What to Do If You Are Falsely Accused of Child Abuse in Texas

child crying in hallway

Updated on August 23, 2022

Child abuse is a prevalent problem in Texas. The police and Child Protective Services (CPS) take allegations of child abuse seriously. However, not all reports of child abuse are confirmed. Many parents and caregivers in Texas are falsely accused of child abuse and neglect.

Each day, nearly 200 children become victims of child abuse in Texas alone, and more than four children on average die from abuse every week. However, out of over 440,000 reports of child abuse per year, only about 70,000 are confirmed. This means that nearly 85% of child abuse reports are not confirmed or are outright false.

Being falsely accused of child abuse or neglect is a nightmare. If your child’s other parent, teacher, doctor, neighbor, or another person accused you of child abuse, contact a Harker Heights family law attorney to discuss your options. When facing these false accusations, it is essential to think clearly and understand your rights.

What Is Considered Child Abuse in Texas?

There are many different types of child abuse and neglect, including but not limited to the following kinds of conduct:

  • Inflicting physical, psychological, or emotional abuse

  • Placing a child in a physically, psychologically, or emotionally abusive situation or failing to remove the child from one

  • Failing to seek timely medical care for a child, exposing the child to the risk of bodily injury, disfigurement, or death

  • Failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, including shelter, food, and clothing

  • Inflicting physical injury or creating a substantial risk of harm for the child’s welfare and safety

  • Failing to take reasonable measures to prevent another person from causing physical injury to a child

  • Engaging in sexual conduct that harms the child’s physical, emotional, or mental welfare

  • Giving a child drugs or other controlled substances, which eventually lead to addiction or other types of harm (Learn about CPS drug testing.)

These and many other types of conduct constitute child abuse and neglect in Texas.

If someone, including a neighbor or your partner, reports child abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the authorities will investigate the report to determine whether or not the alleged abuse occurred. In the worst-case scenario, the authorities may even remove an abused child from their home.

What Are the Requirements for Reporting Child Abuse in Texas?

While the Texas DFPS takes all allegations of child abuse seriously, there are specific requirements for reporting child abuse in Texas.

Under Texas law, any person who has reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected must make a complaint to the Texas DFPS. Texas Family Code § 261.101 requires professionals who have direct contact with children to report child abuse to the appropriate agency in a timely manner.

“Professionals” refers to any worker who has direct contact with children in the course and scope of their employment, including the following people in the following roles:

  • Teachers

  • School workers

  • Daycare workers

  • Healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals)

  • Juvenile probation officers

  • Juvenile detention or correctional officers

In Texas, failure to report child abuse as required by law can result in misdemeanor or state jail felony charges.

Under a new Texas law that went into effect on September 1, 2021, family courts and child welfare employees must consider additional medical opinions before removing a child from parents’ homes after a child abuse report. This new requirement is the latest attempt of legislators to protect parents from false child abuse claims.

What Should You Do If You Have Been Falsely Accused of Child Abuse?

Falsely accusing someone of child abuse is a criminal offense in Texas. Under Texas Family Code § 261.107, making a false report of child abuse with the intent to deceive is a state jail felony. The charge is elevated to a third-degree felony if the individual has previously been convicted for making false child abuse reports.

Even if you know that the accusations of child abuse are false, the fact that you will be investigated by the Department of Family and Protective Services and Child Protective Services is still quite intimidating and frustrating.

Take the following three steps to protect your rights when facing false allegations of child abuse in Texas:

Cooperate with the Investigation

Understandably, being falsely accused of abusing your child is not the most pleasant experience. However, it is critical to remain calm and not lose your temper.

Dealing with CPS is a stressful and somewhat humiliating experience, but it is essential that you cooperate with the investigation to ensure a favorable outcome. Being uncooperative could make the situation much worse.

Collect Evidence to Prove That the Allegations Are False

During a child abuse investigation, you will have an opportunity to present evidence to prove that the allegations are false. For this reason, you need to make sure that the evidence you collect can convince CPS that you did not do anything wrong. Your attorney will help you gather all available evidence for your defense.

Hire a Family Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

You have a lot to lose if the false allegations of child abuse are confirmed. That is why it is important to be represented by an experienced Harker Heights family lawyer to address false accusations in the most efficient manner possible.

Judges and juries in Texas take allegations of child abuse seriously, which is why it is a good idea to hire a lawyer to help you prepare a convincing case and fight back against false accusations.

Overcome False Accusations with a Harker Heights Family Law Attorney

If you are facing false accusations of child abuse, do not hesitate to request a FREE consultation with our Harker Heights family law attorney at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to evaluate your particular situation. Our lawyers will help you fight back against the allegations and get your children back home. Contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 today.

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