers exercise this action and act without your consent, they must get a judge’s approval of that action within three days of the removal.
- Leave the children in the home while working with the parents to improve the situation.
How the Whittemore Law Firm Can Help
Parents who are being investigated for child abuse or neglect have the right to consult with an attorney at any point during the investigation. We believe it is in the best interest of the parent to contact a CPS defense attorney as soon as possible after they have been approached by a CPS worker. They should definitely contact an attorney before giving consent for the removal of their children. At a minimum, it is imperative that an attorney be contacted if CPS indicates they will be filing a lawsuit against the parent in an endeavor for CPS to obtain custody of the children. An attorney can guide the parents through the process and let them know what to expect.
At our Law Firm, we defend parents in CPS cases when CPS files to take custody of a child by:
- Appearing at all hearings, including the initial emergency hearing.
- Work with the parents to obtain custody of the children if the children have been removed from the home by CPS.
- Gathering all the documents and all exculpatory evidence available.
- Obtaining discovery of the evidence CPS plans to use in prosecuting the case.
- Obtaining witness statements from those who support the parents and who can defend the allegations.
- Making sure parents are offered services through CPS such as parenting courses to facilitate return of the children to the parents.
- Advising parents if children have been removed from the home, and only supervised visitation is allowed.
- Helping parents comply with CPS requirements such as random drug testing or other psychological services.
When we get to court, we present all evidence so the judge understands that the parents are doing everything they can to show they can provide a safe and stable environment for their children.
At the Whittemore Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping parents navigate through the difficult CPS system. We work together with a parent or parents in order to convince the court that the best interests of the children are met by either leaving them in or returning them to the parental home.
For a free 20-minute consultation, Contact the Whittemore Law Firm at 832-215-3706
Whittemore Law Firm is dedicated to helping clients navigate difficult family law and divorce issues. Whittemore Law Firm serves clients in The Woodlands, Conroe, Montgomery County, Houston, Harris County, and throughout the surrounding area. If you need help, contact Whittemore Law Firm now and benefit from more than 21 years of family law experience so we can help make sure you get a fair resolution.