The Real Guide to CPS

Texas CPS

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Anonymous asked: Can charges be brought up on the person making false statements to cps in order to cover up criminal activity

Yes, charges could be brought against a person making false reports to CPS.  In fact, on their website, CPS encourages people to contact local law enforcement if they feel that someone has made a false report against them. 

False reports are governed by Texas Family Code Section 261.107, which states that you could recover attorney fees generated in defense of the false report. 

Not knowing your circumstances or the circumstances/nature of the report, I cannot tell you whether you should contact local law enforcement regarding this issue, however false reporting is a crime. 

Best,

Christina Davis

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: I am worried about a 15 year old boy who has been beaten by his father. Cps is involved but the case worker sharing information with the parents and poor placement of the child has me concerned. He isn't safe but the lies told by his parents are passing for truth. How can we help him before its too late?

I would first encourage you to speak to the CPS caseworker about your concerns.  If you feel that the caseworker is not handling the case appropriately, you have options for reporting those concerns to State agencies.  They are as follows:

1.  Office of the Ombudsman

     - Complaints about the conduct of CPS personnel.

     - Example:

             “He lied on the stand.”

             “He lied to the parent.”

             “She made a pass at my client.”

      - Complaint can be made by Telephone or in writing.

      - Contact information:

         - Address: HHSC Office of the Ombudsman, Mail Code H-700 PO Box 13247, Austin, TX 75711-3247

         - Telephone number: 1-877-787-8999

         - Fax number: 1-888-780-8099

         - You may submit a form online at http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/index.shtml

              Go to “About HHSC” … Go to “Contact Us”… Click on the link under the heading “HHSC Ombudsman Office” that says “Online Submission Form”

2. Office of Consumer Affairs (CPS Handbook §2294)

     - Complaints that CPS failed to follow its own policies and procedures.  For example:

          - Failing to produce documents and letters in the appropriate amount to time.

          - Failing to property inform parents

          - Failing to protect confidentiality 

     - Complaint in writing

     - The Office of Consumer Affairs has only 3 days to initiate a review after the complaint is received and then another 3 days to send a letter acknowledging the complaint. 

     - The Office of Consumer Affairs has 30 days to complete their investigation into a complaint.

     - Contact Information

            - Address: DFPS Office of Consumer Affairs, Mail Code Y-496 PO Box 149030, Austin, TX 78714-9030

            - Telephone number: 1-800-720-7777  8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday

            - Fax: (512) 339-5892

            - E-mail: oca@dfps.state.tx.us

3. Internal Administrative Reviews  after a finding  (these folks work for CPS but not locally)

      - Complaint that the finding is inaccurate or faulty based on the evidence (not the conduct of CPS personnel).

      - Must be requested no later 45 days after the date on the finding letter

      - Additional documents/information can be submitted.

      - Informal Hearing

4. State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH)

     - This is an independent State agency

     - This is a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge

     - Findings can be reversed

I hope this helps.

Best,

Christina M. Davis

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: Is CPS required to record school interviews with children? Why would one of the caseworkers tell my son not to tell anyone(family) about the interview? I find this offensive, but is this normal protocol ?

According to CPS Handbook Section 2362, yes, CPS must record interviews with children.  As to a caseworker telling your child not to tell anyone about the interview - I do not know of any CPS Handbook provisions that condone or condemn that sort of statement.  I have not heard that particular claim in my personal experience with CPS, but that does not mean that it has not happened.  

I hope this helps.

Best,

Christina Davis

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: I just recently got custody of my 2 nephews. In which cps said that they would help me with pre school and after school financing. Its been 2 wks that I have been trying to contact my case worker for her to contact the pre school to get DES approval and I have had no luck. Now I have no means to have the boys watched while I'm at work. Who can I contact to get the pre school the info they are requesting?

Every caseworker always has a supervisor.  I would call the CPS office and ask to speak to your caseworker’s supervisor.  Even if you end up leaving a message for the supervisor, I bet you get a pretty quick return call from the caseworker. 

I hope that helps.

Best,

Christina Davis

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: 3 of our grandsons have been voluntarily placed in our care. Dad is on probation in Rains Co for Aggravated Assault w/deadly weapon. Violation of probation is a ticket straight to the pen. CPS has an open case with confirmed physical abuse on the boys. He has missed 2 appointments with his probation officer and has failed a drug test. He has guns in the house. Contacting his probation officer proved no help. Mom plays the victim role and everyone is at fault but her. Help! Resolution ?

