In order to maintain your parental rights when dealing with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)’s Child Protective Services (CPS) division, you must move quickly. We’re here to tell you there’s hope, whether you’re under investigation right now, just found out you will be, or your child has already been taken away.
If you have the appropriate lawyer on your side, you can avoid the seemingly unending and perplexing maze that parents dealing with CPS issues frequently experience. At Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, we pay close attention to what our clients have to say about their particular situations so that we can provide them with an honest evaluation of their legal choices. With Family Court Judge Mike Schneider (Ret.) leading the charge on behalf of our firm in support of Texas families, you can count on us to serve as your Texas CPS defense attorneys and work with all we have to get you and your family the best possible resolution as quickly as we can.
Family Court Judge Mike Schneider (Ret.), CPS Defense Attorney
Judge Mike Schneider (Ret.) has devoted his career to protecting Texas families and Texas children. He joined Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP as a Partner in March 2019 after serving as a State District Judge in the 315th District Court of Harris County and over seven years with the Harris County Attorney’s Office, including heading the Children’s Protective Division.
Judge Schneider (Ret.) is a trial lawyer, retired judge, mediator, and research scientist who has decades of trial experience advocating on both sides of family law matters and from sitting on the family court bench. His deep institutional knowledge of the many agencies with whom he has worked directly benefits the clients he represents in matters against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Defense (DFPS/CPS). His cases have received local, statewide, and national media coverage and have helped many families regain custody of their wrongfully removed children.
What is CPS Defense?
CPS had an initial mission to support children’s safe homes and to build families. But CPS is now mostly known for separating children from their parents and other family members and making it very difficult for them to get them back. Despite the fact that parents cannot be denied custody of their children against their will unless there are extreme circumstances, these fundamental rights are not as protected as they should be by Texas government agencies.
CPS investigators have a reputation for making demands that are illegal and for not following the correct legal procedures. In fact, a government official needs your permission or a court order to enter your home, barring an emergency. It is imperative that you speak with a skilled family law attorney who can help you get through this ordeal.
A CPS defense attorney can help keep your family whole. Not all situations warrant the attention of CPS and it is rarely the case that a child should be removed from their parents. When a government agency is trying to strip a child from their family, it is imperative to work with an experienced advocate to develop a valid defense to maintain your family.
What Does a CPS Defense Attorney Do?
When CPS contacts you, asking questions about your parenting style or worse, seeking to take your children away from you, the first thing you should do is call a CPS defense lawyer. But what can a CPS defense attorney do? Can they actually assist you? They can, yes, and your chances of winning your case increase with the caliber and experience level of your CPS defense attorney.
An effective CPS defense lawyer is aware that you love your children more than life itself. Our legal team is aware of and sympathetic to your fear, rage, and brokenness. We are kind, empathetic, and non-judgmental. And despite the state’s best efforts to separate you, our primary objective is to assist you in keeping your family together. We will fight for you and your children’s rights, speak up for you, show concern, and listen.
Texas CPS Process
The first step CPS will take is to look into the child’s home to see if their living circumstances are damaging. The CPS agent may be able to take the child from the family right away, depending on the gravity of the evidence discovered.
In the absence of sufficient proof of a real risk, CPS may search the home for additional indications of wrongdoing. They will submit a petition or motion which enables them to conduct a more thorough investigation and question the child and/or other family members if they discover any other indications of wrongdoing at the home.
If the outcome of the inquiry indicates that the case qualifies for Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS), the case should be moved right away to a new caseworker in the FBSS unit. Within ten days of being moved and assigned, the new caseworker should arrange an in-person meeting with each person receiving services, each parent whose whereabouts is known, and any childcare providers. Family Team Meetings, or FTMs, are gatherings when all parties and interested family members can come together to talk about concerns and goals.
Next, after the initial review and interview, the matter will be transferred to a caseworker which can come with potential removal. This is when CPS may determine a child is suitable for removal, either through a proper process or an expedited process known as emergency removal.
Child Removal Defense
Children will only be taken from their homes by CPS if it is required to safeguard them from maltreatment or neglect. Removal should only take place when there are no practical measures that can be taken to keep kids safe in their homes because the state should be very reluctant to separate families; however, this is not always the case.
If CPS believes your child is in immediate danger, it may remove them from your home regardless of whether a court order is in place. If this occurs, a court will set a hearing date within two weeks of a child’s removal by CPS.
You will need to fill out a Child Caregiver Resource Form, which will provide CPS with the names of at least three people, including grandparents and other adult relatives, who might be able to look after the child or offer other support while the parents are receiving services. These people can include grandparents or and/or other adult relatives.
This is an extremely emotional process but not always necessary if an attorney is there to protect your parental rights. A CPS defense attorney will know how to keep your family intact when a government agency is threatening to remove your child.
Contact the CPS Defense Lawyers at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP
If you’re facing allegations of abuse and neglect, our firm can defend you. We can assist if CPS threatens your parental rights. Our knowledgeable Texas CPS defense lawyers are sensitive to any stress or concern you may be feeling. Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can represent your family in court and/or mediation and guide you through the legal process with CPS. So that you don’t lose your children, let us actively and compassionately manage your case. We will do everything in our power to fight for you.