Texas has several programs to deal with family law issues. This includes such issues like domestic violence, which could impact parental rights. For example, Child Protective Services investigates child abuse or neglect. Under state law, any person who believes that a child was abused or neglected must notify CPS or law enforcement agencies.
CPS caseworkers conduct investigations by interviewing and visually examining children who were reportedly abused or neglected and other children in their family. Investigators obtain information to determine whether there was abuse or neglect, whether there is a current risk of abuse, who abused the child and if CPS must become involved to protect the child if abuse or neglect occurred.
CPS develops a plan with families to prevent harm and to provide support to children. Its services also include providing information to families, referrals to community resources, child day care, homemaker services and educating parents on locating resources to pay for expenses such as household items or utility deposits.
CPS does not receive a report if an abuse victim seeks placement in a family violence shelter. CPS involvement is triggered only when someone reports child abuse or neglect. However, shelter in a family violence protection center may be essential to protect children. CPS may also offer services to assist families in shelters. When families leave shelters, CPS can discuss options with them. It can also help develop a safety plan which is important to protect families.
The shelter’s location and CPS client information remains confidential. Although CPS has to notify both parents of its investigation, it will not disclose the location of the investigation and shelter.
A CPS investigation does not require the removal of the children from their parents’ care. CPS may remove children if there immediate danger to the children’s immediate health or safety or if a court orders removal. Most removals are temporary and caseworkers will work with the parents for their return. Children are permanently removed only in extreme cases.
Protecting family members and assuring the best interest of the child may require legal assistance. A lawyer can help advise clients on their rights and legal options that are available.