As a parent, there are few things more heart-wrenching than having your children removed from you by Child Protective Services (CPS). There is a great deal of fear and confusion, as most people have no clue how the process works or what they need to do to get their children back.
There are many reasons why CPS may remove children from a home or from the custody of their caregiver, but it usually stems from a belief that the child is in some sort of danger, whether by physical violence, neglect, or some other harm. This belief could arise from a friend, neighbor, or complete stranger sending a report to CPS, or it could arise from a specific incident where police were called and they noticed or suspected some sort of mistreatment or neglect.
Whatever the case, under these circumstances most parents just want to figure out a way to bring their children home.
In this blog we will detail six useful tips to help parents get their children back after they have been removed from their home by CPS. As always, this blog is not intended as legal advice for your specific situation. Consult with an attorney who can analyze the circumstances surrounding your case and advise you on the best course of action to retain custody of your children.
Tip 1 – Hire an attorney
Hiring an attorney like Ken Levey is likely the most vital step you can take in ensuring you do everything you need to do to get your children back. Ken knows how the system works and what steps you need to take. He can work with CPS to try to avoid them filing a dependency action, and he can can present your case in the best manner possible, giving you the best chance to regain custody of your children as quickly as possible.
Tip 2 – Cooperate
Staying calm and collected when your child is being taken by strangers from your home is not an easy task, but it is vital. In all of your interactions with CPS, the police, or anyone else involved in the case you need to be calm and cooperative. Getting angry and lashing out is only going to hurt your case.
Tip 3 – Immediately alert CPS of relatives who can care for the child
When CPS removes children from a home, they then must find somewhere safe for the child to stay in the interim while the details of the case are sorted out. Generally, CPS would prefer to place the child with a relative or close friend, but they will place them in a foster home if necessary. You should alert CPS to any relative or friend you would like to look after your child while the case plays out so that they can begin a background check on them and hopefully place your child there. There is no guarantee, but you may be able to have some input over who should look after your children until you can get them back.
Tip 4 – Write down everything
Particularly if there is a specific event that occurs that leads to CPS taking your children, you need to write down all the details of your account of the incident. Keep records of what was said, who said it, and when. If the police told you something, write it down. If CPS told you something, write it down. This also could help to defend you against false claims, such as those made by an ex-spouse who may want full custody of the children.
Tip 5 – Never be late or skip
You absolutely cannot be late or skip anything having to do with your case. There will be hearings and meetings with CPS, and you need to demonstrate that you are responsible and reliable. If you arrive late or not at all, it will simply play into the narrative that you should not be raising the children. Additionally, you may have the opportunity for visitation with your kids while the case plays out. Make sure you take every chance you can to see them. Not only does this demonstrate your commitment to your children, it will also help your kids better deal with the stress and fear inherent in this challenging situation.
Tip 6 – Adhere to any instructions
If the court says you must attend substance abuse counseling in order to keep your kids, make sure you do it. If they instruct you to send them information, do it. If you are ordered to do anything as a condition for keeping your kids, DO IT! CPS cases are fragile, and if you do not follow the rules then you risk losing your children permanently.
If CPS has taken your children, you need a knowledgeable and dedicated advocate to help you get them back, Call the Law Office of Kenneth J Levey today.