What help I can give in this forum really depends on what you want in the end.  If what you want is to keep the children with you, I would recommend that you consult with a family law attorney about potentially filing an intervention.  If what you want is for one or both of the parents to get the children back, I would recommend hiring an attorney for one of them because it sounds like there is some work to be done before that could happen. 

As far as a resolution, at the end of a CPS termination case there are several possible outcomes.  CPS could dismiss out and the children will go back to whoever they were with before removal.  On the other end of the spectrum, the parents’ rights could be terminated and the children then placed for adoption either by family or others.  Then there are several “in between” options involving conservatorship and family members. 

Generally, there is not a CPS Handbook provision I can point you to because advice and a resolution really depend on your goals. 

Best,

Christina

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Can You Abuse or Neglect an Unborn Child?

The short answer is yes, you can.  According to CPS Handbook Sections 2731.1 through 2731.2, a pregnant woman can take actions, specifically actions involving controlled substances, that, even if they do not cause injury, place the child at risk of immediate harm.  

This provision has wide-ranging and serious implications for mothers.  I do not believe this provision has been challenged in court - yet.  At first glance, it seems to me that this interferes with a person’s fundamental right to procreation and, perhaps, other subcategories of the fundamental right to privacy.  Interesting food for thought… or for an appellate case.

Best,

Christina M. Davis

www.sinclairlawtyler.com

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Anonymous asked: If you live in Texas and your infant child is voluntary placed with family member of said to be father of baby, but no paternity test has been done. And I decide to revoke voluntary placement and move out of state and get help from other facility and distant cousins, is that OK?

I cannot directly answer your question “is that OK?” for several reasons.  First, I don’t know all of the facts here.  In telling you that it is OK to move out of state, I could be advising you to break the law, evade an investigation, or any number of other negative outcomes - none of which i can ethically do.  Second, answering that question would be tantamount to giving you legal advice, which I cannot do because I am not your lawyer. 

I can, however, point out that you seem to realize you have the power to revoke a VOLUNTARY placement.  I am not sure where you live, but in Texas those voluntary safety plans usually have a clause in them that informs the parent that should the parent choose to revoke consent, CPS is free to pursue other actions, such as removal of the children the subject of the plan. 

I recommend that you seek the advice of a competent family law attorney in your area to assist you with this case. 

Best,

Christina M. Davis

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: I have recently failed a background check~ the lady told me it was on the CPS side of the report, for neglect and endangerment to a child in 2001. At the time this incident happened I hired a lawyer to help because I was so scared. I do not have paper work or any type of documentation but this should have been resolved. How do I find out now? The lawyer has since closed his office.

Without knowing where you reside or where the case was handled, my best recommendation would be to start at the District Clerk’s Office in the county/municipality/parish where the case was handled.  An employee of the District Clerk’s Office should be able to help you look up your old case.  Once you locate the file for your case, check to see if there was a final order entered or if, perhaps, the Judge signed a dismissal. 

As always, I recommend seeking the assistance of a competent family law attorney in your area to assist you with this matter. 

Best,

Christina M. Davis

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: Does cps worker have the right to check in to my back ground because in live at the same address ?

Section 2311.1 allows for background checks of all principals in the investigation.  Without knowing if you are a an alleged perpetrator, alleged victim, or parent, I do not know whether that section applies to you.  Section 2434.1 is the provision that instructs CPS to perform background checks on all members of the household who are 14 years of age or older to ensure that a child placed in that home will be safe there.  

I hope this helps.

Best,

Christina

www.SinclairLawTyler.com

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Anonymous asked: my two children are currently in cps custody and my fionce has been working her plan of service and is only a month or two away from getting the children back. i have been incarcerated and with my csrp bond we are unable to see eachother unless we are legally married. if we were to get married would it affect the cps case with our children

Without knowing more, I cannot answer your question.  If a parent marries the alleged perpetrator or someone that CPS has “concerns” about, then yes, the marriage would affect the CPS case because CPS might be hesitant to return the children.  Generally speaking, a change in status in the middle of any family law court case is going to be disruptive. 

As is usually my suggestion, you and/or your fiance should contact a competent family law attorney in your area for advice. 

Best,

Christina

www.SinclairLawTyler.com