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Child Protective Services (CPS) Questions

What is Child Protective Services or CPS?

Child Protective Service (CPS) is a government agency in many states in the United States that responds to child abuse and child neglect issues. Some states may use different names such as “Department of Social Services” (DSS) or “Department of Children & Family Services” (DCFS).

Contrary to common perception, CPS is not set up to take children away from parents. They are simply there to protect the best interest of the child -- help prevent child abuse and neglect -- and to help the child live in a safe environment. Sometimes when CPS caseworkers come into a child’s home, the parents can feel intimidated and confused about the rights CPS has. Fear because they are unaware of their own rights, or even why the caseworkers are there can lead to legal questions. Understand your rights with respect to Child Protective Services. Below are answers provided by Experts on some of the commonly asked questions about CPS.

What are my rights if CPS is trying to enter my home to investigate?

A person has the right to refuse investigation in most cases. However, if a parent refuses, then the Child Protective Services can request that the court remove the children because of lack of cooperation. After that, the CPS would have 72 hours to find evidence on why the children should be removed from the home. If no evidence is found, then they must return the children. If the CPS is called as a result of referral then by law the caseworker is required to investigate all referrals for the protection of the children. If children are removed by the CPS, then the parent has the right to challenge the findings in a trial hearing.
 

What do CPS caseworkers look for when they visit a child’s home and what are the implications of refusing a drug test asked for by a CPS caseworker?

Normally, Child Protective Services will look around the house to make sure that the house is safe for the children that live there -— no drugs, no signs of abuse or neglect, etc. If parents do not have a history of drugs, appear to be free from drugs, and if the CPS caseworker finds the house safe, then the case may be dropped by the CPS.

However, if the CPS caseworkers ask a parent or parents to take a drug test and they refuse it, then the caseworker may have reason to suspect that the parent is under the influence of drugs and can legally take the children away from the home. If you are not sure what to do when dealing with the CPS, you could ask a Family Lawyer to evaluate your case and provide Expert legal insights.
 

Does CPS have the right to ask someone to take a hair follicle drug test if the person has already passed the oral and urine test?

Usually CPS can request that the parent take a hair follicle drug test to reassure that they are free from drug abuse. Typically the hair that they use for this kind of test comes from the top of the head. If the parent refuses to take a drug test, the child could be taken away from the home until CPS believes it is safe for the child to return. If the parent has nothing to hide, it’s often best to cooperate with child protective services and cause less stress to the child and the family.
 

In Texas, can CPS build a case without talking to both parties that are involved?

According to the law in Texas, the CPS caseworker may interview the parents. However, if there is proof of child abuse and/ or neglect, then no home visit or interview is deemed necessary. In such situations, CPS usually has the authority to just remove the children from the home. The CPS caseworker will need to investigate further to prepare a report for the judge. This report is to facilitate a court decision on whether the child needs to become a ‘protected child of the state’, and whether the parents should be charged. During this process the law requires that both the parents be notified by the caseworker, of all of the details about the hearing in their case.
 

Does CPS have the right to talk to a minor without the parent or legal guardian around?

Although the parent has the right to know what was discussed between the caseworker and the child, Child Protective Services also have the right to talk to a minor about their living situations. That is mainly why CPS often contacts the minor at school. The parent and the child have the right to refuse talking to the child protective services. When the parent or child refuses to talk, it can raise suspicion and make the caseworker raise more questions and investigate further.

Dealing with Child Protective Services can be a difficult and traumatic time. You may not understand what to do, or what your rights are when dealing with CPS. Although you may think you understand your rights, it is best to be absolutely sure about the legal implications of the decisions you take. A quick and easy way to do this is to ask a Family Lawyer.

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Recent Child Protective Services Questions

  • In the event child protective services does obtain a court

    In the event child protective services does obtain a court order, what EXACTLY does a court order give them right to do? just enter the home ? I don't want them talking to my children without me or an attorney.
  • Hello! I have a couple of questions regarding Child Protective

    Hello!

    I have a couple of questions regarding Child Protective Services and a case that has been opened pertaining to my niece. Here are the facts:

    I live in an upper-middle class neighborhood in Texas with my niece, her boyfriend (steady for 7 years), and their two children (ages 6 & 3)

    One day, the three year old got out of the house, and walked two blocks. My home is 5000 sq feet. We looked for him high and low. Thus, he walked further than he otherwise would have had we not searched the house well.

