Does a Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation Mean You Lose Your Children?
While Child Protective Services (CPS) makes the children’s safety their priority, it also works with parents to help them correct abuse or neglect and find constructive ways to discipline children when needed.
What is a CPS investigation?
The purpose of a CPS investigation is to find out whether a report of child abuse or neglect has any factual basis. Based on the information gathered from the investigation, caseworkers decide whether:
- Abuse or neglect existed
- The child or children are safe
- There is risk of further abuse or neglect
When caseworkers decide that a child is not safe, they must determine:
- Whether removing the child from the home is necessary
- Whether the parent needs treatment services to reduce the likelihood of future abuse or neglect
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, caseworkers complete CPS investigations within about 30 days. That is an optimistic requirement. It often takes quite a bit longer than 30 days. Investigations involve the caseworker interviewing the child (must be audio or videotaped). The caseworker may interview other children in the home, anyone with information about the allegations, and any other persons alleged to have abused or neglected the child. The caseworker relays the information and listens to the accused party’s explanations. Instead of removing a child from the home, the caseworker may recommend a family team meeting where parents, the family, friends, and others meet, discuss the situation, and decide how they can keep a child safe. The caseworker may have the party accused of negligence or abuse devise a safety plan, which outlines actions to take to keep a child safe.
Parties accused of neglect and abuse can always consult a Texas family law attorney for advice and to protect their rights. Remember, any statement that you make to a CPS worker or anyone else is admissible in a criminal prosecution. It is best to contact a Texas family law attorney or a criminal law attorney, before making any statement to a CPS investigator or anyone else if there is the possibility of criminal prosecution. You must protect your constitutional rights.