Updated on August 22, 2022
All parents fear having their children taken away, but this event is a possible outcome of a CPS investigation. 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 or if a CPS caseworker believes that an emergency situation exists to warrant an “emergency removal.”
To remove your children from your home without a court order, a CPS caseworker must have a reasonable belief that one of the following situations is true:
You pose an immediate threat to the child.
The child would not be safe if they remained in your home.
The child is in imminent danger.
Here are eight of 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 take the child away from the parents. (What to Do if You Are Falsely Accused of Child Abuse in Texas)
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. (What Can I Do if CPS Requires a Drug Test?)
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. There are several examples of child neglect:
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. For example, a parent may allow CPS to take their child away from home to provide him or her with mental health services. When a parent consents to have their child removed, 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.”
6. Environmental Danger
During a CPS home inspection, an investigator will look for environmental dangers, which must be severe to warrant the removal of a child from home without a court order. (Learn more with a list of environmental dangers CPS will look for.)
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. Here are some situations in which a child may be removed from a parent’s home due to inadequate care:
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 Protective 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?
If 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, they will most likely notify you on Monday.
If you were not home at the time of the inspection, a CPS caseworker will leave a notice of removal on your door. 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 your rights and obligations, including your right to be represented by a lawyer and 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.
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) 781-4222 to receive a case evaluation.