Understanding what happens during a CPS investigation can help you prepare for what comes next to prevent the agency from removing your children from your home.
If you are being investigated by Child Protective Services, contact a Copperas Cove CPS lawyer to represent your best interests during the investigation.
Why Am I Being Investigated by the CPS?
If a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator has contacted you, it is most likely because someone reported suspected child abuse or neglect in your home. Whenever someone believes that children may be in danger, they can make a report to CPS.
Just because CPS launched an investigation into you does not necessarily mean that the agency will take your children from you. If you have not abused, neglected, or endangered your child, you may have nothing to worry about.
However, it is still essential to speak with a Child Protective Services attorney in Texas to understand your rights and find out what to expect during a CPS investigation.
What to Expect During a CPS Investigation?
When Child Protective Services launches an investigator, the investigator assigned to your case may take the following steps:
Speak with your children;
Conduct a background check to see if you have a criminal history or an abuse and neglect history;
Request access to your child’s medical records;
Visit your home to conduct a home inspection; and
If necessary, provide a safety plan that describes the safety services that will be used to manage any threats to a child’s safety.
Previously, we discussed how you can protect your rights during a CPS investigation.
What Are the Possible Outcomes of a CPS Investigation?
At the conclusion of the Child Protective Services investigator, the investigator will have to determine whether the reported abuse or neglect occurred and issue one of the findings:
Reason to Believe (RTB). This one is the most unfavorable outcome of a CPS investigation for a parent because it means that the caseworker confirmed that they have reason to believe that the reported abuse or neglect took place.
Unable to Determine (UTD). If the caseworker reasonably believes that the occurrence of the reported abuse or neglect is more likely than not, but there is insufficient evidence to support the claim.
Ruled Out (RO). This one is the most positive outcome of a CPS investigation for a parent because it means that the caseworker determined that the reported abuse or neglect did not take place. CPS also uses the RO disposition when the alleged perpetrator is under the age of nine.
Unable to Complete (UTC). As its name suggests, Unable to Complete is a disposition used when by CPS caseworkers when they cannot complete the investigation.
What Happens After the CPS Investigation is Complete?
That depends on the outcome of the investigation. If CPS has declared your case as Reason to Believe (RTB) after a report of child abuse or neglect, the parent who allegedly abused or neglected the child might lose conservatorship rights.
CPS will most likely remove the children from the offending parent’s home. When this happens, the offending parent may still be able to have supervised visits with the child.
In addition to having your children taken away from you, the CPS investigation may also lead to criminal charges against you. In the worst-case scenario, the court may even terminate your parental rights altogether.
How to Get My Children Back Home?
If Child Protective Services took your children away from you after a Reason to Believe finding, you can challenge the RTB finding at the Administrative Review of Investigative Findings (ARIF) hearing.
It is essential to be represented by a skilled and experienced CPS attorney to prove your innocence and advocate for your rights. The State of Texas may require you to take specific steps to get your children back. These steps will be detailed in your Court Ordered Services case.
Parents accused of child abuse or neglect during a CPS investigation might be required to complete the following services to return their children:
Attend parenting courses
Pass random drug testing
Attend individual counseling and therapy
Undergo a psychological evaluation
Undergo a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Evaluation (OSAR)
In most cases, it is advisable to cooperate with CPS to complete the ordered services in order to get your children back home. Consult with a Copperas Cove CPS attorney to protect your rights during the investigation.
How to Avoid Criminal Charges After a CPS Investigation?
The best thing you can do to protect your interests during a CPS investigation is contact a knowledgeable attorney. Do not make any statements or talk to CPS caseworkers until you consult with a lawyer first.
Note: Your words can be used against you and can become grounds for a criminal prosecution.
Any evidence of child abuse or neglect can be used against to charge you with a crime in Texas. Your CPS lawyer will advocate for your interests and prepare a strong case to help achieve a positive outcome and avoid criminal charges.
When a CPS investigation results leads to criminal prosecution, offending parents are usually charged with the following offenses:
Injury to a child, causing bodily injury or serious bodily injury;
Sexual assault of a child under the age of 17;
Aggravated sexual assault of a child; and
Indecency with a child.
All of these are serious criminal offenses in Texas that carry harsh penalties. If you were charged with any of the above-mentioned offenses, do not hesitate to contact a Copperas Cove criminal defense attorney.
Get a Free Consultation with a Copperas Cove CPS Lawyer
If you have been contacted by Child Protective Services and informed of an ongoing CPS investigation, contact a skilled lawyer immediately. At The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our Copperas Cove CPS lawyers are committed to advocating for the rights of our clients during CPS investigations. Call 254-501-4040 to discuss your case during a free consultation.