    A police officer drove up with 'Iszaiah" in the back. He notified that CPS would be involved.

    A CPS worker came by the house a couple of weeks ago, my niece was very cooperative, answered the workers questions. "Honestly" (which I believe answering any questions was a bad idea).

    -The worker made her second visit last week to visit with her boyfriend and her together as a couple. Chain locks were put on the doors, and she was coming by to "check that out" as well so that she could "close the case."

    -She is making her THIRD visit today to take pictures of the new locks and visit with the two of them once again. Each visit, she says that she has to do "whatever" she is there for (ie to take pics of the lock) so she can close the case. My thoughts: That's a ploy to get their cooperation.

    My niece gave an okay on her coming by at 5:00 today. I think that the best idea is to stop communication altogether, don't allow her back in the home, and deal with an attorney. However: Based on the information that my niece has given her, I don't know what the ramifications would be if this step was

    My nieces history (all revealed by her to the CPS worker):

    -The worker asked if she still smoked marijuana, and she said occasionally, but not in the
    home, and never in front of the children. (BAD MOVE, in my opinion)

    -They recently moved here from Oklahoma where she had a CPS case which was dropped. (Supposedly a bogus claim made by an angry friend)

    -She was arrested in Texas for possession of under 2 ounces of marijuana & paraphernalia in 2002. Plead guilty to paraphernalia. Both charges were dropped. Again, she told this to CPS.

    MY QUESTIONS:

    Does she (CPS) have a legal right to enter today if I say no, although my niece already invited her? (I rent the home and am the only person on the lease)

    What could the possibilities be (if I did not allow her to enter) given that the worker has so much information? She may have too much information for us to safely exercise our rights. (Search warrant)?


    I realize this is much information, and I will likely have to hire a lawyer. But I need some guidance as to the possibilities and our immediate rights. I will certainly pay accordingly as we may have to (back and forth) a couple of times. Thank you for your considerations!

    Tommy
  • in South Carolina I have permanent physical custody of my great

    in South Carolina I have permanent physical custody of my great nephew I have had him for 4 years grandmother waited until the parents were gone to prison to bring a visitation case to court in her jurisdiction the courts automatically sided with her and gave her visitation ignoring all evidence brought by the custodial relatives it was denied change of venue to where the child lives judge gave grandmother in two weekends a month and alternating holiday weeks guardian ad litem refused to listen to evidence did no investigation on the child's behalf her lawyer knowingly told lies in the courtroom my lawyer appeared to be on her side also the judge refused to acknowledge the child has siblings in other areas on the maternal side ruled solely for the paternal grandmother as if she were a parent do non parent custodial relative have rights too disputeddispute this its not that we don't want him to visit with her we had a very good reason to not want him to spend nights and weekends unsupervised that there her son that lives in the home with a lot about has hit his own mother and stole her truck she pressed charges when he threatened her she dropped charges when you judge was informed of this information and asked for supervised visitation she allowed the grandmother to supervise her own son has she is afraid of guardian at litem refused to listen to a tape that I have brought to me by the parents very violent drug induced fight that happened in front of all five of their children on her property The Guardian at litem only thought this child 4 30 minutes and made a decision we have no right to controlled environment that the is childis in wwhen I express my anguish to my lawyer but in front of the judge at the end of a hearing I was brought back into the courtroom and warned by the judge that I would not make comments in his court room for contempt of court I went to DSS about this they would not help me I went to the police department to get a record of the Sun they would not help me I went to the court house at to petition to dispute this I called her lawyer and ask for mediation I did everything I could to try to protect your child and was repeatedly ignored and told I was just being an overprotective custodian it we were not his parents also they brought his parents back in from prison to testify they are the ones that put the children in this situation and had 5 children removed because of drugs yet the court allowed them to make the decision about the visitation I've had this out for 4 years the grandmother waited until she got custody of a younger brother and lied about the address for the parents lived and got it captain heard restriction as opposed to wear a child live all cases closed on this child 4 years ago its like 30 or else this have no rights want they take the child I only want to protect him I am very concerned about his health in at home

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