If you have dealt with Child Protective Services (CPS) for any length of time, you may feel like there is always someone looking over your shoulder. You’ve gone through a range of emotions from anger to fear to upsetness that someone has interfered with your family. Now, you just want to know what it takes to get CPS out of your life for good.
As a CPS attorney in Texas, I am often asked by clients how will I know if my CPS investigation is closed so that I can move on with my life? I’ll help you find the answer to that question. First, I want to help you understand how the entire process works so that you can check each box on the path to full restoration.
How Does a CPS Investigation Work in Texas?
The goal of CPS in Texas is to protect children from neglect and abuse. If they investigated you, then someone made a complaint. That complaint is that your child was either abused or neglected.
The reporter could be anyone – a family member, a neighbor, a teacher. No matter whether the allegations were legitimate or not, CPS was required to investigate.
In general, when an investigation is opened, CPS must determine whether a child faces immediate or long-term danger in the home. An investigator will go through a list of steps during the investigation process. Let’s review each step that ultimately leads to CPS no longer looking into your family.
Step 1: The Interview
The investigator likely asked to interview your child first. And you should have been given the option to participate in the interview. This step is important because CPS can use the content of the interview later in the investigation when attempting to build a case for removing your child from your home. That’s why if you were not given the opportunity to participate in the interview, then you need to reach out to me immediately to counter CPS’s tactics.
Step 2: Gather Info and Documentation
As a parent, you were likely asked to provide the CPS investigator with certain documentation about the alleged abuse. Requested documentation may have included medical records, immunization records, phone records, text messages, or school records.
If you could not provide these records, then the investigator likely asked you to sign a release form allowing them to access this information. If you unwillingly signed over documents or felt pressured into providing this information without understanding your rights as a parent, then contact me to discuss a remedy.
Step 3: Conduct Home Visit and Risk Assessment
Did the CPS investigator conduct a home visit? This step aims to ensure that the child’s home environment is suitable and safe enough for the child to reside in. CPS has to complete a risk assessment and decide the level of risk and provide a report.
A good outcome would be a “No Significant Factors” finding, which means CPS determined that your child was not at risk, and there were no circumstances that would create risk for the child. However, if the report indicated a “Risk Indicated” or “Risk Controlled” finding, then this would have allowed CPS to advance the investigation. Contact me to discuss any concerning findings in the home visit report.
Step 4: Voluntary Participation and Placement
If CPS determined that your child was at risk, then the CPS investigator may have asked you to volunteer to place your child with another individual. This is normally done with a safety plan. If they asked you to place your child outside of your home, your best option was to place them with family or a close friend the child is familiar with. However, CPS has to approve the person you choose. If you do not feel comfortable with how this step played out, contact me to discuss a solution!
Step 5: End of Investigation Phase
At the end of the investigation, the CPS caseworker will assign a risk level to your case and submit their findings. They will then either transfer the case for further review to take additional action or close the investigation to end the ordeal. CPS should notify you of their findings and let you know whether they are closing the investigation or recommending further action. If you disagree with the findings, contact me immediately to discuss!
How Will I Know For Sure if the Investigation is Closed?
In most cases, you will receive a letter from CPS telling you whether they closed your case or not. They normally send the letter within 90 days following the investigation. This process can take a while because of a backlog of CPS cases and because the investigator may consult with their supervisor to determine the appropriate course of action before finalizing their decision.
If they decide to close the investigation, then the case is over. They cannot continue to pry into your family.
Work With a Family Law Attorney for CPS Support
I know it may feel like CPS is a shadow hanging over your family, but you do not have to be fearful during this uncertain time. No matter where you are on the journey of battling CPS, I can help you navigate each step in the CPS investigation process.
Ultimately, I’ll help you gain full assurance of when the CPS investigation is closed. That way, you no longer have to worry about CPS investigating your family or talking to your kids. As an expert in CPS legal issues in Texas, I’ll take care of each concern you have and fight to defend your family.
You can reach my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to find support navigating a CPS investigation. I have helped many parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County find success fending off CPS. Call me right away for CPS legal support.