You may not have expected the visit from child protective services (CPS) coming. After this Texas agency received a call reporting that you and your partner may be neglecting or abusing your children, it must determine if the allegations are valid.
After completing their investigation, the social worker who focuses on investigations may, with their supervisor, decide that the allegations were not substantiated or true. Or they may determine that the allegations are valid.
A knock on the door from CPS may upend your life
That first knock by the social worker begins a process that may be both terrifying and frustrating. Whatever you do, try not to express anger toward the social worker.
Their responsibility is to ensure that your children are cared for, supervised and protected. For this reason, they may interview your children, particularly those the caller says are being neglected or abused. When it is your turn to be interviewed, be honest. CPS may include the police in their investigation — at this point, it may become a criminal investigation.
Is CPS allowed to take my children away?
CPS is legally allowed to remove your children from you. If their investigation supports the allegations of abuse or neglect and they believe the children may not be protected, removal may be the only option.
Sometimes, the allegations may be false or the social worker made mistakes. Learning about protecting your family may prevent unneeded trauma.
How a CPS investigation proceeds and the results
Investigations may begin with interviews of the children, you, your partner and the perpetrator of the abuse or neglect. They may interview your children without you being present — but the interview may be recorded.
The social worker may ask for psychological or medical examinations. This helps them decide if abuse has taken place. After interviews have been completed, the social worker may explain the allegations, then give you the chance to explain any safety issues or injuries. If the social worker determines there are safety issues for the children, they may create a service plan or remove the children.
Understanding your rights and obligations in this situation is critically important. Make sure that you have experienced legal guidance the entire way.