What Happens During a CPS Investigation?

Child Protective Services is the government agency in Texas mandated with protecting children who are deemed at risk for suffering neglect or abuse. The objective of this agency at its outset was to promote safe homes and families for children. However, some well-publicized situations over time have shed doubt on the fairness of the agency’s actions in certain cases, with some families having their children taken under controversial circumstances.

The agency is charged with strengthening families and protecting children in the following ways:

  • Monitor and investigate any reports of abuse, harm, or neglect
  • Provide children and families with support services in their homes
  • Provide families with information about community resources
  • Coordinate placement of children out of the home and establish permanent home options if and when required
  • Provide services that help children in foster care make the transition to adulthood

If CPS agents suspect that your children may not be currently safe or believe there is a reasonable possibility your children may be neglected or abused any time in the foreseeable future – by anyone (the parents or otherwise) – the agency does have the power to remove children from the home.

Not every CPS investigation ends up in court. However, it is vital for parents who are under investigation by CPS or have had their children removed by CPS to consult with a skilled and aggressive attorney.

Initiating a CPS investigation

In Texas, a CPS investigation may commence after the police have been sent to a home in response to:

  • A concerned citizen calls the Texas Abuse Hotline reporting domestic violence, or;
  • A mandatory reporter calls the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) because of concern over possible child abuse

After a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation has started, the goal of the caseworker is to complete the investigation within 30 days of receiving the initial report. A caseworker may be granted an extension by his or her supervisor in certain cases upon request.

What does a CPS investigation involve?

If CPS determines that neglect or abuse of children is present within a home, the agency will generate a report and proceed with an investigation. Beyond the CPS’s own investigation, the agency will often send a report to law enforcement. Within 24 hours of the report, the CPS investigation will usually begin and consist of the following steps:

  • Conduct interviews. The caseworker will call or visit the home to interview the members of the family or household, including the parents, the child, the alleged perpetrator(s), or others. The caseworker may prefer to interview the child alone, but is usually under obligation to record the interview.
  • Conduct examinations. The caseworker may request the child to undergo medical or psychological examination to help determine if neglect or abuse has occurred.
  • Explain the allegations. The caseworker will detail the allegations against the alleged perpetrator(s) – usually within 24 hours after conducting the interviews.
  • Allow the accused to explain the circumstances. Finally, the caseworker allows the accused to explain the circumstances or reasons for any of the safety concerns or injuries detailed in the allegations.

If you have been falsely accused of neglecting or abusing your children, it is vital to consult with a Texas CPS attorney from our team at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm. You may need to prepare for an emergency hearing within just a few days or an adversary hearing within a couple of weeks. We are here to defend your rights and work vigorously to help you keep your family together. To set up a free consultation, call our team today at 254.680.4655 or send us a message through our contact form.