Under State and Federal law parents may not be deprived of custody of their children against the parent's wishes without the existence of extraordinary circumstances. The circumstances must be on the order of proof of child abuse, child neglect, abandonment, parental unfitness, or similar issues.
The typical CPS case begins with an anonymous report of child abuse or child neglect made to the Texas Abuse Hotline. Reports may be made online or to the statewide toll free hotline number. Reporter's identities are protected as long as their report is made in good faith. The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) then typically assigns an investigator to determine whether the report is credible.
After completing the investigation, CPS may find no reason to believe abuse or neglect has occurred and will send a letter to the parent(s) closing the case. However, CPS may find a reason to believe abuse occurred and will have several options on how to proceed. Family-based safety services are an option CPS may offer that does not involve filing a lawsuit to remove the children or terminate parental rights. Family-based safety services (FBSS) maintains the child's safety while in the home. Children may be allowed to remain in the home during FBSS. CPS may also request a parental child safety placement (PSCP), where children move in with relatives or fictive kin (family friends). Parents are typically provided with a plan that outlines services, classes, and goals to complete. CPS may also make resources available to parents, like daycare or parenting advisors. If a parent fails to complete the FBSS plan of service, CPS may file a petition to remove the child or children.
If your family has been targeted by CPS, you and your children are at risk. Contact the Bunger Law Firm and let our experience and seasoned approach help you through this extremely traumatic experience.