The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a Child Protective Investigations (CPI) division that is responsible for investigating and managing allegations of child abuse and neglect.
Finding out that you are being investigated by DFPS can trigger many emotions - fear, confusion, anger - and you may have no idea what to expect from a child protective services investigation. If you are worried that you could lose your kids because of an investigation, make sure you have a Texas family lawyer who can help you fight against any accusations and prove your parental fitness.
Did Someone Report Me to DFPS?
The first question parents generally ask themselves after they are notified of a DFPS investigation is, “Why is this happening to me?” Usually, CPI gets involved because someone has made a report concerning the welfare of your child. This person may be worried that your child is being abused or neglected, or they may have ulterior motives. But it does not necessarily mean that you have done anything wrong, and an investigation certainly does not automatically mean that you will lose your children.
An agent from CPI will examine the report of child abuse or neglect and then investigate. An investigation is generally supposed to take no more than 30 days. This usually involves interviewing the child, the parents, and other adults who know the child, and conducting a home investigation. The home investigation cannot be conducted without your permission or without a court order. Unless the allegations are severe, a CPS agent is unlikely to have a court order and you can ask to reschedule the appointment for a time when your attorney is present.
Once their investigation is complete, DFPS will make a ruling. They may conclude that abuse occurred, did not occur, or that there is not enough information to complete the investigation. A case may also be closed after it is determined that intervention is not necessary based on information that comes to light after a case is opened (such as discovering an ex-partner who made a false allegation).
Even if DFPS determines a child or children are not safe, their first choice is rarely to remove a child from their family’s home. They will work with the family to find services to address the problem, help the parents understand their responsibilities, and take other actions that allow a family to stay together. Only when a child is in imminent or ongoing danger will a court intervene to remove a child from the home.
Contact a Murphy, TX Child Protective Investigations Defense Lawyer
If you are being investigated by Texas DFPS, it is important to know what to expect from an investigation and to make sure you have an attorney who can represent you and protect your relationship with your children. Call the Law Office of Brian Bagley today at (972) 843-7158 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Collin County, TX family law attorney.