Having your child taken away from you is every parent’s worst nightmare. There are several reasons Child Protective Services (CPS) can legally remove your child during an investigation.
Today, we will review the eight reasons CPS caseworkers may take children from their parents. If you are under investigation by Child Protective Services, do not hesitate to contact a Harker Heights CPS lawyer to protect your rights and prevent the agency from taking your children from home.
When Can Child Protective Services Take Your Child?
Child Protective Services can take your child from home only if the agency has a court order authorizing it to do so if a CPS caseworker believes that an emergency situation exists to warrant an “emergency removal.”
To remove your children from your home, a CPS caseworker must have a reasonable belief that:
You pose an immediate threat to the child;
The child would not be safe if they remained in your home; or
The child is in imminent danger.
Let’s review the most common reasons CPS may take children from a parent’s home during an investigation.
1. Physical violence
Unfortunately, physical violence is one of the most common reasons CPS removes children from their parents. When a CPS caseworker has evidence that a child has been a victim of physical violence at a parent’s home, they may believe that the child is in imminent danger to take the child away from the parents.
2. Sexual abuse
When a child has been a victim of sexual abuse in the parents’ home, CPS will take the child from home. In most cases, the perpetrator is also removed from the home to prosecute the sex crime against the minor. (Sexual Assault Awareness)
3. Use of illegal drugs
If a parent or any other person is using illegal drugs in the child’s home, a CPS caseworker may remove the child from home. (Drug Charges in Texas: FAQs)
4. Abandonment and child neglect
It is not uncommon for Child Protective Services to remove children from home when there is evidence that parents abandoned them or are guilty of other forms of child neglect. (What is Abandonment, and How Does It Affect a Texas Divorce?) Examples of child neglect include:
Not providing a child with clothing
Not providing a child with food
Having no food in the house
Not taking a child to a hospital to get necessary medical care
Having a child locked in an enclosed space
Denying a child’s access to the house
Abandoning a child for a lengthy period of time
5. Parental consent
In some cases, a parent may consent to the removal of their child from home. When a parent consents to have their child removed from the home, the child may be taken to a foster home or another relative’s home.
However, when one parent consents to removal but the other parent refuses to allow CPS to take the children, the agency will not be able to remove the kids without a court order unless the circumstances warrant an “emergency removal.”
“But why would a parent consent to the removal of their child?” you may wonder. For example, a parent may allow CPS to take their child away from home to provide him/her with mental health services.
6. Environmental danger
During a CPS home inspection, an investigator will look for things like illegal drugs and firearms being left in the open, infestation, feces, piles of trash, rotten food, and other “environmental dangers.”
However, environmental dangers must be severe in order to warrant the removal of a child from home without a court order.
7. Inadequate care
A CPS caseworker may remove a child from the home if the parent is unable to provide adequate care to a child. Some situations in which a child may be removed from a parent’s home due to inadequate care include:
The parent was hospitalized or incarcerated
The parent has been diagnosed with a severe and untreated mental illness associated with dangerous behavior
The parent has a history of violent behavior
8. Medical abuse
Child Protect Services may remove a child from a parent’s home when the parent is guilty of “medical abuse.” Medical abuse occurs when a child receives medically unnecessary or even harmful treatments and procedures at the parent’s request.
What to Do if Child Protective Services (CPS) Took My Children Away?
Once CPS removes your children, the agency must notify you about the removal within 24 hours. If a CPS caseworker took your child away on the weekend, you would most likely be notified on Monday.
A parent is notified about the removal by a CPS caseworker or through a notice of removal left on your door (if you were not home at the time of the inspection).
When this happens, a written notice of removal will include the following information:
The name and contact information for the caseworker who took your child;
The reason behind the removal of your child;
Information about court hearings; (Read more about defending yourself in court)
Information about your rights and obligations, including your rights to be represented by a lawyer; and
Information about your right to visit your child after the removal from your home.
If CPS took your child away, you should reach out to the caseworker, whose name and contact information is on the written notice of removal, as soon as possible.
It is equally important to contact an experienced attorney to discuss how you can get your children back from CPS.
Call a Harker Heights CPS Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Do not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to help you get your kids back from CPS after the removal. Understandably, the situation is very stressful and intimidating, but you need to do your best to keep calm.
If your children were removed from your home, you have no time to waste. Contact our Harker Heights CPS attorney at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation. Our skilled CPS lawyers will fight for the return of your children. Call 254-501-4040 to receive a case evaluation.