Representing Clients Throughout the Texas Panhandle
Situations involving Child Protective Services (CPS) are complex to navigate alone, especially for families who are not familiar with Texas family laws. If you are facing allegations or investigations from CPS, contact an experienced family lawyer like Attorney Laura E. Copp immediately. Attorney Copp can evaluate your case and help you determine next steps for both you and your child in the face of CPS investigations.
Contact us for your free phone consultation from our Amarillo CPS attorney.
Child Protective Investigations
Texas law requires anybody who believes that a child has been abused or neglected by parents or other household members to report this to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), who will investigate these allegations to protect the children.
When investigating a report, the DFPS investigator will:
- interview the child that may have been abused or neglected;
- make a reasonable effort to tell the parents about any interviews that have taken place and the nature of the allegations;
- discuss the report with the parents to get an explanation of any injuries, safety concerns, or risk of abuse or neglect to the child;
- obtain criminal history information about people alleged to have abused or neglected the child.
Be aware that the investigator may visually examine the children in the home for signs of physical abuse or neglect, as well as seek access to mental health records on the child, the parents, or the alleged abusers.
The investigation normally concludes in 30 days, and it will allow the investigator to determine if:
- the child was abused or neglected;
- the child is at risk of future abuse or neglect;
- the child is safe.
If the child is not safe, the investigator may decide to remove the child from your care. With a court order, DFPS can remove children when they are unsafe and the family is unable to make the changes needed to keep them safe. Note that DFPS only removes children from the home when it is necessary to protect them from the alleged abuse or neglect.
How Your CPS Lawyer Will Work With You
You have the right to consult with a lawyer at any point in the investigation, and it is generally advisable that you have a lawyer with you whenever CPS is involved. However, note that you are not entitled to a court appointed lawyer during a CPS investigation. Rather, you can enlist the help of a lawyer if you pay for the attorney yourself. The court is not required to provide free legal representation until later in the CPS process if you are determined to be indigent.
When meeting with an attorney, it is important that you inform them thoroughly about yourself, your children, and your situation. The more your lawyer knows the better – especially if what you are telling them is something that CPS is going to learn anyway. In particular, you want to tell your attorney about:
- why CPS investigated you for child abuse or neglect;
- whether you’ve been investigated by CPS in Texas or any other state in the past;
- whether you have any history of drug use, excessive alcohol use, domestic violence, or fighting in the home with your partner, or criminal charges of any kind, even if not related to why CPS investigated you in the first place;
- who your child’s other parent is and how they can be contacted (if they can take care of your child safely, that parent is likely able to take custody);
- whether you have a job or go to school, and your daily schedule;
- whether you have housing and transportation, including details about anyone with whom you share housing.
Let the Law Office of Laura E. Copp Help
If you are facing allegations or investigation from Child Protective Services in Amarillo, contact an experienced family lawyer immediately. Attorney Laura E. Copp is a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney who can provide the legal guidance you need in your CPS case, every step of the way. When it comes to situations involving your child, you deserve an attorney who will have your – and your child’s – best interests in mind.
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