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CPS Defense 101

Austin Family Law Lawyer

The State of Texas, through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (formerly known as CPS), is charged with investigating child abuse and neglect cases. CPS can investigate cases, arrange for parenting and child safety services to be provided informally, formally compel parties to undergo these services, or forcibly remove children from their parents or guardians. You should note that CPS works very closely with law enforcement and investigation into criminal matters.

If a Child is “Removed” from Your Custody.

If your child is removed by CPS, or you are contacted by a CPS worker regarding child abuse or neglect, please contact us immediately. CPS may remove a child from its parent or guardian with or without a court order. However, once the child is removed CPS must obtain a court order authorizing the removal within certain time-frames. The parent or guardian will then be served the court order which will contain the date and time of the “removal hearing.” This “removal hearing” must be held within fourteen (14) days of the child’s removal.

At the removal hearing, the court will determine whether or not the child is returned to the parent or guardian’s custody. If the court determines the child must stay in the custody of CPS, a “status hearing” will be held approximately forty five (45) days from the date of the removal hearing. The purpose of the “status hearing” is for the court to review the parent or guardian’s progress in completing certain tasks, called services, which are issued by CPS in the form of a “service plan.”

There are additional hearings, called “permanency hearings,” after the status hearing. These hearings are scheduled 90 to 180 days from the date of the status hearing. The case is then scheduled for trial by judge or jury for final hearing. This final hearing normally determines whether or not the parent’s parental rights should be terminated. CPS has one year to complete the case, and may petition the court for a one-time six month extension. CPS cases are very unique in their nature; each case is different. Please contact me so that we may discuss your unique situation.

If you need child custody assistance in Williamson, Travis or Hayes County, or Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Leander, Buda or Kyle, Texas, please contact us as soon as possible.