If you are in the midst of a Child Protective Services , or CPS, court process, you might be looking for tips on fighting CPS in Texas. When you hope to win a CPS case without the assistance of an attorney, it’s important that you have a thorough understanding of the laws that dictate how Child Protective Services is required to behave. Only with knowledge of the system can you hope to beat CPS at their own game.
How to Beat CPS in Court
In Texas, Child Protective Services is operated by the Department of Family and Protective Services. CPS is charged with looking out for the welfare of children and removing them from situations in which their welfare is threatened. If controlled substances, sexual abuse or dangerous situations are suspected, children may be removed from their homes and placed in foster care. If this happens to your family, or if your children are removed for another reason, it is possible to fight back in court. Note that Texas state law does require an investigation be conducted anytime the welfare of a child has been questioned. Your child won’t necessarily be taken from your home just because CPS is investigating you, however.
First and foremost, clear and honest communication with your caseworker is critical. If you have any questions or if anything that you are asked to do is unclear, speak with the team assigned to your case. They’re present to help the whole family. Ask the caseworker to explain the specific reasons your child or children have been removed.
With this information in hand, it’s possible to prepare effectively for your court case. Compile testimony from colleagues, family members, neighbors or friends with knowledge of the situation and your relationship with your children. You may wish to first present this information to your caseworker in an effort to resolve the matter.
If your case will still go to court, keep your testimony on hand. You can also request to dispute the CPS findings in an administrative review. Be as detailed as possible when completing your dispute form. When you appear in court, behave as professionally as possible and present all available evidence that speaks to your innocence.
Other Strategies for Fighting DCFS
Beyond winning in court, it may be possible to break out of the Department of Family and Protective Services cycle using a variety of preventive strategies. For instance, taking advantage of the department’s Family Based Safety Services at home could prevent your case from ever going to court. These services are designed to make children safe in their homes or to make it possible for them to return home by providing families the resources they need to give adequate care. Once the safety of a child is reasonably assured, Child Protective Services may be able to administer FBSS in the home to support the ongoing development of the family.
In some instances, children may be temporarily placed elsewhere for their own safety. These placements, called Parental Child Safety Placements, are ideally arranged with other relatives or with close family friends to provide the least disruption possible. Even when a court case doesn’t go as you’d hoped and you lose custody of your children, CPS does ask parents for a list of at least three people, who can be family members or friends, who might provide support for the children so that they are not in a completely unfamiliar situation.