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What Can I Do if Child Protective Services (CPS) Requires a Drug Test?

It is not uncommon for Child Protective Services (CPS) to require drug tests when conducting investigations. If a CPS caseworker asks you to take a drug test, do not hesitate to contact a Harker Heights Child Protective Services lawyer to protect your rights.

Can Child Protective Services Require a Drug Test?

Yes, CPS may require a drug test when you get arrested for drug possession or any other drug-related crime, or someone complains to the agency that you used illegal drugs.

Keep in mind that CPS investigations are civil cases. Child Protective Services cannot charge you with a crime if your drug test comes back positive. If a CPS caseworker contacts you and asks you to take a drug test or your children were taken from you, speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Can CPS Take My Children Due to Drug Use?

When someone reports child abuse, drug use, or neglect involving your children, Child Protective Services will assign a caseworker to conduct an investigation.

If you are suspected of using illegal drugs – or were arrested for a drug-related offense – CPS could remove your children from you. In fact, CPS can take your children even if the drug test shows the presence of prescription drugs in your system.

Regardless of whether you use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs, CPS can determine that you are unfit to care for your children. A positive drug test is not the only reason CPS may take your children from you. Other reasons include:

  • You fail to provide your kids with adequate medical care;

  • You or someone else in the child’s household uses illegal drugs;

  • You do not provide enough healthy food to your children;

  • You or someone else in your household physically abused the child; or

  • You or someone else in your household sexually abused the child.

Child Protective Services may take your children:

  1. After obtaining a court order;

  2. During the home visit, when the CPS investigator has reason to believe that the child is at risk of immediate harm; or

  3. After getting your consent to place the children with a relative or friend while the investigation is ongoing.

Can You Refuse a CPS Drug Test?

When a CPS caseworker has a reasonable suspicion that a drug test is necessary but you refuse to take the drug test, the caseworker will document your refusal.

CPS cannot forcibly require you to take a drug test unless:

  1. You agree to take the drug test; or

  2. The CPS obtains a warrant for the drug test.

If you refuse to take a drug test, CPS will file a lawsuit to obtain a warrant. However, the caseworker must be able to prove probable cause to obtain the warrant.

Your refusal to take a drug test may lead to the removal of your children from your home if the caseworker believes that your kids are at risk of immediate harm.

If CPS has already taken your children, refusing a CPS drug test can make it difficult to return your kids. The sooner you contact a Harker Heights Child Protective Services lawyer, the better. Do not wait until a CPS caseworker comes knocking on your door. Speak with an attorney as soon as you find out about the ongoing CPS investigation.

What Happens if the Drug Test Comes Back Positive?

If your drug test comes back positive, CPS will give you an option of signing a safety plan to place your kids with a relative or friend. Your refusal to sign the plan may lead to the removal of your children from your home.

However, before taking your children after you test positive, the CPS caseworker must establish a link between your drug use and the risk of harm to the children.

If your drug test comes back positive, but you are not currently seeking substance abuse treatment, CPS may refer you to:

  • Substance abuse treatment; or

  • A regional outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) center.

Referral may not be appropriate if you test positive and the CPS caseworker believes that it would not be safe for your child to stay with you. The caseworker may determine that a child’s safety is at risk if:

  1. There is a risk of potential harm to the child due to the parent’s drug use; and

  2. The parent who tested positive for drugs is not capable of managing and controlling their behavior and threats to the child.

Note: CPS may have grounds to remove your children from your home if you (a) test positive and (b) refuse to sign the proposed safety plan.

What to Do if CPS Suspects That I’m Using Drugs?

If you become the target of a Child Protective Services investigation because the agency suspects that you are using illegal drugs, take the following steps to prevent CPS from taking your children from you:

  1. Take the investigation seriously. Even if you know for a fact that the accusations are false or unreasonable, it is still important to take the situation seriously.

  2. Do not talk to a CPS caseworker before you consult with your attorney. It is vital to consult with an experienced attorney to understand your rights and options.

  3. Be polite. After you have consulted with your attorney, be polite when speaking with a CPS worker assigned to your case.

  4. Do not let CPS caseworkers in without a warrant or court order. You have a right to refuse to let CPS in your home if the agency does not have a warrant or court order.

  5. Refuse the drug test if there is no warrant. CPS needs your consent to perform a drug test. You have a right to refuse the drug test if the agency does not have a warrant for the test.

Speak with a Harker Heights Child Protective Services Lawyer

Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer as soon as you learn about a Child Protective Services investigation. Regardless of what the accusations are, you need a skilled lawyer on your side to protect your rights. Contact our attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to understand your rights and discuss your case. Call 254-501-4040 or contact us online.

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