Child Protectives Services prevents and handles issues related to the exploitation, abuse, and neglect of minors in Texas. The program by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) accomplishes its goals through adoption, foster care, and relevant interventions. To do this, CPS partners with other agencies and works directly with families to protect the rights and safety of minors.
Typically, a family or child becomes involved with the Service upon referral from the division of the DFPS that is responsible for the investigation of abuse, neglect, and needs of minors. An investigation begins with a report regarding safety or concern for the safety of a child. Child Protective Investigations (CPI) assigns an investigator to gather evidence regarding the report and enter a conclusion within thirty (30) days.
Child Protective Services only gets involved following the agent’s conclusion that a child requires protection. Depending on the assessed threat, the agency may offer its services to solve the problem or take other measures. Often, the agency initiates a civil suit to remove the child from the guardian’s custody and terminate parental rights. Where there is physical or sexual abuse, the agency will facilitate the criminal prosecution of the persons involved. In other cases, the agency steps in when a legal battle between parents exposes a child to attrition.
As a parent or guardian, getting contacted by an investigator is not an indictment of wrongdoing. Also, this does not mean that the agency is out to separate you from your child. In many cases, third-party abuse or report of an unsafe environment is the primary trigger for investigation. Thus, you should cooperate with the investigator and provide the necessary information when required. The American Family Law Center provides resources for handling this encounter. Texas Legal Aid also provides information on the actions CPS may take and parents’ rights. Meanwhile, Child Protective Services in Texas has been at the center of scrutiny and sanctions for some time. According to news reports, the agency’s foster care system operates with gross negligence and has been involved in several class-action suits over the years.