A couple meeting with their attorney to discuss how CPS determines abuse in Texas

How Does CPS Determine Abuse in Texas?

In the state of Texas, Child Protective Services (CPS) can investigate your family if there are allegations of child abuse. It can be difficult to go through this journey, especially if you believe that the allegations are not true.

If CPS recently contacted you, then you might have questions such as, “How does CPS determine abuse?” I’ll help answer your questions about the legal rights granted to CPS. I’ll also help you understand how to fight back against CPS to support your family.

CPS Has the Legal Right to Determine Abuse

As a division of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), CPS has the legal right to perform an investigation into child abuse claims. Specifically, the Texas Family Code provides DFPS with the legal authority to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.

Then, within the Texas Family Code, there are legal definitions of abuse and neglect that help CPS determine abuse.

Definitions of Child Abuse

The following is a summary of the definitions of “abuse,” which includes any of the following acts or omissions by a person.

  • Creating a mental or emotional injury to a child
  • Causing or permitting a child to face a situation that causes mental or emotional injury
  • Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child
  • Failure to make a reasonable attempt to prevent physical injury to a child
  • Sexual conduct that harms a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare
  • Failure to reasonably attempt to prevent sexual harm to a child
  • Compelling or encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct (e.g., trafficking)
  • Depiction of a child in an obscene manner (e.g., child pornography)
  • Use of a controlled substance (e.g., drugs) that causes harm to a child
  • Causing, permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance
  • Enabling a child or engaging a child to participate in a sexual performance
  • Causing or allowing a child to be trafficked
  • Forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage

Definitions of Child Neglect

The Texas Family Code includes a separate set of definitions for “neglect.” The following is a summary of the definitions of neglect.

  • Leaving a child in a situation where they could be exposed to physical or mental harm
  • Placing a child or failing to remove a child from a situation that could result in injury
  • Failure to seek or provide medical care to a child resulting in substantial damage.
  • Failure to provide a child with the basics of food, clothing, or shelter
  • Placing a child or failing to remove a child from a situation with the risk of sexual harm
  • Not intervening when a child could be exposed to acts of abuse
  • Failure to provide care for a child if the child has been placed under your care
  • Negligence on the part of an entity responsible for the care of a child

If CPS determines that there is abuse or neglect, they have the right to conduct an investigation.

CPS Has the Right to Perform An Investigation

The Texas Family Code outlines the responsibilities of CPS to conduct an investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect.

After receiving reports of abuse and/or neglect, CPS will typically notify local law enforcement agencies about the reports they received. Then, they have the ability to initiate a joint investigation with law enforcement if needed.

As part of the investigation, CPS has the legal right to perform the following investigatory actions during your case:

  • Initiate investigations based on the severity and immediacy of the allegations
  • Document and manage casework specific to a case
  • Seek assistance from the judicial system if an individual does not comply during an investigation

If your situation escalates to an investigation, then you will want to work with an expert family law attorney that can provide you with support. You don’t have to fight back against CPS on your own! I can help you form a strong CPS defense.

How to Fight Back Against CPS to Support Your Family

CPS doesn’t always get it right when they attempt to determine abuse or neglect. Sometimes innocent families are materially changed because of a CPS investigation. That’s why you want to work with an attorney to ensure that you are protected and that you have an advocate in your corner during an investigation.

I will work hard to defend your family, help you respond to the CPS investigation, and work toward getting the CPS case dismissed.

Don’t wait another second. CPS will not relent in their investigation because they are legally bound to investigate every allegation of abuse or neglect. But, you don’t have to stand back and let them disrupt your family.

I have helped countless families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County stand up to CPS. If you live in one of these counties, then contact me today to get started on your legal defense.

Call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 if CPS recently made contact with you. I’ll further explain how CPS determines abuse and neglect, then get started on your case. I’m here to help you and your family!